Saturday, November 21, 2009

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Cup Which My Father Hath Given Me, Shall I Not Drink It?

“Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:11.
Never was there a more sobering question put forth to any man. The question was asked of Simon but it was not his to answer. It was as though Jesus’ question might have gone forth into all the earth; into heaven; into all of His universe. The question was unfathomable. It was a matter of life and death. If we would live, Christ must drink of the Cup, thus dying in our stead. If He did not, the promise of Eternal Life for Adam and his seed would be made void; terminated. Up to this time Jesus had been in total obedience to His Father. I shutter to think of the repercussions had He declined to drink the Cup which the Father had given Him. But it did not happen; it could not happen!
“Then came Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto his disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. . .And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. . .He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done. And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words” Matt. 26:36,39,42,44. Often Jesus had said, Mine hour is not yet come; but now - “behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners” vs. 45.
“Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth. . .Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. . .Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” John 18:3,4,10,11. This said Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him. He knew full well all that was in the cup. Knowing of the suffering that awaited Him; knowing of His crucifixion; knowing of His death - He could say as Job said almost two millenniums before: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him” Job 13:15.
Jesus knew and had already experienced being “despised and rejected of men,” He knew what is was to be “a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” He was well aware that He would momentarily be “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities;” He would “bare our grief, carry our sorrows.” He knew that the hour was at hand for Him to drink the Cup; that the Lord was laying upon Him the iniquity of us all; that God would bruise Him, putting Him to grief; making His soul an offering for sin. He would in the Day that He drank the Cup, be cut off out of the land of the living; making His grave with the wicked. He knew that He was to be stricken for our transgressions; His soul made an offering for sin. He would knowingly, willingly pour out His soul unto death, to bear the sin of many; to make intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53)
The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? In drinking of the cup, Jesus, in our stead, took upon Himself the condemnation and penalty of the Law of Sin and Death. To Adam was given this charge: In the day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die. Though the law was issued to Adam in Eden’s garden, did God not intercede in providing Himself a Lamb: did He not shed the first blood, clothing Adam and Eve, picturing the Lamb who would give His life in their stead? Understand that Christ fulfilled the Law of Sin and Death: in the Day that He partook of the fruit of the first Adam, He, the Second Adam, drank the cup of Adam’s [and our] iniquities: “He hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” II Cor. 5:21. Symbolically, though in a very literal sense, Jesus must have been the ultimate object when God said, In the Day that thou eatest, thou shalt surely die! In the Day that He partook of the cup which the Father gave Him - He died.
In laying the foundation for what has just been said, let us continue following the scriptures: what did God do after Adam and Eve yielding to the beguiling serpent?
“And the Lord said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 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” Gen. 3:14-15. Was this not fulfilled at the cross?
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” John 3:14-15. Christ made of himself no reputation; he humbled himself; he became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross - “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name” Phil. 2:9. The serpent as the servant of Satan, being ‘lifted up’ in himself, was brought low to the ground. Though a subtle and beautiful creature, he was cursed and brought lower than all other creatures. ( We might picture Judas Iscariot also as Satan’s ‘serpent’: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him. That thou doest, do quickly” John 13:27.) Satan had been highly exalted, given a name, Lucifer, son of the morning. But he betrayed the Lord. “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell. . . .Thou art cast out” Isa. 14:15,19a.
“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.” This picture or symbol ultimately speaks of the cross. Satan would go down in defeat; Christ would be victorious! It is prophesy. But what of a previous prophesy? “But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” Gen. 2:17. It is true, Adam became “dead in trespasses and sins.” To Adam God said, cursed is the ground. . .thou shalt eat of it. . .thou shalt eat of the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread. “And all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred and thirty years: and he died” Gen. 5:4. One may say, Well, a day with the Lord is as a thousand years! Therefore Adam died within the Lord’s “Day!”
“Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them” Genesis 3:21. God provided for Himself a Lamb. He shed the first blood; the life of that (His) Lamb was in the blood. Without the shedding of blood is no remission [of sin.] God shed the Last Blood, that of His own Son, His own Lamb. Adam was clothed with the innocence of God’s sacrificial offering. We are likewise clothed in the Righteousness of the Lord Jesus, God’s only begotten Son; the Lamb of God. These things we hold as true. Christ is seen in every instance. The cross is portrayed; and the blood of Christ shed by the instrumentation of man and by God Himself: it was [is] freely offered upon the Mercy Seat which is upon the Ark of the Covenant by Christ, our High Priest. “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died fore our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” I Cor. 15:3,4.
What do the Old Testament scriptures reveal concerning the Cup?
In Jeremiah chapter sixteen and verse seven we see “the cup of consolation.” Again, “For this saith the Lord God of Israel unto me, Take the wine cup of this fury at my hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it” Jer. 25:15.
In Ezekiel chapter fifteen: “I will do these things unto thee, because thou hast gone a whoring after the heathen, and because thou art polluted with their idols. Thou hast walked in the way of thy sister; therefore will I give her cup into thine hand. Thus saith the Lord God; Thou shalt drink of thy sister’s cup deep and large: thou shalt be laughed to scorn and had in much derision; it containeth much. Thou shalt be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, with the cup of astonishment and desolation” vs. 30-33.
The Cup of wrath and of judgment.: “For in the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is full of mixture; and he poureth out of the same: but the dregs thereof, all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out and drink them” Psalm 75:8.
“Awake, awake, stand up, O Jerusalem, which hath drunk at the hand of the Lord the cup of fury; thou hast drunken the dregs of the cup of trembling, and wrung them out. Therefore hear now this, thou afflicted, and drunken, but not with wine: Thus saith thy Lord the Lord, and thy God that pleadeth the cause of his people, Behold, I have taken out of thine hand the cup of trembling, even the dregs of the cup of my fury; thou shalt no more drink it again” Isa. 51:17,21-22.
The cup of the Lord’s fury? The dregs of the cup of trembling? He has taken it out of the hands of His people and given it into the hands of the Son. Has not the Lord God put the Cup to the lips of His only begotten Son? He, Christ Jesus our Lord, has drunk it in their [our] stead.
“For the Lord shall comfort Zion: he will comfort all her waste places, he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of God” Isa. 51:3.
“And I have put my words in thy mouth, and have covered thee in the shadow of mine hand. . .Thou art my people” Isa. 51:16.
One other thing regarding the Cup. Jesus knew all things that should come upon Him. He knew that for Him to drink the Cup meant His being forsaken by the Father. For a further study on this topic, please read Gleanings From the Cross, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” It can be found at

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Not My Will But Thine Be Done

For many years I have watched, I have heard, ‘certain’ TV preachers and evangelists preach their sermons and then close with ‘their invitation’: “I’M going to ask you to make a decision.” “Receive Jesus as your personal Saviour.” I’M going to ask you to make a commitment.” “I’M asking you to give your heart to Jesus” “The choice is yours.” “Will you choose to accept Jesus as your Savior?” The influence of a few becomes law for the multitude. Now it is religiously correct to follow their leadership. I saw the son of one of these men giving an interview a short time ago and heard him speak of ‘My father’s invitation.’ When I AM calls, respond to the ‘invitation!’ That of which we speak is more than an ‘invitation;’ it is a command! “But now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained [Christ Jesus]” Acts 17:30b, 31a. “Ye must be born again” is not given as an option: Come, but only if you desire to! No, to refuse the command when the Creator and King of kings, and Lord of lords calls you, is in direct disobedience to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and warrants His judgment against you.
“Is man’s will really the focus of salvation? Is he in the driver’s seat? Is he in control of the situation? “God voted for me to be saved. Satan voted for me to be lost - and it was the casting of my vote that broke the tie!” (The doctrine of election. How is it that God has become the One who is elected?) It would appear (at least in the minds of many) that God stands helplessly by, waiting to see what man will do. Jesus sits mournfully at the right hand of the Father wringing His hands: “Well, I’ve done all I know to do! I died on the cross for them; now it’s in their hands!”
“Salvation involves a choice!” Yes it does! It was the choice of the Father to give His Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. It was the choice of the Son to die in my stead. Oh Lamb of God, I come! I come! In faith and in an act of obedience to the will of God who has drawn me, I come! I resist His call no longer. I cease my struggle against Him. I yield myself unto God: It is, Not my will, but Thine be done!
“Not my will.” Does my having a ‘will’ make me a god? Am I enthroned on a pedestal? Am I given authority over my life; am I the supreme ruler? I have a will; therefore I am responsible to neither God nor man! This mentality is wrong, dead wrong. Having a will makes me responsible. Adam had a will. He was responsible to God for his choices, for his actions. Adam made ‘decisions,’ he became lord over his life: I WILL do that which I determine is right for me! What does having a will do for the natural man? It renders him a creature who by his own volition becomes self-righteous. What was the will of God for Adam? It was that he be obedient to the purpose and will of his Lord. When God instructed Adam that he not eat of the forbidden fruit, Adam should first have acknowledged that he HAD a will, then willfully set aside that will: Lord God, NOT MY WILL! Adam, by the mercies of God, present your body a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. . .be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, WILL OF GOD! Adam should have responded to God; NOT MY WILL, but THINE be done!

All should be familiar with the passage concerning Joshua and Israel. In chapter 24 and verses one through thirteen, God rehearses His deliverance of the Israelites, then presents a challenge: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” Joshua 24;14-15. Israel could choose between the various gods; who to elect to office. But Joshua will not ‘choose’ to elect his God. He will rather obey the God who chose him! Not my will but Thine be done!
“All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I WILL in no wise cast out.” What does the very next verse say? “For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” “Not my will, but thine be done!
Is Jesus the Christ; is He Lord; is He the very Son of God? Jesus walked the earth for more than thirty-three years; yet, without sin. A primary reason He was able to do this was His consistent, constant and faithful attitude. One might ask, “Jesus, what is your will?” He might have responded, I relinquish my will; I will acknowledge only my Father’s will for my life. I will not make any decision apart from my Father; I determine to do nothing independently of my Father’s will! Praying in Gethsemane’s garden just before giving Himself into the brutal hands of men and the crucifixion of the cross, Jesus cry remained the same: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine be done” Luke 22:42.
Mankind loves to make images, statues, busts, large portraits of themselves. It is the notion that we are little sovereigns (ye shall be as gods, as Satan told Adam and Eve.) To have to admit that God is sovereign - well, men would attempt to diminish His power (if only they could!) The fool hath said in his heart [ and many with their lips] NO GOD!
The voices persist. “Make a decision! Receive Jesus as your personal Saviour! Give your heart to Jesus! Give Him your life!” Oh God! How may I give my heart and life to Jesus? I am a totally depraved sinner. I am dead in trespasses and sins. I have no heart for God. It is not in my nature to desire Him.
What then are the requirements for one to be saved and justified before God? “Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21. Faith always finds Christ as the object of its attention. Repentance finds God as its object. Man’s will is not the object here. If men would only regard themselves as the sinners that they really are: impure, unholy, void of truth and understanding, having wicked hearts; wills distorted, lacking right discernment. My will and my rights are always subjects of lofty discussion. Repentance and faith will never come until our focus is taken off self and directed to God. Only then will the cry be, NOT MY WILL, but THINE be done. What is the will of God? “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth” I Tim. 2:3-4. Oh Lord God! My will do I wholly submit and yield into your hands! Not my will, but Thine be done! My will be done? Then I would likely be in the realm of the fires of hell, even at this moment! But “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” Let it be known, I’m depending on Jesus!
Let the sinner approach the cross with this plea - Not my will, but thine be done!