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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “…He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:37 KJV – For yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry.

Christ is coming again and nothing will delay Him!

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “The Lord shall judge His People”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:30 KJV – For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

The People of God will someday stand before their Lord and receive rewards for their acts of faithfulness to Him.

What about their failures and sins that they have committed?  They have been washed away by the blood of the Lamb!

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Vengeance belongeth unto me”

SIH HALTAL ICON

Heb 10:30 KJV – For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

 

Our Lord is the only One who can execute perfectly just vengeance on those who oppose Him and His people.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “The Son of God”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:29 KJV – Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

What a horrible punishment awaits sinful mankind  who live “religious” lives, yet despise Christ and His work, and oppose the conviction brought upon them by the Holy Spirit of God.

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “He is faithful that promised”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:23 KJV – Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

Christ is faithful to all of His promises.  He can rest assured He will fulfill everyone of them.

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “And having an high priest over the house of God”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:21 KJV  And having an high priest over the house of God;

 

Christ stands in the presents of God representing, mediating, and interceding for His people.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh”

SIH HALTAL ICON

Heb 10:20 KJV  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

Through Christ, we find a new way to enter God’s presence… through the death and resurrection of His physical body.

 

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Having… boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:19 KJV  Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

Through the shed blood of Christ, we can enter into the very presence of God.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “by one offering we are perfected forever”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:14 KJV” For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Christ work on the cross paid the price for ALL of our sins, past, present and future.  We are  ETERNALLY forgiven and set apart for His use!

 

 

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Beware The Winepress Of The Wrath Of God…

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:13 KJV  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

Christ as Sovereign King of Kings and Lord of Lords will, someday, trample down all His enemies.

 

 

Rev 19:11-16 KJV   And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.    His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.   And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.   And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.   And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:12 KJV   But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 

Christ, at the completion of His redemptive work, was given the honored position as Lord over all being seated at the Father’s right hand.

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:10 KJV – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

We are eternally set apart from sin, to the service of the Lord, through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:7 KJV – Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.

 The Lord Jesus came to the earth to perfectly fulfill the will of His Father in heaven.  The Bible tells us all about His coming and His faithfulness to His Father.

 

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “a body hast thou prepared me”

SIH HALTAL ICONHeb 10:5 KJV – Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:

 

God the Father brought Christ into the world with a physical body which allowed Christ to be the ultimate sacrifice for sins at the crucifixion.

 

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

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

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

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

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

THE STUDY:

The command to attend the assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God… To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The examples of attendance of the assembly

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
 

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

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


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

 

 

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

SIH TOA ICON

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

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

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

 

THE STUDY:

Blessings Of Spiritual Growth:

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

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

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

 

Blessings Of Opportunities Of Ministry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings Of Community:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
THE SUMMARY:

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 7 – What about Church Membership?

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

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

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

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

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

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #7…. What about Church Membership?  ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Matt 16:13-20 (KJV)

13) When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

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

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

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

17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

18) And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

19) And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

20) Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

 Matt 28:16-20 (KJV)

16) Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

17) And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

19) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20)  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts 2:47 (KJV)

47) Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

 Acts 20:28-31 (KJV)

28) Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed thechurch ofGod, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

29) For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

30) Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

31) Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 Eph 5:25-28 (KJV)

25) Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

26) That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27) That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

28) So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

 Heb 10:19-31 (KJV)

19) Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,

20) By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;

21) And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

22) Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

23) Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)

24) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25) Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

26) For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

27) But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

28) He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

29) Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

30) For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.

31) [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

 THE STUDY:

Is membership in a local church necessary for salvation?  If not, why should a Christian be a member of a church?  This blog entry will be using the Holy Word of God to answer these questions for us.

The first text we will be looking at is Matt 16:13-20 – “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some [say that thou art] John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”

 In this text we find the Lord addressing the issue of the lost world’s perception of Him.  Of the many differing views, John the Baptist, Elijah (Elias), Jeremiah (Jeremias) or one of the other OT prophets is mentioned.   Christ then asks His followers what they believe about His identity. Peter, speaking for all his disciples, says “ Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God”.  In his response Peter reflects three basic truths about Christ…

 First of all, by using the title “Christ”, Peter is saying that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament.  In other words, He was the One chosen by God to fulfill very special ministries.  Jesus was the One anointed by God to be the ultimate Prophet, Priest and King.

Secondly, Peter presents two truths about Christ using the title “Son of the Living God”.   Christ, finds His origins in God the Father.  Christ was not simply a man called by His God.  But, He was God Himself, the every essence of God come to earth to save mankind from their sins.

Thirdly, in the title “Son of the Living God” we are taught that Jesus was the perfect representative of the Father.  Jesus was the servant of the Living God, Jesus would be actively presenting God’s Word, doing God’s deeds and fulfilling the will of God in all that He would say and do.

In response to Peter’s statement, Jesus then says “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”  In other words, Jesus was presenting the truth that anyone who comes to a truthful understanding of the person of Jesus does so only after God graciously reveals this truth to Him.  No one can come to this understanding of Christ with his own ability.

 Jesus continues by saying “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”   When Peter acknowledged the truth about Christ, he proved that he was a follower of Christ and a member of the family of God.  Jesus acknowledges this when  He said “Thou art Peter”.  The word Peter means “a small piece coming from a large rock.”  In other words, Christ was telling Peter, “Peter when you  stated your belief in me as Messiah and the Son of God you were proving that you (the small piece) are a part of Me (the large rock).”

 Christ continues by explaining that He would build His church upon “this rock”.  Who is the Rock?  Christ Himself.  The Lord was not saying He would build His church upon Peter.  How do we know this?  Peter was described as a small piece coming from “The Rock” of Christ.    It is because the church is built upon Christ, the Messiah and the Son of God, that we can be assured that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

 Jesus completes this discourse by saying “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  What is the Keys to theKingdom ofHeaven?  The Truth concerning the identity of Christ (The Messiah, the Son of the Living God).

 Now that Peter has proclaimed the truth about the person of Christ.  Christ responds by handing to the assembled disciples (the church at Jerusalem) the responsibility to present these truths to others.  Christ is explaining to the disciples that they are to take these truths about who He is to a lost and dying world.  In doing so, the local church would be making a legitimate offer of salvation to all.  If those in the world come to a Godly faith in this message of Christ they would be saved (loosed from the bonds of sin both on earth and heaven).  If those in the world who hear this truth reject it they would be condemned to eternal separation from God in the Lake of Fire (continued bound under sin and God’s wrath both on earth and throughout eternity).  In essence, this is the same responsibility given to the church in Matt 28:16-20 Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,… and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen.

 These sections of Scripture are emphasizing the importance of recognizing the true identity of Christ and the need to proclaim that truth to others through the ministries of the local church.  These, in no way, teach salvation in found in church membership, nor that the local church was built upon a sinful man.

 In Acts 2:47 … And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.  The word “saved” brings with it the idea of protection and making whole.  Divine salvation includes three aspects to it (past, present and future):

Salvation from the penalty of sin (takes place at the initial salvation experience for sins past, present and future.

Salvation from the power of sin (this is an ongoing work of God beginning at the initial salvation experience and ending when we are taken to heaven)

Salvation from the presence of sin (this will take place in the future when we enter into heaven with the Lord).

This verse is speaking of the “present” aspect of salvation… salvation from the power of sin. It is simply saying that following a genuine salvation experience the young Christian would enter into church membership. In doing so, he would receive much needed indoctrination, fellowship and encouragement as he begins his new walk with Christ. It is through these that the young Christian is kept safe from the sinful forces in this fallen world and brought to spiritual maturity.

 Another interesting set of verses is found below:

Acts 20:28-31 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.   Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.  Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

 Eph 5:25-28 – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

 In both of these texts we have the idea of Christ dying for the church being brought out…. “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  Also,  “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…”

What is meant by Christ dying for His church, does this imply that, because He died for His church, membership is now necessary for salvation? If not, must we come to a conclusion there must be a universal, invisible church that all saved are brought into?

Not at all. Please keep in mind that the Lord’s local assemblies can commit sin just as individual Christians can commit sin.

Some examples are:

Anytime the church body makes decision or perform “ministries” opposed to God’s will they are committing a sin.

Anytime the church body sanctions or allows acts that are opposed to the will of God remain within their assembly, they are committing sin.

Anytime the church develops a cold, or lukewarm spirit toward the Lord, they are committing sin.

There are many, various, ways the church, as a body, can commit sin.  For the church, as a body, to receive forgiveness their sins must be paid for through the shed blood of Christ (just as sinful individuals).   That principle is what both of these verses are addressing.

Finally, in Heb 10:19-31 -Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,  By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;  And [having] an high priest over the house of God;  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some [is]; but exhorting [one another]: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:  Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?  For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.  [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

In these verses we find several basic principles for faithful service to Christ.  Paul begins by explaining the great blessing of communion with God that we have been given. (vs 19-21).  Because He has blessed us so greatly, we have a big responsibility to continue this communion with Him in many ways:

1) maintain unhindered communion by forsaking and confessing sin. (vs 21-22)

2) faithfully show Christ to the world through our words and actions (vs 23)

3) loving, encouraging and sacrificing for other Christians (vs 24)

4) faithfully attending church and encouraging others to do so (vs 25)

All of these are indications of a genuine salvation experience has taken place in our hearts.  If we find that we do not strive for continued communion with the Lord there is a question whether we are actually saved (vs 26-27)  In these verses, we are told, “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.”

In other words, if we come to a mental acknowledgment about Christ and salvation and yet it does not change our lives, it is proof we have never been saved.  This is described as the sacrifice that Christ has made on the cross no longer remains (it has been left behind) by us.  All that can be looked forward to is the wrath of God.

Paul then uses the example of those who rejected Moses law faced only God’s punishment.  A mental knowledge of the law, if it did not result in a changed life, is of no benefit to anyone.  Likewise, a mental knowledge of Christ and His work, if it is not a part of a conversion experience, only results in judgment from the Almighty God.

Paul completes this section by stating “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. [It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

If rejecting the law of Moses resulted in such heinous punishment, how bad will the punishment be to those who have heard the message of the cross of Christ and reject it?

To hear the truth and reject it is tantamount to stomping Christ into the ground, counting the shed blood that set Christ apart from all other men (John 17:19) as if it was a dirtied common thing, and to insult the Spirit of God.  Surely the judgment of God will be great upon any that reject His truth.

Clearly, these verses are not teaching that rejecting church attendance will result in a saved person loosing their salvation and becoming recipients of God’s wrath.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that it is through repentance and faith that salvation is bestowed upon the sinful human.  Good works, baptism, partaking of the Lord’s Supper and church membership, are very important aspects in a Christian’s new life of faith.  However, all of them take place following the salvation of the individual.

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

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

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.”

Where Does Waldo Go To Church?

SIH STSTA ICONIn the late 1980’s a series of books containing the theme, “Where’s Waldo?” came to America.  Originating in Britain, these books contained illustrations of many characters all participating in a variety of activities.  The goal of the reader is to seek out Waldo, in the midst of the crowd.  For more about the book series take a look at these sites:

http://www.findwaldo.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where’s_Waldo

Just as children throughout the world looked for Waldo in the pages of his books, how many of us are looking for a church that we can confidently attend?   How many of us are frustrated, not being able to find a church that aids our spiritual growth?   Many times, the reason why we can’t find a spiritually edifying church is because we do not understand what we should be looking for in a church.

The Word of God is not silent about this matter….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Hebrews10:

24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:

25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

THE STUDY:

Here is list of the characteristics of a church (local assembly of believers) that we can attend with which the Lord is pleased…

Uses Scriptures only as foundation of beliefs and teachings  (1 Tim 3:15 )

The Lord’s churches are described as being the “pillar and ground” of the truth.  In other words, one of the greatest roles the church has is to firmly hold up the truth of His Word.  This refers to both the declaration of His Word from the pulpit as well as declaring His Word through the practices of the church.

Seeks to glorify the Lord in all of it’s ministries by putting His desires first.  (Eph 3:21)

The Lord Jehovah is to be glorified in all things (every ministry/activities) of the Lord’s churches.  Every endeavor that is undertaken by the church is to be done with His authority, His direction and His glory as the end motive.

Clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith …man’s inability to save himself from his sinful condition  (Eph 2:8-9)

The Word of God is clear, salvation is entirely of God’s grace, even the faith we exercise at our salvation is a gift that is given to us through His intervention in our lives.  Understanding these truths results in God being exalted to His deserved level, while properly humbling man and showing his true impotence in the salvation experience.   Any other message of salvation leads to a man trusting in not only Christ’s work, but his own actions, and righteousnesses, for the forgiveness of his sins.

Observes ordinances of Lord’s Supper and Baptism as declarations and memorials to work of Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Cor 11:23-29, Matt 28:16-20)

The Lord’s church has been given two, and only two ordinances to observe, baptism and the Lord’s supper.  Both of which are observed as a form of remembrance and declaration.  Baptism, declares an individual’s salvation and is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection.  The Lord’s Supper is a declaration of a church’s existence and the unity of its members, as well as a remembrance of His suffering and death on the cross.

Teach practical and doctrinal truth during it’s services to encourage spiritual growth of members (Eph 4:11-13, Acts 20:27-29)

The Lord placed those who teach and lead within the church so that the members may become perfect (spiritually mature), edified (built up, strengthened), they are to do this by teaching the “all the counsel of God”… a churches goal should be to gradually build up and mature it’s members so that, eventually, the entire Word of God can be declared with no fear of misunderstanding on the part of it’s members.

Promotes a lifestyle of service and worship of Christ through the leadership of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:1-9)

The church is to lead and teach God’s people so that they will become living sacrifices, bringing praise to their Lrod in every aspect of their life.  This is done through an exercise of the fruits of the Spirit, as they follow God’s Word through leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Emphasizes the need for prayer and independent Bible study (Roms 17:10-13)

One of the greatest needs within a local assembly is a clear acknowledgement of each man’s responsibility to learn, understand, and live according to God’s Word.   This can only be accomplished through each member developing an intimate knowledge of His Word.

Has evangelistic outreach/missionary ministries to local area and throughout the world (Acts 1:7-8, Matthew 28:16-20)

The Lord, in giving His assemblies a mission, made it plain that the gospel was to be declared to the entire world…locally, nationally and internationally.  The mission of the church, described as “the Great Commission”, includes proclaiming the gospel to the lost, baptizing those who are saved (to publically declare the salvation they have already received) and teaching those who have been saved and baptized.

Meets the physical needs of the community in which they reside (Matt 14:13-21)

The first and primary mission of the church is fulfilling the Great Commission.  However, in the course of ministering, meeting the physical needs of others opens many doors and creates receptive hearts in the community.  This, in turn, aids the proclamation of the truth to them… meeting the physical needs of the community not only yields physical benefits but spiritual benefits as well.

The members lives are living testimony to the righteousness, love, peace and joy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Roms 13:11-14, Gals 5:22-25

A church that is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to them, will have a membership that will be growing in grace, knowledge and spiritual fruit bearing.  As a general rule, if the members of a church are not growing spiritually, there is a problem in the churches ministry to them.

THE APPLICATION:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ….  “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.”

Church attendance is a necessity for the Christian’s seeing to grow in the Lord and in His service…  if you are one of the many Christians who are seeking a church home, my prayers are with you. 

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

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

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

Atheist Billboard: Tis the Season to Deny the Existence of God

SIH STSTA ICONAs the Christmas season approaches, Atheist billboards are beginning to pop up declaring that the virgin birth, and even God’s existence, is only a myth.  One example is this billboard…

http://www.nj.com/news/index.ssf/2010/11/atheist_billboard_near_lincoln.html

With all of this world’s mixed messages about the Lord’s person, His work, and even His existence; I thought it was wise to remind every one of some of the results of denying what the Lord clearly told us in His Word.

The Word of God addresses many subjects including:

  1. the proofs of God’s existence – (Psa 19:1-6, Jer 10:10-16, Acts 17:8-9, etc etc)
  2. the proofs of Christ’s coming to the earth and the work which He performed (Acts 5:29-33, Acts 2:29-36, 1 Cor 15:1-11, etc etc )

as well as many other truths that help us to understand who the Lord is and what He has done for us.

The Lord, by His grace and love, has revealed to us the serious results of denying what He has clearly told us in His Word.  May the Lord bless each of us with an understanding and acceptance of this crucial truth…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Heb 10:19-31

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh;…30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

THE STUDY:

In Hebrews 10:19-25, we find the importance of not taking God’s gracious workings in the lives of His people for granted…

19Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus,20By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; 21And [having] an high priest over the house of God;

The Lord has given sinful mankind the privilege to enter into His presence now (through prayer and Bible study) and throughout eternity (dwelling with Him face to face).   Although we are sinful, through the death and shed blood of Jesus Christ, we can receive forgiveness of sins and communion with Almighty, Holy God.  It is though His work on our behalf that He becomes our intercessor (or priest), standing between God and sinful man, working peace, communion and forgiveness on our behalf.

22Let 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.23Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful that promised;)24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:25Not 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.

Because the Lord has brought us into a close relationship with Himself, we are to draw near to Him, knowing that He has cleansed us from our inward and outward sins.  This forgiveness was applied to our account when His Spirit applied the Word to our hearts and lives (Eph 5:26).

We are also to be telling others of His workings in our lives and we are to aid others to serve Him in love (by meeting together to worship, learn and encourage other Christians).

All of these acts of appreciation, we are to observe in a greater way because our time is running short.  Soon our God will be coming back to take us home and be with Him forever.

In Hebrews 10:26-31, we find the solemn results of rejecting the truth by those who are not His people…

26For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,27But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

After we receive the truths God has shown to us, and then count them as being false, there is no reason to believe that the Lord has, or will, forgive us.  If we remain in a state of denial of His truths we should fear, knowing that we are facing the judgment that is prepared by God for those who are His adversaries.  This judgment includes God’s fiery indignation (burning wrath) upon those who oppose Him.

28He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:29Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

Now our attention is turned to the penalty of breaking God’s laws given to the nation of Israel.  According to the law given to them… if there were two or three witnesses to the commission of a crime worthy of death, that was ample proof for execution.

We are to compare that type of sin with the rejection of Christ, His work and His shed blood.  After hearing of Christ and His great sacrifice and then counting that as untrue, worthless, or of no benefit, we commit a very heinous sin in God’s eyes.  It is as if Christ and His work is being tred underfoot, dirtied, buried and ignored.

Even if the initial receipt of the truth affects our life causing a worldly, outward, reformation (sanctification) , this is not proof of spiritual life being present.   Simple good works shown in the life is no guarantee of acceptance by God.

A heart of repentant faith in Christ and in His work is an absolutely necessity for the forgiveness of sins.  This type of belief cannot be turned from, nor denied. (2 Cor 7:9-10)

30For we know him that hath said, Vengeance [belongeth] unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people.31[It is] a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

The Lord is plain throughout His Word, not only is He a God of love and grace; He is also a God of justice.  The Lord makes it clear that He will send judgment and deserved punishment upon those who reject the kind, loving, gracious, most valuable work of His Son.

This truth will bring terror upon those who reject Him.  To deny God’s existence and work is to sentence themselves to an eternity of separation from God in eternal misery in the lake of fire.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

Let us never forget all that our God has done for us.  He not only created us, but then He saved us from our deserved punishment  through the sacrifice of His Son.   How much more should we be motivated to serve Him after all He has done for us? (Rom 12:1-2)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

Please take time to, honestly and with an open heart, study God’s Word and come to an understanding of the many various proofs of God’s existence and His Son’s work on your behalf.

The Bible makes it plain that we have all sinned and are facing punishment for those sins. (Rom 1:18-21, 2:11-12, Acts 17:30-31)  This is why rejecting the existence of God and His Son, Jesus Christ, is tantamount to sentencing yourself to an eternity of suffering at the hands of a Just God.  (Rom 2:5, 2 Pet 2:9, 3:7, Rev 20:15, 21:8)

Things do not have to be this way, however.  This same God, who is just in punishing sin, is also a very kind, gracious and loving God.  He has sent His Son to the earth to save His people from their sins. (Matt 1:21)

Through Jesus’ shed blood on the cross, the payment for the sin debt of God’s people was made in full.

By turning from our disbelief, and by trusting in Christ and His work on the cross, we can find forgiveness for our sins and peace with God. (Rom 3:26-28, 4:17-25, 5:1-2, 15:13)

Oh, won’t you change your mind and attitude about God and Christ?   Won’t you believe that God and His Son exist, and that they have performed the necessary work to forgive you of your sins?  By looking to Him and placing your life and future in His hands you will be assured of a life of peace with God.

May the Lord bless you as you seek the truth about 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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