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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)

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 -1: “The Nature Of The Church: A Local Visible 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)

As we begin our study of the importance of the Lord’s local assemblies.  It is vital that we understand what we mean by the title “the Lord’s church”.  In this first installment of our study, we will be examining the words translated “church” in the KJV Bible to come to a definition of “the Lord’s church”.

 

 

THE STUDY:

To begin our study of the Lord’s church it is important that we understand the meaning of the word ”church” as found in the KJV of the Holy Bible.

The word “church” is not found in the Old Testament Scriptures.  However, it is found over 100 times in the New Testament and, every time, is translated from the Greek word “ekklesia”.

The usage of “Ekklesia”

“Ekklesia” is translated into English using the terms “church” or “assembly”.  The word is used in several differing contexts with one basic similarity.  “Ekklesia” always refers to a visible assembly of people.  The different assemblies described by the term “ekklesia” (with one example of each usage) are:

1.  A political assembly of people in Acts 19:32,39,41;
31) 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.
32) Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
33) 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.
34) 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.
35) 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?
36) Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
37) For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
38) 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.
39) But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
40) 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.
41) And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
(Acts 19:31-41)

2.  The physical nation of Israel in the wilderness in the OT in Acts 7:38;
37) 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.
38) 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:
39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
40) 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.
41) 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)

3.  Local assemblies of worship on earth – Acts 8:1,3;
1) And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.
2) And devout men carried Stephen [to his burial], and made great lamentation over him.
3) As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.
 (Acts 8:1-3)

4.  The assembly of saints gathered in Heavenly Jerusalem throughout eternity – Hebs 12:23
22) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,
24) And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel.
 (Hebrews 12:22-24)

By seeing the contextual usage of “ekklesia” we can see that IT ALWAYS SPEAKS OF A LOCAL, VISIBLE ASSEMBLY (more on this in later sections of our study).

1.  As a local assembly, the church was created to especially minister to those who are around us.  It is local in nature, each one established in a different area of the globe to minister to those in their geographic area.

46) And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47) And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48) And ye are witnesses of these things.
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.
50) And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.
51) And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.
(Luke 24:46-51)

2.  As a visible assembly, we can see that the Lord’s church was formed to be a public, visible display of His love, care and grace towards those in that local community.  The community would be watching the church as an assembly and individual members to see if they “practiced what they preached”.

10) Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
11) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
12) For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
13) Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for [your] liberal distribution unto them, and unto all [men];
14) And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
15)  Thanks [be] unto God for his unspeakable gift.
 (2 Corinthians 9:10-15)

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

Please Note: The testimony of a local church is so important, the Lord has given clear instructions for disciplining those who are members of His assembly that are living in habitual sin….

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.
 (Matthew 18:15-17)

The of definition of “ekklesia”

The Greek word “ekklesia” contains two basic parts:

1.  The first part is the prefix “ek” which means “from” or “out of”.
2.  The second part is the root word “kaleo” which means “to call”, “to summon”, “to urge”, or “to incite”

The definition of “ekklesia” teaches us that the church is a group that has been “summoned out” or an assembly that has been “called out”.

This calling out from the world is a call to holiness.  Our Lord’s church should be a holy body that is dedicated to glorifying God through submission to His ways and declaration of His truths…

13) Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
14) Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15) Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16) Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
(Matthew 5:13-16)

Putting the principles of the usage and definition of “ekklesia” together, we can see that:

The church of the Lord is A LOCAL, VISIBLE ASSEMBLY OF SAINTS THAT HAS BEEN SUMMONED BY GOD, MAKING IT UNIQUE FROM ALL OTHERS ASSEMBLIES IN THIS WORLD.

Its uniqueness is displayed in four ways: its founding, its purpose, its benefits and its accreditation. We will be looking at all four of these areas of uniqueness in later segments of our study.

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

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an assembly personally called out by God which separates it from all other assemblies on earth.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

For a free study guide for this series in .pdf format:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

For a free study guide for this series in .docx format:

https://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/lordsassemblyprotected.docx

 

Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice in this account several interesting points:

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

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

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

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

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

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

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

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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.”

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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