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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

SIH STSTA ICONThe belief in the existence of ghosts is on the rise, and no wonder… in today’s world the subject of ghosts has flooded the TV screen. A few of the TV shows that have ghosts as a central theme are: “Ghost Whisperer”, “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Stories”, “Ghosts Lab”, “American Paranormal”, “A Haunting”, “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, “Being Human” the list goes on and on.  One list I found said there are 50 shows currently on TV centering on ghosts.  If you would like to see the list just click here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110628172308AA4hkzC

With the existence of ghosts a major subject in today’s entertainment world I thought it would be good to look at the truth about ghosts.  The Word of God is the final authority on all issues of life here on earth and in the spirit world.  Let’s take some time to examine the truth about ghosts.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 7:58-60; Luke 23:39-43; 2 Cor 5:1-9; Phil 1:23-26; Psa 88:9-12; Eccl 9:10;

Heb 9:27-28; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 8:51-56;

THE STUDY:

To begin our study, it is very important to define what we mean by a “ghost”.  “ A ghost”, for this study, refers to the disembodied spirit of a dead person that dwells among the living on earth.  This is the definition we will be using for this study.

The Bible teaches us that once a person dies they immediately depart from this world: 

(Act 7:58-60) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.   And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Luk 23:39-43) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

(2Co 5:1-9)   For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.   For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(Php 1:23-26)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

This is why the Word makes it plain that once we are dead we can no longer praise the Lord or serve Him on earth…

(Psa 88:9-12) Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.  Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.  Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?  Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

 (Ecc 9:10) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Also, the writer of Hebrews understands that, once we die there is no longer any opportunity to receive forgiveness of our sins…. We are given this warning to motivate us to be sure we have received forgiveness in this lifetime…

(Heb 9:27-28) 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.

The account of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a clear understanding of what takes place following the death of both God’s people and those who have never been forgiven of their sins…

(Luk 16:19-31) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Notice in this account several interesting points:

  1.  Immediately upon death both saved and unsaved leave earth and enter the eternal state (saved into “Abraham’s bosom” – another name for God’s presence; unsaved into “hell” another name for eternal torment – or “prison” in 1Pet 3:19)
  2. They are recipients of the justice of God based upon their deeds on earth during their lifetime.  “he is comforted, and thou art tormented”
  3. Their eternal state cannot be changed.  There is a division between the two that cannot be spanned. “there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
  4. When there is a suggestion of sending one from the dead back to earth, it is assumed there would be a resurrection from the dead.  There is no other option even discussed…  “though one rose from the dead”.  When Christ resurrected someone from the dead, their spirit re-entered their physical body, and then walked among men on earth…

(Luk 8:51-56) – And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

After studying all the above verses, it is quite obvious that the spirits of those who have died DO NOT return to the earth as disembodied spirits. 

If this is the case, does this mean that the only living beings on earth are human embodied beings?  Absolutely not!

In our next blog posting, we will examine what spirit beings exist among us and how they affect our lives…

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

Let’s be careful to not get “caught up” with the modern day “ghost fever” running rampant around us.  Let’s always keep in mind, the final authority on the spirit world is our Lord and His Word.  Keeping in mind that departed loved ones will not return to the earth as a spirit, helps us to understand the tremendous responsibility to be a witness to those around us before it is eternally too late. (Matt 9:36-38)

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

The Lord, the Creator of all things (including the spirits of men) has clearly told us in His Word that the dead do not return to earth and dwell among us as spirit beings.  Knowing this should motivate us to seek the Lord while we yet have our physical life.  Once, we are dead, we no longer have the opportunity to come to Christ, nor can we avoid eternal punishment by simply returning to the earth as spirits and dwelling among the living.  (Jer 8:20)

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage – http://www.settledinheaven.org

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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.”

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:6b

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:6b) and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

What a wonderful eternity God’s people have awaiting them!  There are so many reasons why eternity will be such a blessing… no sickness, no death, seeing saved family and friends, no sin… the list goes on and on.  But what is the greatest blessing that eternity holds for us?  Being eternally in the presence of our Lord and Savior!

As we enter the weekend, let’s have our minds tuned into the indescribable eternity we have awaiting us in the presence of our Lord!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                   Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                    SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:6a

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:…

The Psalmist proclaims the truth of eternal security found in the Lord.  The Psalmist knew that he was forgiven of his sins and favored by His Lord.  He says that “Surely (Truly) goodness and mercy shall follow me…”

He did not say “I hope goodness and mercy will follow me…”  Nor did he say, “If I continue to be good enough my Lord’s goodness and mercy shall follow me…”  The Psalmist understood that being redeemed by His Lord meant that he was secure in the Lord.  His redemptive work secures present and future blessings.  His people can look ahead for the day knowing that: He will be with us, He will show us His grace (goodness) and His mercy… We are secure in Him!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                           Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

All That Debate

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever watched political debates?  Debates take place in the Presidential primary races, the United States Senate and House of Representatives.  Did you ever watch these debates on TV?   These debates can be very amusing and, if I watch long enough, infuriating.   It amazes me to hear how they stand and argue their point of view about any given issue.  In many cases, it is as if they like to hear themselves talk.  They repeat themselves, contradict themselves, make statements they cannot substantiate, and, at times, make no sense.

Do you know what is really sad? It is that this type of behavior isn’t limited to politicians only, but is, and always has been, a part of religious discourse.  The Word of God makes it clear that we have the responsibility to declare and defend His truth to those who are sincerely seeking His Word.  We are to be willing to give our all for the sake of reaching out to those who need and are open to the gospel message.

But there have always been those who, in the guise of seeking the truth, set out to defeat the Word through debate and a humanistic, fleshly understanding of Scripture. How are we to handle those who have already rejected the truth, have closed their mind to the truth, and now want to publically defeat the truth through dialogue, debate and the proclamation of error?

God’s Holy Word has the answer to this question….

THE SCRIPTURE:

 1Tim 6:3-6 (KJV)  If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;  He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings,  Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.  But godliness with contentment is great gain.

Mark 6:10-11 (KJV)  And he said unto them, In what place soever ye enter into an house, there abide till ye depart from that place.   And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

Matt 7:6 (KJV) Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

THE STUDY:

As we serve our living Lord and Savior, it is so important that we are willing to share the truths of God’s Word to all men, through our lives and our actions.  The Lord describes His followers as the light and salt of this world. (Matt 5:13-16)  By this, He meant that we were living testimonies that showed the light of Christ to a sin darkened world.  We are the salt that makes this sinful world a desirous place in which to live. We are to withhold the truth to no one.  But, what happens when after ministering to others, they close their ears to Christ’s message, devalue His Word, and choose to work for the destruction of the truths that we are attempting to share?

In Matthew 7:6, we are told to cease sharing truth with those who devalue it… “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.”  Here, we are given two reasons why we are to cease our ministering to them:

  1. They do not treat the Word with the respect it deserves
  2. They can harm our ministry, and render it useless, by wasting our time ministering to those who it will not benefit.  Also, they can harm our testimony and ministering by using sinful methods to discredit us (lies, false accusations, etc).  It is dangerous to continue to minister to those who have stubbornly determined to oppose the Word at any cost.

(Please Note: These teachings only tell us to cease handing the truth to those who do not want it.  It does not say cease praying for them or loving them etc etc.)

In Mark 6:10-11, the Lord gave His followers specific instructions on dealing with those who reject and oppose the truth that they had proclaimed to them.  His instructions were three-fold…

  1. when ye depart thence,” – no longer minister directly to them begin ministering to others who are in need and more receptive to your ministry.
  2. shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” – don’t allow the memory of their rejection and treatment of you discourage you.  Leave it all behind and go forward in your next place of ministry, proving that they have not hindered your ministry.
  3. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.”  – Remember they are facing God’s wrath, they need a softened heart toward the gospel and its ministers…continue to pray for them, when possible show them your love etc.

Those who hear the truth, and then actively oppose it through their teachings, is described in 1 Timothy 6:3-6.

  1. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, [even] the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness;

Note those who “consent not” and “teach otherwise”, in other words, we are talking about those who reject and work against the truth.

  1. He is … strifes of words,”

Here, those who oppose the truth are described in detail.  The Lord says that they:

are “proud”

“know nothing”

are “doting questions and strifes of words”  – (plagued with questions and seek to quarrel over the truth we have revealed to them.)

  1. whereof cometh envy… godliness:” – Here we find the results of the questions and quarrels that these men… they produce:

“envy”

“strife” (arguing)

“railings” (speak evil of God)

“evil surmisings” (wicked conclusions)

“Perverse disputings” (twisted and bitter, disagreements)

They are described as :

“men of corrupt minds” (minds that are becoming worse, minds that are decaying)

“destitute of the truth” (total lacking truth)

“supposing that gain is godliness”: (temporal earthly gain can bring about godliness)

  1.  “from such withdraw thyself”.  – Again, a very plain declaration to remove ourselves from ministering to them and proceed to others who will receive the truth we speak.  We cannot force anyone to be saved.  If someone rejects the truth and works against it, we need to commit him into the hands of God and move on.
  2. But godliness with contentment is great gain” – There is no true gain in arguing, twisting God’s Word and cause disagreements about God’s Word… true gain is found in living a life of Godliness, showing God to the world by our words and actions.

This helps us to understand why we are to cease ministering to them and direct our ministry to others

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

Have you been sharing the Word with someone who refuses to accept it?  Do you ever find yourself trying to “force” someone into receiving the truth that they have already clearly rejected?

If this is the case, give them over to the Lord, pray for them, love them, but push them no longer.  Allow the Lord, through His Spirit, to soften their hearts and make them receptive to the truth.  You can save no one…  “Salvation is of the Lord”.

For those who have yet to be saved…

Have you rejected the Word of God that someone has graciously shared with you.  Have you settled in your heart that the Word is untrue and of no benefit to you?   If so, you are treading on very dangerous ground.  There is no guarantee that you will continue to be graced with God’s Word.   Be thankful to those who are sharing His Word with you and receive it knowing that it is meant for your good.

Look to the Lord, believe His Word and trust in Him.   He will not reject those who come to Him.

John 6:37 (KJV) All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

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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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SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:5c

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:5)  my cup runneth over…

Oh how good our Lord is to us!  The Psalmist is reminding each of us that, if we have trusted in Christ, our cup is running over with His blessings.  No matter what trials we may be facing in life remember… we have been forgiven and no longer face sins’ punishment; we are no longer the servants of sin; and, someday, we will spend eternity in the presence of the Almighty Lord of the Universe!

Oh, how blessed we are!

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                          Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:5b

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:6)  thou anointest my head with oil…

In the Bible, the Lord anoints people when they are called to do a specific work for Him.  Kings, Priests, Prophets, and others, were anointed to announce that they were given a specific task from the Lord. The anointing publically signified that the Lord, in the person of the Spirit, sanctioned them, and would enable them, for that ministry.

Today let us begin our day remembering that, if we are recipients of His gracious forgiveness, we have been called to be witnesses for Him.  He has given us His authority and enabling power to live our lives for Him….

As members of His local churches, we have been given the authority to evangelize, baptize and indoctrinate those around us… let’s take our church membership seriously, and work together to fulfill the commission He has given to us.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                          Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:5a

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:5a) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Here, the Psalmist is saying that he was able to partake of a spiritual banquet from his God even when his enemies were present in the same room!  So too, we can be assured that no one can stop the Lord’s blessings that He chooses to send our way.

How marvelous it is to know that our Lord can bless us and NO ONE can stop His will from being done … not even Satan himself.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                           Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                    SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

Genuine Blogger Award – May Jesus Christ Be Praised

Thank you Angela at http://meetingintheclouds.wordpress.com for giving “Settled In Heaven Blog” this award.  Angela has a very unique way of presenting practical Bible truths through the use of the Scriptures, pictures, and both historical and current day events.  I so appreciate her faithfulness to her Lord which is clearly seen in her blogging ministry.  May the Lord continue to bless her efforts for Him.

As for the “Settled In Heaven Blog”… this blog was created to bring honor and glory to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  It is through my Lord’s grace and enabling power that this blog exists.  I give Him all the praise for the blog and it’s results in people’s lives.

I would like to pass this award to a ‘genuine’ blogger, Calvin Gardner, who has proven himself faithful to the Lord over His lifetime of service to the Lord.

Calvin Gardner, along with his wife, Peggy (my sister), and their 5 children (Ben, Charity, Joy, Daniel, and David) have exemplified what it means to be a family dedicated to the Lord’s service, for His glory.  They have ministered in Brazil as missionaries out of Wooster Baptist Temple for the past 34 years.  You can read more about Calvin and his family at his two blog sites…   http://calvingardner.com/blog/ and http://missionarycalvingardnerbrazil.blogspot.com/

The Lord has graced Calvin and Peggy with a faith that has stood up under many difficult and trying circumstances throughout their lives. Through His intervention, they have proven themselves to be sincere, faithful servants of the Christ.  They desire to make His glory and honor the prime goal of their ministry and their personal lives.   I thank the Lord for the Gardner family, sincere and genuine, servants of Christ.

If I had to choose a section of Scripture that best describes the Gardner family, I believe it would be 2 Corinthians 5:11-15.  To God be the glory.

There are no rules attached to this award.
Recipients are encouraged to add the Genuine Blogger Award logo to their page.

The Mediation of Christ

SIH STSTA ICONA simple definition for mediation is “to make peace between two warring parties”.  Mediation is a type of conflict resolution that involves using a third party to settle a disagreement between two opposing parties.  It can be used in the framework of our legal system, our corporate system or even in personal and family disputes.

Although mediation has become more frequently used in today’s time, mediation has been used throughout history as an avenue leading to peace.   Even in Bible times we find many examples of mediation taking place.

In our blog entry today, we will be looking at an example of mediation being performed by the Apostle Paul.  We will also supply references showing the similarity between Paul’s and Christ’s mediation on behalf of sinful mankind.   As we begin our verse – by – verse study keep in mind that Philemon is a picture of God the Father; Onesimus is a picture of a sinner being reconciled to God; and Paul pictures for us Christ, the mediator between God and Man…

1Tim 2:5 (KJV)For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

 THE SCRIPTURES:

 Philemon 1:1-25

 THE STUDY:

For this study the entire book of Philemon will be our text.  Philemon is a very small New Testament book found between the books of Titus and Hebrews.  If you are like me, when I was starting to study the Bible, I used to confuse Philemon with the book of Philippians.  Philemon is made up of only 1 chapter and has three main characters.  It is extremely important to understand these three characters for us to get a clear picture of the content, and teachings, of the book of Philemon:

  1. Philemon – He was a very rich man, a Christian, and a beloved acquaintance of the Apostle Paul. He owned servants and loved them and cared for them as if they were members of his family. Possibly, Philemon was saved under the ministry of Paul.  In our text, Philemon is a picture of God the Father.
  2. Onesimus – He was a spiritually lost individual who is described as an “unprofitable” servant of Philemon.  Perhaps, he had stolen from Philemon; perhaps, he was a slacker; or maybe, he was a complainer, stirring up trouble among the other servants; we cannot know for sure.  He had illegally run away from Philemon.  During his flight, he met the Apostle Paul.  Under Paul’s ministry, Onesimus had been saved and desired to go back to Philemon and serve under his authority once again.  Onesimus is a picture of the sinner who is being reconciled to God through the interecession of Christ.
  3. Apostle Paul – Paul takes upon himself the ministry of mediation between Philemon and Onesimus.  Paul writes the letter of Philemon, asking His beloved acquaintance (Philemon) to accept Onesimus back and forgive him of any wrongdoing Onesimus had committed against Philemon.  Paul is a picture of the Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ.

In our study today, we will find many different aspects to Paul’s mediation that pictures for us the mediation of Christ on behalf of the sinner being brought to a saving knowledge of Christ.

 1-7) Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy [our] brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer, And to [our] beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house: Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  I thank my God, making mention of thee always in my prayers, Hearing of thy love and faith, which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints;  That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in thy love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother.

The above verses are the introduction to Paul’s letter of mediation to Philemon.  In the above, Paul sends his greetings to the members of the church in Philemon’s house.  He also commends Philemon for his faithfulness in service to the Lord.

Paul, now, begins his ministry of mediation on behalf of Onesimus….

 8) Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech [thee], being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.

 Principle #1: The salvation that the Lord graciously gives to us is a gift of grace, based upon His love to us. (Romans 5:8, 8:39, Titus 3:4-5)    

Paul saying that although he could have required Philemon to accept Onesimus based upon the requirements of the Lord (and Paul’s relationship to Philemon), he refused to do so.  Paul wanted  Philemon to accept Onesimus based upon love, not necessity.

 10) I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds:

 Principle #2: Christ stands between the fallen man and God the Father working to bring peace between the two parties. (Eph 2:14-16, 1 Tim 2:5, Hebs 7:25, Heb 9:15, 12:24,) 

Why are the two parties at odds with one another?  Lost man is separated from God the Father due to his sin. He has rebelled against God the Father, displeased God the Father and is facing the just wrath of the Father.  God the Father, who is the holy, sinless and just, cannot excuse sin; nor, can He stand in the presence of sin.  Based upon His holiness and the demands of His law He must punish sin.

In our text, Paul is explaining to Philemon that he is writing this letter on behalf of Onesimus.

11) Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me:

Principle #3: The lost person who was unprofitable to God, once saved, becomes a profitable servant living his life for the glory of his God (2 Cor 5:17-21, Eph 2:10, 4:24, 1 John 1:7, 2:6).

Paul, as he makes intercession to Philemon, reminds him that Onesimus is a changed man who could now benefit Philemon if he accepted Onesimus back.

 12) Whom I have sent again: thou therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels:  

 Principle #4:  When the Father forgives us and brings us into His family, He is accepting us based upon the righteousness of Christ placed upon us.  In that sense,  He is accepting us as if we Christ. (Rom 5:17-21, 10:4, 1 Cor 1:30, Phil 3:9, 1 Pet 1:1, Rev 7:14)

 Paul is asking Philemon to accept Onesimus, as if Onesimus was Paul himself.

13) Whom I would have retained with me, that in thy stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel:

 Principle #5: Once saved, the believer is to minister unto Christ, his Mediator and Savior, this ministry is to only end at his death.  At death, the saint goes home to be with the Father and begins ministering to Him. (Rom 6:16-22, Eph 6:6, Rev 1:1, Rev 7:15) 

Paul explained that Onesimus was serving Paul before Onesimus departed to be with Philemon.  He would serve Philemon once he entered into his presence.

 14) But without thy mind would I do nothing; that thy benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.

 Principle #6: The Lord was in no way obligated to save us, He freely choose to do so based upon His love for us. (Eph 1:3-6, 1:11, Rom 8:29-30,  9:11-16, Phil 2:13)  

            Paul desired for Philemon to freely choose to accept Onesimus back.

 15 -17) For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him for ever;

 Principle #7: Once saved, the saint is now eternally safe in the hands of His God.  Nothing can come between Him and His Lord ever again.  His sins have been paid for (and forgiven) past, present and future. (John 10:25-30, 17:11-12, Hebs 2:12-13, 7:22-28 ,1 Pet 1:3-5)

Paul here is reminding Philemon that, if he accepts Onesimus back into servant hood, it would be gaining a profitable servant on a permanent basis.

 16) Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord? 

 Principle #8: Once saved, the saint becomes a member of the family of God and joint-heirs with Christ. (Roms 8:16-18, Gals 3:29, 4:7, Eph 3:6, Titus 3:7)

Paul explains that Philemon was to accept Onesimus, not simply as a servant, but as a relative fo Paul and a member of Philemon’s own family.

 17)If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.

 Principle #9: The salvation of a sinner is based on the harmonious work of the Trinity. One of the purposes for their workings on behalf of the sinner is so that the Trinity might be glorified (Eph 1:1-14).

Paul asks Philemon to recognize they are both working towards the same goal, serving the Lord for His glory. Therefore, Philemon should receive Onesimus for the same reason (so that the Lord might be glorified).

 18) If he hath wronged thee, or oweth [thee] ought, put that on mine account;

19) I Paul have written [it] with mine own hand, I will repay [it]: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides.

 Principle #10: The sin debt of the sinner is paid by Christ, this is the basis of their salvation. With the completion of Christ’s payment on the cross, the salvation of God’e people becomes an act that does not go against the justice of God.  Since the sin debt of God’s people was paid by Christ, God can now, justly, withhold the punishment for the lost man’s sin. (1 Pet 1:17-19, 2:22-24, 3:18, Matt 6:28, Col 1:12-14, 1 Cor 6:20, 2 Cor 5:21, Gal 3:13, Eph 5:2)

Paul tells Philemon to charge Paul for any debt Onesimus owed to Philemon.  Paul would pay for the debt of Onesmius.  In other words, Philemon should not hold any debt against Onesimus; and allow it to be a hindrance to accepting Onesimus back.

 20) Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.

 Principle # 11: Christ finds great joy in a sinner becoming reconciled to the Father (Matt 18:10-14, Luke 15:5-10,)

            Philemon accepting Onesimus would bring great joy to Paul.

 21) Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say.

 Principle #12: When Christ died on the cross, it was based upon the Father’s will and had assurance that it would result in the salvation of His people (Rom 8:29-30, Phil 1:6, 2 Thess 2:13-14).

            Paul had confidence in Philemon that he would do what was right.

 22) But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.

 Principle #13: Following His death and resurrection, Christ ascended to be with the Father to live with Him eternally.  He is now preparing a place for Christians to live with Him as well. (John 14:1-4, Acts 2:32-36, Eph 1:20-23, Phil 2:9-11, 1 Pet 3:22, Rev 21:2)

            Paul was planning on going to be with Philemon in the near future.

 23) There salute thee Epaphras, my fellowprisoner in Christ Jesus;

24) Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.

25) The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ [be] with your spirit. Amen. 

Paul closes the letter with wishes to those that were with Philemon.

Have you ever come to peace with your God?  By turning from the sin that you have committed and turning to Him, in faith, you can come to peace with God.

Rom 5:1-2 (KJV)

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

If you have any questions concerning the way of salvation please feel free to visit or call a Bible teaching church in your area.  They will be happy to speak to you about the Lord Jesus and the salvation He graciously gives.

Or, if you would rather, feel welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I’ll be more than happy to answer any question you may have.

Also, if you look at my blog page “How To Have A Relationship With God”.  On this page, you will find several blog entries explaining the way of salvation.

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage –

http://www.settledinheaven.org

My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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.”

 

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:4b

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:4b)  thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Shepherds used their rod to fight off any threatening animals that were trying to harm members of their flock.  They used the staff to aid them in walking and to lift trapped or crippled animals from otherwise inaccessible areas.  What a wonderful picture of our Lord’s care of His people!

The Lord’s protection of us, and His help in our daily walk, is a source of great comfort for those of us who are dedicated to His service. Let’s thank Him today for His never-ending attention and gracious intervention in our lives.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                           Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                   SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

SIH’s Think On These Things: Psa 23:4a

SIH TOTT ICON(Psa 23:4a) – Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me…

For Christians, death is only a shadow.  It may look dark, scary and mysterious, but death doesn’t hurt the Christian… it is the gateway that leads them to the presence of the Lord.  When faced with death, Christians can walk calmly knowing the Lord is with them every step of the way.

Let’s thank our Lord for the peace we have; although we do not know what tomorrow may hold, we know who holds tomorrow…. And He will be with us every step of the way.

May the Lord bless each one of us as we “Think On These Things”.

Settled In Heaven Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org                                        Settled In Heaven Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com                                                  SIH Salvation Blog Page: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/