Cities of Refuge

“Ye shall give three cities on this side Jordan, and three cities shall ye give in the land of Canaan, which shall be cities of refuge.” (Numbers 35:14) GoodFishBadFish

City of Refuge

When the Israelites entered the promised land, God told Joshua to provide six “cities of refuge” into which those who had slain someone could flee for refuge until a trial could ascertain the facts and render a proper verdict. As such, these cities are a type of Christ, through whom “we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18).

The names of the six cities are given in Joshua 20:7-8 as Kedesh, Shechem, Hebron, Bezer, Ramoth, and Golan. The meanings of these names seem planned especially to foreshadow this spiritual application.

map of cities of refuge

Kedesh means “holy place,” and Christ in the New Jerusalem is the ultimate refuge, for “the Lamb [is] the temple of it” (Revelation 21:22). Shechem means “strong shoulder,” which answers to the “strong consolation” we have in Christ when we flee to Him for refuge.

Hebron means “fellowship,” and we who have come to Christ have been “called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:9). Bezer means “strong hiding place.” The Scripture assures the believer that “your life is hid with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3).

Ramoth means “high place,” and when we are hidden in Christ, God also has “made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). Finally, Golan apparently means “enclosure for captives,” and this would speak of our being set free from sin and death to become captive to Christ. “When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive” (Ephesians 4:8). Thus, the cities are appropriately named both for their immediate purpose and as a picture of Christ as the Savior of sinners.

Jesus is our city of refuge

 

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22 THINGS CHRISTIANS NEED TO STOP DOING…NOW!

StopDoingList

1. Quit expecting the world to like you. Jesus said it would hate you (John 15:18-27, Matthew 10:22).

2. Quit throwing your own teammates under the bus.
“We’re called to build each other up, not tear each other down. In fact, Jesus said that our love for each other proves to the world that we are really His true disciples (John 13:35, 1 Thessalonians 5:11).”

3. Quit gossiping. This includes sharing “juicy prayer requests” with no intention of actually praying (Psalms 34:13, Psalms 101:5, Ephesians 4:29).

4. Quit replacing prayer with “good vibes” and “positive thoughts.” No. Just no. Prayer moves the hand of God and the hand of God moves the world. “Prayer is much more effective than making someone feel warm and fuzzy inside. By the way, I’m not saying positive thoughts and good vibes are wrong (and they do make you feel good), I’m just saying prayer trumps them both (2 Corinthians 1:11, Philippians 1:19, Ephesians 6:18, James 5:16).”

5. Quit saying repentance isn’t necessary. It is. Jesus said so.
“And just so you know, there are 53 references to repentance in the New Testament. Now go repent (Matthew 5:17, Acts 3:19, Romans 2:5, 2 Peter 3:9, 1 John 1:9).”

6. Quit saying that the “portions of the Bible that make you feel uncomfortable” are irrelevant and nothing more than dated writings.
“All 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and 31,102 verse are the inspired Word of God. So the next time you think about throwing out the Old Testament, just remember that Jesus quoted it numerous times in all four gospels (John 1:1-4, John 1:14, 2 Timothy 3:16).”

7. Quit expecting unbelievers/non-Christians to understand the Bible and/or to live like Christ.
“It’s hard enough for Christians to live like Christ and it’s impossible to do so without Him (until the blinders are removed) (2 Corinthians 4:4, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Galatians 5:24-25).”

8. Quit acting like the Great Commission (Go into all the world to preach the gospel) is the Great Suggestion.
“It’s a command. Go already (Matthew 28:19, Mark 16:15).”

9. Quit thinking that it’s OK to be silent about your faith.
“Yes, it’s just as important to represent Jesus by how we live, but someone can’t respond to the Good News without hearing it … and they can’t hear it if no one opens their mouth (Matthew 10:27, Romans 10:14-15).”

10. Quit being more passionate about your political affiliation than your relationship with Jesus.
“If 99 percent of what you post on social media consists of bashing government officials and presidential candidates—you’re doing more damage than good (Romans 13:1-7, 2 Chronicles 7:14).”

11. Quit using the Bible to beat the “hell” out of people.
“That doesn’t work. Ever. I don’t care if you’re right—if you’re a jerk, nobody is listening. Love wins! (No, I don’t mean the book by Rob Bell.) (1 Corinthians 13).”

12. Quit your legalistic rants, knee-jerk reactions, and judgmentalism.
“You’re turning people off. You’re making good news bad news. Jesus befriended sinners. Try it and great things will happen (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:27-32, 1 Timothy 1:15-16).”

13. Quit calling yourself a Christian if you believe there are multiple paths that lead to salvation.
“Jesus said that He’s the only way to heaven. If you don’t believe Him, you’re not a Christ-follower (John 14:6, 1 John 2:4).”

14. Quit living like everybody’s going to heaven and nobody’s going to hell. “Jesus died so the whole world could be saved, but He said the path to heaven is narrow and few find it. And for the record, He preached more about hell than heaven … but He did it without using a bullhorn and manipulative scare tactics. #LeadLikeJesus (Matthew 7:13-14).”

15. Quit acting like you’re better than those who don’t know Jesus. You’re not (Luke 18:19, Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11-13).

16. Quit criticizing loving believers who take a biblical stand for godly morals.
“Jesus didn’t call us to be politically correct. Develop some backbone. And yes, I said wimp. And yes, I will repent for calling you a wimp (Acts 4-6).”

17. Quit pointing out the speck in your neighbor’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own eye.
“By the way, I can hardly see my computer as I type this because of the log in my own eye (Matthew 7:3-5).”

18. Quit being a jerk, period.
“Whatever your position is (on anything), if you can’t communicate it in love, you’re a clanging cymbal and your message is worthless. So yeah, I probably shouldn’t have called you a wimp in No. 16 (1 Corinthians 13).”

19. Quit defending sin. Quit hating sinners.
“These are equally important. Oh yeah, and lose your critical lens (Psalm 97:10, Matthew 22:37-39).”

20. Quit using the phrase “he who’s without sin cast the first stone” out of context.
“The next thing Jesus said was, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:1-11).”

21. Quit using grace as a license to live however you want.
“Jesus is grace, so don’t trample Him under your feet (Romans 6:1-2, 1 John 2:4, Hebrews 10:26-31).”

22. Quit using the phrase (when inviting people to church) “come as you are” if you’re going to complain when they start showing up (Mark 2:17, Luke 5:27-32).

 

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God Is Holy

“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Exodus 15:11)

The awesome vision of the throne that God gave Isaiah included a short description of the seraphims. They stood above the throne announcing, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory” (Isaiah 6:3). They are cited again in Revelation 4:8 constantly saying, “Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.”

Apparently, the holiness of God is all-consuming.

Both the Hebrew and Greek words for “holy” used in Scripture are strong descriptions of separateness, a dedicated detachment from all else. “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy” (Revelation 15:4). “There is none holy as the LORD: for there is none beside thee: neither is there any rock like our God” (1 Samuel 2:2).

It is this absolute and unique transcendence that sets the Creator of the universe above and beyond all others: “For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9).

Although there are “gods many, and lords many” (1 Corinthians 8:5) and the “desperately wicked” heart of man (Jeremiah 17:9) twists the “glory of the uncorruptible God” (Romans 1:23) into every vile image possible, “Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever” (Hebrews 13:8).

Since God is holy, you and I can trust Him without reservation or doubt. “For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen” (2 Corinthians 1:20). Since God is holy, we can be totally confident that our souls are secure in God, “with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17).

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Holy

Inspiration

2Timothy316

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.” (2 Timothy 3:16)

The Bible insists its writers were supernaturally influenced by God to such an extent that their words were given divine accuracy. The unique word translated “inspiration” in our text could be rendered “God blowing” or “God puffing.” Peter speaks of “holy men of God” who “spake” as they were moved by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21). David was conscious that his own “tongue” was speaking words that the Holy Spirit of the Lord gave him (2 Samuel 23:2). Jeremiah was given audible instruction and told to reproduce those words precisely (Jeremiah 30:1-2; 26:2), as was Isaiah (Isaiah 6:8-10), who clearly knew he was being controlled by God (Isaiah 59:21).

These are samplings of some 2,600 claims in the Old Testament for direct inspiration of the text of Scripture. God used several methods to make sure that His word was “puffed” out, and on one occasion even wrote them with His own finger on tables of stone—twice (Exodus 31:18; 34:1). Those words were not only inspired but inscribed!

The writings of the 27 books of the New Testament are also full of declarations of God’s personal inspiration of the words. Jesus claimed to speak only what God the Father instructed Him to say (John 12:46-50). Paul knew he was given revelation (Ephesians 3:3-4) and insisted on equivalent standing with God’s commands (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Peter demanded remembrance of the apostles’ teachings (2 Peter 3:1-4, 15-16), John insisted on the accuracy of what he shared (1 John 1:1-3), and Jude verified the words of the other apostles (Jude 1:3, 17).

It seems we are confronted with an all-or-nothing proposition. Either all Scripture is inspired or none of it is.

 

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