The Sacred Secret # 1

            

             THE SACRED SECRET
             (The History of the Mystery)

               

Introduction: Eph. 3:1-13

A. In Ephesians 2 Paul had discussed Salvation (vs. 1-10), Reconciliation (vs. 11-18), and the Foundation (vs. 19-22) that God has provided for us.

B. In our present study he is going to expound on the Revelation that

makes the Salvation, Reconciliation and Foundation possible.

C. He is going to give us a brief History of the Mystery or the Sacred Secret.

D. In discussing these verses we will note three main points about the

mystery.

a. The Mystery Concealed (vs. 1-5a).

b. The Mystery Revealed (vs. 5b-7).

c. The Mystery Is Real (vs. 8-13).

I.  THE  MYSTERY THAT WAS CONCEALED (Eph.3:1-5a).

A.    Observe please that in verse 3 Paul refers to “the mystery.”

B.    The word mystery means, “Something unexplained, unknown, kept secret.” (Webster).

C.    The word, as used here, does not mean “mysterious” in the sense that it is impossible to explain, but rather to a secret “which in other ages (what we commonly call the Patriarchal and Mosaic Ages) was not made known” as it is now.

D.    Illustration:  We read a book called a “mystery,” or watch a “mystery” on T.V., and we really don’t understand it until the end.

E.     In much the same way the gospel was a mystery, or secret, during the Old Testament period.  We might call the gospel a “the Sacred Secret.”

F.     Note that the mystery was “not made known” in the other ages as it is “now revealed” (v. 5).  God was making known His purpose from the very beginning (Gen. 3:15), but it was not clear and, therefore, not understood.

G.    According to Paul, the “preaching of Jesus Christ” was “according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began” (Rom. 16:25).

H.    It is “the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations” (Col. 1:26).

I.      But the question we might ask is, “How was it concealed or hidden?”

J.      Time will not allow us to study, or even mention, all the ways it was concealed.  In fact, I don’t pretend to know all the ways.

K.    I do know that the Old Testament contains a “shadow of good things to come” (Heb. 10:1).

L.     So what were some of those “shadows” or “types”?

M.   In order to help us remember, we will use the word “S-E-C-R-E-T” and let each letter stand for a way in which the mystery was concealed.

Sacrifices – The mystery was concealed in the sacrifices offered in the O.T. All the animal sacrifices from Abel on (Gen. 4) pointed to, in one way or another, the sacrifice of Christ. (See Heb. 10:1-14).

Expressions – There were certain expressions or statements that concealed the mystery. For example, God spoke of:

1.    The “seed of woman” bruising the serpents’ head (Gen. 3:15).

2.    The “seed” of Abraham blessing all nations (Gen. 22:18).

3.    A “root of Jesse” and how “the Gentiles shall seek Him” (Isa. 11:10).

4.    Raising up “the tabernacle of David” and including “all the gentiles” who are called by His Name (Amos 9:11-12). 

Note: Those expressions and a host of others were never understood by those in other ages.  The real meaning was concealed or kept secret.

Characters – There was certain individuals in the O.T. whose lives in certain respects concealed the secret.  They were types or “figures” of one to come.  For example: 

1.    Adam (1 Cor. 15:22 & 45).

2.    Melchizedek (Heb. 5:6ff).

3.    Moses (Acts 3:22-23).

4.    Aaron (Heb. 5:4).

5.    David (Ezek. 34:23-24).

6.    And many others.

Race The mystery was also concealed in God’s dealings with the Jewish race.  The children of Israel and their relationship with God were also a type of something to come.  For example they were:

1.    Chosen ones (1 Chron. 16:13; Eph. 1:4).

2.    Redeemed (Deut. 21:8; Eph. 1:7).

3.    Children (Deut. 14:1; Eph. 1:5).

4.    Special (Deut. 7:6; Eph. 1:6; I Pet. 2:9).

5.    Saved (Ex. 14:30; Eph. 2:5). 

Note: God intended for the Jewish race to be a type of God’s people today is clear from the fact that His spiritual people today are called “the twelve tribes” (Matt. 19:28;James 1:1); “house of Jacob” (Luke 1:33); and “the Israel of God” (Gal. 6:16).

Experiences – The mystery was concealed in various experiences  recorded in the Old Testament. For example:

1. Abraham offering the ram instead of Isaac (Gen. 22:1-22; 2 Cor. 5:21).

2.    God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage (Ex. 12-14; 1 Cor. 10:1-11).

3.    The Passover Lamb (Ex. 12; 1 Cor. 5:7).

4.    Jonah in the whale three days and nights (Jonah 1-2; Matt. 12-40). 

Note: These experiences as well as many others typified and concealed the mystery in the O.T.

Temple One of the most notable ways the mystery was concealed in ages past was in the temple in Jerusalem. When it was built “it was symbolic for the present time” and typified numerous “good things to come” (Heb. 10:1). The Holy Place, the most Holy Place, Altar, Curtain, etc…. were mere copies of the true and real thing (Heb. 9:24).

N.    Thus we clearly see that the mystery was not “made known to the sons of men” (Eph. 3:5) and “none of the rulers of this age knew” (1 Co. 2:8), nor understood what blessings God had/has in store for those in Christ.  As Isaiah wrote (64:4) in his day “Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the hearts of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor. 2:8-9).

O.   The Secret that was concealed in the Old Testament is now revealed in the New. As Paul wrote: “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit” (1 Cor. 2:10).

Note: God can/did keep a Secret but now the Secret’s Out and that will be the subject of lesson # 2.

Wayne Dunaway

gandpministries.org

 

Power of Prayer: The Prayer of Jabez

The Power of a Prayer (of Jabez)

INTRODUCTION: I Chronicles 4:9-10

We are going to be looking at the POWER OF A PRAYER! Did you hear that? The Power of “a” Prayer. Now, I didn’t say we were going to study about the power of prayer, although we could spend our time talking about that. Because all of God’s successful servants in the Bible were really men of prayer. But we are speaking in this study about the power of a specific prayer. I want you to notice what your Bible says in 1 Chron. 4:9-10,

“Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” So God granted him what he requested.”

Now, I want you to notice why this is such an important prayer.

First, it is important because of where it is placed.

I don’t know if you have ever studied the book of First Chronicles or not. The first nine chapters are pretty boring. At least it is to me. You say, “Well, Wayne, are you saying the Bible is boring?” Well, it is in this section because I can’t read it. All those names I can’t even pronounce. I usually just skip over all of that. I say, “Hickey”, “What’s his name,” “Whatmacallit,” and such like. It’s really tough. (The entire Bible is equally inspired…but not equally inspiring.) But right in the middle of all these names it just changes gears and says, “Now Jabez was more honorable…” and then tells us of a prayer he prays. The writer was right in the middle of a role call about this guy and this guy and this guy and then all the sudden he inserts this prayer by a guy we’ve never heard of…before or since! And so it is an important prayer because of the place where it is in the Bible…sort of “out of the blue” and for no apparent reason.

The second thing I want you to notice is that it is an important prayer because of the person who prayed.

Not only is it important because of the place, but it important also because of the person. Notice in verse 9, “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, ‘Because I bore him in pain’.” Now the word Jabez means, “pain.” How would you like to have a name like that? (Now this is a true story: When I was in High School we had an English teacher whose name was Mr. Pain. And brother, he was! Of course, he spelled his name “Payne,” but to us he was a pain. He was a tough teacher.) His mother gave Jabez this name evidently because he caused her some extraordinary pain at birth and/or maybe she thought he would be the type to cause pain throughout his life. In the Bible they named people like that. For example, if you where to study the book of Ruth chapter one, Elimelech and Naomi named their two sons Mahlon and Chilion. Now Mahlon means “sickly” and Chilion means “wasting away.” How would you like to have a name like that? Imagine they are standing around and someone says, “Come here, Sickly, and you too, “Wasting Away.” I don’t know whether that had any affect on them or not, but both those guys died at an early age. Jabez, he had a name you love to hate. (Johnny Cash had a song about a boy named, “Sue.” My first name is “Belma”). He had a name that meant pain. His mother evidently didn’t think he had a very good chance in life. She may have thought that he would go through life causing pain…who knows?

The third thing I want you to notice is not only the place where this prayer is found, and the person who prayed it, but notice also the principles in the prayer.

This is just a little simple prayer. Just four little requests. Look at them in verse 10.

Number one, I want You to bless me indeed.

Number two, enlarge my territory.

Number three, I want Your hand to be with me.

Number four, I want You to keep me from evil so that I will not cause pain.

Just four simple requests.

But not only was it a simple prayer, it is a sincere prayer. The Bible says that “Jabez was more honorable than his brothers.” Honorable people pray honorable prayers. It must have been a sincere prayer because the last line in verse 10 says, “So God granted him what he requested.”

It was also a scriptural prayer. He prayed like God wanted him to pray. This is the reason God answered the prayer. The Bible says, “He who turns away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer is an abomination” (Proverbs 28:9). So this guy prayed a scriptural prayer. God heard him!

And finally, it was a successful prayer. Why? Look at verse 10. The last line says, “So God granted him what he requested.” This is a powerful prayer! That is what I want us to us to consider in the rest of this article about the prayer of Jabez. I want you to notice what he prayed for.

I. He prayed for PROSPERITY.

He prayed for blessings. Now, he left exactly how God was going to bless him up to God. He didn’t tell God when to bless him or how to bless him or with what to bless him. He just said, “I want you to bless me.” God is interested in us prospering. When we think about prospering I am not necessarily talking about financially. But I am talking about prospering as Christians and prospering as people. In fact, in Psalm 1:1-3 the Bible says, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he does shall prosper.”

In III John verse 2 John said, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.” And while Jabez did not tell God how to bless him, he did say this, “I want you to bless me.” He didn’t tell how to bless but he told him who to bless. BLESS ME! You know, we don’t pray like that in our prayers. We might pray like David did in Psalm 51:1, “Have mercy on me, O God.” We might pray like the publican in Luke 18:13 when he said, “God be merciful to me a sinner.” We might pray like the apostles did in Acts 4:29 when they said, “Grant Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word.” Or we might pray like Paul in Second Corinthians 12 when he had this thorn in the flesh and he prayed that God would remove it. But how many times do we simply say, “Lord, I want you to bless me. I want you give whatever blessing you want me to have. I am not going to tell you what it is. I just want it. I’ll leave it up to you to decide what the blessing is. I just want you to bless me.” Did you know that there are some blessings you are not going to get from God if you do not ask? Now there are some blessings you are going to get whether you ask or not. For example, the Bible says in Matthew 5 that he sends rain on the just and the unjust. So you are probably going to get the blessing of rain and sunshine whether you ask him or not. The Bible says in Act 17:27 that, “He gives to all life, breath, and all things.” You are going to get that whether you ask for it or not if you live. But there are some blessings you will not get unless you ask! There is not telling how many blessings He has stored up in heaven that He would have already given us if we would just ask. But we don’t ask. Look at James chapter 4:2, “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.” There are some blessings you are not going to get if you do not ask for them. But Jabez said, “Lord, I want you to bless me and I don’t care what it is, I just want you to bless me.” And then I want you notice also what he said in verse nine. He said I want to bless me INDEED. In other words, Jabez was sort of like this. He said,

* “Lord, if You are going to bless me with bread, I don’t want only bread to eat, I want steak and lobster and Hardies biscuits.”

* “If You are going to bless me financially, I don’t want just enough to get by, I want you to open up the windows of heaven and pour it out abundantly.”

* “If You are going to bless me with health, if that is what You have decided, I don’t want to just be free from disease, I want to feel great!”

* “If You are going to bless me with strength, I want to be one of the strongest around.”

* “And if you are going to give me the Holy Spirit, I want you fill me with the Spirit.”

You see, he said, “I want all the blessings that you will possibly give to me.” And do you know one of the reasons why WE don’t have those blessings? It is because we ask for the wrong reason. Look at James 4:3, “You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” You ask for the wrong reason. You ask because you want to consume it on your lust. You are just worried about you. That is the reason your prayer is not heard. That is the reason I don’t give you what you want. You see, somebody says, “I wish God would bless me financially.” Do I think it is right to pray for that? SURE! That may be what He has in mind, I don’t know. If I needed some financial help I would not mind asking for it. But the question is, “Why am I asking for it?”

Somebody says, “I’m going to ask Him to help me financially, because I have all these credit cards and they are all maxed out. My wife has been to Wal-Mart and K-Mart…and Penny’s and Sears.” And American express is calling me everyday saying, “Wayne, please leave home without it.” And Visa’s calling me all the time saying, “It’s everywhere you want to be!” (But I want to be out of debt and Visa hasn’t put me there.) And then someone called me the other day and wanted to give me a Discover Card. Man, I don’t need a Discover Card, I need a “recover” card. Because I have already discovered how to get into debt now I need to recover.

But why do you want to get out of debt? Someone says, “Oh, I want to get out of debt so I won’t owe anything, then I can buy me a house out on the lake and I can live the American dream.” Maybe that is why you don’t get what you ask for. Consume it on your lust.

Suppose you had this attitude. “Lord, I fooled around here and I have gotten myself in a bind and I can’t give to You like I would like to and I am not giving to the Church like I would like to. I wonder, would You bless me so that I could give you more?” Or maybe, you are praying about health. Why do you want to be healthier? “Oh, well, I want to feel good. I want to “run, and jump and skin the cat…do anything…just look at that.” But let’s suppose you were to pray, “Lord, I don’t even feel like worshipping and studying and praying and doing those things that I know I need to do. I would like for You to help me with my health so that I can serve you better.” It makes all the difference in the world. Suppose you have all these family problems and you say, “Lord I need your help, my kids are driving me crazy and everything is in turmoil. Our family is just falling apart.” Well, why do want those problems straightened out. “Oh, I just want to be able to take it easy and lay out in the shade and sleep good at night.” But just suppose that you were to pray, “Lord I have all these family problems and I can’t concentrate on praying and I can’t concentrate on Jesus and it is hard for me to study the Bible when I am thinking about all the things that are happening to me. I would like for you to help me out on this so that I can concentrate on Jesus more.” You see, we ask a lot of times and we don’t receive a lot of times because we ask “amiss.” We are only concerned about us. Me, myself, and I. God and His will is not the focus in our prayers.

Jabez said, “I want you to bless me and I want you to bless me indeed.” I want you to bless me a lot. And I think that is a really good way for us to pray. “Lord, I am not telling you how to bless me; When to bless me; Or where to bless me; I just want all that you will give to me that I can serve you better.”

II. He prayed for POSSIBILITIES.

Look again at I Chronicles 4:9, “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory.” I think maybe he is probably thinking of more here than just real estate, but rather opportunities and possibilities. Since I have learned this prayer, when I pray I say, “Lord I want you to enlarge my territory.” I am asking Him to open some doors of opportunity for me to expand His kingdom. I didn’t know Jabez’s prayer back in the 70’s. I was baptized in 1970. And I didn’t know about the prayer back then that we are studying about today. I didn’t know about the power in that prayer. I just remember the desire that I had. I wanted to be used in His service. I know this as well, whenever I have prayed sincerely. When ever I have sincerely asked God to use me, He has always opened up some door of opportunity to serve. I would not have ever thought that He would ever us me to speak, or lead a prayer, or become a preacher, or serve as an elder. All you do is ask, “Lord, expand my opportunities. And mean it! “Lord increase my territory.” And he will do it. Most of us believe in a God who does not exist. We believe in a God who is more or less out of the picture. Let me tell you something. Our God still works supernaturally in this world today and always has. You see, all miracles are supernatural acts of power, but all supernatural acts of power are not necessarily miracles. Somebody says, “Well, Wayne, I would rather call it providence.” I don’t care what you call it just so you believe God is doing it! And that He is active in your life personally. You see, Jabez said, “Lord enlarge MY territory.” When you pray, pray, “Lord open up some opportunities for ME.” And when you mean that sincerely and WATCH HIM! Just watch Him!

III. He also prayed about POWER.

Look at verse 10 again. “And Jabez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, and that Your hand might be with me,” Now, when we talk about the hand being with him, he was talking about God’s power being with him. You know we do that sometime. We will be lifting something and someone will be standing near by when you are straining any you will say, “Hey, give me a hand.” You see, that is what we want. We want their strength and their power to help us. That is what it means when he talks about the hand of God. I remember in the book of Exodus 3:20 it talks about the hand of the Lord was against the Egyptians. I remember reading in Acts 11:21 “And the hand of the Lord was with them” when talking about the church. That is what Jabez is praying for. “I want the hand of the Lord.” “I want your power to be with me.” We need to pray for that. The Bible says in Ephesians 6:10, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” In Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” In Ephesians 3:16, “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man.” Then in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” Did you hear that? Listen! He can do exceeding. Not just exceeding, but exceeding, abundantly. And not just exceeding, abundantly, but above. And not just exceeding, abundantly above, but exceeding, abundantly, above all. And not just exceeding, abundantly, above, all, but exceeding, abundantly, above, all that we ask. But not just exceeding, abundantly, above, all that we ask, but the Bible says He can do exceeding, abundantly, above, all, that we ask or think. He can do more than you can think because of His power! But the problem is that we do not ask! Someone will say, “Wayne I heard what you said a while ago. And I realize that my prayers and my motives have not been right. And I wish I could pray that I could give more and mean it. I wish I could pray that I would feel better so that I could study more and be more involved in the Lords work and really mean it. I wish I could pray about these family problems and really mean that I want to serve HIm and that is the reason that I am praying about it. But I am not able to do that. Or I haven’t been.” Don’t you think that maybe you need the hand of the Lord to help you. Ask Him to help you with that. You see that Bible says in Philippians 2:13, “For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” He can not only help you do it, He can help you will to do it. And a lot of times we might need to pray, “Lord I know that my motives may not be right.” Maybe I need to ask Him to bless me so that my motives are right. Ask him to help you, and then watch Him. Well someone might say, “Well, I don’t trust Him enough to ask Him.” Then ask Him to help you trust Him. “Well, I just can’t pray.” Well, ask Him to help you pray. You see, we want not only the provisions of God and the possibilities of God, we want the power of God to help us. In fact in Hebrews 13:21 says that God is, “working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight.”

IV. He prayed for PROTECTION.

Not only is this a prayer for prosperity, possibilities, and power, but it is also a prayer for protection. Look at verse 10 again “And Jabez called on the God of Israel saying, “Oh, that You would bless me indeed, and enlarge my territory, that Your hand would be with me, and that You would keep me from evil,” Now if you are going to pray this prayer, add that for sure. Because, do you know what happens a lot of times? He blesses us and He blesses us indeed. He enlarges our opportunities. And His power is with us. And then we fool around and get the big head or we fool around and enjoy the blessings and forget about the one who gave them to us. Israel did that. In Deuteronomy 6:10-12 God said “So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant; when you have eaten and are full; then beware, lest you forget the LORD who brought you out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.” Beware, because after you have received all these blessings you will forget me. And lo and behold when you read about the dark ages of the history of Israel in Judges 3:7, the Bible says they “forgot the Lord.” The one thing I don’t like about preaching this sermon is this part. Because I have done exactly that. I have been blessed beyond measure. I have everything going my way. Doors opened, prayers answered, power given, and it is so easy to loose our focus. It is so easy to concentrate on other things. I am not going to forget this part of that prayer, “Keep me from evil.” So I want to pray for protection. It is a lot easier to stay out of danger than it is to get out of it once we’re into it. And that is what he prayed for. He said, “You keep me from evil, because I don’t want to cause any pain.”

Conclusion:

This is a prayer that has power. Oh, if we could just pray this prayer and mean it. There is no telling what God can and would do for us. And you know, we have such an advantage over Jabez! Jabez didn’t have the New Testament when he prayed that prayer. He didn’t know about Jesus. He didn’t know what I know. He didn’t know who I know. You see, God did not give Jabez this New Testament that tells us all about Jesus. Jabez didn’t know Him like you can know Him. Jabez didn’t have the relationship with God that you and I can have by being “in Christ.” One of the privileges of being a Christian is the ability to pray a powerful prayer. Bless me and bless me a lot. Enlarge my territory. Let your hand be with me. And keep me from evil. And may God grant us what is requested. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway

https://gandpministries.wordpress.com/

A Little Talk With Jesus

A LITTLE TALK WITH JESUS?
Is it scriptural to pray or talk to Jesus? Can we sing the song, “Have A Little Talk with Jesus?”
Yes!
A note on talking to Jesus.
When I first started preaching back in 1973 I was taught and believed that it was wrong to pray to Jesus and therefore, since it was wrong to pray to Him it was also wrong to sing, “Let us have a little talk with Jesus.” For years I taught others what others had taught me. Come to find out, what others taught me and what I had taught others should not have been taught to others…or me. Finally, when I actually studied the Bible on the subject for myself I came to another conclusion other than what I had learned from the others. I would say when I “re-studied” the subject, but the truth is I did not actually study the Bible in the beginning but only repeated what those I respected taught me. Like most (actually all) preachers I know, when I first started preaching I believed and taught what others believed and taught me! The following are some of the notes I made during my personal study which was over twenty-five years ago.
Here are my notes on the question of speaking directly to Jesus.
Many Bible students both in and out of the Church of Christ believe that the “Angel of the Lord” in the Old Testament was in many instances God Himself. Many of us believe that it was “Christ’s visible form before the incarnation” and that “The connection between the Angel of the Lord and the pre-incarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied.” Observe the following:
Smith’s Bible Dictionary states: Angel of the Lord. (Genesis 16:7) etc. (The special form in which God manifested himself to man, and hence Christ’s visible form before the incarnation. Compare (Acts 7:30-38) with the corresponding Old-Testament history; and (Genesis 18:1, 13, 14, 33) and Genesis 19:1).
Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology says:
The connection between the angel of the Lord and the preincarnate appearance of the Messiah cannot be denied. Manoah meets the angel of the Lord, and declares that he has seen God. The angel accepts worship from Manoah and his wife as no mere angel, and refers to himself as “Wonderful,” the same term applied to the coming deliverer in Isaiah 9:6 (Judges 13:9-22). (Louis Goldberg).
It does seem clear to me from numerous Old Testament Scriptures that God Himself did appear to men on numerous occasions. It also seems that the one we refer to as the “Second Person” in the Godhead or the “Word” (the one who became Jesus) was the one who made those appearances. (See John 1:18). Since that is the case then there were numerous instances when men/women “had a little talk” with Him in the Old Testament before He came to the earth.
Genesis 18:1-33. Abraham had a little talk with Him.
Exodus 3:1-22. Moses had a little talk with Him. (See John 8:58).
Joshua 6:13-15. Joshua had a little talk with Him.
Judges 6:11-24. Gideon had a little talk with Him.
Judges 13:1-22. Manoah and his wife had a little talk with Him.
Isaiah 6:1-13. Isaiah had a little talk with Him. (See John 12:39-41).
Plus there are other instances in the O.T. when others talked with/to Him.
Many “had a little talk” with Jesus during His personal ministry.
John 4:5-42. The Samaritan woman had a little talk with Him.
John 3:1-21. Nicodemus had a little talk with Him.
John 8:2-11. The adulterous woman had a little talk with Him.
Luke 23:42-43. The thief on the cross had a little talk with Him.
Plus there are numerous other instances when various people had a little talk with Him during His earthly ministry.
Many “had a little talk” with Jesus after His resurrection.
Acts 1:1-4. The disciples had a little talk with Him after His death on the cross and during the forty days while He was on earth before His ascension.
Acts 7:59-60. Stephen had a little talk with Him after His ascension.
Acts 9:1-7. Paul had a little talk with Him when the Lord Jesus appeared to Him on the road to Damascus.
Acts 9:10-17. Ananias had a little talk with Him. Note that is “the Lord Jesus” who “sent” him to Paul and therefore Jesus is the one Ananias had a “little talk” with (v.17).
I Corinthians 16:22. Paul had a little talk with Him when he said “O Lord, come.”
Revelation 22:20. John had a little talk with Him when he said “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”
Revelation 5:8-10. The four living creatures and the twenty four elders had a little talk with Him when they sang the new song to the Lamb.
Revelation 5:11-14: 7:9-17. Thousands upon thousands had a little talk with Him in John’s heavenly visions.
And there are probably other instances where others have had a little talk with Him.
We “have a little talk” with Jesus in our songs. In a number of our songs we sing directly to Him and some of them are “prayer songs” that we sing directly to Him. Examples are:
I need Thee every hour
My faith looks up to Thee
Worthy art Thou
Blessed Jesus hold my hand
I am Thine O Lord
Draw me nearer
Jesus keep me near the cross
My Jesus I love thee
Jesus lover of my soul
Just as I am
O to be like Thee
In the hour of trial
Jesus, we just want to thank You!
Lead me to Calvary
Master, the tempest is raging
More love to thee, O Christ
Just a closer walk with thee
Fairest lord Jesus
Tell it to Jesus alone
I must tell Jesus
And there are numerous other songs that have words where we “speak directly” to Him and, therefore, have “a little talk with Jesus.” It is unreasonable to me to think that we can “speak” to Jesus directly in song but we cannot speak directly to Him in any other way such as prayer and words of praise or simply talking to Him as our Savior and Friend.
In John 14:14 Jesus said, If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (NASV). Here Jesus told His disciples plainly to “ask Me” and “I” will do it. (See also NIV, ESV, McCord’s Translation, footnote in the NKJV and ASV).
In First Timothy 1:12 Paul wrote, “And I thank Jesus Christ our Lord….” Sounds like a “little talk” with Jesus to me.
Commenting on First Thessalonians 3:11-13 Burton Coffman observed: Now may our God and Father himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way unto you: These three verses (1 Thessalonians 3:11-13) are “a prayer to Christ as co-equal with the Father.” The Christology of Paul is not something which “developed,” but was implicit and explicit in all that he wrote, even in this letter, one of the very first epistles from his pen. “Here we have an express prayer directed to Christ, thus necessarily implying his divine nature.” Again from Coffman, commenting on Acts 7:59, And they stoned Stephen, calling upon the Lord, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. The peculiar construction here has the effect of making “calling upon the Lord” equivalent to praying to Jesus personally. This is one of the few prayers in the New Testament directed to the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than to the Father through him. (Coffman Commentaries).
Commenting on Second Thessalonians 2:16-17 Wayne Jackson makes an interesting comment: “Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word”. (II Thess. 2:16-17). Again, the subject is compound, yet both verbs (“comfort” and “establish”) are singular. Scholars are virtually unanimous in the view that the apostle’s prayer is JOINTLY addressed to both the Father and the Son—and what is most unusual in this case is the fact that Jesus is placed first.” (Christian Courier, Questions).
Guy N. Woods answered the following question: “In the light of what Christ said in John 16:23,24, would it be wrong to sing songs such as ‘Tell It To Jesus,’ ‘My Jesus As Thou Wilt,’ and ‘Just a Little Talk With Jesus,’ and others which seem to advocate making our requests made known to Christ instead of the Father?” No. It is a misinterpretation of John 16:23, 24 to draw from it the conclusion that Jesus there forbade any address to him. It is of course very true that our prayers are to be addressed to the Father “in the name” of Christ, i.e., by his authority but the words of the foregoing passage were not intended to prohibit any address to him. It was the Lord’s design, in this instance, to indicate to his followers their relation to him and to the Father when he was no longer with them. He said in effect this: “You shall not, as you presently do, bring your questions to me; henceforth, you shall make your needs known to the Father by my authority and he will hear and answer.” For instances of such direct address to Christ as is involved in these songs, see Acts 7:60 and 9:6. There are many other examples of this in the New Testament. (Questions And Answers, Vol. II, pg.39)
In my judgment it is surely proper and scriptural to “have a little talk with Jesus” either in songs of praise or prayers to Him. Furthermore, as a side note, Jesus is a “Father” in some sense because God has given children to Him. Read Hebrews 2:13. I personally would believe that Jesus is rightly named the “everlasting Father” (Isaiah 9:6) because He is a “Father” to us in some sense because we are His “children” in some sense (Heb. 2:13). G. K. Wallace said, “Christ was a Father. He had children.” He was a father who had a father.” (Wallace –Vaughn Debate, pg. 44-45).
Can I have a little talk with Jesus?
Jesus is the “one in charge” of everything that affects my spiritual life (1 Corinthians 15:27), but I can’t talk to Him at all or under any circumstances?
Jesus is the Head of the body of which I am a member, but I can’t talk to Him? A part of His body, but can’t talk to head? What kind of head does not listen to the body?
Jesus is the Vine in which I am a branch (John 15:1-8), from whom I derive all of my spiritual sustenance, but I can’t talk to Him?
Jesus is the King of the kingdom in which I am a citizen, but I can’t talk to the King? What kind of King does not listen to the citizens of the citizens in his kingdom?
Jesus is the Captain of my salvation (Hebrews 2:10), but I can’t talk to my Captain?
Jesus is my Brother (Hebrews 2:11), but I can’t talk to my brother? What kind of brother will not let you talk directly to him?
Jesus is my High Priest (Hebrews 3:1). He offered Himself for my sins, He is touched with all of the feelings of my infirmities (Hebrews 4:15), and is over the house of God of which I am a part (Hebrews 10:21), but I can’t talk to my High Priest? (1 Tim. 2:5). Can I come boldly to the throne of His grace? (Heb. 4:16; The Message).
Jesus is my Physician (Luke 5:31), but I can’t talk to my Physician? What kind of physician would not let his patients talk to him and tell him what is wrong or ask for advice?
Jesus is the Overseer of my soul (1 Peter 2:25), but I can’t talk to my overseer? What kind of overseer would not talk to or listen to the overseen? (Somebody answers, “Some of you Elders in the Church of Christ!” Just kidding, just kidding.)
Jesus is the Bridegroom and I am part of His bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-33). But the bride can’t talk to the bridegroom? What kind of husband would not let his wife talk to him directly?
Jesus is my “Counselor” (Isaiah 9:6), but I can’t talk to my Counselor? What kind of “counselor” is it who will not let us those of us who need counseling talk directly to him?
Jesus is my Friend (John 15:14-15), but I can’t talk to my friend? What kind of friend is it who will not let us speak to Him directly but only through someone else?
Jesus is the “Great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20), of which I am one, but I can’t talk to my Shepherd? What kind of shepherd would not want to know from his sheep what his sheep need?
Jesus is the “Minister of the sanctuary” (Hebrews 8:2), of which I am a part, but I cannot talk to my Minister? What kind of minister will not listen to those he ministers to?
Obviously I have a very different view of Jesus now than I did at first. Actually I have a little talk with Jesus every day and I even tell Him all about my troubles. Technically, we can never go to the Father and “leave Him out” because we must go through Him and actually go to Him…whether we realize it or not. We cannot go “through” Him without going “to” Him in some sense. Of course, I now talk to Him directly as I would any loving Friend, Brother, Physician, Companion, Counselor, Savior, Shepherd, and Lord. I also believe that He personally hears me when I talk to Him. (I certainly do not believe that as He sits at the right hand of the Father that He has any need to ask His Father, “What did he say? What did he say? “What did he say?” when I am praying!).
The truth, most likely, is that the unity and oneness of the Godhead is such that the distinctions that are made are not nearly as pronounced as they seem to some of us. One of the main lessons from John chapter five is that Jesus is “equal with God” (Jn. 5:18) and therefore all should “honor the Son just as they honor the Father” (Jn. 5:23).
Is it right to “Have a little talk with Jesus?” Why not ask Him?
Wayne Dunaway

From Gazing…to Grazing…to Praising

“From Gazing…to Grazing…to Praising”
A Sermon Outline from Daniel Four

Introduction:

1. In this chapter is recorded a confession that King Nebuchadnezzar made after he had been insane for about seven years (Dan. 4:1-3).
2. Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream which made him troubled and fearful. (Dan. 4:4-5).
3. He called for his wise men to make known the interpretation of the dream, but they could not do it. They had probably learned their lesson from the events recorded in chapter two, and therefore they knew better than to make up a lie to tell the king. (Dan. 4:6-7).
4. At last, Daniel came in and the king told him the dream. The dream concerns a tree that was cut down — leaving only a stump. The title of this chapter could very well be “The Tragedy of a Tree” (Dan. 4:8-9).

I. THE TREE (Dan. 4:10-17).

A. In the dream the king saw a tree. From the king’s description we learn that:

1. The tree was in the middle of the earth (4:10).
2. The king saw the tree growing (4:11).
3. The tree was strong and so high that it reached to heaven (4:11).
4. The tree was visible to all the earth (4:11).
5. The leaves were fair, the fruit much, and it served as a source of food for all (4:12).
6. The animals camped under it, the fowls lodged in its branches, and all were fed from it (4:12).
7. An angel came down from heaven and commanded that the tree be cut down. The tree was to be destroyed leaving only the stump and roots. (4:13-15).
8. The angel further commanded that some man would be given a beast’s heart for seven years, in order that he might be taught that the God of heaven rules in the kingdom of men (4:16-17).

B. This was the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had concerning the tree. Daniel was then to interpret the dream.

II. THE TRAGEDY (Dan. 4:18-27).

A. After being stunned (so to speak) for one hour, because he evidently thought well of the king, Daniel told the king that the dream would please his enemies, because it was exactly what they would want to happen (4:18-19).
B. After repeating part of the dream, Daniel told Nebuchadnezzar that he was the one represented by the tree. The size and position of the tree represented the world-ruling dominion of the King of Babylon (4:20-22).
C. Daniel further explains that the cutting down of the tree meant tragedy for the king. He would loose his sanity, he would dwell with the beasts, eat grass like an ox, not have sense enough to come in at night or get out of the rain, and he would remain insane for seven years. It seems to me that the seven times means seven years, because in order for his fingernails and toenails to grow as long as they did, it would take a considerable amount of time (Dan. 4:33). This was to occur in order to show the king that the God of heaven rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He pleases. Bear in mind that the Babylonians thought that when they defeated Judah and brought them captive to Babylon, that that proved their gods were stronger than Israel’s God. (Dan. 4:23-25).
D. Daniel further explained that the leaving of the stump indicated that Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom would not be taken over by another and after seven years it would be returned to him (4:26).
E. The dream that Nebuchadnezzar had concerning the tree meant tragedy for him.

III. THE TREATMENT (Dan. 4:28-37).

A. All that Daniel predicted came upon Nebuchadnezzar about twelve months later. As the king was walking in the palace telling himself how great, honorable, and powerful he was, he heard a voice from heaven repeating the thing that Daniel had said about a year earlier concerning his insanity (Dan. 4:28-32).
B. The same hour the king lost his mind. He went completely insane—he was driven from humans, he ate grass like an ox, did not have sense enough to come in out of the rain or in at night, his hair grew long as also did his fingernails and toenails. He was evidently a horrible looking creature who was completely mad (Dan. 4:33). One minute he is gazing…and the next minute he is grazing.
C. At the end of seven years, Nebuchadnezzar’s sanity returned to him and he exalted the God of heaven. God’s treatment had worked, and Nebuchadnezzar admitted that God does rule in the kingdoms of men (4:34-36).
D. Nebuchadnezzar praised and honored the God of heaven because he had learned that God is the “King of heaven, all whose works are truth and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down” (4:37).
E. The treatment that God gave Nebuchadnezzar evidently cured him of his pride and he wanted all people to know the “signs and wonders that the Most High God has worked for me” (Dan. 4:2). He went from gazing (4:29-30) to grazing (4:33) to praising (4:37).

NOTE: SOME THINGS TO SEE FROM THE DREAM ABOUT THE TREE.

As we observe the tree, the tragedy, and then the treatment that Nebuchadnezzar received we should learn some very valuable lessons that should help us today (Rom. 15:4). For example, we should see the Lord’s

A. Power.
1. The theme of the dream is that “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He will” (Dan. 4:17, 25, 26, 32).
2. He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and no one can restrain His hand, or say unto Him, what have You done? (4:35). See also Dan. 2:21; 5:26; Rev. 1:5; Rev. 4).

B. Patience.
1. The Lord gave the king twelve months to change and do better with the assurance that there “Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity” (4:27-28).
2. The Lord gave Jezebel “time to repent” but she repented not (Rev. 2:20-21).
3. He is also patient with us (2 Peter 3:9).

C. Pity.
1. The Lord had pity on the king. The kingdom was not taken from the king permanently (Dan. 4:26).
2. One lesson Jonah learned was that God has pity on all (Jonah 4).
3. Again and again we read how Jesus was “moved with compassion” (Matt. 9:36; 14:14, etc.).

D. Punishment.
1. The thing that the Lord said was fulfilled and the king was driven from among men (Dan. 4:33).
2. Our God is a consuming fire to the wicked (Heb. 12:29).
3. We need to behold the goodness and severity of God (Rom. 11:22).

E. Pardon.
1. The Lord was willing to pardon the king if he would change (4:27). He did re-establish the king in his kingdom (Dan. 4:36).
2. He pardoned the entire city of Nineveh (Jonah 3).
3. He is a “God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness” (Neh. 9:17).

NOTE: WE SHOULD ALSO LEARN SOME THINGS ABOUT:

A. Pride.
1. One of the main lessons in chapter four is that “those that walk in pride He is able to put down” (4:37).
2. Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18).
3. God will not only “resist” the proud, sometimes he will “dismiss” the proud (James 4:6; Dan. 4).

B. Preaching.
1. It is not always easy to preach the truth. Daniel was troubled because of what he had to tell the king (Dan. 4:19).
2. It is not easy to “reprove and rebuke” but sometimes it is necessary (2 Tim. 4:1-2).
3. We must always preach to please God, not men (Gal. 1:10).

C. Praise.
1. The king praised God for what God had done for him and so should we (Dan. 4:37).
2. The king went from gazing to grazing to praising.
3. The church began by “praising God” and we need to make sure we keep it up (Acts 2:47; Eph. 3:21).

CONCLUSION:

These lessons from THE TRAGEDY OF A TREE…can be helpful to you and helpful to me. Let’s make sure that we take them to heart. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).

Wayne Dunaway
gandpministries.wordpress.com