Settled In Heaven Blog

Home » SIH Lesson Scripture Texts » Ephesians » Ephesians 2: (Page 2)

Category Archives: Ephesians 2:

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:3

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

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

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

 

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul continues to explain the lifestyle of those who are spiritually dead…

(Ephesians 2:3)  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
 
Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh,
The idea of “conversation” is translated from a Greek word that has the idea of “to abide”, “to behave”, “to live”. “to continue on as”.

Keeping this in mind, we can see that prior to salvation, the lives of God’s people are characterized by:
1. taking their place, and fitting in, among other lost men
2. following the lusts of the flesh as a way of life.

 

fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;
Their actions and goals of life centered upon selfishly satisfying the inward lusts that proceeded from their fallen nature and sinful mind.

A very important lesson about the commission of sin is found in this verse.  For any act of sin to take place both our lusts and mind are involved in a four step process.  Sin results when:
1.  A sinful desire dwells within us (desires of the flesh)
2.  An opportunity to fulfill that desire is opened to us  (the enticement or temptation)
3.  We recognize the opportunity, think about it, and choose to act upon it (the mind and will exercised)
4.  This then, results in the act of sin being committed and the cause of Christ being harmed. (performance of sin)

By breaking this chain at any point will allow us to escape the temptation without sin…
1.  if we avoid the opportunity to sin, or…
2.  if we ignore the temptation and remove our thoughts from it, or…
3.  If, after mental consideration, choose to not commit the sin, or…
any of the above result in our successfully overcoming the temptation.

Sin only takes place when DESIRE, OPPORTUNITY, MENTAL CONSIDERATION and DETERMINATION TO ACT align themselves.

But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.  Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.  Do not err, my beloved brethren.”  (James 1:14-16)

 

and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Prior to salvation, God’s people were just as separated from Christ, unforgiven, and deserving the Lake of Fire as any other lost individual.  This was ll due to their fallen, sinful nature that had been passed down from Adam.

There was nothing in their physical existence on earth that set them apart from other lost men.  There was no outward indicator that a person would come to Christ in the future.  There was nothing in their life that merited their salvation, nor gained it of their own actions or worth.

Apart from the gracious intervention of the Lord they were exactly as any other lost individuals, a fallen creature, living a sinful lifestyle and destined for the Lake of Fire.

Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”   (Romans 3:22-23)

 

APPLICATION:

What grace the Lord showed to us, loving us eternally, choosing to save us, and securing our eternal salvation through His working on our behalf.  He did all of this, in spite of the fact that we were just like any other rebellious, sinful, individual that only deserved His eternal punishment at His hand.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  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.”  (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

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

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

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

SIH TOTT ICONReflections Of His Grace”

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

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

 
And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

 

EXPOSITION:

In this morning’s devotional, Paul begins to explain the lifestyle of those who are spiritually dead…

(Ephesians 2:2)  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
 

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world,
Prior to the Lord’s saving intervention in the life of the saint, their walk (lifestyle, way of life) was in alignment with:
1.  the “course of the world”…  in other words, the path of the unrighteous.   Prior to salvation, there was NOTHING in their actions or way of life of the saved that merited their salvation. Both the path and the destiny of the saved, prior to salvation, was identical to the path and destiny of the lost.
Once again this emphasizes God’s gracious dealings on our behalf as He brought salvation to His people in spite of the fact that they walking along the same sinful path as others.  His intervention was based solely upon His love and mercy on behalf of His chosen people.

 

according to the prince of the power of the air,
2. “the prince of the power of the air” – in other words, the path laid by Satan.
Satan is described as “the prince of the power of the air” describing Satan’s authority over the ungodly forces of this world. That is why he is described as:
a.  “the god of this world” –  2 Corinthians 4:4
b.  “the prince of this world” – John 12:31, 14:30
c.  “the power of the air” – in this passage.  This is a phrase that limits his authority to this world and the atmosphere surrounding this world.   His authority does not extend into heaven or other realms that lie beyond earth and its atmosphere.

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high [places].”    (Ephesians 6:10-12)

 

the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Satan is that spirit that works in the hearts and lives of lost mankind (Luke 22:3, John 13:2, Acts 5:3, 2 Corinthians 4:4)

He that commits sin is of the devil; for the devil sins from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”   (1 John 3:8)

 

APPLICATION:

The lifestyle of those who are spiritually dead are identical.  It is the path of others who are lost, and the path of Satan himself.  It is characterized by disobedience to God, submission to Satan and worldly desires, attitudes and morals.   It is the way of death.  But thanks be to our Lord He has graciously brought us out from the bondage of this sinful lifestyle to a new eternal relationship and way of life with Him!

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

 

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

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 2:1

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

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

The Gracious Salvation Of Christ: Ephesians 2:1-10

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:  Not of works, lest any man should boast. 

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Paul begins to remind the church at Ephesus (and each one of us) the greatest grace that we can receive from our Lord… the wonderful grace of salvation from our sins.   The more we come to understand His gracious salvation, the more we should appreciate Him and the more we should be motivated to serve Him out of a heart of love and appreciation.

A very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        The proof of our spiritual death – 1-3
II.        The gracious God of mercy and love – 4
III.        The gracious blessing of spiritual life and its results – 5-7
IV.        The gracious giving of faith – 8-9
V.        The gracious privilege being chosen to service for Him  – 10

EXPOSITION:
In this morning’s devotional, Paul begins to explain our condition before salvation…
(Ephesians 2:1)  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

 

And you hath he quickened,
“and you hath HE quickened” – Paul reminds us that we have been “quickened” by an act of the Lord not of our own ability or actions.

What is meant by the term “quickened”?
The term “quickened” was not found in the older Greek manuscripts, it was inserted by the KJV translators (please note that is why we find the term quickened written in italics in most KJV Bibles.)

Although this term was inserted by the KJV translators, it is clearly appropriate based upon its context (vs 5).  In verse 5, we find that “quickened” comes from a word that means “to vitalize” or “to live”.   We should apply this definition for “quickened” to our verse for today. By using this definition, we find that we have been given spiritual life by our Lord through His workings on our behalf.

Paul continues his teaching by explaining why we needed to be given spiritual life by the Lord…

who were dead 
It is because we were spiritually dead, and therefore needed to be given spiritual life.  Why was our condition before salvation described as spiritual death?  Two reasons…

1.  We need to remember a basic, fundamental principle concerning death.  Death, when spoken of in the Bible, ALWAYS describes a type of separation. Please take notice that there are three types of death mentioned in the Bible…

a.  PHYSICAL death which is a separation that takes place between our physical bodies and our immortal spirit.
At physical death the spirit leaves the body and returns to God while our bodies are buried and return to dust….
Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.”  (Ecclesiastes 12:7)

b.  SPIRITUAL death which is a separation of the spirit from the Lord due to sin.
Because of our fallen, sinful condition we are conceived in a state of alienation from the Lord…
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid [his] face from you, that he will not hear.”   (Isaiah 59:2)

c.  SECOND death which is separation of the sinner from the Lord throughout eternity.
The lost man enters into this state following the final judgment when he is cast permanently into the Lake of Fire…
Blessed and holy [is] he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years… And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death… But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”   (Revelation 21:8)

Prior to their physical death, all of mankind is found in a state of spiritual death.  In other words, all of mankind is alienated from the Lord and totally lacking communion with Him.  Apart from God’s gracious intervention in their lives, they are awaiting entrance into the second death (eternally placed into the Lake of Fire).

This principle is brought into clear view when the father of the prodigal son makes the statement…
For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.  (Luke 15:24).
He saw alienation and physical separation from his son as a type of death, while restored communion with him was a type of restoration of life.  This is just like our separation from the Lord (spiritual death) and our restoration of communion with Him (giving of spiritual life at salvation).

2.  But not only does death teach us of separation, it also teaches us of inability.  A spiritually dead person cannot do anything to give himself life.  He is dead.  The only possible way that he can receive life is through the direct intervention in his life by another (Hebs 2:14-15).
Think of it as a man who has physically died.  He cannot resuscitate himself, his only hope is for someone to come along, administer CPR or give to him cardio shock.
Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? [then] may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”   (Jeremiah 13:23)

in trespasses and sins;

Man’s condition of spiritual death is directly linked to their sin nature and their sinful acts.   Man is spiritually dead as the result of sin that has touched their lives (Romans 5:12).

What is the difference between “trespasses” and “sins”?  These are simply two terms that describe the aspects of our disobedience against the Lord:
1. trespasses – is a term that means “to fall aside”
It emphasizes that disobedience can be an act. It is actively “crossing” boundaries prohibited by God.
2. sins – is a term that means “to miss the mark”
It emphasizes that disobedience can by a condition or state.  It does not meet up with the standards God has given to us.

Our spiritual death is directly linked to the fact we were conceived in a fallen, sinful condition and we are continually committing acts of disobedience before God.
 

APPLICATION:
That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 5:21)
May we all enter this day with grateful hearts, knowing that our Lord, in spite of our alienated condition, saw fit to intervene in our lives and remove us from the bondage of sin to communion and eternal life with Him.

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

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

The Importance Of The Local Church -13 “Summary Of Our Study”

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 final lesson of our study let’s quickly review all that we have looked at and attempt to apply these truths to our lives in a practical way.

THE STUDY:

Here is a listing of all the main truths we have learned in this study on the Lord’s local assemblies…
1.     The Nature Of The Assembly
a.    The Local, Visible, Called Out Assembly
b.    The Benefits Of The Assembly
c.    The Existence Of The Assembly
d.    The Foundation Of The Assembly

2.    The Mission Of The Assembly
a.    The Great Commission
b.    Evangelizing The Lost
c.    Baptizing The New Believer
d.    Instructing The Membership

3.    The Other Truths About The Assembly
a.    The Blessings Of The Assembly
b.    The Accrediting Of The Assembly
c.    The Attendance Of The Assembly
d.    The Metaphors Of The Assembly

In all of these areas one basic principle was seen repeatedly… The local assembly of the Lord, His church, is THE distinctive assembly that was created and authorized to bring honor and glory to God through our Lord Jesus Christ…

Now 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)

Even beyond that, our study has shown us that, due to the unique nature and authority of the Lord’s assembly, it enjoys a very special, intimate relationship with Christ…

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”   (Matthew 18:20)

What a wonderful promise the Lord gives to those who are members of His assembly.  It doesn’t matter how large or small the assembly, when God’s people gather to worship Him in spirit and in truth, He promises to meet with them in a very special, intimate way.  He does this in the person of the Holy Spirit that not only indwells the body of the individual believer, but also indwells the assembly as the body of Christ.

It is very important to notice three basic principles in this text:

1.  First of all, this is describing those who are “gathered together”.  If we study this phrase, we find it is translated from a Greek word that means “to be led, or brought, together”.  This isn’t simply a group of Christians that are meeting together.  It is clearly saying that these Christians are led, or drawn, by the leadership of the Spirit to this meeting.

2.  Secondly, when it speaks of the Lord being in “the midst” of them.  This phrase is teaching us that, when God’s people are led by the Holy Spirit to meet together, He will be “right in the middle of things”.  He will be actively involved in all that is taking place, working in a way that supercedes His normal workings in the world around us.

3.  Thirdly, this gathering is in “the name” of Christ.  This phrase is speaking to us about the motivation behind this assembly.  These saints, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, are meeting in alignment with Christ’s will with a desire to honor, glorify, and worship God.  It is not to promote nor exalt themselves, nor their assembly, but it is a meeting that is centered on bringing to God all the glory, honor and praise.

One more important point that is normally missed concerns the nature of the assembly that is being described.  Normally, we have a tendency to apply this text to all believers who meet together to worship or serve Him in any way.  In the mind of many, this is not limited to a local church assembly of members.

Please keep in mind:

1.  first of all, we have already seen that this gathering must take place as the result of following the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, motivated to glorify God alone.  It is not just a random assemblage of Christians.

2.  more importantly, we must note the context of this passage to properly understand the assembly of which this speaks.

In the context (Matt 18:15-17) the subject of local church discipline is being addressed.  It speaks of two disagreeing individuals, who are both under the authority of the local church.  This text is explaining the process where their differences are to be resolved, or if not resolved, the local church discipline that should be enacted….

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.  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.  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…

In the very near context the authority of the local assembly is affirmed.  Not only does the local church have the authority to discipline its members, but also to discern the will of God and powerfully intercede according to His will, is confirmed in (Matt 18:18-19)…

Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.

Then, the source of the great authority of the local church assembly is described as the special presence of the Lord.  As the Lord uniquely meets with His people, they are enabled to perceive His will as an assembly, and then act according to that will in worship, prayer and at times, unfortunately, the exercise of disciplinary proceedings (Matthew 18:20)…

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

THE SUMMARY:

In this 13 part study, we have attempted to look at a few of the reasons why a Christian should seek out and join an assembly of the Lord when it is possible to do so.  In the midst of all the previous reasons we have listed, the greatest reason of all is found in our study today…

We, as Christians, are to join and actively support the ministry of the local church of the Lord because of the church’s ONE OF A KIND, intimate relationship with its Founder, Sustainer and Head, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Nowhere else on earth can this profound connection with Jesus Christ be found…

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. DRAW NIGH TO GOD, AND HE WILL DRAW NIGH TO YOU.”   (James 4:7-8)

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 -4: “The Foundation Of The Church: Christ and His Word”

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 fourth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s foundation.  In other words, we will be studying the basis and underpinnings of the Lord’s churches on earth.

 

THE STUDY:

Christ and His Word Make Up the Foundation of the Local Assembly…

1. Christ is called the Foundation with the Ministry Of The Word Building Upon That Foundation : 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”   (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

 

In this text, we can see that Paul is describing his teaching ministry to the Lord’s churches as “I have laid the foundation”.  He continues by describing the teaching of those who teach the assemblies after his departure as “and another buildeth thereon”.   By using these descriptive phrases Paul is making it plain for us to see that the teaching the truths of Christ make up the foundation and mission of the Lord’s churches.

He then goes further and states that “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  By saying this, he is making it plain that the foundation of the Lord’s churches are made up EXCLUSIVELY of the teachings concerning Christ.   The teachings of this world, no matter how popular or persuasive they might be are not a part of the underpinnings, strength, and establishment of the churches of the Lord.

These principles are further supported by 1 Timothy 3:15 which tells us that the church of God is the “pillar and ground of the truth”.

Paul then explains that the teachings that honor Christ are very valuable and will reap eternal blessings for the teacher; while the teachings that depart from God’s Word are of no lasting value and will not bring about eternal gain.

2.  Christ is called the “Chief Cornerstone” with the Word Being Called The Foundation : Ephesians 2:19-22

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

In these verses, Paul reveals to us that “the household of God” (ie the local church assembly) is built upon the foundation of the Word of God.  He uses the phrase “the apostles and prophets” to refer to the New and the Old Testaments.  Those who held the office of apostle were the  authors of the vast majority of the New Testament.  Likewise, those holding the office of prophet wrote the vast majority of the Old Testament.

What is the dominating, exclusive theme of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures? It is the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why He is described as the “chief corner stone”.  What is the a chief corner stone.  Basically, it is the foundation of the foundation.  The cornerstone is set and then the other stones making up the foundation are placed in alignment with it.

3.  The Truths Of Christ Found In The Word Are Called “The Rock” Upon Which The Local Church Is Built: Matthew 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.”

 

Please note the series of events that take place in this text:

1. Christ asks his disciples… how does the common Jewish citizen identify Him?

“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? 

 

 

2.  The response they give … there is no certainty and much disagreement on their part… perhaps John the Baptist, perhaps the OT prophet Elijah or Jeremiah, or another prophet.

And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  

 

3.  Christ’s second question… How do my disciples identify me?

He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? 

 

4.  Peter replies …. Thou art the Christ (Anointed One, One Sent From God) the Son of the living God.

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. 

 

 

5.  The Lord responds by explaining that, to understand these truths about Christ Peter has been greatly blessed with enabling by 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.  

 

 

6.  The Lord continues by stating that Peter’s description of Christ is the rock (cornerstone) that the Lord’s church will be empowered, strengthened and established.  It would be through the teachings of these truths about Christ that the church would be invincible.

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. 

(In this verse, note the play on the word “rock”.  The word “rock’ is used to describe the truths that Peter has just spoken, Christ was affirming these truths as the foundational truths of His local assembly.

Please notice that Christ gives the title of “Peter” to Simon in response to the statement that Simon has just made. “Peter” is the English translation of a Greek word that means “a small piece of a rock”.  Why does Christ give Peter this title?  He is saying that Peter, as he declares the truth about Christ is adding to the foundation becoming a small part of it.  This is in perfect alignment with what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 (above).  Anyone who proclaims Christ in a local assembly is adding a small piece of rock to the large rock that is the church’s foundation.  This is what Peter had just done proclaiming these truths about Christ in the midst of the local church at Jerusalem.

 

7.  The Lord continues His discourse to all the assembled disciples telling them that, as a local church assembly, they have a tremendous amount of authority as they proclaim truths about Christ to the world.

These truths if accepted by faith, will give access to the kingdom of heaven.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

 

 

As the church warns others of their bondage in sin and coming eternal judgment (binding the hearers on earth); God in heaven will “back up their message” and bring this judgment to pass. (binding the hearers in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:

 

Likewise, as the church promises those who believe the church’s message of Christ will be released from their sin bondage and enter into spiritual, eternal life (loose them on earth); God in heaven will honor their promise and grant to the believer freedom from sin and the judgment to come (loose them in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This is the great level of authority that is possessed by a local church of the Lord that is built upon Christ and the truths of His Word.

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches foundation, we saw that

1.  The church’s foundation is made up of the Truths of God’s Word.

2.  The Word which is made up of both Old and New Testaments exclusively reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, the “cornerstone” of that foundation.

3.  Anyone who teaches these truths of Christ in the midst of His assembly will be adding to the foundation of that assembly.

4.  The church, when it proclaims the truths of God possesses a tremendous amount of authority knowing that the Lord is support their teachings of sin, salvation and the eternity to come.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is founded upon the truths of Christ that are presented in His Word.  Because its foundation and message is based upon Christ, the church carries a tremendous amount of authority that is supported by God Himself.

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

 

 

Death: Lost Man’s Victorious Enemy… The Christian’s Defeated Foe (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONThe Bible’s usage of the term “death” involves the basic foundational principle of separation.  There are three different types of death that are described in God’s Word:

1. Physical death – this is the condition of the spirit when it is separated from the body

2. Spiritual death – this is the condition of the spirit when it is separated from God hereby it is lacking acceptance by, communion and accompaniment with God

3. Eternal Death – this is the permanent condition of the spirit when it is separated from the presence of God for an eternity while suffering torment in the Lake of Fire.

As you can see from the above, there is no aspect of death that is friendly to mankind.  This is why death is said to “sting” us bringing about harm and pain upon each one of us.

In our study for today, we will be looking at the harmful, painful, destructive aspect of death that has come upon all mankind.  In the next parts of this series we will be looking at how our victory has been won over our vicious enemy which the Bible calls “death”.

THE SCRIPTURES:

1) And you [hath he quickened], who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:  3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.   (Ephesians 2:1-3)

THE STUDY:

In Ephesians 2:1-3, we find a passage that is very valuable to us in understanding death and it’s effects upon fallen mankind…

1) who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Here, we find a description of someone who is dead in their “trespasses and sins”…

To properly understand this verse we need to understand the meanings of the terms “trespasses” and “sins”.

The term “trespass” comes from a Greek word that means “to step over a line” or “to exceed a boundary that is previously set”.  Throughout both the Old and New Testaments, our Lord has given to us principles and guidelines for living a life that is pleasing to Him and beneficial for us.  He clearly tells us that these guidelines will be adequate to meet our every need…

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

When we believe that His guidelines are wrong, or not sufficient for us, we choose to follow our own set of standards for living. In other words, we are “stepping over the lines” that He has graciously given to us. This is what is meant by a “transgressions”.

The term “sin” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to miss the mark”, in others words “an error”.  We can understand this definition by thinking of an archer that is shooting at the bull’s eye on the target.   However, when he shoots the arrow he not only misses the bull’s eye, but he misses the entire target!  This is a picture of the fact that he isn’t perfect, not even close.  No matter how hard he tries of his own ability to hit that bull’s eye, he misses horribly every time.

It is these conditions that characterize a man who is spiritually dead.  These are the proofs of his spiritually dead condition. He willfully, consistently, steps over the boundaries that the Lord has gracious set up for his good and suffers from constant imperfection and error.

2) Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, 

These who are spiritually dead have a past lifestyle that ran parallel to the path of this sinful world.

In other words, their life exhibited a habitual manner that reflected the actions of fallen mankind:

Lying, stealing, blaspheming the Lord, murder, setting up priorities other than Jehovah for their life, selfishness, sexual perversions, the list seems to be endless.  (For a more complete listing of the sins taking place in this fallen world please refer to your local newspaper or TV news program.)

Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,   Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”   (Galatians 5:19-21)

according to the prince of the power of the air, 

This sinful walk of life that is seen in the lives of those who are spiritually dead is being lived in alignment with “the prince of the power of the air”.

Who is this “prince”?  It is referring to the One that possesses the highest authority that dwells in this world around us…. Satan.  The Devil is also described as the “god of this world” in 2 Cor 4:4.  Please remember that these titles are not saying that Satan possesses the Highest Authority over this world.  Both of these are saying that, of those whose existence is limited to this physical world around us, Satan holds the highest authority (“prince of the power of the air”) and, therefore, is given the first priority by the fallen men who are a part of this world (“god of this world”).

Our Lord Jesus, who is not limited to existing on earth holds the ultimate authority over all (including Satan Himself)…

But our God [is] in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.   (Psalms 115:3)

the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

It is this same Satan that is working in those who are spiritually dead, choosing to exceed the principles for living given to them by the Lord as they habitually commit sinful errors.

 “Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.”   (John 8:44)

3) Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;

Those who are spiritually dead are also said to share in the same past lifestyle as all of us.  NO ONE, apart from Christ, is exempt from this fallen sinful state.  Our pasts are filled with putting as a first  priority the burning sinful desires of our sin natures, exceeding God’s boundaries and habitually missing the goals that He has set for us.  It is just as God’s Word tells us…

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;   (Romans 3:23)

Note the phrase “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind”.  This reminds us that our failures towards the Lord are not simply centered in our actions of sin but have a beginning and conception in  our minds.   It is so important we never forget that the commission of sin not only takes place  outwardly but within our sinful hearts and intents as well….

Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”   (1 John 3:15)

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.”   (Matthew 5:27-28)

“…for whatsoever [is] not of faith is sin.”   (Romans 14:23)

 “Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man….”  “…But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.   For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are [the things] which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.”   (Matthew 15:11, 18-20)

and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

Not only does spiritual death and it’s characteristics shared in common with all of fallen mankind, but also its results.  Based upon the fallen sinful nature of man, it is a part of the man’s nature that all are  brought into this world spiritually dead and facing the hot anger of Almighty God…

Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death

passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:”   (Romans 5:12)

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”   (Psalms 51:5)

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.”   (Psalms 58:3)

This wrath takes the form of eternal separation from God, tormented in the Lake of Fire….

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.”   (Daniel 12:2)

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”   (John 5:28-29)

And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”   (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)

And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”   (Revelation 20:15)

But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”   (Revelation 21:8)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have read this posting, it should serve as a solemn warning from the Lord of the horrible effects of spiritual death in the lives of all who are a part of fallen humanity.  If the Bible simply stopped here, with these few verses, we would be condemned to remaining spiritually dead and facing both physical death and eternal spiritual death as well.  However, the Word of God tells us much more about spiritual death and, especially, its remedy.

In the very same text we looked at the first verse begins by saying…. “AND YOU [HATH HE QUICKENED], who were dead….”

What a wonderful truth to know and understand.  In the Lord Jesus Christ, we find our source of life and peace with God.   Jesus Himself told us so in John 11:24-27…

Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:   And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.”   (John 11:24-27)

For those who are dead in trespasses and sins, by trusting in Christ and His work on the cross, you will find eternal life through His gracious intervention in their hearts and lives.

For those of us who have previously trusted in Him, out of appreciation and love, let us all renew a heart of submission to His will and desire to serve Him in greater ways.

In our next lesson, we will be examining in detail the work of Christ that won the victory over sin and death, enabling us to live through Him.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 

Please visit…

Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Settled In Heaven Ministries Video Blog: http://youtube.com/settledinheaven

Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

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 3 – Faith/Belief

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 #3…. Faith (or Belief) ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 16:29-34 (KJV)

29) Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

30) And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

32) And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

33) And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed [their] stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

34) And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV)

36) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:

37) But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

38) Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:

39) And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

John 1:10-14 (KJV)

10) He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.

11) He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

12) But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

13) Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

14) And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 3:14-17 (KJV)

14) And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15) That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

John 3:35-36 (KJV)

35) The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

36) He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

John 6:32-47 (KJV)

32) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.

33) For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.

34) Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread.

35) And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.

36) But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

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

38) For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

39) And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

40) And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

41) The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.

42) And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?

43) Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves.

44) No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

45) It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me.

46) Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.

47) Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

John 11:25-27 (KJV)

25) Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26) And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?

27) She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV)

30) And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV)

23) Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;

24) But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

25) Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification.

1) Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV)

4) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

5) Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

6) And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus:

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

8) For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

9) Not of works, lest any man should boast.

10) For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

1 John 5:10-13 (KJV)

10) He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.

11) And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

12) He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.

13) These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

THE STUDY:

What is faith?  The Biblical term “faith” carries with it the idea of “reliance”, “persuasion”, “conviction”, or “trust”.  To believe or to trust are other Biblical terms for the same idea.

When we speak of faith, or belief, or trust, in Christ… we are saying that an individual is persuaded, and becomes thoroughly convinced of the Bible teachings about the person and work of Christ. This conviction leads him to totally rely upon the work of Christ as the basis of the forgiveness and salvation from his sin.  This is a Biblical faith in Christ.

A Saving faith is centered on the work  of Christ on the cross.

John 3:14-17 (KJV) – And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Following the plague of the serpents that fell upon the Israelites, they were told to look unto the brazen serpent on the pole to receive healing.  This was a wonderful picture of the salvation that comes through faith in Christ and his work.

Just as mankind is facing eternal spiritual death due to the “bite” of sin in their lives… by looking to Christ and His work on the cross by faith, they can receive forgiveness and healing from the wounds of sin. (Psa 41:4, 1 Pet 2:20-24, Isa 53:4-6)

Saving Faith is a necessity for salvation and therefore, it is a part of the great commission

Mark 16:15-16 (KJV) – And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here, we find the authority to proclaim the gospel message (the great commission) being handed down from Christ to His assembled believers.  Please note that belief, and the lack thereof, dictates the gain, or loss, of salvation.  “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”  In other words, He that believes with a sincere belief (displayed publically through the act of baptism) shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.   (John 3:14-19, John 8:21-24, 1 Pet 1:18-23)

Please note in these verses, baptism, in this context, is a distinguishing mark of a genuine belief.  Anyone who believes in Christ, and is willing to declare that belief publicly, shall be saved.  Anyone who claims to believe, but is not willing to make a public profession, for fear of ridicule, harm or rejection cannot be certain of salvation.  Why?  A true saving faith will trust in Christ to handle any adverse results of a public profession of faith.

Please note that this verse does not say… “but he that is not baptized shall be damned”.  The lack of baptism is not even mentioned as a cause of remaining under the damnation of God.

This verse, and the entire subject of the role of baptism in salvation, will be covered in great detail in blog entry #5 of this series.

A Saving Faith results in…

The removal of God’s wrath

John 3:35-36 (KJV) – The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

In the prior verse, faith was said to be necessary to be removed from the damnation of God.  Here, it is said to deliver us from God’s wrath.  “Damnation” carries with it the idea of “a judicial judgment”, “condemnation”, or a “just decision rendered”.  “Wrath” involves the idea of  “hot anger”, “vengeance according to justice”, “passionate fierceness”.

When these ideas are put together, we find that a saving faith removes the sinful man from God’s just sentence of punishment against sin.  The punishment He has decreed against our sin is a fierce punishment flowing from His fervent anger.  (Psa 2:12, Rom 1:16-20)

The gift of eternal life

John 11:25-27 (KJV) – Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?  She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:30-31 (KJV) – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Death involves separation.  Physical death is the state of separation between the body and the soul (spirit).  Spiritual death is the state of separation between the individual and God due to the sin of the individual.  Eternal death is the never ending state of separation from God.  The individual eternally dwelling in theLakeofFireunder God’s punishment, while God is eternally dwelling on the New Earth in eternal bliss.  (Rev 20:12-15, Rev 21:1-8)

A saving faith in Christ undoes the spiritual results of sin on mankind.  Once saved, a man’s communion with God is restored and when he enters eternity, he will dwell with the Lord in heaven and later on the New Earth.  (Hebs 11:16, Rev 21:, Rev 22:)

Being declared innocent of the sin we have committed

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV) – Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

Although guilty of the commission of sin, man can find forgiveness and the removal of sins guilt  through faith in Christ.  As the shed blood of Christ is applied to our account washing away our sin, we then can be declared innocent of the very sin that before had condemned us. (1 John 1:5-10, Rev 1:4-6)

The presence of saving faith in our life can be a certainty.

1John 5:10-13 (KJV) – He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; [and] he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

It is through a lifestyle of trusting in Christ that we can find assurance of our salvation experience.  Trusting in Christ is not simply a one time act, it is an act repeated every day many times a day under the leadership of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  Once we are genuinely saved, a part of our changed life is a continuous looking to Him, believing His Word and relying on Him during all our day to day issues of life. (Rom 1:17,  Hab 2:4, Gals 3:10-14)

Salvation is given to sinful man by faith not keeping the works of the law

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV) For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:  But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.  Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV) But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)  And hath raised [us] up together, and made [us] sit together in heavenly [places] in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in [his] kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

The sinfulness of mankind can never be covered, nor outweighed by a man’s morally good works.  The Bible makes it plain that a man cannot merit salvation through his good works.  This principle is so important we will be devoting blog entry #4 in this series to an in depth study of the Bible teachings concerning the relationship of good works to salvation.

In the above two verses, we can clearly see that neither the keeping of the Mosaic law, nor good works of any kind can merit salvation.  This teaching eliminates many good works that are falsely taught to merit salvation… baptism, church membership or partaking of the Lord’s supper.  Again, as our series progresses, each of these false teachings will be examined in detail. But for now, suffice it to say that good works cannot merit salvation.  Salvation comes by grace through faith upon the people of God. (Roms 3:23-28, Roms 4:1-8, Roms 10:1-10, Titus 3:3-8)

Saving Faith comes to mankind via the will and grace of God

John 1:10-14 (KJV)  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 6:32-47 (KJV) Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.  For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.  But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.  And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven.  And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven?  Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. Not that any man hath seen the Father, save he which is of God, he hath seen the Father.  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.

Faith and repentance are very similar in many aspects.  One of those aspects is the fact that mankind is unable to repent nor believe apart from Divine intervention in his life.  Please notice in the above verses, we find explicit teaching on this truth…

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name: which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

“But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”

“Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”

Although mankind is responsible to repent and believe, because of their fallen nature and sinful condition they cannot come to Christ apart from the gracious intervention of God.  This is one of the greatest displays of God’s love and grace…. to intervene in the life of a rebellious, sinful,  helpless man and open his sin blinded eyes, convict him of his sin, lead him to Christ and grant him repentance and faith.  (James 1:17-18, Roms 8:29-31, 2 Tim 1:8-12)

Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin

Mark 1:15 (KJV) And saying, The time is fulfilled, and thekingdomofGodis at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Matt 21:28-32 (KJV)  But what think ye? A [certain] man had two sons; and he came to the first, and said, Son, go work to day in my vineyard.  He answered and said, I will not: but afterward he repented, and went.  And he came to the second, and said likewise. And he answered and said, I [go], sir: and went not.  Whether of them twain did the will of [his] father? They say unto him, The first. Jesus saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you.  For John came unto you in the way of righteousness, and ye believed him not: but the publicans and the harlots believed him: and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.

You cannot have repentance with faith and faith without repentance.  This is what I mean by the phrase, “faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin.”   For a person to come to faith in Christ, he must experience a change of attitude and heart concerning God’s Word, Christ and His work, and his own sinful condition.  This change is repentance.  Without it genuine faith in Christ cannot be experienced.  Likewise, without a new set of beliefs existing in the heart, no real change can take place in the lives of man.  Truly, in the mind of God repentance and faith are inseparably linked.

Clearly, both repentance and belief are necessary in the experience of salvation.  Note in our verses above…. “repent ye, and believe the gospel” and “and ye, when ye had seen [it], repented not afterward, that ye might believe him.”   Although both are necessary, many times only one or the other is mentioned as a necessity for salvation….  Here are two examples…

Luke 5:31-32 (KJV) And Jesus answering said unto them, They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Acts 16:31 (KJV)

31) And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

In these examples only one or the other is mentioned not both…. Why does this take place?

Because, they are so closely related that when the Bible mentions one, it is automatically implying the other.  We CANNOT believe without experiencing repentance that leads us to that belief.  Likewise we CANNOT repent and turn to Christ without becoming convinced of Bible truths about ourselves, our condition and Christ and His work.

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of faith (or belief) in the salvation experience… 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.

 ————————————————————————

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.”

Why?

SIH STSTA ICON“Why is the sky blue?”  “Why does a dog bark?”  “Why is ice cream cold?”  The list goes on and on.  When we were much younger, we were concerned about all the “whys” of life.  Sad to say in the process of getting our answers, we drove our parents to the edge of insanity!

However, something happened to many of us as we grew older… the “whys” of life no longer seemed to be as important.  As we grew busier in our life’s activities, we no longer were concerned about “why”.  This change resulted in cheating us out of a greater appreciation of the world around us.

When it comes to God’s Word, understanding the “whys” is an absolute necessity to grasp the entire truth that is being presented.  For this blog entry, I would like us to look at one example of this principle.   Let’s look at the answer to a very common question that is asked by many Christians…. “Why did the Lord forgive us of our sins?”

THE SCRIPTURE:

And you hath he quickened,… That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. (Eph 2:1-7)

THE STUDY:

This Scripture text is basically answering two questions:

In verses 1-3 we have the answer to: “What was our condition before The Lord forgave me of my sins?”

In verses 4-7 we have the answer to: “Why did the Lord forgive me of my sins?”

Our study will begin with verses 1-3…

“And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;”

Before the Lord intervened in our life we were “dead in trespasses and sins”.  In other words, spiritually we were separated from God and unable to help ourselves.  We could no more give ourselves forgiveness and spiritual life than a dead corpse can give itself CPR and bring itself back to life.

“Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Before the Lord’s intervention, our lifestyle was one of disobedience and rebellion to the will and ways of God.   Although we may have lived moral lives, our morality was of no more value than that of filthy rags (Isa 64:6).   Why were they of no lasting spiritual value? Our moral actions were not done out of a heart of love for the Lord.

“Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind;

Instead of our moral works being done out of love for God, they were motivated by the lusts of our flesh and mind.  In other words, our moral actions were motivated out of a love for self and pleasure.  Our entire lifestyle was one of living for self gratification.

“and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.”

Our sinful nature, which we received from Adam, was deserving of God’s punishment.  We shared this same type of nature with all mankind.  Everyone, possesses this same nature within themselves. (1 Cor 15:22)

(Note on verses 1-3….Please notice these verses set the groundwork for the following verses 4-7.   Basically what we are saying is this…. Since I was in such a horrible condition (vs 1-3) why did the Lord ever make the time and effort to save me? (vs 4-7))

In verses 4-7…

So why did The Lord forgive us?

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,”

Reason #1

We are forgiven because of His mercy and His love for us.   In other words, He is willing to withhold our deserved punishment from us (his mercy) because He so greatly loved us.

“Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

 This is a quick review of our horrible condition before His intervention in our lives. This review is given to remind us that we didn’t deserve, nor did we earn, His love or mercy…. It is given entirely by His willingness to give us undeserved blessings.  These undeserved blessings include His forgiveness which saved us from the punishment of our sins.

“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

Reason #2

We are forgiven so we might live eternally with Him.  The Lord raised us from our spiritual death, so that we might share an eternity in heaven with Him.

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

Reason #3

We are forgiven so that The Lord might be glorified.  From the moment of our salvation, the Lord glorifies Himself in the lives of those He has saved.  Anyone who is truly saved, becomes a new creature in Him.  Because of this great inward change, our outward lives change as well. (2 Cor 5:17) This change glorifies Him.

Also, throughout eternity, our presence with Him in heaven will be a continual testimony of His grace and forgiveness that He has given to His people. (Rev 4:10-11)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

When Christians are asked “Why did the Lord forgive you of your sins?” their two favorite responses are… “Because He loved us” and “Because He wanted to go to heaven and not hell”.  In our above text, we saw both of these are true.

However, please notice the third reason why He chose to save us.  It is because He wants to glorify Himself in our lives.  This is so important for each of us to understand.  If we have been saved we are to serve Him with our lives.  By doing, this we are bringing to fulfillment His third desire … that He might be glorified.  (Eph 2:8-10)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

If you have never received the Lord’s gracious forgiveness… you can see your horrible condition without His intervention in your life. Turn from your sins and turn to Him in faith, recognizing He is your only hope… He will not cast you aside. (John 6:33-40)

____________________________________________________________

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

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

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