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Monthly Archives: February 2014

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Unto the Son he (God the Father) saith, Thy Throne O God, is for ever and ever”

SIH HALTAL ICONChrist is God and King Over All 

 Heb 1:8 KJV – “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.”

 

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SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:22

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organizations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…

 

(Eph 2:22)  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

In our last devotional, we saw that the Lord is continually building up (strengthening and increasing) His institutions (the nation, family and local churches of God) which results in them becoming separated from sin and becoming closer to the Lord.

Paul now looks at some other gracious blessings that stem from the Lord building up His institutions…

In whom ye also are builded together 

We already saw that the Lord’s building of His institutions results in a closer relationship between Him and the institution’s members.  Now we find that, as the Lord builds up of His institutions, He graces their members with a closer relationship with one another.  By adding new members and increasing the knowledge of His truths among the members, it produces a love and fellowship within each institution.  As a matter of fact, this love and fellowship  with other believers is a hall-mark of a genuine salvation experience…

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.  If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:  But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”   (1 John 1:5-7)

for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Paul now explains that, as the Lord builds up His institutions, it creates a permanent dwelling place for God in the person of the Holy Spirit.  The Lord Himself graciously dwells amongst His peoples.  He does this as a King would dwell among those of His nation, a Father dwells in the midst of His family and as the Pastor (shepherd) dwells among His churches.   This is done in two ways:

1. The person of the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer…
And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;  [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”  (John 14:16-18)

2. The person of the Holy Spirit meets with those in a very special way as they gather together in His local assemblies…
Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   (Matthew 18:18-20)

 “And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks;  And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the

foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle…

The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”   (Revelation 1:12,13,20)

 

APPLICATION:

May we all come to recognize the wonderful blessings that the Lord gives to us as members of His institutions.  The unity among His people, His indwelling presence (in the person of the Holy Spirit), and His special presence within the local assemblies are indispensable blessings that flow from His grace.  Let us show our thankfulness for these wonderful blessings by living lives that honor and glorify Him.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

As His Children, Subjects and Members of His Assembly We Are To Be Holy

SIH HALTAL ICON(Ephesians 2:21)  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3ey

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: The Father saith” let all the angels of God worship him (Christ)”

SIH HALTAL ICONChrist, Who Is God, Is Exalted Over The Angels. 

Heb 1:6 KJV (6)  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

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http://settledinheaven.org

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:21

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

 The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organizations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the continuing strengthening and addition to the membership of these divinely established institutions…

(Ephesians 2:21)  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  

 

In whom all the building fitly framed together

The steps in the gracious establishment and continuance of the nation, family and church of God involved…
1.  The completion of the foundation – Christ fulfilling His work on earth (33-34 AD) and then completing the giving of His Word to man (95-100 AD)
2.  The framing up of the building – Christ then begins to build upon the foundation by framing up its basic structure (adding new members, and spreading His Word through the migration of His local churches and individual believers throughout the world)

groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

The Lord then, graciously, causes the building to grow numerically and spiritually as the truths about Himself continue to be propagated among both saved and lost.

The continuing distribution of the Word causes each of these bodies to become “holy temples” in the Lord:
1.  They become “holy” as sin is driven from these bodies through the receipt of the Word –
Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.”  (John 15:3)

2.  They become “temples” as their worship, intimacy and communion with the Lord increase through the receipt of the Word –
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”   (2 Peter 1:2-4)

 

Both of these truths (holiness and intimacy with the Lord) apply to each of the three institutions established by the Lord…
a.  Spiritual Israel –
But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”  (1 Peter 2:9-10)

b. The Family Of God –
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in [them]; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you,  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Corinthians 6:14-18)

c. The Local Assembly –
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”   (Ephesians 5:25-27)

 

APPLICATION:

In any area of our relationship with the Lord intimacy and holiness should be among our highest priorities.  How can we achieve these awesome goals that are set before us?  By following the Spirit’s leadership in making His Word a part of our day to day walk with Him…

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, [see that ye] love one another with a pure heart fervently:  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”  (1 Peter 1:21-23)

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.”  (John 17:14-19)

It is due to the importance of the Word that we find ourselves investing our time and effort in this study of the Book of Ephesians.  May we all not only come to a better mental knowledge of this book, but may the Lord graciously lead us by His Spirit to an application of the Word to our day to day walk on earth.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more! 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Christ, Our Solid Rock!

SIH HALTAL ICON

(Eph 2:20)  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3eo

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: The Father” bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world”

SIH HALTAL ICONGod The Father Brought About The Virgin Birth Of Christ  (Which Was His Entrance Into This World).

Heb 1:6 KJV  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.

https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://settledinheaven.org

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:20

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel, The Family Of God and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.

Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).

Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organzations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

EXPOSITION:

In our text today, Paul describes the foundation that is shared in common by all of these divinely established organizations, Spiritual Israel, His Local Churches, and the Family of God…

(Eph 2:20)  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

 

And are built upon the foundation
“The foundation” speaks of the base upon which these organizations were built.   It is this foundation that was crucial to both their creation and continuing existence.  It is much like a house whose construction, and then continued sturdiness is directly related to the soundness of its foundation.  (As a matter of fact the Greek term translated “built” in this verse refers to the construction of a home upon a foundation.)

of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
The foundation of the Lord’s organizations is a three-fold foundation…
1.  Jesus Christ the chief corner stone.  The chief corner stone is laid first and is used as the anchor and beginning point for the remaining parts of the foundation.  Our Lord is the “foundation of the foundation”.  It is upon Christ that the foundation for all of His organizations is established.
2.  The apostles refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the New Testament.
3.  The prophets refers to those who authoritatively gave to man the teachings found in the Old Testament.

Put very simply… the Lord Jesus Christ, His person, teachings and works (as revealed in the Old and New Testaments) are the absolute core foundation upon which His spiritual nation, family and local assemblies are founded and upon which they continue to endure.

The laying of this foundation, and the establishment of His organizations was concluded with the completed revelation of the Holy Scriptures (approx. 95 – 100 AD).  With the foundation totally brought to completion, from that point forward, these organizations continue to exist, be added unto, to be embellished and strengthened.

Because of His exclusive, fundamental role in the establishment and perpetuity of these institutions, He is to hold preeminence (first place) in every aspect of our lives…

For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether [they be] thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.”  (Colossians 1:16-18)

 

APPLICATION:

It is upon Christ, His teachings and His work that we can enjoy the existence of His nation, family and churches; and it is through Him that we are graciously privileged to be given membership into those divine institutions.

May we forever keep the Lord in first place in every area of our lives, knowing it is ALL BECAUSE OF HIM we can call ourselves His adopted children, citizens of the Israel Of God, and members of the Lord’s local assemblies and enjoy the multitude of blessings that flow from each.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

We Have the Privilege of Being Members of His Family, Nation and Assembly!

SIH HALTAL ICON(Ephesians 2:19) Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3dS

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: The Father said to Christ..” I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son..”

SIH HALTAL ICONChrist Was God the Son and The Son Of God

Heb 1:5 KJV  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://settledinheaven.org

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:19

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

 

 

The Gracious Forming Of Spiritual Israel and The Local Assembly: Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

The grace of God extends far past the initial salvation experience, and continues on throughout the life of the Christian.   In our text, we find Gentiles, or anyone who is saved, possess these blessings described as a “fellowcitizen”.  This term means to share common citizenship of a town, nation or other organized, governed body.  This set of blessings is granted to believers in two, or perhaps three, forms…

First of all, “fellowcitizens with the saints” clearly is speaking of membership into spiritual Israel.
Secondly, “fellowcitizens of the household of God” is promise of access to the local assembly (the Lord’s body, His earthly dwelling place for worship).
Thirdly, perhaps there is one other type of shared membership that could be referenced in this passage.    That is membership into the family of God.

Please note the similarities found in all three of these divinely established organizations… The blessing of shared citizenship in a town or other body implies a three-fold blessing of membership, fellowship and unity of the saints with the Lord and each other.

 

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The gracious blessing of membership in divine organizations – 19
II.        The foundation of these organzations – 20
III.        The purpose of these organizations  – 21-22

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes Christ’s gracious blessing of membership in organizations that He has founded… 

(Ephesians 2:19)  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

 

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
Both physical and spiritual Gentiles, who have graciously been recipients of salvation from their sins, have also been graciously brought into fellowship with the Lord and other saints.  No longer can they be said to be:
1.  “strangers” (aliens, those who do not belong) nor can they be said to be
2.  “foreigners” (traveler, one who lives outside)

Bringing Gentiles into a lasting relationship with the Lord and other saints is accomplished by giving access to three divinely established organizations….

 

but fellowcitizens with the saints,
1.  This phrase is describing becoming members of the spiritual nation of Israel (the Israel of God).
The Lord has established a spiritual nation of Israel that will long surpass any physical nation that exists on earth.  This spiritual nation can be characterized as:
a.  sharing a common lineage – (Romans 4:9-16, Galatians 3:7-12)
b.  sharing a common convenant – (Galatians 3:14-18)
c.  sharing a common land (New Jersualem) – (Revelation 21:1-5)

Once saved, we all gain citizenship in this nation and share in the heritage, promises and land of Israel throughout eternity… (Romans 11:16-32)

 

and of the household of God;
2.  The phrase “the household of God” is describing the Lord’s local churches on earth. Please note the same Greek root word of “household” is used in 1 Tim 3:15 “house of God”, clearly speaking of the Lord’s local churches on earth.
Membership in the local assembly is offered to all who are saved, if they have made a public profession of their faith (baptism) (Acts 2:41).  As members of the body of Christ, members of the local assembly share in:
a.  caring for one another (1 Cor 12:7-31)
b.  serving the Lord by fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt 28:18-20)
c.  experiencing a heightened form of worship as God meets with them in a special way. (Matthew 18:20)

3.  However, this phrase can also be speaking of “the family of God”.  In Gals 6:9-10 “the household of faith” is used to describe the family of God which is made up of all who are saved.
A part of the salvation experience involves becoming adopted members of the family of God (Romans 8:15, Galatians 4:5).  As such, they share:
a.  love for one another (1 Pet 1:21-23)
b.  God as their Heavenly Father. (Gals 4:5-6)
c.  a heavenly inheritance given to all the saints of God. (Roms 8:13-17)

 

APPLICATION:

Membership in Spiritual Israel, the Family of God and the Local Church, are gracious blessings from the Lord. All 3 of these divine organizations were given to those who were no longer strangers and foreigners.  This was done to enhance their newly acquired relationship with the Lord and with others who are saved.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

 

SIH Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org
SIH Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/
SIH Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven/
SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Christ Came To Bring Us Peace!

SIH HALTAL ICON(Ephesians 2:17-18) And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: The Father said to Christ..”Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee”…

SIH HALTAL ICONChrist Was Born Of A Virgin Through The Miraculous Intervention Of God, His Father. 

Heb 1:5 KJV  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?

https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://settledinheaven.org

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:17-18

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

 Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:
1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.
2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes Christ’s gracious coming to the earth to proclaim the way of peace… 

(Ephesians 2:17-18)  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

In our prior study we saw that this statement is clearly speaking of Christ, the One that reconciled “both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby” (vs 16)…

And came and preached peace to you 
A major aspect of the earthly ministry of Christ was His teachings concerning Himself and the way of salvation and peace for all men.

The word which [God] sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)  That word, [I say], ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.  And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:  Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;  (Acts 10:36-40)

What a wonderful display of the grace of God, visiting fallen mankind with the message of salvation and peace through the cross.

which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.  
Christ’s message was meant for both Gentile (afar off) and Jews (nigh).  Keep in mind, although the ministry of Christ centered upon the Jews (Matt 15:24), Christ did minister to Gentiles as well:
1.  Matthew 15:22-25 – Samaritan Woman
2.  Mark 7:24-30 – Daughter of Syrophenician Woman
3.  Matthew 8:5-13 – Centurion servant healed

These individual events, helps us to see the grace of the Lord at work during the ministry of Christ.  Although He was sent to minister to the Jew, out of a heart of grace and compassion He ministered to Gentiles as well.

Christ ministering to a minority of Gentiles, aligns itself with what took place in the Old Testament.  In OT times, although Gentiles were excluded from a majority of the ministry of the Word, we still saw several Gentiles who were saved and partakers of the Word.

Christ ministering to the Gentiles, also aligns itself with the events of the later New Testament times.  In the NT, following the giving of the Great Commission we find the local assemblies taking the gospel into the Gentile nations ministering to them and placing them on equal footing with the Jew.

Because of both the past OT events and the NT events that were to yet to come, we should not be surprised to see Christ graciously ministering to the Gentiles during His earthly ministry.

This ministry of Christ was a partial fulfillment of this prophecy, which finds it total fulfillment in the ministry of the local churches taking the gospel to the world…

I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to [him that is] far off, and to [him that is] near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.   (Isaiah 57:19)

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
The word for “access” comes from a fusion of two Greek words:
1.  mode of life, manner of bringing up
2.  to lean towards, to enter into

It is through the work of Christ, by the Spirit, that we are able to enter into the presence of the Father as a way of life, Please notice the basic principles found in this verse…
1.  The Father is the One to whom allows us to gain access to Him as a way of life.
2.  The Son is the One who died for us on the cross and then continues as our Mediator allowing us to continually access the Father.
3.  The Spirit is the Person of God that shows us the way of salvation by leading us to Christ.

 

APPLICATION:

The believers in the church at Ephesus, just as each one of us, had much for which to be thankful:
1.  The Lord has graciously come to the earth, God becoming flesh, to minister to and to save His people from their sins.
2.  He graciously set the perfect example by ministering to both Jew and Gentile.
3.  He gave the Great Commission to His churches to continue His preaching/teaching ministry.
4.  He gave the Spirit to fulfill the ministry of leading men to Himself.
5.  He continues to minster by making constant intercession for our sins, insuring our security and eternal salvation.

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

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The Burial Of Our Body Is Following The Example Of Christ

SIH HALTAL ICONBut now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.   For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

For the SIH Bible Study On This Subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3e0

Cremation Or Burial: What Does The Bible Say? (2)

SIH STSTA ICONThe necessity of the death of our body, and its use to honor and glorify the Lord, is an issue for which we all should be prepared.  This would include the testimony that we display during our actual passing, as well as the funeral service and disposal of our body   After all, our physical bodies are a wonderful gift from the Lord of which we are to use for His glory in every way possible…

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)

I have said this to simply explain the importance of the issue we will be studying today.  It is the issue of the burial of our body versus the cremation of our body.  Do either of these dishonor our Lord or harm our testimony before Him?

 

THE STUDY:

In my way of thinking, one reason why there is so many questions about cremation versus burial of the body is because there is no “thus saith the Lord”.  To my knowledge the Bible does not clearly address the issue.  It is an issue that will have to be decided based upon a variety of Biblical principles instead of a clear Biblical declaration.

Keeping that in mind, I would like us to look at some Biblical principles that we can prayerfully consider…
1. The Stewardship Principle (see lesson #1)
2. The Example Of Honored Bible Characters
3.  The Symbolism Of Fire And Burial

The Example Of Honored Bible Characters

The most common way the deceased body was cared for throughout the Scriptures is through the act of a burial.  Normally, this “burial” was not underground in today’s time but in tombs, or sepulchers, made from caves covered by a huge rock:  Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Leah (Gen 49:29-31); Lazarus (Mark 15:45-46); Christ Himself (Mark 15:45-47) to name a few.

However, there is, at least, one cremation of an honored character that took place, and it was for the Lords glory…

And when the inhabitants of Jabeshgilead heard of that which the Philistines had done to Saul;  All the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and came to Jabesh, and burnt them there.  And they took their bones, and buried [them] under a tree at Jabesh, and fasted seven days.”   (1 Samuel 31:11-13)

In this case, the bodies of Saul and his sons were burned to make certain the Philistines would not be able to reclaim the bodies and, once again, put them on public display, bringing shame to the land of Israel.  This was not done to dishonor Saul and his sons, who were revered by Israel, it was done to retain the honor of Israel and her God, Jehovah.  In this case, the burning of the bodies was done to preserve respect for the Lord, not take away from it.

Another example of a Godly use of cremation is found in Amos…

Therefore now shall they go captive with the first that go captive, and the banquet of them that stretched themselves shall be removed.  The Lord GOD hath sworn by himself, saith the LORD the God of hosts, I abhor the excellency of Jacob, and hate his palaces: therefore will I deliver up the city with all that is therein.  And it shall come to pass, if there remain ten men in one house, that they shall die.  And a man’s uncle shall take him up, and he that burneth him, to bring out the bones out of the house, and shall say unto him that [is] by the sides of the house, [Is there] yet [any] with thee? and he shall say, No. Then shall he say, Hold thy tongue: for we may not make mention of the name of the LORD.  For, behold, the LORD commandeth, and he will smite the great house with breaches, and the little house with clefts.”   (Amos 6:7-11)

In this case, we have cremations taking place to stop a communicable plague from spreading throughout the land.

Also, we have to think about all the other honorable servants of the Lord whose body did not receive a proper burial.  In Hebrews 11: we find listed, in general terms, the types of death, and lack of burial many experienced…

And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae; [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets:  Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;  (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth.

And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.  (Hebrews 11:32-40)

Throughout the ages, the bodies of the people of God have suffered greatly at the hands of their enemies.  Some of the types of death relevant to our study include…. burning at the stake, being sawn asunder, eaten by wild animals, cast into the sea, torn apart on the rack etc etc etc.   All of these examples help us to understand that, in some instances, the lack of a burial actually glorifies God in great ways depending on the situation in which they occur.  Paul understood this principle when he actually offered for his body to be abused for the resultant glory of the Lord….

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.”  (1 Corinthians 13:3)

Of course, Paul is not referring to a cremation here, but a death by fire (aka being burned to death) which has a secondary result of destruction of the body.

Based upon the examples of the honored Bible characters, it seems as if the norm was definitely a proper burial of a prepared body, but it certain instances, cremation or the lack of a proper burial was used by the Lord for His honor and glory.    This must be determined based upon the motive behind the action and the circumstances surrounding it.

The Symbolism Involved

The final area that we need to look at is the area of symbolism… what does burial symbolize, if anything; and what does cremation of the deceased body symbolize, if anything?  To help us understand this we need to see what these two acts are related to in the Bible….

First let’s look at the symbolism of application of fire ….
Many times, the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment.

How long, LORD? wilt thou hide thyself for ever? shall thy wrath burn like fire?   (Psalms 89:46)

And [when] the people complained, it displeased the LORD: and the LORD heard [it]; and his anger was kindled; and the fire of the LORD burnt among them, and consumed [them that were] in the uttermost parts of the camp.  And the people cried unto Moses; and when Moses prayed unto the LORD, the fire was quenched.  And he called the name of the place Taberah: because the fire of the LORD burnt among them.   (Numbers 11:1-3)

 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away [the punishment] thereof; because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime:  But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth: and Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, [and] with the sound of the trumpet:  And I will cut off the judge from the midst thereof, and will slay all the princes thereof with him, saith the LORD.  (Amos 2:1-3)

In all the above three texts, which is only a sample of the many times fire is used by God to judge those who were rebellious, we can see that the application of fire was related to God’s anger and wrath being poured out upon the sinful.

However in our last text, Amos 2:1-3, it is interesting for us to notice WHY Moab was being punished by God.  It is described as “because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime”.  Was the Lord calling the act of cremation a sin?  If so, this would make our study much simpler.  There are those who say that is exactly what is being said, and therefore, we can know with certainty that the cremation of a body is an act of sinfulness.

However, from my perspective, I do believe this verse is better understood to be describing the horrible cruelty of Moab that was shown by his burning up the bodies of his enemies until the bones turned to small pieces with which he then plastered his palace.  He was a nice guy huh? (Because this information is based on human historians who were not inspired by God, this information cannot be relied upon with absolute certainty.  Therefore I am just sharing this alternate view with you.)

The reason why I do not think it is speaking of all types of cremation is because, we just saw in a previous examples where the act of cremation was not sinful but done as an act to glorify and honor the Lord.  I do not believe the act of cremation is not sinful in and of itself, but the purpose behind the cremation, and the circumstances surrounding it, must be taken into account as well.

From this standpoint, a usage of fire to cremate a body would be a symbolic picture of the body being used to dishonor the Lord, and as a result the body receiving judgment at the hand of the Lord.

Not only is the application of fire is symbolic of the falling of God’s judgment, but at other times, the application of fire was used by the Lord to accept an offering made to Him…

And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people.  And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: [which] when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.   (Leviticus 9:23-24)

And Gideon went in, and made ready a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the flesh he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought [it] out unto him under the oak, and presented [it].  And the angel of God said unto him, Take the flesh and the unleavened cakes, and lay [them] upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so.  Then the angel of the LORD put forth the end of the staff that [was] in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened cakes; and there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the angel of the LORD departed out of his sight. And when Gideon perceived that he [was] an angel of the LORD, Gideon said, Alas, O Lord GOD! for because I have seen an angel of the LORD face to face.  And the LORD said unto him, Peace [be] unto thee; fear not: thou shalt not die.  Then Gideon built an altar there unto the LORD, and called it Jehovahshalom: unto this day it [is] yet in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.”   (Judges 6:19-24)

And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word.  Then said Elijah unto the people, I, [even] I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets [are] four hundred and fifty men.

Let them therefore give us two bullocks; and let them choose one bullock for themselves, and cut it in pieces, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]: and I will dress the other bullock, and lay [it] on wood, and put no fire [under]:  And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.  And Elijah said unto the prophets of Baal, Choose you one bullock for yourselves, and dress [it] first; for ye [are] many; and call on the name of your gods, but put no fire [under].  And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed [it], and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But [there was] no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made.  And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he [is] a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, [or] peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.  And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.  And it came to pass, when midday was past, and they prophesied until the [time] of the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that [there was] neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.  And Elijah said unto all the people, Come near unto me. And all the people came near unto him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD [that was] broken down.  And Elijah took twelve stones, according to the number of the tribes of the sons of Jacob, unto whom the word of the LORD came, saying, Israel shall be thy name:  And with the stones he built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench about the altar, as great as would contain two measures of seed.  And he put the wood in order, and cut the bullock in pieces, and laid [him] on the wood, and said, Fill four barrels with water, and pour [it] on the burnt sacrifice, and on the wood.  And he said, Do [it] the second time. And they did [it] the second time. And he said, Do [it] the third time. And they did [it] the third time.  And the water ran round about the altar; and he filled the trench also with water.  And it came to pass at [the time of] the offering of the [evening] sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou [art] God in Israel, and [that] I [am] thy servant, and [that] I have done all these things at thy word.  Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou [art] the LORD God, and [that] thou hast turned their heart back again.  Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that [was] in the trench.  And when all the people saw [it], they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he [is] the God; the LORD, he [is] the God.  And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.   (1 Kings 18:21-40)

In the above texts, and in several others, we can see that many times the Lord declared His acceptance of an offering through the use of fire coming down upon the offerings and consuming them.

Under this basic usage, the cremation of a body could be seen as a body being offered for the Lord’s use (during its lifetime on earth) and that offering being found pleasing in the eyes of the Lord.

Now, let’s begin looking at the symbolism involved with the act of burial of a body…

The act of burial pictures the state of the saints dead body as it awaits the final resurrection.

But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?  [Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:  And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.  All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds.  [There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another.  [There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory.  So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:  It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power:  It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit.  Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.  The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.  As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly.  And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.  (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

In the above text, we can see that the body of those who are passed away is pictured by a seed that is sown.  The resurrection of that body is pictured by the seed then sprouting and growing with a new type of life.  Therefore it only makes sense that this seed that is “buried” and the sprout that arises with new life is the perfect illustration of dead body that is buried in the ground and the coming resurrection to a new type of life when the body comes forth from the grave.

The act of burial pictures Christ’s burial

Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;  (Hebrews 2:14)

But now is Christ risen from the dead, [and] become the firstfruits of them that slept.   For since by man [came] death, by man [came] also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.  (1 Corinthians 15:20-23)

For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.  (Philippians 3:20-21)

Christ went before His people setting the perfect example for us to follow in all aspects of His life. The example He has set for us even extends to the burial and resurrection of His body.  Christ’s body was buried in a tomb and then three days later at His resurrection, He exited that tomb proving to all that He was the true God and Redeemer of His people.   The burial of the believer’s body is one way, among many, that we can follow His great example that was set for us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

To summarize our completed study…

In the first study…
1.  We have come to recognize the importance of using our physical bodies for the glory and honor of God as stewards of these wonderful dwelling places for the Holy Ghost.  This principle even applies to our bodies following our death.
2.  We saw that the burial of the body was following the example set for us by our Lord, and in and of itself, was an act that brought glory and honor of Him.
3.  In our previous study, we also saw that the Bible gives us a clear recognition that the burial of a body is a very acceptable way to dispose of the body following death. It is through the use of burials that a body is protected for the destructive forces found in nature and shows great respect for the deceased.
4.  In our first study we also saw that the use of cremation to dispose of the dead body, may be considered using a force of nature to destroy it.  If that is the case, then this would be an act of dishonor for the deceased and abuse of the dead body.
5.  Also, in several cases, cremation was used to destroy those who are enemies of the Lord and foreigners from the nation of Israel.  Again, this would seem to teach us the need to refrain from the use of fire to dispose of the dead body.

In this, our final study…
6.  We saw that most of the honored servants of God had their bodies placed in a tomb for their burial.
7.  There were only two types of exceptions to the burial of God’s people…  The martyred servants of the Lord, who then had their dead bodies treated abusively by the enemies of the Lord; and, a few other cases, where cremation was used motivated out of desires to honor the Lord and protect His people from harm and shame.
8.  In this lesson, we also saw that cremation could be looked at as symbolic of the Lord’s rejection and punishment of the body of the deceased.  However, we also saw that this same cremation could picture the Lord’s acceptance of the service that was once performed in the body.  To my way of thinking the symbolism of fire is a wash, since it could be looked at either way.
9.  Based upon the spiritual lesson learned from a burial, we saw that a burial was symbolized by a sown seed waiting to receive new life and sprout.  This being a picture of a saint’s body sleeping awaiting a future resurrection.
10.  We also saw that a burial was also a public declaration of what our Lord has done for us by dying on the cross and experiencing a resurrection with a glorified body.

I believe the overwhelming evidence of the Scriptures is for the burial of the body of the saint who has passed before us.  It is clearly and acceptable way to dispose of the dead body picturing what Christ has done for us (as well as following His example and the example of saints who have gone before us). It is a proper way of protecting the body from abuse by nature, as well as a picture of the saint’s sleeping body.

When it comes to cremation, this is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body.  It could be abusing a body using a force of nature, and is associated with the death of those who are enemies of the Lord and it also is missing an opportunity to picture the Lord’s burial, following the example He has set for us.  Finally, it lacks in it declaring that the saint’s body is “asleep” and awaiting a future resurrection.  When we look at all these issues we can see that the weight of evidence makes cremation a questionable practice.  However, we should never forget that the Bible does give examples of cremation being used in God glorifying ways. Therefore we cannot say that in every case cremation is a sinful act or displeasing to God.

My thoughts are that … Biblically, confidence can be found in the burial of the saint’s body.  It is clearly an acceptable, God honoring way to dispose of the believer’s body.   However, cremation is a much more questionable method of disposal of the body. Therefore, it must be selected with great care, prayer and consideration of the motives behind that decision.

The greatest consideration for us all is not the condition of our bodies following our death, but the condition of our souls now.  Keep in mind, one of the supreme goals of a Christian’s service to the Lord is to see the salvation of those who are lost.  For the Christian, are we certain our hearts are right with the Lord?  Likewise, are we living a life that glorifies and honors Christ?   Furthermore, are we using the opportunities the Lord has given to us to witness to and pray for the lost around us?  All of these things are of utmost importance.

For those who are lost, have you ever experienced the Lord’s saving grace in your life?  Have you ever seen that you have sinned against the Lord and, apart from His gracious intervention in your life, you can do nothing to gain forgiveness from Him?  Have you come before Him humbly, turning form those sins and trusting in Him to save you from those sins?  Have you ever experienced a change within you that results in recognizing Christ as your Lord and seeking to live your life for Him?

These are the marks of genuine salvation and the most important consideration that lies before us…

Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.  Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:  Even as I please all [men] in all [things], not seeking mine own profit, but the [profit] of many, that they may be saved.   (1 Corinthians 10:31-33)

May the Lord bless you as you continue to seek His truth.

 

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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.”

Our Hatred Was Replaced With Peace and Love

SIH HALTAL ICON(Eph 2:15-16)  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3ds

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: Christ “hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.”

SIH HALTAL ICONChrist Inherited A Name Above All Names – “Jesus”

Heb 1:4 KJV – Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

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SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:15-16

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

“That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.”

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:11-18

 Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.

For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;  And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:  And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 

For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Paul now explains to the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) that the Lord has graciously included Gentiles as recipients of the gospel message, saving faith and membership into the family of God.

What is meant by the term “Gentile”?  The word translated “Gentile” is the Greek word “ethnos”, meaning “nations”.  It is from this word we get the word “ethnic”.

Generally, when the term Gentile is used in the Bible in was used in one of two ways:

1.  When used to describe a physical condition of a nation, it describes a non-Jewish nation, or a foreign nation.

2.  When used to describe a spiritual condition, it describes those who are alienated from the Lord.  Before Christ, most non-Jewish nations did not possess the truths of God’s Word, nor did they experience His saving grace. Because of this, the term “Gentile” in the Bible was related to those who were alienated from the Lord, many times indulging in false worship and spiritually separated from Him.

Please keep in mind, this condition of Gentile alienation during the times of the Old Testament is being spoken of by Paul, in generalities.  There were exceptions to this principle of Gentile alienation.  Some of the OT Gentiles who were saved and enjoyed communion with God include:
1.  Everyone saved before the establishment of the nation of Israel (Gen 1:-11:)
2.  Inhabitants of Nineveh under the ministry of Jonah (Jonah 3:)
3.  Rahab the harlot (Hebs 11:31)
4.  King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:)
5.  Naaman the Syrian (2 Kings 5:)
6.  Ruth the Moabitess (Ruth)

And perhaps others.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The past alienation of Gentiles from the Lord – 11-12
II.        Gentiles brought into communion with God based upon Christ – 13
III.        The work of Christ on  behalf of Gentiles – 14-17
IV.        Communion with God by the Spirit – 18

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul describes in more detail three results of His work on the cross that reconciled man to God…  

(Eph 2:15-16)  Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

Paul explains how the work of Christ on the cross worked reconciliation between God and Gentiles (both physical and spiritual)

 

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, 

Two types of enmity (hatred, warfare) exists in the lives of Gentiles:

1.  For the physical Gentile enmity existed between Jews and themselves… many Old Testament blessings were given to Jews but were not experienced by Gentiles (Romans 3:1-2).   Some of these included:
a.  being used by God to deliver His Word
b.  being granted access to His house of worship
c.  National blessings of protection and prosperity
 

2.  For the spiritual Gentiles enmity exists between God and himself.  This enmity is the result of man’s fallen sinful, depraved nature (Colossians 1:21, Romans 7:7).

It was through the physical abuse and death of Christ that this hatred was brought to cessation…

I. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in a cessation of warfare between physical Jew and physical Gentiles and between God and spiritual Gentiles.

 

even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; 

This enmity was brought about due to the “law of commandments”  (the restriction of divine requirements)
1.  For the physical Gentile… it was the restrictions found in the OT law of God that forbade them from full interaction with the Lord (especially in areas of worship, ambassadorship, and national blessings)
2.  For the spiritual Gentiles… it was the laws of the Lord that produced and revealed their sinful, alienated, condition before God.

When Christ died on the cross He did away with the restrains of the law allowing Gentiles access into His salvation, fellowship, and houses of worship (local churches). (Galatians 3:10-14)

 

for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;

Taking away the enmity brought about by the law resulted in the Jew and Gentile becoming one in Christ.
1.  For the physical Gentile, they would now have no reason for jealousy or hatred of the Jew.  Now both would equally share in the blessings of Christ as citizens of His spiritual nation. (Romans 11:16-25)
2.  For the spiritual Gentile, they would be looked upon as having equal access to salvation. (Colossians 3:10-11, Galatians 3:26-29)

Through Christ’s death, the enmity that was experienced by Gentiles would be replaced with the peace (harmony, unity).

II. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in taking away many of the disparities between Jew and Gentile bringing peace between the Jews/Gentiles and Gentiles/ and the Lord.

 

And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

The death of Christ resulted in the reconciliation of both Jews and Gentiles unto the Lord.  The word “reconcile” comes from a Greek word that carries the idea of “to fully transform though use of an exchange”.   The Gentiles standing before the Lord fully changed through Christ’s death…
1.  Their “enmity” was exchanged for “peace”.
2.  Their “alienation” was exchanged for “acceptance”
3.  Their “sinfulness was exchanged for “righteousness”

All of this resulted in both physical and spiritual Gentiles being fully transformed….

For it pleased [the Father] that in him should all fulness dwell;  And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, [I say], whether [they be] things in earth, or things in heaven.  And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in [your] mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled  In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: …   [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:  To whom God would make known what [is] the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”  (Colossians 1:19-29)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.  Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.  For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.  And not only [so], but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.   (Romans 5:8-11)

III. Christ’s work on the cross resulted in the reconciliation of the Gentile through gracious transforming exchange.

 

 

APPLICATION:

Certainly the Ephesians, and ourselves, have much to be thankful for… through Christ’s work on the cross an exchange was wrought resulting in the transformation of both physical and spiritual Gentiles .   It was this exchange that brought for the Gentiles peace, acceptance, forgiveness, citizenship into the family and nation of the Lord, and an inheritance which will be enjoyed throughout eternity!

May we all get a clearer picture of our Lord and Savior, and the great grace He has shown to us. Let us be always watchful to keep His great acts of grace on our behalf in the center of our attention… In doing so, may we be motivated to LOVE Him more, APPRECIATE Him more and SERVE Him more!  

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Christ Is The Only Source Of Genuine Peace

SIH HALTAL ICON(Eph 2:14)  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

For the SIH devotional on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3dl