The Encourager

The Encourager

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"Commits A Trespass Against the Lord" - Heath Rogers

Saturday, January 27, 2024

                   "COMMITS A TRESPASS AGAINST THE LORD"

                                                              by Heath Rogers

In a sermon two weeks ago, we studied David's statement from Psalm 51:4 - "Against You, You only, have I sinned, and done this evil in Your sight…" I made the comment that David was aware that he had sinned against Uriah, Bathsheba, his servants, and the entire nation. However, all this vanished away as he considered the enormity of his guilt before God. A good lesson needs to be learned from the man after God's own heart.

All our sin, regardless of who is hurt by our actions, is ultimately committed against God Himself.

Joseph responded correctly to the sexual advances of his master's wife: "There is no one greater in this house than I, nor has he kept back anything from me but you, because you are his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" (Gen. 39:9). Young Joseph understood the sin of adultery is ultimately a sin against God because it violates His law.

These two men believed that any sin was ultimately a sin against God. What does God say about this?

Monday night, brother McKibben led us in a study of Abraham lying to Abimelech in Genesis 20:1-14. I noticed something God told Abimelech in verse 6. "Yes, I know that you did this in the integrity of your heart. For I also withheld you from sinning against Me; therefore, I did not let you touch her" (emphasis mine - HR). Long before Joseph or David lived, God had established that the sin of adultery is a sin against the Lord Himself.

Leviticus chapter 6 offers more light on this subject. In giving instructions regarding offerings and restitution, the Lord said: "If a person sins and commits a trespass against the Lord by lying to his neighbor about what was delivered to him for safekeeping, or about a pledge, or about a robbery, or if he has extorted from his neighbor, or if he has found what was lost and lies concerning it, and swears falsely - in any one of these things that a man may do in which he sins" (Lev. 6:2-3, emphasis mine - HR). All sins we commit against others are first and foremost sins against God.

Denominational writer R.C. Sproul is noted for these excellent comments regarding sin:

"Sin is cosmic treason. Sin is treason against a perfectly pure Sovereign. It is an act of supreme ingratitude toward One to whom we owe everything, to the One who has given us life itself. Have you ever considered the deeper implications of the slightest sin, of the most minute peccadillo? What are we saying to our Creator when we disobey Him at the slightest point? We are saying no to the righteousness of God. We are saying, 'God, your law is not good. My judgment is better than Yours. Your authority does not apply to me. I am above and beyond Your jurisdiction. I have the right to do what I want to do, not what You command me to do.'

The slightest sin is an act of defiance against cosmic authority. It is a revolutionary act, a rebellious act where we are setting ourselves in opposition to the One to whom we owe everything. It is an insult to His holiness…" (R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 151-152).

 

 

A Bible Verse to Meditate on This Week:

 

Proverbs 16:28

A perverse man sows strife,
And a whisperer separates the best of friends.

Fellowship in Assembled Worship - Jeff Curtis

Friday, January 19, 2024

Fellowship in Assembled Worship

By Jeff Curtis

Hebrews 10:25 implies that Christians are part of a fellowship, as was the first church in Jerusalem (Acts 2:42). “Fellowship” is translated from koinonia, which means a “partnership” or “participation in common” with others. In Hebrews 10:19 the readers of Hebrews were addressed as “brethren.” What a wonderful thought implied here – to be part of one family, having on Father, loving one another as brothers and sisters should. When Admiral Nelson was asked the key to his success in the battle for Britain, he said, “I had the privilege to command a band of brothers.” That is the key to the success of the church as well.

Christians need fellowship to be brothers. We need the encouragement we receive through assemblies for prayer and admonition. We should want to go to worship services – not only for what we can get out of participating, but also for what we contribute to the faithfulness of others.

A subtle heresy is “We need Jesus, but don’t need the church.” Even at the time when the Hebrew letter was written, some were evidently saying, “It isn’t worth going to church. It’s causing us too much trouble. Something discouraging always happens, so we just won’t go to worship with the rest of the believers in Jesus.”

The Lord designed the church as the ekklesia – a true “assembly,” which is the way the word should be translated. The word “church” is not from ekklesia; it came from the German and Middle English word kirche in the Scottish kirk and developed into “church” in English. But, the term “church” is associated in thought with kuriakos, which means “belonging to the Lord” or simply “of the Lord.” Kuriakos (“Lord’s”) is used only twice in the New Testament, in 1Corinhtians 11:20 (“the Lord’s Supper”) and Revelation 1:10 (“the Lord’s Day”). The ekklesia belongs to the Lord. (Jesus called it “My church” in Matthew 16:18.) We are to maintain regular assembly for worship to keep the fellowship of the church and actually be “the Lord’s church.”

We cannot be faithful to Christ without maintaining a living fellowship with His chosen people – the saints, who are all members of His cleansed body (Ephesians 5:25-27).

So why do some neglect the worship assembly?

Christians in the first century had begun to neglect the worship is not stated. Their reasons were probably similar to the causes of indifference to assembling for worship in the 21st century. Some don’t want to be recognized as Christians, because they are ashamed of Christ’s church. Some prefer the world, with its temporary allurements, over the promise of eternal life given to faithful members of Christ’s church. Others think they can be faithful enough apart from the brothers and sisters who assemble regularly. This is a sad mistake, as the admonition of Hebrews 10:25 suggests, and can lead to the apostasy mentioned in verse 26. We have to help each other see the risk they are taking. The constant urging of Hebrews is to “hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6). A similar thought is expressed in chapter 10:23: “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” The author of this letter said this in introducing the admonition about “not forsaking our own assembling together” (10:25). This encouragement to remain faithful came in the light of the faithfulness of Christ (10:23b). He was true to His Father – shouldn’t we be the same?

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