Monday, April 10, 2017, 3:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Redeemed.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Zechariah 8 (Select vv. NASB).
The City of Truth (vv. 1-3, 6-8)
Then the word of the Lord of hosts came, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘I am exceedingly jealous for Zion, yes, with great wrath I am jealous for her.’ Thus says the Lord, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the Lord of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’
Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If it is too difficult in the sight of the remnant of this people in those days, will it also be too difficult in My sight?’ declares the Lord of hosts. Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, I am going to save My people from the land of the east and from the land of the west; and I will bring them back and they will live in the midst of Jerusalem; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God in truth and righteousness.’
Zion is another name for the church, the temple of God, the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem. So, Jesus Christ is jealous for his saints, his church. So, why is he jealous? It is because he is our husband and we are his bride, and thus our vow of fidelity to him (our faith) should be to him alone. We should not have any other lovers, i.e. idols (gods of men) or teachers or teaching other than what comes from His Word. He is concerned that some of his people’s minds are being led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. He sees that they are entertaining false teaching, in particular a false grace (fleshly) gospel in their minds, which appeals to human flesh and produces self-gratification, i.e. it gives its adherents free license to keep on sinning against God (See: 2 Co. 11:2-4; Jas. 4:1-10).
Many preachers today are diluting the gospel of Christ by teaching a half-truth gospel. They will teach that Jesus died on the cross, that he who knew no sin became sin for us, and that he took our penalty for sin so that we could go free from condemnation, and be free to live with Christ eternally. Yet, the faith that they teach is not God-given but is fleshly, for it requires no repentance, no obedience to Christ and his Word, and no submission to Christ and surrender to his will for our lives. Yet, God-given faith convinces (persuades) us of God’s perfect will for our lives. And, faith in Jesus means death to sin and living to righteousness (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; Ro. 6:1-23).
God hates lies! I do, too! He is truth, and he wants us to be people of truth, as well. This does not mean we go around being bold and brash and heartless in just speaking our minds without concern for who gets hurt in the process, but it means that we will speak the truth in love, because that is loving, and it is kind, and it cares more about others than it does ourselves. And, it means we won’t lie to and deceive one another, or hide the truth from those who need to hear it, or to whom it is owed. Because so many people have this idea that God’s grace gives them liberty to keep on sinning without guilt or remorse, they also have no guilt about covering up their sin, either, and hiding it from those to whom they need to confess.
Yet, there is hope! God will discipline his wayward children who have adopted this false grace gospel, and who have clung to their previous chains, and who have taken liberty to continue in sin without true repentance. Although the adulterous church right now looks pretty bleak, i.e. with all its liberalities, self-indulgences, immoralities, sensuality, and the like, it is not too hard for God to revive his church, and to return her to her pure devotion to him. And, one day soon he is going to return for us, and we will be with him forever, and we, as his bride, will truly be holy and truthful in the purest sense, for sin will be no more.
Stand Strong! (vv. 9, 14-17)
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Let your hands be strong, you who are listening in these days to these words from the mouth of the prophets, those who spoke in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, to the end that the temple might be built.
“For thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Just as I purposed to do harm to you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘and I have not relented, so I have again purposed in these days to do good to Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Do not fear! These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates. Also let none of you devise evil in your heart against another, and do not love perjury; for all these are what I hate,’ declares the Lord.”
With all the false teachings and lies of Satan which are being spread throughout the earth, including inside our churches, we, as Christ’s followers, need to stand strong on the Word of Truth, even if it gets us rejected, hated and persecuted. We need to say “NO!” to false teaching and especially to this false grace gospel which allures people by appealing to their human flesh. And, we need to speak out against and expose what is false and proclaim what is truth so that all can hear and know not to put their hope and trust in lies, which will not save, but that they should follow what is truth, but not just half the truth, but the full counsel of God.
In this way, the temple of God, his church, can be built (or rebuilt). In other words, we don’t win people to Jesus Christ with lies, manipulations and gimmicks. We win people to Jesus Christ by telling them the truth, even if that truth offends some people or makes them feel uncomfortable, because it confronts sin and it calls for repentance and faith (or renewed faith) in Jesus Christ. The truth is that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us; and that we might no longer conduct our lives according to our flesh, but according to (in agreement with) the Spirit of God (See: 1 Pet. 2:24; 2 Co. 5:15; Ro. 8:1-14; cf. Lu. 9:23-25; 1 Jn. 1:5-10).
Good News! (vv. 20-23)
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘It will yet be that peoples will come, even the inhabitants of many cities. The inhabitants of one will go to another, saying, “Let us go at once to entreat the favor of the Lord, and to seek the Lord of hosts; I will also go.” So many peoples and mighty nations will come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem and to entreat the favor of the Lord.’ Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘In those days ten men from all the nations will grasp the garment of a Jew, saying, “Let us go with you, for we have heard that God is with you.”’”
Jerusalem, in these last days, is not the physical city of Jerusalem, which is now of Hagar, because she is still in slavery (to sin) with her children (See: Gal. 4). We, the people of God who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, are his holy city. We are Zion, the heavenly Jerusalem. And, a Jew is not one who is one outwardly, but is one who is one inwardly, who has been circumcised of the heart, i.e. he or she is one who believes in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of his or her life.
In these last days before Jesus returns, via this time of divine judgment on the people of the earth, God is pouring out his Spirit, and people are coming to faith in Jesus Christ, for persecution has a way of building or rebuilding the church. I believe scripture teaches that God will revive his wayward church in these last days, and that when the church is revived, she will take the gospel to the people, and she will invite people to faith in Jesus Christ. Yet, the picture we have here, too, is that people will hear of God’s working in other people’s hearts, and by reputation only they will seek God out, and will call on Jesus to be Lord and Savior of their lives, and that is awesome!
Redeemed / Frances J. Crosby
Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.
Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.
I think of my blessed Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.
I know I shall see in His beauty
The King in whose law I delight;
Who lovingly guardeth my footsteps,
And giveth me songs in the night.
I know there’s a crown that is waiting
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
His child and forever I am.