Sunday, August 30, 2015, 8:00 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “Songs in the Night.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Isaiah 2:1-5 (NASB). The Mountain (vv. 1-2) The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. Now it will come about that In the last days The mountain of the house of the Lord Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it. This passage of scripture is speaking of what will take place in the “last days.” In comparing scripture with scripture, it would appear that the ‘last days’ began with Jesus Christ – with his birth, life, ministry, death, and resurrection, and then continuing on into the life of the church. All references to the ‘last days’ in the prophecies and teachings of scripture, thus, refer to the Messianic age and the church age before the return of Christ. In verse three it mentions the “mountain of the Lord” and “the house of the God of Jacob.” Then it says “He will teach us his ways…” Grammatically speaking, the “he” refers back to the subjects “mountain” and “house.” As well, the “he” refers back to the “law” that will go out from Zion and the “word of the Lord” that will go out from Jerusalem. And, in keeping with the understanding that we are speaking of the Messianic era here, the “temple” of God is both Jesus Christ (See Jn. 2:19-21) and it is his church, the body of Christ (See 2 Co. 6:16). Zion is a reference to the church (See Heb. 12:22), as well as is Jerusalem, for physical Jerusalem is of Hagar, the slave woman, but we are of the free woman, and we, Christ’s followers, are the children of promise, the heavenly Jerusalem (See Gal. 4:21-31). So, understanding all of what we just discovered above, we can read this passage as thus: In the last days, i.e. in the days of the Messiah and his church, Jesus Christ will be established as superior to all other gods, and things that are worshiped, and also places of worship (Ref: mountains as high places of worship). He will be exalted above the heavens (See Heb. 7:26). In fact, “God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name…” (See Ph. 2:9). And, all nations will stream (run) to him – to his gospel of salvation – people from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues (cf. Rev. 7:9-10). His Ways (v. 3) And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Many people will say, “Come, let us go to Jesus Christ. He will teach us his ways…” He (the law) will go out from the church, the Body of Christ. He (the Word) will go out from the church. After Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and was resurrected from the dead, after numerous days, and following many appearances to his followers, he ascended back to heaven where he sits at the right hand of the Father. Then, he sent his Holy Spirit to indwell and to empower his disciples, i.e. those who were and are followers of Jesus Christ. Thus, those who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of their lives have God living within them in the person of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, Christ is the temple of God, and we, being his body, are also the temple of God, with Christ as our head. Before Jesus Christ left this earth, on the basis that all authority in heaven and on earth had been given him, he commissioned his followers to go and to make disciples of Christ of people of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey all that Jesus Christ had commanded them. Many of his apostles were given direct revelation from God/Jesus, which they wrote down, and which we now have as the New Testament scriptures for the church today. As well, since we have Jesus Christ living within us, in the person of the Spirit, the living Word dwells within each one of us who follow Jesus Christ with our lives. Jesus also told his followers that they were the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and that when the Holy Spirit came upon them that they would be his witnesses to the ends of the earth. So, we are among those who are calling people to Jesus Christ, and who are leading others to be taught in Jesus’ ways, to follow Jesus Christ, and to walk in his paths. So, what are his ways? What are his paths in which we must walk? What is the law that is going out from Zion (the church)? The Law is the Word of Christ. It is his instructions given to us. It is the Word he gave to his apostles to write down for us, which we now have recorded in the New Testament books of the Bible. It is the gospel of our salvation. And, in his Word, and in his gospel, we learn his ways and his paths which we are to follow. Jesus said that if anyone would come after him, he must deny self, take up his cross daily (die daily to sin and self) and follow (obey) Christ. He said if we hold on to our old lives (of living for sin and self) we will lose them for eternity, but if we lose our lives (die to sin), we will gain eternal life (Lu. 9:23-25). His apostles taught the same thing. Paul wrote that Jesus died that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us who walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. He said that if we walk (live our lives) according to our sinful flesh, we will die, but if by the Spirit we put to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live (Ro. 8:1-14). Peter said that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness (1 Pet. 2:24). And, Paul said that Jesus died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave himself up for us (2 Co. 5:15). All throughout the New Testament we are taught that belief in Jesus Christ means death to sin and living to righteousness; that it means forsaking our former lives of sin, being transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God, and being given new lives in the Spirit, “created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (See: Eph. 4:17-24). All throughout the New Testament we are instructed in holy living, and are told that we are called to be holy, which means to be separate from (different from; unlike) the world, because we are becoming like Jesus Christ. God’s grace is not freedom from having to obey Jesus Christ. It is not freedom from keeping the Word of the Lord. God’s grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions and desires, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we wait for Jesus’ return (Tit. 2:11-14). So, to walk in the ways of the Lord means to obey Christ and his word, in the power and strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, and not in our own flesh. He Will Judge (v. 4) And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. Jesus Christ will judge between nations at the end of days, and wars will cease. Since we read in Revelation that God/Christ will judge the people of this earth during the time called the Tribulation, and there will definitely be war during this time, this must be referring to the time of the end when Christ will judge, and people will repent of their evil ways, although not all will, but that is why they will discard their weapons of war. I don’t think, though, that we will come to that time where people will never again learn war, until Jesus returns and he rules and reigns on the earth, as will his saints with him. In the Light (v. 5) Come, house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord. So, the call here is to come to faith in Jesus Christ or to return to the Lord Jesus if you have wandered off from your pure devotion to him to follow the gods of this world. We do this through repentance (turning from sin) and via turning to follow our Lord in faithful obedience, though not necessarily in sinless perfection, yet never to use “imperfect” as an excuse for willful sin. We are to be taught by the Lord Jesus his ways, so that we can walk (conduct our lives) in his paths. We do this through time spent in the study of his word each day, in prayer, in seeking his face, and in allowing the Holy Spirit of God to speak God’s words to our hearts. Yet, we must be receptive to what the Lord has to say to us, and we must walk in obedience to what we have learned, i.e. we must be doers of the word and not hearers only. The more we obey our Lord, the more of himself he reveals to us, and the more he shows us all that he has for us. Then, we must take the word of God out to the people of the world, and be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and be our Lord’s servants and witnesses in sharing the gospel of salvation with the world who needs the Savior. We must not spend the rest of our lives living for ourselves, entertaining and being entertained. This is not to say we can’t enjoy life, or that games or fun are forbidden, but they should not be central to our lives, for our lives are not our own to be lived how we want, for we were bought with the price of Jesus’ blood shed on the cross for our sins. We are to honor and glorify God with our lives. We should certainly not allow ourselves to be involved in sinful behavior or to permit ourselves to be entertained by others’ sinful behavior. We should examine all that we do, and all that we take into our minds to see if it is dishonoring to God, either because of the activities themselves, or by way of the time and devotion given to them, especially in contrast to the time given to our Lord, to his word, to prayer and to service to him and to others. Basically, if we truly see ourselves as no longer our own, but the Lord’s, we will want to please him in all that we do and are and speak. So, “Come, let us walk in the light (truth, holiness and righteousness) of Jesus Christ our Lord.” Let us be taught in his ways, and let us walk (conduct our lives) in his paths. Songs in the Night / An Original Work / December 18, 2013 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, And the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84 Lord, I praise You forevermore. You, my Savior, I now adore. Hope in heaven awaiting me, Because You died at Calvary. I have been forgiven, And I’m bound for heaven. Jesus set me free from All my sin, I say. I will praise Him always! Lord, I love You for all You’ve done: Overcame death, my vict’ry won! Jesus saved me, and now I’m free! I rejoice in His love for me. I will walk in vict’ry! My sin is but hist’ry! I am free to please Him With my life today. I will love Him always! Lord, I thank You for giving me A new life bought at Calvary. Loving Jesus, I meet with Him. Tender mercies now flow within. Lord, I am so thankful; Through my Lord, I’m able To sit at His table; Fellowship with Him. I will thank Him always!