1. One Of Them Was Lost
"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?" Luke 15:4
During our Youth Jubilee this summer Preacher Mike Soop preached a message encouraging the listeners to be "one of them". He talked about the ten lepers that Jesus healed and only one of them returned to say, "Thank you". Most of us belong to a group of some kind, whether it be our church, Sunday School class, school, family or work place. We learn from others in our groups. We may worship, eat, play or work with our groups. No matter how many groups we are in, we are still an individual in God's eyes. Jesus told a parable about a shepherd who had one hundred sheep. One of the sheep was lost, and the shepherd left the ninety nine sheep to go find the one lost sheep. One was important. Jesus is our Good Shepherd. He left heaven above, to come to die on the cross to save me. He came to save you. Each person is important. Salvation is a personal, individual choice and the Lord Jesus loves you with a personal, individual love. Are you a lost sheep today? Please let the Lord find you and save you and bring you into His fold. Believe on the Lord Jesus to be your only Lord and Savior and become "one" of the believers.
2. One Of Them Gave Thanks
"And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole." Luke 17:12-19
We know this story. Ten lepers were cleansed, and only one returned to give thanks. When my children were small I often reminded them to say, "Thank you." Recently I heard someone say that at his company, they were cautioned not to say, "Thank you" to the customers, because they were to make the customers feel like the company was the one helping them. I guess I'm old-fashioned because I still believe you should say, "Please" and "Thank you". Most of all, we should take time to give thanks to the good Lord above for all He does for us. We could never thank Him enough for the gift of salvation. Do we thank Him as we wake up each morning, for giving us a new day? Are we ashamed to bow our head in a crowded restaurant to give thanks for our food? Are we too busy to thank Him at the end of the day? In our scriptures above one of them gave thanks. I don't know how that ratio compares with the multitudes today, but I want to be the one who stops to give thanks to my dear Lord.
3. One Of Them Fought For The Cause Of Right
"And David rose up early in the morning, and left the sheep with a keeper, and took, and went, as Jesse had commanded him; and he came to the trench, as the host was going forth to the fight, and shouted for the battle. For Israel and the Philistines had put the battle in array, army against army. And David left his carriage in the hand of the keeper of the carriage, and ran into the army, and came and saluted his brethren. And as he talked with them, behold, there came up the champion, the Philistine of Gath, Goliath by name, out of the armies of the Philistines, and spake according to the same words: and David heard them. And all the men of Israel, when they saw the man, fled from him, and were sore afraid. And the men of Israel said, Have ye seen this man that is come up? surely to defy Israel is he come up: and it shall be, that the man who killeth him, the king will enrich him with great riches, and will give him his daughter, and make his father's house free in Israel. And David spake to the men that stood by him, saying, What shall be done to the man that killeth this Philistine, and taketh away the reproach from Israel? for who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? And the people answered him after this manner, saying, So shall it be done to the man that killeth him. And Eliab his eldest brother heard when he spake unto the men; and Eliab's anger was kindled against David, and he said, Why camest thou down hither? and with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle. And David said, What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" I Samuel 17:20-29
This is a familiar story in Bible history. David was the youngest of eight sons and his father, Jesse, sent him to take them food to the battle and see how his three oldest brothers were doing. When he got to the battle, he saw and heard Goliath defy the armies of the living God and he wanted to know what was being done about it. His oldest brother was angry at David, and we have those great questions that we have probably asked before. "What have I now done? Is there not a cause?" When someone gets angry at us for no reason, we too want to ask, "What have I done now?" Then, when we see a wrong that needs to be made right, we may ask, "Is there not a cause?" There are many "causes" today. You may have been asked to give a donation for animal rights, or to find a cure for some disease, or even to help save the trees of the rainforests. But, there is a greater cause... the cause of Christ. What do we do when people try to take Christ out of Christmas and the retailers will not use the word "Christmas" in their ads or stores? What do we do when we are told we can't pray in the name of Jesus? What do we do if our friends laugh at us when they see us carry a Bible? We need to face the giants of today and stand for the cause of Christ. We must stand up for what's right. David was the only one who stood against the giant. I want to be one of them who will stand up for what's right and follow the living God.
4. One Of The Dying Thieves Believed And Was Forgiven
"And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise." Luke 23:39-43
As we continue with our theme, "One Of Them", let's look at the two sides of the cross. Jesus was hung on a cross with two malefactors, or criminals. One of them "railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us." He saw Jesus hanging on a cross. He talked with Him. He actually cried out for Jesus to save him. But, he did not believe. We see that by the little word, "If". I am afraid that there are many people today who believe that Jesus died on the cross. They may even pray and talk to God. But, if they do not believe that Jesus gave His life to save them, and ask the Lord to forgive them and save them, they are in as much danger as this thief on the cross. Now, let's look at the other man. "But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss." This man feared God. He knew who Jesus was and called Him, "Lord". He confessed his sin. He prayed a simple, humble prayer, "Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom." His belief made the difference. Do you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died to pay for your sin? Have you confessed your sin and asked the Lord to save you? If you have any doubts, you can pray this simple prayer of David. "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." (Psalm 139:23-24) God will help you if you will just trust in Him.
5. One Of Them Stayed True To God
"Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee." Daniel 6:10-16
I really enjoyed our Books of the Bible study this summer. I had to study each book to prepare the notes for the children and I really learned a lot. I was familiar with many of the stories found in the book of Daniel. Daniel was taken into captivity with his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they were young. They are called "children" in the first chapter of Daniel, but they were old enough to purpose in their hearts not to defile themselves with the king's meat or wine. The story of Daniel being thrown to the lions is in chapter 6, and I never really thought that much time had passed. Daniel was taken into captivity to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar, who reigned 43 years according to history. In chapter 5 we see that Belshazzar was king, and in chapter 6 Darius is king. Various web sites give Daniel's age being somewhere between 80 and 90 years' old when he was thrown into the den of lions. My point in this tidbit of information is that Daniel was true to God as a child, and stayed true to God all his life, even as a captive in a foreign land. He opened his window and prayed toward Jerusalem three times a day. He was following the prayer of King Solomon when he dedicated the temple at Jerusalem. "If they sin against thee, (for there is no man which sinneth not,) and thou be angry with them, and deliver them over before their enemies, and they carry them away captives unto a land far off or near; Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly; If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name: Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee." (II Chronicles 6:36-39) Daniel stayed true to his God all his long life. Another thing that I learned about Daniel... he is the only person in the Bible whom God called "Greatly Beloved". "At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." (Daniel 9:23) "And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling." (Daniel 10:11) "And said, O man greatly beloved, fear not: peace be unto thee, be strong, yea, be strong. And when he had spoken unto me, I was strengthened, and said, Let my lord speak; for thou hast strengthened me." (Daniel 10:19) I want to be one of them who stays true to God.
6. One Of Them Found Grace In The Eyes Of The Lord
"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD." Genesis 6:5-8
This is another familiar story. God destroyed the whole earth with the flood, but one man was found righteous before God and saved his family. "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Hebrews 11:7) In the midst of a wicked world, Noah was a preacher of righteousness, as we read in II Peter 2:5, "And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly;" Noah was 600 years old when he went into the ark. Year after year he preached. He worked on the ark, and he preached God's word. Maybe he was discouraged that no one listened, except for his wife, his three sons, and their wives. He may have felt like a failure, but he was far from a failure. The people and animals of the earth were saved through this one righteous man. Maybe you feel that your witnessing is in vain. Maybe you feel that people are not listening to your preaching or teaching. Keep the faith. Be one of them who keeps on witnessing and working for the Lord.
7. One Of Them Stayed With The Preacher
"Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry." II Timothy 4:9-11
We learned in our Bible Study this summer that this letter to Timothy contains the last written words we have of Paul. As he closes this letter to his "dearly beloved son" Timothy, he expresses his hopes to see him again soon. Then he explains that only Luke was with him. It undoubtedly broke his heart to know that Demas forsook not only him, but the gospel message as well. Then, he tells of his Christian brothers who have moved on to other fields of service. We can almost hear the sadness in his voice, as he says, "Only Luke is with me." I want to be one of them who stands with my preacher. How many of our church members no longer come because they would rather be doing things in the world? We also have members who have been called to serve at other places. The rest of us need to stand with our church and pastor. We need to stay faithful to the Lord and serve Him. And to those who feel like all your friends have forsaken you, I leave these verses which follow..."At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear:..." (II Timothy 4:16-17)
8. One of Them Gave What He Had
"When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, saith unto him, There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." John 6:5-14
We usually have a Back to School party for the children at church and they have a lot of fun playing a game with this story. We talk about their moms' packing their lunches for school and we talk about this little boy, and how on this day, someone packed a lunch for him. All he had was five barley loaves and two little fish. When Andrew took him to Jesus, he could have kept his lunch. It was only enough for him. But, he gave it to Jesus, and Jesus gave it to the multitude. We may feel like what we have is so little that it can't possibly make a difference when the need is so great. We need to be like this little boy and give what we have to the Lord. In our hands it may be just a small lunch, but in God's hands it can feed the multitudes. I want to be one of them who gives all I have to the Lord.
9. One Of Them Broke Her Alabaster Box And Worshipped
"And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. And he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointment, And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner. And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." Luke 7:36-47
Last week we saw how a little boy gave his lunch to Jesus and Jesus broke it and fed the multitudes. I ended the devotions saying, " I want to be one of them who gives all I have to the Lord." When we think of that story we may say, "Yes, I would give my lunch to the Lord." And that is good, for I think there were probably more in a group of 5,000 men, plus women and children, who had something to eat, yet only one little boy offered his lunch. When we look at our scriptures above, we see that Mary broke an alabaster of very costly ointment and gave it to the Lord. "Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him, Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor? This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein." (John 12:3-6) Am I one of them who is willing to not only give the Lord the price of a small lunch, but am I willing to give Him whatever is precious and costly to me?
10. One Of Them Answered "Here Am I" When God Called
"And the child Samuel ministered unto the LORD before Eli. And the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision. And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the LORD called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I. And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down. And the LORD called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again. Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD, neither was the word of the LORD yet revealed unto him. And the LORD called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the LORD had called the child. Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. And the LORD came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth." I Samuel 3:1-10
This was one of our favorite Bible stories when our children were growing up. We would let them take turns being Eli and Samuel as we narrated the story, When we look at these two roles, a priest and a little child, we might think that God would speak to the priest before calling the small child. But the Lord called Samuel. Our scriptures tell us that "the word of the LORD was precious in those days; there was no open vision." Is the Word of God precious to us today? Do we listen for His call? When He calls, do we respond like little Samuel, "Here am I"? Do we anticipate His call with open ears and heart, "Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth"? I praise the Lord that He called to me when I was a little child and I believed in my heart that Jesus died to save me from the debt of my sin. I received His wonderful gift of salvation. I want to be one of them who says, "Speak, LORD; for thy servant heareth" each time He tries to speak to my heart. Have you heard His call? He speaks to us through His holy Word. He can also speak to us through a song, or the words of a teacher or friend. He can speak to us when we are in a church service, or alone in our bed. Listen for His call. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)
11. One Of Them Had Enough Faith To Step Out Of The Boat
"And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God." Matthew 14:22-33
After feeding the 5,000 with the two small fish and five barley loaves, Jesus sent the disciples across the sea and He went up to the mountain to pray. When the ship was half-way across, a mighty storm came up. They were in God's will. They were following the directions Jesus had given, and still a storm came up. We can face storms and trials even when we are in God's perfect will. Jesus came walking on the water and the disciples were afraid. Then Jesus spoke those loving words, "Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid." And when He called to Peter, "Come", Peter stepped out of the boat in faith. The waves were still crashing. The winds were still blowing. Peter stepped into the midst of the storm to go to Jesus. When he noticed the winds and waves he took his eyes off Jesus and started to sink. Jesus heard and answered his simple prayer, "Lord, save me." Peter may have doubted, and his faith may have been weak, but he was the only one with enough faith to step out of the boat. It is often easy to have faith and follow the Lord when things in our lives are going well. But when we lose our job, or sickness comes, that is when our faith is tested. When the storms come into my life, I want to be one of them who has enough faith to step out of the boat, out of my comfort zone, and go to Jesus when He calls, "Come."
12. One Of Them Knew The Lord And Witnessed To Others
"And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem." Luke 2:36-38
This portion of scripture is from the Christmas story in the second chapter of Luke. Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem and Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. At the appointed time Joseph and Mary took baby Jesus to the temple at Jerusalem "to present him to the Lord;" (Luke 2:22) Simeon was in the temple and blessed the Lord. We also have these three verses about Anna. What a wonderful testimony we find in these three verses. She was an 84 year old widow who served God continually, night and day, in the temple. She knew the Lord Jesus, even though He was just a small baby. Not only did she know Him, but she spoke of Him to all that looked for His coming. I can say that I know the Lord Jesus as my personal Lord and Savior. But I must confess that I do not speak of Him to everyone I meet. I want to be a better witness for Him. I have been praying that God would help me, and give me the words and boldness that I need to share the gospel message with others. I want to be one of them who serves the Lord with gladness and speaks of Him often.
13. One That Worshipped God
"And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.” Acts 18:7
Here is one verse about one man. First, we see that this man, Justus, welcomed Paul into his home. Do you welcome the man of God into your home? If your preacher or Sunday School teacher came to visit you would you open your doors and make them feel welcome? Would you have to hide the magazines on the coffee table, or take some of the videos off the shelf? If we keep in mind that God sees all and knows all, we might do a little "house cleaning" in our lives and homes and remove those things which have "an appearance of evil". Next, we see that Justus is described as "one that worshipped God". These four little words tell us a lot about this man. We are not told that he gave great sums of money to the temple. We don't read that he preached to the multitudes or sang before thousands. The words used to describe him tell us that he "worshipped God." This tells me that he was an humble man who gave God the praise and worship that He deserves. We may go to church two or three times a week, and that is good, but do we really worship? We need to "turn off" the thoughts that crowd our minds and set our eyes on Jesus, and just worship Him. Last of all, we see that his house was next to the synagogue. I think this tells us that Justus wanted to stay close to the house of God. We live in the world, but we should walk as close to God as we can. Don't stray too far away from God's house. Be faithful and attend the worship services when your church doors open. If your best friend wrote just one sentence to describe you, what would she say? If your pastor plans a special worship service, can he count on you being there? Purpose in your heart to be one of them that worships God.
14. One of Them Received A Double Portion
"And it came to pass, when the LORD would take up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind, that Elijah went with Elisha from Gilgal. And Elijah said unto Elisha, Tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Bethel. And Elisha said unto him, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets that were at Bethel came forth to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he said, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Elisha, tarry here, I pray thee; for the LORD hath sent me to Jericho. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. So they came to Jericho. And the sons of the prophets that were at Jericho came to Elisha, and said unto him, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master from thy head to day? And he answered, Yea, I know it; hold ye your peace. And Elijah said unto him, Tarry, I pray thee, here; for the LORD hath sent me to Jordan. And he said, As the LORD liveth, and as thy soul liveth, I will not leave thee. And they two went on. And fifty men of the sons of the prophets went, and stood to view afar off: and they two stood by Jordan. And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground. And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so. And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him." II Kings 2:1-15
I looked over these verses to determine which ones to omit to keep from being so lengthly, but I feel that each verse is an important part of the story. Elijah was a great prophet who was used by God to perform many miracles. He went up against King Ahab and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. After that great victory, Jezebel threatened to kill him and he left his servant and went on alone into the wilderness where he sat under a juniper tree defeated. God sent a great wind, an earthquake, and fire, then spoke to him in a still small voice. He gave him work to do and told him to anoint Elisha to be the prophet to take his place. (You can read those accounts in I Kings 18 and 19) Elijah went by where Elisha was plowing with the twelfth yoke of oxen in a field and he cast his mantle on Elisha. "And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow thee. And he said unto him, Go back again: for what have I done to thee? And he returned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him." (I Kings 19:20-21) I believe he was a faithful servant to Elijah because he stayed with him until the end. I believe he knew the faithfulness of God to Elijah in that he asked for a double portion. I believe he knew the power and faithfulness of God was on him, as is evident in his question, "Where is the LORD God of Elijah?" There were fifty sons of the prophets in our story. They knew Elijah was going to be taken that day and they followed afar off to watch. Only one stayed with the old prophet and had faith to ask for a double portion. He caught Elijah's mantle when he was called, and he was ready to take the mantle when it was his turn to take Elijah's place. Where are you today? Are you one of the fifty sitting by the way just watching to see what is going to happen? Or, are you one of them who takes the mantle of a faithful Christian servant, to take your place in serving in the Lord? Do you want a double portion of the Holy Spirit so you can serve the Lord with great power? If so, keep being faithful. In order to pick up the mantle, Elisha had to be there when it fell. We need to stay faithful and be there when the Holy Spirit comes down.
15. One Of Them Had Four Friends With Great Faith
"And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only? And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts? Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion." Mark 2:1-12
Jesus was near. Multitudes went to hear Him, from Galilee, Judaea, and Jerusalem. Many were healed. One man, sick of the palsy, could not get to Jesus. How he longed to be able to walk. If only he could get to Jesus. He had four friends who had great faith. They each took a corner of his bed (which I imagine was just an old cloth with maybe a little padding) and said they would carry him to Jesus. Hope began to stir in his heart. Maybe his friends were right. Maybe he could get to Jesus with the help of his four friends. As they neared the house they could see the great crowd of people gathered round about, hoping to get a glimpse of Jesus. The assembly stood in silence, listening to the powerful words He spoke. As they got closer, I believe this sick man could hear the compassion in the words of Jesus as He taught the people. Everyone wanted to get as close as they could. No one would back away enough to let them in. The four friends had brought him this far, they wanted to see him get help, so they went the extra mile. They carried him up to the roof, and began to take away tiles from the roof. Once they had a large enough hole, they carefully lowered the man, bed and all, down through the roof. Then notice the next few words, "When Jesus saw their faith..." Salvation and healing came to the man, in part, because of the faith of his friends. He was one of them who had faithful friends. Are you looking for help from the Lord today? Seek out friends who have great faith. They may be able to lead you to Christ. You may receive a blessing through the faith of your friends, just as this man did.
16. One Of Them Departed Not From The Tabernacle
"And Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle, and the LORD talked with Moses. And all the people saw the cloudy pillar stand at the tabernacle door: and all the people rose up and worshipped, every man in his tent door. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle." Exodus 33:7-11
It is interesting to study the life of Joshua. The first mention of Joshua is in Exodus 17 when Moses told Joshua to fight with Amalek. When Moses held his hands up high the Israelites prevailed, but his hands grew heavy so Aaron and Hur held up his hands and they had a great victory. God told Moses to write it for a memorial and "rehearse it in the ears of Joshua". (Exodus 17:14) The next mention of Joshua is in Exodus 24:9-13. "Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel: And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under his feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in his clearness. And upon the nobles of the children of Israel he laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink. And the LORD said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them. And Moses rose up, and his minister Joshua: and Moses went up into the mount of God." God gave Moses instructions for the tabernacle as Joshua waited. The people got tired of waiting on Moses to come back down, so they told Aaron to make them gods, a golden calf. "And when Joshua heard the noise of the people as they shouted, he said unto Moses, There is a noise of war in the camp. And he said, It is not the voice of them that shout for mastery, neither is it the voice of them that cry for being overcome: but the noise of them that sing do I hear. And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount." (Exodus 32:17-10) Now we come to chapter 33 and we find Joshua waiting in the tabernacle. He was a young man who had won the battle against Amalek. He had been on the mount with Moses as God gave him the commandments. He had seen the sin of Israel and Moses break the tables of stone. Now, he "departed not out of the tabernacle." The verse above tells us that "every one which sought the LORD went out unto the tabernacle". They came and went, but Joshua stayed at the tabernacle. Joshua was a young man and although he once had a great victory, he seems to be spending most of his time now, waiting on God. He probably does not realize that God is preparing him to be the leader who follows in Moses' place. Sometimes it is hard for us to wait on God. But, I want to be one of them who will seek the Lord, and be patient to wait on Him because He knows the plans He has for my life.
17. One Of Them Said, "As For Me And My House, We Will Serve The Lord"
"And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15
We looked at the beginning of Joshua's ministry in the book of Exodus. Today, we are looking at the last chapter in the life of Joshua. He began with God, and he ended with God. God used Joshua to lead the Israelites into the land of Canaan. He reminded the Israelites of where God had brought them from and the good land that He had brought them to. He had been faithful to God all of his 110 years. He ends with this charge, "And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." We have those last few words on the wall in our house. I want to be one of them who stays determined that "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
18. One Of Them Doubted
"Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you... But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." John 20:19-21 & 24-29
If we look a few chapters back in John 11, we can read the account of when Lazarus died. Jesus said He would go to Judaea, the home of Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha, and the disciples reminded Him that the people of that town had try to stone Him. Thomas made a strong statement that we seem to overlook when we come to chapter 20. "Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him." (John 11:16) Thomas had faith in the Lord, but his faith wavered. If Thomas had been present with the other disciples when Jesus appeared to them it would have strengthened his faith. We need to be faithful to God and part of that is being faithful to church. High Point Baptist Campmeeting began last night and it is discouraging to see so few there. There are many men and women in our area who were faithful to attend for years, but over time they have stopped coming. They are missing out on the fellowship and singing. They are missing out on hearing what God has for them from the preaching of His Word. If you are in the High Point area, I hope that you will come to the campmeeting. You are missing a blessing.
19. One Of Them Stayed With Naomi
"And Mahlon and Chilion died also both of them; and the woman was left of her two sons and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters in law, that she might return from the country of Moab: for she had heard in the country of Moab how that the LORD had visited his people in giving them bread. Wherefore she went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters in law with her; and they went on the way to return unto the land of Judah. And Naomi said unto her two daughters in law, Go, return each to her mother's house: the LORD deal kindly with you, as ye have dealt with the dead, and with me. The LORD grant you that ye may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband. Then she kissed them; and they lifted up their voice, and wept. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons; Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" Ruth 1:5-16
Preacher Bo Wagner preached at High Point Camp Meeting Tuesday night from the book of Ruth. I won't take the time to cover all the points of his message, but he brought out something that I had never thought about though I have read the book many times. Our verses above show that Naomi is concerned that the two women will not have husbands if they go back with her, so she tells them to stay in Moab. Orpah went back to her people and her gods. But Ruth stayed with Naomi with those beautiful words, "Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:" Boaz becomes the kinsman redeemer and marries Ruth and the story has a happy ending. I had never thought about the other kinsman redeemer, who Boaz addressed by "Ho, such a one!" in Ruth 4:1. If Orpah had chosen to stay with Naomi and her God, there would have been a husband for her also. The point of the message was that God always has enough. No matter what we need, God has enough to supply. No matter what we are going through, God is enough to see us through. We can put our faith in God, because He is enough!
20. One Of Them Had Compassion
"And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.” Luke 10:30-37
This is the familiar parable of the good Samaritan. A man was left for dead on the side of the road and a priest saw him and walked around on the other side of the road. Next, we are told that the Levite "came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side." Then, a Samaritan, who usually had no dealings with the Jews, "came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him..." Only one of them had compassion on this poor man. This reminds me of how Jesus came to where I was, lost and dying, and had compassion on me. He gave His life to pay for my sin on the cruel cross of Calvary. He continues to take care of me from day to day. If He cared that much for me, how can I not show compassion on those around me? "And of some have compassion, making a difference:" (Jude 22)
21. One Of Them Was Set Free
“Now at that feast he released unto them one prisoner, whomsoever they desired. And there was one named Barabbas, which lay bound with them that had made insurrection with him, who had committed murder in the insurrection. And the multitude crying aloud began to desire him to do as he had ever done unto them. But Pilate answered them, saying, Will ye that I release unto you the King of the Jews? For he knew that the chief priests had delivered him for envy. But the chief priests moved the people, that he should rather release Barabbas unto them. And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto him whom ye call the King of the Jews? And they cried out again, Crucify him. Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath he done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify him. And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had scouraged him, to be crucified." Mark 15:6-15
Many, many years ago I heard Preacher Danny Sykes preach from this text and I have never forgotten it. Imagine that you are Barabbas in the dark prison. You hear the roar and noise of the people. Suddenly you hear the people yell your name, "Barabbas, Barabbas, Barabbas". Pilate speaks to the people, but you can only hear their reply, "Crucify him. Crucify him. Crucify him." Then the guards come to get you and you know that they are coming to hang you on the cross, but instead, they let you go. I wonder what Barabbas did as they released him. The Lord Jesus Christ took his place on the cross. I can testify today that I also was lost in sin and worthy of death, but my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ took my place and died for me. Are you still held captive by the chains of sin, while Satan yells to crucify you? Or, have you accepted God's gift of salvation and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ to take your place? Jesus died for "whosoever believeth" but not everyone has accepted Him. Don't let Satan keep you bound by sin any longer. Trust in the Lord to save you and set you free. "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16)
22. One Of Them Died And Went To Heaven, And One Of Them Went To Hell
"There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead." Luke 16:19-31
This is our last devotion using the theme, "One Of Them". I am ending with the familiar account told by our Lord from Luke 16 about the rich man and Lazarus. The scriptures are plain and simple. The rich man had an easy life filled with great earthly possessions. Lazarus was a poor man, who begged just to have enough food to live. When Lazarus died the angels carried him to heaven, where he is spending eternity with the Lord. The rich man also died and is still tormented in the lake of fire. One of them believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and one of them did not. It is my constant prayer that God will use this web site for His honor and glory. I would like to ask you today, "If this were your last day on earth, where would you spend eternity?" There are only two choices, heaven or hell. If you don't know or have any doubts, may I present the simple plan of salvation to you once again? The Bible tells us "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23) and "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Romans 6:23) The first step in being saved is understanding that you have sinned, and sin has to be paid for, through death. The next step is believing that Jesus, God's Son, gave His life to pay for your sin. Then you must confess your sin to the Lord and ask Him to save you. "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation... For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:9, 10, & 13) We are not promised tomorrow. Please accept the Lord's gift of salvation now. Once you take your last breath it will be too late. The rich man found no mercy in hell. Listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to your heart, and make that choice that will change your life forever.