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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 4)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:

I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”

II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span

III.        The Death Of The Apostles

IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings

V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:


The Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

There is a principle that seems to be repeated throughout both the Old and New Testament Scriptures… it is the principle described as of “Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation”.   This principle says that in many, if not all cases, a Godly feat of creation relies upon miraculous divine intervention for its existence and the uses a series of natural acts for its continuation.

Here are a few examples of this principle….

 

God’s Creative Work Miraculous Beginning Natural Perpetuity/Maintenance
The Universe Spoken Into ExistenceHebrews 11:3, Psalm 33:6-9, Genesis 1:1-2:7 Gradually Decaying Waiting For DeliveranceRomans 8:19-24
The Tabernacle Divinely Inspired Plans Given To ManExodus 35:30-35Miraculous AccreditingMoses – Book of Exodus Joshua – Book of Joshua Levites To Care For TabernacleNumbers 4:16, Exodus 40:33-38
The Temple Divinely Inspired Plans1 Chronicles 28:11-21Miraculous AccreditingElijah -1 Kings 17:-18: Elisha-1 King 19:-2 King 13: Levites To Care For Temple1 Chronicles 9:26-34
The Bible Inspired Men Handed Down Scriptures2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-19 Human Beings Translate and Copy ScripturesDeuteronomy 17:18-20
The Local Church God Comes To Earth/ Forms AssemblyRomans 9:5, Matthew 10:1-2Miraculous Empowering and AccreditingHebrews 2:3-4, Acts 2:1-13, Acts 19:1-7 Church To Send Out Other Men To Form Other Assemblies Throughout The World.Matthew 28:18-20
Eternity Divine Visitation and Recreation of World1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Peter 3:6-8 The Constant Continuation of EternityDaniel 12:1-3, Revelation 21:-22:

 

If you notice, based upon the above chart, the Local Assembly follows in this same pattern. The Lord miraculously came to the earth and, while He was present, He founded the local church (Matthew 10). Also, through miraculous means, following His ascension, He empowered His assembly to do His work in Acts 2:, and then He accredited His assembly through the miraculous works of the Apostles and other members of His churches throughout its beginning years.

However, also in alignment with His other acts of creation, His miraculous intervention stopped during New Testament times and from then forward the perpetuity of the local assembly is brought about through the fulfilling of the Great Commission by members of His assemblies.

Once, again, this falls into perfect alignment with the concept that the age of the accrediting miracles came to an end during the later years of the Apostles’ existence on the earth (approx. 100 AD).

We will finish this section of our study next time with a look at the prophecies given by God of the existence of false miracles workers in the last days.

 

Additional Information:

The Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4) And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6) And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9) And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
10) And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
11) And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12) And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
13) And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.
17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good.
19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20) And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21) And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24) And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27) So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4) These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.
6) But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7) And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
(Genesis 1:1-2:7)

 

30) And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31) And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32) And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33) And in the cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34) And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, [both] he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35) Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, [even] of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
(Exodus 35:30-35)

 

33) And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
34) Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35) And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36) And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37) But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38) For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
(Exodus 40:33-38)

 

16) And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest [pertaineth] the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, [and] the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein [is], in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.
(Numbers 4:16)

 

18) And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of [that which is] before the priests the Levites:
19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left: to the end that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
(Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 17:1-18:1)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 19:1- 2 Ki 13:1)

 

 

26) For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in [their] set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27) And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge [was] upon them, and the opening thereof every morning [pertained] to them.
28) And [certain] of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
29) [Some] of them also [were] appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.
30) And [some] of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
31) And Mattithiah, [one] of the Levites, who [was] the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.
32) And [other] of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, [were] over the shewbread, to prepare [it] every sabbath.
33) And these [are] the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, [who remaining] in the chambers [were] free: for they were employed in [that] work day and night.
34) These chief fathers of the Levites [were] chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.
(1 Chronicles 9:26-34)

 

11) Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
12) And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
13) Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
14) [He gave] of gold by weight for [things] of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; [silver also] for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
15) Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, [both] for the candlestick, and [also] for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
16) And by weight [he gave] gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and [likewise] silver for the tables of silver:
17) Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons [he gave gold] by weight for every bason; and [likewise silver] by weight for every bason of silver:
18) And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out [their wings], and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
19) All [this, said David], the LORD made me understand in writing by [his] hand upon me, [even] all the works of this pattern.
20) And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
21) And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, [even they shall be with thee] for all the service of the house of God: and [there shall be] with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people [will be] wholly at thy commandment.
(1 Chronicles 28:11-21)

 

6) By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7) He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8) Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9) For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.
(Psalms 33:6-9)

 

1) And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
(Daniel 12:1-3)

 

(1) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
(2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
(Matthew 10:1-2)

 

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.
(Matthew 28:18-20)

 

1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6) Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7) And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8) And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9) Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10) Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11) Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12) And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13) Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
(Acts 2:1-13)

 

1) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve.
(Acts 19:1-7)

 

19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,
21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23) And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.
24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
(Romans 8:19-24)

 

(5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
(Romans 9:5)

 

13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17) Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
4) God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
(Hebrews 2:3-4)

 

 

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
(Hebrews 11:3)

 

19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
(2 Peter 1:19-21)

 

(refer to the Bible for Revelation 21:1-22:21)

 

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 3)

SIH TOA ICON
Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 3)

 

 

Introduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:


The Death of the Apostles:

Our texts for this lesson are:

1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. (Acts 2:1-4)

 

14) Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
15) Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
16) (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
17) Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
18) And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
19) Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
20) But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
21) Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.
22) Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.
23) For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.
24) Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
25) And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans. (Acts 8:14-25)

 

44) While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
45) And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
46) For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
47) Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
48) And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.
(Acts 10:44-48)

 

1) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve. (Acts 19:1-7)

 

To begin this part of our study, I would like us to notice how the spiritual gifts were received based upon the historical accounts found in the Bible:

 

Text Description Manner of Receipt of Gifts
Acts 2:1-4 Jewish Church at Jerusalem (Pentecost) Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ
Acts 8:14-25 Jewish/Gentile Church at Samaria Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands
Acts 10:44-48 Gentile Church In Cornelius House Baptism of Local Church In Holy Spirit By Christ
Acts 19:1-7 Gentile Church at Ephesus Laying On Of Apostle’s Hands

 

Based upon the above breakdown of events, we can see several things:

1. Spiritual gifts were never given to a single individual, but only to local assemblies of believers

2. There were two ways that spiritual gifts were received by a local assembly:
a. Sovereign act of Christ (assembly baptized in Spirit)
b. Act of Christ through human instrument (Apostle’s hands laid upon assembly)

3. Christ baptized His assemblies in the Holy Spirit only twice (once to accredit Jewish assembly, once to accredit Gentile assembly)

4. The Apostles laid their hands on assemblies several times (two are recorded but others implied in Rom 1:10-12, 2 Cor 12:11-12 etc)

 

If the Lord accredited a Jewish assembly once (Jerusalem at Pentecost), and a Gentile assembly once (Cornelius church) why would the apostles continue to grant these gifts via laying on of hands? They did it to “establish” the ministries of the local assemblies (Romans 1:10-12). This involved two different aspects:

 

1. They did it to grant the individual churches the gifts of the Spirit which they could use to effectively fulfill their individual ministries.

 

2. They did it to give the assemblies’ proof of that their ministry was valid in God’s sight. Remember, at this point in time, the NT was not yet completed and there was still great disagreement concerning:
a. the local church as the house of God
b. the inclusion of Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah

By giving these gifts to the individual assemblies it would help to silence any question of their validity. I believe this is why the Apostle Paul so greatly desired to impart these gifts to other assemblies through the laying on of his hands (Romans 1:10-12)

(Please note: with the completion of the New Testament scriptures and the record of these events, churches no longer need these gifts for accreditation. Local churches are now clearly understood to be the place of worship for Christians of both Jewish and Gentile lineage based upon the preserved New Testament record.)

 

 

We have two final Scriptures that we need to examine closely…

 

1. The issue of 2 Corinthians 12:11-12…
Please notice that the ability to grant the spiritual gifts with the laying on of hands was exclusively given to those who help the office of Apostle. In 2 Corinthians 12:11-12, he explains to church at Corinth that he was to be considered among the “chiefest of apostles” because when he was visiting with the Corinth church that “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”
Now, if we take a minute to think about what Paul was saying, it holds a very important point for all of us.   Based upon the historical accounts that we have listed above (Acts 2:,8:,10:,19:), we can see that the exercise of patience, signs, wonders, and mighty deeds were not limited to the office of Apostle. In several of these events, it is clear to see that the entire assembly of believers shared in the exercise of these gifts. These gifts WERE NOT exclusive to the office of Apostle.
So how could these gifts distinguish Paul unquestioningly as “among the chiefest of apostles”?   I believe it was his ability to give these gifts to the assembly through the laying on of his hands. What he was saying was this…. When you see yourselves exercising patience, signs, wonders and mighty deeds, it is proof an Apostle was among you. The laying on of a genuine Apostle’s hands must have taken place for you to be able to do these great works of God.   No counterfeit Apostle had this ability.

 

 

2. The issue of 2 Timothy 1:6-7
In this text, Paul describes the “the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands”. Here the “gift of God” Paul is describing is Timothy’s call to the ministry; the “putting on of my hands” of which Paul speaks is describing Timothy’s ordination.
Paul is not describing Timothy’s receipt of the spiritual gifts as an individual (remember the spiritual gifts are exclusively given to local assemblies, never to a single individual), but he is referring to Timothy’s calling of God and his ordination (his public separation to the gospel ministry). If we read further Paul makes it plain that, based upon the calling that was upon Timothy, Timothy was to faithfully minister the truths of God to those put under his watchcare (vs 8-12). In the context, nothing is said about the exercise of the accrediting gifts of God.

 

 

Our conclusion…
The Lord has only sovereignly baptized local assemblies in the Holy Spirit twice, once to accredit Jewish assemblies, once to accredit Gentile assemblies. There is no reason for Him to repeat this action. Nor do we find any Biblical accounts of Him repeating this.

 

The only other way that spiritual gifts could be received by local assemblies was through the laying on of hands of Apostolic office holders.  If this is the case, as the Apostolic office holders “died off” no one was left to continue to pass these gifts on to other assemblies. Following the death of the final Apostle the only ones who exercised these gifts would be church members who had received this gift prior to the Apostle’s deaths. Once the church members “died off” the spiritual gifts would cease to exist.
So now we come to the great question…. When did the final Apostle die? Based upon human historical records the Apostle John was probably the last Apostle to die in approximately 100 AD.   So, at the very latest, the deaths of the adult generation living in 100 AD would bring an end to these gifts (probably around 150 AD?). But that is assuming that the Apostles were continually granting these gifts to the assemblies until their death.
If we look closely at the Biblical text we find that the latest mention of spiritual gifts being given or exercised is found in 1 Peter which was written probably in 63 AD. If this is the case and no other gifts were granted after this timeframe, then the probable date of the end of the existence of spiritual gifts would probably be closer to 100-110 AD. So therefore, it is very highly probable the gifts ceased to exist sometime between 100 and 150 AD.

THE 100 – 150 AD TIMEFRAME FITS PERFECTLY WITH OUR PREVIOUS STUDIES ON THIS SUBJECT: “The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect” AND “The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span”.

Additional Information (Bible Scrioptures Referenced In This Study:

The Death Of The Apostles:

10) Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

11) For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;

12) That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.

(Romans 1:10-12)

 

 

11) I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.

12) Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.

(2 Corinthians 12:11-12)

 

6) Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

7) For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

8) Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;

9) Who hath saved us, and called [us] with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

10) But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:

11) Whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.

12) For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

(2 Timothy 1:6-12)

 

 

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 6)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

 

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local       assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

 

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

Keep in mind, in our previous studies we have seen that the Accrediting Gifts involving:

1. SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF TRUTH:

the word of wisdomand the word of knowledge

2. SUPERNATURAL INDICATORS OF THE TRUTH:

faith”, “gifts of healing”, “the working of miracles”, prophecyand “the discerning of spirits

3. SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH:

[divers] kinds of tonguesand the interpretation of tongues:

 

Before we begin looking at the Scriptural teaching on the conclusion of the accrediting gifts, there is one more passage that we need to look at concerning the Accrediting Gifts. In this case, in involves a list of these gifts given to the local assembly in the context of the Great Commission…

 

(Mark 16:14-19)

14) Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

 

And to “the seventy” as He equipped them to go before Him and announce His coming from town to town…

1)  After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

2) Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

3) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

4) Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

5) And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace [be] to this house.

6) And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

7) And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

8) And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:

9) And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

10) But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,

11) Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

12) But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

13) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

14) But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.

15) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

16) He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

17) And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

(Luke 10:1-20)

 

 

The Accrediting Gifts and the Great Commission

Let’s take a look at this historical account with our attention especially pointed towards truths about the accrediting gifts (within the context of the Great Commission)…

 

(Mark 16:14-19)

14) Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

This historical event takes place following the Lord’s resurrection from the dead with His ascension to the Father to take place soon after. We need to take notice of two important points in this passage:

1. The Lord is speaking to the eleven Apostles which made up the foundation of the Lord’s local assemblies on earth. He is meeting with them during a time when they are assembled as a group. This once again, supports the truth that the accrediting gifts were given to, and used by, the Lord’s local assembly and not believers in general.

2. The eleven had already trusted in Christ by faith. When He pointed to their “unbelief and hardness of heart”, He was not addressing a lack of saving faith, but a lack of belief in accounts of His resurrection spoken to them by eye witnesses. In other words, although saved, they had lacked faith in His miracle working ability. Especially, they did not believe in His ability to raise Himself from the dead. (John 2:18-21, 10:17-18)

 

15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Please keep in mind the Great Commission involves three different responsibilities that are given to the Lord’s local assemblies:

1. Take the gospel to the lost; 2. Baptize those who believe the gospel; 3. Indoctrinate those who are baptized into the assembly

Matthew 28:16-20. In this passage only the first aspect of the great commission is taught with the second aspect only touched upon lightly.

Christ explains to His first church the need to preach the gospel to the lost in the hopes that a genuine belief in Christ and His work will result. The genuineness of the belief will be shown by a declaration of faith and membership in to the Lord’s assembly through baptism. A lack of genuine belief will result in eternal damnation (punishment).

 

This context (vs 14-16) to the accrediting gifts (vs 17-19) is further evidence that these gifts were given to the local assembly to be used in the fulfillment of the Great Commission. These gifts were NOT given to believers in general as is commonly taught in error.

 

17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name

Once again we see these gifts are described as “signs”. The Greek word for “signs” carries with it the idea of a “mark”, “indication”, or “token”.   In other words, the following list of spiritual gifts would be used by the Lord as evidence proving to others: the validity of the local church as the worship place for both Jew and Gentile; the divine authority of the message of the local assembly.

 

“them that believe” – These signs would be exhibited by those who were genuinely believing ministers of the Word. Remember the two aspects of “faith” being spoken of in the context…

1. a faith in the Lord’s ability to do all things as Sovereign All-powerful Lord (His resurrection in context) (vs 14)

2. a saving faith (vs 16)

The accrediting signs would be exhibited by those who had exercised a genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and Sovereign Lord. But the prerequisites for the working of the accrediting miracles did not stop there…

 

“In my name” refers to the fact that those who would work these miracles would be do so under the specific calling and authority received from the Lord. It would only be those who were “sent authoritatively” as chosen ambassadors they would be able to exercise these gifts. These workings of miracles were limited to Christ Himself, the Apostles, and other members of His local assemblies who were gifted for the benefit of the assemblies as they fulfilled the call of the Great Commission.

 

Contextually, there is no way to make this section of Scripture teach that all who believe in Him will receive these gifts.

 

 

shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

The Lord now begins to give a list of some of the gifts that would be used in the local assembly’s accreditation by the Lord:

1. shall they cast out devils; – a supernatural INDICATION of the truth

2. they shall speak with new tongues; – a supernatural PROCLAMATION of the truth

3. They shall take up serpents;- a supernatural INDICATION of the truth

4. and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; – a supernatural INDICATION of the truth

5. they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. – a supernatural INDICATION of the truth

 

19) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

Soon after He bestowed upon the assembly the authority to minister for Him (fulfilling the Great Commission) and gave to them the ability to perform works that would accredit their ministry, He ascended to be with the Father.   The giving of the Great Commission, and the accrediting miracles, was a very important step to preparing the assembly for the first stages of its ministry on earth in His absence.

 

 

The same type of miracle working ability was also given to a group of local church members described as “the seventy”…

(Luke 10:1-20)

1) After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.2) Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

These were given the responsibility to go ahead of Christ telling others of His soon arrival as He traveled from town to town…. There were many that were lost who needed this ministry to prepare their hearts for the coming Christ.

Note that they were “appointed” this is when they received the calling and authority of the Lord to minister to others and to use the spiritual gifts as a part of their ministry. Implied here, is that they had been disciples of Christ and members of His church.

 

3) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

4) Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

This would be a ministry that was based entirely upon faith in the Lord Jesus. They were not to prepare for their journey but they were to be relying upon Him for their daily supplies.

 

5) And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace [be] to this house.

6) And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

7) And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

As they traveled from city to city, they were to approach each home in a spirit of openness, love and graciousness, which would be shown by wishing the inhabitants quietness and harmony. If the 70 were treated with the same spirit by the inhabitants of the house the Lord would bless that house with peace. If the household treated the 70 poorly, they would lose out on the blessing of peace that could have been theirs.

They were to remain in the home and enjoy the hospitality that was offered to them. They should not feel guilty about the receipt of this hospitality, because they were simply being repaid for the spiritual blessings that the 70 had brought with them.

 

8) And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:

9) And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

When a city accepted them, they were to be a blessing to the city by healing the sick. They were then to explain that this miracle was being performed based upon the “kingdom of God”. In other words, this miracle was performed based upon the Lord’s sovereign control over this sickness. They had just seen the hand of the Lord exercising control over this sickness.

It would be this same all-powerful Lord that would soon be coming their way.

 

10) But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,

11) Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

12) But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

13) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

14) But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.

15) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

16) He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

To those cities who did not kindly receive the 70, they were to depart from that city and not “force themselves” upon it. They were to not take anything from that city, even the dust of the city they were to leave behind. This is a visible illustration to teach this rebellious city a very important lesson… the 70 did not need them, nor were they associated with this spirit of rebellion in anyway. It was a visible rejection of the city’s spirit of rebellion that would eventually result in their eternal judgment.

 

Examples to emphasize the horrendous, eternal, judgment of the Lord is given to this rebellious city…

1. Sodom and Gomorrah – the recipients of a temporal judgment of fire… the cities who reject the seventy would face eternal, never ending judgment.

2. Tyre and Sidon – Tyre and Sidon, two Gentile cities would be judged eternally based upon their lost condition, but because they did not have the privilege of hearing the teachings not seeing the miracles of Christ or the seventy, their judgment was limited. However, the judgment falling against those cities that purposely reject the message and miracles given to them would face a far greater judgment.

 

Since the seventy were sent as the authoritative ambassadors of Christ, anyone who rejected them was, in effect, rejecting Christ as Himself. This is the reason for the severe judgment of God falling upon them.

 

17) And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

At the completion of their ministry, the seventy were amazed at the great miracles they were able to perform. In their mind, the greatest miracle was that of the casting out of demons.

Christ responds explaining that He had proof that Satan was already defeated in the counsels of God. Satan being cast out of heaven onto the earth was proof that he was defeated in the counsels of God. Of course, Satan’s defeat was accomplished through the death of Christ on the cross. (Hebrews 2:14-15)

Christ gave them the ability to withstand the poison of snakes and scorpions (picturing Satan – Genesis 3:1-14, and the powers of darkness – Revelation 9:3-10). This was visible evidence that they had power over the powers of darkness which they could not see.

 

They are reminded to keep their attention, joy and appreciation pointed toward the miracle of their salvation not the far less significant ability to perform these accrediting miracles.

 

In both of these examples, we have seen tremendous similarities:

 

THE SPIRITUAL GIFTS GIVEN:

1. Healing of the sick

2. Not harmed by poisons

3. Authority over demons

 

THE PURPOSE FOR THE GIVING OF THE GIFTS:

1. To prepare the lost for Christ’s coming (to visit a city by announcing Him, or His second coming by declaring the gospel)

2. To give evidence their message was true and their authority was divine

 

THE PEOPLE TO WHOM THE GIFTS WERE GIVEN:

1. Local church members (Apostles, Seventy)

2. Personally chosen to a specific ministry

3. Given authority to be His ambassador and prepare others for His coming.

4. Given authority to exercise gifts to fulfill their ministry

 

It is very helpful that we keep the mention of the gifts in the Great Commission and the sending of the seventy in the context of our previous studies… the church at Jerusalem during Pentecost, the church in the house of Cornelius, the church at Ephesus, the church at Samaria. These examples help us to understand both the Luke 10: and Mark 16: passages.

 

In our next lesson, we will answer the question when did these accrediting gifts come to an end.

 

 

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

(Mark 16:14-19)

14) Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

 

The Accrediting Gifts and the Great Commission

1) Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

2) And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

3) But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

4) And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

5) For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

6) And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

7) And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

8) And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

9) And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where [art] thou?

10) And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I [was] naked; and I hid myself.

11) And he said, Who told thee that thou [wast] naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?

12) And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest [to be] with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.

13) And the LORD God said unto the woman, What [is] this [that] thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

14) And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou [art] cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:

(Genesis 3:1-14)

 

(Mark 16:14-19)

14) Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15) And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16) He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

17) And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18) They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19) So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

 

1) After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.

2) Therefore said he unto them, The harvest truly [is] great, but the labourers [are] few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he would send forth labourers into his harvest.

3) Go your ways: behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.

4) Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

5) And into whatsoever house ye enter, first say, Peace [be] to this house.

6) And if the son of peace be there, your peace shall rest upon it: if not, it shall turn to you again.

7) And in the same house remain, eating and drinking such things as they give: for the labourer is worthy of his hire. Go not from house to house.

8) And into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you:

9) And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

10) But into whatsoever city ye enter, and they receive you not, go your ways out into the streets of the same, and say,

11) Even the very dust of your city, which cleaveth on us, we do wipe off against you: notwithstanding be ye sure of this, that the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.

12) But I say unto you, that it shall be more tolerable in that day for Sodom, than for that city.

13) Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

14) But it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment, than for you.

15) And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

16) He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.

17) And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.

18) And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

19) Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

20) Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

(Luke 10:1-20)

 

18) Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things?

19) Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

20) Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days?

21) But he spake of the temple of his body.

(John 2:18-21)

 

17) Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again.

18) No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father.

(John 10:17-18)

 

14) 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;

15) And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

(Hebrews 2:14-15)

 

1) And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit.

2) And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

3) And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

4) And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads.

5) And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment [was] as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

6) And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them.

7) And the shapes of the locusts [were] like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads [were] as it were crowns like gold, and their faces [were] as the faces of men.

8) And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as [the teeth] of lions.

9) And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings [was] as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

10) And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power [was] to hurt men five months.

11) And they had a king over them, [which is] the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue [is] Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath [his] name Apollyon.

(Revelation 9:1-11)

 

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 5)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

 

Lesson:


Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

We began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH. In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…

1. The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)

2. The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)

3. The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)

4. The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);

5. The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)

6. The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)

7. The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)

Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned. This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”. This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.” This is the case with the gift of tongues. This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

 

 

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Instructions On The Biblical Exercise Of The Gift Of Tongues

The Apostle Paul gives us clear instructions on the Biblical exercise of the gift of tongues in the book of 1 Corinthians. In particular, Paul mentions the gift of tongues in chapters 12-14.

 

1 Corinthians 12:

In chapter 12, they are mentioned in three verses 10, 28 and 30…

 

(1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

9) To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;

10) To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:

11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

In this section of Scripture we can learn a bit about the nature of the tongues gift. Note in verse 11, it is said to be worked among men by the Holy Spirit. It is this same Spirit who sovereignly distributes these spiritual gifts to believers as He sees fit.

This scripture gives birth to the question “If the Spirit distributes the various spiritual gifts among men, what determines which gifts are given to which men?”. That question is answered for us in the later verses of this same chapter…

 

(1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.

29) [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?

30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

Here we read that we are to desire to EXERCISE, not obtain, the best gift for use in an assembly. In verses 27-31, we read that the gifts of the Spirit (including diversities of tongues) are distributed among men based upon the ministry to which the gifted individual is called. In other words, whatever gift is needed by the Christian to faithfully fulfill the ministry to which he is called, that is the gift that is distributed to him. The Christian needs no other gifts to live an obedient life than that which the Spirit sovereignly distributes to him.

Also notice in verse 31, based upon the set of gifts the Christian possesses, he is to desire to exercise the best gift that is needed by the church in any given situation. The practical application of that teaching is two-fold:

1. The gifted Christian is to select the proper gift to use to fulfill a church’s need… for example, if the church needed a message to be spoken using the gift of tongues, the speaker should desire to exercise the gift of tongues, not the gift of prophecy.

2. The Christian is to only select ministries for which he has been gifted…. for example, if the same church needed the gift of prophecy to be exercised, only those Christians who possessed that specific gift should intervene and take responsibility to fulfill that ministry. Anyone without the gift of prophecy should not attempt to fulfill that specific need of the church.

These two principles are what is meant by the phrase “covet earnestly the best gifts” (ie sincerely desire to EXERCISE the best gift to meet the need of the church at that time.) This phrase has nothing to do with desiring to OBTAIN a specific spiritual gift.

 

Notice the final phrase of vs 31… and yet I will shew you a more excellent way”. What is Paul speaking of? We find the answer to this question in chapter 13…

 

1 Corinthians 13:

In 1 Corinthians 13, we find the gift of tongues mentioned in two verses, 1 and 8.

 

(1 Corinthians 13:1-3, 13)

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

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

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

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

We find that the “more excellent way” to exercise the spiritual gifts is to exercise them out of a heart of love. The spiritual gifts were never given for personal gain. They were not given for the gifted individual to receive praise, honor, or money. They were given to be sacrificially used to help others motivated by love and mercy.

In the church at Corinth, we find that the members were submitting to the temptation exercise these gifts based upon selfish desires and motives. Paul is clearly explaining that no personal gain should be desired, or requested, concerning the exercise of the spiritual gifts (including the speaking of tongues). This is the more excellent way to exercise the gracious gifts given to men by the Spirit.

Please note the phrase “the tongues of men and of angels” found in verse 1. This phrase describes two very important aspects to the gift of tongues…

1. “The tongues of men” obviously describes the human languages that existed in Paul’s day. This emphasizes for us the type of language the gift of tongues uses…it is always a HUMAN LANGUAGE.

2. “The tongues of angels” is describing the same set of languages. Keep in mind, EVERYTIME we find angels speaking in the Bible they are delivering a message to man in the human language spoken by the hearers. There is no exception to this. NO PLACE in the Bible are we told, by teaching or example, that angels speak a language reserved for the inhabitants of heaven. This emphasizes for us the goal of the gift of tongues… IT IS DELIVERING A MESSAGE TO MEN USING THE HUMAN LANGUAGE THE HEARERS UNDERSTAND.

Therefore, another way to phrase the beginning of verse 1 is simply … “Though I speak with the tongues shared by men and angels,”, by which he is speaking of human languages.

Also in 1 Corinthians 13: we find tongues mentioned in verse 8. In this section of Scripture (vs 8-12) we find teaching concerning the ceasing of the spiritual gifts. We will reserve our comments on this text, and others, for the upcoming section of our study on the ceasing of spiritual gifts.

 

1 Corinthians 14:

In 1 Corinthians 14:1-40, we find the majority of Paul’s teaching about the Scriptural exercise of the gifts of tongues. But before we take a look at those instructions, it is important we understand some of the misuses of the gift of tongues by the Corinthian church:

1. vs 2- when the church met, they all spoke the same language. There was no need for the exercise of tongues and, yet, they did exercise the gift.

2. vs 2, 4, 13,14,19,27 – the term “unknown” is not in the Greek language, this is why the KJV puts brackets around and italicizes the word unknown. What the KJV translators were trying to express is that, when a foreign language was spoken (as the gift of tongues was exercised) the human languages being spoken were unknown to the hearers, because of the gift’s misuse.

3. vs 4 – Again, we see the gift of tongues was being used in an Unscriptural way because the members of the church were not being edified by the gift.

4. vs 12 – The gift of tongues was being used in a ridiculous way, which was motivated by a misdirected zealousness to exercise the gifts although they were not needed nor helpful to the assembly.

5. vs 1-12 – Teach us that prophecy was the correct gift to use in this situation, not tongues. Why was prophecy the “gift of choice”? because through it, the church could be edified. They were not gaining anything from the misuse of the gift of tongues. As the tongues speaker spoke in a human language unknown to the hearers, it sounded to them as babbling which they could not understand.

This was the situation Paul was addressing in this letter to Corinth. The above abuses of the gift of tongues helps us to understand more about the instructions he gave to the church in chapters 12: and 13:.   It also helps us to clarify what he has written in this chapter. Now let’s turn our attention to this chapter to learn more about the appropriate use of the gift of tongues…

 

(1 Corinthians 14:1-40)

1) Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.

2) For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

3) But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

4) He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

5) I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

Why were they desire to exercise the gift of prophecy over that of tongues? In this instance, since the church at Corinth all spoke the same language, the gift of prophecy would result in the edification of the church.

If the gift of tongues were to be exercised only the speaker would profit from the experience. The only possible remedy for this situation would be if the unknown human language would be interpreted into the language that was spoken by the church at Corinth.

 

6) Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?

7) And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

8) For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

9) So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

10) There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them [is] without signification.

11) Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh [shall be] a barbarian unto me.

12) Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

In this situation, since the church at Corinth all understood the same language, there is no reason for the gift of tongues to be exercised. As a matter of fact, the use of the gift of tongues would be of no value whatsoever to the assembly.

If tongues were exercised, you would have a speaker stand up and speak in a human language that would be unknown to the assembly. Therefore, speaking in tongues would be like sounds and babblings holding no meaning to the assembly. It would be as if the speaker is simply speaking “into the air” without any hearers that could understand.

 

13) Wherefore let him that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue pray that he may interpret.

14) For if I pray in an [unknown] tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

15) What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

16) Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

17) For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

18) I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

19) Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that [by my voice] I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an [unknown] tongue.

20) Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

Based upon the above teachings (vs 1-12), if the gift of tongues is used in the church at Corinth, the only solution would be for someone to interpret the unknown human language into a human language known by the assembly.

Paul continues to expound absolute necessity for everything to be done in an assembly for its edification… When we sing or pray, it should be in a human language known by the church and any lost individuals who may be are present, so all can be edified by our acts of worship.

Paul concludes this section by telling the church to “grow up”. Stop using the spiritual gifts to bring honor and glory to themselves, but instead, to use them for the building up of the assembly and the salvation of the lost in their midst. They were to come to a level of spiritual understanding and maturity, where they use the spiritual gifts to benefit others and to never exercise them for selfish purposes.

 

21) In the law it is written, With [men of] other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

Paul refers to Isaiah 28:11-12. In the context of this OT passage, the Lord was describing the use of foreign nations to enter into Israel as an act of chastening. The Lord’s desire was for Israel to repent and come back to Him as a result of this invasion. In that sense, He would use this broken, unknown human language of the invaders to bring about the spiritual renewal of Israel.

The Lord desires for the gifts of the Spirit to be used properly for the benefit of others, by using them to present the truths of God to them in an understandable fashion. Just as the Lord used the broken unknown speech of the invaders to show Israel their need of repentance and renewal, so too, He wanted to use the gift to tongues to show the lost their spiritual needs.

Although the Lord uses the proper use of the gifts to share His Word with the lost, there is no guarantee His Word will always land upon hearing ears and result in spiritual benefit to the hearer. Just as the Lord’s efforts using the invading forces entering Israel “fell on deaf ears” and did not produce the desired response of repentance.

The gifted saint was never held responsible for the RESULTS OF THE EXERCISE OUR SPIRITUAL GIFTS, they are only held responsible for the SELFLESS EXERCISE OF THOSE GIFTS MOTIVATED OUT OF A HEART OF LOVE.

 

22) Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying [serveth] not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

23) If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in [those that are] unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

Paul also reminds the church that the main purpose of tongues was a sign to unbelievers that the local assembly and the message of the local assembly are sanctioned by the Lord. And to share the truths of the Word to the lost in a language they understood.

It is the secondary purpose of tongues to be used for the edification of the saved.

The use of tongues within an assembly that all speaks one language, when no interpreter is present, is actually harmful to the cause of Christ. When the unbelievers hear the human languages spoken that are unknown to all those present, they will think that the church is insane. Why speak in a human language that is unknown to everyone when no benefit can be received from it?

 

24) But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or [one] unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:

25) And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on [his] face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Instead of the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy was to be exercised in the church at Corinth. Why? By proclaiming God’s Word in a human language that is understandable to the hearers, great benefit can be had by both the membership of the church and the lost who are visiting in their midst:

1. The saved could be built up through the instruction of the Word.

2. The lost could hear the truth of the Word, be convicted by the Spirit, come to a place of repentance and faith resulting in their salvation.

 

26) How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

27) If any man speak in an [unknown] tongue, [let it be] by two, or at the most [by] three, and [that] by course; and let one interpret.

28) But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

The main point in all of this chapter is that all gifts are to be exercised so that the assembly may benefit from them:

1. If the gift of tongues is exercised at Corinth, they should always have an interpreter present to clearly reveal the teachings that God has given to them. Before the Word was completed these truths of God could come to them via songs, teachings from the Word, or divine uncovering of the truth (through visions, dreams and such like).

2. To achieve maximum benefit from the Word of God, the tongues are to be exercised in an orderly fashion with the tongues followed by the interpretation.

3. Also, it is to be limited to up to three individuals who would take turns to speak in tongues.

4. If no interpreter was present, then no tongues were to be spoken.

(all of this was to avoid confusion)

 

29) Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.

30) If [any thing] be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

31) For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

32) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

33) For God is not [the author] of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

This orderly type of presentation of God’s Word extended to those exercising the gift of prophecy as well:

1. Once again, the number exercising the gift is to be at the most three.

2. They are to take turns in revealing the prophecy they had received and then judging the validity of the message of the other speakers.

3. They are to take turns in speaking and then confirming the prophecy. Never speaking over themselves.

 

This was all to be done to make the presentation of the truths as clear as possible leading to both the teaching and the comforting of God’s people.

 

34) Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but [they are commanded] to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

35) And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

Another way the truth was to be presented clearly was in the fulfillment of the proper gender-specific roles within the church worship. Paul addressed the need for women to refrain from teaching the mixed assembly. This would be done to respect the levels of authority and responsibility that has been placed upon the man to lead the assembly, as the men will be held accountable for the teachings within the assembly.

 

36) What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

37) If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

38) But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

To conclude these teachings, Paul now challenges those who are spiritual and gifted members of the assembly to acknowledge that his teachings are from God, and therefore to be followed explicitly.

If any man is ignorant concerning these things, recognize he is not spiritual, nor gifted and allow him to continue on as is. Do not push him to take upon himself a ministry he is not prepared nor taught to fulfill.

 

39) Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

40) Let all things be done decently and in order.

Verse 39 must be kept in context of the rest of the Scripture. The brethren of the church at Corinth were to desire to exercise the gift of prophecy in the church, not the gift of tongues, why? This is because the gift of prophecy would be of the greatest benefit to the assembly. However, they were to not forbid the speaking of tongues in this church (as long as an interpreter was present – 14:28). Why? It is because a secondary purpose of tongues was for the edification of the assembly. This could be accomplished when an interpreter would reveal the teachings that were presented in the unknown human language through the use of a language that was understood by all.

 

The summary of all of this is very simple:

1. ALL SPIRTUAL GIFTS WERE TO BE USED FOR THE EDIFICATION OF THE LOCAL ASSEMBLY, NEVER FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE GIFTED INDIVDUAL.

2. THE GIFTS WERE TO ALWAYS BE EXERCISED FOLLOWING THE LORD’S DIRECTION. THIS IS THE ONLY WAY THAT THEY BROUGHT HONOR AND GLORY TO THE LORD.

 

In our next lesson, we will answer the question when will these sign gifts come to an end.

 

 

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

Act 2:1-24

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

 

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Instructions On The Biblical Exercise Of The Gift Of Tongues

(1 Corinthians 13:8-12)

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

 

For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This [is] the rest [wherewith] ye may cause the weary to rest; and this [is] the refreshing: yet they would not hear.(Isaiah 28:11-12)

 

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 4)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local  assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

In our last lesson we began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.  In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…

1.  The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)
2.  The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)
3.  The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)
4.  The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);
5.  The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)
6.  The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)
7.  The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)

Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned.  This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”.  This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.”  This is the case with the gift of tongues.  This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Laying On Of Apostles’ Hands: The Church At Ephesus; The Samaritan Church

Not only did the gift of tongues take place following the baptism in the Spirit of the church at Jerusalem (Jewish local assembly) and the church in the house of Cornelius (Gentile local assembly), but it also given to local assemblies through the laying on of the apostles’ hands.  We can see this taking place in Acts 19:1-7 (Ephesus local assembly) and also it is implied to have taken place in Acts 8:14-25 (local assembly at Samaria).

This will be our study for this lesson (Acts 19:1-7 and 8:14-25)…

ACTS 19:

Vs 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 

During Paul’s travels, he arrives at Ephesus and finds those who were followers of Jesus.

 

Vs 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Paul then asked them if they had “received the Holy Ghost” since they believed.  By this question, Paul was not asking them if they had been indwelled by the Holy Ghost.  Every believer in Christ receives the indwelling Spirit AT SALVATION (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14).  Keep in mind, Paul said “since you believed”. This tells us Paul recognized them as true believers and, therefore, he recognized they had already received the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Paul’s question was referring to them receiving the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost in the midst of their group.    They answered that they had not even heard of the existence of the Holy Ghost.  (The implied answer to Paul’s question was “No, we have not received the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost among us.)  This implied to Paul that they had not yet been formed into a local assembly.

 

Vs 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

Paul’s next question involved their baptism.  Keep in mind their baptism, would be the first step to them entering into a local assembly.  If their baptism was not Scriptural, or if it was non-existent, they would not be a legitimate local assembly.

They responded that their baptism was “unto John’s baptism”.  In other words, they had experienced a legitimate baptism that was administered by John the Baptist.  We know John’s baptism was a Scriptural baptism because we are told he was “sent by God” (John 1:6) and Jesus, Himself, submitted to his baptism (Matthew 3:13-17).  If John’s baptism was not valid, Christ would have never submitted to it.

Vs 4-5 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul then recounts for them the nature of the Scriptural baptism that they had received.  This would reinforce in their minds that they were legitimately baptized in the name of Christ.

Paul’s two sentence quote begins with “John verily baptized …” and ends with “…they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”.  This is a very important point:

When we are told “When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”…

1.  IT IS NOT SAYING THAT THE BELIEVERS AT EPHESUS WERE RE-BAPTIZED BY PAUL.

2.  This sentence is continuation of the quotation of Paul.  In this second sentence of his teaching, he is recounting to the Ephesus believers that those who received John’s baptism were baptized in the name of Jesus.  In other words, he was reaffirming the validity of John’s baptism which they had previously received.

 

Vs 6-7  And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.  And all the men were about twelve.

Once Paul had affirmed the validity of their baptism, he then recognized that they were prepared to become a local church.  He then forms them into a church by the laying on his hands.  This resulted in the Holy Ghost being given to empower their assembly. The receipt of the Holy Spirit by their assembly was shown by the exercise of the gift of tongues (both the visible and audible aspects as seen in Acts 2:) and the gift of prophesy.  Both of these not only enabled the local assembly to minister but it also accredited their assembly as an authorized assembly for worship and a container of divine truth.

 

In our next example of the laying on of the Apostles’ hands resulting in tongues speaking, the tongues speaking is implied not actually stated…

Acts 8:

Vs 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

When the Apostles heard that Samaria had heard the Word and accepted the message by faith, they sent to Samaria two Apostles to continue their instruction and establish a local assembly there.

 

Vs 15-16 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The two visiting Apostles prayed for this group of believers that they might “receive the Holy Ghost” (empowered by the Spirit as an assembly) see Acts 19:2 for more details about this phrase.

(Up to this point in time, the Holy Spirit had not “fallen upon” their assembly (speaking of the Spirit coming upon them displayed by tongues of fire as in Acts 2:).

Why did they pray for this?  The Apostles recognized that these believers were properly prepared for church membership… they had been baptized in water in the name of Christ which, along with salvation, is the prerequisite needed for church formation and membership.   Once the Apostles established that these believers had been properly prepared for to become a local assembly, they prayed for the assembly to be established and empowered.

 

Vs 17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The Apostles then laid their hands upon the group of believers bringing the assembly into existence.  This resulted in the empowering of the assembly by the Holy Ghost which came upon them (implied is the indication of this coming by tongues of fire and speaking of tongues.)  Clearly, what took place in this assembly is the same type of manifestation as that of the Ephesian assembly that we have just seen in Acts 19:.   Both of these accounts (Acts 19: and Acts 8: align themselves with the demonstration of the Spirit’s presence and empowering as seen in the Acts 2: Pentecost event.)

 

Vs 18-19  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,  Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

When Simon visibly saw … the Greek word translated “ saw” speaks of visibly examining closely. In other words, Simon studied with his eyes the visible proof of the Spirit coming upon the members of the assembly (the tongues of fire).

When he saw this display of the Spirit’s power, he offered to pay money for the ability to bestow this miraculous gift upon others.

Simon desired the ability to bestow this gift upon others for his own personal benefit.  Perhaps he desired it to gain fame and recognition or, perhaps, for financial benefit.  Also his thinking that this ability could be purchased with money, demeaned the very spiritual nature and divine purpose of the gift, making it a simple carnal, business venture.

These two issues clearly showed the nature of his request and the intent of his heart in this matter.  It was obvious that Simon’s fleshly desire for the gift flowed from spiritual blindness, selfishness and greed.

 

Vs 20-23 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.

Peter then addresses this request made by Simon.  Based upon Simon’s request, through the gift of discerning of spirits, Peter perceived that:

1.  “Thy money perish with thee” – Simon was headed for total ruin and ultimate destruction

2.  “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter:”  – Simon had no claim upon this ability for three reasons:
a. this ability was only possessed by those who held the office of Apostle.
b. Simon’s motives were sinful.
c. Simon as a lost individual who was not the servant of the Lord, nor member of his church.

3.  “for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”  – His motives were sinful.

4.  “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness,”  – He was in dire need of repentance – this sin that could easily snowball and grow worse

5.  “and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” – He needed to pray for forgiveness from the Lord

6.  “I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness” – He was a lost man drowning in poisonous acid of sin

7.  “and [in] the bond of iniquity.” – He was a slave in servitude of injustice and wickedness

 

Vs 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

At this point, Simon appears to heed the warnings given to him by Peter and asks for Peter to prayerfully intervene on his behalf.  We are not told of his conversion, nor of any fruits of repentance being shown by him.

Perhaps he was genuinely saved and the Bible simply does not record the event, or perhaps he is only showing a worldly, carnal type of repentance that did not result in salvation nor a changed life (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).   One point that brings his desire for prayer to be questioned is the motive for his request… “that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”  It appears that he only wanted to escape the punishment of his sin, with no sorrow that he has sinned against the Lord and His local church.  This would seem to imply a carnal type of repentance.

Vs 25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

The Apostles continue to teach the Word of the Lord to this newly formed church and then preached the Word to many villages on the way back to Jerusalem.

We now must take a quick look at Acts 9:10-19 …

10) And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord.

11) And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12) And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13) Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14) And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19) And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

This event is not the same type of event as we were looking at in Acts 19: and Acts 8:.  Please note the following comparison:

TEXT THE BESTOWER THE RECIPIENT THE RESULT PURPOSE
NOTE  THE SIMILARITIES… APOSTLES… LOCAL ASSEMBLIES… RECEPTION AND MANIFESTATION… TO ESTABLISH AND EMPOWER…
Acts 19:1-7 Paul Church at Ephesus Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues & Prophecy To establish / empower local church
Acts 8:14-25 John and Peter Church at Samaria Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues To establish / empower local church
COMPARE TO… NOT APOSTLES… NOT LOCAL ASSEMBLIES… NO RECEPTION NOR MANIFESTATION… NO ESTABLISHING NOR EMPOWERING …
Acts 9:10-19 Ananias, a disciple Saul (Paul), an individual Restoration Of Health“Filling” Of The Spirit To physically heal & prepare Saul for great service and suffering.

(Notes On Above Table: 

1.  As you can clearly see, in every category there are distinct similarities between the events found in Acts 19: and Acts 8: and distinct differences with the event found in Acts 9:.   Acts 9: cannot be equated with the events of Acts 19: and 8:. 

2.  The meaning of the phrase “Filling of the Spirit” will be covered in great detail later in our study.  But for now, the basic idea of Spirit “filling” is the Lord taking control of every aspect of one’s being.  This is a far cry from a local assembly “receiving” the Spirit to establish and empower the assembly.)

3. Many times those “filled with the Spirit” did not speak in tongues – Lk 1:15, 1:67, 4:1, Acts 4:8, 4:31, 7:55, 11:24

Please notice with the completion of this study in Acts 19: and Acts 8:, we have now seen every time in the Bible that the gift of tongues is exercised…

Please notice that in both the above events (Acts 19: and Acts 8:)

1. The receipt of the Holy Spirit was to a local church to empower them for ministry, NOT TO AN INDIVIDUAL

2. The receipt of the Holy Spirit resulted from the laying on of the hands of the Apostles.

3. The 2 aspects (tongues of fire and speaking in unknown human tongues) of the gift of tongues were present in both cases, specifically mentioned in one and implied in the other.

When we put this together with our previous studies when tongues were exercised (Acts 2:, Acts 10:-11:) please notice that:

1.  The receipt of the Holy Spirit only applies to the local assemblies.  NEVER an individual.

2.  The receipt of the Holy Spirit can take place following:

a. the local assembly being baptized in the Holy Spirit or

b. the laying on of hands of the Apostles.

NEVER are they received by individuals, nor part from baptism in the Spirit or laying on of hands of Apostles.

3.  The gift of tongues always includes:

a. both the visual aspect (tongues of fire) and

b. the audible aspect (speaking in human tongues unknown to the speaker)

Is this the “gift” of tongues that we see being exercised in today’s time?  None of the above three basic principles are seen in today’s “tongues gift”.

In our next study, we will look at Paul’s instructions on how the gift of tongues should be exercised in the Lord’s local churches.

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts) 

Act 2:1-24

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.   Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.   And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Received By the laying on of the Apostles hands.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  (Romans 8:9)

In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:13-17)

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.  (John 1:6)

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 3)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local  assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

In our last lesson we began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.  In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…

1.  The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)

2.  The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)

3.  The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)

4.  The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);

5.  The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)

6.  The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)

7.  The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)

Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned.  This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”.  This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.”  This is the case with the gift of tongues.  This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At The House of Cornelius

The miraculous events that took place on the Day of Pentecost involved the local church at Jerusalem (Acts 2:1-24), a Jewish assembly of believers.  This same type of event took place involving the local church that met in the house of Cornelius as well (Acts 10:1-11:18).  This assembly was made up of Gentile believers.

Just as the events of the Day of Pentecost empowered and accredited the local church as the place of worship for believing Jews, the events we are about to study that took place at the house of Cornelius would be the empowering and accrediting of the local church as the worship place for believing Gentiles.

This will be our study for this lesson (Acts 10:1-11:18)…

Vs 1-2 –   There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian [band], [A] devout [man], and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.

Here we find a description of Cornelius.  He is said to be:

1. a centurion of the Italian band –  he was a military leader ruling over a group of 100 men from Italy

2. a devout man that feared God with all his house – his thoughts and actions were submitted to the Lord, he was motivated by a reverence for the Lord and a fear of His hand of chastening.  His family was following in his footsteps of Godly living.

4. gave much alms to the people – he gave many gifts of compassion to the poor and needy

5.  prayed to God always – he enjoyed consistent communion with the Lord and regular times of prayer.

 

Vs 3-8 – He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.  And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.  And now send men to Joppa, and call for [one] Simon, whose surname is Peter:  He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.  And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;  And when he had declared all [these] things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

Cornelius, after receiving a command from the Lord as delivered by an angel in a vision, sends three men to Joppa to find Peter.  This was done so that Cornelius might receive further instructions through the ministry of Peter.

Note that Cornelius addresses the angel of God by the title “Lord”.  He recognized the great authority that the angel possessed as being one sent by God Himself.  This, along with his quick obedient response to the angel’s commands, reinforces for us the great humility and desire to please the Lord that was possessed by Cornelius.

 

Vs 9-16 – On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:  And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,  And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:  Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.  And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.  And the voice [spake] unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.  This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.

Peter, after arriving at Joppa, falls into a trance and is sent a vision from the Lord.  This vision was of a sheet descending from heaven, which contained ceremonially unclean animals.

A voice says “Rise, Peter; kill, and eat “.  Instead of immediately obeying the voice of the Lord, Peter questions Him, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.”   The Lord responds to Peter three times, reassuring him that he should partake of the animals.  His explanation was “What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.”

What was this all about?

This was the Lord’s way of preparing Peter to go to the Gentile church in Cornelius’ house to accredit their ministry. The animals in the vision were unclean based upon the Jewish ceremonial laws, and therefore could not be eaten.  However, based upon the Lord’s command, Peter was to no longer obligated to keep the ceremonial laws which had been fulfilled by Christ during His earthly ministry.  It was now Peter’s responsibility to simply obey the instructions of the Lord with no regard to the OT ceremonial laws.

In much the same way, in the OT ceremonial laws of worship, the Gentiles were looked upon as unclean and unable to participate in the temple services.  However, now through Christ, by virtue of His death on the cross, Gentiles were given equal access to the worship of God.  As the servants of Cornelius (all of whom were Gentiles) approached, Peter was to recognize the worship taking place in the Gentile house of Cornelius was a genuine group of believers who had access to the same saving work of Christ as Jewish believers.

Vs 17-23 –  Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,  And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.  While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.  Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.  Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what [is] the cause wherefore ye are come?  And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee.  Then called he them in, and lodged [them]. And on the morrow Peter went away with them, and certain brethren from Joppa accompanied him.

Peter (along with others from Joppa) in obedience to the Spirit’s leadership, and an understanding of the vision that he had just received, meets the men sent by Cornelius and accompanied them to Caesarea where Cornelius lived.

Vs 24-33 – And the morrow after they entered into Caesarea. And Cornelius waited for them, and had called together his kinsmen and near friends.  And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped [him].  But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man.  And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.  And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.  Therefore came I [unto you] without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?  And Cornelius said, Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and, behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing,  And said, Cornelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine alms are had in remembrance in the sight of God.  Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of [one] Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee.  Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

At Peter’s arrival, Cornelius fell at his feet, again showing the great respect and submission that he held toward a messenger of his Lord.  Then both Peter and Cornelius recount the events leading up to their meeting.

 

Vs 34-43 – Then Peter opened [his] mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.  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;  Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, [even] to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.  And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God [to be] the Judge of quick and dead.  To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

Based upon the vision he had received, now understands that Gentiles can be saved and worship equally with the Jews within a local church setting.   This motivates him to share the gospel with the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house.  He does this by sharing with them a quick summary of the earthly ministry of Christ at His first coming. Notice this account includes all the parts of the gospel message: Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and the witnesses to that resurrection.

 

Vs 44-46a – While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.  And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.  For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.

Following the presentation of the gospel message the Holy Spirit “fell” on all those that were present in the house.  In Acts 11:15-17, Peter clearly declares that this is the same type of event that took place at Pentecost (Acts 2:). In other words, baptism in the Spirit along with gift of tongues (including both a visible aspect [tongues of fire] and an audible aspect [languages unknown to the speaker]) were now being experienced by the Gentiles in Cornelius’ house.

The other Jews accompanying him were “astonished”.  Why?  Because  they recognized this event was of the same type as Pentecost.  Therefore, it was an accreditation and empowerment of this Gentile church.  It was proof to them that Gentiles could now be equal recipients of salvation and especially membership and worship of the Lord within a local church.

 

Vs 46b-48 –  Then answered Peter,  Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

The logical result of this accreditation of the Gentile believers was to allow them to be baptized in water and form a local church body.

It is very important to notice that the Jews who saw this event did not simply interpret the event as proof that Gentiles could be saved.  They also recognized this accreditation involved the allowance of the worship of Gentiles within the local assembly.  It is this truth that caused them to allow the Gentile believer’s baptism and formation of the local assembly.  If they had only seen this event as an accreditation of Gentile salvation, there would be no reason for them to allow the Gentiles to then be baptized and form a local church.

So again, we must stress, what originally took place at Pentecost, and later in the house of Cornelius was not simply the accreditation of the gospel going to the Gentiles. It was, most importantly, the accreditation of the local assembly as the worship place of Jehovah in New Testament times for the Gentile believer.  It goes against the context of both these accounts to look at these as accrediting believers, but must be interpreted within the context of the assembly of believers and the accrediting and empowering of those assemblies.  

 

1) And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God.

2) And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him,

3) Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them.

Some of the Jewish believers that had heard of Peter’s visit to Capernaum, was critical of Peter’s work among them. To respond to their criticisms, Peter shares with them the events that had taken place…

 

4) But Peter rehearsed [the matter] from the beginning, and expounded [it] by order unto them, saying,

5) I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:

6) Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.

7) And I heard a voice saying unto me, Arise, Peter; slay and eat.

8) But I said, Not so, Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.

9) But the voice answered me again from heaven, What God hath cleansed, [that] call not thou common.

10) And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven.

To being, Peter shared with them the Godly vision that he had received.  It was this vision that explained to Peter that Gentiles would now be included in salvation and the worship of the Lord within local assemblies.

11) And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Caesarea unto me.

12) And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

13) And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;

14) Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

15) And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.

Next, Peter shared with them his contact with those in Cornelius’ house and the baptism in the Holy Spirit that the Lord had performed in their midst.  It was the vision that sanctioned Peter’s visit to the Gentiles and it was the baptism in the Spirit that sanctioned their salvation experience and, especially, their membership in the assembly that would meet in Cornelius’ house.

 

16) Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.

Peter then shares with them that this event, along with the Pentecost experience, was a fulfillment of a prophecy spoken by the Lord Himself in Acts 1:4-5.   This being another proof of the validity of Peter’s experiences and his ministry to the Gentiles.

 

17) Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as [he did] unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

18) When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Once the Jewish believers came to a greater understanding of the works that had taken place, they too acknowledged that the inclusion of Gentiles to salvation and worship was unquestioningly of God.

Note: With the fulfillment of this event in combination with the events that took place on the Day of Pentecost, we have both the Jewish local assembly and the Gentile local assembly accredited.  This falls in line with the other places of worship that had been established by God throughout history.  In every case, the worship places of the Lord are only accredited once.  Each accreditation was included in the historical record of the Word of God.  Therefore, no other accreditation is needed.  By faith, followers of the Lord can open the Scriptures and know these are the God-chosen places of worship based upon the occurrence of these events in history.

The accreditation of each worship place throughout history:

1.  The Tabernacle:  Exodus 40:34-35

2.  The Temple: 1 Kings 8:10-11

3.  The Local Assembly for Jewish Worship: Acts 2:1-24

4.  The Local Assembly for Gentile Worship: Acts 10:1-11:18

In our next study, we will look at other times in the Bible that this same gift of tongues was exercised within local assemblies.

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts) 

Act 2:1-24

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.   Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.   And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Exercised In The House of Cornelius

Exo 40:34-35

Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.  And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.

1Ki 8:10-11

And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD,  So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Acts 1:4-5

And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:
“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:4)

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.
There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
In our previous studies we saw that the Accrediting Gifts that were given to the Lord’s churches on earth were divided into three different types as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11…

“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;
to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

As we studied this text we saw the gifts were divided as follows:
1. SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF TRUTH:
“the word of wisdom” and “the word of knowledge”
2. SUPERNATURAL INDICATORS OF THE TRUTH:
“faith”, “gifts of healing”, “the working of miracles”, “prophecy” and “the discerning of spirits”
3. SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH:
“[divers] kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues:”

In our last lesson we looked at the gifts that are contained in the first two divisions. For this lesson, let’s begin to look at the final division of the Accrediting Gifts…. The gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Gifts Involving The Proclamation Of The Truth
1. “Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” – This involves the ability to speak HUMAN LANGUAGES that are UNKNOWN TO THE SPEAKER but KNOWN TO THE HEARER.

(Note: Nowhere does the Bible speak of a “heavenly language”.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, …” this phrase needs to be closely examined.
What language(s) do angels speak? EVERYTIME we find an angel speaking in the Bible, he is speaking a KNOWN HUMAN language as he delivers God’s message to mankind. There is no evidence in the Bible that angels have spoken a language other than that which is spoken and understood by man.
The phrase “tongues of men and angels” is simply saying… “ the languages that are shared by men and angels”. There is no reason to make “tongues of angels” refer to a different set of languages than “the tongues of men”)

 

2. “The Interpretation of Tongues” – This involves the ability to interpret HUMAN LANGUAGES that are UNKNOWN TO THE HEARER AND THE INTERPRETER.

Both of these gifts came to an end in the same time frame as the completion of God’s Word. We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

 

For today’s lesson lets concentrate on the first time the gift of tongues was given to the local assembly. This text is found in Acts 2:1-24. In this study, we will particularly note the detailed description of the characteristics of this gift.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At Pentecost
In Acts 2:1-24, we find the first reference to the exercise of the gift of tongues. This event was prophesied in the following passages:
Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Luke 24:49; John 1:33-34; John 21:22; Acts 1:3-5

Some Basic Truths About The Gift Of Tongues (Acts 2:1-24)….
Vs 1- “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
The gift of tongues was given to members of a local assembly (church at Jerusalem) who were experiencing unity between their members and gathered together to worship the Lord.

Vs 2 – “And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.”
The gift of tongues was given to this church in conjunction with their baptism in the Spirit. This Spirit baptism was performed to empower the local assembly to fulfill the Great Commission. This involves taking the gospel to a lost and dying world, baptizing the converts and then teaching those who are baptized the truths of God’s Word.
This baptism in the Spirit manifested itself to the believers in that local assembly as a sound from heaven of a great wind and then the filling of the building with the Spirit surrounding the members of the assembly. In other words the church body was immersed in the Spirit, just as when a believer is baptized in water, they become entirely immersed and surrounded by the Spirit of God.

To help us understand “baptism in the Spirit”, here is a quick comparison of baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Ghost:

Type Of Baptism            Water                                                    Holy Spirit

Administrator     Local Assembly (normally Pastor)              Jesus Christ
Substance             Water                                                               Holy Spirit
Mode                      Immersion                                                     Immersion
Subject                   Believer                                                          Local Assembly

Also, please notice that 1 Corinthians 12:13 is not teaching that the Holy Spirit baptizes the local assembly, it is teaching concerning water baptism of those entering into local church membership…

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

In other words… “Through the leadership of one Spirit are we all baptized (in water) into one local assembly, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, or slaves or freemen, we all receive the same indwelling Spirit.”

This verse is teaching that it does not matter about our race, nationality, or social status, the Lord will save anyone and lead them into church membership. Also it teaches us that a local church made up of Jews is on equal footing with that made up of Gentiles. Or a church having slaves as members is on equal footing to that church whose membership is made up of freemen. Etc etc.

Vs 3 – “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
The gift of tongues includes a visual aspect to this gift. When the gift of tongues was given, this gift could be seen visibly as split tongues of fire came and sat upon each member of the local assembly. We are told that Simon “saw” the HS was given in Acts 8:18.

Vs 4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The gift of tongues included a verbal aspect, as the members following their being filled with the Spirit, began to speak in human languages that were unknown to the speakers…

Vs 5 – And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Vs 6 – Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
Vs 7 – And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Vs 8 – And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Vs 9 – Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Vs 10 – Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Vs 11- Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues …”
Although this gift of tongues was unknown to the speakers, they were human languages that were known by those who were listening.

Vs 11- the wonderful works of God.
What was the content of the message spoken by the assembly members? They were proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. In other words, they were witnessing to those around them. Keep in mind, the gift of tongues had been given to the church to enable them to fulfill the great commission that had been given to them. A part of the great commission involves presenting the gospel message to the lost men gathered around them who were unable to speak the native language of the speakers.
Because of this gift, the speakers were able to present the gospel of Christ to those who could not speak their language, nor understand their testimony of Christ.

Vs 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Vs 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Here, we have the response of the lost who were hearing the gospel through the gift of tongues. Some were amazed at this wonderful testimony of God’s miracle working power and grace. Some did not know what to think. Still others mocked and rejected the wondrous miracle they had experienced.

Vs 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Vs 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.
Vs 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Vs 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Vs 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Vs 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Vs 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Vs 21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Peter now explains what is actually taking place so there would be no misunderstanding… He tells those who are observing this event that it is not due to drunkenss… but a sovereign, planned act of Almighty God as proven by it as being the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.
It also proved that this great event had a main purpose, to enable the gospel to be shared and for the lost to come to salvation through their calling upon the name of the Lord. (Note at the end of Joel’s prophecy, we have this text “And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved “ Peter reapplying this phrase to those observing this wonderful gift of God)

Vs 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Vs 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Vs24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Peter then shares the gospel message to the observers, once again emphasizing for us the purpose and scope of tongues… to enable members of a local assembly to fulfill the great commission by enabling them to speak in languages they do not know. Thiis enables them to speak to those of other languages, sharing with them the wonderful gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We then see in the closing verses of this chapter that the great commission is fulfilled by the church at Jerusalem – (gospel proclaimed – vs 25-36, souls saved and baptized– vs 37-41, fellowship and training received by new converts – 42-47)

Here is a short summary of what we have learned in Acts 2: about the Accrediting Gift of “Diverse Kinds Of Tongues”:
1. The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)
2. The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)
3. The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)
4. The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);
5. The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)
6. The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)
7. The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)

The Word has now explained the details of the Scriptural gift of tongues that existed during the period of the establishment of the Lord’s church and the giving of the New Testament to man. Following this, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned.

This above principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”. This law states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.” This is the case with the gift of tongues. This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

In our next study, we will look at other times in the Bible that this same gift of tongues was given to local assemblies.

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
Gifts Involving The Proclamation Of The Truth
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At Pentecost

Joe 2:28-32 – “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

This prophecy took place in its entirety during the 30-100 AD time frame:
1. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. “ – The spiritual gifts (especially accrediting gifts given to accredit the assembly)

2. “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” – The invasion of 70 AD and the preceding events that would involve the judgment Israel for their rejection of the true Messiah. The devastation of Jerusalem using fire as weapons of war resulted in great amounts of smoke and fiery ashes to appear in the sky above Jerusalem.
Why was this event mentioned in the context of the spiritual gifts? The accrediting gifts greatly increased their responsibility to accept the message and worship of the NT. Yet many rejected it.

3. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” – True believers in Christ paid attention to His warnings of coming destruction upon Jerusalem and left the country. Other true believers were driven out due to the persecution of the Romans coming upon them. In either case, in Israel both the message of Christ and the persecution of Romans took place resulting in the deliverance of God’s people before Titus entered the country. These persecuted Christians then took the gospel to a lost and dying Gentile world.

Mat 3:11-12 – I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
This prophecy speaks of Pentecost in combination with Titus invasion of 70 AD. As also seen in the Joel passage

Mar 1:8 – “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
Pentecost is being prophesied

Luk 3:16 – “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”
This prophecy speaks of Pentecost in combination with Titus invasion of 70 AD. As also seen in the Joel passage

Luk 24:49 – “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The church baptized in the Spirit at Pentecost, empowering and enabling them to take the gospel into the world.

Joh 1:33-34 – “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The baptism of Christ in water and the baptism of the local church in the Holy Spirit being described

Joh 21:22 – “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
“till I come” Christ’s coming to His local church at Pentecost

Act 1:3-5 – “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Pentecost, the empowering of the local assembly with the HS is described here.

Act 8:18 – “And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,”

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
(Acts 2:1-24)

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

The Church Universal, Local, Or Both? #2

SIH STSTA ICONNow unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  (Ephesians 3:20-21)

(Please note: I apologize for the length and detail of this series, and to be honest, I realize it will not be easily consumed by some of its readers.  I normally do not post articles of this length or depth, but I feel obligated to write this posting based upon feedback I have received from the Importance Of The Local Assembly series that was recently published.  So for the many who have shown interest and/or curiosity on this subject, here is the information you have requested.  My apology to those who lack interest or the time to read this study.  It is understandable.)

Facts about the word “church” as used in the King James Version of the Bible….

1.  The word “church” is not used in the Old Testament.

2.  The word “church”  is used in 111 verses in the New Testament.

3.  Every occurrence of the word “church” is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia”  in the NT.

In this study, I would like to study the definition and contextual usage of this Greek word “ekklesia”, with the intent of answering the following questions…

“When the Bible speaks of a “church” is it referring to an invisible, universal assembly made up of all believers in Christ;…. or, is it referring to visible, local assembly whose membership is limited to baptized believers;…. or, does the Bible speak of both types of “churches” that are differentiated by the context in which they are used?”

Let us all ask the Lord for grace, a spirit open to truth, clarity of thought, and accuracy as we work our way through the Holy Scriptures…

THE SCRIPTURES:

A.   (Matthew 16:16-20);

B.   (Act 2:42-47); (Act 7:37-41); (Act 12:1-4); (Act 15:1-4); (Act 19:29-34); (Act 19:35-41); (Act 20:17-28)

C.   (Romans 16:21-24)

D.   (1 Corinth 6:1-5); (1 Corinth 10:24-33); (1 Corinth 11:19-24); (1 Corinth 12:27-31); (1 Corinth 15:1-11)

E.   (Galatians 1:11-13)

F.   (Ephesians 1:16-23); (Ephesians 3:8-12); (Ephesians 3:14-21); (Ephesians 5:22-33)

G.   (Philippians 3:4-6)

H.   (Colossians 1:14-29)

I.   (1 Timothy 3:14-16); (1 Timothy 5:9-16)

J.   (Hebrews 2:10-13)

K.   (James 5:12-18)

L.   (3 John 1:5-10)

 

THE STUDY:

A basic principle used in this study:

You must take the normal, usual usage and meaning of a word unless the context CLEARLY DICTATES ANOTHER MEANING is ABSOLUTELY necessary.

This is the core principle upon which this study is based.  Both the details, and conclusion, of this study rest heavily upon this principle. We will be finding the common, basic usage and definition of “ekklesia” as found in the Scriptures, and then attempt to consistently apply that meaning to each text.

The common definition of the word “ekklesia”:

The basic meaning of “ekklesia” is “called out from”, or “to separate by summons”.

Therefore, based upon the definition of “ekklesia”, we find no indication of which type of assembly we are speaking of whenever we find the word being used.

However, this is only half of our “equation”.  Next we have to look at the USAGE of the word “ekklesia” in the Holy Bible.

The common usage of the word “ekklesia”:

I am forced to conclude that the common usage of the term in the NT is “local visible assembly”.  This definition clearly applies in at least 80 verses (that’s over 70 percent of the time) the word is used.  There was only, at the most, 32 verses that it could mean a invisible, universal assembly (that’s less than 30%).

Therefore, for this study, we will be using THE COMMON DEFINITION OF “EKKLESIA” WILL BE “A LOCAL VISIBLE ASSEMBLY”.

Based upon our earlier discussion under the heading “A basic principle used in this study”   This will be our process…

1.  We will look at the context of each of the 32 Scriptures where “ekklesia” could mean an “invisible universal assembly”.

2.  We will see if each one could allow us to use our common definition a “local visible assembly” .

3.  If the context allows “ekklesia” to hold to its common definition, that will be the definition we assign to that text.

4.  If the context forbids that the common definition of ekklesia can be used, we will then attempt to determine the definition of “ekklesia” for that text.

For more detailed information on the above sections, please see part one of our study…

A verse by verse study of the “questionable” texts that use the word “ekklesia”:

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

 (Matthew 16:16-20)

The exposition:

Here we find the Lord speaking to Peter, emphasizing the veracity, and importance, of the statement “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.  He then explains the great authority that he will give, and is now held by, the local assembly as they proclaim the gospel message to the lost.  For those who accept the gospel message by faith, they will be “just as saved” as if Christ Himself had delivered the message to lost person.  Likewise those who reject the gospel message delivered by the local assembly, will be just as greatly condemned to judgment as if Christ Himself had delivered the message to them.

The usage of “ekklesia”

There is nothing in the context that dictates that the term “church” cannot mean a local assembly.  Therefore we will look no further.

(Please note: In this case, the word “church” is used in a generalized sense.  This means that the statement “upon this rock I will build my church” was not pointed toward a specific local assembly, but will apply to any assembly of that type.  Much like the statement “the duck is a bird that quacks” does not refer to a specific duck but it refers to any bird of that type.)

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.  And all that believed were together, and had all things common;  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

(Acts 2:41-47)

The exposition:

Here, we find the church at Jerusalem being increased in membership and unity.  Following their baptism and church membership, they enjoyed times of worship through the teaching of God’s Word, fellowship with the saints, observing the Lord’s supper, and communal prayer and self-sacrifice for the welfare of the other members.  Also, to accredit this newly formed entity, we find the apostles working many signs and wonders…proof the God had authorized this assembly and her message.

The usage of “ekklesia”

Clearly, the context dictates that the word “church” is referring to the Lord’s local assembly that continued to grow as the lost were saved and joined the assembly.  Since church can easily mean a local visible assembly we need to look no further for another definition.

 

 

This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.  This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:  To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,   Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for [as for] this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.  And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.

 (Acts 7:37-41)

The exposition:

This text is an account of an event that took place during the wilderness wanderings of the nation of Israel.  As the nation of Israel traveled through the wilderness, they were an organized, visible assembly that had been called out of Egypt, separated to worship and obey God.

The usage of “ekklesia”

Again, clearly this is speaking of a local, visible assembly of God’s people.  No other definition needs to be sought.

 

 

 

Now about that time Herod the king stretched forth [his] hands to vex certain of the church.  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.  And because he saw it pleased the Jews, he proceeded further to take Peter also. (Then were the days of unleavened bread.)  And when he had apprehended him, he put [him] in prison, and delivered [him] to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.  5) Peter therefore was kept in prison: but prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him….. 12) And when he had considered [the thing], he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

(Acts 12:1-5,12)

The exposition:

The martyrdom of  the local church of Jerusalem’s members included James.  Herod also went after Peter (another member of the local assembly).  Peter was imprisoned and the local church then prayed for him.

The usage of “ekklesia”

We know that the local church (vs 5) is described as praying for him… in verse twelve, we are told many were gathered praying, which is describing the local visible assembly at prayer.  The church in vs 1, when kept in the context of vs 5 and 12, clearly is referring to a local assembly.  Once again our rule applies.  Since the vs1 can mean a local assembly, and we know the church in vs 5 is speaking of a local assembly, then we have no need to find any other definition for either term.

 

 

 

And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, [and said], Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.  When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.  And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.  And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and [of] the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.

 (Acts 15:1-4)

The exposition:

The church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas to consult the Apostles and Elders of the church at Jerusalem.  They traveled back to Jerusalem and were received by the local church there.

The usage of “ekklesia”

“church” in both verses, can easily be speaking of the local assemblies in those areas.  No reason to search for another definition.

 

 

 

And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.  And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring [him] that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.  Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.  And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great [is] Diana of the Ephesians.”  (Acts 19:29-34)

And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, [Ye] men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?  Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.  For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.  Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.  For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.”   (Acts 19:35-41)

The exposition:

Here we read of a political assembly that was gathered to hold a makeshift trial and persecute Gaius and Aristarchus in defense of the Goddess Diana.

The usage of “ekklesia”

Here, the word “ekklesia” is translated “assembly” and is speaking of a local visible assembly of Greek citizens.

 

 

 

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:  [And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men].  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”   (Acts 20:17-28)

The exposition:

Paul calls for a meeting of the elders of the local church at Ephesus.  They travel to Paul, and Paul then speaks to them about his persecution, imprisonment and missionary ministry.  He then emphasizes to them his ministry to their church (the local church at Ephesus) and emphasizes the need for them to watch over and feed the church of Ephesus over which they have been placed.

The usage of “ekklesia”

In my mind, both times the “church” is mentioned, it is clear that a local assembly is being spoken of.  If you notice they are given the responsibility to feed and watch over “the church”.  This cannot be speaking of a universal, invisible assembly, for it would be impossible to feed and watch over all Christians on the face of the planet earth. However, it is very easy, and obvious, for them to watch over and feed the local assembly where they were ministering. No need to look further for another definition

We will continue our study of the questionable texts in our next posting.

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The Importance Of The Local Church -11 “The Membership and Attendance Of The Assembly”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this eleventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the teachings of the Bible concerning the importance of church attendance.

We will be looking at this subject from three different standpoints:
1.  The command to attend the assembly
2.  The examples to attend the assembly
3.  Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

THE STUDY:

The command to attend the assembly

Perhaps Hebrews 10:25 is a command for every believer to join, and faithfully attend the Lord’s local assembly… “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

Here, the Christian is exhorted to not “abandon” or “permanently walk away” from the assembly of believers.  This can hold one of two meanings:

1.  This is speaking of the assembly of believers in the Lord’s church.

In this case, this text explains the need for Christians to not abandon the attendance of a local assembly where God’s people meet.  It seems to go further and explain that as the second coming of Christ draws nearer, the need for faithful attendance to the assembly will increase.

This interpretation is the historical interpretation that is held by most Godly men of the past.  Also, it seems to apply in today’s time that we see more and more Christians forsaking the assembly. This could be why we are told to attend so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Could this be said because, in the latter days, there would be a forsaking of His assembly?

If someone does walk away with no intention of every returning to the place of worship, prayer, praise and fellowship there is a real question as to whether his faith is a persevering, genuine faith.  This is the point John made in 1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

However, there is another possible interpretation of this text as well…

2.  This could be telling the followers of Christ to not forsake belief, nor concentration, on His second coming when He will “assemble” His people to Himself. 

A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God… 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.”

 

Why do many believe this is the interpretation of this text?

The phrase “assembling together” comes from one Greek word “episunagoge” it carries with it the idea of “a gathering from all areas” or “a complete gathering”.  This same word is only used one other time in the Scriptures in 2 Thess 2:1 where it is speaking of the assembling of God’s people at the second coming of Christ.  This word for assembly NEVER spoke of God’s people assembling in a church meeting. There is another Greek word “ecclesia” that is normally used to describe that type of assembly.

Lastly, Peter related a denial of His second coming to lost mankind in the days before His coming in 2 Pet 3:3-4…. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

 

This can explain the phrase so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

These are the basic reasons why some believe this text is speaking of not forsaking a belief in His second coming and the deliverance of His people from a sinful world.  But to further explain the confusion on this text….

3. Could this text be referring to the assembling of believers in BOTH ways we have previously described?

We need to study the root word from which we get “episunagoge” which comes from the Greek word “Episunago”  this root word is used as follows:
1. Christ gathering Jerusalem like a mother hen to protect them – Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34
2. Christ gathering His people at His second coming – Matt 24:31, Mark 13:27
3. Citizens of a city gathered to see miracles of Christ – Mark 1:33
4. Multitudes following Christ to hear His teachings – Luke 12:1

In EVERY case the Greek word “episunago” and it’s derivative “episunagoge” is used to described people gathered TO CHRIST.  There is no exception to this.   This is a very important point.

In Hebrews 10:25, a way to transliterate this verse would be “Not abandoning the assembling ourselves to Christ, as the manner of some is…”

If this is the case, then either event could apply to this text…
1.  You see, when God’s people meet to worship Him, He promises to be in their “midst” in the person of the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 18:18-20, 1 Cor 5:4).
2.  And as we have seen previously, we will all be gathered together to be with Him at His second coming. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Could it be, that this verse is written on purpose to be vague, and both ways of understanding it are in alignment with God’s Word?  We have seen in this short section, Scriptural foundation laid that support both views.  In my own personal studies, I believe this dual-view of the text is the closest interpretation to its intended meaning.

4. Basic Principle Summarized…
To summarize this verse… Whatever was meant by the phrase “assembly” the principle is basically the same.  To encourage (exhort) other believers, and ourselves, we need to be sure we are living out our beliefs.  This can be done by not forsaking church membership and by not forsaking our hope in the second coming of Christ.  This is the last great sign of a living faith that will affect the lives of others.

 

The examples of attendance of the assembly

 
Here are a few, of many texts, that set a clear example for believers to join and attend the local assembly…

1.And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”   (Luke 4:16)

Jesus set the example for us by consistently (“as his custom was”) attending the place of worship chosen by God. (Which was during the first stages of His ministry, the synagogue).

 

2.  “Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?  And he answered and said, He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.   And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”   (Matthew 26:17-30)

Here Jesus met with the first church members (His apostles) as they met to observe the Lord’s Supper PRIOR TO His death.  This is one of many examples showing us that Jesus continued to set the example for us of attendance to the new place of worship, the local assembly.

 

3.  “Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.  (John 20:19-23)

Following Christ’s death we find the church continues to meet on the first day of the week.  Again, this is setting the example for us.

 

4.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”   (Acts 2:41-43)

Following Christ’s ascension, the Lord’s church continued to meet on a regular basis.  This can be seen throughout the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles.

These verses, and others, clearly establish that the followers of Christ joined together forming an assembly and then continued to meet together for instruction, encouragement, and fellowship.

Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

There are many texts that help us to understand that all of us have a responsibility to join a local assembly, and by doing so, show our love to our brethren (John 13:34-35).  This is done by giving them support, encouragement and strength.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.   (Romans 12:3-5)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?   And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”   (1 Peter 4:10)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”   (James 5:14-18)

When we come to understand the role that we can play in the lives of our brethren within the context of local assembly, we can see it is our duty to join the assembly for the sake of our love to them.

 

THE SUMMARY:

Through these verses we are given an understanding of the importance of membership and attendance in the Lord’s local assembly.  May we all remember the Lord’s command, His example, the example of other New Testament believers, and the great opportunities that await us to show our love for others, to motivate us to find a local assembly of the Lord, enter into its membership, and serve Him among our brethren.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an act of obedience to the Lord, and it is an act of love towards the other spiritual brethren in your area.

Just a quick note…  Please keep in mind, this study as all the rest of the studies, is only speaking about our responsibility to the Lord’s local churches that exist throughout the earth.  These principles do not apply to other houses of worship that hold to false doctrine and are not sanctioned by Christ.  The idea that “it is better to attend a false church than no church at all” is unscriptural and can actually harm a child of God’s testimony, growth and communion with the Lord.

What happens if there is no church of the Lord in my area?  The best way to handle this situation is to find the closest church of the Lord and explain your situation and your desire for an assembly in your area.  They will then examine your particular situation and find the best remedy for you.  Normally, most church will accept your membership under these conditions, minister to you through the mail or internet and also seek to establish a sound body that you are able to attend.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf
For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -9 “The Blessings Of Church Membership”

SIH TOA ICON

“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this ninth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the many blessings that can be had by those who join the membership of a local assembly…

 

THE STUDY:

Blessings Of Spiritual Growth:

1.  Receive the Teachings Of God’s Word
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;   For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”   (Ephesians 4:11-16)

As the saints are instructed in the Word, they gain….

2.  Spiritual Maturity & Strengthening
For all flesh [is] as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord [is] gracious.”   (1 Peter 1:24-2:3)

 

Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry:

1.  Build A Good Testimony
First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;  Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.  For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established;  That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.´  (Romans 1:8-14)

The Christian is able to build up their personal testimony through faithful attendance and increased opportunities of service, but also they are able to build a better testimony being members of a faithful church that is known publically for their faith in service.

2.  Increased Opportunities of Service
But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.

And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.”   (1 Corinthians 12:18-23)

 
With increased opportunities of service also comes increased rewards when the service is completed faithfully…

3. Rewards For Obedience
And whatsoever ye do, do [it] heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;  Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.  But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”   (Colossians 3:23-25)

Blessings Of Community:

1.  Encouragement
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”   (Hebrews 10:22-25)

As saints see faithfulness in the lives of other saints, it encourages them to be faithful as well.

2.  Fellowship
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”   (Acts 2:41-42)

3.  Separation from Sinful World To Worship
And the apostles gathered themselves together unto Jesus, and told him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.  And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.  And they departed into a desert place by ship privately.”   (Mark 6:30-32)

Just as Christ called the first church to separation from the world for a period of rest and refreshment, so too, every time the saint attends the meeting of the church, they can get their minds off of the sinful world in which they live.  They can do this by concentrating more fully on the Lord through communal worship.

4.  Care From Others
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;  And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all [men], as every man had need.  And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,  Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”   (Acts 2:44-47)

5.  Lord’s Presence and the Joy That Follows
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  (Matthew 18:20)
The Lord promises showing a special presence to those who join together with others to worship Him.  A result of His enhanced presence the saint also experiences increased joy….

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence [is] fulness of joy; at thy right hand [there are] pleasures for evermore.”   (Psalms 16:11)

6.  Spiritual Protection
It is reported commonly [that there is] fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father’s wife.  And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you.  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, [concerning] him that hath so done this deed,  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”   (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
 

Here, we can see that church membership affords added protection from the powerful intervention of Satan in our lives.  In this text we can see that when an individuals are removed from church membership due to unrepentant sin, they are left exposed to greater Satanic influence in their lives.  This was done to show them their sinful condition and bring them back to repentance once their sinful stubborn flesh was overcome through the affliction of Satan.

 
THE SUMMARY:

What are the blessings of church membership that are available to all of her members?
1. Blessings Of Spiritual Growth
2. Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry
3. Blessings Of Community:
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  There are many varied blessings that will be received as faithful members of His churches.
May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -8 “The Mission Of The Church: To Teach It’s Members”

SIH TOA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

 In this eighth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the third responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to teach those who profess faith in Christ into the membership of the assembly….

 

THE STUDY:

The Third Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Teaching It’s Members The Word Of God.

1. Where is this responsibility found?:

Matthew’s Account Of The Great Commission…

Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.   And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.”   (Matthew 28:16-20)

The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew account of the Great Commission only.  Please note several things about this responsibility…

1.  It involves “teaching”.
The word translated “teaching” in the phrase “Teaching them to observe all things…” is a different Greek word than that which is translated “teach” in the phrase “teach all nations”. (If you recall the meaning of “TEACH all nations” was a Greek word that meant to take the gospel to all nations.  In other words, it meant to share with the lost the good news of Christ and salvation.)

In our text for this study, the Greek word translated “TEACHING them to observe all things….” is a Greek word that means “to indoctrinate”, “to instruct”, “to share knowledge”,  or “to cause to learn”.  It is through understanding the difference between these two Greek words that we get a clear picture of what was meant in Matthew’s account of the GC.

2.  It involves teaching “them”.  Who does “them” refer to?  It is those who have been given the gospel, accepting it by faith and submitting to church membership through baptism…

The local assembly is to…
1.  “Teach all nations” – Take the gospel to the lost world showing them Christ and the salvation He is offering.
2.  “Baptizing them in the name of …” – When they are saved, they are to make a public profession of that faith and join the local assembly through baptism.
3.  “Teaching them to observe” – Once a member of the church, they are to be instructed by the assembly.

We find the same responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul as he ministered to the local churches of the Gentile world….

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church…. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.   (Acts 20:17-31)

The phrase “he hath purchased with His own blood” carries with it a dual application.  First of all, the local assembly is made up of those for whom Christ died. So in that sense He died for the assembly.  Secondly, the local assemblies, as the body of Christ, receive the purification of the sins of the assembly through the death of Christ on the cross, just as believers receive their blessings through this same channel (Eph 5:22-29).

Paul also reaffirmed this responsibility to Timothy, who most scholars believe was the young Pastor of the church at Ephesus….

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”   (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

2. How does the assembly carry out this responsibility?  Through the ministry of godly men who are to exercise of spiritual gifts they are given.
The Godly men:
And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”   (Ephesians 4:11-13)

In this text, we can see several offices being established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly…
1. apostles – their ministry was to present the inspired New Testament writings to establish assemblies and to accredit the teachings and ministry of the local assembly.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
2. prophets – their ministry was to present the Old and New Testament writings to man.  Their office and ministry ended soon after the completion of God’s Word in 100 AD
3. evangelists – their ministry is to take the gospel to the lost world.  In today’s time we commonly refer to these men as “missionaries”.
4. pastors/teachers – their ministry, as explained in 2 Timothy 4:1-5, is to teach the local assembly, to evangelize in their local area, and to take the watch care over the assembly. (see also Titus 1:7-9)

Notice the aim of the teaching of His Word to the membership:
1. For the perfecting of the saints – to give the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth.  This verse clearly tells us that nothing else is needed for the saint to live a Godly life on earth apart from the instruction of God’s Word.
2. “For the work of the ministry  – to give saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others.
3. “For the edifying of the body of Christ – to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.

This teaching is to continue until
1.  “We all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God,  – All saints come into full and complete agreement on the doctrines of their faith and an understanding of the person, work and their relationship with Christ.  In other words, this teaching should continue until we go to heaven.  As seen, based upon past history, all Christians will never come to total, absolute agreement on doctrinal truths this side of heaven.
2.  unto a perfect man unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ  – All saints become spiritually mature and equipped to the point that they are living lives that compare to that of Christ on the earth, with no need of improvement.   Again, this will never happen this side of heaven.

It is because of the need for churches until Christ’s second coming that He promised in the Great Commission that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). In other words, it will never enter into the realm of the unseen.  It will always be seen and active until Christ comes.

ALSO NOTE: The office of “deacon” was also established.  Their role is to help meet the physical needs of the members and to support the Pastor/Teachers who are to care for the members spiritual needs…

And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples [unto them], and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.  Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business.  But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word.   (Acts 6:1-4) (see also I Tim 3:8-15)

The office of deacon is not included in the Ephesians 4:11-13 because their ministry does not include spiritual instruction and strengthening of the assembly.  The Ephesians listing is exclusively reserved to those who are active in the spiritual oversight and ministry of the Word to the membership.

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:
1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)
2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

To evangelize the lost; to baptize into the assembly those who profess faith in Christ; to indoctrinate church members to equip them for the service of Christ.

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message:
Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection

2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as:
To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others

3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world
Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

As we studied the second part of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to observe both Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
1. Baptism is a public profession of faith in Christ and His Work
2. Baptism pictures the work of Christ on our behalf
3. Baptism is a picture of our salvation from sins
4. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:
5. Baptism is a prerequisite to church membership
6. The Lord’s Supper observance is also the responsibility of a local assembly.
7. The Lord’s Supper is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

As we have studied the third, and final part, of the Great Commission, we have seen that the Lord has given to His assemblies the responsibility to teach the Word to its members through the use of Godly, gifted men in places of leadership for its edification…

1.  The responsibility to teach the members of the assembly is found in the Matthew’s account of the Great Commission.
2.  It involves “teaching” (ie to indoctrinate, to instruct, to cause to learn).
3.  It involves teaching “them”.  (ie baptized believers who have joined the membership of the local assembly.
4.  The same church responsibility reaffirmed by the Apostle Paul.
5.  Several offices were established for the instruction and strengthening of the local assembly: apostles; prophets; evangelists; pastor/teachers.  The office of evangelist and pastor/teacher continue to this day.…
6.  This teaching is for the good of the membership by giving the saints EVERYTHING they need to live lives that honor and glorify Christ on earth; giving saints the needed tools to minister to the physical and spiritual needs of others;  to build up, strengthen, the saints spiritually.
7.  This teaching is to continue until Christ comes again.
Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the only organization that has been given the responsibility to teach the truths of God’s Word to His disciples.  It is through the ministry of the local church that the Lord equips His saints to meet all the challenges of life on a fallen earth and still live lives glorifying to Him.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:
https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -2: “The Nature Of The Church: The Benefits Of The Assembly”

SIH STSTA ICON“…The house of God, which is the church of the living God,

the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)

In this second lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will begin looking at the church’s four part role in the lives of those who have been saved by God’s grace by supplying care, the opportunity to serve, fellowship, and encouragement.

THE STUDY:

In our previous study we found that the Lord’s churches on earth can be defined as “A LOCAL, VISIBLE ASSEMBLY OF SAINTS THAT HAS BEEN SUMMONED BY GOD, MAKING IT UNIQUE FROM ALL OTHERS ASSEMBLIES IN THIS WORLD.”

As our study continued, we saw that the church, being a local body, helped us to understand that it was established to minister, first and foremost, in the local area in which it is situated.   Then we also learned that because the churches of the Lord are visible, they were meant to be a public, visible display of His love, care and grace towards those in that local community.

In today’s study we will be looking at the church’s characteristic of being an “assembly of saints”.  Please note that the Lord’s church is a group that is made up of individual members that have trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior, and have professed this faith publically through the ordinance of baptism.

41) Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  42) And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  (Acts 2:41-42)

Please notice in the above text, we find a clear order to events that result in church membership…

1.  The people “gladly received the word”, this is the acceptance of the truths of the gospel message resulting in belief in Christ as Lord and Savior.
2.  They “were baptized”, following their salvation they were in submission to the will of God by publically confessing their faith by being baptized.
3.   Following their baptism, we find them uniting with the local assembly “added unto them about three thousand souls”
4.  Their newly experienced church membership resulted in them being taught “they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine”; enjoying fellowship with their brothers and sisters in Christ “fellowship”; communal worship enhanced through the observance of the Lord’s supper “in breaking of bread” and joint prayers “prayers” .

Using this as the basic outline of our study, let’s begin looking at the church’s benefits that are offered to the saints of God:

1.  The Teaching Of God’s Word: Ephesians 4:11-16

11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  14) That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  16) From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.   (Ephesians 4:11-16)

The Lord gifted the men found in verse 11 to reveal the Word to believers through the ministry of His churches.  The apostles were inspired to reveal the NT scriptures.  The prophets were inspired to reveal the OT words of God.  Once the OT and NT were completed, the ministry of these offices were brought to an end.  Now the Lord uses evangelists (missionaries), pastors, and other teachers of the Word to teach the completed Scriptures to those who are members of His assembly.

The purpose of all of these men’s ministries is to teach His Word in an understandable fashion so the members of His church so that they can become mature Christians, equipped for service and able to discern true teaching from error.

2.  Fellowship and opportunities of service for Christ: 1 Corinthians 12:20-31

18) But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  19) And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  20) But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.  21) And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  22) Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  23) And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.  24) For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:  25) That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.  26) And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  29) [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?  30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.   (1 Corinthians 12:18-31)

Please notice the opportunities to serve the Lord in His assemblies are implied throughout this passage.  All the opportunities that open to us to support, help and share in the lives of other church members. All of these are opportunities of service to Christ.

The offices of service mentioned in verses 28-31 were given to the local assemblies to reveal God’s Word, teach God’s Word and accredit the church and her message. Most of these offices no longer exist in the local assembly to day (see vs 8-11 for a complete listing of the gifts that no longer exist), as they came to an end at the completion of the revelation of His Word to man in approximately 100 AD.  (more on this later in our study)

3.  Enriched Communal Worship: Ordinances (Baptism, Lord’s Supper) and Enhanced Prayer

Baptism

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  20) Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.   (Matthew 28:18-20)

The ordinance of baptism is given to the local church as a part of the great commission.

Lord’s Supper

23) For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:  24) And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  25) After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.  27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.  29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.  30) For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  33) Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  34) And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.   (1 Corinthians 11:23-34)

The responsibility of observing the Lord’s Supper is expounded by the Apostle Paul to the local church at Corinth.

Prayer

15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.  16) But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.  17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.  18) 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.  19) 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.  20) For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.   (Matthew 18:15-20)

In the context of church discipline and local church authority, we are told that no matter how small an assembly of believers, when they are gathered and in prayer making requests according to His will great things can take place and Christ is in their midst.

THE SUMMARY:

Based on our studies so far we can see that the nature of the Lord’s church includes:

1.  An assembly of individuals
2.  A local assembly
3.  A visible assembly
4.  A called our assembly
5.  A unique assembly

In the second part of our study we saw that the church, as an assembly offers to Christians the three-fold blessing of:

1.  the teaching of God’s Word – to strengthen, mature and ground them.
2.  the care and fellowship of other believers
3.  opportunities of service to Christ.
4.  enriched worship of the Lord through the observance of the ordinances and enhanced prayer effectiveness.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  I supplies to us the teachings of God’s Word, fellowship with believers and enriched worship.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

 

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives – What Is God’s Will? (Part #1)

Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives.   But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.

One of the most frequently asked questions posed to me during my ministry has been “How can I find God’s will for my life?”   In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

  1. What is God’s will?
  2. Not my will, but thine be done.
  3. Thus saith the Lord
  4. Oh what a feeling
  5. Open and shut doors
  6. Summary of the study

In part number 1 of our study lets answer the question… What is God’s will?

THE SCRIPTURE:

 God’s Sovereign Will:

 Prov 16:9 – A man’s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps.

Prov 16:33 -The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof [is] of the LORD.

Dan 4:35 -And all the inhabitants of the earth [are] reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and [among] the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

Acts 2:23-24 -Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Acts 4:27-28 – For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

Rom 9:17-24 – For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will [have mercy], and whom he will he hardeneth.Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?[What] if God, willing to shew [his] wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

Eph 1:11-12 -In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

And many, many more….

God’s Revealed Will:

Ps 119:1-12 – ALEPH. Blessed [are] the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the LORD.Blessed [are] they that keep his testimonies, [and that] seek him with the whole heart.They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways. Thou hast commanded [us] to keep thy precepts diligently.O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments. I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned thy righteous judgments.I will keep thy statutes: O forsake me not utterly. BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed [thereto] according to thy word. With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments. Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Blessed [art] thou, O LORD: teach me thy statutes.

Matt 28:20 -Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 14:21 -He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

Eph 5:15-17 -See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].

Eph 6:5-7 – Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart;With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men:

Heb 8:10 – For this [is] the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people:

1John 5:3 – For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

And many, many more….

God’s Individual Will:

Prov 3:6 – In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Eccl 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.

Jer 10:23 –  O LORD, I know that the way of man [is] not in himself: [it is] not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Acts 11:12  – And the Spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man’s house:

Acts 16:6-8 – Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

Gal 6:10 – As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Phil 4:10 – But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

And many, many more….

THE STUDY:

  1. God’s Sovereign Will – This is the “secret’ will of God that has been determined before the foundation of the world.   This will includes EVERY event that actually takes place throughout history. (Deut 29:29)
    1. Prov 16:9 – Here we find that mankind makes many plans concerning his future, but the Lord is the One that controls all the future events in one’s life.
    2. Prov 16:33 – Here, we find that although the casting of lots from man’s standpoint is a random occurance… it is actually predetermined and under God’s total control.
    3. Dan 4:35 – It is clearly declared that His sovereign will is done both in heaven and on earth. No one can hinder it
    4. Acts 2:23-24, 4:27-28 – Even the crucifixtion of Christ was a part of His “determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God”
    5. Rom 9:17-24 – Pharoah, his rebellion and his defeat, was all a part of God’s plan, which ultimately resulted in glorification of God. We cannot question His will, He knows the end from the beginning, but we do not.
    6. Eph 1:11-12 – Even our salvation and our inheritance are a part of His eternal plan.  All of this is why we are to thank and glorify Him for all things.  He is the One in ultimate control of all.
  1. God’s Revealed Will – This is God’s desires for our lives as revealed in His will.  Commands like “be ye holy” and “thou shalt not lie”, as well as “think on these things” etc. are all a part of God’s will for all His people.  These are all revealed to us in the Bible.
    1. Ps 119:1-12 – In the entire Psalm 119:, we find the importance of God’s Word for our lives stressed.  The Word of God in Psa 119: is given the titles “Law”, “Ways” , “Precepts”, “Statutes”, “Commandments”, “Judgments”, “Word”… the list goes on and on. And yet, the basic principle is that we are responsible to be in submission to His Word for our own good.
    2. Matt 28:20 – The Lord’s churches are to teach new believers to observe all of His commands (which are found in His Word)
    3. John 14:21, 1 John 5:3 – Keeping His Word is a sign of our love for Him.
    4. Eph 5:15-17 – By understanding the principles of His Word, and applying them to our lives, we can wisely walk in this world, using our time on earth to the greatest spiritual benefit.
    5. Eph 6:5-7 – We are to sincerely obey His Word with the right motives in our hearts.  This is an act of service to the Lord.
    6. Heb 8:10 – The Word is placed in our hearts, minds and consciences.  As we study and learn more of His Word we carry it with us and, hopefully, live according to it.  (Psa 119:11)
  1. God’s Individual Will – This is God’s desires for each one of us as individuals.  Throughout the Scriptures, we find followers of Christ being directed in their lives.  This direction normally takes the form of open and closed doors of opportunity.
    1. Prov 3:6  – Here we find that if we recognize His Lordship and submit to it in our lives then He will supply the direction we need to choose the correct life paths.
    2. Eccl 9:10 – “whatever thy hand findeth to do” – this can be describing the opportunities we have open to us.  Our responsibility is to take advantage of the opportunities we have in God honoring ways.  He is the One that controls what opportunities open to us.
    3. Jer 10:23 – We do not have the ability in and of ourselves to control the future events and opportunities of our lives.  This is all in the Lord’s hands.
    4. Acts 11:12, Acts 16:6-8 – Here is one example where the Lord used His Spirit to lead Peter to accompany men to a house where Peter received the call to Joppa.  Also the Lord led Paul in his ministry to forego preaching the Word in Asia and Bithynia.  In both of these cases the Lord used His Spirit to lead His servants to areas of ministry.  This Spirit leading could have been received as a combination of open/closed doors, the Word in conjunction with the human conscience, or even supernatural revelation (prior to the completion of His Word).  Neither Peter, nor Paul, explicitly details how the leading came about in their lives.
    5. Gal 6:10 – Paul clearly declares that we are to minister for the Lord based on the opportunities that are open to us.
    6. Phil 4:10 – Paul as he was writing to the church at Philippi made it plain that the church had faithfully supplied their support of Paul when they had opportunity.  But for an unspecified length of time, they lacked the opportunity to support him.  Note, that Paul was not critical of them and their lack of support during the inopportune times.  He only praised them for continuing to support him when they had the opportunity.

The above outline helps us to understand that there are three aspects to the will of God.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Here are the beginning principles we must understand as we begin our study of finding God’s will for our lives:

  1. The Sovereign Will of God cannot be changed by man.  This will of God will always be done.  Every event in history that has taken place, and will take place is a part of this sovereign controlling will of God. (Dan 4:35).  We have no need to be concerned about following this will of God.  It will always take place.
  1. Please notice that the Word of God (His Revealed Will) is the basis of the future judgment of the believer’s life. (Roms 14:10, 2 Cor 5:10)   It is this same Word that was given to us to lead us and guide us along life’s pathways. (Psa 119:105, Psa 119:11)

Therefore, all of our life’s decisions are to be made based upon our knowledge and understanding of His Word. The revealed will of God for each of our lives is regulated by the Spirit’s inner witness through the use of His Word (1 Pet 1:22, Ezek 36:27) and in our conscience (1 Tim 1:19, Heb 13:18)

  1. The individual will of God is regulated based upon the Spirit’s intervention in each of our lives normally through open or closed doors of opportunity (Gals 6:10)

In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us in our lives….

Prayer Principle #1 –  We must pray for the Lord’s leadership in our lives.

For those who are not saved….

The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …

For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

For more information about salvation and the forgiveness of sins, please refer to my blog page found here: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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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

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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.”

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The Filling of the Spirit (The Spirit Controlling Our Lives)

SIH STSTA ICON(Due to the length of this blog entry, I have chosen to abbreviate the Scripture texts… please have an open Bible at hand as we study this important subject.)

One of the most talked about subjects among Christians is the doctrine of “Spirit filling” and the results of this filling in the lives of Christians.   The only way for us to come to a sound understanding of this doctrine is to examine the many examples of Spirit filling that are found in both the Old and New Testament scriptures:

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 28:1-4 (KJV)

…And thou shalt speak unto all [that are] wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, …

Exod 31:1-5 (KJV)

….Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,…

Exod 35:30-35 (KJV)

… Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;…

Deut 34:9-12 (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom;…

Luke 1:13-16 (KJV)

…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

Luke 1:39-42 (KJV)

… and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.

Luke 1:67-70 (KJV)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,…

Luke 4:1-2 (KJV)

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,…

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)

…And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:5-14 (KJV)

…Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, …

Acts 4:27-31 (KJV)

…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3-5 (KJV)

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,…

Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

…But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, …

Acts 9:10-19 (KJV)

…that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…

Acts 11:22-26 (KJV)

….For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord…

Acts 13:8-11 (KJV)

…Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,And said,…

Acts 13:50-52 (KJV)

…And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

THE STUDY:

  1. The OT references to “Spirit filling”
    1. Exo 28:3, 31:3, 35:31–     In each of these cases, the Spirit filled men which gave them the wisdom and ability to construct the furniture and garments related to the tabernacle and the worship services.
      1. Exo 28:3 – Being “wise-hearted” was the result of Spirit filling

ii. Exo 31:1-3, 35:31 – The God’s sovereign call of Bezaleel brought about the Spirit filling which gave him the wisdom understanding and knowledge to perform all manner of workmanship.

  1. Deut 34:9–     The filling of Joshua took place when Moses laid hands on him.   Laying on of hands was the public declaration of God’s choice of Joshua was the successor to Moses.
    1. This filling then enabled Joshua to lead the children of Israel in the promised land.

The NT references to “Spirit filling”

    1. Luke 1:15–     Here we find John the Baptist, filled while in his mothers womb. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ was to announce Christ’s coming to the world.  This event was the first time he announced Christ’s coming.
      1. This filling enabled John to recognize, and react to, the Messiah who was still in the womb of Mary.
    2. Luke 1:41-67–     In these verses, we read of John’s parents Elizabeth and Zacharias blessed Mary and the Messiah who was in her womb.
      1. The Spirit filling allowed both Elizabeth and Zacharias to recognize the Messiah in Mary’s womb and also enabled them to make their proclamations of blessings upon Mary and the Christ.
    3. Luke 4:1–     Following Christ’s baptism, we find Him described as being filled with the Spirit.  Perhaps this Spirit filling took place from His conception, or perhaps from His baptism.  In either case, we find Him filled before His encounter with Satan in the wilderness.
      1. Probably, Christ was filled with the Spirit to enable Him to perform all His wondrous acts during His earthly ministry.  However, in the context, we can see, for certain, that one reason for His filling was to empower Him during the temptation that was about to take place.
    4. Acts 2:4 –     The Holy Spirit sovereignty filled the believing church members of the church at Jerusalem.  This took place during the Day of Pentecost
      1. This filling enabled the church members to speak in known human languages that were unknown to the speakers (but known to the hearers).  This allowed the Christians to proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord to foreigners who did not speak the Greek language.
    5. Acts 4:8 –     Peter and John were filled with the Spirit during their examination at the hands of Jewish religious leaders.
      1. This filling allowed them to answer with boldness and clarity as they were being questioned.
    6. Acts 4:31–     The believers, assembled to hear John and Peter speak were filled with the Holy Ghost as they were listening to the account of John and Peter.
      1. The believers were enabled to speak the word of God with boldness in the face of threatened persecution.
    7. Acts 6:3-5–     Here we read the Godly men of Jerusalem, who were soon to become the first deacons of the church at Jerusalem, were filled with the Spirit
      1. This filling gave these Godly men the ability to fulfill the office of deacon.
    8. Acts 7:55–     Stephen was filled with the Spirit immediately before he was martyred for the cause of Christ.
      1. This filling gave Stephen the ability to continue to proclaim the truth of God even in the face of death by stoning. Also, the filling allowed him to look into heaven and see the Lord.
    9. Acts 9:17–     Saul (Paul) was filled with the Holy Ghost immediately following Ananias hands being laid upon Him. This marked the beginning of Paul’s earthly ministry
      1. This filling resulted in Paul receiving his sight, gaining strength and then beginning his public ministry for the Lord.
    10. Acts 11:22-26–     Here Barnabus is described as being “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith”.
      1. This filling allowed Barnabus to preach Godly messages empowered by the Spirit resulting in many souls being saved.
    11. Acts 13:8-11–     Here Paul, as he faces Elymas the sorcerer, is said to be filled with the Spirit.
      1. This filling of the Spirit resulted in Paul’s being able to stand up against the demoniac sorcerer and strike him blind.
    12. Acts 13:52–     Paul and Barnabus, following being cast out of Antioch, is filled with the Sprit and joy before beginning to minster in Iconium.
      1. This filling allowed Paul and Barnabus ot remain encouraged in the Lord and to minister to those at Iconium resulting in “a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed”

Please notice, in all the above examples the filling of the Holy Spirit was given to fulfill a specific ministry or calling.  Although forgiven of our sins, we, as Christians, are still sinful, fallen human beings, constantly hindered from faithful service by our sinful flesh.  The filling of the Spirit is one way that God enables us to serve Him in extraordinary capacities.

Also notice that the speaking of tongues only took place in one instance out of seventeen instances of Spirit filling.  There is no reason to believe that the speaking of tongues automatically accompanies the filling of the Spirit…. it is clear that, normally, tongues not did accompany Spirit filling in Bible times.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Eph 5:1-20 (KJV)

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

In this passage of Scripture, Paul gives us instructions on the necessity of living a Godly life in the midst of this sinful world.  Loving with a self-sacrificial love, separation from the sin and the sinful influences of this world, living a life of wisdom, understanding and fulfilling the will of God in our lives; these all are themes touched upon by Paul.

Then Paul makes the statement “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”.

The need for the Spirit’s filling in every Christian’s life is clearly linked to living a life that rises above the sinful influences of this world.   As a part of fallen mankind, we all have a bent toward sin.  Without the Holy Spirit filling our life and controlling it we are destined for spiritual failure in our day to day walk with Him.

Also, please note that Paul, in a sense, relates “Spirit filling” with “being drunk with wine”.  Why?  Drunkenness controls every aspect of a person’s demeanor… It affects speech, movement, judgement… the list goes on and on.   This is very similar to the Spirit filling a person’s life.  It is then that the Spirit is in control of our entire being.  Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are all under submission to His will and ways.

What are some results of this Spirit filling? A joyous, contented., thankful heart set on glorifying the Lord … “ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

How is a Christian filled with the Spirit?  By, willfully, turning over every aspect of our lives to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  That is when the indwelling Spirit will take control of our entire being and work in us bringing about success in our individual ministries the Lord has chosen for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 7 – What about Church Membership?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #7…. What about Church Membership?  ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Matt 16:13-20 (KJV)

13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

14) And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

15) He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19) And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20) Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

 Matt 28:16-20 (KJV)

16) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20)  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts 2:47 (KJV)

47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 Acts 20:28-31 (KJV)

28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thechurch ofGod, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

31) Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 Eph 5:25-28 (KJV)

25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27) 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.

28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

 Heb 10:19-31 (KJV)

19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

21) And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23) Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)

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

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

26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30) For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31) [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 THE STUDY:

Is membership in a local church necessary for salvation?  If not, why should a Christian be a member of a church?  This blog entry will be using the Holy Word of God to answer these questions for us.

The first text we will be looking at is Matt 16:13-20 – “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”

 In this text we find the Lord addressing the issue of the lost world’s perception of Him.  Of the many differing views, John the Baptist, Elijah (Elias), Jeremiah (Jeremias) or one of the other OT prophets is mentioned.   Christ then asks His followers what they believe about His identity. Peter, speaking for all his disciples, says “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.  In his response Peter reflects three basic truths about Christ…

 First of all, by using the title “Christ”, Peter is saying that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.  In other words, He was the One chosen by God to fulfill very special ministries.  Jesus was the One anointed by God to be the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.

Secondly, Peter presents two truths about Christ using the title “Son of the Living God”.   Christ, finds His origins in God the Father.  Christ was not simply a man called by His God.  But, He was God Himself, the every essence of God come to earth to save mankind from their sins.

Thirdly, in the title “Son of the Living God” we are taught that Jesus was the perfect representative of the Father.  Jesus was the servant of the Living God, Jesus would be actively presenting God’s Word, doing God’s deeds and fulfilling the will of God in all that He would say and do.

In response to Peter’s statement, Jesus then says “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  In other words, Jesus was presenting the truth that anyone who comes to a truthful understanding of the person of Jesus does so only after God graciously reveals this truth to Him.  No one can come to this understanding of Christ with his own ability.

 Jesus continues by saying “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”   When Peter acknowledged the truth about Christ, he proved that he was a follower of Christ and a member of the family of God.  Jesus acknowledges this when  He said “Thou art Peter”.  The word Peter means “a small piece coming from a large rock.”  In other words, Christ was telling Peter, “Peter when you  stated your belief in me as Messiah and the Son of God you were proving that you (the small piece) are a part of Me (the large rock).”

 Christ continues by explaining that He would build His church upon “this rock”.  Who is the Rock?  Christ Himself.  The Lord was not saying He would build His church upon Peter.  How do we know this?  Peter was described as a small piece coming from “The Rock” of Christ.    It is because the church is built upon Christ, the Messiah and the Son of God, that we can be assured that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 Jesus completes this discourse by saying “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  What is the Keys to theKingdom ofHeaven?  The Truth concerning the identity of Christ (The Messiah, the Son of the Living God).

 Now that Peter has proclaimed the truth about the person of Christ.  Christ responds by handing to the assembled disciples (the church at Jerusalem) the responsibility to present these truths to others.  Christ is explaining to the disciples that they are to take these truths about who He is to a lost and dying world.  In doing so, the local church would be making a legitimate offer of salvation to all.  If those in the world come to a Godly faith in this message of Christ they would be saved (loosed from the bonds of sin both on earth and heaven).  If those in the world who hear this truth reject it they would be condemned to eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire (continued bound under sin and God’s wrath both on earth and throughout eternity).  In essence, this is the same responsibility given to the church in Matt 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,… and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

 These sections of Scripture are emphasizing the importance of recognizing the true identity of Christ and the need to proclaim that truth to others through the ministries of the local church.  These, in no way, teach salvation in found in church membership, nor that the local church was built upon a sinful man.

 In Acts 2:47 … And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.  The word “saved” brings with it the idea of protection and making whole.  Divine salvation includes three aspects to it (past, present and future):

Salvation from the penalty of sin (takes place at the initial salvation experience for sins past, present and future.

Salvation from the power of sin (this is an ongoing work of God beginning at the initial salvation experience and ending when we are taken to heaven)

Salvation from the presence of sin (this will take place in the future when we enter into heaven with the Lord).

This verse is speaking of the “present” aspect of salvation… salvation from the power of sin. It is simply saying that following a genuine salvation experience the young Christian would enter into church membership. In doing so, he would receive much needed indoctrination, fellowship and encouragement as he begins his new walk with Christ. It is through these that the young Christian is kept safe from the sinful forces in this fallen world and brought to spiritual maturity.

 Another interesting set of verses is found below:

Acts 20:28-31 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.   Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 Eph 5:25-28 – 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.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

 In both of these texts we have the idea of Christ dying for the church being brought out…. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  Also,  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…”

What is meant by Christ dying for His church, does this imply that, because He died for His church, membership is now necessary for salvation? If not, must we come to a conclusion there must be a universal, invisible church that all saved are brought into?

Not at all. Please keep in mind that the Lord’s local assemblies can commit sin just as individual Christians can commit sin.

Some examples are:

Anytime the church body makes decision or perform “ministries” opposed to God’s will they are committing a sin.

Anytime the church body sanctions or allows acts that are opposed to the will of God remain within their assembly, they are committing sin.

Anytime the church develops a cold, or lukewarm spirit toward the Lord, they are committing sin.

There are many, various, ways the church, as a body, can commit sin.  For the church, as a body, to receive forgiveness their sins must be paid for through the shed blood of Christ (just as sinful individuals).   That principle is what both of these verses are addressing.

Finally, in Heb 10:19-31 -Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In these verses we find several basic principles for faithful service to Christ.  Paul begins by explaining the great blessing of communion with God that we have been given. (vs 19-21).  Because He has blessed us so greatly, we have a big responsibility to continue this communion with Him in many ways:

1) maintain unhindered communion by forsaking and confessing sin. (vs 21-22)

2) faithfully show Christ to the world through our words and actions (vs 23)

3) loving, encouraging and sacrificing for other Christians (vs 24)

4) faithfully attending church and encouraging others to do so (vs 25)

All of these are indications of a genuine salvation experience has taken place in our hearts.  If we find that we do not strive for continued communion with the Lord there is a question whether we are actually saved (vs 26-27)  In these verses, we are told, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

In other words, if we come to a mental acknowledgment about Christ and salvation and yet it does not change our lives, it is proof we have never been saved.  This is described as the sacrifice that Christ has made on the cross no longer remains (it has been left behind) by us.  All that can be looked forward to is the wrath of God.

Paul then uses the example of those who rejected Moses law faced only God’s punishment.  A mental knowledge of the law, if it did not result in a changed life, is of no benefit to anyone.  Likewise, a mental knowledge of Christ and His work, if it is not a part of a conversion experience, only results in judgment from the Almighty God.

Paul completes this section by stating “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If rejecting the law of Moses resulted in such heinous punishment, how bad will the punishment be to those who have heard the message of the cross of Christ and reject it?

To hear the truth and reject it is tantamount to stomping Christ into the ground, counting the shed blood that set Christ apart from all other men (John 17:19) as if it was a dirtied common thing, and to insult the Spirit of God.  Surely the judgment of God will be great upon any that reject His truth.

Clearly, these verses are not teaching that rejecting church attendance will result in a saved person loosing their salvation and becoming recipients of God’s wrath.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that it is through repentance and faith that salvation is bestowed upon the sinful human.  Good works, baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper and church membership, are very important aspects in a Christian’s new life of faith.  However, all of them take place following the salvation of the individual.

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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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.”

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 5 – What About Baptism?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #5…. What about baptism? ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 2:37-40 (KJV) –

37)Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 8:34-39 (KJV)

34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36) And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 22:14-16 (KJV)

14) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15) For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16) And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1Pet 3:20-22 (KJV)

20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21) The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Rom 6:1-6 (KJV)

1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Gal 3:26-29 (KJV)

26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29) And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

THE STUDY:

Before we begin to study the role of baptism in salvation, it is important for us to understand what the term “baptism” means.  “Baptism” in the NT is derived from a Greek word meaning “to dip, or to immerse”.

The basic concept of the Greek term is to fully immerse, or cover something (or someone).  The concept of sprinkling, or pouring, being a type of baptism is totally foreign to the Scriptures.

The definition of baptism is illustrated for us in 1Cor 10:1-2

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

Please notice that Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea and under the pillar of cloud is described as a “baptism”.  Why?  Because they were entirely surrounded by water;  the waters of the Red Sea surrounded them on each side, while the water that made up the pillar of a cloud covered them from above.  Here, we find the principle of immersion clearly presented.

Also,  there are several passages that speak of going into and coming up out of waters during the act of baptism, also “much water” was used to baptize… (Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-38, John 3:23).  Again, it is only immersion (not pouring or sprinkling) that requires “much water”, and involves someone “coming up out of water”.

The next important principle for us to understand is the purpose of baptism.  Why is it so important for us to be baptized? The purpose of baptism is taught to us in 1Pet 3:20-22

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Here, we are told that baptism is not to “put away the filth of the flesh”, but it “answers” (follows, or it is done in response to) the receipt of “a good conscious toward God”.  In other words, baptism is to follow salvation.  Why?  Baptism is the public declaration of our coming to faith in Christ and His work.  Baptism is how we tell others about the work of Christ and the change that has already taken place in our life.

In Gal 3:26-29, we are told, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  In other words, we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus.  Following salvation, at our baptism, we “put on” Christ.  Much like a soldier puts on clothing (a uniform) that associates him with the military branch he is a member of.  At his baptism, a Christian announces  to the world that he has trusted in Christ, and from that point forward is “wearing Christ” (he is looked upon as a follower of Christ).

This is why Philip emphasized the need for saving faith in Christ before anyone could be baptized. (Acts 8:34-39)

So to summarize our study so far, we have seen that Scriptural baptism is immersion in water, following salvation.  It is done to declare our faith in Christ and to associate ourselves with Christ.

Now let’s look at a few other verses about baptism’s relation to salvation…

Mark 1:1-4  “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

 Please note in the above verses, a part of John the Baptist’s message was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  Let’s cover two main points.  First, why is baptism called “the baptism of repentance”?  In our study on repentance we said that repentance was speaking of a change of mind and/or action.  One example of this is turning from our sin to submission to the Lordship of Christ.  When we are baptized not only does it declare our faith in Christ, it also publically declares the great change that has taken place in our lives when we are saved.  The Bible describes this change as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (Gals 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).

The baptismal act of submersion and then raising from the water, symbolizes our old life is put to death and we now have a new life in Christ. It declares that our life is now changed.  Hence, the phrase “baptism of repentance”.

Paul fully explains this principle in Rom 6:1-6  “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our second question is this… what does it mean when it says we are baptized for the remission of sins?”.   Here, we are told that we are baptized because our sins HAVE ALREADY been remitted (at our salvation).  Much like when a criminal is “arrested for murder”, we are saying the criminal was arrested because he HAS ALREADY murdered.

Remember, if we have trusted in Christ, we are now followers of Him.  Our life has changed.  One of the many changes is our sins have been remitted.  We are to be baptized to declare all of this to others.

The same linkage between baptism and remission of sins is spoken of in Acts 2:37-40 “Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In this passage, Peter declares to the lost men who were convicted of their sin that they must “repent”… this resulted in their salvation and the remission of their sins.  Then he explains to them that their next immediate need is to be baptized.  Why should they be baptized?  Because their sins HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMITTED.

Unrelated to salvation, another reason for baptism is to gain entrance into the Lord’s local assembly of believers.  When a believer is baptized they become eligible for membership in the assembly.  More on this in a later blog entry.

Peter tells them that once they repent (are saved) and then are baptized (publically declaring their sins are remitted).  At this point,  they would become members of the church at Jerusalem.  Remember, just previous to this in Acts 1:1-4, the church assembly had received the gift of the Spirit.  As a new member of this church, the newly saved and baptized would be recipients of this gift as well.

 Now let’s look at another passage that links baptism with our salvation…

Acts 22:14-16  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 Paul had been saved prior to this event, when on the Damascus Road, Paul turned from his life of sin to submission to the Lord.  As a matter of fact, the reason why Paul was standing in the presence of Ananias was due to his obedience to a direct command of Christ.  In Acts 22:10….”And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”  Paul, who had just been saved is demonstrating a submissive will as a new creature in Christ.

Now Paul, with a willing spirit of submission to his Lord, listens as Anaias explains the ministry the Lord has called Paul to perform.  Note “that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

Ananias, during his explaination of Paul’s new ministry, emphasizes Paul’s need of baptism as a beginning point of his ministry, much like the beginning of Christ’s ministry  on earth was His baptism as well.

As Ananias explains the need of baptism to Paul, he says “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  He tells Paul of the need for Paul to be baptized, outwardly declaring that the sins of his past are no longer a part of his life.  This was of absolute importance for Paul before his ministry could begin.

Remember, Paul’s past life of sin involved the persecution, and murder, of followers of Christ.  Before Paul could begin a new ministry of service and submission to Christ’s will, he had to make sure that he publicly declared this past life had ended, his sin had been washed away by the blood of Christ, and he now was a new man of service to the Lord.

Remember, Paul had said in Gal 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul,  speaking of the Damascus Road experience, says that he had received the gospel (good news of salvation) from Christ during his revelation to Paul (Paul’s salvation experience)…  Ananias did not tell Paul ANYTHING that involved the gospel message, he had given to Paul his instructions to serve the Lord…  “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”

Furthermore, 1 Cor 6:11 helps us to understand, how our sins are washed away… And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The great change that takes place in our life is an act of the Holy Spirit during the conversion experience.  The three main parts to our conversion experience are washing, sanctifying, and justifying.  These happen simultaneously by the Spirit of God.

The cleansing of our sins is brought about through the application of the blood of Christ not applying the waters of baptism.

1John 1:7 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.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 7:14 (KJV)

14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Remember our 1 Peter passage quotation… “The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”.  Making it plain to us that baptism does not involve putting away the filth of our flesh.

Clearly, “wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord” is describing a symbolic washing of sins at Paul’s baptism.  He was declaring to all he was now a follower of Christ and his sins had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that baptism is a very important way to make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, baptism is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  Baptism should always follow salvation.

In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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