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Setting Our Example Reminds Us Of Our Need of Christ!

Christ: Our Example Of Leading, Protecting, and Teaching

Christ: Our Example of Sacrifice For The Benefit Of Others

Our Example of Holiness

To Set The Proper Example For Others, We Must Set The Example Christ Has Set For Us!

SIH HALTAL ICON1Pe 2:21-25 – For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

For the SIH devotional video on this subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-4BP

Daily Devotional Series- Be Thou An Example: Introduction

 

Introduction to the 27 Part Devotional Series
Texts: Titus 2:7-8; 1 Timothy 4:12-13; 1 Peter 2:1-25; Romans 12:1-2
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To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Believeth All Things”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

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

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s great love being on display as He entrusted His life into the hands of His Heavenly Father and entrusted different areas of service to each of His followers…

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: To Believe In, And Trust, Others

 

Christ’s love for His Heavenly Father was consistently on display throughout His ministry on earth. One way in which He shows us this love was by entrusting His life, work and future into the hands of His Father. On two separate occasions we see this trust exhibited very clearly for us…

And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him. (Luke 22:41-43)

 In this text we can see that Christ (as He prayed to the Father concerning His upcoming arrest, trial, suffering and death on the cross) laid aside His own desires, and chose to make His Father’s desires His first priority. In doing so, He was entrusting His father with His entire being.

 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.
Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.(Luke 23:46-47)

 Immediately preceding His spirit’s departure from His body, Jesus clearly declares that He was entrusting the welfare of His spirit in the hands of His Father. Not only did He trust His Father with the course of His life on earth, but He also trusted His Father with the course of His life in the afterlife.

 But of that day and [that] hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is.
[For the Son of man is] as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.  
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:  Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.(Mark 13:32-37)

In this account, Christ is reminding us that He has entrusted them with many various responsibilities in His absence… “gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch

He gave us this example to emphasize the need for all of His people to “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

What was the basis of His trust, in giving us these important responsibilities for us to fulfill in His absence? His great love for us!

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

 

Peter reminds us that Christ has set the perfect example for us to follow in many areas. One of those areas is Christ’s trust in His Heavenly Father (“him that judgeth righteously”)…

21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:
24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (1 Peter 2:21-24)

 May we all learn to trust our Lord to the point we will fully commit our earthly life, and our existence in the afterlife, to Him.

 

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

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.

To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Vaunteth Not Itself”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away…  

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

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In every example, we will be seeing Christ choosing to exalt His Father instead of Himself…

 

Christ’s Life:

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Vaunteth Not (No Self-Exaltation)

 One of Christ’s great missions while on earth was to refrain from self-exaltation while seeking to bring honor and glory to His Father. This desire in the heart of Christ was gendered by His great love for His Father. He spoke about this great pursuit in our study for this morning…

Let’s look and see what Christ taught to the Jews, as He explained His desire to bring glory to His Father as a chief goal of His ministry…

 

Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught.

And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?

Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. (John 7:14-18)

In this account, we can see the depth and authoritativeness of the teachings of Jesus caused the Jews to be amazed and to question the source of His knowledge.   Christ’s response was very revealing. He makes the statement…“My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.

In other words, Christ was simply revealing the teachings that originated from His Father, the One who had sent Him to minister them.   Then as proof of this statement, Jesus says…  “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or [whether] I speak of myself.

If they are servants of His Father they will recognize these teachings and know that Christ was speaking the things of the Father.

Then Christ makes a very important declaration of His humility and the motivation of His ministry… “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.

 In a nutshell, Christ is teaching us is that His refusal to exalt Himself, along with only teachings the things of the Father was a clear indication of two things:

1. His dedication to the Father’s glory was “true” (genuine)

2. There was no unrighteousness in Him (Christ was sinless, proven by His desire to exalt only His Father and not Himself)

 

What great love is shown by Christ when He dedicated His earthly ministry to the glory and honor of the Father. Please notice this dedication to the Father was not limited to His teachings but His actions as well….

Then said Jesus unto them, When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am [he], and [that] I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things.And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.As he spake these words, many believed on him.”   (John 8:28-30)

 

Another teaching of Christ also emphasized the principle that humility, along with a desire to exalt God alone in our lives is proof positive of a genuine love for God and possession a relationship with Him.

And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men [are], extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as [his] eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.I tell you, this man went down to his house justified [rather] than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.(Luke 18:9-14)

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

Folks, do we really love our Lord and those around us? If so, we will live our lives for God’s His honor and glory alone. We will do this by using the gifts He has given to us to minister to those in need. As the Apostle Peter reminds us…

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.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.”   (1 Peter 4:10-11)

 

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

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.

SIH’s Think On These Things: Ephesians 5:21

SIH TOTT ICON“Reflections Of His Grace”

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

 

The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)

 

Eph 5:15-21 KJV

“See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.”

 

This devotional, continues to look at the second main division of the book of Ephesians. Previously, we have looked at “Reflections Of His Grace Revealed” (chaps 1-3). It that section, Paul revealed to us the gracious works of the Lord in the lives of His chosen people.

 

In this new section “Reflections Of His Grace Applied” (chaps 4-6) Paul will be explaining to us the practical effects of God’s grace in the lives of His people.

  1. The Grace Of Unity (4:1-6)
  2. The Grace Of Maturity (4:7-16)
  3. The Grace Of Renewal (4:17-32)
  4. The Grace Of Imitation (5:1-14)
  5. The Grace Of Wisdom (5:15-21)
  6. The Grace Of Relationships (5:22-33)
  7. The Grace Of Authority/Submission (6:1-9)
  8. The Grace Of Preparedness (6:10-21)

 

The next effect of God’s grace we will be looking at is the grace of WISDOM (5:15-21). The Biblical concept of “wisdom” is “the application of God’s Word to our lives”. To be “wise” is to apply the truths of God to our daily living. This is true wisdom and flows from the gracious hand of our Lord.

Keeping all this in mind, let’s turn our attention to this is a very basic outline of this section of Scripture:
I.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Universally (vs 15)
II.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Use Time Profitably (vs 16)
III.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Recognizing God’s Will For Us (vs 17)
IV.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives Through Self-Control (vs 18)
V.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives To Praise and Thank Him (vs 19-20)
VI.        Applying God’s Word To Our Lives By Submission To Others (vs 21)

 

 

EXPOSITION:

 

After explaining the need for us to be “filled with the Spirit”, Paul now teaches us concerning the characteristics of those who are filled with the Spirit (ie are submitted to the Spirit’s control in every area of our lives.)
In our preceding devotional, Paul taught us that:
1. inward personal praise
2. acknowledgement and appreciation of the Lord’s blessings
were two characteristics of those who are submitted to the Spirit’s leadership in their entire being.

 

 

He now continues with a third characteristic …

 

(Eph 5:21) Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

 

 

Submitting yourselves one to another

 
Paul reminds us that, if we are in submission to the Spirit’s leadership in our lives, we will find ourselves in submission to those around us. In other words, we will willingly begin to live our lives for the good of others. It involves being willing to give of ourselves (our time, our possessions, our accompaniment, our counsel and advice etc etc) to help meet the needs of those around us.
In context, Paul is speaking to the members of the church at Ephesus. When he tells us to be submissive “one to another” he is referring to:
1.   all others around us (including strangers and enemies)
Mat 5:38-48 KJV –
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”
“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
“For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

 

2. particularly, other Christian brothers and sisters
1Pe 1:22-23 KJV –
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.”

 

 

3. but most especially, fellow members of the local assembly.
1Co 12:12-21 KJV –
“For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.   For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many.”
“If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? “
“But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.”

 

This is the three-fold responsibility that belongs to the people of God.

 

in the fear of God.

Our willingness to live our lives for the good of others should be motivated by “the fear of God”.
The word translated “fear” is the Greek word “phobos”. It is the same word from which we get the English word “phobia”. It describes “alarm” or “fright” and is translated in the New Testament as “fear”, “exceedingly afraid”, and “terror”. It is clear to see that, in this passage, “fear” is not simply talking about a reverence for the Lord, but it is actually speaking of a literal fear of the Lord.
Why does Paul use such a strong word to describe our motivation to help others from a heart of love? It is because the love we show to others is, perhaps, the greatest mark of a genuine salvation experience…

 

1Jn 3:11-19 KJV
“For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.   Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.”
“We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.”
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”
“My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.”

 

If we do not love … it is ABSOLUTE PROOF we are not saved; if we are not saved… we will face God’s eternal wrath. Certainly, this is the ultimate reason to allow the fear of God to motivate our love and sacrifice for others.
 
 
 

APPLICATION:

 

Folks are we “filled with the Spirit?” (ie have we handed over every aspect of our lives to the control of the Spirit?) If so, we will see these different characteristics of that filling in our lives….
1. Our minds will be filled with meditation on the Word, inward joy, satisfaction and contentment centered on Christ, and an attitude of reverence and honor for the greatness of the Lord and His works on our behalf.
2. We will be willing and thankful to undergo any circumstance in life as we recognize our Lord is in absolute control of our circumstances, and is working all things out for our eventual good.
3. We will find ourselves loving others and seeking to give of ourselves for their benefit.

 

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

 

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The Importance Of The Local Church -12 “The Metaphors Describing The Assembly”

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

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

In this twelfth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the metaphors used in the Bible to describe the Lord’s assembly. By studying these metaphors we will be seeing another aspect of the importance of the Lord’s assembly for every Christian.

Basically, a metaphor is used to describe a likeness that exists between two unrelated things.

An example of this is when Christ said “I am the door” in John 10:9.  Although Christ is totally unrelated to a literal door, He uses this metaphor to describe the idea that it is through Him that we can receive access to eternal life (just like a door gives access to a room).

 

THE STUDY:

Here is a listing and short descriptions of the main metaphors used in God’s Word to reveal truths about His local assembly.

1. “The Pillar and Ground Of The Truth”

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”   (1 Timothy 3:15)
The local assembly holds up (pillar) and supports (foundation) the truths of God’s Word.  It is through the ministry of the local assembly that the truths of God are published and defended.

 

2. “The House Of God”

But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.”  (1 Timothy 3:15)
The church is a meeting place for the Lord and His family.  It is within the confines of the assembly of God that the Lord meets with His people in a very special way. As they worship, seek His face,and desire to serve Him; He, in turn, speaks to them through His Word.

 

3. “The Flock Of God”

Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”   (Acts 20:28)

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”   (1 Peter 5:1-4)
The metaphor of the flock teaches us many truths about the Lord’s relation to His local assembly. Here, the Lord is pictured as the “chief Shepherd” while His assembly is pictured as a flock of sheep:
1. The Lord feeds His assembly, as a shepherd feeds his sheep. – The church is to look to Him for their spiritual strength and nourishment.
2. The Lord leads His assembly, as a shepherd leads his sheep – The church is to follow the Lord and His will for their lives
3. The Lord protects His assembly, as a shepherd protects his sheep – The church is to rely upon Him for their spiritual warfare, realizing they are defenseless without Him.
4. The Lord died for His assembly, as a shepherd gives his life to protect his sheep. This allows the forgiveness of sins of the individuals within the assembly, as well as, the sins committed by the church as a local assembly.  – Now we, as individual members and an assembly, should be committed to serve Him with all our beings, as living sacrifices for Him.
5.  Human pastors are given the responsibility to watch over the Lord’s assemblies in His absence, and empowered and led by the Spirit are to feed, lead and protect the assembly.

Not only did Christ die for the individual members of a local church, but also He died for the church as an assembly. (see more about this under metaphor #6, Eph 5:22-31)

 

4. “The Body Of Christ”

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

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

The individual members of the local assembly have specific tasks to fulfill within that assembly.  When each of the members is submitted to fulfill the specific role each has been given, the church is a healthy church which will work together in unity for the cause of Christ.  Every member is brought into the local body to contribute to the functioning of that body with the specific gifts and ministries that they have been given.

And hath put all [things] under his feet, and gave him [to be] the head over all [things] to the church,

Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  (Ephesians 1:22-23)
Christ possesses the authority to rule over all, including His local assembly on earth. The church is to be in submission to Him.  Christ, fills the assembly revealing Himself to the local church as they worship Him in spirit and in truth.

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”  (Ephesians 4:11-15)
The offices of the local church were established for the strengthening, maturing and enabling of the members of the assembly.  This spiritual growth of the assembly allows them to recognize and refute false teaching as well as become more holy as an assembly and individual Christians in that assembly.

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and [be] not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, [and] which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;  Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:  Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God;  [Even] the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:”   (Colossians 1:23-26)
The church’s role is to proclaim the truths of the gospel message which will result in affliction and persecution of the assembly.  This persecution should be accepted with joy realizing that Christ suffered for us as individuals and the assembly as a whole.

5. “A Candlestick”

And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks [one] like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and [his] hairs [were] white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes [were] as a flame of fire;  And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters.  And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance [was] as the sun shineth in his strength.”   (Revelation 1:12-16)

Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;  The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”   (Revelation 1:19-20)
Here we see a vision John received in vs 12-16 and the interpretation of that vision in vs 19-20.  In the interpretation, we find that the candlesticks in his vision represent the local assemblies of the Lord.  Why is the assembly pictured as a candlestick?  Because it holds forth the light of God’s Word in the midst of a sin darkened world around us.  Also note the close relationship that Christ shares with His assemblies.  They all surround Him picturing subjects who have entered the presence of a king awaiting His commands.

 

6. Every Local Assembly Will Someday Be A Part Of The “Bride Of Christ”

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in [my] folly: and indeed bear with me.  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or [if] ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [him].”  (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)
Paul, as missionary, played a very important role in the founding of the church at Corinth.  Here, he is telling the church that he has labored to given the church the truths of God so that they might remain faithful to the Lord.  This would result in them standing before the Lord on the last day as a faithful bride awaiting to partake of a new level of communion with the Lord throughout eternity.  Much like a bride on her wedding day is prepared to experience new forms of intimacy with her husband…

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”   (Revelation 19:7-9)
This takes place when all of the saints gather and commune with the Lord.  At this future event, they will be a local assembled body of believers (in other words, a local assembly located in heaven).  They will stand before Him, ready to be united with Him to enjoy a new level of communion, worship and service to Him…

But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,  To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,”  (Hebrews 12:22-23)

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.”  (Ephesians 5:22-31)
Here, the Lord’s leadership and authority over the local church is in view.  The church should be in submission to the leadership of Christ, serving Him as His helpmeet.  This is compared to the wife in a marriage being in submission to her husband as he leads the family to obey Christ above all else and then making decisions that put her needs and desires before his own as he loves her as Christ loves the assembly.

Note in this text we clearly see the purpose of Christ’s death for His assemblies described…

”even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
in other words, it is through His death that the church assembly can receive the forgiveness of the sins of the assembly and be sanctified and prepared for His use and to be spotless before Him on the last day.  ALL SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS THAT COME UPON INDIVIDUAL CHRISTIANS, AND LOCAL ASSEMBLIES, COME THROUGH THE WORK OF CHRIST ON THE CROSS.  The cross of Christ is the channel through which all blessings flow.    

 

THE SUMMARY:

In this lesson we have seen several truths about the Lord’s local assemblies presented to us:

It is the:

1.  “The Pillar and Ground Of The Truth” – The local assembly holds up (pillar) and supports (foundation) the truths of God’s Word.
2.  “The House Of God” – The church is a meeting place for the Lord and His family.
3.  “The Flock Of God” – The Lord leads, feeds and protects His assembly and the Lord died for His assembly.
4.  “The Body Of Christ” – A unity exists between the individual members of the assembly, arising from a joint need one of another. The church is to follow the directions of the Lord.
5.  “A Candlestick” – The assembly holds forth the light of God’s Word in the midst of a sin darkened world around us and enjoys a close relationship with Christ.
6.  “The Bride Of Christ” – The final gathering of believers before the Lord will be like a faithful bride awaiting to partake of a new level of communion with her spouse (the Lord).  The Lord died so that the church could be sanctified and stand before Him spotless upon entrance into eternity with Him.

Why should we join with and support a local assembly of believers?  Because of its close intimate relation with Christ and its six-fold unique role of service to the Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

 

 

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

SIH TOA ICON

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

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

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

 

THE STUDY:

Blessings Of Spiritual Growth:

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

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

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

 

Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings Of Community:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
THE SUMMARY:

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

 

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -7: “The Mission Of The Church: The Ordinances of Baptism and Lord’s Supper

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

THE STUDY:

The Second Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Baptize Into the Assembly.

1. What Is Baptism?: A public profession of faith in Christ and His Work

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.  The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”   (1 Peter 3:18-22)

Peter now speaks of an OT event which is a picture of the ordinance of baptism.  Christ spoke to the wicked men of Noah’s day through the ministry of Noah as he built the ark.  It was a public testimony of Noah’s faith in Christ and his belief in the message that his Lord had given to him through the inspiration and illumination of the Holy Spirit.

Just as the salvation of the individuals in the ark during the flood was a living symbolic picture of salvation found in Christ.  The ark pictured Christ, those in the ark pictures the believers and the judgment of sin pictured by the flood. Baptism symbolically pictures the same truth… salvation through the work of Christ from sin and its results.

Baptism as a picture of salvation from sins:

Baptism is immersion in water…

The word “baptize” is used several times in the New Testament and is translated from a Greek word that means “to be immersed, submerged, or soaked”.   Biblical baptism is when an individual is actually immersed (picturing a burial) in water.

The steps of an individuals baptism are as follows…
1. The individual stands in the body of water.
2. The individual is lowered (until totally covered) into the water
3. The individual is raised from the water into a standing position.

These steps proclaim what Christ has done on his behalf:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of Christ standing on the earth working on behalf of his people.  His teaching, His healing, and most importantly, his arrest, abuse and crucifixion are all symbolized by this standing.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the death and burial of Christ, done on behalf of those who are saved.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the resurrection of Christ, the proof that He paid the price necessary to secure salvation for His people and He is now victorious over death.

These steps of baptism also proclaim what God has done in the life of the new believer:
1. When, first standing in the water, it is a picture of the believer’s walk on earth prior to his salvation experience.  It is a sinful walk based upon selfish desires and the lusts of his flesh.
2.  When lowered under the water, it is a picture of the believer who is spiritually dead and under the bondage of sin.
3.  When brought up out of the water, it is a picture of the believers release from sins bondage, spiritual life being given to him and a new life of service to Christ beginning.

Baptism is to proclaim to all that an individual, through salvation, has a good conscience towards God:

baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,)” 

Peter makes it plain that baptism is not observed to gain salvation for an individual.. “not putting away the filth of the flesh”.  On the contrary, Peter tells us that it is “the answer of a good conscience towards God”, it is observed once the recipient recognizes his sins have been forgiven and he is now right with God.  This is why he no longer has a guilty conscience before God and makes him the ideal candidate for baptism.

2. Baptism Is A Part Of The Great Commission Given To The Lord’s Churches:

To Baptize Into The Assembly Those Who Have Made Professions Of Faith:

Matthew:  baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

The “them” referred to are those who have been made followers of Christ through receipt of the gospel message.

Mark:  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience.  If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.

Not only is baptism a public declaration of our faith in Christ, but it is also the prerequisite to church membership…

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”   (1 Corinthians 12:12-13)

Although a local church is made up of many members, the local church is still one, unified body. Under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit, the new believer is led of God to partake of water baptism and join into the membership of the local assembly.

The only prerequisite of water baptism is faith in Christ.  Jew or Gentile, slave or free may receive this ordinance and become members of His local assembly, as long as they have trusted in Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Along with Baptism, although not a part of the great commission, the local assembly is given the responsibility to observe the Lord’s Supper.

1. What Is The Lord’s Supper?: It is a public profession and remembrance of Christ, His work and His second coming.

For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the [same] night in which he was betrayed took bread:  And when he had given thanks, he brake [it], and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.  After the same manner also [he took] the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink [it], in remembrance of me.  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”   (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)

The Apostle Paul, as he instructs the local church at Corinth, explains to them the purpose of the Lord’s Supper observance, as taught by Christ Himself.  It is to commemorate the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Eating the bread reminds us of Christ’s body that was bruised and abused on our behalf.  Drinking the fruit of the vine reminds us of His shed blood on our behalf.  The Lord also commanded the church to observe this ordinance until He comes again.

2. How do we know that the responsibilities for the Lord’s Supper observance was given to the local church?

Paul, as he writes to the Corinth church says that For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto youPaul clearly said that he was delivering the instructions for this ordinance to the local assembly, the addressee of his letter.

Also, when Christ observed the supper it was with the local church at Jerusalem made up of His Apostles.  There were eleven of His Apostles present for the observance of the supper (Judas left prior to the observance following his accusation) …

Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve…  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”   (Matthew 26:20-28)

And in the evening he cometh with the twelve…  And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake [it], and gave to them, and said, Take, eat: this is my body.  And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.  Verily I say unto you, I will drink no more of the fruit of the vine, until that day that I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”   (Mark 14:17-25)

And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.  And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:  For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:  For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake [it], and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.  Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 (Luke 22:14-20)

 

THE SUMMARY:

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

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

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:
1.  The content of the gospel message: Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection
2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as: To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others
3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world

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

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

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibility to observe the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  To properly partake of these, they must be regulated, supplied and observed by a local assembly of the Lord.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

 

 

The Role of Our Government

SIH STSTA ICONOver the past several months our country has been flooded with news reports about the upcoming Presidential elections. During this time the airwaves have been endlessly comparing the political parties’, and individual candidate’s, views on the roles and responsibilities of our government. This is one of the most significant issues at the center of the upcoming elections.

Democrats and Republicans differ on their views concerning how to help the poor, how to intervene in the affairs of foreign governments, defining the role of national governments versus state governments, and how to fund the government. The list goes on and on.

If we think about it, what lies at the core of the Republican candidates differences? It involves what they believe our government should, or should not, be doing. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann all had a slightly different view on what should be the government’s role in our lives. Should the government intervene in the affairs of foreign nations? If so, in what way? Should government help the poor? If so, how? Should government have a say in the personal lives of others? If so, in what areas?

Who can help us come to an understanding of the proper role of government? Our Lord. After all, we need to go to the One that originally created and authorized human governments to exist and function (Rom 13:1, Col 1:16, 1 Pet 3:22) to find out what role He had intended for governments.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Ps 72:1-14 (KJV)
1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
3) The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
5) They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
6) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.
7) In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
8) He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
9) They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
10) The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11) Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
12) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper.
13) He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Rom 13:1-7; 1Tim 2:1-3; 1Pet 2:13-17

THE STUDY:

In the Bible, we find many texts that help us to understand the God-given authority of human government. In our study today, we will be concentrating on Psa 72:1-14 which is one of the four major passages that stress the government’s God given role: Psa 72:1-14, Rom 13:1-7, 1 Tim 2:1-3, and 1 Pet 2:13-17.

In Psalm 72:1-14, we read of some of the responsibilities Solomon would fulfill as King…

Before we are given a list of the responsibilities of government, we are reminded of the need for the Lord’s intervention in our government and in the lives of our politicians…

  “1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.”

Before Solomon could lead his nation in a way pleasing to the Lord, Solomon must be taught and graced by God. How true this is for the politicians of today… how can we expect our nation to be led in the paths laid by God, if our candidates have no knowledge of God’s will for government? How can we expect fallen, sinful men to properly lead our nation when the candidates are not relying on God’s wisdom and strength?

We now begin to look at the role of government as sanctioned by God:

1. a government is to make lawful, moral, decisions.

“2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness,”

2. a government is to uphold the rights of the poor, exercise compassion toward and help to meet the needs of those who cannot help themselves.

“3) He shall judge ….thy poor with judgment.”
“4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy,”
“12-13) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”

3. a government is to be a blessing to its people, working for their growth and advancement

“6 ) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.”
(Roms 13:4 –“For he is the minister of God to thee for good.”)

4. a government is to support, and reward, the cause of those who align themselves with God’s laws

“7) In his days shall the righteous flourish;”
(Rom 13:3 – “do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”)

5. a government is to work for peace among it’s people and other nations around them

“7) and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.”
(1 Tim 2:1-3 – “…supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made…For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”)

6. a government is to work to bring an end to the abuse of its people (especially the defenseless) through the punishment of evildoers.

“4) And shall break in pieces the oppressor.”
“14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”
(Roms 13:3-5 – “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?… But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil…Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”)
(1Pet 2:13-14 – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man… as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

The need for us, as Christians, to let our voices be heard in the election process cannot be overemphasized. We should be voting for those who we believe best understand the role of government from God’s perspective. But also, we should be voting for those we believe will look to the Lord for guidance and strength as they attempt to lead our country in these troublesome days.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

We are all confronted with the declining condition of our country. As our nation continues to turn from the Lord, and the principles found in His Word, our country’s condition will only get worse. For our country to turn around both the leaders and the common citizen must turn back to the Lord and seek to obey His commands. (2 Chron 7:14, Isa 55:6-7)

The most first thing you can do to please the Lord and fulfill His will for your life is to recognize your sinful condition and your need of salvation. Then turn from your sin, trust in Him as your Savior and seek to follow Him with your life.

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

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

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

Please visit the “Settled In Heaven Ministries” homepage –
http://www.settledinheaven.org

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):
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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

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

Biblical Soberness

SIH STSTA ICONAlcohol abuse affects approximately 14 million Americans.  This represents approximately 5% of our population.    The effects of alcohol abuse in our country is clearly on display… 20 % of suicide victims are alcoholic, alcoholism is the third leading cause of preventable death in the US, over 2 million people drive under the influence in the US per year.  These and many other statistics can be found at http://www.alcoholics-info.com/Statistics_on_Alcoholics.html.

After getting  just a glimpse of the effects of alcohol on theUSpopulation, it becomes easy to understand while there is a consistent, steady call for “soberness” in our society.  In today’s society the idea of “soberness” involves abstinence from intoxication, or in many cases, the complete abstinence from alcohol. “Soberness” is almost always used in the context of alcohol usage and abuse.

However, in the Word of God, the idea of “soberness” carries with it a slightly different meaning.  In the New Testament to be “sober” is not used exclusively in relation to alcohol but it is used in many aspects of our lives.  Also, the original language of the New Testament (Greek) being “sober” carries with it a variety of ideas:

  1. One of the Greek words for sober is a word that carries with it the ideas of “self control”  and “moderation.”
  2. The other Greek word translated “sober” means “to be sensible”, “to be aware”, and “to be watchful”

Let’s see how the idea of being sober is explained to us in the Word of God.

THE SCRIPTURES:

2Cor 5:12-13; 1Thess 5:6-10; Titus 2:2-6; 1Pet 1:10-16; 1Pet 5:8-9

THE STUDY:

Being sober is referred to in five different texts in the New Testament.

In the first text, 2 Cor 5:12-13, we find this idea, “sober” is referring to a sound, self-controlled mind…

For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to [answer] them which glory in appearance, and not in heart.

Here, we find that Paul and the other ministers of the gospel did not try to defend themselves by explaining their sincerity and motives to the Church at Corinth.  Instead, they chose to allow their life and message to speak for itself.  Paul and the others allowed the church to decide on their own about the motives of Paul’s ministry.

For whether we be beside ourselves, [it is] to God: or whether we be sober, [it is] for your cause.

Paul then continued, if the ministers of Christ were accused of being out of their mind (“besides themselves” – Acts 26:24), they put up with this false accusation for God’s glory.  Or, of people recognized that they were really of sound, controlled mind (sober) they were ministering out of a heart of concern and love for the church’s wellbeing

In this second text, 1 Thess 5:6-10, we find “sober” referring to the need for Christians to be watchful and alert.

Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

In the context, the Lord’s second coming is in view (1 Thess 5:1-5) Here we are told of the Christians need to be watchful (alert) against the sin and darkness of this world and to be watchful (alert) for the coming of our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul uses two examples of being unprepared and unsuspecting, sleep and drunkenness.  In both cases, you have individuals who do not have keen senses, nor are they in full control of their actions, thoughts, and speech.

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

How does a Christian accomplish this responsibility of watchfulness and alertness?  By putting on the spiritual armor of God that enables us to remain faithful to the Lord while in the midst of a sin darkened world.  It is this same armor that gives us the ability to be consistently watching for Him to come at the second coming.  What is the driving motive for our watchfulness?  Christ’s death on the cross for us and His promise of an eternity with Him.

In Titus 2:2-6, we find that to be sober presents the need to be sensible or serious.

The idea of being sensible and serious about our lives touches every age group and gender…

That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.

Old men are to be keenly aware of their influence on the lives of others.  As older men, who are held up as the wisest in society, they were to be to sensible about their outward testimony and take it very seriously.

Note all the other aspects of their testimony being described is outward in nature…

Grave – honest

Temperate – self-controlled

Sound in faith – doctrinally sound in teachings and beliefs

Charity – self-sacrifice for others, servant spirit

Patience – willing to suffer long for the sake of another

The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; That they may teach

Just as older men must sensibly take their testimony seriously; so too, aged women are to do likewise.  Also, their outward actions are being emphasized in Paul’s instructions:

Becometh holiness – to be attractive based upon morality and separate from sin

False accusers – not to deceitfully defame others

Not give to much wine – No alcohol abuse leading to uncontrolled behavior, no drunkenness

Teachers of good things – Instructors of things pleasing to the Lord.

The older women were to teach the young women through their actions and words…

the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  

The younger women were to take their testimony seriously as well.  They may not be as influential in general society due to their lack of maturity; however, they are extremely influential in the lives of their families (husband and children).  This is why they are to…

Love husbands/children – be willing to sacrifice themselves for their husbands and children.

Discreet – self controlled in mind and actions

Chaste – modest

Keepers at home – to guard, watch over, rule home

Good – morally upright and pleasing to God

Obedient to husband –  to recognize and submit to husband’s authority/responsibility to God.

By doing all of these, the young woman isn’t the cause of the Word being spoken against or defamed

Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.

After listing several times, the basic issues involved with being sensible and serious minded about our testimonies; the younger men are now instructed to follow the same basic principles that we have seen in the preceding teachings.

In our fourth text, 1 Pet 1:13-16, we find watchfulness and preparedness being a key aspect to being sober.

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

In the previous context, the person and work of Christ was clearly revealed in Old Testament prophesies.  Based upon these miraculous OT revelations of Christ, the Christian responsibility is two fold:

Firstly, we are to serve Him in the midst of this sinful world.  To do this we are to strengthen our weak and vulnerable areas and be watchful and alert to the temptations and workings of Satan  in our lives.

Secondly, we are to be alert and watchful, as well as retain our confidence about the future promises He has given to us.

As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

By being watchful and prepared for service and His second coming we are children that are pleasing to Him.  Also  we are separating ourselves from this sinful world for His use.  By doing this we can follow His example and strive for consistent holiness in all areas of our lives.

Finally, in 1Pet 5:8-9 we find being sober is referring to being sensible and controlled.

Be sober, be vigilant;

Here, the responsibility handed to the Christian involves being”

Sober – sensible, serious and self controlled

Vigilant – to be on guard and expectant

As Christians, we are to be sensible, serious, controlled and on guard because…

because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Satan is “out to get us” and destroy our testimony and service to the Lord. He is searching with care and deception trying to bring us to ruin.

Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

This is why we must solidly stand against him.  We are to realize we are not alone in this fight, but Christians everywhere are being tempted and opposed in their service as well.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

In our study we have seen the importance of living sober lives, which involves:

  1. Living controlled lives of moderation by…
    1. Keeping our minds and desires under control as we serve Him.
    2. Be serious and sensible about our testimonies for Him.  We can do this by taking care to live Godly lives which include, but is not limited to, no drunkenness; it also includes honesty, love, patience, doctrinal soundness, modesty, and spiritual alertness, among others.
    3. Taking the threat of Satan and His workings seriously.  He is out to destroy us we are to recognize His workings and affects in our lives and the lives of others.
  2. Living watchful, and alert lives that are…
    1. Against the sin and temptation of this world through the use of spiritual armor given to us by the Lord.
    2. Focused on and confident of the second coming of Christ.

Are you living a sober life of service to our Lord?

For those who have yet to be saved…

As you can see from our study, the only way to live a spiritually sober life is through the divine intervention of Christ alone.  Without His presence in your life and His intervention through the indwelling Holy Spirit, none of us can lead a spiritually sober life.  Do you desire His presence and intervention?  Realize you have failed Him, and your sin is a great offense against Him, turn from your sin and turn to Him in faith, believing He will save you from your sins and submit to His Lordship for your life…

Matt 11:28-30 (KJV)

28) Come unto me, all [ye] that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

30) For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

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

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

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Christ The Lamb Of The New Testament

SIH STSTA ICONWhen the Word of God calls Christ the Lamb, it is teaching us many different truths about Christ. Let’s take our time and study what the Bible teaches us when it calls Jesus the Lamb.

 THE SCRIPTURE:

 John 1:29 (KJV)

29) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

John 1:35-36 (KJV)

35) Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;

36) And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

Acts 8:26-35 (KJV)

26) And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert…

32)  The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

33) In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.

34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

1Pet 1:13-21 (KJV)

13) Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;…

18) Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, [as] silver and gold, from your vain conversation [received] by tradition from your fathers;

19) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

20) Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

21) Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Rev 5:6-14 (KJV)

6) And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth…

12) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

13) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, [be] unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

14) And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four [and] twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.

Rev 6

1) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

Rev 6:16-17 (KJV)

16) And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

17) For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Rev 7:9-17 (KJV)

9) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

10) And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb…

17) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

Rev 12:11 (KJV)

11) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

Rev 13:8 (KJV)

8) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

Rev 14

1) And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.

2) And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps:

3) And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred [and] forty [and] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth.

4) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb…

12) Here is the patience of the saints: here [are] they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.

Rev 15:3-4 (KJV)

3) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous [are] thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true [are] thy ways, thou King of saints.

4) Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for [thou] only [art] holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

Rev 17:14 (KJV)

14) These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him [are] called, and chosen, and faithful.

Rev 19:7-9 (KJV)

7) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

8) And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.

9) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed [are] they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

Rev 21:9-27 (KJV)

9) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife…

27) And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

Rev 22

1) And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

2) In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, [was there] the tree of life, which bare twelve [manner of] fruits, [and] yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree [were] for the healing of the nations.

3) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

4) And they shall see his face; and his name [shall be] in their foreheads.

5) And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

 THE STUDY:

1.  John 1:35-36 – He is the Lamb of God– He is sent by, and shares Deity with, the Father

    1. Rev 6:1 – In control of future world events
    2. Rev 6:16-17 – Delivers the wrath of God
    3. Rev 14:1-5 – The redeemed are firstfruits dedicated to God and Lamb
    4. Rev 14:6-12 – Lamb oversees judgment of Lost
    5. Rev 15:3-4 – Song of Praise sung to both Father and Lamb
    6. Rev 17:14 – He overcomes wicked because He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords
    7. Rev 21:9-26 – He possesses an eternal city where He dwells with His people.
    8. Rev 22:1 – He shares throne with Father
  1. John 1:29 – He is the Lambof God – He takes away the sin of the world through His sacrifice.
    1. Acts 8:26-35 – He gave His life on the cross, willingly, innocently like a Lamb to the slaughter.
    2. 1 Peter 1:13-21 – His blood was shed like a sacrificed Lamb that was without blemish or spot.
    3. Rev 5:6-14 – His shed blood redeemed men from every kindred, tongue, people, nation. Made them Kings and Priests and will reign.
    4. Rev 7:9-17 – His blood saves and secures eternal future with God.
    5. Rev 12:11 – His blood gives victory to followers over world, sin and death
    6. Rev 13:8, 21:27 – Lamb slain basis of spiritual life that is given to those in Book of Life
    7. Rev 19:7-9 – Has an intimate love relation with His people based upon His righteousness given to the saints.

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

Christ, the Lamb of God, has sent the perfect example of self-sacrifice for us to follow.  After realizing all He has done for us by giving Himself on the cross to pay for our sins, should we not be willing to sacrifice ourselves for Him.

For those who have yet to be saved…

When we realize what Christ, the Lamb of God, has done to make possible the forgiveness of sin; should we not turn to Him by faith, trusting in His work to save us from our sins and secure our eternity with Him.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

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

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

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Father’s Day Devotion – Leadership

SIH STSTA ICONOur families are falling apart due to a lack of Godly leadership. Our political world is crying out for a sincere, honest leader.  Churches are falling into error and modernism because they have no strong leader to show them the right way.  Our world is crying out for genuine leadership.

Before I go any farther, it is important for me to define what I mean by a “genuine leader”….

What makes up a genuine leader for our families, governments and churches?  I believe a genuine leader is someone who will seek to follow the Lord’s will in every decision that he makes; someone who loves those he is responsible to lead; someone who will ALWAYS put his personal interests second to the interest of those he is leading; someone who will attempt to work for our peace while not sacrificing our security in the process; and  finally, someone who seeks our prosperity, not leading us to take advantage of others, but by leading us to prosper through honesty, quality, innovation and productivity.   (I’m sure we could all add several other qualities to this list… but I think you “get my drift”!)

Sounds like a pipe dream doesn’t it?  Do these type of leaders exist in our world today?  To be honest, I believe they probably do… but they are few and far between.  Many of  the most sincere, well meaning leaders become corrupt as they forget the basic principles which should guide their leadership.  It has been said that “power corrupts”,  this statement has been proven true over and over again.

Why do they turn corrupt? The husbands in our families forget their vows, ignore all their family does for them, and abuses those whom they should love and cherish. It seems as if our political system is bent in favor of corruption and abuse of power.  Many believe, it is impossible to succeed in our political atmosphere without compromising the Scriptural values our society was founded upon.  Our churches have been infiltrated by leaders who choose to please people over pleasing their God. I am fearful that the only way to restore genuine leadership in our world is for an absolute miracle of God to take place.

In our blog study for today, I would like us to look at our Spiritual Leader, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the example He has set for our leaders to follow.

THE SCRIPTURES:

1Pet 2:21-25 (KJV)

21) For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

22) Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

23) Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:

24) Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

25) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

THE STUDY:

In our text, 1 Peter 2:21-25, we have the characteristics of Godly leaders being exemplified in the life of Christ…

Leadership Principle #1 – A Godly Leader never asks his followers to do anything he, himself, is not willing to do…

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us”  

Christ has called His followers to be willing to make sacrifices, and perhaps, even suffer for Him. He was willing to do the same for His followers. (Luke 9:23-25)

Leadership Principle #2- A Godly Leader sets the example for his followers…

“leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:”

Christ has set the perfect example for his followers.  Touching every area of our lives, He set a blameless example to which we are to conform. (1 John 2:6)

Leadership Principle #3 – A Godly Leader lives a holy life before God…

Who did no sin,”

Although He was God, Christ was also the only sinless man to ever live on the earth.  His desire was to do the will of His heavenly Father “always”. (John 8:29)

Leadership Principle #4 – A Godly Leader speaks honestly and openly…

“neither was guile found in his mouth:”

Guile is “deceit” or “the hiding of truth”.   A Godly leader is always honest and open with his followers.  He doesn’t attempt to “spin” a subject or speak half truths to his people. (John 1:47)

Leadership Principle #5 – A Godly Leader is not filled with revenge or obsesses on “getting even”…

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not”

Despite his personal loss of reputation and respect, Christ accepted false accusations and abuse knowing that his followers would benefit from His arrest, trial, and crucifixion. (Hebs 12:3)

Leadership Principle #6 –   A Godly Leader, when falsely accused, trusts in God to bring the truth to light and to grant Him future eternal rewards...

“but committed [himself] to him that judgeth righteously:”

Jesus, when he was falsely accused, knew that in the end, His Father would justify His actions and exalt Him to an honored position of authority.  All because He was faithful to His God. (Jer 11:20, Rom 12:19)

Leadership Principle #7 –   A Godly Leader, is willing to sacrifice himself for the good of His followers…

“Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness:”

Our Lord Jesus was willing to bear our sins and give His life on the cross, all so that we might receive forgiveness, adoption and an eternal existence with Him. (Gal 1:14, Titus 2:14)

Leadership Principle #8 –   A Godly Leader, understands and works to meet the needs of his followers…

“by whose stripes ye were healed.”

The Lord understood our spiritual needs and then proceeded to work to meet those needs through His death on the cross. It is only through the sacrifice of Christ that we can find true       healing from our sins. (Luke 4:18)

Leadership Principle #9 –   A Godly Leader will not always be recognized for his accomplishments on behalf of the people…

“For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned”

 Throughout mankind’s sinful existence on earth, many have ignored, or rejected, his works on           their behalf.  But there was always a remnant that did come to a knowledge and appreciation of what he had accomplished on their behalf. ( John 5:39-41, Rom 11:5)

 Leadership Principle #10 –   A Godly Leader will always concentrate on leading, feeding and protecting his followers…

“unto the Shepherd “

 The three great roles of a shepherd are to lead, feed, and protect his flock. These are the three          great roles of a Godly leader as well.   By leading his followers, he is setting the right example and simply asking his flock to follow in his steps.  By feeding them, he is making sure they are having their needs (both physical and spiritual) met.  By protecting them, he is making sure that his people are kept safe from the hands of their enemies both within and without.

If a leader supplies these for his people, he is judged, by God, to be a success.  (John 10:11-16, Hebs 13:20-21)

Leadership Principle #11 –   A Godly Leader will understand, and willingly accept the great responsibility related to the office he is holding or is desiring to hold…

and Bishop of your souls.”

 The word for “bishop” means “one that watches over others to insure their welfare.”  This is the great responsibility of all leaders… by leading, feeding and protecting their people they fulfill their oversight responsibilities.  Just as Christ has perfectly done for His people.

Phil 4:19-20 (KJV)

“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. Now unto God and our Father [be] glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

 Christ has met all of our needs.  He was faithful in the oversight responsibilities that the Father had placed upon Him.   If only our human leaders saw the need to emulate the leadership role of Christ.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

We need to be aware of the gracious leadership that Christ supplies and be appreciative for all He has done for us.

And we need to be in prayer that the Lord might raise up Godly leaders, who would be willing to accept their God-given responsibilities and seek to rule over their people with spiritual attitudes and desires.

We have such a great need for them in our families, churches, business and all the political segments of this world.

For those who have never received His gracious salvation into our lives…

Wouldn’t you like to know that Christ is your shepherd and bishop?  Do you not desire to have confidence He is actively intervening in your life to meet your every need, both now and throughout eternity?  If so, turn from your sins to Christ for salvation… He will abundantly pardon, He will meet you every need and He will take the leadership of your life from this day forward.

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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My Main Blog “Settled In Heaven” (updated twice weekly) – https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

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

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

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 5 – What About Baptism?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE most important question that anyone can ask is the question posed by the keeper of the prison in Acts 16:30… “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”.

The answer to this question is more valuable than gold, silver and all the wealth this world has to offer.  This answer will reveal to us the path that leads to the forgiveness of our sins, the receipt of the indwelling Holy Spirit, fellowship with the Only True and Living Creator, and eternity in paradise with God Himself.  Our very spiritual life and  eternal destiny rely upon finding the answer to this question.

This question is of such importance we will be taking several blog entries to carefully  answer this question…

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

Blog Entry #6 What about the Lord’s Supper?

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #5…. What about baptism? ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 2:37-40 (KJV) –

37)Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do?

38) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

39) For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call.

40) And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

Acts 8:34-39 (KJV)

34) And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?

35) Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.

36) And as they went on [their] way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, [here is] water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?

37) And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

38) And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

39) And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Acts 22:14-16 (KJV)

14) And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.

15) For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

16) And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

1Pet 3:20-22 (KJV)

20) Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

21) The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

22) Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

Rom 6:1-6 (KJV)

1) What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

2) God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

3)  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?

4) Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5) For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:

6) Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Gal 3:26-29 (KJV)

26) For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.

27) For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28) There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

29) And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

THE STUDY:

Before we begin to study the role of baptism in salvation, it is important for us to understand what the term “baptism” means.  “Baptism” in the NT is derived from a Greek word meaning “to dip, or to immerse”.

The basic concept of the Greek term is to fully immerse, or cover something (or someone).  The concept of sprinkling, or pouring, being a type of baptism is totally foreign to the Scriptures.

The definition of baptism is illustrated for us in 1Cor 10:1-2

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea”

Please notice that Moses and the Israelites passing through the Red Sea and under the pillar of cloud is described as a “baptism”.  Why?  Because they were entirely surrounded by water;  the waters of the Red Sea surrounded them on each side, while the water that made up the pillar of a cloud covered them from above.  Here, we find the principle of immersion clearly presented.

Also,  there are several passages that speak of going into and coming up out of waters during the act of baptism, also “much water” was used to baptize… (Matt 3:16, Mark 1:10, Acts 8:36-38, John 3:23).  Again, it is only immersion (not pouring or sprinkling) that requires “much water”, and involves someone “coming up out of water”.

The next important principle for us to understand is the purpose of baptism.  Why is it so important for us to be baptized? The purpose of baptism is taught to us in 1Pet 3:20-22

“Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Here, we are told that baptism is not to “put away the filth of the flesh”, but it “answers” (follows, or it is done in response to) the receipt of “a good conscious toward God”.  In other words, baptism is to follow salvation.  Why?  Baptism is the public declaration of our coming to faith in Christ and His work.  Baptism is how we tell others about the work of Christ and the change that has already taken place in our life.

In Gal 3:26-29, we are told, “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.  There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.  And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  In other words, we are saved through faith in Christ Jesus.  Following salvation, at our baptism, we “put on” Christ.  Much like a soldier puts on clothing (a uniform) that associates him with the military branch he is a member of.  At his baptism, a Christian announces  to the world that he has trusted in Christ, and from that point forward is “wearing Christ” (he is looked upon as a follower of Christ).

This is why Philip emphasized the need for saving faith in Christ before anyone could be baptized. (Acts 8:34-39)

So to summarize our study so far, we have seen that Scriptural baptism is immersion in water, following salvation.  It is done to declare our faith in Christ and to associate ourselves with Christ.

Now let’s look at a few other verses about baptism’s relation to salvation…

Mark 1:1-4  “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.  John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

 Please note in the above verses, a part of John the Baptist’s message was “the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”  Let’s cover two main points.  First, why is baptism called “the baptism of repentance”?  In our study on repentance we said that repentance was speaking of a change of mind and/or action.  One example of this is turning from our sin to submission to the Lordship of Christ.  When we are baptized not only does it declare our faith in Christ, it also publically declares the great change that has taken place in our lives when we are saved.  The Bible describes this change as becoming a “new creature in Christ” (Gals 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17).

The baptismal act of submersion and then raising from the water, symbolizes our old life is put to death and we now have a new life in Christ. It declares that our life is now changed.  Hence, the phrase “baptism of repentance”.

Paul fully explains this principle in Rom 6:1-6  “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also [in the likeness] of [his] resurrection:  Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Our second question is this… what does it mean when it says we are baptized for the remission of sins?”.   Here, we are told that we are baptized because our sins HAVE ALREADY been remitted (at our salvation).  Much like when a criminal is “arrested for murder”, we are saying the criminal was arrested because he HAS ALREADY murdered.

Remember, if we have trusted in Christ, we are now followers of Him.  Our life has changed.  One of the many changes is our sins have been remitted.  We are to be baptized to declare all of this to others.

The same linkage between baptism and remission of sins is spoken of in Acts 2:37-40 “Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men [and] brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, [even] as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”

In this passage, Peter declares to the lost men who were convicted of their sin that they must “repent”… this resulted in their salvation and the remission of their sins.  Then he explains to them that their next immediate need is to be baptized.  Why should they be baptized?  Because their sins HAVE ALREADY BEEN REMITTED.

Unrelated to salvation, another reason for baptism is to gain entrance into the Lord’s local assembly of believers.  When a believer is baptized they become eligible for membership in the assembly.  More on this in a later blog entry.

Peter tells them that once they repent (are saved) and then are baptized (publically declaring their sins are remitted).  At this point,  they would become members of the church at Jerusalem.  Remember, just previous to this in Acts 1:1-4, the church assembly had received the gift of the Spirit.  As a new member of this church, the newly saved and baptized would be recipients of this gift as well.

 Now let’s look at another passage that links baptism with our salvation…

Acts 22:14-16  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard. And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

 Paul had been saved prior to this event, when on the Damascus Road, Paul turned from his life of sin to submission to the Lord.  As a matter of fact, the reason why Paul was standing in the presence of Ananias was due to his obedience to a direct command of Christ.  In Acts 22:10….”And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”  Paul, who had just been saved is demonstrating a submissive will as a new creature in Christ.

Now Paul, with a willing spirit of submission to his Lord, listens as Anaias explains the ministry the Lord has called Paul to perform.  Note “that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”

Ananias, during his explaination of Paul’s new ministry, emphasizes Paul’s need of baptism as a beginning point of his ministry, much like the beginning of Christ’s ministry  on earth was His baptism as well.

As Ananias explains the need of baptism to Paul, he says “And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.”  He tells Paul of the need for Paul to be baptized, outwardly declaring that the sins of his past are no longer a part of his life.  This was of absolute importance for Paul before his ministry could begin.

Remember, Paul’s past life of sin involved the persecution, and murder, of followers of Christ.  Before Paul could begin a new ministry of service and submission to Christ’s will, he had to make sure that he publicly declared this past life had ended, his sin had been washed away by the blood of Christ, and he now was a new man of service to the Lord.

Remember, Paul had said in Gal 1:11-12 “But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul,  speaking of the Damascus Road experience, says that he had received the gospel (good news of salvation) from Christ during his revelation to Paul (Paul’s salvation experience)…  Ananias did not tell Paul ANYTHING that involved the gospel message, he had given to Paul his instructions to serve the Lord…  “And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”

Furthermore, 1 Cor 6:11 helps us to understand, how our sins are washed away… And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The great change that takes place in our life is an act of the Holy Spirit during the conversion experience.  The three main parts to our conversion experience are washing, sanctifying, and justifying.  These happen simultaneously by the Spirit of God.

The cleansing of our sins is brought about through the application of the blood of Christ not applying the waters of baptism.

1John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

Rev 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

Rev 7:14 (KJV)

14) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Remember our 1 Peter passage quotation… “The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”.  Making it plain to us that baptism does not involve putting away the filth of our flesh.

Clearly, “wash away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord” is describing a symbolic washing of sins at Paul’s baptism.  He was declaring to all he was now a follower of Christ and his sins had been washed in the blood of the Lamb.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that baptism is a very important way to make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, baptism is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  Baptism should always follow salvation.

In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

If you have any questions about your condition or the salvation that the Lord so graciously offers,  you can look to several sources for further information:  A local Bible-teaching church in your area, or you are welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com, or you can refer to my blog page entitled “How to have a relationship with God” for more teachings on the subject of salvation.

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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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.”

Halloween Part #5 – The Series Summary

With the Halloween holiday just around the corner, I thought it would be a good idea to take time to study the history and characters surrounding the holiday.

As Christians, we have the responsibility to…

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” (1Th 5:21-22)

So with this as our motive and the desire of our hearts, let’s end our 5 part series on Halloween:

  1. A Study of The Halloween Celebration (All Hallows Eve)
  2. A Study of The Death Symbols – Skeletons, Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Frankenstein, Vampires, and Bats
  3. A Study of The Sorcery Symbols – Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons
  4. A Study of The Necromancy Symbols – Séances and Ouija Boards
  5. A Summary of Our Study On Halloween

May the Lord be glorified in our study….

THE SCRIPTURE:

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

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Rom 12:1-2)

Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.  (Jas 1:27)

Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. (1Pe 1:13-16)

Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat commendeth us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not, are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend. (1Co 8:7-13)

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. (1Co 10:31-33)

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Php 4:6-9)

THE STUDY:

In our previous studies we have seen 4 basic principles concerning the Halloween festival:

  1. The festival of Halloween’s history is connected with the belief that the spirits of dead men walk the earth, it was observed in preparation for the worship of “the Lord of Darkness”,  it was held to appease and secure peace with these spirits for the upcoming year.
  2. The death symbols of Ghosts, Jack O’ Lanterns, Vampires, and Bats all were connected to the spirits of the dead which did not immediately go to their eternal state, but were able to dwell on the earth, avoiding the judgment they were facing and wreaking havoc among earthly beings.
  3. The sorcery symbols of Witches, Black Cats, Spiders, Werewolves, and Full Moons were related to  the casting of magical spells and incantations that affect mankind.   Also, the worship of false gods through idols derived from God’s creation (moon, planets, etc) was associated with these symbols.
  4. The necromancy symbols of Séances and Ouija Boards has the purpose of communicating with the spirits of the dead.

 

The Halloween festival, its related characters, and their connection to the occult, are very important considerations in the examination of our level of participation in the holiday.

Some areas of our examination should include:

  1. Are we properly separating ourselves from the sin of this world by participating in the Halloween festival?  (2Co 6:14-18)
  2. Is our level of involvement in Halloween considered “conforming” (molded into the shape of) or “fashioned” to this world? (Rom 12:1-2)  (1Pe 1:13-16)
  3. Is the Halloween celebration “spotting” our testimony for the Lord? (Jas 1:27)
  4. Is our participation in Halloween causing our weaker brothers to “stumble” in their walk for Christ?  In other words, are they encouraged to make bad life choices based on the example we are setting? (1Co 8:7-13)
  5. Can our participation in Halloween be done for the Lord’s glory? (1Co 10:31-33)
  6. When we are participating in this celebration can we be having our minds on that which is true, honest, just etc.? (Php 4:6-9)

Over the years, I have seen four basic “levels” of participation in Halloween by God’s people:

  1. A total participation which involved decorating and dressing up with any of the symbols our study has examined. Along with participation in trick or treating and other exclusively Halloween activities.
  2. A participation that involves decorating and dressing up but avoiding demonic images and using only more benign symbols like princesses, cowboys etc. while still participating in trick or treating etc.
  3. A participation in “Harvest” or “Fall” parties on a date other than Oct 31st that totally exclude the Halloween title and avoid all aspects of the holiday (no trick or treat, no costume wearing etc.)
  4. No celebration of any type.  No decorating, no costumes, no parties. They treat the holiday just like any other day.

Which do I believe is the proper approach?

  1. First, let me emphasize that every Christian must decide for him/her self as to the level of participation in Halloween activities.  There is no ‘thus saith the Lord’ on the subject.
  2. Remember, participation in Halloween is NOT participation in the sins it represents.  In other words, you can participate in Halloween and not be guilty of the sins of necromancy, the casting of spells etc.
  3. The question for the believer is … by participating am I appearing to condone these activities that Halloween symbolizes?  Am I placing upon myself the appearance of approval or indifference to those activities? By participating am I saying…. “Hey its no big deal” ?
  4. So what do I think?
    1. Please remember, it really doesn’t matter at all what I think, all that matters is what God’s Word says.  However, for the sake of you who are reading this, I need to take the time to explain what I believe…I think a full participation in Halloween, with costumes and decorations that include the occult symbols is a very questionable stand for a Christian to take.  My feeling when it comes to my service to the Lord is …”it is always better to be safe than sorry”.  If you have a question about an action.  Don’t do it!
    2. By removing the occult symbols out of the Halloween celebration is certainly a big step in the right direction. “The appearance of evil” is basically being removed from the issue. However, the activity of trick or treating and wearing of any costume does have less obvious occult implications.  But certainly, this is a far better than our first option. Also, by participating in trick or treat, it opens the opportunity for witnessing by distributing tracts and pocket sized Bibles with the candy that is passed out to children who come to your door.  The Christian considering this option will have to weigh the gospel going out against the indirect occult association of Halloween.  For me, this is a very difficult decision to make.  I can easily see both sides of this option.
    3. I see no problem at all with the last two options of a harvest party or no celebration at all. Both are totally benign options that have no occult connections whatsoever.

If you would like to have more information about the proper Christian role in Halloween please take a look at: http://www.gty.org/Resources/Articles/1126.  This is a link from Bro John McArthur’s website and well worth our time to read it. (A special thanks to Sharon A. for sending me this link, it’s a good one!  It is much appreciated.)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

So let me end this study as I began this study by saying can we, as Christians, say our participation in Halloween aligns itself with (1Th 5:21-22) “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

May the Lord lead each of us to an understanding of His will and an attitude of understanding and temperance towards other Christians.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The greatest need that we all face in our lives is the need for the forgiveness of our sins.  We all have sinned and come short of our Lord’s expectations for us.  If you have never been saved, Halloween should not be your main concern, but concern about your sinful condition should take priority.  How do we find forgiveness of our sins and peace with our Lord?

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

 

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

 

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

 

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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To see this lesson taught on video please go to my Video Blog at  http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

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

Take A Look At My Wife’s Artistic/Scriptural Devotion Blog http://alivewithchristart.blogspot.com

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

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

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