Sunday April 28, 2019
Christ is the first fruits and all believers are His harvest.
The concept of firstfruits derives from God's creation work. Because God created everything that exists, all of creation belongs to him, PSA 24:1. Consequently, that which is first and best belongs to him and is to be given to him.
PSA 24:1 The earth is the Lord's, and all it contains,
The world, and those who dwell in it.
PSA 24:2 For He has founded it upon the seas,
And established it upon the rivers.
Because of God's creative power and ownership of all, the Bible instructed OT believers to give God the best of the animal sacrifices. The land is also viewed as a gift from God and the best of it, its "first fruits," is to be given to Him — crops, the wheat harvest, olive oil, the finest new wine, honey, sheep wool, and fruit. The Old Testament makes it clear that everything that God's people have is to be viewed as from God and gained through his providence.
This makes sense. Since the earth and all it contains belongs to Him, His people under His law should acknowledge that all they have is due to Him and so in the celebration of first fruits they present a sample of the best of their crops to the Lord.
But there is more to this. What about people? They belong to Him as well. But how should they be presented to Him? In our sins we cannot be presented to Him at all and so all of us are to be rejected, unless we have a first fruits to present to Him who is not in sin.
Yet, that only makes the first fruits presentable. He is sinless and righteous, but we are not, therefore He doesn’t represent us, unless He somehow pays our debt. If He does that then the first fruits is actually a perfect representation of all who believe in Him. He is not in sin, and we are cleansed from sin. We become His crop because we are like Him, and all of us can be presented to the Father.
PSA 24:3 Who may ascend into the hill of the Lord?
And who may stand in His holy place?
PSA 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood,
And has not sworn deceitfully.
Only Jesus fits this description. Fallen man, in shame, hid himself from God.
PSA 24:5 He shall receive a blessing from the Lord
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.
PSA 24:6 This is the generation of those who seek Him,
Who seek Thy face — even Jacob.
Those who seek His face, even Jacob the liar scoundrel, would be those who believed the message, the gospel, that the Lord redeemed them through substitution.
First fruits of the barley harvest wason the day after the Passover Sabbath (Christ’s resurrection) and the first fruits of the wheat harvest on Pentecost (the beginning of the church).
No ritual had been wasted or detail overlooked. We are the harvest and are therefore like Christ, the first fruits. He gave us His Spirit to lead and empower us and so we are called the first fruits of the Spirit. We are predestined to adoption as sons, and so we are sons of light.
Having all of this, and more, we have a purpose.
Sons of God: with Christ as our first fruits, we being the first fruits of the Holy Spirit, and sons of light, these are all given with a very real earthly purpose in mind.
The blessings of the heavenlies in us produce fruit to a very real, daily, practical application. The blessings manifest themselves in fruit, which glorifies the Father. The blessings are to be known and cherished, and thanksgiving needs to be offered to the Father who gave them in Christ, and they are also to be used in life every day. Understood and empowered, the blessings from the heavenlies dethrone the power of the flesh over us.
Sons of God are peacemakers - they do not quarrel with God and seek reconciliation of men.
MAT 5:9 “Blessed [happinesses] are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
They do not quarrel with God. They accept all of God’s dealings with them as good, which is the deeper meaning of meekness [prautes] and that closely linked with humility, EPH 4:2; COL 3:12.
MAT 5:5 “Blessed are the gentle [prautes], for they shall inherit the earth.”
GAL 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.
GAL 5:14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, " You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
GAL 5:15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care lest you be consumed by one another.
Happiness to the peacemakers, for these shall be called the sons of God.
GAL 5:25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.
GAL 5:26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
The Corinthians were called out for their jealousy and strife, for bringing frivolous lawsuits against one another, and for slander, gossip, tempers, disturbances.
The sons of God are extraordinary in that they love even their enemies.
MAT 5:43 "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor, and hate your enemy.'
MAT 5:44 "But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you
MAT 5:45 in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
MAT 5:46 "For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same?
MAT 5:47 "And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?
“And if you greet your brothers only, what extraordinary (perissos)?”
MAT 5:48 "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In vs. 46, the Lord said that there is reward in this, but what reward He does not say. It is as if He is bidding us to do it in order to find out.
I would say that the reward is to see the fruit of the love of God flowing through you in the lives of others. Many will spurn your love, but some will not. To be sure, if we don’t love our enemies, we will never see that reward.
The criminal on His right:
LUK 23:39 And one of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!"
LUK 23:40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
LUK 23:41 "And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong."
LUK 23:42 And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"
LUK 23:43 And He said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise."
LUK 23:44 And it was now about the sixth hour, and darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour,
LUK 23:45 the sun being obscured; and the veil of the temple was torn in two.
LUK 23:46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit." And having said this, He breathed His last.
LUK 23:47 Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began praising God, saying, "Certainly this man was innocent."
You never know who will witness the love of God in you. You don’t have to act, nor are you threatened with, “You better do good, you don’t know who’s watching.” You just have to walk in His love.
And when the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
The sons of God love their enemies, are exceedingly gracious, do not judge, but forgive.
LUK 6:27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,
LUK 6:28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.
LUK 6:29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either.
LUK 6:30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back.
LUK 6:31 "And just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way.
LUK 6:32 "And if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
“And if you love those who love you, what sort (poia) you (humin)?”
LUK 6:33 "And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same.
LUK 6:34 "And if you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, in order to receive back the same amount.
LUK 6:35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.
LUK 6:36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
LUK 6:37 "And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.
LUK 6:38 "Give, and it will be given to you; good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, they will pour into your lap. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return."
In verse 35 one might read it as earning sonship. However, the indication is that you will be acting like a son of the Most High.
The sons of God are not overly attached to any material possession, not even their own bodies. How many people in this world are slaves to things and their own bodies? The sons of God are not overly attached to time. If someone needs their time, it is freely offered. How many people in this world are slaves to time?
The sons of God are free of this world while living in this world.
The sons of God do the will of their Father.
MAT 21:28 "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go work today in the vineyard.'
MAT 21:29 "And he answered and said, 'I will, sir'; and he did not go.
MAT 21:30 "And he came to the second and said the same thing. But he answered and said, 'I will not'; yet he afterward regretted it and went.
MAT 21:31 "Which of the two did the will of his father?" They said, "The latter." Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you that the tax-gatherers and harlots will get into the kingdom of God before you.
MAT 21:32 "For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him.
MAT 21:23When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, "By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?"
MAT 21:24 Jesus said to them, "I will also ask you one thing, which if you tell Me, I will also tell you by what authority I do these things.
MAT 21:25 "The baptism of John was from what source, from heaven or from men?" And they began reasoning among themselves, saying, "If we say, 'From heaven,' He will say to us, 'Then why did you not believe him?'
MAT 21:26 "But if we say, 'From men,' we fear the people; for they all regard John as a prophet."
MAT 21:27 And answering Jesus, they said, "We do not know." He also said to them, "Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.
And always a good reminder, the sons of God are disciplined by the Father.