Posts Tagged ‘jon courson’

Therefore, since a promise remains of entering His rest, let us fear lest any of you seem to have come short of it. For indeed the gospel was preached to us as well as to them; but the word which they heard did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in those who heard it. For we who have believed do enter that rest, as He has said: “So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest,’ “although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. For He has spoken in a certain place of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all His works”; and again in this place: “They shall not enter My rest.” Since therefore it remains that some must enter it, and those to whom it was first preached did not enter because of disobedience, again He designates a certain day, saying in David, “Today,” after such a long time, as it has been said: “Today, if you will hear His voice, Do not harden your hearts.” For if Joshua had given them rest, then He would not afterward have spoken of another day. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall according to the same example of disobedience. (Hebrew 4:1-11)

Let’s Rest

The previous chapter (Hebrews 3) taught us (reminded us) about Moses and the ‘generation of unbelief’ that could not enter into the JoshuaPromised Land (Canaan). We learned that the thing that kept them out of the promised location was their disbelief; they did not believe that God would want to bless them and that He would follow through on His promises. Their actions bore witness to that truth.

So we see that they (Israel) could not enter in because of unbelief. Hebrews 3:19

Using the Promised Land episode as an example, Hebrews 4 begins by telling us we should fear not entering into our promised rest.  The lesson is simply to believe what God has said by faith, and to not waiver in it. The Good News is of no worth to a person if there is no faith.  Nothing has changed in this regard. Ancient Israel was taught salvation in God alone just as we are today.  If we do not enter in and accept the Spirit-filled life, by faith, then there obviously is no benefit.

We who have believed do enter that rest!

Hebrews 4 is establishing that our rest is in Jesus Christ, despite the fact that the Jews would say that they have a rest; a one-day in seven rest, called the Sabbath Day.

Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. Genesis 2:1-3

But the writer of Hebrews is referring to another rest; a future rest, that is better and God sent.  The Sabbath rest established by God in Genesis is merely a picture of the full rest we are to have in Christ; a spirit-filled life we may associate with entering into the Promised Land, being mindful that the Promised Land is not the promised rest.  Joshua took Israel into the Promised Land, but if that rest was sufficient there would be no talk of another day to come, of course pointing to Jesus Christ.  Ultimately, it’s not the Promised Land rest or the Sabbath Day rest we’re promised, they just pictures of the rest to come that commences on the day we first believe and receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

 “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, As in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; They tried Me, though they saw My work.  For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, And they do not know My ways.’ So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.’ ” Psalm 95:8-11

Regarding our rest, we see that Psalm 95 (cited by the writer of Hebrews), demonstrates that God is speaking of a yet-future event.

A Better Rest

JesusI like the way Jon Courson said it (paraphrased here): the rest being spoken of [in Hebrews 4] is not a vacation (a Sabbath Day of rest), nor is it a location (as was the Promised Land), but rather it is a relation with Jesus Christ. For the Christian, the Christ-rest is finally understanding and accepting that there is no work to be done in regard to our salvation—the work has been done and we can rest in His work by faith.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” John 19:30

It’s worth repeating: the rest that people are truly craving (and God wants to provide) is not a vacation (Sabbath) or a location (Canaan), but a relation in Christ that’s everlasting. Let us not be fooled into believing that a respite or a region (alone) will bring you rest. True rest, a rewarding rest, a blessing and sustaining rest, and most importantly, a saving rest, is found only in Christ Jesus. Locations and vacations are temporary solutions at best, if Jesus is not included.

Don’t be robbed of the blessing—there is no profit, nor is there any rest in the Gospel where there is no faith.

Do Want to Know Jesus?

The blog posted prior to this one might assist you.

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Benaiah was the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man from Kabzeel, who had done many deeds. He had killed two lion-like heroes of Moab. He also had gone down and killed a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day. And he killed an Egyptian, a man of great height, five cubits tall. In the Egyptian’s hand there was a spear like a weaver’s beam; and he went down to him with a staff, wrested the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and killed him with his own spear. 1 Chronicles 11:22-23

A Picture of Edification

The character’s name in today’s story is Benaiah and it means ‘edified’, or more precisely, ‘Jehovah has built’. We might ask what does it mean to be edified in the Lord or by the Lord? Well it may seem obvious, but the primary thing we must recognize is that edification comes either directly (or indirectly) from the Lord. Secondly, edification is something to be received and exercised. And finally, it is something we must use to glorify the Giver and bring honor to His name. Benaiah’s conduct exemplifies these tenets, but in particular it spotlights how he exercised his gift.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Benaiah’s first encounter was with two lion-like men. What does it mean that these two men were lion-like? The reality is that we can draw many conclusions from such a description, but I submit to you that this narrative is  suggests these men were satan followers, or at the very least their behavior was so evil that one might draw that conclusion. They weren’t satan, they just emulated him. Nevertheless, Benaiah was strengthened and prepared to do battle with the real lion when he practiced with the imitation.

That’s the key.

We can make application that the lion Benaiah eventually slew is a picture (a type) of satan. Take note of the details: it was a snowy day and the battle took place in a pit. What’s unusual is that Benaiah ventured out in stormy weather and then purposely went into the pit to kill the beast. You have to know that once you enter a pit with a lion, there’s typically only one way out — over his dead body (Daniel would be the only exception that I can recall). An undertaking such as this is the epitome of commitment, but not something one knowingly tasks unless God is on your side, God has guided you to the place, and you have Cross-trained. Only fools go picking fights with the enemy. However, shy away from those things God has equipped you for and you will be ill-prepared to do battle when the true enemy shows his face.

You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 1 John 4:4

Benaiah’s third conflict was with the Egyptian. Egypt we know (in typology) is a picture of the world. Notice that Benaiah kills his opponent with his own weapon. We should realize that we can do the same thing; we can take the world’s weaponry and use it to defeat the enemy.

How so?

Jon Courson tells the story of a smoker who was struggling to overcome her addiction. She was counseled that each and every time she had a craving to smoke that she should instead pray for the lost and the unsaved. She did. In time the urge to smoke left her completely. Why? I contend that satan loosed the bonds of her addiction when he came to realize that smoking was the very thing that was bringing her closer to God and to do the work of God. She took satan’s weapon and turned it back on him.

I have had a similar experience. I struggled with debilitating depression for years and was eventually healed miraculously by God. Afterwards I received wise counsel from two different people: “If the depression returns,” one said, “it was a choice I made,” and the other said, “If the depression returns, I need to let it be the thing that prompts me to do something for someone else.” From that point forward, every time satan drew his weapon, I wrestled it from his grip by using it to facilitate a behavior that was pleasing to God; the very weapon formed against me was the catalyst that brought me closer to my Lord and Savior.

No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgment You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me,” Says the Lord. Isaiah 54:17 NKJ

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So he went and did according to the word of the Lord, for he went and stayed by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the brook. And it happened after a while that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 1 Kings 17:5-7

It’s a common teaching in today’s church that if a ministry is drying up that it is a sign from the Lord to move on. There was a time I would have unconditionally believed that. However, if that were the case, as the Brook Cherith slowed to a trickle, Elijah might have uttered, “Oh well, I guess the Lord isn’t in this thing anymore, I better get going.” But that is not what Elijah did.

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath… 17:8-9

Elijah went to the brook because the Lord commanded him to and he didn’t leave, despite the parched conditions, until the Lord told him to. What’s the Lord told you to do and more importantly, has He rescinded the directive? Is it the ministry that’s bone-dry, or your faith?

Is God Still With Me?

How will you know if God is still in the thing He brought you to? How did Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego know? They knew because like Elijah, they were at peace in their hostile environment; they weren’t burned-out, nor were they freaking out. They were able to rest in the words that they heard.

…And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7

I recently had an experience hosting a golf tournament to raise money for a Christian ministry; an event that I truly felt led by the Lord to undertake. I found the work associated with it to be unproblematic, but I did struggle with the lack of a response—many had said they would play, but few were actually signing up. I thought and shared with others, including my pastor, ‘is this thing drying up?’ and a few people suggested that I throw in the towel. I didn’t because I believed God led me to it and I hadn’t heard from Him to abandon the cause.

Long story short, the golf event was successful and I believe that the Lord allowed it to progress the way it did (at least in part) to reveal and teach me the lesson that is being conveyed here in 1 Kings 17—if God brings you to a thing, He will be faithful to bring you through it. Moving on is not an option until God says so.

And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side…Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. Matthew 8:18, 23-26

Don’t Forget the Word That You Heard

Why were the disciples fearful? Because they forgot. They had forgotten what Jesus had said to them at the start; that He had given the command to depart to the other side. Didn’t they know if Jesus said that they’re going over to the other side, that’s exactly where they’re going to end up? Don’t we know? Let us endeavor to stay in the boat God has placed us until He tells us to abandon the ship.

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through my personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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And it came to pass, when Solomon had finished building the house of the Lord and the king’s house, and all Solomon’s desire which he wanted to do, that the Lord appeared to Solomon the second time, as He had appeared to him at Gibeon. 1 Kings 9:1-2

This is incredible, isn’t it? God appears to Solomon yet again! Man oh man, he is so blessed; it’s no wonder that Solomon in these early days was so amazingly dedicated to the Lord. But wait; do the math—it’s been twenty years since the last time Solomon and the Lord had such an encounter. It’s our tendency occasionally to lose track of the biblical time line, inclined to read the Bible with a consecutive mindset; that events occur one right after the other. Well that isn’t always the case.

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. Psalms 40:1

The reality is that the Bible is abounding with instances of godly men and women waiting on the Lord. Abraham waited, Noah waited, Joseph waited; the list goes on and on. In these occurrences we take notice of how these people abided in their faith and glean from their example. But more importantly we should observe that their confidence in the Lord was not dependant upon regular miraculous incidents. We’re reminded that Promise-Land-bound Israel witnessed more signs and wonders then any other people group on the planet, but yet in one generation’s time, only two men came to believe. The lesson: miracles don’t draw people to faith, God does and people who come to rely upon miracles to walk-in-their-faith are characteristically found dead-in-their-tracks.

There are those who rebel against the light; They do not know its ways Nor abide in its paths. Job 24:13

What do I do? In spiritually dry periods, do I go to His well; in darkness do I seek His illumination; in loneliness do I yearn for His touch, or is it the miraculous signs I crave? The fact of the matter is that God is satisfied when we walk by faith abiding in the shadow of His wings. It was Jesus who said, ‘Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed (John 20:29b). The implication is that those who walk by faith alone are more blessed than those who require persistent confirmation and miraculous coddling. Walk by faith and be abundantly blessed!

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These ramblings are typically (but not always) a byproduct inspired by God through personal Bible study at SearchLight with Pastor Jon Courson

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The mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:26-27
The Mystery Revealed…Sorta

Jon Courson tells the story of when he was on his college track-team as a discus thrower and how he studied the tape of a then-famous Olympic hurler. Hour after hour he watched the same clip of this Olympian just so he might improve his own technique. Courson continued he was never really able to incorporate the same style, despite these many hours, but then offered an interesting contrast.

What if…

What if the Olympian were able to come off the movie screen and enter into his body; everything this athlete possessed becoming a part of him, fused into his heart, soul, and body? He uses this remarkable illustration to demonstrate the ‘mystery’ Paul speaks of in our text today, for this is what Jesus has (in many ways) accomplished, having quite literally come to life, leaping off the pages of the Bible, and entering into each believer.

The Reality is: Christ in Us

The Bible then becomes not so much a story about our Lord and Savior (which it surely is), but a contact-point teaching each follower of Jesus Christ how to synchronize our earthen vessels with His Spirit, discerning His will. When we fail to seek God’s will, or fail to be obedient to His will, we end up looking much like the Steve Martin character in the movie, “All of Me,” when the Lily Tomlin character enters his body. But, when we come to understand the certainty of a living Christ living in us, then we may boldly proclaim as Paul proclaimed…

Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end (we) also labor, striving according to His working which works, in (us) mightily. Colossians 1:28-29


With Christ in us all things, according to His perfect will and His righteous mandates, are possible. Suddenly our complaints and our excuses are of no consequence. If a living Christ has brought us to it, He will most certainly bring us through it.

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