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Spiritual Gifts: Gifts And Fruits For Use Today (Part #2)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

In our previous studies, we have been looking at the “Accrediting” or “Sign” Gifts that were given to establish the New Testament Scriptures, the ministry of Christ and the Apostles, and the ministry of the local church as the newly created house of worship. We saw that these type of gifts are no longer needed, nor are they given to men, as we now have the historical record of the accrediting gifts found in the New Testament.

With this lesson, we will begin looking in detail at the “Spiritual Gifts For Today”…

 

 

 

Lesson:


A Description Of Spiritual Gifts For Today:

Gifted Men:

 

Evangelist – Ephesians 4:11 – “One who proclaims the gospel”

In other words, those whose main thrust is to minister to the lost giving them the gospel message. In today’s time this gifted man is best described as “a Missionary”.

 

Pastor/Teacher – Ephesians 4:11 – “a Shepherd / an Instructor”

He is described as a “Shepherd (or Pastor)” because his three responsibilities are to lead, feed and protect the local assembly over which he has been given oversight. He is described as a “Teacher” because one of the main thrusts of their ministry is to teach all aspects of God’s Word (doctrinal, practical, evangelistic) to the members of the local assembly.

 

Spiritual Gifts:

 

Prophecy – Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:11 – “to show forth the mind of God”.

This gift emphasizes the PROCLAMATION of the Truth.

How do we know God’s mind today? It is through the revelation of His Word. The gift of prophecy is the ability to proclaim God’s Word. This is clearly shown in the description “to speak as the oracles of God” in 1 Peter 4:11. This description is translated from a phrase meaning “to speak the logos (Word) of God”.

It is to be done “according to the proportion of faith” ie “according to the level of persuasion and conviction that he possesses.” In other words, a prophet is only to teach that which he is convinced is the truth. He is not to teach something because others teach it, but he is to study and be led by God to the truth of the Word and only then, proclaim it. (Romans 8:38-39)

 

Ministry or Helps – Romans 12:7, 1 Corinthians 12:28, 1 Peter 4:11 – “service, laboring to meet needs of others”.

This gift emphasizes HUMILITY based on the Truth.

This gift involves recognizing the needs of those around us and the ability to identify how to fulfill those needs. This gift also is closely associated to the exercise of several spiritual fruits including love, gentleness, and patience.

 

Teaching – Romans 12:7 – “to explain, to inform, to instruct”.

This gift emphasizes the EXPLANATION of the Truth.

The clear explanation of the principles of God’s Word is in view with this Spiritual gift. This gift enables a man to understand Biblical truths and then to clarify, illuminate and expound on them. Many times this gift is given in conjunction with the gift of Prophecy. While the gift of Prophecy’s greatest goal centers on the application of the truth to the life of their listeners, the gift of Teaching majors on their students coming to a clear understanding of the truths of the Word with the application of these truths a secondary goal.

Both of these ministries are of equal importance and rely upon each other. Truth cannot be applied to the life (goal of the prophet) until it is properly understood. Likewise understanding truth (goal of the teacher) without application to the life is of very little profit to the hearer.

 

Exhortation – Romans 12:8 – “to call near, to comfort, to stand with”

This gift emphasizes the ENCOURAGING to keep the Truth.

This gift involves encouraging others to keep the truth. This is done through strengthening and reassuring words, as well as actively supporting the actions of others in service to Christ. It involves standing with them in the midst of heartaches, testings, and temptations. Many times this gift is used along with the gift of ministry.

 

Giving – Romans 12:8 – “to give over, to share with others”.

This gift emphasizes GIVING to display the Truth.

This gift involves sacrificing of ourselves in order to illustrate what our Lord has done for us as recorded in His Word. This can involve the sharing of our finances, time, talents, possessions, or knowledge with others with no intention of restitution. It is handing over what we possess in an effort to display, on a very very small scale, the tremendous sacrifice that Christ has made on our behalf.

Note our text tells us this gift is to be exercised with “simplicity”. This relates to us the sincerity of motives and willingness to give of ourselves. Our giving should not be forced or manipulated but must be an act of our freewill, as we sincerely desire to share our blessings with others.

 

Ruling or Governments – Romans 12:8, 1 Corinthians 12:28 – “to stand before, to preside over”.

This gift emphasizes ORGANIZATION AND EXAMPLE SETTING to effectively reveal the Truth to others.

This gift involves the ability to effectively exercise directive authority over others. It involves organizing and delegating roles of service to most effectively serve the Lord. A part of this gift involves setting the proper example to those who are placed under their authority. Also, it involves a willingness to fulfill any role that is delegated to others.

Our text explains that this gift must be exercised “with diligence”. This helps us to understand that this gift must be exercised in a serious, eager, and careful manner. Many times the success of a ministry hinges upon the quality of leadership of that ministry.

 

Mercy – Romans 12:8 – “to show compassion to undeserving, to withhold deserved punishment”

This gift emphasizes the ability to EMPATHIZE WITH THE NEEDY to more effectively share the Truth.

This gift involves possessing a willingness to aid an inferior and/or forgive the guilty. This gift specifically involve the use of empathy (the ability to put ourselves in the “shoes” of others allowing us to emotionally share in the difficulties of others) as we minister to those who have wronged us or are suffering.

In the eyes of the world punishment is meted to the guilty and aid is to be given to those who are profitable to us.   This gift enables us to put ourselves in their place, share in their emotions and recognize their needs.   This then allows us to forgive instead of punish and to aid them in their suffering regardless of their social status.

 

Celibacy – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 – “to live in unmarried state, to live a celibate lifestyle”

This gift emphasizes the ability to live WITHOUT PHYSICAL INTIMACY for the sake of the Truth.

This gift involves living a chaste lifestyle for the purpose of placing our full attention and efforts on service for Christ. This gift involves the ability to control our fleshly desires for sexual intimacy which allows us to concentrate solely on service to Christ. The exercise of this gift allows our service for Christ to be unfettered with the concerns of meeting the needs of a spouse or children.

 

Marriage – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9 – “to be a party in the Biblical marital covenant”

This gift emphasizes being FAITHFUL TO THE CONDITIONS OF THE BIBLICAL MARITAL COVENANT to show the Truth.

This gift involves receiving the God given ability to keep all the responsibilities of the Biblical marital covenant. The varied responsibilities of the husband and wife center upon the willingness to always working to meet the needs the other person while living in harmony between themselves and God. This gift involves the ability to recognize the needs of the spouse, sacrificially meet those needs, while yet placing the Lord first in the marriage.

 

Hospitality – 1 Peter 4:9 – “to be fond of aliens, foreigners”

This gift emphasizes CARING FOR STRANGERS to communicate the Truth .

This gift involves the ability to readily accept strangers as if they were long-time associates, friends, or family members.   It is having the ability to care for those we do not personally know by accepting them into our presence while sharing our blessings with them.

 

 

Please note the following gifts found in these texts are accrediting (sign) gifts that no longer exist and are covered in previous lessons:

  1. Office Of Apostle – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
  2. Office Of Prophet – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
  3. Gifts of Healings – 1 Corinthians 12:28
  4. Diversities of Tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:28

 

In our next lesson, we will look at how we can recognize which gifts we have received of the Lord

 

Additional Information:

A Description Of Spiritual Gifts For Today (Verses Used In This Study):

Rom 12:4-8 KJV

(4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

(5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

(6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

(7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;

(8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

Rom 8:38-39 KJV

(38) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,

(39) Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

1Co 7:7-9 KJV

(7) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.

(8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.

(9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

 

1Co 12:27-31 KJV

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

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

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

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

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

 

Gal 5:22-25 KJV

(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

(24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

(25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 

Eph 4:11-15 KJV

(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Eph 5:8-10 KJV

(8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:

(9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

(10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 

1Pe 4:8-11 KJV

(8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

(9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

(10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

(11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Spiritual Gifts: Gifts And Fruits For Use Today (Part #1)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

In our previous studies, we have been looking at the “Accrediting” or “Sign” Gifts that were given to establish the New Testament Scriptures, the ministry of Christ and the Apostles, and the ministry of the local church as the newly created house of worship. We saw that these type of gifts are no longer needed, nor are they given to men, as we now have the historical record of the accrediting gifts found in the New Testament.

 

With this lesson, we begin the second major division of our study as we will take a look at the gifts and the fruits of the Spirit that are given for use in the local assemblies in today’s time.

 

The Scriptures:

Texts that list gifts for today EXCLUSIVELY:

Rom 12:4-8 KJV
(4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
(5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
(6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
(7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
(8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

1Co 7:7-9 KJV
(7) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
(8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
(9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

 

1Pe 4:8-11 KJV
(8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
(9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
(10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Texts that list gifts for today along with some of the accrediting gifts:

 

1Co 12:27-31 KJV
(27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
(28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
(29) Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
(30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
(31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

 

Eph 4:11-15 KJV
(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Texts that list Spiritual Fruits :

 

Gal 5:22-25 KJV
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
(24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
(25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 

Eph 5:8-10 KJV
(8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
(10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 

 

Lesson:

A Listing Of Spiritual Gifts For Today:

  1. Gifted Men:
    1. Evangelist – Ephesians 4:11
    2. Pastor/Teacher – Ephesians 4:11
  2. Spiritual Gifts:
    1. Prophecy – Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:11
    2. Ministry – Romans 12:7, 1 Peter 4:11
    3. Teaching – Romans 12:7
    4. Exhortation – Romans 12:8
    5. Giving – Romans 12:8
    6. Ruling – Romans 12:8
    7. Mercy – Romans 12:8
    8. Celibacy – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9
    9. Marriage – 1 Corinthians 7:7-9
    10. Helps – 1 Corinthians 12:28
    11. Governments – 1 Corinthians 12:28
    12. Hospitality – 1 Peter 4:9

 

(Please note the following gifts found in these texts are accrediting (sign) gifts that no longer exist and are covered in previous lessons:

  1. Office Of Apostle – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
  2. Office Of Prophet – 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11
  3. Gifts of Healings – 1 Corinthians 12:28
  4. Diversities of Tongues – 1 Corinthians 12:28)

 

 

A Listing Of Spiritual Fruits:

  1. Fruits Of The Spirit:
    1. Love – Galatians 5:22
    2. Joy – Galatians 5:22
    3. Peace – Galatians 5:22
    4. Longsuffering – Galatians 5:22
    5. Gentleness – Galatians 5:22
    6. Goodness – Galatians 5:22
    7. Faith – Galatians 5:22
    8. Meekness – Galatians 5:23
    9. Temperance – Galatians 5:23

 

 

The Difference Between Talents, Fruits and Gifts Of The Spirit:

The following table helps us to understand the difference between the talents, fruits and gifts we are given by God through the Spirit’s intervention…

 

Type Of Gift Texts Gifted Person Evidenced From Nature Of Gift Types Received
Physical Talent Matthew 4:18-20 Mankind Physical Birth Natural (Physical) Various(Lord’s Discretion)
Fruit Of The Spirit Galatians 5:22-24 Saved Spiritual Birth Natural (Spiritual) All
Spiritual Gift (Charisma) Romans 12:4-81 Corinthians 12:8-11Ephesians 4:11-121 Peter 4:8-9   etc. Saved Lord’s Intervention Supernatural (Spiritual) Various(Lord’s Discretion)

 

Notes on above chart:

1. This chart is given to quickly illustrate there is a distinct difference between the “Spiritual Gifts”, the “Fruits of the Spirit” and “Physical Talents” all of which are given by God to man. Please understand that when we speak of the “Spiritual Gifts” they differ greatly in many areas from “Fruits of The Spirit”. These are not to be confused.

2. (One area of similarity between the three is that all three are given through God’s grace and all three are to be used in our service to Him.)

In our next study, we will be looking at “Spiritual Gifts For Today” in detail. Later in this study we will look at the “Fruits of the Spirit” in greater detail.

 

 

Additional Information (Verses Used In This Study):

The Criteria For TheTesting Of The Spirits:

Rom 12:4-8 KJV
(4) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
(5) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
(6) Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
(7) Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;
(8) Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

 

1Co 7:7-9 KJV
(7) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
(8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
(9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

 

1Co 12:27-31 KJV
(27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
(28) And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
(29) Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
(30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
(31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

 

Gal 5:22-25 KJV
(22) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
(23) Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
(24) And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
(25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

 

 

Eph 4:11-15 KJV
(11) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
(12) For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
(13) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
(14) That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
(15) But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

 

Eph 5:8-10 KJV
(8) For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(9) (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
(10) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.

 

 

1Pe 4:8-11 KJV
(8) And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
(9) Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
(10) As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Cremation Or Burial: What Does The Bible Say? (1)

SIH STSTA ICONFor the Christian, the responsibility to do ALL THINGS in a way that honors and glorifies our Lord is no small issue.  As a matter of fact, this one, basic, responsibility given to us by our Lord should be the central motivating force behind all that we do…

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

This responsibility touches every aspect of our life upon earth, even the final event of this earthly life, our physical death.    (The only exception to this is for the remnant of saved individuals who will be alive at the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.)

Many times, it is during a funeral that we can reach others for Christ that we could not reach in any other way.  Because of this, I ALWAYS share the gospel message when I am doing a funeral service.  Everything done at a funeral, to the best of our ability should be done with the intent to honor the Lord and share Him with others.  There could easily be lost loved ones present who will never “darken a church door”, but they will show up for a funeral.  So, in my way of thinking, our testimony during the funeral and disposition of the body is important as well.

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

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

Keeping that in mind, I would like us to look at some Biblical principles that we can prayerfully consider…

1. The Stewardship Principle (this lesson)

2. The Example Of Bible Characters (see lesson 2)

3.  The Symbolism Of Fire And Burial (see lesson 2)

 

The Stewardship Principle

To begin, let’s look at a text we have already mentioned in our introduction:

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

Here, we find that the Apostle Paul clearly explains that the physical body that we possess was created, redeemed, and then set apart for the use of God as the habitation of the indwelling Holy Spirit.  When we consider the importance of our body to the workings of the Lord in our lives, we can easily see the need to ALWAYS treat it with appreciation, respect and honor.

The need to care for the body properly is one of the major reasons for the creation of the marital union.  Without marriage, based upon our desire for physical intimacy, we would commit the sin of sexual fornication which is a sin involving the misuse of our bodies …  “ Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body”  (1 Corinthians 6:18)

Paul then teaches us that the proper way to fulfill our desires for physical intimacy is found in the marital union…

“Nevertheless, [to avoid] fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.”  (1 Corinthians 7:2)

So how important is it that we care for our physical bodies and use them in a proper way?  It must be very important because the marriage union was created by God, in part, to give us a way to escape sinning against our bodies through their misuse.

(By the way, misusing our bodies is not limited to sexual misuse.  In actuality, any action that brings harm to our bodies, or takes honor from the Lord through its use is a sin.  This would also include taking anything in our body that harms it, using our bodies in any way that breaks the laws of God or puts forth a bad testimony, and using it to harm others through our speech or actions etc etc.)

If we understand this principle, we can understand why, throughout the ages, the proper care of the body of the deceased was considered a sign of respect for the deceased.  Note how the bodies of the deceased were given great care prior to their burial…

And there came also Nicodemus, which at the first came to Jesus by night, and brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about an hundred pound [weight].  Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury.(John 19:39-41)

Although Christ’s body was the one being prepared, His body was being treated in the same way as the body of other deceased Jews.    Keep in mind, a greatest of disrespect was shown through the delay or lack of a burial.  This was because of the great abuse the body would then endure at the hands of nature and the elements…

A Psalm of Asaph. O God, the heathen are come into thine inheritance; thy holy temple have they defiled; they have laid Jerusalem on heaps.  The dead bodies of thy servants have they given [to be] meat unto the fowls of the heaven, the flesh of thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.  Their blood have they shed like water round about Jerusalem; and [there was] none to bury [them].  We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us.”   (Psalms 79:1-4)

If a man beget an hundred [children], and live many years, so that the days of his years be many, and his soul be not filled with good, and also [that] he have no burial; I say, [that] an untimely birth [is] better than he. (Ecclesiastes 6:3)

Although, we are not specifically told in the Bible, we need to consider if the burning a body akin to other abuses that can be brought upon a body.  Perhaps this is the case.  It is a matter open for each believer’s consideration.

 

Also, the Bible, relates the burning of the body with disrespect for the lawless…

And it shall be, [that] he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel…

And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones.  And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”  (Joshua 7:15, 25-26)

The children of Israel, under the direction of the Lord cremated Achan following his stoning to illustrate God’s displeasure with Achan and His wrath being poured out upon him.

And as Josiah turned himself, he spied the sepulchres that [were] there in the mount, and sent, and took the bones out of the sepulchres, and burned [them] upon the altar, and polluted it, according to the word of the LORD which the man of God proclaimed, who proclaimed these words.  Then he said, What title [is] that that I see? And the men of the city told him, [It is] the sepulchre of the man of God, which came from Judah, and proclaimed these things that thou hast done against the altar of Bethel.  And he said, Let him alone; let no man move his bones. So they let his bones alone, with the bones of the prophet that came out of Samaria.  And all the houses also of the high places that [were] in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke [the LORD] to anger, Josiah took away, and did to them according to all the acts that he had done in Bethel.  And he slew all the priests of the high places that [were] there upon the altars, and burned men’s bones upon them, and returned to Jerusalem.  (2 Kings 23:16-20)

In this case, Josiah, cremates what is left of the bodies of the buried idolatrous worshippers as a public display of God’s enmity against them and the pollution of their idolatrous altars upon which they worshipped.

Based on the principle of stewardship, we should desire to treat the body of our deceased with respect and honor, recognizing the Lord is its Creator, Redeemer and Indweller.  The best way to accomplish this task would seem to be through burial of the body as opposed to cremation.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

In this section of our study we have seen the importance of glorifying God even after our death.  This  involves the proper treatment of our body as an act of stewardship over the temple of the Holy Spirit.  One way in which a body can be mistreated (and disrespect shown to the deceased) is by leaving the body open to corruption by the forces of nature.

At the least this emphasizes the need to treat the body properly following death… at the most, it is possible we can include fire as a type of force of nature that can bring the body to ruin.  So far in our study, we can see that, without doubt, burial is a proper way to dispose of a body, as it shows great respect for the deceased as well as proper stewardship of the body.

However, the use of fire is certainly a questionable way of disposing of the body because, perhaps, it can be looked upon as abuse of the body.

First things first….

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

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

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

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

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

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