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Category Archives: Luke 01:

“A Christian’s Guide To Having A Merry Christmas”

SIH STSTA ICON(Or, Three Steps To Have A Blessed, Satisfying, Christmas Season)

 

Have you ever had an empty feeling on December 26th?   You know, after Christmas Day has passed and you look back at all the planning that had taken place… all the work that had been done, and all the money that had been spent… you realize that the day had flown by without any lasting results. Now all you have left is an empty feeling, weariness, and a half years’ worth of debt.

We can all understand why in many cases, this is the lot of a lost and dying world. For those who have never experienced God’s grace in their lives, not recognizing Jesus as their Lord and Savior, it only makes sense that the Christmas holidays are like any holiday for them. Christmas is simply another opportunity for them to become anxious, frustrated and wasteful, looking for fleshly satisfaction. It is no wonder their holiday is empty and void of true happiness while filled with frustration, weariness, anxiety and debt.

But things should be different for us as Christians.   The Christmas holiday is a time set apart by the world to celebrate the coming of our Lord and Savior.   The Christmas holiday reminds us of the greatest display of God’s love being shown to mankind… the sending of His Son to this world to live, and be sacrificed, for our sake.

Christmas is not only a time for Christians to joyously recall God’s wondrous love, but also it holds many opportunities to reach others for Christ. The world is much more receptive to the message of Christ and his work during the Christmas season than any other time of the year… what a wonderful opportunity for each of God’s people to reach others for Christ through their words, deeds and lifestyle!

But sadly, in spite of all these reasons for joy and happiness, Christmas can end up being a time of sadness, frustration and emptiness for Christians as well as the lost. These things should not be so. Hence, the Word gives us the three keys to finding true joy, peace and spiritual satisfaction…

 

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luk 2:14 KJV – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

 

THE STUDY:

In our text for this Bible study (Luke 2:14), it is very important that we understand its context.  Our text contains a portion of the very first angelic message that was given by God following the birth of His Son, Jesus Christ, in Bethlehem (Luke 2:7-12).  Also, please notice our text is a message delivered by “a multitude of heavenly hosts” whose intent was to bring praise to the Only True God (Luke 2:13).

Within the message of these heavenly host…  Luke 2:14 KJV – “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men”… we find three basic principles that are given to all of God’s people. Within these three principles, we find the very purpose and foundation of Christ’s ministry, as well as the keys to Christian’s celebrating Christ’s birth in a God-honoring way.

The three principles are:

  1. “Glory to God in the highest” – God being appreciated, glorified and served in everything that is done.
  2. “on earth peace” – Harmony, quietness, rest between God and men.
  3. “good will toward men”– Unselfish desires for prosperity and blessing for others.

Folks, with the coming of Christ to the earth, God was not only glorifying Himself, but He was also opening up the pathway for men to receive these blessings of peace and goodwill.  This pathway would be revealed through the teachings of Christ, and would be secured through the work of Christ on the cross.

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Christ, Himself, during His life on earth accomplished all three of these goals perfectly…

  1. God’s glory was revealed in Christ’s life –

Joh 17:4 KJV – “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.”

  1. Peace between God and Man was secured through Christ’s work –

Eph 2:14 KJV – “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;”

  1. Unselfish desires for the good of others was shown by The Father’s giving of Christ to the world –

John 3:16 KJV – “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.”

God the Father’s goals in sending Christ was perfectly accomplished… He was glorified, His way of peace was given, and His goodwill was shown to man.   Christ, during His life accomplished these goals, and in doing so, set the perfect example for each one of us to follow.

—-

When we understand that these were the three goals that God had in mind when He sent Christ to this earth, it only makes sense that these should be the same goals for us, as Christians as we celebrate Christ’s coming. This allows God’s people to actively participate in accomplishing what God intended to take place at Christ’s first coming.

If this is the case, by us striving to fulfill these three goals during our Christmas celebration, we are actively fulfilling God’s will for our lives, and accomplishing much for the cause of Christ.  We are glorifying Him while helping others to come to Christ and grow in God’s grace, reaping eternal rewards for ourselves.  What a  wonderful legacy and spiritual accomplishment for each one of us to leave behind,  as each Christmas holiday comes and goes and our lifetime passes as “a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanisheth away” (James 4:14 KJV).

 

—-

So how do we fulfill these three principles during our Christmas celebrations?

  1. God’s glory revealed – We are to judge everything we do during the Christmas holiday through the lens of God’s glory.

As we make our plans and proceed through our holiday may we always ask these two simple questions…

“Does this plan, or activity, bring honor and glory to my Lord?”

“How can my words, or actions, during this activity be used of the Lord to bring honor and glory to His name?”

We are then to proceed with our activities motivated by a singleness of heart to glorify God in our lives…

1 Cor 10:31 KJV – “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

 

 

 

  1. Peace secured between God and Man – During this holiday season, may we be particularly aware of the opportunities open to us to share the gospel message with the lost around us. In doing so, we are giving them the opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior which works peace between God and the lost.

But also, during this time of year we need to be working towards peace between ourselves and others around us.  Are we holding any grudges?  Have we harmed someone with apologizing to them?  Have we somehow caused friction to take place between others?  Is anyone at enmity with us not due to anything we have done?

If so, it is during this time of year that we should be working towards mending those fences.  Many times, simply an apology will do, in other cases, or actively seeking to make amends of a situation or forgiveness on our part will be necessary to bring a healing to these wounds.  If we truly desire to honor the Father’s goal in sending Christ to the earth, we are to do whatever is necessary, when possible, to work reconciliation between ourselves and those with who we suffer division.

Ephesians 4:32 – “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

 

 

 

  1. Unselfish desires for good of others above self – Finally, during this season, we will be blessed with many opportunities to help others by humbling ourselves and, at our personal expense, to meet their needs. The basis of our help should not be limited to those who “deserve” our help, those who “appreciate” our help, nor those who we are “responsible” to help.  Our giving of sacrificial help towards others should be a reflection of our Lord’s sacrifice of himself for us who gave himself for those who did not deserve it, nor did they appreciate it.

Luk 20:13-15 KJV – “Then said the lord of the vineyard, What shall I do? I will send my beloved son: it may be they will reverence him when they see him.   But when the husbandmen saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, This is the heir: come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.  So they cast him out of the vineyard, and killed him. What therefore shall the lord of the vineyard do unto them?” 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, by seeking to do the will of God, and use the first coming of Christ in the way that God has desired, we cannot help but feel as if we have accomplished much during the holiday season.   Glorifying God, working peace with those who are estranged from us, and sacrificially helping others who are in need, and setting a Godly example for our family and friends, are great accomplishments in deed.  All of these not only result in temporal gain, but more important they hold great spiritual rewards for God’s people in the world that is to come.

When we are graced by God, allowed to accomplish these goals this holiday season, and Christmas comes to a close, we will be able to look back and see that we have accomplished great things in His name.  Suddenly all the gifts, decorations, social gatherings and other things of this world will take a new, much less significant meaning in our lives.  There will be no reason for frustrations, emptiness, and sadness, for we can know that we have sought to bring about God’s purposes for Christ’s coming… His eternal glory, peace on earth, and goodwill towards all men.

Come to think about it, why not celebrate the first coming of Christ during every day of the year?  We can do this by seeking to fulfill these 3 goals everyday of our lives!

 

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Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 4)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.”  (1 Corinthians 12:4)

 

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.

There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.

2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.

3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local  assemblies.

We will continue our study of the accrediting gifts by looking at begin studying the Accrediting Gifts that involve SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)

In our last lesson we began to take a look at the gift of “diverse kinds of tongues” that are found in the division of accrediting gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.  In particular, we looked at the first time that the gift of tongues was exercised on the Day of Pentecost as recorded in Acts 2:1-24…

1.  The gift was given to the local church at Jerusalem, not to believers in general (vs 1)
2.  The gift was given following the local assembly being baptized IN the Spirit (not BY the Spirit) (vs 2)
3.  The gift was given following the Spirit filling the church members (vs 4)
4.  The gift had a visible manifestation: tongues of fire sitting on their heads (vs 3);
5.  The gift had an audible manifestation: speaking in other human languages that were unknown to the speakers but known to the hearers (vs 4-11)
6.  The Word of God was used to clearly explain what had taken place amid the confusion (vs 12-21)
7.  The message proclaimed through the gift of tongues was proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. (vs 11-24)

Following this event, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned.  This principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”.  This principle states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.”  This is the case with the gift of tongues.  This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Laying On Of Apostles’ Hands: The Church At Ephesus; The Samaritan Church

Not only did the gift of tongues take place following the baptism in the Spirit of the church at Jerusalem (Jewish local assembly) and the church in the house of Cornelius (Gentile local assembly), but it also given to local assemblies through the laying on of the apostles’ hands.  We can see this taking place in Acts 19:1-7 (Ephesus local assembly) and also it is implied to have taken place in Acts 8:14-25 (local assembly at Samaria).

This will be our study for this lesson (Acts 19:1-7 and 8:14-25)…

ACTS 19:

Vs 1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, 

During Paul’s travels, he arrives at Ephesus and finds those who were followers of Jesus.

 

Vs 2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Paul then asked them if they had “received the Holy Ghost” since they believed.  By this question, Paul was not asking them if they had been indwelled by the Holy Ghost.  Every believer in Christ receives the indwelling Spirit AT SALVATION (Romans 8:9, Ephesians 1:13-14).  Keep in mind, Paul said “since you believed”. This tells us Paul recognized them as true believers and, therefore, he recognized they had already received the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Paul’s question was referring to them receiving the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost in the midst of their group.    They answered that they had not even heard of the existence of the Holy Ghost.  (The implied answer to Paul’s question was “No, we have not received the empowering ministry of the Holy Ghost among us.)  This implied to Paul that they had not yet been formed into a local assembly.

 

Vs 3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.

Paul’s next question involved their baptism.  Keep in mind their baptism, would be the first step to them entering into a local assembly.  If their baptism was not Scriptural, or if it was non-existent, they would not be a legitimate local assembly.

They responded that their baptism was “unto John’s baptism”.  In other words, they had experienced a legitimate baptism that was administered by John the Baptist.  We know John’s baptism was a Scriptural baptism because we are told he was “sent by God” (John 1:6) and Jesus, Himself, submitted to his baptism (Matthew 3:13-17).  If John’s baptism was not valid, Christ would have never submitted to it.

Vs 4-5 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Paul then recounts for them the nature of the Scriptural baptism that they had received.  This would reinforce in their minds that they were legitimately baptized in the name of Christ.

Paul’s two sentence quote begins with “John verily baptized …” and ends with “…they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus”.  This is a very important point:

When we are told “When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”…

1.  IT IS NOT SAYING THAT THE BELIEVERS AT EPHESUS WERE RE-BAPTIZED BY PAUL.

2.  This sentence is continuation of the quotation of Paul.  In this second sentence of his teaching, he is recounting to the Ephesus believers that those who received John’s baptism were baptized in the name of Jesus.  In other words, he was reaffirming the validity of John’s baptism which they had previously received.

 

Vs 6-7  And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.  And all the men were about twelve.

Once Paul had affirmed the validity of their baptism, he then recognized that they were prepared to become a local church.  He then forms them into a church by the laying on his hands.  This resulted in the Holy Ghost being given to empower their assembly. The receipt of the Holy Spirit by their assembly was shown by the exercise of the gift of tongues (both the visible and audible aspects as seen in Acts 2:) and the gift of prophesy.  Both of these not only enabled the local assembly to minister but it also accredited their assembly as an authorized assembly for worship and a container of divine truth.

 

In our next example of the laying on of the Apostles’ hands resulting in tongues speaking, the tongues speaking is implied not actually stated…

Acts 8:

Vs 14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

When the Apostles heard that Samaria had heard the Word and accepted the message by faith, they sent to Samaria two Apostles to continue their instruction and establish a local assembly there.

 

Vs 15-16 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:  (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)

The two visiting Apostles prayed for this group of believers that they might “receive the Holy Ghost” (empowered by the Spirit as an assembly) see Acts 19:2 for more details about this phrase.

(Up to this point in time, the Holy Spirit had not “fallen upon” their assembly (speaking of the Spirit coming upon them displayed by tongues of fire as in Acts 2:).

Why did they pray for this?  The Apostles recognized that these believers were properly prepared for church membership… they had been baptized in water in the name of Christ which, along with salvation, is the prerequisite needed for church formation and membership.   Once the Apostles established that these believers had been properly prepared for to become a local assembly, they prayed for the assembly to be established and empowered.

 

Vs 17 Then laid they [their] hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

The Apostles then laid their hands upon the group of believers bringing the assembly into existence.  This resulted in the empowering of the assembly by the Holy Ghost which came upon them (implied is the indication of this coming by tongues of fire and speaking of tongues.)  Clearly, what took place in this assembly is the same type of manifestation as that of the Ephesian assembly that we have just seen in Acts 19:.   Both of these accounts (Acts 19: and Acts 8: align themselves with the demonstration of the Spirit’s presence and empowering as seen in the Acts 2: Pentecost event.)

 

Vs 18-19  And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,  Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.

When Simon visibly saw … the Greek word translated “ saw” speaks of visibly examining closely. In other words, Simon studied with his eyes the visible proof of the Spirit coming upon the members of the assembly (the tongues of fire).

When he saw this display of the Spirit’s power, he offered to pay money for the ability to bestow this miraculous gift upon others.

Simon desired the ability to bestow this gift upon others for his own personal benefit.  Perhaps he desired it to gain fame and recognition or, perhaps, for financial benefit.  Also his thinking that this ability could be purchased with money, demeaned the very spiritual nature and divine purpose of the gift, making it a simple carnal, business venture.

These two issues clearly showed the nature of his request and the intent of his heart in this matter.  It was obvious that Simon’s fleshly desire for the gift flowed from spiritual blindness, selfishness and greed.

 

Vs 20-23 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.  Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.  Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.  For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and [in] the bond of iniquity.

Peter then addresses this request made by Simon.  Based upon Simon’s request, through the gift of discerning of spirits, Peter perceived that:

1.  “Thy money perish with thee” – Simon was headed for total ruin and ultimate destruction

2.  “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter:”  – Simon had no claim upon this ability for three reasons:
a. this ability was only possessed by those who held the office of Apostle.
b. Simon’s motives were sinful.
c. Simon as a lost individual who was not the servant of the Lord, nor member of his church.

3.  “for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.”  – His motives were sinful.

4.  “Repent therefore of this thy wickedness,”  – He was in dire need of repentance – this sin that could easily snowball and grow worse

5.  “and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.” – He needed to pray for forgiveness from the Lord

6.  “I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness” – He was a lost man drowning in poisonous acid of sin

7.  “and [in] the bond of iniquity.” – He was a slave in servitude of injustice and wickedness

 

Vs 24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.

At this point, Simon appears to heed the warnings given to him by Peter and asks for Peter to prayerfully intervene on his behalf.  We are not told of his conversion, nor of any fruits of repentance being shown by him.

Perhaps he was genuinely saved and the Bible simply does not record the event, or perhaps he is only showing a worldly, carnal type of repentance that did not result in salvation nor a changed life (2 Corinthians 7:9-11).   One point that brings his desire for prayer to be questioned is the motive for his request… “that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.”  It appears that he only wanted to escape the punishment of his sin, with no sorrow that he has sinned against the Lord and His local church.  This would seem to imply a carnal type of repentance.

Vs 25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

The Apostles continue to teach the Word of the Lord to this newly formed church and then preached the Word to many villages on the way back to Jerusalem.

We now must take a quick look at Acts 9:10-19 …

10) And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord.

11) And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,

12) And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

13) Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

14) And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

15) But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

17) And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

18) And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

19) And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

This event is not the same type of event as we were looking at in Acts 19: and Acts 8:.  Please note the following comparison:

TEXT THE BESTOWER THE RECIPIENT THE RESULT PURPOSE
NOTE  THE SIMILARITIES… APOSTLES… LOCAL ASSEMBLIES… RECEPTION AND MANIFESTATION… TO ESTABLISH AND EMPOWER…
Acts 19:1-7 Paul Church at Ephesus Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues & Prophecy To establish / empower local church
Acts 8:14-25 John and Peter Church at Samaria Reception: Of SpiritManifestation: Tongues To establish / empower local church
COMPARE TO… NOT APOSTLES… NOT LOCAL ASSEMBLIES… NO RECEPTION NOR MANIFESTATION… NO ESTABLISHING NOR EMPOWERING …
Acts 9:10-19 Ananias, a disciple Saul (Paul), an individual Restoration Of Health“Filling” Of The Spirit To physically heal & prepare Saul for great service and suffering.

(Notes On Above Table: 

1.  As you can clearly see, in every category there are distinct similarities between the events found in Acts 19: and Acts 8: and distinct differences with the event found in Acts 9:.   Acts 9: cannot be equated with the events of Acts 19: and 8:. 

2.  The meaning of the phrase “Filling of the Spirit” will be covered in great detail later in our study.  But for now, the basic idea of Spirit “filling” is the Lord taking control of every aspect of one’s being.  This is a far cry from a local assembly “receiving” the Spirit to establish and empower the assembly.)

3. Many times those “filled with the Spirit” did not speak in tongues – Lk 1:15, 1:67, 4:1, Acts 4:8, 4:31, 7:55, 11:24

Please notice with the completion of this study in Acts 19: and Acts 8:, we have now seen every time in the Bible that the gift of tongues is exercised…

Please notice that in both the above events (Acts 19: and Acts 8:)

1. The receipt of the Holy Spirit was to a local church to empower them for ministry, NOT TO AN INDIVIDUAL

2. The receipt of the Holy Spirit resulted from the laying on of the hands of the Apostles.

3. The 2 aspects (tongues of fire and speaking in unknown human tongues) of the gift of tongues were present in both cases, specifically mentioned in one and implied in the other.

When we put this together with our previous studies when tongues were exercised (Acts 2:, Acts 10:-11:) please notice that:

1.  The receipt of the Holy Spirit only applies to the local assemblies.  NEVER an individual.

2.  The receipt of the Holy Spirit can take place following:

a. the local assembly being baptized in the Holy Spirit or

b. the laying on of hands of the Apostles.

NEVER are they received by individuals, nor part from baptism in the Spirit or laying on of hands of Apostles.

3.  The gift of tongues always includes:

a. both the visual aspect (tongues of fire) and

b. the audible aspect (speaking in human tongues unknown to the speaker)

Is this the “gift” of tongues that we see being exercised in today’s time?  None of the above three basic principles are seen in today’s “tongues gift”.

In our next study, we will look at Paul’s instructions on how the gift of tongues should be exercised in the Lord’s local churches.

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts) 

Act 2:1-24

And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.  And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.   Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.   And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?  Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,  Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.  And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?  Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.  But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:  For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.  But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;  And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:  And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:  And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:  The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:  And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:  Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Received By the laying on of the Apostles hands.

But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.  (Romans 8:9)

In whom ye also [trusted], after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  (Ephesians 1:13-14)

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.  But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?  And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer [it to be so] now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.  And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:  And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.  (Matthew 3:13-17)

There was a man sent from God, whose name [was] John.  (John 1:6)

Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing.  For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, [what] clearing of yourselves, yea, [what] indignation, yea, [what] fear, yea, [what] vehement desire, yea, [what] zeal, yea, [what] revenge! In all [things] ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.  (2 Corinthians 7:9-11)

Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

SIH STSTA ICON(Author’s Note: Due to the length of this Bible study, I have explained many of the Scripture verses in a very general, basic way.  If you have any questions concerning this Bible Study please feel free to contact me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.  I will be answer any emails promptly.)  

With the presidential debates taking place, I thought it would be a good time to review what the Bible teaches about some of the moral societal issues of today.  At the forefront of these issues are abortion and homosexuality (and same sex unions).  In today’s blog, I would like to center our attention on abortion.  In a later blog entry we will look at homosexuality and same sex-marriages.

Let’s begin today’s look at the Scriptural teachings on abortion.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 20:13 (KJV) Thou shalt not kill.

Matt 19:18 (KJV) He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Rom 13:9 (KJV)  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rev 22:14-15 (KJV) Blessed [are] they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.  For without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Matt 18 (KJV) At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Matt 19:13-15 (KJV) Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put [his] hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid [his] hands on them, and departed thence.

Gen 25:22-23 (KJV) And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If [it be] so, why [am] I thus? And she went to enquire of the LORD.  And the LORD said unto her, Two nations [are] in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and [the one] people shall be stronger than [the other] people; and the elder shall serve the younger.

Luke 1:41 (KJV) And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:

Luke 2:12-16 (KJV) And this [shall be] a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.  And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

Job 3:3 (KJV) Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Luke 1:36 (KJV) And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren.

Num 12:12 (KJV) Let her not be as one dead, of whom the flesh is half consumed when he cometh out of his mother’s womb.

Luke 1:43 (KJV) And whence [is] this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?

Ps 51:5 (KJV) Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Job 31:13-15 (KJV)  If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me; What then shall I do when God riseth up? and when he visiteth, what shall I answer him? Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Ps 139:13 (KJV) For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Ps 22:9-10 (KJV) But thou [art] he that took me out of the womb: thou didst make me hope [when I was] upon my mother’s breasts.  I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou [art] my God from my mother’s belly.

Gal 1:15 (KJV) But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called [me] by his grace,

Jer 1:4-5 (KJV) Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, [and] I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Isa 49:1 (KJV) Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Luke 1:15 (KJV) For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.

Psa 139:14-16 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully [and] wonderfully made: marvellous [are] thy works; and [that] my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, [and] curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all [my members] were written, [which] in continuance were fashioned, when [as yet there was] none of them.

Deut 22:25-27 (KJV) But if a man find a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man force her, and lie with her: then the man only that lay with her shall die: But unto the damsel thou shalt do nothing; [there is] in the damsel no sin [worthy] of death: for as when a man riseth against his neighbour, and slayeth him, even so [is] this matter: For he found her in the field, [and] the betrothed damsel cried, and [there was] none to save her.

Lev 20:11-17 (KJV) And the man that lieth with his father’s wife hath uncovered his father’s nakedness: both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them. And if a man lie with his daughter in law, both of them shall surely be put to death: they have wrought confusion; their blood [shall be] upon them…. And if a man take a wife and her mother, it [is] wickedness: they shall be burnt with fire, both he and they; that there be no wickedness among you… And if a man shall take his sister, his father’s daughter, or his mother’s daughter, and see her nakedness, and she see his nakedness; it [is] a wicked thing; and they shall be cut off in the sight of their people: he hath uncovered his sister’s nakedness; he shall bear his iniquity.

Ezek 18:20 (KJV) The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

Rom 12:17-21 (KJV) Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but [rather] give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance [is] mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.  Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Titus 2:4 (KJV) That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

1Cor 13:4-7 (KJV)  Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

John 15:13 (KJV) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Matt 23:37 (KJV)  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, [thou] that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under [her] wings, and ye would not!

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine]. And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

Most, if not all of us, understand that the taking of innocent life is sinful.  Both in the Old and New Testaments, we find this teaching clearly on display…

“Thou shalt not kill” is not only a part of the Old Testament law (Ex 20:13), but it is also reaffirmed by Christ Himself in the New Testament (Matt 19:18).  Also, we find the Apostle Paul repeating the murder prohibition in Romans 13:9.  Finally, we see clearly that those who are found guilty of the sin of murder will be restricted from heaven and eternally judged for their sin (Rev 22:14-15)  The Bible is clear… murder is a sin in God’s eyes punishable by eternal death.

The Lord Jesus also made it plain that young children were to have special protection, attention and care given to them (Matt 18:1-6, Matt 19:13-15).

In our study of abortion, if we accept that the taking of innocent life is sinful, the question then becomes… does a fetus, in its mother’s womb possess life?  If so, at what point does its life come into existence?   At whatever point the fetus possesses life, the abortion procedure becomes murder.  This is the issue that we are going to examine in this study.

II. A fetus in the womb is considered a child and the pregnant woman is considered the child’s mother.

In Genesis 25:22-23, twins in their mother’s womb are given the title “children”.  The Hebrew word for children is Ben…. It is the common word used to describe children throughout the OT.  In Luke 1:41, John the Baptist while yet in his mother’s womb is described as “babe”.  The Greek word for babe is the word brephos…. This same Grk word is used in Luke 2:12-16 to describe Christ, the babe that was wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger in Bethlehem.

In both of the above examples, we can clearly see that based upon vocabulary usage, the Bible does not differentiate between a babe in its mother’s womb and a babe that has been born into this world.

You can also see this principle in Job 3:3 where we are told that it was a “man child” that was conceived in his mother’s womb.  Luke 1:36 tells us that it was a “son” that was conceived.

In Numbers 12:12 – we find that even in the case of a woman who has given birth to a still born child.  She is still considered a mother, because her child had possessed life while the baby was within her womb.   This same principle is presented in Luke 1:43 when a pregnant Mary is described as the “mother of my Lord”

III. A fetus in the womb is considered a distinct human being with whom the Lord actively intervenes.

In Psa 51:5 the psalmist describes himself, at conception, as “I” and “me”.  Pointing to his personhood beginning with his conception, throughout his mother’s pregnancy and birth and then throughout his life outside the womb.  This can also be seen in Job 31:13-15, where Job describes himself in the womb as “I”, “me” and “us”. In Psa 139:13, the psalmist says “thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb”. Once again, we can see that during his time in his mother’s womb, he was an individual human ( “me”) that was simply “covered” in the womb.

In Psalm 22:9-10 we are told that God was in control of the conception, formation and birth of the child.  This is proof that He was the child’s God even from his mother’s womb.

The Apostle Paul was called by God to his ministry while he was yet in his mother’s womb in Gal 1:15.  The same holds true for Jeremiah (Jer 1:4-5), Isaiah (Isa 49:1), and John The Baptist (Luke 1:15).

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

In Psa 139:14-16, we find the development of the fetus is in view.  Please notice the 2 stages of development include….

1. the initial formation of genetic material (at conception when the seed meets the egg) “in thy book all were written… when as yet there was none of them.”

2.  the continual forming of the body (based upon the dictates of the genetic material) “in continuance was fashioned” The continual forming and growth of the baby from coneption forward is a sign of the baby possessing life from conception forward.

In other words, the Lord made the Psalmist “in secret” (ie in his mother’s womb – “lowest parts of the earth”) .   When the Lord first made the Psalmist, he was “yet unperfect” (undeveloped) .  However, even though he was undeveloped, all the genetic instructions (“in thy book all my members were written”) were present .   The baby’s body, organs etc, were not physically in existence (“as yet when there was none of them”) although they were in existence in the genetic code.

The baby was in existance and an individual human being from conception.  As the baby grows and develops (following the genetic instructions that are received at conception) the life within the fertilized egg is clearly seen.

Here, we find the answer to the question, “When does the baby receive life while in the womb?”  The Bible makes it plain that the genetic makeup of the child was existing from the very beginning of its formation.  This same genetic code is proof that the child is not simply a part of the mothers’ body.  On a genetic level the baby existed, in it’s entirety from conception.  Add to that the principle of growth and development immediately beginning at conception and we have a clear answer to our question.  The baby’s life began at conception…. the baby existed in it’s entirety at conception and exhibited growth and development from that point forward.

V.  What About Rape or Incest… Is Abortion Allowed In These Cases?

Both Rape and Incest are horrible sins in the eyes of the Lord (Lev 20:11-17, Deut 22:25-27). Any victim of these brutal acts should be treated with the greatest amount of concern, compassion and aid.  As Christians, we have the responsibility to help these victims in any way possible.

In Eze 18:20 we find a basic Biblical principle that I believe applies in these cases…. “the son shall bot bear the iniquity of father”…  Although a pregnancy may have come about due to the heinous sinful act of another, the child should not be punished for the sin of their father.  In other words, taking the child’s life, simply because the child was conceived in a sinful manner (rape, incest) cannot be defended.

Please keep mind, although the child may have been conceived as the result of sin, the murder of the child cannot be justified.  Two wrongs do not make a right, nor is a murder justified by the act of rape or incest.  In Rom 12:17-21… we are reminded that the Biblical method of dealing with wickedness is to “overcome evil with good”.  In other words,  to “recompense” one evil act with another evil act is of no spiritual value.  But by displaying love and kindness to others in the midst of wickedness is glorifying to the Lord who set us

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

VI.  What About Abortion To Protect The Life of the Mother?

One of the most difficult situations a mother can face is to know that by giving birth to her child may endanger her life.  Anyone in this situation should prayerfully, consider the Biblical teachings on the Mother/Child love relationship.

In Titus 2:4 young mothers are told to” love their children”.   1 Cor 13:4-7 helps us to understand that the basis of a true, Biblical love is self-sacrifice.  Both of these verses, when viewed together, helps us to understand that a mother’s role is one of self-sacrifice… constantly working for the good of the child even at great personal cost.  That great personal cost may even extend to the giving of one’s life.

In John 15:13, our Lord tells us that “greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  This principle applies to a mother and child as illustrated by our Lord in Matthew 23:37… where the Lord speaks of a mother hen gathering her chicks under her wings, protecting them from harm at the risk of her own life.

In the rare event that a pregnancy puts at risk the mother’s life… would it not be proper for the mother to be willing to risk her life for the sake of her unborn child?

VII. Is There Any Example of Someone Being Punished For Harming A Child In The Womb?

In Ex 21:22-23 we find the case of a pregnant woman who is accidently harmed during a fight between two men.  In this case, if she gives birth prematurely due to the injury she received, the party causing her injury was to be “punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him”.  The implication is that the child is prematurely born but does not suffer harm nor death.

However, these verses go on to explain if “mischief” follows.  IE if the child is permanently harmed or dies then “thou shalt give life for life”.  The offender must pay for the mischief that befalls the child due to the premature birth.  If the child dies due to the premature birth then, the offender life was to be taken… “Then thou shalt give life for life”.

This verse clearly tells us that harm to a child within the womb is to be treated just as if any other human being was harmed.  But more importantly, we see that harm to a child in the womb that results in the child’s death is to be punished with death.

What clearer declaration about the sinfulness of abortion could we find anywhere in Scripture?

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

22) If men strive, and hurt a woman with child, so that her fruit depart [from her], and yet no mischief follow: he shall be surely punished, according as the woman’s husband will lay upon him; and he shall pay as the judges [determine].

23) And if [any] mischief follow, then thou shalt give life for life,

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Currently, since abortions are legal in our country, the abortion decision must be made on an individual basis between the parents of the unborn and their God.  By God’s grace, a proper understanding of the Scriptures will make clear the sinfulness of abortion and the need for the unborn to be brought to full term.

For those who have already aborted their child, or for those doctors who have committed abortions, forgiveness can be found with our God.

Isa 55:7 (KJV)  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

28) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:

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

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

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

———————————————————————–

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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.”

The Filling of the Spirit (The Spirit Controlling Our Lives)

SIH STSTA ICON(Due to the length of this blog entry, I have chosen to abbreviate the Scripture texts… please have an open Bible at hand as we study this important subject.)

One of the most talked about subjects among Christians is the doctrine of “Spirit filling” and the results of this filling in the lives of Christians.   The only way for us to come to a sound understanding of this doctrine is to examine the many examples of Spirit filling that are found in both the Old and New Testament scriptures:

THE SCRIPTURES:

Exod 28:1-4 (KJV)

…And thou shalt speak unto all [that are] wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, …

Exod 31:1-5 (KJV)

….Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah:And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,…

Exod 35:30-35 (KJV)

… Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;…

Deut 34:9-12 (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom;…

Luke 1:13-16 (KJV)

…and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.

Luke 1:39-42 (KJV)

… and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost:And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed [art] thou among women, and blessed [is] the fruit of thy womb.

Luke 1:67-70 (KJV)

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied,…

Luke 4:1-2 (KJV)

And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan,…

Acts 2:1-4 (KJV)

…And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 4:5-14 (KJV)

…Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, …

Acts 4:27-31 (KJV)

…and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3-5 (KJV)

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom,…

Acts 7:54-60 (KJV)

…But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, …

Acts 9:10-19 (KJV)

…that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost…

Acts 11:22-26 (KJV)

….For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord…

Acts 13:8-11 (KJV)

…Then Saul, (who also [is called] Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,And said,…

Acts 13:50-52 (KJV)

…And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

THE STUDY:

  1. The OT references to “Spirit filling”
    1. Exo 28:3, 31:3, 35:31–     In each of these cases, the Spirit filled men which gave them the wisdom and ability to construct the furniture and garments related to the tabernacle and the worship services.
      1. Exo 28:3 – Being “wise-hearted” was the result of Spirit filling

ii. Exo 31:1-3, 35:31 – The God’s sovereign call of Bezaleel brought about the Spirit filling which gave him the wisdom understanding and knowledge to perform all manner of workmanship.

  1. Deut 34:9–     The filling of Joshua took place when Moses laid hands on him.   Laying on of hands was the public declaration of God’s choice of Joshua was the successor to Moses.
    1. This filling then enabled Joshua to lead the children of Israel in the promised land.

The NT references to “Spirit filling”

    1. Luke 1:15–     Here we find John the Baptist, filled while in his mothers womb. John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ was to announce Christ’s coming to the world.  This event was the first time he announced Christ’s coming.
      1. This filling enabled John to recognize, and react to, the Messiah who was still in the womb of Mary.
    2. Luke 1:41-67–     In these verses, we read of John’s parents Elizabeth and Zacharias blessed Mary and the Messiah who was in her womb.
      1. The Spirit filling allowed both Elizabeth and Zacharias to recognize the Messiah in Mary’s womb and also enabled them to make their proclamations of blessings upon Mary and the Christ.
    3. Luke 4:1–     Following Christ’s baptism, we find Him described as being filled with the Spirit.  Perhaps this Spirit filling took place from His conception, or perhaps from His baptism.  In either case, we find Him filled before His encounter with Satan in the wilderness.
      1. Probably, Christ was filled with the Spirit to enable Him to perform all His wondrous acts during His earthly ministry.  However, in the context, we can see, for certain, that one reason for His filling was to empower Him during the temptation that was about to take place.
    4. Acts 2:4 –     The Holy Spirit sovereignty filled the believing church members of the church at Jerusalem.  This took place during the Day of Pentecost
      1. This filling enabled the church members to speak in known human languages that were unknown to the speakers (but known to the hearers).  This allowed the Christians to proclaim the wondrous works of the Lord to foreigners who did not speak the Greek language.
    5. Acts 4:8 –     Peter and John were filled with the Spirit during their examination at the hands of Jewish religious leaders.
      1. This filling allowed them to answer with boldness and clarity as they were being questioned.
    6. Acts 4:31–     The believers, assembled to hear John and Peter speak were filled with the Holy Ghost as they were listening to the account of John and Peter.
      1. The believers were enabled to speak the word of God with boldness in the face of threatened persecution.
    7. Acts 6:3-5–     Here we read the Godly men of Jerusalem, who were soon to become the first deacons of the church at Jerusalem, were filled with the Spirit
      1. This filling gave these Godly men the ability to fulfill the office of deacon.
    8. Acts 7:55–     Stephen was filled with the Spirit immediately before he was martyred for the cause of Christ.
      1. This filling gave Stephen the ability to continue to proclaim the truth of God even in the face of death by stoning. Also, the filling allowed him to look into heaven and see the Lord.
    9. Acts 9:17–     Saul (Paul) was filled with the Holy Ghost immediately following Ananias hands being laid upon Him. This marked the beginning of Paul’s earthly ministry
      1. This filling resulted in Paul receiving his sight, gaining strength and then beginning his public ministry for the Lord.
    10. Acts 11:22-26–     Here Barnabus is described as being “a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith”.
      1. This filling allowed Barnabus to preach Godly messages empowered by the Spirit resulting in many souls being saved.
    11. Acts 13:8-11–     Here Paul, as he faces Elymas the sorcerer, is said to be filled with the Spirit.
      1. This filling of the Spirit resulted in Paul’s being able to stand up against the demoniac sorcerer and strike him blind.
    12. Acts 13:52–     Paul and Barnabus, following being cast out of Antioch, is filled with the Sprit and joy before beginning to minster in Iconium.
      1. This filling allowed Paul and Barnabus ot remain encouraged in the Lord and to minister to those at Iconium resulting in “a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed”

Please notice, in all the above examples the filling of the Holy Spirit was given to fulfill a specific ministry or calling.  Although forgiven of our sins, we, as Christians, are still sinful, fallen human beings, constantly hindered from faithful service by our sinful flesh.  The filling of the Spirit is one way that God enables us to serve Him in extraordinary capacities.

Also notice that the speaking of tongues only took place in one instance out of seventeen instances of Spirit filling.  There is no reason to believe that the speaking of tongues automatically accompanies the filling of the Spirit…. it is clear that, normally, tongues not did accompany Spirit filling in Bible times.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Eph 5:1-20 (KJV)

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints;Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.Be not ye therefore partakers with them.For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light:(For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them].For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord [is].And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;

In this passage of Scripture, Paul gives us instructions on the necessity of living a Godly life in the midst of this sinful world.  Loving with a self-sacrificial love, separation from the sin and the sinful influences of this world, living a life of wisdom, understanding and fulfilling the will of God in our lives; these all are themes touched upon by Paul.

Then Paul makes the statement “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit”.

The need for the Spirit’s filling in every Christian’s life is clearly linked to living a life that rises above the sinful influences of this world.   As a part of fallen mankind, we all have a bent toward sin.  Without the Holy Spirit filling our life and controlling it we are destined for spiritual failure in our day to day walk with Him.

Also, please note that Paul, in a sense, relates “Spirit filling” with “being drunk with wine”.  Why?  Drunkenness controls every aspect of a person’s demeanor… It affects speech, movement, judgement… the list goes on and on.   This is very similar to the Spirit filling a person’s life.  It is then that the Spirit is in control of our entire being.  Our thoughts, emotions, words, and actions are all under submission to His will and ways.

What are some results of this Spirit filling? A joyous, contented., thankful heart set on glorifying the Lord … “ Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ”

How is a Christian filled with the Spirit?  By, willfully, turning over every aspect of our lives to the rule and reign of Jesus Christ.  That is when the indwelling Spirit will take control of our entire being and work in us bringing about success in our individual ministries the Lord has chosen for us.

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

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

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

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

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

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The Christmas Story Presented In Chronological Order

SIH STSTA ICONSince we have looked at the Christmas story from two different books in the Bible, I thought it was important to bring the two accounts together, in chronological order.  In this way, we can see how the two accounts fit together.

This is the entire Christmas story as presented in the two gospels, Matthew and Luke…

THE SCRIPTURE:

(Luk 1:26-56)

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

(Mat 1:18-24)

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:

(Luk 2:1-7)

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

(Mat 1:25)

And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

(Luk 2:8-38)

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord; (As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;) And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against; (Yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

(Mat 2:1-23)

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not. But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child’s life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

(Luk 2:39-40)

And when they had performed all things according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth. And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.

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This is the Christmas story.  This is what the Christmas is all about.  May the Lord richly bless you with peace and grace during this holiday season.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog.  I count it a great blessing and privilege to be able to present God’s Word to you.

My prayer is that, in some way, this blog has helped you to fulfill 1 Sam 12:24 …

“Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you.”  (1Sa 12:24)

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

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

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

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

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Christmas Devotion:Christmas Story (Luke – 2)

SIH STSTA ICONOur four part study of Christ’s birth in the book of Luke continues with part #2.

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 1:39-56

THE STUDY:

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth.

Elizabeth was Mary’s cousin.  The angel had told Mary about John the Baptist’s conception in the womb of once barren Elizabeth (Lk 1:36).  A now pregnant Mary, acting on faith, makes the trip to Elisabeth’s house, anxious to hear about Elizabeth’s pregnancy and upcoming birth.

And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb;

At the sound of Mary’s voice, the baby moved suddenly in Elizabeth’s womb.  Remember, one of ohn the Baptist’s greatest duties was to announce the coming of the Messiah to earth. (Luke 1:76-79) Here, we see John the Baptist announcing the presence of Christ in the room as Mary entered.  This was the first of many occasions where he would announce the arrival of the Lord.

How did an unborn child (John) recognize the presence of Christ in the womb of Mary?  It was through the divine enabling of the Holy Spirit who had filled John while in his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15)

(Please note that even an unborn child is capable of fulfilling a God given ministry.  This speaks to the personhood and significance of the unborn child.  No one should say that an unborn child is simply a part of their mother’s body and does not have life in and of himself.)

and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.

Now we see The Holy Spirit filling Elizabeth, which in turn gives her the ability to prophesy.  Through the Spirit, due to the movement of John, she understands that within Mary’s womb was the Christ child. Elizabeth, describes the baby in Mary’s womb as “my Lord”, again this emphasizes the life and personhood of the unborn child.

 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

Mary’s great desire was to glorify her God for all that He had done for her.  Note she recognized His grace to her, giving her what she did not deserve “he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden”.  This was her motive for giving Him all the glory.  The more we recognize His grace in our lives, the more we see the need to glorify Him as well.

 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.

She began to recount His greatness:

  1. He is mighty
  2. He does great things
  3. Holy is His name
  4. He is merciful
  5. He blesses those that fear Him
  6. He  is strong
  7. He punishes the proud
  8. He humbles the mighty
  9. He fills the hungry
  10. He keeps satisfaction from the rich
  11. He helps Israel
  12. He speaks to His people

And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house.

Mary then remains with Elizabeth before making the journey back to her home.

We will continue our study in the next blog entry: Luke 2:1-20

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

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

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

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

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Christmas Devotion: Christmas Story (Luke – 1)

SIH STSTA ICONWe will now continue our look at the birth of Christ by turning to the account in Luke.  We’ll be breaking up our study into four parts:

Part #1 – Luke 1:26-38

Part #2 – Luke 1:39-56

Part #3 – Luke 2:1-20

Part #4 – Luke 2:21-40

Today, we will start with part number one.

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 1:26-38

THE STUDY:

And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,

The angel Gabriel is used by the Lord to deliver the message to Mary.  Perhaps, Gabriel is the “Angel of the Lord” talked about in the Matthew account of Christ’s birth (Matt 1:20,24, 2:13,19)  Gabriel was also used by the Lord to deliver the Lord’s message to Daniel (Dan 8:16. 9:21)

 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.

The espousal was a legally binding promise to marry.  At this point in time, Mary and Joseph had promised to marry but they had not taken the vows nor had they consummated their relationship.

The word “virgin” here is from a Greek word that can mean three different ideas…“a maiden” or “an unmarried daughter” or “a woman who did not have relations with a man”.  How do we know which meaning is meant here? Context dictates the true meaning.

Contextually there are at least, three different proofs that Mary had never had relations with a man:

  1. Luke 1:34 – Mary’s response makes it clear that Mary had never had relations with a man.
  2. Matt 1:21-25 We are clearly told that her pregnancy was the result of the Lord’s divine intervention, this is why Joseph did not break the espousal agreement.
  3. Isa 7:14 – This prophecy was fulfilled by Mary’s pregnancy, it was a miraculous sign from God.

 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.

Here Gabriel tells Mary three different ideas:

  1. she was highly favoured – Lord had chosen to use her in a special way uncommon among  other women
  2. Lord was with her – Lord’s presence was with her in a special way
  3. She was blessed among all women – Lord had chosen to show her a measure of grace above that of other women.

And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.

This greeting disturbed her, at this point she did not understand what would take place in her life.

 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.

The angel calms Mary’s fears and then explained how the Lord would show her a special blessing above that of other women.  She would conceive and then give birth to a son.  This son would be named “Jesus” which means “Jehovah is our freedom”, “Jehovah is our salvation”  He would be both God and Savior of His people.

 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.

Truths about this God, and Savior…

  1. shall be great – Christ would be “High One” or One who is over all creation
  2. shall be called Son of Highest – He would be recognized as Son of Jehovah God
  3. Father will give Him David’s throne – God would give Him authority to rule over Israel of God (Gals 6:16)
  4. shall reign over house of Jacob eternally – His rule over Israel would be an eternal rule
  5. shall be no end to his kingdom – His rule is not limited to that of the Israel of God but over all mankind (Phil 2:10-11)

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

Gen 4:1 “knew” – intimate relations.  She knew she had never had relations this is why she was so confused.  How could she ever become pregnant? This is a proof that she had never had relations with a man.

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

The answer the angel gives to her is in direct response to her concern about how a virgin can become pregnant… Through the power of God the Father, and through the intervention of the Holy Ghost, Mary would conceive a child who would be the very Son of God.

 And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.

To prove that this was a message from God and to prove that this miraculous act could be accomplished,  the angel points to another miracle, the conception of John the Baptist in the womb of barren Elisabeth.

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Mary shows her faith in the Lord and his word by submitting to His will and believing these miracles would be done.

In our next blog entry we will continue this series by looking at Luke 1:39-56

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

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

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

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

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