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New World Order – 2 – The Seven World Empires

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

1.Part #1 – The NOW – What is it? – Will it take place?

2.Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

3.Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

4.Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority… And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:1-8)

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns…I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast… (Rev 17:3-14)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev 19:19-20)

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth… And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure… (Dan 2:31-46)

THE STUDY:

Throughout history there have been seven world empires that have sought, through the use of force, to overtake and rule all of the nations that were in existence in their day:

  1. Egypt
  2. Assyria
  3. Babylon
  4. Medo-Persia
  5. Greece
  6. Rome
  7. Includes a variety of world powers existing in the last days – (Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan etc.) that attempted to overtake world in WW1 and WW2.

In every case, their attempt to overtake the known world was unsuccessful due to divine intervention.

This truth is presented in the prophecy of Revelation 13:+17:+19:  In these verses, a beast with 7 heads is described.  The 7 heads represent the 7 world empires;  while the 10 horns on the 7th head represents the 7th world empire being made up of a varied group of nations. see Rev 17:9-12.  The end of this beast is made plain in Rev 19:19-20.  It will be cast in to the Lake of Fire, picturing the Lord’s defeat of all these national empires.

Likewise Daniel 2:, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed an image that represented the world empires that would exist from Daniel’s day forward into the future (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the world powers of the latter days.)  These were pictures by the gold, silver, brass, iron, and iron and clay parts of the image.  Once again, the end of these powers was clearly presented by the stone (Christ) culminating the destruction of the image.

The Bible gives us accounts and prophesies of divine intervention that proves the Lord’s control over the world empires.  These accounts are limited to the empires that fell during the periods in which the Old and New Testaments were written….

  1. Egypt – Exo 14:21-31 – Egyptian army drowning in Red Sea.
  2. Assyria – 2 Kings 19:35-37 – Angel of the Lord defeating Assyrian army at night
  3. Babylon – Dan 5:25-31 – Defeat of Babylon by Lord through use of Darius the Median
  4. Medo-Persia – Dan 8:2-8, 8:20-21 – Prophecy of defeat of Persia by the Greek Empire
  5. Greece – the fall of the Greek empire took place during the silent years of 400-0 BC.
  6. Rome – fell after the New Testament writings were completed and Divine revelation brought to an end.

In every case, these empires wanted to control the wealth and military power of each of these individual nations.  In each case, the Lord said “No’ and acted on behalf of his people, stopping the world wide takeover through His personal intervention or the use of other nations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

The truth that the Lord is sovereign over all nations cannot be denied.  From the title of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” to the many verses describing His sovereignty (Dan 4:34-37, Isa 40:15-17, Jer 10:10, 1 Tim 6:14-16, Rev 19:15-16) the Bible is filled with references to this truth.

We have every reason to praise and honor our Lord based upon His strength and Lordship over all.  (Psa 150:1-2)  It is because of this truth, that we can find peace and rest in the midst of a tumultuous world.  When we see Iran working to create a nuclear arsenal, terrorist threatening our country on almost a daily basis, and China growing economically and militarily, we can still trust in the fact that He is in control.

Even as we see the world rushing to form new alliances that will involve a unified monetary/economic system, a lessened military defense for our country, and loss of national sovereignty, we can rest assured that the Lord is in control.  None of these events will take place apart from His hand of protection and allowance allowing these things to take place.

While we can freely worship and proclaim His Word, let us increase our efforts to reach the lost around us with His message of salvation by grace.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The events leading up to the establishment of a NWO should be a warning to all of the closeness of the Lord’s coming and the end of the world.  To date, every attempt to unite the world by force was stopped by the Lord but, someday, world unity will come into existence.  Our time of national freedom is perhaps coming to a close.  The freedom to proclaim the message of God’s grace and the freedom to worship Him is still with us.  Now is the time for you to consider your eternal destiny while the truth is being proclaimed publically and you have the opportunity to worship freely.

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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New World Order – 1 – What is it and when will it take place

SIH STSTA ICONOver the past 20 years or so, we have heard much said about a “New World Order”.  Especially GHW Bush, the president of the United States had much to say about the subject.  Other presidents, as well, spoke outwardly about this subject… listen to the last 4 presidents in their own words…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc7i0wCFf8g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvEqg_UlGaA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF-obJ8lYWc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CV8Xt2VWvc

The word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

1. Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

2. Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

3. Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

4.  Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

In this first section of our study we will be answering these questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

THE STUDY:

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The New World Order” or “The One World Order”, but do we really understand what this phrase is talking about?  Is it simply a harmless concept of world unity to bring about peace, or does this phrase refer to something that displeases the Lord and endangers us as the United States of America, and as individual citizens of our country?

New World Order defined…  (Please note… I have, on purpose, omitted definitions of NWO that is presented by conspiracy theorists.  For purposes of this study, the mainstream definitions of NWO will suffice.)

“the post-Cold War organization of power in which nations tend to cooperate rather than foster conflict.”  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/new+world+order

“any period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Order

“a vision of the world in which greater peace and stability is achieved through a new political order following the end of the cold war.”

http://www.allwords.com/word-New+World+Order.html

“a political situation in which the countries of the world are no longer divided because of their support for either the United States or the Soviet Union and instead work together to solve international problems”

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/the-new-world-order

Based upon the above definitions, my understanding of the meaning of New World Order (NWO), has these basic parts to it…

  1. some type of political unity between nations
  2. this unity is brought about by an exercise of authority
  3. the desired results of this unity are
    1. less conflicts
    2. dramatic changes in political thought
    3. dramatic changes in national power
    4. greater harmony and agreement between nations
    5. greater prosperity between nations (military, economic, social)
    6. the solving of international problems

This sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  To unify all the nations so that there is no more wars, no more social injustice, and basically, no more disagreements.  Who would want to oppose that?

The principle sounds pretty good and for those who are fans of a NWO there is even better news… in our texts, it will take place…

And it was given unto him… and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world… Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

See also (Dan 7:21-25, Dan 11:36-39)

There is coming a day, I believe not too far into the future, the world is going to be put under a unified authority.  The identity of the authority is under much debate, but one thing we know for sure… when this takes place, Satan will be the ultimate authority. (Rev 13:1-6)

SUMMARY:

The answer our original questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Simply put it is:  a political unity between nations, that results in less conflict and instability by working together to solve the problems of the world.

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

Absolutely, according to Rev 13:7-10 (and many other verses) the Bible makes it plain that this NWO will take place in the not so distant future.

The basic concept of a NWO has existed throughout the ages of mankind, beginning with the Tower of Babel; followed by the different world empires extending from the Egyptian Empire to the Roman Empire; and extending into today’s time.  The concept of the NWO is nothing new.

In our next study will we look at the different forced attempts for a NWO brought about by the ancient world empires (Egypt to Rome).  Were they successful?  What was Lord’s response to their attempts?

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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The Symbols of the Church

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most interesting areas of Bible study is the area of Bible symbolism.  Symbols are used in the Bible to help illustrate many differing Bible doctrines.  Symbols are used throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, covering most of the major teachings of Scripture.

The symbols of the Bible have come to us by the grace of God.  Our Lord understood our need to understand Bible teachings. Because He loved us, has made it easier for each of us to understand these teachings through use of symbolism.

As an example, within the pages of the Scriptures we find the Lord uses everyday objects to help us understand spiritual truths.

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Christ used everyday objects to teach the truth about Himself:

John 6:35 – I am the BREAD of Life – By this He was teaching us that we must partake of His work for spiritual life, satisfaction for our spiritual hunger and the basis of our eternal salvation.

John 10:9 – I am the DOOR – By this He is saying that He is the entryway into salvation, which leads to an eternity in God’s presence.

John 15:5 – I am the true VINE – By this symbol He was expressing that He is the source of our strength, our life, and the bearing of our spiritual fruit

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In this lesson we will be looking at the symbols that Christ used to help us understand truths about His local churches on earth.

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Tim 3:15 (KJV)  – But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

THE STUDY:

Here is a listing of 10 different items in the NT believers lives that helped them (and us) understand His church on earth.

  1. The Salt of the Earth – Matt 5:13
    1. Preserving influence in the earth
    2. Flavor, better earthly existence
  2. The Light of the World – Matt 5:14
    1. Reveals the Truth
    2. Removes Darkness
  3. The Inn – Luke 10:34
    1. Place to Care and Nurture God’s People Once They Are Saved
  4. The Flock of God – Acts 20:28
    1. Led by the Lord
    2. Fed by the Lord
    3. Protected by the Lord
  5. The Body of Christ – 1 Cor 12:27
    1. Unity of Many Differing Members
    2. Follows Instructions Given by the Head (Christ)
    3. Works for Each Others Benefit
  6. The Temple of the Living God – 2 Cor 6:16
    1. Lives Within The Church
    2. Worshipped Within the Church
    3. Taught Of Him
  7. The Virgin Bride of Christ – 2 Cor 11:2
    1. Moral Purity
    2. Commitment Made Based upon Love
    3. Submission Given Based upon Reciprocal Love, Respect and Honor
  8. The Household of God – 1 Tim 3:15
    1. Where God and His Family Meet Together
  9. The Pillar and Ground of the Truth – 1 Tim 3:15
    1. To Support Truth
    2. To Elevate the Truth
  10. Candlestick – Rev 1:20
    1. To Shine Light of Christ To World
    2. To Possess His Authority Thru Spirit’s Workings

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

The importance of coming to an understanding of Bible doctrine cannot be overemphasized. Our loving heavenly Father has seen fit to make this understanding a bit easier for each of us through the use of many, varied Bible symbols.

For those who have yet to be saved…

The most important Bible truths for anyone to understand are truths about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the introductory portion of this blog entry, we find that Christ is declared as the gateway (door) to forgiveness, salvation and an eternity with the Heavenly Father.  It is through the application of His work to our lives that we are given salvation from our sins, much like the partaking of bread brings about satisfaction from the spiritual hunger in which we all share. And finally, our source of spiritual life and divine supplies comes from Him also.

Won’t you come to Christ today, realizing He is the only source of forgiveness for your sins and an eternal relationship with the heavenly Father?

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Where Does Waldo Go To Church?

SIH STSTA ICONIn the late 1980’s a series of books containing the theme, “Where’s Waldo?” came to America.  Originating in Britain, these books contained illustrations of many characters all participating in a variety of activities.  The goal of the reader is to seek out Waldo, in the midst of the crowd.  For more about the book series take a look at these sites:

http://www.findwaldo.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where’s_Waldo

Just as children throughout the world looked for Waldo in the pages of his books, how many of us are looking for a church that we can confidently attend?   How many of us are frustrated, not being able to find a church that aids our spiritual growth?   Many times, the reason why we can’t find a spiritually edifying church is because we do not understand what we should be looking for in a church.

The Word of God is not silent about this matter….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Hebrews10:

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

THE STUDY:

Here is list of the characteristics of a church (local assembly of believers) that we can attend with which the Lord is pleased…

Uses Scriptures only as foundation of beliefs and teachings  (1 Tim 3:15 )

The Lord’s churches are described as being the “pillar and ground” of the truth.  In other words, one of the greatest roles the church has is to firmly hold up the truth of His Word.  This refers to both the declaration of His Word from the pulpit as well as declaring His Word through the practices of the church.

Seeks to glorify the Lord in all of it’s ministries by putting His desires first.  (Eph 3:21)

The Lord Jehovah is to be glorified in all things (every ministry/activities) of the Lord’s churches.  Every endeavor that is undertaken by the church is to be done with His authority, His direction and His glory as the end motive.

Clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith …man’s inability to save himself from his sinful condition  (Eph 2:8-9)

The Word of God is clear, salvation is entirely of God’s grace, even the faith we exercise at our salvation is a gift that is given to us through His intervention in our lives.  Understanding these truths results in God being exalted to His deserved level, while properly humbling man and showing his true impotence in the salvation experience.   Any other message of salvation leads to a man trusting in not only Christ’s work, but his own actions, and righteousnesses, for the forgiveness of his sins.

Observes ordinances of Lord’s Supper and Baptism as declarations and memorials to work of Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Cor 11:23-29, Matt 28:16-20)

The Lord’s church has been given two, and only two ordinances to observe, baptism and the Lord’s supper.  Both of which are observed as a form of remembrance and declaration.  Baptism, declares an individual’s salvation and is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection.  The Lord’s Supper is a declaration of a church’s existence and the unity of its members, as well as a remembrance of His suffering and death on the cross.

Teach practical and doctrinal truth during it’s services to encourage spiritual growth of members (Eph 4:11-13, Acts 20:27-29)

The Lord placed those who teach and lead within the church so that the members may become perfect (spiritually mature), edified (built up, strengthened), they are to do this by teaching the “all the counsel of God”… a churches goal should be to gradually build up and mature it’s members so that, eventually, the entire Word of God can be declared with no fear of misunderstanding on the part of it’s members.

Promotes a lifestyle of service and worship of Christ through the leadership of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:1-9)

The church is to lead and teach God’s people so that they will become living sacrifices, bringing praise to their Lrod in every aspect of their life.  This is done through an exercise of the fruits of the Spirit, as they follow God’s Word through leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Emphasizes the need for prayer and independent Bible study (Roms 17:10-13)

One of the greatest needs within a local assembly is a clear acknowledgement of each man’s responsibility to learn, understand, and live according to God’s Word.   This can only be accomplished through each member developing an intimate knowledge of His Word.

Has evangelistic outreach/missionary ministries to local area and throughout the world (Acts 1:7-8, Matthew 28:16-20)

The Lord, in giving His assemblies a mission, made it plain that the gospel was to be declared to the entire world…locally, nationally and internationally.  The mission of the church, described as “the Great Commission”, includes proclaiming the gospel to the lost, baptizing those who are saved (to publically declare the salvation they have already received) and teaching those who have been saved and baptized.

Meets the physical needs of the community in which they reside (Matt 14:13-21)

The first and primary mission of the church is fulfilling the Great Commission.  However, in the course of ministering, meeting the physical needs of others opens many doors and creates receptive hearts in the community.  This, in turn, aids the proclamation of the truth to them… meeting the physical needs of the community not only yields physical benefits but spiritual benefits as well.

The members lives are living testimony to the righteousness, love, peace and joy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Roms 13:11-14, Gals 5:22-25

A church that is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to them, will have a membership that will be growing in grace, knowledge and spiritual fruit bearing.  As a general rule, if the members of a church are not growing spiritually, there is a problem in the churches ministry to them.

THE APPLICATION:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ….  “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Church attendance is a necessity for the Christian’s seeing to grow in the Lord and in His service…  if you are one of the many Christians who are seeking a church home, my prayers are with you. 

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

Death and the Afterlife… What’s Next?

SIH STSTA ICONShintoism calls it “Ama-No-Hashidate”; some of the New Age followers call it “Astral Plane”;  Aborigines describe it “Bralgu”;  Buddists have given it the name “Ching Tu”;  “Djanna”, or the “Garden of Allah” is the Islam version;  the Native American Indians called it “The Spirit Land”;  Eskimos give it the title “The Land of the Moon”;  Hindus describe it as “Nirvana”;  “Pole Star” was the common title for it given by the Aztecs;  “Sheol” was the chosen Hebrew term; while the Greeks called it “Hades”;  and the state of the dead for the Norse warriors was called “Valhalla”; and many, many, others.  For a more complete list please see:  http://afterlife-knowledge.com/cgi-bin/yabb/YaBB.cgi?num=1202113237/0

So many names, so many different beliefs, for the place and/or condition of those who have died!

“What takes place, if anything, after a person’s spirit is separated from their body?”

“Where does their spirit go?”

“What can I do now to secure a future afterlife?’

These themes are addressed by every known religion.

Why are these subjects of universal interest?   It is because death affects every one of us.  Based on mankind’s experience over thousands of years, apart from a never before experienced act of God, has one thing held true…. every human being will eventually die.

What will it be like and how can we be prepared for it… the Bible gives us the clear, unquestionable answer to these issues we all face…

THE SCRIPTURE:

And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.  (Heb 9:27-28)

THE STUDY:

In our text, we find the answer to life’s most pressing issues.

First, in verse 27 we find what will take place following our death…

The Bible tells us much about the “afterlife”.  In today’s blog entry we will be centering on one of the most important aspects of the after life… the coming judgment.

“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” – Here, we have the clear, undeniable proclamation … Following a person’s death, one of the aspects of the afterlife, involves a judgment of each work that has been performed while on earth. (Eccl 11:9, Rom 14:9-12, 2 Cor 5:10, 2 Tim 4:1, Judges 1:14-15, Rev 20:11-15).

The specifics of this judgment can be debated.  Personally, I believe this judgment will come in two different phases.  One judgment will involve those who have trusted in Christ, while the other phase will be the judgment of those who have never trusted in Christ.   These details are really not important for our blog entry today.  The important point is this… the Bible has made it absolutely clear that EVERYONE must face the judgment of their works by Jehovah God.

What are the possible results of this judgment?

For those who are unprepared, they will receive consignment to the lake of fire for an eternity… suffering the just punishment for the sins they have committed.

For those who are prepared for this judgment,  they will be ushered into an eternity with the Lord, having their sins forgiven and their works of service rewarded (Matt 25:31-46)

So the real question is this…. “Are we ready for that time of judgment?”  If not, “What must we do to become prepared”?

 

Second – in verse 28 we find how we can be prepared for this coming judgment

“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

The key to being secure for our future judgment is found in the work of Christ on the cross.  You see, it was on the cross that Christ took the punishment for our sins upon Himself so that we would not have to receive that punishment.  (1 Pet 3:18, Eph 2:13-17, Rom 5:8-21, 2 Cor 5:21)

Notice that our verse also speaks of faith in the life of those who are prepared to meet Him at His coming. (These are the same people who are prepared for the judgment of their works, as well).  They are the ones who, by faith, are looking for Him to come back at His second coming.  This faith they have received from God as they turned from their sins to serve the living God. (1 Thess 1:9-10, Acts 26:17-18)   By placing our trust in Christ, as the Savior from our sins and the Lord of our life, we can be prepared for the coming Judgment Day.  “Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.”  (Job 35:14)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

I know of no better application than the verses found in Ecclesiastes 12:13-14…

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.   (Ecc 12:13-14)

What is the commandment of God?

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.  (Mar 1:14-15)

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take a Look at My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation to Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Valentine’s Day Devotion: But The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 3

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In the last part of our study we will be looking at 1 Corinthians 13:11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

In our previous study, we saw how both the gifts of prophecy and knowledge ceased to exist when the last of God’s revelation to man was received.    We now turn our attention to two examples given by Paul to help illustrate the principle.

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 11 – When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

Paul now uses the example of the physical maturing process to picture the process of God’s revealed Word being brought to completion.  Just as Paul’s growth allowed him to come to a more mature and full understanding of life, so too, as God’s Word is brought to completion, it brings to us a fuller understanding of our Lord and our responsibilities as servants.

Based on the Word being brought to completion during the age of the Corinthian church. It was time for them to “grow up” and become mature as well. It would only be at that time that they could use the wonderful blessing of His completed Word to help them to correct the many errors in their assembly.

Vs 12 – For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Paul now compares our understanding of God in our sinful flesh with mankind’s knowledge of God with only a portion of His Word given to them.  In both cases, an incomplete view of God is had by man.

  1. Paul describes a time when God cannot be seen clearly
    1. Paul describes our life in sinful flesh as seeing our Lord “through a glass darkly”.
    2. Paul then compares this to mankind trying to see a full picture of Christ with only a portion of God’s Word given to man. “now I know in part”.
  2. Paul next describes when we can receive a fuller vision of Christ
    1. When we go home to be with the Lord in heaven, it is seeing Him “face to face”, this will result in seeing Him much more clearly than while in our sinful flesh.
    2. Paul then compares this to receiving His completed Word which gives us a much more full revelation of the Lord.  “ then shall I know even as also I am known” .

In other words, through the completed revelation of God given to man, we can now understand truths about Him, much like others can come to know us.  Others can see much about us clearly but they still do not know everything about us (especially what goes on inside of us)

Vs 13 – And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

After telling us about the Word it’s soon completion, Paul now beings us back to the original thought.  That love is even greater that our three existing gifts of faith, hope and love.

Why didn’t Paul mention prophecy or knowledge as abiding (to continue on for extended period of time, to endure to limit)? We have already seen they would end within a short period of time when Word was brought to completion.  So he didn’t include these on our list.

But why didn’t he include the gift of tongues… when did they cease to exist?  Tongues ceased to exist, around the same time as knowledge and prophecy.  Tongues was one of several “sign gifts” that God gave to mankind.  These were gifts given by God to His followers to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                            Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:  Moses, Joshua    Elijah, Elisha, Other Prophets   Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle Worship            Temple Worship                Church Worship

Message Accredited:  Law                                 Prophets                           New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.  In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existence for approximately 70 years. In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

So therefore, tongues, being one of several sign gifts came to an end approximately 70 years after they had come into existence (29 or 30 AD), probably about 90-100 AD.  They would have gone out of existence in and of themselves, nothing had to act on them. This is unlike the gift of prophecy and knowledge which ceased at the completion of God’s Word.

Putting all of this together, it is easy to see why only faith, hope and charity are said to “abide” (to stray in place for an extended period of time).  The gifts of prophecy, knowledge and tongues would go out of existence within a few years after Paul’s ministry would be complete.

But not so with faith, hope and love.  They would continue on until the second coming of Christ.  When Christ comes back we will have no need of faith nor hope…. As we begin, our eternity with Him, we will begin the process of receipt of all His promises to us.  Faith and hope will no longer be needed, we will be experiencing all He has for us.

At that point, faith and hope will no longer be in existence, but only love will continue on to eternity.  Thus making “love” the greatest gift of all that are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 13:.

    • Gifts are temporary but love is eternal
    • Gifts are elementary but love is mature
    • Gifts are partial but love is complete

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

As we come to a completion of our study the basic principles we have learned about love compared to the other gifts mentioned is significant.

First of all we saw that God’s gifts to man are temporary, but love is eternal.

Secondly, the gifts of God are elementary, love is the essence of maturity.

Thirdly, the gifts of God are partial, but love is complete.

Keeping all this in mind, it should not surprise us that the Lord gave Peter this word of self inspection and instruction….

John 21:15-17 (KJV)

15So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.16He saith to him again the second time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, [son] of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

You see, our love for the Lord should be one of the ultimate motives in our service to Him.  The more we love and appreciate Him the greater our service to Him.  Is our service motivated by our love for Him?  Is our helping and instructing others coming from a heart filled with love for our Lord?

May the Lord help all of us to be able to say “yes” to these questions.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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Valentine’s Day Devotion:But The Greatest Of These Is Love -2

SIH STSTA ICONThe Eternal Nature of Love 

One of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In today’s blog entry we will look at 1 Corinthians 13:8-10.  And in our final part we will look at verses 11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 8 – Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Here, Paul makes it very plain that love is the only gift of the four divine gifts (love, prophecy, tongues, knowledge) that will exist eternally.   In our previous study, we explained that both knowledge and prophecy was related to the divine inspiration of Scripture, when the Lord handed His Word to mankind.  The sign gift of tongues was related to the accreditation of the ministry of Christ, His NT Word and the local church ministry.

(Please note it is crucial to understand the meaning of the phrases “shall fail”, “shall cease”, and “shall vanish away”…

  1. “shall fail”
    1. is the greek word – “pauo” – it means “to stop”, “to be made complete” and “to end”.
    2. is in the middle voice, meaning the subject of the verb is acting upon itself.  In other words, tongues would “stop by themselves” or “would be ended in and of themselves”
  2. “shall cease” and “shall vanish away”
    1. Both of these phrases are the same Grk word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
    2. Both of these are in the passive voice meaning the subject of the verb receives the action.  In other words our verse is saying that “the perfect thing” (vs 10) will cause both knowledge and prophecy to “no longer be exercised”, or “to vanish away”

Vs 9 – For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

Out of the four previously mentioned gifts from God… knowledge and prophecy are set apart as being “in part”.  What does in part mean?  This phrase is referring to the nature of divinely inspired revelation to man.  Keep in mind, as God handed down His word to mankind, he did it over many years and many different men.  He gave it a part at time, not all at once.   (Isa 28:9-13)

The gifts of prophecy and knowledge were “in part” meaning… as each prophecy came from God (as each bit of knowledge came to man) they were “one part” of the whole of divine revelation to man.  Until the final revelation from God was received by John on the Isle of Patmos (the book of Revelation), both knowledge and prophecy received by man was only a piece of His Word.  At the end of the message given to John on Patmos, the word was finally completed.  It was only then that mankind had the prophecy and knowledge God had chosen to give to man in a state of completeness.

Love exists eternally, knowledge, prophesying and the gift of tongues will definitely come to an end, making love a much more valuable gift from God.

Vs 10 – But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Paul here describes what causes prophecy and knowledge to vanish away.  He describes it as “that which is perfect.  To help us understand what Paul is referring to we need to recognize a few important points in our study…

  1. Lets review a few points from the previous verses in our study
  1. Remember, in the previous verse of our study we saw that the gifts that were in part were the gifts of prophecy and knowledge.
  2. Also, we saw that the ending of these gifts were described by the Grk word “katargeo” which means “to be made inoperative, to cease to work, to cease to exercise, to render useless, to vanish”
  3. Thirdly, we learned that based on the Grk passive voice, something must act upon the knowledge and prophecy “to render it useless” or “to cause it to vanish away.”

2.  What has acted on the gift of prophecy and knowledge rendering them worthless?  It is the completed revelation from God… Once God had given to man all of His Word, there was no need for prophecy or knowledge gifts any longer… they were now useless and ineffective because the Lord was not going to give men His inspired revelation any longer.

  1. Remember, the Lord has made it plain that the Word He has given to us is now complete with the revelation He had given to John.  We will be receiving no additional inspired truth from Him.  (Rev 22:18, Heb 1:1-2)
  2. We know it is His Word that is perfect based on the Greek word for “perfect”

The word for perfect here is the Grk word “telios” – which means “complete”, “matured”, “brought to completion”.  “Telios” refers to the Word of God in James 1:25.  The only other two times this word is used in 1 Corinthians “telios” refers to human beings who are mature, or should be mature in the faith. (1 Cor 2:6, 1 Cor 14:20).  Also there are many other occasions in the Word of God where this word refers to the same type of idea.  (Matt 19:21, Phil 3:15, Col 1:28, 4:12 etc etc)

In Matthew 5:48 “telios” is used to describe the Lord and in the context, it is describing His absolute maturity.  Note that the issue of treating all men kindly and with respoect is the issue being addressed, this is a mark of spiritual maturity.  We are to even pray for those that mistreat us.  By doing this, we will be mature Christians following the example of our Father who is in heaven.  He is the epitome of spiritual maturity and completeness.  The issue is not sinlessness, the issue, here is spiritual maturity.  Learning to treat all men with love and kindness. The very issue of our study in 1 Corinthians.  No place in Scripture does the word “telios” mean sinlessly perfect.

3.  But what about the Lord?  We’ve already seen that the Lord is described using the term “telios” In Matthew 5:48.  However, we have already seen that this “perfect thing” that is coming must act on the gifts of prophecy and knowledge rendering them useless.  If this is so then…

  1. We have to say that the Lord is continually revealing His inspired word to man throughout the ages. In other words, His word is not in completed form but He is continually adding to His revealed Word to man. This revealing of the Word will only stop at His second coming.
  2. If this is so, we should be continually adding to the Scriptures.  Every new revelation God gives to man should be added to the Scriptures.  This principle does away with the warning given by John to not add to the Scriptures (Rev 22:18-19).
  3. And also the fullness and completeness of God’s Word for us to use is done away with.  Therefore we cannot count on His Word being the complete set of instructions for us to live by. (2 Tim 3:16-17)  In this hypothetical scenario, we may face situations that the Word cannot equip us to face.  What happens if the part of the Word we need now, will not be revealed to man for another 25 years?  Our entire view of the Scriptures must change if this is the case.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Remember, the principle concerning love that is presented in our study today…. Charity NEVER FAILS.  But all these other gifts that are mentioned have already failed and now cease to exist.  We’ve seen that the gifts of prophecy and knowledge have already ceased to exist when man received the final revelation of God to man.  In our next study, we will see that the gift of tongues has already gone out of existence as well.

The eternal nature of love is one of the many reasons why love is counted as superior over these sign gifts.

With the importance of love in view… should we not all strive to show love to others?  How much love do we show others?  Or maybe, I should ask it this way… how much are we willing to sacrifice for others?  This is the true mark of love.

John 15:12-14 (KJV)

12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.14Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

——————————————————

Valentine’s Day Devotion: But The Greatest Of These Is Love – Part 1

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most talked about sections of Scripture is found in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Chapter 13, commonly called the “love chapter of the Bible”.  In this small section of Scripture we have several basic principles concerning love being addressed:

  1. vs 1-3 – the absolute necessity of love (charity) in all aspects of Christian life and ministry
  2. vs 4-7- the evidences of Biblical love
  3. vs 8-12- the eternal nature of Biblical love compared to the ceasing of Divine, inspired revelation to man; the physical / spiritual maturing of an individual picturing the increasing revelation of God received by man until completion; the increasing understanding of God due to completed revelation
  4. vs 13a- the continuation of love, faith and hope
  5. vs 13b- the supremacy of love over faith and hope

We will divide our study of this section of Scripture into 3 basic parts.  In today’s blog entry we will look at 1 Corinthians 13:1-7.   In section two of our study we will be examining verses 8-10. And in our final part we will look at verses 11-13.

Let us prayerfully, begin our study of the compelling and important subject of love…

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Cor 13:1-13 (KJV)

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…13And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

THE STUDY:

1 Corinthians 13:

Vs 1 – Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

If men were not motivated by love when they exercised the gift of tongues, they were simply making noise without gaining any spiritual benefit for themsleves or the listener.

(Note here,  that angels are seen throughout the Bible as God’s “messengers” delivering His Word to those of God’s choosing.  This is why in many verses, a human messenger sent by God is described by this same Greek word “angelos” (matt 11:10, Lk 7:24, 2 Cor 8:23 etc etc etc )

In EVERY case, angels speak human languages as they give God’s Words to man.  Paul is saying whether he shared God’s word in a off-hand everyday way, or as part of an authoritative, divinely called ministry, without love, he is not actually pleasing the Lord.

The divinely given  gift of tongues was the ability to speak a human tongue not learned by the speaker.  It was intended to give the gospel message to foreigners who could not speak the same language as the speakers.  Acts 2:1-13.  The main purpose of the gift of tongues, like all other sign gifts, was to accredit the ministry of Christ, the apostles and the first churches as they took the gospel to the Gentiles.)

Vs 2 – And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

Paul, says that the display of miraculous feats, without love, are of no true spiritual value.   The four miraculous feats that Paul talks of are feats involving inspiration, knowledge and faith.

(At the time of the writing of 1 Corinthians 13:, the revelation of God’s Word to mankind was not completed.  God still had more to say to man.  This is why the gift of prophecy, understanding, and knowledge were still in effect at the writing of this letter.

The gift of prophecy is simply the miraculous ability to receive a message from God and to be able to reveal it to man without error.  The ability to understand all mysteries, involves a supernatural ability given by God to understand the spiritual truths that He revealed to man.  The third gift is the ability to possess knowledge that had never been shown to man before.

All three of these gifts were absolutely necessary as God handed down His Word to mankind.  They are three different aspects of God’s giving His Word to man via Divine inspiration)  And now that the Word is completed there is no longer any need for these gifts.

Vs 3 – And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Paul states although he gave up his possessions to meet the needs of the poor, and if He was willing to sacrifice his very body and life for the cause of Christ, if he was not motivated by a love for Christ and others, all of these immense sacrifices were of no spiritual profit for him.

In verses 1-3, we come to a very important and overlooked principle of our service to our Lord.  All areas of our service to Him, must be motivated form a heart of love for God and man.  That is why love for God and others is described as the “first and great commandment” … Matt 22:37-39

Vs 4-7 – Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

 Here, we find the evidence of Biblical love in our life. These are the signs that we have a Biblical love in our hearts as we serve our Lord and others…

  1. Charity suffereth long, – patient
  2. [and] is kind; – make our self useful to others
  3. charity envieth not; – does not desire possessions of others
  4. charity vaunteth not itself, – does not brag about self
  5. is not puffed up, – to believe we are better than another
  6. Doth not behave itself unseemly, – does not make someone look bad in public
  7. seeketh not her own, – does not live selfishly
  8. is not easily provoked,  – does not get agitated, irritated easily
  9. thinketh no evil; – does not plan nor desire evil
  10. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, – does not find joy in sin of others
  11.  but rejoiceth in the truth;  – finds joy in truth of  God’s Word
  12.  Beareth all things,  – to be willing to “put up” with things in silence
  13. believeth all things, – exercises faith, trust in others
  14. hopeth all things, –  thinks the best of others, sees the best in others
  15. endureth all things – willing to bear up under burdens for extended period of time 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

We have seen the importance of love in every aspect of our service to the Lord.  We have also seen the marks of true love in our loves.

Do our lives exhibit the Lord’s love?  Are our ministries motivated by a love for Christ and others?

If we can say “yes” to these questions, we can have joy knowing that our ministries, and lives, are pleasing to our Lord.  If we must say “no” to these questions… we need to reevaluate our service, and lives, we are living for Christ.  It is very possible we are simply going through the motions without ever actually having experienced God’s grace in our lives.  This is the message of Matt 7:21-23.

Matt 7:21-23 (KJV)

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.22Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?23And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never experienced the love of God in your lives, look to Him knowing He has made clear His love and concern for His people…

1John 4:7-12 (KJV)

7Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.9In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.10Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.11Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.12No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

If you have any questions concerning this blog, or if you have a subject you would like discussed, please feel free to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.    I will answer all emails via my blog, email, or both.

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

Follow my Squidoo Instructional Lens “Presenting God’s Grace” “The Solemn Obligation To Present the Doctrines of Grace to the Lost and Saved Alike” http://www.squidoo.com/presenting-gods-grace

May the Lord bless your study of His Word.  Like God’s Word… may your soul’s salvation and your life’s faithfulness be “Settled in Heaven.”

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