MARK 14:55-60

Verses 55-60 “55And the chief priests and all the council sought for witness against Jesus to put him to death; and found none.
56For many bare false witness against him, but their witness agreed not together.
57And there arose certain, and bare false witness against him, saying,
58We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.
59But neither so did their witness agree together.
60And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?”

One of the Ten Commandments is, “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Ex 20:16). God hates a lying tongue. As we travel through this world, we notice how easily people lie about others, about themselves, and even about God. There is nothing new about this. David wrote, “I said in my haste, All men are liars” (Ps 116:11). Somebody said, “David could have taken his time about saying it and it still would have been so.” It is terribly sad that Jesus was lied about, time and time again. He did only good in this world, then gave up His life to purchase salvation for those who were filled with lies and sin; and yet, the lies of lying liars followed Him to the grave and beyond. We should not expect better treatment than our Lord received from this world. The Devil, who is the father of lies, is determined to make our lives miserable by having plenty of liars to lie against us. What should be our response? First, pray: “Deliver my soul, O Lord, from lying lips, and from a deceitful tongue” (Ps 120:2). Second, Remember the words of our Savior,”Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt 5:11-12). Third, follow Jesus example: When you are lied about, resist the natural urge to say the nastiest thing that you can think of about your attacker, but rather live your life is such a godly way that people will not believe the lies that are told about you.

MATTHEW 25:14-30

Verses 14-30 “14For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.
15And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.
16Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.
17And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.
18But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.
19After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.
20And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.
21His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
22He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.
23His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
24Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:
25And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.
26His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:
27Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.
28Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.
29For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.
30And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

The parable of the talents illustrates the truths that Jesus has departed into heaven (“a far country”); that He demands that all people (including the Jews) use the opportunities that He gives for spiritual profit; and that He will return “after a long time” to receive an accounting. Saved people will be rewarded with positions of trust during the Millennium depending on the degree of their faithfulness now, during this time when Jesus is in heaven. Those who have absolutely no fruit for God are thereby proven to be unregenerated, and will be cast into outer darkness.

An additional observation is the clear understanding that God approves of capitalistic principles. These principles can be observed all through the Bible. The private ownership of property, the right to invest and make a profit, the right to receive interest and dividends one ones investments, and the right to hire and work for wages are all principles of which God approves. These principles can be seen in such passages as the Ten Commandments (“Thou shalt not steal” Ex.20:15); in the story of Ahab and Jezebel stealing Naboth’s vineyard (I Ki.21:1-16); in Jesus’ story of workers in a vineyard (Matt.20:1-16); in the story of Ananias and Sapphira (“Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?”–Acts 5:1-11); and in other passages.

EXODUS 34:27-28

Verses 27-28 “27And the LORD said unto Moses, Write thou these words: for after the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with thee and with Israel.
28And he was there with the LORD forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments.”

There were some differences between the first and second giving of the Ten Commandments. In the first giving of the Decalogue, no inspiration was involved, because God wrote the words on the tables of stone with his own finger before he gave the tables to Moses (see Ex.31:18 and 32:16). Inspiration is involved only when there is a human penman of Scripture. In the second giving of the Ten Commandments, Moses carved the tables of stone and engraved upon them the very words that God gave to him (34:1,4,27-28). This is an example of inspiration.

We notice that even though Moses penned the words, God says that it was His own writing and His own words(v.1) The word “tenor”(v.27) means “according to the speech.” All of this means that Moses wrote the very words of God. It is the words of Scripture that are inspired (not the thoughts), and it is the words of Scripture that are preserved for us today. When the Bible is translated, it should be the words, not the thoughts, that are translated. “Write thou these words” is Gods standard.

MATTHEW 19:16-22

Verses 16-22 “16And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?
17And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.
18He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,
19Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
20The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?
21Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
22But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful: for he had great possessions.
Here are some truths that most lost people do not know. (1) Jesus is good and He is God. (2) Unsaved people can not get saved by keeping the Ten Commandments. (3) A lost person can not get saved by selling all that he has and giving it to the poor. (4) A sinner can get as “perfect” as it is possible for him to get and he still will not be as perfect as Jesus is and not perfect enough to go to heaven. These are truths that the unsaved do not know, but Jesus challenges their thinking so that they will learn the facts.

EXODUS 20:4-17

Verses 4-17 “4Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
5Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;
6And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
7Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
8Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
12Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.
13Thou shalt not kill.
14Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15Thou shalt not steal.
16Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”

This passage should be studied in the light of Matthew 5:17-48. In that Scripture, the Lord Jesus Christ, the ultimate interpreter of the Old Testament, gives us the true meaning of the Ten Commandments. He makes very strict requirements for the obedience to this Decalogue. It is clear from Jesus’ words that all who have reached the point of accountability have broken the Ten Commandments. James 2:10 says that if a person offends “in one point, he is guilty of all.” That is another way of saying that the Law of God is like a chain of ten links, and if one link is broken the entire chain is broken. It is clear then that our only hope is to be in Christ, the only one who has kept the Commandments perfectly. When we are in Christ, through faith in Him and His sacrificial and substitutional death on the cross, we are counted as having kept the Commandments.

EXODUS 20:1-3

Verses 1-3 “1And God spake all these words, saying,
2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

The Ten Commandments are important not only because they usher in a new dispensation and reveal to us God’s standard of behavior, but also because they tell us a great deal about the character and holiness of God. These Commandments tell us that God alone is worthy of worship, that His name is above all names, that He honors and protects the human life which He created, that He sanctifies those family relationships which He authored, that He values private property which He has given to individuals, and that He is a God of truth. These Commandments were not given that man could be saved by keeping them, but to prove that we are sinners because we do not keep them. Jesus alone kept the Ten Commandments, and those who receive Him as personal Savior are counted as if they had kept them.

 

WRITTEN WITH A PEN OF IRON WITH THE POINT OF A DIAMOND

by Lloyd Streeter

The Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, preached and predicted the future during a time when his people, Judah, had forsaken the Lord and had lived wickedly. He correctly predicted that Judah would be defeated as a nation and carried away into captivity because of her idolatry and sin.

Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, Jeremiah thundered out these words to his people: “The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond: it is graven upon the table of their heart” (Jeremiah 17:1).

One thing we noticed in going to any of the excavations in the old Mediterranean world is that the ancients did a lot of writing on stone. In Turkey, Cyprus, Patmos, or Crete–it is the same everywhere–there are messages on the rocks. What those ancient peoples wrote is written forever in granite.

The sinner’s heart is hard toward God. And the prophet was telling Judah that her sins were written there, to be remembered forever, written “with a pen of iron, and with a point of a diamond.” God reads hearts.

These same words remind the unsaved person that God writes our sins in a book of works. God writes those sins indelibly, undeniably, and unforgettably that they might be reviewed on Judgment Day. In that day the unbelieving Christless person will be “judged out of those things which are written in the books, according to their works” (Revelation 20:12).

In this article we will discuss the problem, the proof, the permanence, and the pardon suggested by Jeremiah’s words.

The problem is sin. God remembers the sins of man and brings them into judgment.

What is sin? To the Pharisee in the Bible, sin would have been eating with unwashed hands, or going into a Gentile’s house, or touching a dead animal. The Pharisee hardly ever thought of injustice, cruelty, covetousness, or hatred as sin.

Human nature never changes. People still strain out a gnat and swallow the camel! To the great mass of people today sin is being unappreciative of the UN, opposing homo-sexual marriage, wearing fur, eating meat, or driving an SUV.

But what is sin according to God? It is a lack of conformity to God’s will. It is disobedience to God’s commands. Sin is missing God’s standard of holiness, deviating from God’s requirements, or transgressing God’s law.

We need only look at the Ten Commandments to see how sinful we are. God said, “No other gods!” but we do sometimes put other things, or people, or ourselves, before God.

God said, “Make no graven image and bow down to it.” But many do bow down to images of Christ, angels, and saints.

God said, “Do not take God’s name in vain.” But God’s name so easily comes to the lips as a curse.

God said, “Remember the Sabbath.” But Christ is our Sabbath and He and His day are easily forgotten.

God said, “Honor thy father and thy mother.” And many of us disobey this command.

God said, “Do not murder.” But some have wished another dead, and have been angry with a brother without cause.

God said, “Do not commit adultery.” But many have broken this commandment in deed or in thought.

God said, “Do not steal.” But how often do we steal someone else’s peace of mind?

God said, “Do not lie.” But all people are liars.

God said, “Do not covet.” And all of us are guilty of breaking this commandment.

The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . They are all gone out of the way” (Romans 3:10-12)

So, the problem is that we have sinned against a holy God.

The proof of this is that “It is graven upon the table of their heart.”

It is imprinted within our nature. It is what we love and prefer. Until a person is born again he does not want spiritual things, and does not want to hear about God or eternity. It comes out. You can not keep it hidden. It manifests itself in a thousand ways. “Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deed were evil” (John 3:19).

What is most precious to you? What do you worship? What takes most of your time and money? What gets most of your attention? What occupies most of your thoughts? This is proof of your sin. It is graven upon the table of your heart.

And it is permanent. The nature of man never changes. It is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond. Can an Ethiopian change his skin? Can a leopard change his spots? So is man’s nature permanent. That which is born of the flesh is always just flesh.

The Bible uses many similes to show the permanence of man’s sinful nature. The Bible says our old sinful nature is like the adder that has venom, like the ass that is stubborn, like the bear that is cruel, and like the canker worm that is destructive. Our nature is like the uncleanness of the dog, the desolateness of the dragon, and the fierceness of the leopard. Our sin nature is ravening like a lion, stupid like a sheep, filthy like the swine, and ferocious like the wolf. And it is permanent.

“Well then,” you ask, “how can we have pardon? How can we get sin out of our hearts and lives?” You can not do it by yourself. But if you repent of sin and trust in the Lord Jesus as your only Savior, He will forgive your sin. He will then take away your sin and give you a new heart.

Yes, the Bible says if you will repent and trust Christ He will “Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart, and a new spirit” (Ezekiel 18:31).

Nehemiah 9:17 says, “Thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.”

So, “Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”