Saturday, October 31, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 4:7-8
(Study notes by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

7 Submit yourselves to God: resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purge your hearts, ye double minded.

Brethren:

We find in today’s reading a similar recommendation written by the Apostle Paul in Ephesians Chapters 4:22-24 and 6:11-18. Read the passages and see how God’s word is always harmonious. Herein then, we find that both Paul and James are stating that the closer we come to our creator the better off we shall become in our pilgrimage on this temporal plane.

Observe in verses seven and eight that we are first instructed to submit, and draw near to Him. Both actions will work to our advantage, as it strengthens our ability to resist Satan, who is as is commonly known the god of this age. (See 2 Corinthians 4:4).

Secondly, we read in (also in verse eight), that we are to purge our hearts, cleanse our hands, and to not be double minded. (See also James 1:8). Paul likewise writes in his epistle to the Church at Ephesus, that we are to put away our old behaviors. Toss them off and away as one might toss off an old coat or garment, and put on the “new” man. This is say that we would be well advised to put on the face of our Savior Jesus Christ.

Indeed Paul goes even further in chapter 6 to state that to put on the entire armor of God would prepare us for the battle of spiritual forces between ourselves that would stand with God and those who would deny Him. Make note friends, that although we are just flesh and blood, we are still imbued with a spirit. This then begs the question whose spirit dwells within you? Is it a spirit of holiness and righteousness, or of carnality and unrighteousness?

Do you not recall a part in yesterday’s reading about not being able to serve two masters? And likewise that those that give service to worldly desires simply cannot serve those of a righteous spirit and by extension God?

Brethren, we all face divers temptations, trials, and tribulations. Let us henceforth go armed with the Word of God. Clothe ourselves in His attire of righteousness and holiness. This will enable us to resist the Devil and the things of this carnal generation.

Friday, October 30, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 4:4
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

4 Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the amity of the world is the enmity of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, maketh himself the enemy of God.

Brethren:

It is suggested also that one meditate upon 1 John 2:15 and Matthew 6:24. Friends, we cannot serve two masters. Either we seek the carnal things of this world in order to satisfy the flesh or we seek the things from above to satisfy the spirit, but we cannot serve both. Henceforth let us seek the latter, knowing that we serve God. - Dr. R.V.Z

Worldly people are here called adulterers and adulteresses, because of their perfidiousness of God, while they give their best affections to the world. Covetousness is elsewhere called idolatry, and it is here called adultery; it is a forsaking of him to whom we are devoted and espoused, to cleave to other things; there is this brand put upon worldly-mindedness—that it is enmity to God. A man may have a competent portion of the good things of this life, and yet may keep himself in the love of God; but he who sets his heart upon the world, who places his happiness in it, and will conform himself to it, and do any thing rather than lose its friendship, he is an enemy to God; it is constructive treason and rebellion against God to set the world upon his throne in our hearts. Whosoever therefore is the friend of the world is the enemy of God. He who will act upon this principle, to keep the smiles of the world, and to have its continual friendship, cannot but show himself, in spirit, and in his actions too, an enemy to God. You cannot serve God and mammon.

Hence arise wars and fightings, even from this adulterous idolatrous love of the world, and serving of it; for what peace can there be among men, so long as there is enmity towards God? Or who can fight against God, and prosper? Think seriously with yourselves what the spirit of the world is, and you will find that you cannot suit yourselves to it as friends, but it must occasion your being envious, and full of evil inclinations, as the generality of the world are.”
Matthew Henry - 17th Century Theologian

Ye adulterers and adulteresses - Who have broken your faith with God, your rightful spouse. Know ye not that the friendship or love of the world - The desire of the flesh, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life, or courting the favour of worldly men, is enmity against God? Whosoever desireth to be a friend of the world - Whosoever seeks either the happiness or favour of it, does thereby constitute himself an enemy of God; and can he expect to obtain anything of him?” - John Wesley - 18th Century Theologian

Thursday, October 29, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 4:3
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye might lay the same on your pleasures.

Brethren:

Herein, the apostle is stating, that our prayers must need be for the things that would advance the word, that is the Gospel, and more importantly that would be to the glorification of our heavenly Father. Recall if you will that our Savior had said that God has our needs taken care of, that He knows what are needs are and will provide for them. However our wants are of a different nature. These would be those things that would only serve to fulfill our worldly desires, and our own vanity. In summation, there is an adage that goes along the lines of “be careful of what you wish for” - Dr. R.V.Z

This is as if it had been said, "Though perhaps you may sometimes pray for success against your enemies, yet it is not your aim to improve the advantages you gain, so as to promote true piety and religion either in yourselves or others; but pride, vanity, luxury, and sensuality, are what you would serve by your successes, and by your very prayers. You want to live in great power and plenty, in voluptuousness and a sensual prosperity; and thus you disgrace devotion and dishonour God by such gross and base ends; and therefore your prayers are rejected.’’ Let us learn hence, in the management of all our worldly affairs, and in our prayers to God for success in them, to see that our ends be right. When men follow their worldly business (suppose them tradesmen or husbandmen), and ask of God prosperity, but do not receive what they ask for, it is because they ask with wrong aims and intentions. They ask God to give them success in their callings or undertakings; not that they may glorify their heavenly Father and do good with what they have, but that they may consume it upon their lusts —that they may be enabled to eat better meat, and drink better drink, and wear better clothes, and so gratify their pride, vanity, and voluptuousness. But, if we thus seek the things of this world, it is just in God to deny them; whereas, if we seek any thing that we may serve God with it, we may expect he will either give us what we seek or give us hearts to be content without it, and give opportunities of serving and glorifying him some other way. Let us remember this, that when we speed not in our prayers it is because we ask amiss; either we do not ask for right ends or not in a right manner, not with faith or not with fervency: unbelieving and cold desires beg denials; and this we may be sure of, that, when our prayers are rather the language of our lusts than of our graces, they will return empty.” - Matthew Henry 17th theologian

Some there were that did ask of God the blessings of his goodness and providence, and yet these were not bestowed on them; the reason being that they not in the faith of a divine promise; nor with thankfulness for past mercies; nor with submission to the will of God; nor with a right end, to do good to others, and to make use of whthat ye may consume it upon your lusts; But, instead to indulge to intemperance and luxury; as the man that had much goods laid up for many years did, to the neglect of his own soul, or the rich man, who spent all upon his back and his belly, and took no notice of Lazarus at his gate;at might be bestowed, for the honour of God, and the interest of Christ.” John Gill - late 16th century theologian.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 3:17
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

17 But the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without judging, and without hypocrisy.

Brethren:

In our previous reading yesterday, we found in Isaiah that the ways and thoughts of our beloved Creator are not only not like our own but are higher than our own. Consider then today as well in our study the opening chapters one through nine in the Book of Proverbs the calls for us to incorporate the wisdom that is God into our lives. Make some time today, perhaps this evening before you retire my friends to read them, and allow the Holy Spirit to work upon you while you slumber. - Dr. R.V.Z

Observe here, True wisdom is God’s gift. It is not gained by conversing with men, nor by the knowledge of the world (as some think and speak), but it comes from above. It consists of these several things:

1.It is pure, without mixture of maxims or aims that would debase it: and it is free from iniquity and defilements, not allowing of any known sin, but studious of holiness both in heart and life.

2. The wisdom that is from above is peaceable. Peace follows purity, and depends upon it. Those who are truly wise do what they can to preserve peace, that it may not be broken; and to make peace, that where it is lost it may be restored. In kingdoms, in families, in churches, in all societies, and in all interviews and transactions, heavenly wisdom makes men peaceable.

3. It is gentle, not standing upon extreme right in matters of property; not saying nor doing any thing rigorous in points of censure; not being furious about opinions, urging our own beyond their weight nor theirs who oppose us beyond their intention; not being rude and overbearing in conversation, nor harsh and cruel in temper. Gentleness may thus be opposed to all these.

4. Heavenly wisdom is easy to be entreated; it is very persuadable, either to what is good or from what is evil. There is an easiness that is weak and faulty; but it is not a blamable easiness to yield ourselves to the persuasions of God’s word, and to all just and reasonable counsels or requests of our fellow-creatures; no, nor to give up a dispute, where there appears a good reason for it and where a good end may be answered by it.

5. Heavenly wisdom is full of mercy and good fruits, inwardly disposed to every thing that is kind and good, both to relieve those who want and to forgive those who offend, and actually to do this whenever proper occasions offer.

6. Heavenly wisdom is without partiality. The original word, adiakritos, signifies to be without suspicion, or free from judging, making no undue surmises nor differences in our conduct towards one person more than another. The margin reads it, without wrangling, not acting the part of sectaries, and disputing merely for the sake of a party; nor censuring others purely on account of their differing from us. The wisest men are least apt to be censurers.

7. That wisdom which is from above is without hypocrisy. It has no disguises nor deceits. It cannot fall in with those managements which the world counts wise, which are crafty and guileful; but it is sincere and open, steady and uniform, and consistent with itself. O that you and I may always be guided by such wisdom as this! that with Paul we may be able to say, Not with fleshly wisdom, but in simplicity and godly sincerity, by the grace of God, we have our conversation. And then, lastly, true wisdom will go on to sow the fruits of righteousness in peace, and thus, if it may be, to make peace in the world. And that which is sown in peace will produce a harvest of joys. Let others reap the fruits of contentions, and all the advantages they can propose to themselves by them; but let us go on peaceably to sow the seeds of righteousness, and we may depend upon it our labour will not be lost. For light is sown for the righteous, and gladness for the upright in heart; and the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.” - Matthew Henry - 17th century theologian.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 3:14-16
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, rejoice not, neither be liars against the truth. 15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish. 16 For where envying and strife is, there is sedition, and all manner of evil works.

Brethren:

God spoke through Isaiah in chapter fifty five verses eight through nine saying; “8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. 9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts above your thoughts” And so it is true that those who would think most highly of themselves tend to either create troubles or get into them upon their own efforts. Man’s wisdom is flawed simply because he is flawed. His reasoning rarely contains righteousness or the love of God towards others. - Dr. R.V.Z

Pretend what you will, and think yourselves ever so wise, yet you have abundance of reason to cease your glorying, if you run down love and peace, and give way to bitter envying and strife. Your zeal for truth or orthodoxy, and your boasts of knowing more than others, if you employ these only to make others hateful, and to show your own spite and heart-burnings against them, are a shame to your profession of Christianity, and a downright contradiction to it. Lie not thus against the truth.’’ Envying and strife are opposed to the meekness of wisdom. The heart is the seat of both; but envy and wisdom cannot dwell together in the same heart. Holy zeal and bitter envying are as different as the flames of seraphim and the fire of hell. The order of things here laid down. Envying is first and excites strife; strife endeavours to excuse itself by vain-glorying and lying; and then hereupon ensue confusion and every evil work. Those who live in malice, envy, and contention, live in confusion, and are liable to be provoked and hurried to any evil work. Such disorders raise many temptations, strengthen temptations, and involve men in a great deal of guilt. One sin begets another, and it cannot be imagined how much mischief is produced: there is every evil work. And is such wisdom as produces these effects to be gloried in? This cannot be without giving the lie to Christianity, and pretending that this wisdom is what it is not.

Observe, whence such wisdom cometh: It descendeth not from above, but ariseth from beneath; and, to speak plainly, it is earthly, sensual, devilish. t springs from earthly principles, acts upon earthly motives, and is intent upon serving earthly purposes. It is sensual indulging the flesh, and making provision to fulfil the lusts and desires of it. Or, according to the original word, psychike, it is animal of human—the mere working of natural reason, without any supernatural light. And it is devilish, such wisdom being the wisdom of devils (to create uneasiness and to do hurt), and being inspired by devils, whose condemnation is pride (See 1 Timothy 3:6 ), and who are noted in other places of scripture for their wrath, and their accusing the brethren. And therefore those who are lifted up with such wisdom as this must fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Monday, October 26, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 3:13
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

13 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show by good conversation his works in meekness of wisdom.

Brethren:

As Paul also wrote in his Epistle to the Galatians chapter six verse four; “let each one examine his own work, and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.” If my friends we are to say anything let it be about good works. Speaking not in vanity, or in useless words that edify nothing. Nor let our speech be in the form of self-inflating egos. But do strive to let it be in the humbleness of the spirit, wherein we can take joy in the knowledge that we have done our Christian duties to others, as prescribed by our Creator. - Dr. R.V.Z

A truly wise man is a very knowing man: he will not set up for the reputation of being wise without laying in a good stock of knowledge; and he will not value himself merely upon knowing things, if he has not wisdom to make a right application and use of that knowledge. These two things must be put together to make up the account of true wisdom: who is wise, and endued with knowledge? Now where this is the happy case of any there will be these following things; that is to say a good conversation. If we are wiser than others, this should be evidenced by the goodness of our conversation, not by the roughness or vanity of it. Words that inform, and heal, and do good, are the marks of wisdom; not those that look great, and do mischief, and are the occasions of evil, either in ourselves or others.

True wisdom may be known by its works. The conversation here does not refer only to words, but to the whole of men’s practice; therefore it is said, Let him show out of a good conversation his works. True wisdom does not lie in good notions or speculations so much as in good and useful actions. Not he who thinks well, or he who talks well, is in the sense of the scripture allowed to be wise, if he do not live and act well. True wisdom may be known by the meekness of the spirit and temper: Let him show with meekness, etc. It is a great instance of wisdom prudently to bridle our own anger, and patiently to bear the anger of others. And as wisdom will evidence itself in meekness, so meekness will be a great friend to wisdom; for nothing hinders the regular apprehension, the solid judgment, and impartiality of thought, necessary to our acting wisely, so much as passion. When we are mild and calm, we are best able to hear reason, and best able to speak it. Wisdom produces meekness, and meekness increases wisdom.


Friday, October 23, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 3:2
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

2 For in many things we sin all. If any man sin not in word, he is a perfect man, and able to bridle all the body.

Brethren:

Consider also today Isaiah 9:17 and Matthew 7:4-5.
Recall if you will a few days ago we spoke upon the topic of tempering judgment with mercy, we would do well to continue in that line of thought. - Dr. R.V.Z

Were we to think more of our own mistakes and offenses, we should be less apt to judge other people. While we are severe against what we count offensive in others, we do not consider how much there is in us which is justly offensive to them. Self-justifiers are commonly self-deceivers. We are all guilty before God; and those who vaunt it over the frailties and infirmities of others little think how many things they offend in themselves. Nay, perhaps their magisterial deportment, and censorious tongues, may prove worse than any faults they condemn in others. Let us learn to be severe in judging ourselves, but charitable in our judgments of other people. We are taught to govern our tongue so as to prove ourselves perfect and upright men, and such as have an entire government over ourselves: If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. It is here implied that he whose conscience is affected by tongue-sins, and who takes care to avoid them, is an upright man, and has an undoubted sign of true grace. But, on the other hand, if a man seemeth to be religious (as was declared in the first chapter) and bridleth not his tongue, whatever profession he makes, that man’s religion is vain. Further, he that offends not in word will not only prove himself a sincere Christian, but a very much advanced and improved Christian. For the wisdom and grace which enable him to rule his tongue will enable him also to rule all his actions. This we have illustrated by the governing and guiding of all the motions of a horse, by the bit which is put into his mouth: Behold, we put bits into the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body.

Thursday, October 22, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 2:26
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)


26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, even so the faith without works is dead.

Brethren:

Indeed so. Faith and works are mutually supportive of one another; that is you cannot have one without it’s corresponding partner. This is as an addendum to chapter one verse twenty two, that is to say to be a doer of the word. If you have faith, you do well to believe. Yet if you do not act upon that faith and be a doer of what God commands us to do, then your faith is useless as it serves not a single purpose. One here would put forth the proposition, that it rings hollow, like an empty vessel of polished tin. Shiny on the outside, empty within itself.

One of John Wesley’s tenets of Christian faith was to dutifully discharge that faith by the helping and assisting of others whenever and wherever needed. It was his view, of which we can concur that to do the will of God was to show the love of and by God for His people in our daily actions. If we only bring them to Christ, but end there what does it profit them? Yes they have salvation, but if they do not learn to act upon that salvation it is quite possible they fall away. As such it is on our heads because we’ve become a stumbling block to them, a barricade if you will on their walk with our Creator, for we failed to show them how works of the faithful is most important to the maintaining of a healthy Christian life. - Dr. R.V.Z

These words are read differently; some reading them, As the body without the breath is dead, so is faith without works: and then they show that works are the companions of faith, as breathing is of life. Others read them, As the body without the soul is dead, so faith without works is dead also: and then they show that as the body has no action, nor beauty, but becomes a loathsome carcass, when the soul is gone, so a bare profession without works is useless, yea, loathsome and offensive. Let us then take head of running into extremes in this case. The best works, without faith, are dead; they want their root and principle. It is by faith that any thing we do is really good, as done with an eye to God, in obedience to him, and so as to aim principally at his acceptance The most plausible profession of faith, without works, is dead: as the root is dead when it produces nothing green, nothing of fruit. Faith is the root, good works are the fruits, and we must see to it that we have both. We must not think that either, without the other, will justify and save us. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. - Matthew Henry - late 16th Century Theologian

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 2:13
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

13 For there shall be condemnation merciless to him that showeth not mercy, and mercy rejoiceth against condemnation.

Brethren:

There is much to say upon this verse, herein however is what one might wish to retain in thought and meditation. First, we can judge, if that judgment is based on God’s word of righteousness, yet that judgment must likewise be made without playing the role of the hypocrite. Indeed that is a fine line upon which to thread. Perhaps it might be best to discern and point out, call out evil from good, and sin from righteousness, and leave all actual judgment and condemnation to our Creator, who is without sin. Second, our judgments must always be tempered with mercy, and forgiveness, as expressed through Christ. If one recalls in the Gospel of Luke the parable of the good Samaritan, wherein at the end of the parable Christ asks of him that questioned Him, which of the three served the man best, and he that questioned stated, the one that cared for him and showed him mercy. To which Christ replied go and do likewise. Also recall if you will in Exodus 20:5-6 that our Creator speaks to the children of Israel, that they will be punished and judged by Him if they seek false Gods, yet in the next verse it is stated that he will always show mercy to those that love Him. My friends, God is a rewarder of those that seek Him, and follow in His ways. Let us therefore strive to seek, and emulate Him in ways of discernment, and mercy.
Perhaps this quote will serve best to illustrate what is trying to be put across here in this study. It is Portia’s speech to Shylock from the Merchant of Venice.

“The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes. 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes The thron├Ęd monarch better than his crown...But mercy is above this sceptered sway. It is enthron├Ęd in the hearts of kings. It is an attribute to God himself. And earthly power doth then show likest God’s when mercy seasons justice.”

Justice via judgment won’t save our souls. We all ask for and seek mercy, and yet this asking also teaches us to show mercy to others as well. Showing mercy is akin to forgiveness, in fact it is sown with it. - Dr. R.V.Z

To him that has shown not mercy to the poor brethren, and distressed members of Christ, but has shown respect of persons to the hurt of the poor, and has despised and oppressed them, instead of relieving and comforting them; so the rich man, that neglected Lazarus at his gates, is refused a drop of water to cool his tongue; and the servant that cruelly insisted on his fellow servant's paying him all he owed, justly incurred the displeasure of his Lord, and was by him delivered to the tormentors; and that servant that beats his fellow servants will be cut asunder, and, have his portion with hypocrites; and such who have seen any of the brethren of Christ hungry, thirsty, naked, sick, and in prison, and have showed no regard for them, will hear, "Go, ye cursed, into everlasting fire". This is to say that is it merciful men, who have shown mercy to the poor saints, will not be afraid of the awful judgment, but rather rejoice or glory, as the word signifies, in the view of it, since they will obtain mercy at that day, and hear, Come, ye blessed of my Father (Matthew 25:34-36) so the Ethiopic version renders it, he only shall glory in the day of judgment, who hath showed mercy; the Alexandrian copy reads in the imperative, "let mercy glory" and the Syriac version, "be ye exalted by mercy over judgment". - John Gill 17th Century Theologian

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 2:9
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)


9 But if ye regard the persons, ye commit sin, and are rebuked of the Law, as transgressors.

Brethren:
Continuing along the points of yesterday study we see the result of what happens when we become respectors of persons. In particular if we look at the outside of said person, but not contemplate the inside. The old adage of “to never judge a book by it’s cover” most certainly applies. Take heed also friends that coupled with the previous chapter the wisdom of being slow to speak and more circumspect about a situation or in this case a person would be of good advice with which one could usefully put into action. - Dr. R.V.Z

The apostle, having condemned the sin of those who had an undue respect of persons, and having urged what was sufficient to convict them of the greatness of this evil, now proceeds to show how the matter may be mended; it is the work of a gospel ministry, not only to reprove and warn, but to teach and direct. (See Colossians 1:28), Warning every man, and teaching every man.

However, notwithstanding the law of laws, to love your neighbour as yourselves, and to show that respect to them which you would be apt to look for yourselves if in their circumstances, yet this will not excuse your distributing either the favours or the censures of the church according to men’s outward condition; but here you must look to a particular law, which God, who gave the other, has given you together with it, and by this you will stand fully convicted of the sin I have charged you with.

Therefore the law itself, rightly explained, would serve to convict them, because it teaches them to put themselves as much in the places of the poor as in those of the rich, and so to act equitably towards one as well as the other. Hence he proceeds, to show the extent of the law, and how far obedience must be paid to it. They must fulfill the royal law, have a regard to one part as well as another, otherwise it would not stand them in stead, when they pretended to urge it as a reason for any particular actions: For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, is guilty of all.

Monday, October 19, 2015


Word of God

Man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God
Matthew 4:4

The Epistle of James 2:1
(Study notes by Matthew Henry Edited/Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades)

1 My brethren, have not the faith of our glorious Lord Jesus Christ in respect of persons.

Brethren:

It is recommended that one also consider within their hearts for today’s study the following:
Deuteronomy 10:17; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Job 34:19; Romans 2:11; Galatians 2:6; Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 3:25; 1 Peter 1:17.   Friends, if God, shows no partiality to any man than neither you should show it. Herein we find likewise that the wisdom handed down to us from Father (again based on the two greatest of commandments; love God and love each other), is meant to show a Christian love of all men that embrace Him, and to lead those that do not to Him. If God’s wisdom blesses those that are humble and not those that are proud, would we not do well to emulate that wisdom?

The apostle is here reproving a very corrupt practice. He shows how much mischief there is in the sin of prosopolepsia (a respect of persons), which seemed to be a very growing evil in the churches of Christ even in those early ages, and which, in these after-times, has sadly corrupted and divided Christian nations and societies. Here we have: A caution against this sin laid down in general.

The character of Christians fully implied: they are such as have the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ; they embrace it; they receive it; they govern themselves by it; they entertain the doctrine, and submit to the law and government, of Christ; they have it as a trust; they have it as a treasure. How honorably James speaks of Jesus Christ; he calls him the Lord of glory; for he is the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person. Christ’s being the Lord of glory should teach us not to respect Christians for any thing so much as their relation and conformity to Christ. You who profess to believe the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, which the poorest Christian shall partake of equally with the rich, and to which all worldly glory is but vanity, you should not make men’s outward and worldly advantages the measure of your respect. In professing the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should not show respect to men, so as to cloud or lessen the glory of our glorious Lord: how ever any may think of it, this is certainly a very heinous sin. We have this sin described and cautioned against, by an instance or example of it.

Since the saints are all brethren, they are children of the same Father, belong to the same family, and are all one in Christ Jesus, whether high or low, rich, or poor. This is to say then that, such as have, and hold, and profess the faith of Christ, ought not along with it to use respect of persons, or to make such a distinction among the saints, as to prefer the rich, to the contempt of the poor; and in this exhortation many things are contained, which are so many arguments why such a practice should not be encouraged; for faith, whether as a doctrine or as a grace, is alike precious, and common to all; and is the faith of Christ, which, as a doctrine, is delivered by him to all the saints, and as a grace, he is both the author and object of it; and is the faith of their common Lord and Saviour, and who is the Lord of glory, or the glorious Lord; and the poor as well as the rich are espoused by him, as their Lord and husband; and are redeemed by him, and are equally under his government and protection, and members of his body: the Syriac Version reads, ‘have not the faith of the glory of our Lord Jesus.’ meaning either the glory which Christ is possessed of, whether as the Son of God, in the perfections of his nature, or as man and Mediator, being now crowned with glory and honour, and which is seen and known by faith; or else that glory which Christ has in his hands, to bestow upon his people, and to which they are called, and will appear in, when he shall appear, and about which their faith is now employed: and since this glory equally belongs to them all, no difference should be made on account of outward circumstances, so as to treat any believer with neglect and contempt.” - John Gill 17th Century Theologian

As a post script here, the word “prosopolepsia” has a more literal meaning of one that is an “accepter of a face” - Source Strong’s Concordance. - Dr. R.V.Z


Sunday, October 18, 2015


The Sunday Sermon

Christ Revealing the Father
by F.B. Meyer (1847-1929) Prefaced by Doktor Riktor Von Zhades

Philip saith unto Him, Lord, shew us the Father and it sufficeth us. Jesus saith unto him, He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father - John 14:8-9


Brethren:

The way to the Father is through Christ and through Christ only for He had said, “I am the way”. There is no working of your way into it for works without faith in God are dead works. There is no thinking of “I’m basically a good person” that will get you there as your righteousness is naught but filthy rags in comparison to the righteousness of God. There is no other way period. Now, when we emulate Christ, we emulate the Father. For it is written that the two greatest commandments are to love God and love each other. Hence it is a truism that when we see Christ as stated in the opening scripture above we are seeing the Father. Herein below then is the sermon in it’s entirety. - Doktor Riktor Von Zhades

The longing of the universal heart of man was voiced by Philip, when he broke in, rather abruptly, on our Lord's discourse with the challenge that He should answer all questions, dissipate all doubt, by showing them the Father. Is there a God? how can I be sure that He is? what does He feel toward us?--these are questions which men persistently ask, and wait for the reply. And the Master gave the only satisfactory answer that has ever been uttered in the hearing of mankind, when He said in effect, "The knowledge of God must be conveyed, not in words or books, in symbols or types, but in a life. To know Me, to believe in Me, to come into contact with Me, is to know the deepest heart of God. 'He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father; how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?'"

I. PHILIP'S INQUIRY

It bore witness to the possible growth of the human soul. Only three short years before, as we are told in the first chapter of this Gospel, Christ had found him. At that time he was probably much as the young men of his age and standing. Not specially remarkable save for an interest in, and an earnestness about, the advent of the Messiah; his views, however, of his person and work were limited and narrow: he looked for his advent as the time for the reestablishment of the kingdom of David, and deliverance from the Roman yoke. But three years of fellowship with Jesus had made a wonderful difference in this young disciple. The deepest mysteries of life and death and heaven seemed within his reach. He is not now content with beholding the Messiah, he is eager to know the Father, and to stand within the inner circle of His presence-chamber.

The highest watermark ever touched by the great soul of Moses was when he said, amid the sublimities of Sinai, "I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory." But in this aspiration Philip stands beside him. There is a close kinship between the mighty lawgiver and the fishermen of Bethsaida. How little there is to choose between, "Show me Thy glory," and "Show us the Father." Great and marvellous is the capacity of the soul for growth.

It truly interpreted the need of man.--"It sufficeth us." From nature, with all her voices that speak of God's power and Godhead; from the page of history, indented with the print of God's footprints; from type and ceremony and temple, though instituted by God Himself; even from the unrivaled beauty of our Saviour's earthly life--these men turned unsatisfied, unfilled, and said, "We are not yet content, but if Thou wouldest show us the Father, we should be." And would it not suffice us?--Would it not be sufficient to give new zest and reality to prayer, if we could realize that it might be as familiar as the talk of home, or like the petitioning of a little child? Would it not suffice to make the most irksome work pleasant, if we could look up and discern the Father's good pleasure and smile of approval? Would it not suffice to rob pain of its sting, if we could detect the Father's hands adjusting the heat of the furnace? Would it not suffice to shed a light across the dark mystery of death, if we felt that the Father was waiting to lead us through the shadows to Himself? How often the cry rises from sad and almost despairing hearts, "Show us the Father, and it sufficeth us." But surely this request was based on a mistake.--Philip wanted a visible theophany, like that which Moses beheld, when the majestic procession swept down the mountain pass; or as the elders saw, when they beheld the paved sapphire work; or after the fashion of the visions vouchsafed to Elijah, Isaiah, or Ezekiel. He wanted to see the Father. But how can you make wisdom, or love, or purity visible, save in a human life?

Yet this is the mistake we are all liable to make. We feel that there must be an experience, a vision, a burst of light, a sensible manifestation, before we can know the Father. We strain after some unique and extraordinary presentation of the Deity, especially in the aspect of Fatherhood, before we can be completely satisfied, and thus we miss the lesson of the present hour. Philip was so absorbed in his quest for the transcendent and sublime, that he missed the revelations of the Father which for three years had been passing under his eyes. God had been manifesting His tenderest and most characteristic attributes by the beauty of the Master's life, but Philip had failed to discern them; till now the Master bids him go back on the photographs of those years, as fixed in his memory, to see in a thousand tiny illustrations how truly the Father dwelt in Him, and lived through His every word and work.

Are you straining after the vision of God, startled by every footstep, intently listening till the very atmosphere shall become audible, expecting an overwhelming spectacle? In all likelihood you will miss all. The kingdom comes not with outward show. When men expected Christ to come by the front door, He stole in at the back. Whilst Philip was waiting for the Father to be shown in thunder and lightning, in startling splendor, in the stately majesty that might become the Highest, he missed the daily unfolding of the Divine Nature that was being afforded in the Life with which he dwelt in daily contact.

Philip's request emphasized the urgent need of the ministry of the Holy Spirit.--"If ye had known Me". . . the Saviour said. "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?" They failed to know the Father, because they failed to know Christ, and they failed in this because they knew Him only after the flesh. They were so familiar with Him as their Friend, His love was so natural, tender, and human, He had become so closely identified with all their daily existence, that they did not recognize the fire that shone behind the porcelain, the Deity that tabernacled beneath the frail curtains.

Often those who dwell amid the loveliest or grandest scenery miss the beauty which is unveiled to strangers from a distance. Certain lives have to be withdrawn from us before we understand how fair they were, and how much to us. And Jesus had to leave His disciples before they could properly appreciate Him. The Holy Spirit must needs take of the things of Christ, and reveal them, before they could realize their true significance, symmetry, and beauty. Two things are needful, then: first, we must know Christ through the teaching of the Holy Ghost; and next, we must receive Him into our hearts, that we may know Him, as we know the workings of our own hearts. Each knows himself, and could recognize the mint-mark of his own individuality; so when Christ has become resident within us, and has taken the place of our self-life, we know Him as we know ourselves. "What man knoweth the things of man save the spirit of man which is in him?--but we have the mind of Christ?"

II. THE LORD'S REPLY.--"He that hath seen Me, hath seen the Father."

He did not rebuke the request, as unfit to proffer, or impossible to satisfy. He took it for granted that such a desire would exist in the heart, and that His disciples would always want to be led by Him into the Father's presence. In this His ministry resembled that of the great forerunner, who led His disciples into the presence of the Bridegroom, content to decrease if only He might increase. The Master's answer was, however, widely different from John's. The forerunner pointed to Jesus as He walked, and said, "Behold the Lamb of God"; Jesus pointed to Himself, and said, "I and My Father are One; to have seen Me is to have seen the Father; to have Me is to possess the Father."

It troubled the Lord greatly that He had been so long time with them, and yet they had not known Him; that they had not realized the source of His words and works; that they had concentrated their thought on Him, instead of passing, as He meant them to do, from the stream to the source, from the die to the seal, from the beam of the Divine Glory to its Sun. He bade them, therefore, from that moment realize that they knew and had seen the Father in knowing and seeing Himself. Not more surely had the Shechinah dwelt in the tabernacle of old, than did it indwell His nature, though too thickly shrouded to be seen by ordinary and casual eyes.

Let us get help from this. Many complain that they know Christ, pray to Christ, are conscious of Christ, but that the Father is far away and impalpable. They are therefore straining after some new vision or experience of God, and undervaluing the religious life to which they have already attained. It is a profound mistake. To have Jesus is to have God; to know Jesus is to know God; to pray to Jesus is to pray to God. Jesus is God manifest in the flesh. Look up to Him even now from this printed page, and say, "My Lord and my God."

Jesus is not simply an incarnation of God in the sense in which, after the fashion of the Greek mythology, gods might come down in the likeness of men, adopting a disguise which they would afterward cast aside; Jesus is God. All the gentle attributes of His nature are God's; and all the strong and awful attributes of power, justice, purity, which we are wont to associate with God, are His also.

Happy is the moment when we awake to realize that in Jesus we have God manifest and present; to know this is the revelation of the Father by the Son, of which our Saviour spoke in Matthew 11:27

III. A GLIMPSE INTO THE LORD'S INNER LIFE.

This Gospel is the most lucid and profound treatise in existence on His inner life. It is the revelation of the principles on which our Saviour lived.

So absolutely had He emptied Himself that He never spake His own words: "The words that I speak unto you, I speak not of Myself." He never did His own works: "My Father worketh hitherto, and I work. . . . The Father abiding in Me doeth His works." This was the result of that marvellous self-emptying of which the Apostle speaks. Our Lord speaks as though, in His human nature, He had a choice and will of His own. "Not My will, but Thine be done," was His prayer. Perhaps it was to this holy and divine personality that Satan made appeal in the first temptation, bidding Him use His power of his divine nature, for the satisfaction of His hunger, and in independence of His Father's appointment. But however much of this independence was within our Lord's reach, He deliberately laid it aside. Before He spoke, His spirit opened itself to the Father, that He might speak by His lips; before He acted. He stilled the promptings of His own wisdom, and lifted Himself into the presence of the Father, to ascertain what He was doing, and to receive the inflow of His energy (See John 5:19; John 12:44, John 12:49).

Therefore, let us reason that if our Lord was so careful to subordinate Himself to the Father that He might be all in all, it well becomes us to restrain ourselves, to abstain from speaking our own words or doing our own works, that Jesus may pour His energies through our being, and that those searching words may be fulfilled in us also, "Striving according to His working, which worketh in Me mightily."