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The Besetting Sins In Our Lives Part 2

SIH HALTAL ICONOvercoming Habitual Sins

Hebrews 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

 

 

What is a “besetting sin”? In our previous study we saw that a “besetting sin” was a sin that will sneak up on us, work quickly to return and saturate our lives. Easily besetting sins totally encase the Christian giving no room for human escape to be had. It is as if they have become a permanent part of our life, and no matter what method we try to rid it from our lives, it returns and grows worse with time.

As Christians with besetting sin in our lives… what are we to do? In part 2 of our series we are going to look at some basic principles that will help us to oppose these habitual controlling sins in our lives…

We will look at these 9 principles in part #2 of our study.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Hebrews 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

THE STUDY:

Remember in our text we are told to “let us lay aside… and the sin which doth so easily beset us”. What a blessing it would be if we could easily lay aside these besetting sins! But keep in mind, the Lord did not say “easily lay aside…”, not at all instead He said that sin “easily beset(s)” us!

This is our lot in life as a part of fallen mankind. Sins will quite easily enter our lives. But laying aside those sins will only be accomplished through God’s divine intervention in this spiritual warfare that is taking place. What instructions does it give for the Christian to be successful in this war? The Bible gives us at least 9 truths we are to recognize and apply to our lives to give us the victory in this war…

1. Recognize The Seriousness Of The Sin It is A Sin Against Our Lord, The One Who Has Died For Us
Psa 51:4 –“Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight:…”

2. Recognize Our Inability To Lay This Sin Aside Due To Our Fallen Nature
Rom 7:25 – “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.”

3. Recognize Christ’s Ability To Intervene And Give Us The Victory Over This Sin
1Co 15:55-57 – “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

4. Recognize The Need To Commit Ourselves To God
Jas 4:7-8 – “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.”

5. Recognize The Need Of Swift Repentance When The Sin Appears In Our Lives
Psa 32:5 – “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

6. Recognize The Need To Ask Lord For Help
Mat 7:8 – “For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

7. Recognize Our Transformation… We Are No Longer Under Sins Bondage
Rom 6:11 – “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

8. Recognize Need To God To Lengths To Avoid Temptation. Temptation Gives Entrance To These Sins
Mat 5:29-30 – “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Jas 1:13-15 – “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.”

9. Recognize The Necessity Of Consistently Dwelling In God’s Word and Prayer
1Th 5:17 – “Pray without ceasing.”
Joh 17:17 – “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”
Psa 37:31 – “The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.”

May the Lord grant to us all the grace and strength needed to lay aside the besetting sins of our lives!

Rom 6:12 – “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

Questions, Comments, or Suggestions? Email me at: rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

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The Besetting Sins In Our Life Part #1

SIH STSTA ICON

 

What are “Besetting Sins”?

 

 

Hebrews 12:1 – “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,”

 

What is a “besetting sin”? A quick study of the words translated “sin”, “easily beset” helps to give us the Biblical meaning of the phrase:

1. “sin” – comes from a Greek word meaning “to miss the mark” in other words it is to fail to reach a goal that has been set for us. It describes an archer who aims at the bullseye but misses it. As Christians, we are called to represent Christ in every area of our lives, we can do this by living lives that imitate Christ, motivated by a desire to bring honor and glory to Christ. This is the life goal of every Christian.

For example: Christ’s lived a perfectly genuine life on earth. His words could be counted on 100 % of the time, He never acted out of deceitful motives, nor did He mislead others in anyway. Therefore, to present Christ to the world we are to live honest, transparent, non-hypocritical lives.

If we live deceitful lives we are not following the example of Christ; we have missed the goal for which we are aiming; and, therefore, we have sinned. Anytime our life does not perfectly represent the absolutely holy life of Christ we are missing the “target” (our life goal) and, therefore, committing sin.

2. “easily beset” – comes from a Greek word that means “to be well-surrounded”, “to be totally encased”, or “to be entangled”. Also implied by this word is the idea of the ease and quickness that the encasing takes place.

Perhaps an invading army surprises an enemy city. Because of the surprise nature of the invasion, they face little or no opposition. As a result, they quickly, efficiently, and entirely surround and lay siege to the city. Inside the city the panicked citizens of the city look to their right; to their left; straight ahead; and straight behind; they look to the north, south, east and west; but all they can see is the enemy army… they quickly realize, they have been overcome and have no human way of escape.

This is just like an easily besetting sin. We think it is out of our lives but they will sneak up on us, work quickly to return and saturate our lives. Easily besetting sins totally encase the Christian giving no room for human escape to be had. It is as if they have become a permanent part of our life, and no matter what method we try to rid it from our lives, it returns and grows worse with time.

Some of the greatest Christians who ever lived have suffered from the besetting sins of life. Paul, himself, perhaps the greatest Christian who ever lived, admitted to facing besetting sins in his life. In Romans 7:15, he made the statement…

“For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

When Paul recognized a sin in his life, opposed it, and yet failed to overcome it… that was his besetting sin. If you read through the entire chapter of Romans 7, Paul paints a very vivid portrait of besetting sin and how it can affect us.
As Christians with besetting sin in our lives… what are we to do? The Bible helps us to understand some basic principles that will help us to oppose these habitual controlling sins in our lives…

We will look at these 9 principles in part #2 of our study.

Questions, Comments, or Suggestions? Email me at: rob.barkman@settledinheaven.org

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http://www.settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “The Mediator Of The New Covenant ”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:24 KJV – And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

 

Jesus stands between God and Man securing the promise of salvation by grace through faith.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth ”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:6 KJV – For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

 

If we are loved by the Lord, we can expect Him to teach us through punishment and give us a spanking when we need it!

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “…him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:3 KJV – For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

May we all remember that Christ endured the abuse of sinners who opposed all He said and did and use that remembrance as a source of encouragement for our faithful service.

 

 

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The Book Of Life: Can Our Name Be Removed?

SIH STSTA ICONTHE SCRIPTURES:

 

To the best of my knowledge, below is a listing of every verse in the Bible that addresses the subject of  the Book of Life and other related teachings…

 

 

Exo 32:32-33 KJV – Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.   And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Psa 69:26-28 KJV – For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.   Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Isa 4:3-4 KJV – And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:   When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.

Eze 13:9 KJV – And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Dan 12:1 KJV – And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

Luk 10:20 KJV – Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Php 4:3 KJV – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

Heb 12:23 KJV – 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,

Rev 3:5 KJV – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Rev 13:8 KJV – 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 17:8 KJV – The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

Rev 20:12-15 KJV – And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

Rev 21:27 KJV – 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 22:18-19 KJV – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

 

THE STUDY:

In our study for today, we will be looking at “the Book of Life” that is written by God.  Before we look at our names being removed  from this book, we need to come to a basic understanding of this books contents…

  1. It is a book that contains the names of all the redeemed (those who will live with Christ eternally.)

Heb 12:23 KJV – 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,

Rev 3:5 KJV – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Php 4:3 KJV – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.

 

  1. Those who are written in this book will come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Dan 12:1 KJV – And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.

[Please note: this prophecy is speaking of the times of the Gentiles (the times we are living in now).  It clearly tells us that those whose names are found written in the book of life will be saved (delivered) from their sins.  None will be lost, none will forgotten.  Everyone written in the book will receive deliverance from their sins.  This time of deliverance will end with Christ’s second coming]

 

  1. Wicked mankind (those who do not repent of their sins nor submit to Christ as Lord) are not included in this book.

Eze 13:9 KJV – And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

[Please note: “the writing of the house of Israel” refers to a listing of all the redeemed of God.  It is referred to as “the writing of the house of Israel” because the redeemed make up the citizens of the “Israel of God” (God’s spiritual nation – Rom 2:28-29, Gals 6:16 etc) and will dwell in the New Jerusalem with Him.]

 

  1. Absence from this book results in being condemned to eternal judgment

Rev 20:12-15 KJV – And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.  And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.  And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.

 

  1. It is a book that is owned (controlled) by Christ and based upon His work on the cross.

Rev 13:8 KJV – 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 21:27 KJV – 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.

 

  1. It is a book that was written in eternity past.

Rev 17:8 KJV – The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

 

  1. Gives great joy to those who are included in the book.

Luk 10:20 KJV – Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

 

After looking at these basic principles concerning the book of life, we can see that having our names in this book is the greatest blessing we can receive from the Lord.  If we know our names are written in this book it means that we are counted as a citizen of God’s nation, we have been delivered from our sins through Christ’s work on the cross, we are now safe in Christ as our eternal intercessor, and our eternity is secure.

 

But now to the question at hand…. can our names be removed from this book?  The answer SEEMS to be “yes” based upon three passages…

Exo 32:32-33 KJV – Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Psa 69:26-28 KJV – For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.  Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Rev 22:18-19 KJV – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

 

Can we take these verses at face value, or is there more teaching that dwells beneath the surface of all of these?  I think it is very important that we take these verses in the context of the entire Word of God and its teachings on this subject.  Before we draw conclusions about the above verses, we need to look at another verse from Revelation that addresses the subject of name removal from the Book of Life…

Rev 3:5 KJV – He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Please notice this book is addressed to “overcomers”.  The Apostle John, the author of Revelation, clearly defines the meaning of this term in another letter that he wrote, the book of 1 John.  He clearly explains that an overcomer is one who has overcome this sinful world through faith in Christ:

1Jn 5:4-5 KJV – “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?”

 

So in Revelation 3:5, Christ is speaking to those who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior.  He promises to them that:

  1. “the same shall be clothed in white raiment” – they will be given clothed in Christ’s righteousness
  2. “and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life,” – their name will not be blotted from the book of life. This insures them that they will not lose their salvation, but are safe in the hands of the Lord eternally.
  3. “but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.” – They will be recognized by Christ as their Redeemer, Intercessor, Mediator and Lord. He will act as their “defense attorney” before the Father, proclaiming that His work on the cross covers their sin and paid the sin debt that was due.

 

There are many other verses in the Bible that profess the same basic truth.  Those who have come to a saving knowledge of Christ are eternally secure in Him (John 6:39-40, John 10:27-30, Romans 8:29-37 etc etc)…

1Pe 1:3-5 KJV – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

These verses are, in effect, saying that their names will not be removed from “the book of life”.

 

Based upon the context of the entire Bible, we can see that the verses that appear to speak of being blotted out of the book needs to be studied with great care and understanding.  The Bible does not contradict itself.  If the redeemed of God are secure in Him, then their names cannot be removed from the Book of Life.  Therefore, the three texts in question before us must hold another meaning for us.

 

The key to understanding two of these three texts is for us to understand a principle that is presented to us in Isaiah 4:3-4…

And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem:  When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.”

[Please note: In those days, a record was kept that listed all living citizens of a city. At their birth they would be added to this list, at their death they would be removed.

In this case, the Lord is telling Isaiah that He would purge out the sinfulness from Jerusalem by allowing great judgments to fall upon them (Isaiah 3:).  These judgments would result in most of the lost being killed and those who were followers of Jehovah being preserved.  At that point in time, the city’s registry of living citizens would be made up of a few lost men and Jehovah’s followers that were yet alive.]

So we can see that another type of book that the OT Jews were very familiar with was this type of registry of those who were physically alive within any given city.

 

In our Psalm 69:26-28 passage we can see that the Lord keeps a similar record of those who are physically alive on the earth.  It is called “the Book of the Living” not the “Book of Life”…

Psa 69:26-28 KJV – For they persecute him whom thou hast smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom thou hast wounded.  Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Here, David asks the Lord to judge the wicked in two ways…

  1. “Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and let them not come into thy righteousness.”

In other words, let their sins multiply upon them and all them to face the wrath of God that is due them.  This speaks of judgment in ETERNAL PUNISHMENT FOR SINS.

  1. “Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.”

In other words, bring physical death upon them so they can no longer harm the people of God.  As you punish the wicked of Israel, protect the righteous and allow them to continue to live.  This is the exact same principle that was spoken of in Isaiah 4:3-4.  This speaks of judgment meted out in the PHYSICAL DEATH OF THE WICKED, removing their name from the “book of the living”.

 

This book of the living is also referred to in our Exodus 32:32-33 passage…

Exo 32:32-33 KJV – Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin–; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.  And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

Here, Moses shows to us his great love for the people of Israel.  He asks the Lord to take his name out of the book of the living if Israel will not be forgiven.  In other words, Moses is saying that the pain of seeing the nation of Israel face the wrath of God will be too great for Moses to bear.  He would rather physically die than to see the judgment of God take place against his nation.

The Lord assures him that He will send wrath against the lost members of Israel bringing upon them physical death, but He will spare the righteous men in the nation (including Moses) and allow them to continue to live.

Again we see the same basis theme, the lost of the nation being sentenced to physical death due to their sins while the righteous would survive in their midst (Psa 69:26-28, Isa 4:34 above)

 

The final text that seems to teach that names will be removed from “the book of life” is…

Rev 22:18-19 KJV – For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Please notice that “the book of life” is specifically mentioned.  This does refer to the eternal listing of the chosen, redeemed saints of God that are secure in Him.  The important point to notice is that this verse says “God shall take away his PART out of the book of life…”.  The word for “part” means “allocation” or “share”.

In other words, God removes the portion of the book that could contain his name if only he was one of God’s people.   Likewise, his portion of the eternal inheritance and blessings of God described in this book he will miss out on, they will be given to those who are in the book.

 

This verse is not saying his name is there and then taken out… it is saying the place where his name could be is removed and therefore, there is no chance of it being written in the book…

For example, let’s assume that there in one page in the “Book of Life” for each person’s name to be written.  It is as if the Lord is saying, “the page that would have contained your name has been removed. There is no place in the book for your name to appear.”  Their “share” of the book does not exist.

 

It is much like the Lord’s teachings in Luke 8:17-18.  Although these men claim to be Christians and claim to share in the blessings of God’s people, they really have taken from them their “part” in God’s book that they really never possessed (their name not written in it):

Luk 8:17-18 KJV  – For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.   Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

 

By saying this, the Lord is making it plain that those who “take away from the words of the book of this prophecy” have no chance of having their names entered into the book of life nor receipt of eternal salvation… they are eternally condemned just as is spoken of in Rev 21:23-27…

And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.  And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.  And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.  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.

 

So what we have spoken of in Rev 22:18-19 is the clear condemnation of anyone who does not hold fast to the teachings found in God’s Word.  If they add to these teachings, the plagues of this book are placed upon them…. If they take away from these teachings, they are removed from all the eternal blessings of God found in this book.   Unless Godly repentance takes place, there is absolutely no hope for these wicked men to share in deliverance from God’s wrath and receipt of the great blessings that God gives to His people.

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

May we all praise the Lord for the security that is found in Him.  If our names are in the Book of Life we can rest assured we will spend eternity with Him.  May we all be diligent to make our calling and election sure, by doing so we will be making certain that our names are in His book, and we are safe in the hands of our Lord.

 

2Pe 1:10-11 KJV – Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

 

 

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 

 

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

Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “…is set down at the right hand of the throne of God”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:2 KJV

(2)  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Christ, based upon His faithfulness to do the will of His Father, is now exalted at His Father’s right hand.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “…despising the shame”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:2 KJV

(2)  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

Although Christ hated to be put to unwarranted shame, it was His joy because it resulted in the salvation of His people.

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Jesus, … who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:2 KJV

(2)  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Jesus suffered the crucifixion with joy, knowing through His work His people would be saved.

 

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “ …Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:2 KJV

(2)  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

 

 

Jesus is the One who begins and brings to completion our faith… after all, saving faith is a gift that He gives to us (Ephesians 2:8) through the exercise of His mighty power… 

 

Ephesians 1:19 KJV

(19)  And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,

 

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Christ In The Book Of Hebrews: “Looking Unto Jesus….”

SIH HALTAL ICONHebrews 12:2 KJV –  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Our eyes are to be looking to Jesus at all times, the good, the bad, the happy and the sad!

 

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Call Unto Me

SIH STSTA ICONJeremiah, who spoke out of a heart of obedience to the Lord and love for the nation of Judah, prophesied of their coming defeat at the hands of Babylon. The King of Judah, Zedekiah, seeing that the prophecy was coming to pass, imprisoned Jeremiah, blaming him for Judah’s coming defeat. (Jeremiah 32:1-5).

Our lesson (Jeremiah 33:1-3) now picks up with Jeremiah sitting in prison being given words of comfort from the Lord…

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

1) Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,
2) Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it; the LORD [is] his name;
3) Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.
(Jeremiah 33:1-3)

 

THE STUDY:

The Lord’s introductory message to the imprisoned prophet Jeremiah….

 

Moreover the word of the LORD came unto Jeremiah the second time, while he was yet shut up in the court of the prison, saying,

The Lord is speaking to Jeremiah for a second time while he was imprisoned by Zedekiah.

He had originally received a message from the Lord telling him of Judah’s defeat (Jeremiah 32:3-5). It was this original message for which he was imprisoned by the King of Judah, Zedekiah (Jeremiah 32:1-2).

Following his imprisonment, the first message he received is found in 32:26-44. In this message, the Lord reaffirmed his initial prophecy of the coming defeat of Judah by Babylon (32:26-35), and also gives Jeremiah a promise of a future deliverance of Judah from the 70-year Babylon captivity (32:36-44).

Can you imagine what Jeremiah must have been thinking? I believe, because he was a fallen sinful human, like all of us, he was probably plagued with doubt concerning this miracle deliverance would take place.

It was an easy thing to believe that Judah would fall to the invading Babylonian empire. After all, at that point in history, Babylon had the greatest army on the face of the planet earth. The Babylonian empire had already taken over many of the most powerful nations of the day and was now surrounding Judah ready for “the kill”.

However, the second part of this God-given promise was very different indeed. How difficult it must have been for Jeremiah to believe that Judah would ever be freed from their captivity. How could a small, impoverished and soon-to-be-imprisoned Judah ever be able to overcome the great and mighty forces of the Babylonian word empire? It would take an absolute miracle from the Lord.

Thus, the Lord now gives Jeremiah the second “prison prophecy” to reaffirm to Jeremiah the certainty of the release of Judah from Babyon…

 

Thus saith the LORD

The Lord now speaks to Jeremiah…

 

the maker thereof, the LORD that formed it, to establish it;

Jeremiah is now reminded that ….
1. The Lord was the One that created both the nation of Judah and the Babylonian Empire
2. The Lord that shaped both nations to conform to the desires of His will
3. The Lord that has intervened to sustain both Judah and Babylon

In other words, He was reminding Jeremiah that both Judah and Babylon only existed because of His intervention. Without Him, neither would exist nor possess their might and authority. He was clearly explaining to Jeremiah that He was the One who has humbled Judah and He could exalt them once again. Likewise He was the One that had allowed Babylon to become the world empire of the day and He would be the One that would bring them down to defeat.

 

the LORD [is] his name;

The Lord now emphasizes that it is JEHOVAH that can make a legitimate claim to all of this. No false gods could claim such awesome power and authority over the kingdoms of the world. Only the One True God…. Jehovah could make such an assertion.

 

Call unto me,

The Lord now invites Jeremiah and the nation of Judah to “call unto me”. The word translated “call” is a Hebrew word that carries two separated, yet related ideas:

1. it is speaking of issuing “a public invitation” or “to cry out to me”

2. it is used to describe addressing someone personally.

In other words, to “call” is telling Jeremiah to “cry out to me by name” seeking forgiveness and deliverance from their captivity. The Lord is emphasizing Jeremiah’s and Judah’s privilege of communion with Him as well as the need to seek out His aid personally. It was not enough for them to seek the aid of another god…. No, his request had to be made to Jehovah only.   Because it was Jehovah, alone, that was the Creator, Shaper and Sustainer of the nations.

 

and I will answer thee,

The Lord promises to Jeremiah and Judah that He will answer them. The word for answer is very interesting indeed. It implies that the Lord will pay attention, consider and respond to his cry. They would not be ignored nor would they be forgotten. Their prayer would be heard and the Lord would act.

 

and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Not only does Jehovah promise to hear, consider and respond to Jeremiah’s and Judah’s request, but He promises His response would be “eye opening” for them. If Jeremiah and the people of Judah would approach the Lord with requests for deliverance from captivity and forgiveness of sin, the Lord would answer them by performing that which seemed impossible.

What are some of those miraculous, eye-opening things that they would see?
1. The specific events surrounding the deliverance of Judah from Babylon.
2. His forgiveness for their hard hearts and repeated acts of rebellion against Him.
3. The national and personal blessings that would be bestowed upon them following their forgiveness and deliverance.

Following this wonderful promise of answered prayer, the Lord then reiterates to Jeremiah that Judah would miraculously be delivered from Babylonian captivity, restored to the land of Israel and forgiven of their sins. (Jeremiah 33:4-8)

Why would the Lord do all of these miraculous works for Judah? So that He might receive all the honor and praise…

And it (Judah) shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and an honour before all the nations of the earth, which shall hear all the good that I do unto them: and they shall fear and tremble for all the goodness and for all the prosperity that I procure unto it.(Jeremiah 33:9)

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks these same principles that we see being applied to the physical nation of Israel, applies to each one of God’s people as members of His spiritual nation (the Israel of God).

Are you facing a seemingly impossible situation that is directly linked to disobedience to your Heavenly Father? As you read these words and the many other Bible texts that reveal the Lord’s love and readiness to forgive do you shrink back in unbelief?

Folks, the Lord has made it plain to us that nothing can separate us from His love, He is always waiting to forgive us, restore communion with us and bless us abundantly no matter what situation we may be facing.

What shall we then say to these things? If God [be] for us, who [can be] against us?
He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? [It is] God that justifieth.
Who [is] he that condemneth? [It is] Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
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.
(Romans 8:31-39)

These verses help us to understand that when a saint falls into unrepentant sin, this does not mean that he has lost his salvation, it is a matter of his close relationship with His Lord being hindered. Think of it this way…

When a child disobeys His parents it does not mean that he will be “kicked out” of the family?

No, it results in hindered communion with his parents… he knows he has disobeyed and his conscience plagues him concerning his disobedience. His parents are displeased with his disobedience and his will full rebellion against them and they will discipline him for his disobedience….but they DO NOT REMOVE HIM FROM THE FAMILY. They still love him, work for his good and long for forgiveness and restored communion with him.

 

This is how it is with our heavenly family as well. There can be hindered communion with the Father and the Son but, although we will be disciplined, we will never be cast from His presence…

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:
For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.
Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness.
Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.
Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees;
And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
(Hebrews 12:5-13)

It is only through confession of our sins and a turning from those sins that we will find unhindered communion and a restoration of peace in our hearts.

Turn to the Lord and allow Him to bless with forgiveness and a restoration of fellowship with Him. Allow Him to open your eyes to His miraculous love, faithfulness and mercy. He will once again restore peace to our hearts and a confident recognition of His presence in our life as you face the many storms of life.

 

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 

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

SIH’s Think On These Things: Hebrews 12:1-2

SIH TOTT ICONHappy New Year

My Commitment For 2014: Hebrews 12:1-2

 1) Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2) Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

INTRODUCTION:

As we come to a close of our Proverbs series, let me just say it has been a great blessing, and privilege, to share the Word of the Lord with you.  Thank you so much for your faithfulness in following the series.

Our next devotional series “Reflections of His Grace” will begin tomorrow.  This series is will a verse by verse daily devotional from the book of Ephesians.  We will normally cover two or three verses per devotion.  I would count it a great blessing from the Lord if you would join me in this series of devotions.

But for today, as we begin the New Year, I would like to share with you the text the Lord has laid on my heart as my own personal commitment for this coming year… Hebrews 12:1-2.

EXPOSITION:

The motivation for the commitment:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,

What are the “witnesses” being described here?  It is those whose faithful service to the Lord has been recorded in the Scriptures, especially those mentioned in the preceding chapter (Hebrews 11).

Folks, when we read of the faithfulness of David, Moses, Abraham and the others, we need to see that their faithfulness originated in the gracious intervention of the Lord in their lives.  They were faithful not because of themselves, but because of their Lord.  This gives us hope that, in spite of our many faults and hindrances, we too can be faithful servants of His.

The substance of the commitment:

let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

It is because of the examples set by these great Biblical characters of faith, that we can face our shortcomings, past sins, and difficult circumstances of life, and recognize that our Lord’s grace and greatness will overshadow these hindrances and enable us to remain faithful to Him.  Notice how these hindrances to our faithfulness are described as:
1. weights – anything in our lives that will “drag us down” and slow our service for Him. This is speaking of those things that are not sinful, in and of ourselves, but seek to produce fruits of unfaithfulness to Him. These could include: physical infirmities, ungodly acquaintances, or other circumstances in life.
2. sin – anything in our lives that “stands firmly opposed” to His will and His calling for us.  This is speaking of the different thoughts, desires, motives and actions that are sinful in nature.  This would include any of a number of sins including both sins of omission or commission.

Note the remedies for these are two-fold:

First, to lay aside the hindrances
The Greek term for “lay aside” has three aspects to it”:
a.  It means to “take it off” (like clothing)
b.  then to “cast it down”
c.  and finally to “walk away from it”

This three-fold description speaks for itself.  I can add nothing to the meaning of these instructions.

Secondly, to run with patience the God-given course for our lives –
the Greek term for patience means “to bear up under a burden”.   It describes a donkey that allows their owner to continue to pile a load upon its back without kicking it off or sitting down and refusing to bear it.

Folks, this should be our great desire this coming year… to take off our sins and hindrances, throw them down, and proceed without them; then to continue on the God-given course for our lives.  We can do this by patiently accepting our ministry and the responsibilities and opposition that go with it.

The focus of the commitment:
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith;  who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

How can we fulfill the substance of our commitment to Christ?  By keeping our focus on our Lord and all He has done for us.  We are to keep our eyes fixed upon and closely examine Jesus.  When we examine Him here is what we will find:
1.  His person

He is the author and finisher of our faith – in other words, He is the One that initiated and completed our salvation.  We owe Him our all because He has saved us from our sins and their eternal results.  How did He accomplish our salvation for us?

2. His work on our behalf
who for the joy that was set before himHe joyfully, willingly gave His all for us, He did when He:

endured the cross, – He patiently endured the cross (the word for “endured” is the same Greek word that we saw in vs 1 translated “patience”.  In other words, we are to “endure” in faithful service because He “endured” the cross for us.

despising the shame, He not only suffered and died on the cross but He endured the shame associated with it.  He was the sinless One who was looked upon and treated as if He was a rotten filthy sinner such as us.

and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 
As we continue to examine Him, we also see His current position as Lord over all, exalted to God’s right hand as His faithful Son who did all to please His heavenly Father.

SUMMARY:

Folks, this is the commitment the Lord has placed upon my heart… to put off and leave behind anything in my life that may hinder my service to Him so that I may be faithful to the ministry He has given to me.  My only hope to accomplish this seemingly impossible task is His marvelous grace.

As he sees fit, my heart’s desire is to keep my eyes upon Him and all He has done for me as the source of my motivation to serve Him in a way that brings honor and glory to Him and Him alone.

May we all seek to serve Him in greater ways this New Year.  Lord bless you.

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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:

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 -1: “The Nature Of The Church: A Local Visible Assembly”

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

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

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

 

 

THE STUDY:

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

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

The usage of “Ekklesia”

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

1.  A political assembly of people in Acts 19:32,39,41;
31) And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring [him] that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.
32) Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.
33) And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.
34) But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great [is] Diana of the Ephesians.
35) And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, [Ye] men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the [image] which fell down from Jupiter?
36) Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
37) For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.
38) Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.
39) But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
40) For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
41) And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.
(Acts 19:31-41)

2.  The physical nation of Israel in the wilderness in the OT in Acts 7:38;
37) This is that Moses, which said unto the children of Israel, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear.
38) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and [with] our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:
39) To whom our fathers would not obey, but thrust [him] from them, and in their hearts turned back again into Egypt,
40) Saying unto Aaron, Make us gods to go before us: for [as for] this Moses, which brought us out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.
41) And they made a calf in those days, and offered sacrifice unto the idol, and rejoiced in the works of their own hands.
 (Acts 7:37-41)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

15) Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16) But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17) And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
 (Matthew 18:15-17)

The of definition of “ekklesia”

The Greek word “ekklesia” contains two basic parts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SUMMARY:

Based on our studies so far we can see that the nature of the Lord’s church includes:
1.  An assembly of individuals
2.  A local assembly
3.  A visible assembly
4.  A called our assembly
5.  A unique assembly

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

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

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