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

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

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

Baptism as a picture of salvation from sins:

Baptism is immersion in water…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Luke 22:14-20)

 

THE SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

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 -6 “The Mission Of The Church: Evangelize The Lost”

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 sixth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the first responsibility given to the church in the Great Commission.  This is the responsibility to take the gospel message to a lost and dying world….

THE STUDY:

The First Responsibility Found In The Great Commission: Evangelize The Lost.

1. What Is The Gospel Message:

The clearest definition of the four parts of the gospel message is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8:

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;  By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain….”

 

Part #1 Christ’s Death

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Part #2 Christ’s Burial

And that he was buried,

 

Part #3 Christ’s Resurrection

and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

 

Part #4 The Witnesses To The Resurrection

And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:  After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep.   After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles.  And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

 

2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies in:

Matthew 28:18-20: To Make Disciples, or Students, Of Christ

 

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,…”

Taking the gospel to the lost is described as “teaching” in the above text.  The Greek word that is translated “teach” means to “to make a disciple, follower or student”.   In other words, the local church is to take the gospel message that is able to transform the lost into a disciple, or follower, of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The church is responsible to take the gospel message into all areas of the globe.  This is done through the support of missionaries and other ministries (print, radio, tv, internet ministries) that take the gospel worldwide.

 

 Mark 16:14-18: To Declare The Good News Of Christ

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 

The command to take the gospel to the lost is “preach the gospel “ in the gospel of Mark.  The Greek meaning of this phrase is “to declare publically the good news”.  The local assembly is to take the good news of Christ, His coming and His work and declare it to the public.

The gospel is not a message to be kept within the walls of the church but is to be taken out into the public arena sharing Christ with those who do not know Him.  In both Matthew and Mark, the church is told to “GO”, again teaching us to take the gospel into the world, not wait for the world to enter into the church.

The church services are meant to instruct and strengthen the members of the church so they can then declare the gospel to the world when they leave the assembly and live their lives among their lost family, friends, acquaintances and anyone they may come in contact with.

(Please note: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved”… this phrase is teaching us that, although belief is Christ is the only prerequisite to salvation, a willingness to be baptized is a strong indication that genuine belief has taken place in the heart of man.   If a person claims to believe in Christ, but is not willing to publically declare that faith by baptism, the authenticity of his faith must be questioned.  That’s why Christ is saying that the local church can give assurance of salvation to those “that believeth and is baptized”.  For those who lack a willingness to be baptized, great care must be exercised in giving them confidence in their salvation experience.)

 

 

Luke 24:33-50: To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message

And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.

Along with proclaiming the gospel message, the church is to proclaim man’s responsibility to receive the message by faith.  This is described by the phrase “repentance and remission of sins”.  As members of the local assembly were to tell others about Christ and His work, they are to also teach them their need of “repentance”.

The Greek word translated “repentance” means “to change the mind or attitude”.  The lost individual, as they hear the gospel, must change their attitude about Christ and His Work… instead of ignoring it, they must take it seriously; instead of rejecting it, they must accept it as truth; instead of laying it aside, they must apply it to their lives.  This change in attitude about Christ and His work will result in them turning from their sin to Christ, believing on Him as their Lord and Savior.  As this genuine repentance leads to belief in Him…. this then leads to the pardoning and freedom from the bondage of sin and its punishment.

Also, please note the local assembly is to begin by giving out the gospel to the area where it is located. in this case, Jerusalem and work outward taking the gospel worldwide.  The first priority of a local assembly should be its home area.  As the church grows in membership and financial ability it should then gradually increase its missionary outreach to all areas of the globe.

 

John 20:19-25: To be sent as Jesus was sent

as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you. 

The church being sent in to the world is now favorably compared to Christ being sent into the world.  In many ways the two sending are similar.  Some of these similarities are:

1. Being sent under Divine authority as ambassadors of a life giving message (John 3:17)

2. Being sent to reveal God’s Word to a lost and dying world (Hebs 1:1-2)

3. Seeking to do only those things that please our Lord (John 8:29)

The list is endless…

 

Acts 1:2-9: To Share our experience of Christ with others

 ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Declaring the gospel is described here as being “witnesses”.  The idea of a witness is “one that declares that which he has experienced”.  Especially this word is describing a “martyr” or one that is willing to given his all for the sake of proclaiming his message.  This helps the local church to understand both the content and importance of taking the gospel to the lost.

The content…The members of the church are to declare to others what they have seen and experienced in their relationship to Christ.  Many times people are timid to share Christ with others out of fear they do not have the right words to say.  When really all the Lord asks of us is to tell others about our experience with Christ.  Just tell others what He has done for us.  It is truly as simple as that.

The importance… as members of His local church, we are to be willing to give our all for the sake of the declaration of our wonderful experience with Christ.   As He has given His life for His church, so too it’s members are to give their lives for Him. (Eph 5:25)

Here in Acts, once again, we find the prioritization of the delivery of the gospel message in detail. The church is to begin in their local area and gradually move farther out as God supplies the ability.  Note the listing given with an example to be applied in our day and age… Jerusalem, the CITY where the church is located; Judaea, equivalent to the state in which the church is located; Samaria, the other states that make up the nation where the church is located; uttermost parts of the world, the other nations of the world.

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:

1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)

2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

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

As we studied the first part of the Great Commission that is given to His assemblies we have seen:

1.  The content of the gospel message:

Christ’s Death; Christ’s Burial; Christ’s Resurrection; The Witnesses To The Resurrection

2. The Responsibility to take the gospel to the lost is given to the Lord’s local assemblies is described as:

To make students Of Christ; To declare the good news of Christ; To reveal man’s responsibility to receive the gospel message; To be sent as Jesus was sent; To share our experience of Christ with others

3.  The priority of taking the Gospel into the world

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

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibility to take the gospel into a lost and dying world.  It is through the local church that we are prepared to go, given the authority to go, and given ongoing support to go.

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 -5 “The Mission Of The Church: The Great Commission”

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 fifth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s mission.  The mission the Lord has given to His churches is commonly, described as “The Great Commission.  Let’s take the next few studies to come to a better understanding of the mission of the Lord’s churches…

THE STUDY:

The Responsibilities and Recipients of The Great Commission Are Described…

 

1. The complete texts of the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:18-20

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, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  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.”   (Matthew 28:16-20)

Mark 16:14-18

Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

 

Luke 24:33-50

And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them,  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon.  And they told what things [were done] in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.  And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.  And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them [his] hands and [his] feet.  And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?   And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.  And he took [it], and did eat before them.  And he said unto them, These [are] the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and [in] the prophets, and [in] the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,  And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.  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.  And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

 

John 20:19-25

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.  But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.

 

Acts 1:2-9

Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:  To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:  And, being assembled together with [them], commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, [saith he], ye have heard of me.  For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.  When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.  And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.

 

 

2. The Responsibilities of The Great Commission

A. To Take The Gospel To The Lost, Locally and World-Wide:

Matthew: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations

Mark: Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luke: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And ye are witnesses of these things.

John:  as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.

Acts:  ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

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

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

Mark:  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Here Christ confirms that baptism is one PROOF of a genuine salvation experience.  If someone claims belief in Christ, but is not willing to publically confess Christ is their Savior, the authenticity of their experience must be questioned.

Luke: Not mentioned

John: Not mentioned

Acts:  Not mentioned

C. To Teach God’s Word To The Assembly Members To Equip Them For Service:

Matthew: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:

Mark:  Not mentioned

Luke:  Not mentioned

John:  Not mentioned

Acts:  Not mentioned

 

 

3. The Recipients of the Great Commission:

The assembled Apostles (ie the local church at Jerusalem) with, in some cases, other disciples who were assembled with them, when He delivered the Great Commission.

Matthew:  eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.

Mark:  the eleven as they sat at meat,

Luke:  the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, (We have the eleven Apostles assembled with other disciples.  Probably by this point in time, other saved individuals had joined the Lord’s assembly.)

John:  the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews,But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.  The other disciples therefore said unto him, (This is a gathering of the “disciples” which obviously included 10 of the eleven Apostles.  Note later in the account we are told that Thomas was not there but the other 10 Apostles confirmed they were present at the meeting and told Thomas what had taken place.)

Acts:   the apostles whom he had chosen:,… being assembled together with [them],

 

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches commission we have seen:

1.    That great commission was always given to the assembled Apostles that made up the first local church (church at Jerusalem).  (Please note the exception: In John, we saw that Thomas was missing but the rest of the eleven were present.)

2.  There are three basic responsibilities involved with the Great Commission:

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

In the next few parts to this series we will look at the responsibilities of the Great Commission in greater detail.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is the ONLY organization that has been given the responsibilities of the Great Commission.  Should we not all be supportive of the organization God has ordained to send His truth into the world for His honor and glory?

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,   Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,  That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;  That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,   May be able to comprehend with all saints what [is] the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;  And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,   Unto him [be] glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”   (Ephesians 3:14-21)

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

 

 

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #1

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?

 

Throughout our lifetime, we are called upon to choose between trusting the revelation of God’s Word or placing our faith in our life experiences.  Phrased another way, are we to make our life decisions based upon what our senses have revealed to us, or do we look to God’s Word as the only unquestionable  standard by which our life is to be directed?

This is study I would like us to come to an understanding of God’s will on this all important issue.  There will be three parts to our study for us:

1.  Should we trust the Word when we lack life experiences?
2.  Should we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?
3.  Should we trust the Word based upon Biblical revelation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17)

Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?  And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:  But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.  (Genesis 3:1-5)

The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.  Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it.  And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.   (Genesis 6:11-17)

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.  (Genesis 7:4)

And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed [is] the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.  But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.  And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.   (Luke 11:27-30)

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.  (John 20:27-29)

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.

 (Hebrews 11:7)

These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.  For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.  And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.  (Hebrews 11:13-16)

 

THE STUDY:

Throughout the history of mankind we find the ongoing tension that runs between the personal experiences of our life and the teachings found in God’s Word.  Some of the most well-known of these tensions include:

Example 1 – Adam and Eve’s Response To God’s Warning – 

In the garden of Eden, the Lord graciously warned Adam and Eve of the results of partaking of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  He goes further and explains that if this fruit is partaken of thou shalt surely die (Gen 2:17).

Here was the problem…. Adam and Eve had never personally experienced death (physical or spiritual) at this point in their lives, nor did they ever see it take place in the life of any creature in the garden.

Since they had never experienced death, for them to believe God’s warning, they must place their faith in God’s Word.  In doing so, they would be making God’s Word the standard for their decision making and their understanding of the consequences of eating the fruit of the tree.  However, if they chose to rely on their life experience, making them their standard for decision making, they would partake of the fruit believing that neither spiritual nor physical death would not be a result of their actions.

FROM THE STANDPOINT OF THEIR LIFE EXPERIENCES, GOD’S WARNING WAS EMPTY AND WORTHLESS.

This dilemma created an opening in which Satan could work. As a matter of fact, questioning the reliability of the Word was made the central theme of the temptation that was presented to them … But of the fruit of the tree which [is] in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.  And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:  (Genesis 3:3-4)

As the Word records for us, Adam and Eve chose to disbelieve the Word and to rely upon their life experience.  In doing so, they sinned against their Lord, experienced immediate spiritual death, would experience a future physical death, and brought both upon all of their descendants.

 

Example 2 – Noah’s Response To God’s Warning –

In Noah’s day, the Lord gave Noah a warning of a coming global flood that was brought upon the world because of the sinful condition of all mankind The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.  And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth.  And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.”  …”And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein [is] the breath of life, from under heaven; [and] every thing that [is] in the earth shall die.” …  For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth.” 

(Genesis 6:11-13,17; 7:4)

The Lord graciously, goes farther and expresses to Noah the manner in which he, and his family, can escape this coming destruction Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.  And this [is the fashion] which thou shalt make it [of]: The length of the ark [shall be] three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.  A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; [with] lower, second, and third [stories] shalt thou make it.   (Genesis 6:14-16)

Once again, we find Noah faced with the same dilemma as that of Adam and Eve.  Before the flood, we are told that the earth had never experienced rain.  The vegetation of the earth had been watered by a “mist” or a “dew” that fell upon the earth (Gen 2:5-6).  Noah had never experienced rain falling from heaven, nor any type of localized or worldwide flood taking place upon the earth.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. (Hebrews 11:7)

BASED UPON HIS LIFE EXPERIENCE, GOD’S WARNINGS WERE EMPTY AND WORTHLESS.

Noah faced the hard choice of relying upon his life experiences, which would tell him no flood was going to take place, or place his faith in the warnings of God, that made it clear the world would experience a worldwide flood.

In this case, Noah chose to trust the Word of God over his life experiences, he built the ark in approx. a 100 yr period, and he saved himself and his family according to the commands of the Lord.

 

Example 3 – God’s People’s Response To God’s Future Promises –

The last of this type of tension we will look at is a tension that involves each and every one of us.  It is the tension that lies between our experiences in this temporal life and the promises found in God’s Word concerning the blessings we will enjoy throughout eternity.

If we were to only believe in those promises that we have experienced, or seen in existence today, we would sadly miss out on some of the greatest sources of motivation, joy and peace we can experience during our walk in this world.

BASED UPON OUR LIFE EXPERIENCES, GOD’S PROMISES BECOME ABSOLUTELY IMPOSSIBLE “PIPE DREAMS” THAT HAVE NO BENEFIT FOR US.

In Hebrews 11:, in the midst of looking at many Godly men who placed their faith in the Word of the Lord above their human experiences on earth, we find a text that clearly explains the need for each of us to place the promises of the Word as the centerpiece of our walk with Him.

Note, these promises we are expected to rely upon are promises that we have not yet experienced, “not having received the promises”.  On the contrary, they are promises that have only been “seen afar off” (through their eyes of faith).

Note that they acted upon these promises “were persuaded of [them], and embraced [them], and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.”   This resulted in them not returning to their old country, but instead, consistently serving their Lord with hope.  “And truly, if they had been mindful of that [country] from whence they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned.  But now they desire a better [country], that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.   (Heb 11:13-16)

This was the motivating force behind the great “people of faith” found in this wonderful chapter.  This, too, should be the great motivating force in our life today.  But we can only look to these as legitimate sources of motivation for us if we accept, through faith, the testimony of God’s Word as utterly reliable.

However, if we were to insist that the Lord must “prove” to us the existence of these great and precious promises, we would be counted as no better than the Pharisees who demanded to see signs confirming Christ’s ministry and message, And it came to pass, as he spake these things, a certain woman of the company lifted up her voice, and said unto him, Blessed [is] the womb that bare thee, and the paps which thou hast sucked.  But he said, Yea rather, blessed [are] they that hear the word of God, and keep it.  And when the people were gathered thick together, he began to say, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.  For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation.”  (Luke 11:27-30)

Or, we would be placing ourselves on the same level as Thomas who required “proof” before he would accept the testimony of Christ, Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust [it] into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.  And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.  Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed [are] they that have not seen, and [yet] have believed.”    (John 20:27-29)

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard?…  If we take a minute to stop and think about our study, we can see the great importance this original question holds for us.  Two of the greatest events in human history centered upon this very issue.

When the personal experience of man was relied upon, we find the entrance of sin entering into the entire human race.  Condemnation and separation from God for all mankind immediately followed.  All of this took place, because Adam and Eve choose to place their own personal experience in a position of supremacy over the very Word of God in their decision making process.

When God’s Word was solely relied upon over personal experience, we find that mankind’s existence on earth was sustained.  This took place when Noah placed his faith in the Word of God motivating him to build the ark which allowed him and his family to escape the ravages of the flood.

Finally we have seen one area, among many, where this issue comes into play into each of our lives.  Every eternal promise the Lord has graciously given to us requires faith to be accepted as truth.  Our physical eyes tell us the promises of God CANNOT take place, but our eyes of faith tell us these things are AS GOOD AS DONE.  The very existence of our service to the Lord hangs in the balance on this issue.

If our physical eyes are reliable in discerning the spiritual things of God, then the record of God’s Word is not true, and we, categorically, have no reason to serve Him.

If however, we understand that our physical senses cannot be relied upon to discern the things of God, then we turn to our eyes of faith.  Through this faith, we can rest assured that His Word (and the promises therein) are reliable; our eternal future is secure in Christ; and we can joyfully face whatever this world may offer to us, realizing someday we will go home and be with our Lord forever and ever.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth concerning this very important subject.

 

For more lessons…

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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.”

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 3 – Faith/Belief

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

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

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

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

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

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

We now begin our study with blog entry #3…. Faith (or Belief) ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 16:29-34 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 13:36-39 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

John 1:10-14 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

John 3:14-17 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

John 3:35-36 (KJV)

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

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

John 6:32-47 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John 11:25-27 (KJV)

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

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

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

John 20:30-31 (KJV)

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

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

Rom 4:23-5:1 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

Eph 2:4-10 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1 John 5:10-13 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Saving Faith results in…

The removal of God’s wrath

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

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

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

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

The gift of eternal life

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

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

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

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

Being declared innocent of the sin we have committed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Faith and Repentance are two sides of the same coin

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 16:31 (KJV)

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

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

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

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of faith (or belief) in the salvation experience… In the following blog entries we will continue to study, in detail, the answer to the question “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

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

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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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.

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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.”

Easter Week Devotion: The Resurrection Of Christ

SIH STSTA ICONThe resurrection of Christ and the witnesses to that resurrection hold a key place within the Word of God. Both of these subjects are a part of the gospel message, the good news of Jesus and what He has done for His people…

1Cor 15:1-8 (KJV) –

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.”

In this study we will be looking at the details of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the witnesses to that resurrection.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Matt 28:1-8 (KJV)

In the end of the sabbath, … And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Mark 16:1-8 (KJV)

And when the sabbath was past… And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any [man]; for they were afraid.

Luke 24:1-12 (KJV)

Now upon the first [day] of the week,… Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

John 20:1-10 (KJV)

The first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early,… Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

THE STUDY:

The resurrection account in chronological order…

The Stone Rolled From The Door By An Angel of the Lord

Matt 28: 2-4 – And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead [men].

Mary Magdalene and “the other” Mary and Salome come to the sepulchre, look in and find it empty

Matt 28:1- In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first [day] of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre

Mark 16:1-3 – And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the [mother] of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. And very early in the morning the first [day] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun. And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great.

Luke 24:1-3 – Now upon the first [day] of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain [others] with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus.

John 20:1- The first [day] of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

At seeing the empty tomb, Mary Magdalene runs to tell other disciples leaving the other Mary and Salome behind.

John 20:2- Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.

The Angel of the Lord appears to the remaining women, after they enter the tomb, and give them instructions.

Matt 28:4-6- And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.

Mark 16:4-7- And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him. But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Luke 24:4-8 – And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down [their] faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words,

Peter and John leave Mary Magdalene and leave for the tomb.

John 20:3- Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple,

Before Peter and John’s arrival, the women (the other Mary and Salome) obey the angel and find the Peter and John and the other disciples telling them what had taken place.

Matt 28:8- And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.

Mark 16:8- And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any [man]; for they were afraid.

Luke 24:9-11- And returned from the sepulchre, and told all these things unto the eleven, and to all the rest. It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary [the mother] of James, and other [women that were] with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.

Peter and John arrive at the tomb

Luke 24:12- Then arose Peter, and ran unto the sepulchre; and stooping down, he beheld the linen clothes laid by themselves, and departed, wondering in himself at that which was come to pass.

John 20:6-9- So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre. And he stooping down, [and looking in], saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in. Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie, And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself. Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed. For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.

Peter and John leave the tomb

John 20:10 – Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.

What a confusing, joyful, and terrifying morning this must have been for the followers of Christ… so many questions and so few answers. There are a few very significant verses that help us to understand in the state of mind of the followers of Christ following all the excitement of this blessed Sunday morning…

Matt 28:8, Mark 16:8 – The Women: “fear”, “afraid”

Matt 28:8 – The Women: “great joy”

Mark 16:8 – The Women: “trembled”

Mark 16:8 – The Women: “amazed”

Luke 24:12 – Peter: “wondering”

John 20:8 – John: “believed”

Please take special note of John’s reaction… in the midst of such an exciting, extraordinary joyous and fearful event… the Bible simply says that John “and he saw, and believed”. What faith! Oh that we all could be as the Apostle John!

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

As we look at this account of that wondrous Sunday morning let us all, on a dialy basis, be thankful for the resurrection of our Lord. It is by this resurrection we can rest assured that His Word is true, His Work of redemption is complete, and that He is truly the Son of God, King of King and Lord of Lords!

For those who have yet to be saved…

This account as written in God’s Word is the only trustworthy and reliable account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This resurrection is absolute proof that Jesus was who He claimed to be, The Savior of the World who has brought salvation to His people….

Matt 1:21 (KJV) – And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Such a miraculous event is bound to work up doubts in any of our minds. As we have seen, even His followers, in the early hours of that Sunday morning had many doubts about what had actually taken place. But thanks be to our Lord for He had allowed MANY witnesses to see Him following His resurrection. Many witnesses saw Him to prove beyond doubt that He had arisen and His work of redemption on the cross has been brought to completion…

1Cor 15:4-8 (KJV) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

Turn from your sin to the Lord Jesus Christ. Come before Him realizing that He alone can save you from your sins. Believe that He died upon the cross bearing your sin. And then rest in the knowledge that He arose from the dead, to prove all of this is true.

If you have any further questions about the salvation that our Lord so graciously gives, please feel free to read my blog page… “How to have a relationship with God”. Otherwise, you can contact a Biblke based church, they will be glad to answer any of your questions about salvation that you may have. Or, you are welcome to contact me via a blog comment or email, it will be my privilege to answer any questions you may have about salvation and the work of Christ.

May the Lord bless you with His salvation.

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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.

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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.”

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