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#396 GOD FOR CHRIST’S SAKE HATH FORGIVEN YOU
GENESIS 30:14-43

As we continue our study on the history of Jacob in the land of Haran (the place of jealousy, bitterness, envy, hatred, and strife), we see how the Lord has not reproved Jacob for his sin, but the contention in his household only intensified with time.

Last evening, we went to Shelby to listen to an 18-year-old gentleman who came from Siberia to evangelize in the United States. He pointed out that in the Soviet Union, when a police officer pulls a car over to the side, he takes out a Bible and explains to the offender that he has violated the Word of God. If the man becomes argumentative, he gets a ticket. If he listens to the message, he gives him a warning. In the universities in Moscow, the Word of God has become the key curriculum. This young man humbly confessed, "I received the truth from a Gideon Bible." But, he continued, "We don’t credit the Gideons; we don’t credit the pastors. We credit the fact that God looked down from heaven, and seeing the deplorable condition of our nation, God gave us the Word of God. Now, I come to America, the land of freedom, where the Word of God has been used freely. I come to America who has been proclaiming the Word of God to the world, to 150 nations, but the Bible is no longer allowed in the classroom. The Bible is no longer upheld as the authority and the foundation of the nation. I am here," he said, "to evangelize America."

See the confusion that has come upon America. The Lord is sending the confusion, and it is only intensifying. Yet the Lord has not spoken from heaven and said, "This is your sin." That is what we learn from the history of Jacob. Jacob had sinned grievously, but the Lord showed Jacob the blessings of Abraham, all those blessings which the Lord was going to lay upon Jacob. He showed Jacob the ladder that came from heaven to the earth right to the very place where he lay. The Lord sends confusion, which is the curse of the broken law. This confusion, which the Lord sends, is to bring people back, humbled before the Lord. They start to see their own sin. Their sin starts coming back to them, and they come to the place as Jacob did, where he had to confess that his name was Jacob. Up to that time, however, we just see Jacob gear down. He was going uphill, but all he did was gear down and pull harder. The load continued to intensify until he could no longer do this.

That’s how the Lord works with His people and, we hope, with this great nation. We hope that people will begin to recognize their sin of no longer recognizing the privilege of having His Word. They no longer hold His Word as their highest authority. The Word of God is no longer the foundation of this nation. As the man pointed out last night, "When you have a building that is built on the firm foundation, that building stands so firm, but when you undermine it and take the foundation out from under it, it will crumble no matter how beautiful it is." He said we are taking the foundation of our nation out from under it when we no longer regard the Word of God as our highest authority.

Jacob’s confusion only continued to intensify, and as it did so, it finally brought Jacob to where he came to himself. Let’s pray that will happen in this nation, and that the churches, the people who profess Christianity, will come to themselves and realize they’ve got to come back to the authority of the Word of God. Truth is not what some theologian thinks and says. A theologian can say, "Oh, Jesus loves homosexual; therefore, we have to love homosexuals." That is not written in the Word of God. Who is the authority? Is it the theologian or the Lord Jesus Christ? They can tell such profound lies because they carry such authority. The authority must be placed back in the Word of God. When the churches come back to the Word of God as the foundation and authority of their preaching, we’ll see the Lord come back with His blessings upon our nation.

Note in GEN 30:14-15: "And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah. Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's mandrakes. [Notice the strife and contention that keeps multiplying in the house of Jacob. When Jacob had strife with his brother, he could flee. But when you have strife within your household, in your family, with your wife and children, it is so difficult to run from it. It becomes part of you. That strife is in the household of Jacob.]

And she said unto her, Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? [See the jealousy, bickering, and hatred going on in the household of Jacob.] and wouldest thou take away my son's mandrakes also? And Rachel said, Therefore he shall lie with thee to night for thy son's mandrakes." Notice the bargain that the two wives of Jacob make. How intimate the quarrel becomes! It enters the most intimate part of their marriage. And over what issue are they striving? Jacob was dwelling with Rachel, and Leah was envious, wanting him to dwell with her. Strife, contention, struggle, and confusion were in that household.

Jacob, in his human reasoning, thought he could run from the consequences of his sin against his brother, but though he temporarily seemed to escape that trouble, the Lord ensnared him in another from which he could not flee. The United States of America may have won a big victory in the war with Iraq, but look how they are losing the war within their own country.

Homosexuality, immorality, and absolute sodomy are becoming a way of life.

As was pointed out earlier in the history of Abraham, when there was strife between Abram's herdmen and Lot's herdmen, Abram acted very wisely. GEN 13:8-9 tells us, "And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me: if thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left." Abraham acted very wisely.

However, when Abram acted by unbelief and human reasoning the Lord sent strife within his own household. We see that in America. There is decay from within. We don’t have to worry so much about Iraq and the Soviet Union and foreign wars. We need to be concerned about the decay taking place within. This must take place personally. We must reach the point where we are not primarily concerned about the decay in other people but recognize it in our own heart.

Concerning Abraham, we read in GEN 16:4-5, "And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. [Abraham had lowered himself to human reasoning to try to bring about God’s plan instead of waiting for God to bring about his own plan and purpose. The very first thing that happened is that Hagar, his second wife, is bickering with Sarai.] And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: [Why would Sarai’s wrong in telling Abram to do this be upon Abram? It is because the promise was to Abram, not to Sarai. God held Abram accountable for his folly even though he did it in subjection to his wife.] I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee." She is not saying, "the LORD judge between me and Hagar." The result was confusion.

The Scriptures commend Sarah for not only her beauty, but for her submission to her husband. She was a beautiful person not only to behold in the flesh, but she had such a blessed godly spirit. 1PE 3:4-6 states, "But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: [This is saying that the holy women of God adorned themselves with a meek and quiet spirit, a loving spirit.] Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement."

Sarai was a lovely person. She had a meek and quiet spirit. She was a gift that God had given Abram, a precious jewel. But, as the result of Abram's unbelief and human reasoning, the contention that the Lord sent by this beautiful wife of Abraham divided his household, and led to Hagar having to flee into the wilderness. Contentions separate and destroy a household. They are so devastating. Hagar had to flee into the wilderness. It says in PRO 21:19, "It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman." This blessed gift that God had given Abram, a woman with a humble, blessed spirit of meekness, became such a contentious monster that Hagar had to flee and ended up in the wilderness. The Lord brings us to reckoning, to where we start to understand and realize that it is our sin with which the Lord is dealing.

The principle that our Saviour taught in MAT 16:27, "For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works," is not limited to the Day of Judgment. In JER 17:10, we read, "I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings." Are contentions a problem in your life? Where do you go? You go flat on your face before the Lord and say, "Lord, I have sinned. Search me. Try my heart and see if there is an evil way within me. Find where I have sinned so that I may confess it before You, Lord and You may forgive it. Let that sin be blotted out of my life that I may again have the Your favor."

This same principle is so blessedly taught in the history recorded about Jacob. The contentions in Jacob's house have become so great that the most intimate part of his married life has turned into a service for hire. The Lord sometimes humbles us beyond what we can imagine. Can you imagine a man living with his own wife and that the most intimate part of his marriage has become a service for hire? In GEN 30:16, we read, "And Jacob came out of the field in the evening, and Leah went out to meet him, and said, Thou must come in unto me; for surely I have hired thee with my son's mandrakes. And he lay with her that night."

I heard a message one time by David Wilkerson, who was talking about witchcraft and its different forms. He said, "Today, witchcraft sometimes follows you right into the bedroom. Witchcraft is a control of the mind. What happens is that your wife may have something that she wants you to do, and if you don’t do it, then when you go to bed, she’s got a headache." You become a hireling. You do what you’re told or you no longer have her love. You are serving for hire. That’s quite a thought, and this is the where Jacob found himself. Jacob had actually come to the point where he was serving for hire. We read that Leah said, "Surely I have hired thee with my son’s mandrakes. And he lay with her that night."

As the contentions intensified between Jacob's wives, we read that Rachel said, "With great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed," GEN 30:8. At this point, however, we see that the Lord again heard Leah. In these struggles, Leah and Rachel were also struggling before the Lord. GEN 30:17-20 reads, "And God hearkened unto Leah, and she conceived, and bare Jacob the fifth son. And Leah said, God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband: and she called his name Issachar. And Leah conceived again, and bare Jacob the sixth son. And Leah said, God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons: and she called his name Zebulun."

The previous chapter pointed out that the names of the tribes of Israel were the names of the gates of heaven. Under the conditions of this strife and contention, these two women chose these names. Yet, we see how God rules and overrules. These circumstances brought the divine inspiration needed by these women to give their children the names that the Lord had placed upon the gates of heaven.

The names of Issachar, which means "hire," and Zebulun, which means "dwelling," also become very relevant when we understand the extent to which the Lord humiliated Jacob as a hireling or servant before he could receive the promise of Abraham, i.e., to dwell in the land of promise. Jacob had to become a hireling. When he lied to his father, he did it to receive the blessings pronounced upon him that his brother would serve him, and he (Jacob) would become the master. But the Lord reduced him not only to a hireling for his father-in-law, but he became a hireling to his own wife. The Lord humbled him. He became not only a servant but also a hireling. This humiliation had to come before he could be brought to dwell in the land of promise.

We read in GEN 28:12-14, "And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it.

And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; [The Lord had told Jacob that he was going to give Jacob the promised land, but that he was headed to Haran. Jacob was going to school there and would come out with a twenty-year education before he would be ready to dwell in the promised land. That education showed him what it means to be a servant, to be reduced to a hireling of the lowest degree. That is the significance of those two names. Issachar means "hire," and Zebulun means "dwell." Jacob became a hireling and a servant to learn to serve the Lord according to His Word before he could dwell in the place of God.] And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

As Jacob fled from the just wrath of his brother, the Lord showed him his portion in Christ, and God showered all the blessings of Abraham upon him without one word about his sin. Sometimes people make the statement, "Well, the Lord is blessing me. How could He possibly be dealing with me for my sin?" Confusion and other difficult things may be taking place, and yet the Lord seems to be blessing at the same time. That’s the way the Lord works. The Lord had not said one word of reproof to Jacob for his sin. Rather, the Lord caused Jacob to harvest the fruit of his sin. Jacob learned to see the sinfulness of his sin by eating that fruit and seeing the bitterness of it. That brought Jacob to confess his sin and to come before the Lord and say, "My name is Jacob," which means "I’m a trickster, a deceiver, and a liar."

That’s what the Lord wants from you and me. If we want our confusion to come to an end, we must search our own hearts and find wherein we have walked contrary to the will of God. In so doing, we come before the Lord and we start saying, like David, "Lord, search my heart and try my reins and see if there is an evil way within me," Cf. PSA 23-24. Then we can come before the Lord and confess that evil, repent of it, and ask the Lord to forgive it.

The Lord had told Jacob "And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; [Jacob was going to dwell in this land, but ‘Hire’ was born before ‘Dwell.’ Jacob had to become a servant and a hireling. He had to know what it was to bite the dust. He had to know what it was to come into the service of the Lord before he could come into that place of dwelling.] for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of," GEN 28:15.

How little did Jacob realize the meaning of Haran! The Lord was saying that He would be with Jacob as Jacob entered into all the strife, struggle, confusion, bitterness, and jealousy. Jacob was not to perish in the situation, but the Lord used it as a furnace to purge and to purify Jacob so that he would understand the bitterness of his sin and know what it was to repent of it.

The Lord also remembered Rachel in her distress and gave her a son. The Lord, in pronouncing His will and His decree, has all things under His control. You and I have our trials, but the person with whom we are having contention is also having his trials. The Lord sometimes uses such blessed means to bring a furnace to both sides of the struggle.

I was visiting with a brother, and the Lord had recently blessed me in a struggle I had just had with that brother. I explained to him how the Lord had blessed me and helped me in that particular struggle. He said, "Do you mean to tell me the Lord was helping you in that struggle? The Lord was helping me," and he went on to explain how the Lord had blessed his soul in that struggle.

I said to him, "Brother, we have to remember one thing. The Lord said, ‘I came not to send peace, but a sword. . .And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.’ (MAT 10:34 and 36). The Lord brought about that struggle. He was trying my heart to see how I would react under such conditions." Would I respond with the law of love? Would I heap coals of love upon his head while he was doing this to me? From his side, he saw it in the same light. The end result was that we both received a blessing for our soul.

We see in GEN 30:22-24 in the situation with Jacob, Leah, and Rachel, "And God remembered Rachel, [She is the very instrument bringing about the tremendous struggle in Jacob’s life.] and God hearkened to her, and opened her womb. And she conceived, and bare a son; and said, God hath taken away my reproach: And she called his name Joseph; and said, The LORD shall add to me another son." Rachel had her struggles before the Lord too. The Lord used all these things to bring about His eternal purpose in each and every life. The Lord was using all this strife, struggle, and contention to exercise Leah’s heart, Rachel’s heart, and Jacob’s heart. The end result was for God’s glory on the part of all three.

The name Joseph means "adding," which teaches the blessed reward the Lord has for those who serve Him diligently. When you look at the life of Joseph, look at the price that Joseph paid to serve the Lord without any reservation. He wouldn’t put a price on obedience. He absolutely wouldn’t sin against the Lord regardless of the cost. What an example he set not only for Israel, but for you and me.

In GEN 39:5-9, we read, "And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, [Joseph had been sold by his brothers because he reproved them for their evil. They were jealous, and they sold him as a slave.] and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field. And he left all that he had in Joseph's hand; [The Lord blessed everything he had.] and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured. And it came to pass after these things, that his master's wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, Lie with me. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; [That’s why she cast her eye on him.] neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?"

Potiphar’s wife cast her eye on Joseph because he had become so renowned. Joseph was willing to give it all up and live in prison. Have you ever heard of sexual harassment? That’s sexual harassment in its highest degree, and that’s how most of it comes about. She was refused so she accused Joseph and had him put in prison. Joseph was willing to go to prison.

He said, "How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?" God had added to the house of Potiphar and had multiplied everything in Potiphar’s hand for Joseph’s sake because Joseph obeyed the Word of God, and the authority of God’s Word was his highest authority. There was no price that he would put on disobeying the Lord. Not only was he not enticed by the lust of Potiphar’s wife, but he was not willing to disobey for the sake of holding his position. He would not sin against God.

Notice the contrast between Joseph and Reuben, who was also one of God’s people. Reuben is also one of the names of the gates of heaven. We will see why Joseph’s name means "adding" and why his name multiplies. Leah's oldest son Reuben was not as noble as Joseph. He was willing to defile Rachel's handmaid whom she had given unto Jacob saying, "Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her," GEN 30:3. We read in GEN 35:22, "And it came to pass, when Israel dwelt in that land, that Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father's concubine: and Israel heard it. Now the sons of Jacob were twelve."

Reuben was willing to defile his own father’s wife to get a little revenge against his mother’s sister. Joseph was willing to go to prison before he would sin against God. That’s why Joseph’s name was "adding." The Lord was with him, the Lord loved him, and the Lord blessed everything he did. When Joseph went to jail, the Lord blessed the jailer, and the jailer put everything in Joseph’s hands. When he came out of jail, the Lord blessed Egypt, and there was seven years of bounty. Joseph was made second ruler of the land because the wisdom and the Spirit of God were found in him. Joseph had a holy reverence for the will of God.

At what seems to be the climax of Jacob's trials with all the confusion the Lord has sent into his life as a fugitive, Jacob begins to see the emptiness of his life in Haran, and his heart begins to yearn for the Promised Land. Read GEN 30:25-26: "And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban, Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place, and to my country. Give me my wives and my children, for whom I have served thee and let me go: for thou knowest my service, which I have done thee." Jacob began to desire to go back to his own land. Remember the name of the place he left. It was Beersheba, which means "the place of rest." He wanted to go back to Bethel, the place where he remembered the house of God. This is the first indication since he’s been in Haran that he was starting to long for the house of God. He was beginning to realize that he was no longer at the house of God.

Jacob was not to spend the remainder of his days in the house of his uncle. However, the Lord’s ways are higher than our ways, Cf. ISA 55:9, and Jacob was not to leave until it was the Lord’s time. Just because Jacob was beginning to realize that he was ensnared in his own sin doesn’t mean that it was the Lord’s time to deliver him.

When Jacob finally got ready to leave, he said to his wives about Laban, "And your father hath deceived me, and changed my wages ten times," GEN 31:7. The Lord had a little training left for Jacob, but he also had another reason. We read in GEN 30:30 that Jacob said to Laban, "For it was little which thou hadst before I came, and it is now increased unto a multitude; and the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming: and now when shall I provide for mine own house also?" Jacob realized that he had a household, but he had no substance. He was still a hireling. It was time for him to start to provide for his own house. We see in GEN 30:43 concerning Jacob after the Lord told him to come out, "And the man (Jacob) increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses." The Lord had Jacob stay with Laban until he had a provision for his own household.

ROM 8:28 tells us, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God." Jacob was God’s dear child, but Jacob was a wayward son, and the Lord was disciplining and training Jacob. The Lord loved Jacob, and all the contention and strife, all that Jacob had gone through in his life, was going to work out for Jacob’s good.

The Lord sent all the confusion into Jacob's life to reward him for his deceit, but it was not God's purpose to send Jacob away empty. GEN 30:43 tells us, "And the man increased exceedingly, and had much cattle, and maidservants, and menservants, and camels, and asses." God sent him away with a rich household.

Laban realized that not only Jacob's service was honest, but that he profited by God's blessing on Jacob's labor. As we saw the Lord bless the house of Potiphar because Joseph was there, so now we see in GEN 30:27-28, "And Laban said unto him, I pray thee, if I have found favour in thine eyes, tarry: for I have learned by experience that the LORD hath blessed me for thy sake. [Even though the Lord was sending Jacob to school and teaching him the sinfulness of sin, the Lord still loved him; and for Jacob’s sake, His blessing was upon the house of Laban. Jacob was there, and the Lord blessed everything Jacob did. Since Jacob was in the service of Laban, Laban benefited by it. When Jacob left, however, he was rewarded and paid a fair wage. Jacob did not go out empty, and Laban would realize the end result of his craftiness was that the Lord rewarded Jacob for his honest labor.] And he said, Appoint me thy wages, and I will give it.

This same principle is taught in the case of Joseph. GEN 39:5 states, "And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field." The Lord’s blessing was upon all that Potiphar had even though he was an ungodly man, but it was for Joseph’s sake. The Lord blessed Laban and his cattle and everything he had because Jacob was one of the Lord’s beloved children.

This teaches the gospel principle of the greater than Joseph, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. Even though you and I are hell-deserving sinners, deserving nothing better than to be cast into eternal darkness, for the sake of the greater Joseph, Jesus, you and I can be blessed. In EPH 4:32, we read, "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." You and I are forgiven not for our sake but because of the greater Joseph. Paul said, "even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you." It is because Christ is in you. It is because we are serving the Lord Jesus Christ. God looks upon the blessed atonement made by the Lord Jesus Christ, and He sees the righteousness of Christ imputed to you and me. Now, for Christ’s sake, you and I can be blessed. What a wonderful illustration of the gospel!

The law of the gospel is that we are to be imitators of Christ. EPH 5:1-3 says, "Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; [The word followers in the original means "imitators." We are to imitate Christ, His forgiving spirit, and His self-sacrificing love. We read in The Lord’s Prayer, ‘Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’ We are praying for the same quality of forgiveness that you and I grant to those who have sinned against us. If you shake my hand and say, "I forgive you," but your actions deny your words, your forgiveness is false and hollow. We must forgive wholeheartedly with no reservation because we want to be forgiven in such a way that everyone of our sins are cast behind the Father’s back in that sea of everlasting forgetfulness. If they are not, we are doomed to hell.] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints." Don’t continue in sin that grace may abound. Turn from your sin to the living God. "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And…put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," EPH 4:23-24. Return to the Lord. Don’t continue with a bickering and a bitter spirit. Don’t continue in a wrong attitude. Turn from your sins and forgive those who yet need to turn.

This teaches that to be an imitator of Christ, we must not only clean up our actions, but also our attitude and conversation. In EPH 5:4-5, we read, "Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God." If our actions, our heart, and our mouth are not cleaned up, we have no part in the kingdom of God, because nothing that defiles or is a lie can enter. This life is given us as a time of purification. The Lord sent Jacob to Haran to see the sinfulness of sin and turn from it.

We find throughout the gospel that all our blessings are for Christ sake, i.e., upon the bases of His imputed and imparted obedience. 1JO 2:10-12 reads, "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name's sake." It is for the sake of Christ that we are blessed even as Potiphar’s house was blessed for the sake of Joseph, and the house of Laban was blessed for Jacob’s sake. So it is with you and me. All of the ungodly deeds which we have committed in an ungodly way and all our sins and iniquities, for Christ’s sake, are forgiven, and we may be blessed. We are blessed because all of this sin is cast behind the Lord’s back, and we can stand righteous before God for Christ’s sake.

In the passage, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake." the word name comes from the Greek word,"onoma which means "a name of authority." We are blessed for the sake of the authority of Christ’s name. This is why all successful prayer must spring from calling upon God the Father in the NAME of His Son, Jesus Christ. There is authority in that name. When you and I stand in awe and reverence of that authority, we believe in Jesus Christ. Until then, we are unbelievers. If you think that believing is merely an historical belief, you’ll find on the Day of Judgment that you have deceived yourself and that for all eternity. Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ is to stand in awe and holy reverence of that name and the authority that was given to Him by the Father.

In JOH 14:13-14, we read, "And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [We are to ask in that name because the Father was so pleased with the obedience of Christ who "humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name," PHI 2:8-9. When we come to the Father in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are saying that we have bowed under His authority and stand in awe and reverence of that authority, because "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth," PHI 2:10. It is for the sake of the Lord Jesus that we have access to the Father. How can we come to the Father in the name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and not hold His law of love in our highest esteem? Can you say that you are coming in the name of Jesus Christ without a holy awe and reverence for that name and for His law of love?

In JOH 15:5-7, we read, "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you." If Christ abides in you, if His words abide in you, if you stand in holy awe and reverence of His words, if that law of love which He has proclaimed throughout His gospel is the rule and law of your life because you revere His name, you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done for you. That’s coming to the Father in the name of the Son and in the authority that the Father has placed upon the Son because His words abide in you.

There is another blessed account in which an individual received the king’s favor for the sake of another. It is another type of the blessed favor that we have before God the Father for the sake of His Son. We see that in IIS 9:1-3: "And David said, Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul, that I may shew him kindness for Jonathan’s sake? And there was of the house of Saul a servant whose name was Ziba. And when they had called him unto David, the king said unto him, Art thou Ziba? And he said, Thy servant is he. And the king said, Is there not yet any of the house of Saul, that I may shew the kindness of God unto him? And Ziba said unto the king, Jonathan hath yet a son, which is lame on his feet." We see here a covenant relationship whereby we have a pleading ground. The son of Jonathan was lame in his feet. He was not able to walk on his own, in his own strength. Neither can you and I spiritually, but because of a covenant between David and Jonathan, David inquires, "Is there yet any that is left of the house of Saul?" This kindness was not only for Jonathan’s sake but also for the sake of a covenant, for the sake of the oath that David had entered into with Jonathan.

In ISA 23:17-18, we read, "And he said unto him, Fear not: for the hand of Saul my father shall not find thee; and thou shalt be king over Israel, and I shall be next unto thee; and that also Saul my Father knoweth. And they two made a covenant before the Lord; and David abode in the wood, and Jonathan went to his house." There was a covenant between David and Jonathan, which stated that David was going to be king, but Jonathan would be next under him. In other words, Jonathan would eat off David’s table. Jonathan supported David knowing that Jonathan, according to Saul, should be the king. Jonathan realized that God was going to make David the king. They entered into a covenant that Jonathan should eat from David’s table, "I shall be next unto thee." Jonathan was killed in Saul’s last battle, but for Jonathan’s sake, his son was next unto David.

We read in 2SA 9:6-7, "Now when Mephibosheth, the son of Jonathan, the son of Saul, was come unto David, he fell on his face, and did reverence. And David said, Mephibosheth. And he answered, Behold thy servant! And David said unto him, Fear not: for I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father's sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually."

The King of Israel is a type of Christ, and he showed kindness to Mephibosheth for the sake of another. What a blessed illustration of the gospel! The Lord Jesus Christ has entered into a covenant relationship with God the Father. He covenanted to come down and to shed His blood to pay the price for our sins and to purchase our salvation and redeem us from all iniquity. For that covenant’s sake, the Father now must declare us innocent before His judgment seat because His justice has been satisfied in the blessed atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We see with Mephibosheth that he came unto David, and David said, "I will surely shew thee kindness for Jonathan thy father’s sake, and will restore thee all the land of Saul thy father; and thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." The very covenant that David made with Jonathan, he fulfilled for Jonathan’s sake with his son, Mephibosheth. "Thou shalt eat bread at my table continually." Mephibosheth could now eat at the king’s table for the sake of another. You and I are going to be able to stand before the Lord and be invited to the King’s table where we will be able to eat and drink in the kingdom with Him for the sake of another, the Lord Jesus Christ. "And God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you," (EPH. 4:32). Amen.


These on-lines sermons are a ministry of Gospel Chapel located in Conrad, Montana. We also have a daily devotion. For a list of sermons on cassette please visit our on-line tape catalog. See also, our sermon notes.

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