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Spiritual Gifts: Gifted Men (Part #2)

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Gifted Men

SIH TOA ICON

Introduction:

“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 begin studying the differing types of spiritual gifts by studying the “Gifted Men” the Lord has given us.

Lesson:

Gifted Men

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”   (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”   (Ephesians 4:11-15)

In the above texts, not only do we find a listing of the gifted men that the Lord has given to us (apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor/teachers), but also we can learn several principles that apply to all of these gifted men…

1.  “God hath set some in the church  –  These men have been placed within local churches to exercise their gifts as a part of the church’s varied ministries.

2. “[Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers?  – Not all the members of the local assembly are these gifted men.  The gifts given to local church members vary based upon the individuals needs of the assembly.

3. “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” –  These gifted men are to be zealous to exercise their gifts appropriately, in a way that best benefits the local assembly.  They are to use their gifts for the benefit of the assembly not for their own selfish personal gain.

4. “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:” – The three-fold purpose of the Lord giving these gifted men to His assemblies is….
a. To completely furnish the saints for spiritual warfare
b. To serve the Lord and meet the needs of the saved and lost alike
c. To build-up, strengthen and bring to spiritual maturity the saints

5. “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:– The work of gifted men will be completed when…
a.  Every saint comes into an understanding and acceptance of the doctrinal truths found in the Word of God
b.  Every lost person comes to repentance and belief that Jesus is the True Messiah, Savior, and Son of God
c.  Every saint enters into spiritual maturity and is completely equipped for the service of Christ
d.  Every saint will perfectly conform to the image of Christ

In other words, when Christ returns and gives to us our new glorified bodies.  It is only then that we will become perfect in His sight and no longer be in the need of gifted men.

6.  “That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:”  – The end result  of the gifted men’s ministry is…
a.   Every saint recognizes and rejects all false teaching
b.   Every saint overcomes the efforts of the powers of darkness to overtake them
c.   Every saint proclaims the truths of the Lord in a spirit of love and compassion
d.   Every saint is spiritually mature in every area being perfectly submitted to Christ

These are the basic principles that apply to the Lord’s giving gifted men to minister to His assembly and those without the assembly.

Let’s begin to look at each of these four types of gifted men.  As we will soon see, for each of these gifted men there is not simply a TYPE OF SERVICE (MINISTRY) but it can also describe a specific OFFICE that is associated with each gifted man.

Apostles

The word translated “apostle” in these texts is the Greek word “apostolos”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to represent”
2.  “to be sent with authority”
3.  “to be an ambassador”
4.  “to be sent on a mission on behalf of another”

The Office of Apostle  – The qualifications of the office of Apostle are given to us in Acts 1:21-22.  To hold the office of Apostle a man must:

1.  Accompany Christ for His entire public ministry (His baptism by John the Baptist until His ascension to be with His Father) – Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us,

2.  Must have been a personal witness to the resurrected Christ prior to His ascension – must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.” 

The 14 men who are said to be holding the office of Apostle:

The Original 12 (Luke 6:13-16)…

1. Peter;  2. Andrew;  3. James;  4. John;  5. Philip;  6. Bartholomew;  7. Matthew;  8. Thomas;  9. James;  10. Simon;  11. Judas  12. Judas Iscariot.

The Chosen Replacement For Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:25-26)…

13. Matthias

Note: Matthias was chosen by the local church at Jerusalem to replace Judas Iscariot who had betrayed the Lord and then committed suicide.

The Apostle without the proper qualifications (1 Cor 15:8-10)…

14.  Paul

Note: In 1 Corinthians 15:8-10 – Paul describes himself as “one born out of due timeand “the least of the apostles”.  Both of these descriptions signify that the Lord had graciously placed him in the Office of Apostle without properly qualifying for the office. (He had not accompanied Christ during His earthly ministry, nor had he seen the resurrected Christ PRIOR TO HIS ASCENSION.  However, he did see the resurrected Christ following His ascension during the Damascus road experience (Acts 22:6-10).)

One born out of due time” (to be born prematurely) is a wonderful picture of him being born into the office of Apostle without the normal prerequisites, just like a baby who is born prematurely does not experience the normal 9 months in his mother’s womb. Likewise, the title “the least of the apostles reflects Paul’s acknowledgement that, although he held the office of Apostle, he looked upon himself as deficient based upon his past life of rebellion against the Lord and, perhaps, his lack of qualifications as well.

The two main missions of the Apostolic Office were

1. to hand down the inspired Scriptures to man which became the foundation of the teachings of the local assembly. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

2. to perform miracles and wonders used to accredit the New Testament Scriptures and the local assembly as the Lord’s place of worship. (Acts 5:12)

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Apostle – These are men who were “sent with authority” but not holders of the office of Apostle

The men who performed this ministry:
1.  Christ – Hebrews 3:1, John 17:3;
2.  Barnabas – Acts 14:14;
3.  Andronicus – Romans 16:7;
4.  Junia – Romans 16:7;
5.  Apostles Of The Churches – 2 Corinthians 8:23;
6.  Epaphroditus – Philippians 2:25;
7.  Silas 1 Thessalonians 2:6;
8.  Timothy – 1 Thessalonians 2:6

The Office Of Apostle has come to an end at the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

Prophets

The word translated “prophet” in these texts is the Greek word “prophetes”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to tell beforehand”
2.  “to reveal the mind of”
3.  “an inspired speaker”

The Office of Prophet  – The most basic definition of a Prophetic office holder is “one who is inspired to speak forth the mind of God”.

The men who are said to be holding the Office of Prophet in the New Testament scriptures:

1. Christ – Acts 3:22, Matthew 21:11
2. John The Baptist – Luke 1:76
3. Zacharias – Luke 1:67
4. Anna – Luke 2:36
5. The Old Testament Prophets – Luke 24:27

The main mission of the Prophetic Office was

1. to hand down the inspired Scriptures to man which became the foundation of the teachings of the local assembly. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

 

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Prophet – These were men who “spoke the mind of God” but not the inspired holders of the office of Apostle.  In other words, they taught the existing Word of God without being used to reveal new portions of the Word through divine inspiration.

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  OT Messengers of Word – Romans 11:3
2.  Daughters Of Philip – Acts 21:9
3.  Barnabus – Acts 13:1
4.  Simeon – Acts 13:1
5.  Lucius – Acts 13:1
6.  Manaen – Acts 13:1
7.  Judas – Acts 15:32
8.  Silas – Acts 15:32

The Office Of Prophet has come to an end at the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

Evangelists

The word translated “evangelist” in these texts is the Greek word “euaggelistes”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “to bring the good news”
2.  “to proclaim the good news”
3.  “to share the gospel message”

The Office of Evangelist  – The Office Of Evangelist is commonly referred to as “Missionary”.  What is a missionary?  It is a person who shares the gospel with the lost and establishes local churches with those who are converted to Christ.

The men who are said to be holding the Office of Evangelist in the New Testament scriptures:

1. Philip – Acts 21:8

The main mission of the Evangelist is:

1. to share the gospel of Christ to a lost and dying world. Say not ye, There are yet four months, and [then] cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”  (John 4:35)

 

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Evangelist – Others who shared the gospel of Christ but did not hold the office of evangelist.

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  Timothy – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Pastor/Teachers

In the phraseand some, pastors and teachers;there is no Greek article prior to “teachers” helping us to understand we are talking about one office and not two separate offices.  The office we will be looking at is the office of “Pastor/Teacher”.

The word translated “pastor” in these texts is the Greek word “poimen”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “a shepherd”
2.  “one who cares for flock”

The word translated “teacher” in these texts is the Greek word “didaskalos”.  This word carries with it the idea of…
1.  “instructor”
2.  “master”
3.  “to teach students”

Please note: In the Bible this office is described by differing terms:

1. Bishop (1 Timothy 3:1)– Describes the position of the P/T – “An Overseer”, one who is given the watch care of the Lord’s local assembly

2. Elder (Acts 14:23) – Describes the character of the P/T – “An Aged One”, one who is spiritually mature, spiritually wise

3. Pastor/Teacher (Ephesians 4:11) – Describes the work of the P/T – “A Shepherd”, one who leads, feeds and protects the saints by instructing them in the Word of God.

The Office of Pastor/Teacher  – The qualifications of the office of Pastor/Teacher are given to us in 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.  They include:

1. “blameless” – no public lawlessness

2. “the husband of one wife” – a “one woman man” ie faithful to his marital covenant
3. “vigilant” – watchful
4. “sober” – self-controlled
5. “of good behaviour” – orderly
6. “given to hospitality” – lover of guests
7. “apt to teach” – able to instruct clearly
8. “Not given to wine” – does not “stay near the wine”
9. “no striker” – does not strike others
10.”not greedy of filthy lucre” – does not get unlawful profit
11. “patient” – to bear under load without rebellion
12. “not a brawler” – does not love to argue or be disagreeable
13. “not covetous” – does not envy others
14. “one that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity” – leads house in way pleasing to the Lord and has submissive, honest children
15. “Not a novice” – experienced
16. “Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without” – possess a good testimony among lost acquaintances
17. “having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.” – reliable children who are spoken of highly by others
18. “not selfwilled – not stubborn
19  “not soon angry  – patience and even tempered
20. “a lover of good men” – one who loves lawful men
21. “just” – keeps the laws of God
22. “holy” – separated from habitual, lifestyle of sin to service of God
23. “temperate”- keeping lusts under his control
24. “Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught” – Hold tightly the truths of the Word he had been previously taught.

The Men Who Are Said To Be Pastor/Teacher:

1.  Elders of Ephesian Church (Acts 20:17-28)
2.  Elders of Dispersed Jews (1 Peter 5:1-4)
3.  Peter (1 Peter 5:1)

Those Who Performed The Ministry Of Pastor/Teacher – Others who were “teachers” but not holders of the office of Pastor/Teacher

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  Nicodemus – John 3:10
2.  Teachers Of The Churches (Barnabas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen) – Acts 13:1
3.  Paul – 1 Timothy 2:7

Note: Although the Pastor of the local church holds the singular office of Pastor/Teacher they can fulfill the ministry of all four types of men….

1.  Ministry of apostle – the pastor of the church, by their ordination, is sent out to be representative of Christ and the local church

2.  Ministry of prophet – the pastor of the church is to reveal the mind of God to the assembly by teaching from the completed Word

3.  Ministry of evangelist – the pastor of the church should always be ready to share the gospel message with the lost

4.  Ministry of pastor/teacher – the pastor is to lead, feed and protect the church of the Lord through the teaching of His Word

Likewise, as Christians, each one of us can do the work associated with these men without holding any specific office.  We can do this by:

1. We all can be an “apostle for Christ” by representing Christ by fulfilling the ministry He has given to us.

2. We all can be a “prophet of Christ” by teaching the completed Word to others

3. We all can be an “evangelist” by sharing the gospel message with the lost around us

4. We all can be an “shepherd” by caring for and watching over those who are spiritually weaker than ourselves.

In our next study we will continue to look at the spiritual gifts that God has given to His local churches.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

Gifted Men

Apostles

 “And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  Matthew and Thomas, James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,  And Judas [the brother] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.”  (Luke 6:13-16)

 

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”   (John 17:3)

 

For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.  And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.  And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all [men], shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,  That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”  (Acts 1:20-26)

 

And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people;…”   (Acts 5:12)

 

[Which] when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard [of], they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,”  (Acts 14:14)

 

Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”   (Romans 16:7)

 

“And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.  For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace [which was bestowed] upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”   (1 Corinthians 15:8-10)

 

Whether [any do enquire] of Titus, [he is] my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren [be enquired of, they are] the messengers of the churches, [and] the glory of Christ.”  (2 Corinthians 8:23)

 

 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;  And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner [stone];  In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:”   (Ephesians 2:19-21)

 

Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants.”   (Philippians 2:25)

 

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor [yet] of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ.”   (1 Thessalonians 2:6)

 

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus;”   (Hebrews 3:1)

 

Prophets

And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.”  (Matthew 21:11)

 

And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,”  (Luke 1:67)

 

And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;”  (Luke 1:76)       

 

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;”  (Luke 2:36)

 

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”  (Luke 24:27)

 

For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.”  (Acts 3:22)

 

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”  (Acts 13:1)

 

And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed [them].”  (Acts 15:32)

 

And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.”  (Acts 21:9)

 

Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life.”   (Romans 11:3)

 

Evangelist

And the next [day] we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was [one] of the seven; and abode with him.”   (Acts 21:8)

 

I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;  Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;  And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.  But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”   (2 Timothy 4:1-5)

 

Pastor/Teacher

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?  Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?”  (John 3:9-10)

 

Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.”   (Acts 13:1)

 

And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.”   (Acts 14:23)

 

And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:  [And] how I kept back nothing that was profitable [unto you], but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.   And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I [am] pure from the blood of all [men].  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”  (Acts 20:17-28)

 

And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.”   (Acts 22:6-10)

 

Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”  (1 Timothy 2:7)

 

This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.  A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;  Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;  One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;  (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)  Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil.  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”  (1 Timothy 3:1-7)

 

If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly.  For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;  But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate;  Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”  (Titus 1:6-9)

 

The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight [thereof], not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;  Neither as being lords over [God’s] heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”  (1 Peter 5:1-4)

 

What Troubles Christ?

SIH STSTA ICONChrist, who is described in the Bible as the “King of Kings and Lord of Lords” and “over all, God blessed for ever”, is also described as being “angry”, “grieved”, “sorrowful”, “heavy” (ie burdened), “exceeding sorrowful even unto death” and is said to have “wept”, “cried with a loud voice”, “groaned”, and “grieved”.

What could possibly have caused the Lord Jesus Christ to feel such emotions and to respond to those emotions with such deep, distressed reactions?

In this study, we will be looking at several different events in the life of Christ that show Him to be troubled and in anguish. We will attempt to come to an understanding of what has brought this anguish into the life of our Lord and how He deals with the situation…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Mat 26:36-46 – (36)  Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  (37)  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.  (38)  Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  (39)  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  (40)  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  (41)  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  (42)  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  (43)  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  (44)  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  (45)  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  (46)  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.

Mat 27:45-50 – (45)  Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  (46)  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  (47)  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  (48)  And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.  (49)  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.  (50)  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

Mar 3:1-6 – (1)  And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.  (2)  And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  (3)  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.  (4)  And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  (5)  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  (6)  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

Luk 19:41-44 – (41)  And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it,  (42)  Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  (43)  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  (44)  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.

Luk 22:39-46  –  (39)  And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.  (40)  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  (41)  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  (42)  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  (43)  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.  (44)  And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.  (45)  And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,  (46)  And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Joh 11:1-46 – (1)  Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.  (2)  (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  (3)  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.  (4)  When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.  (5)  Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.  (6)  When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was. (7)  Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.  (8)  His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again? (9)  Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.  (10)  But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.  (11)  These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  (12)  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  (13)  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  (14)  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  (15)  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.  (16)  Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.  (17)  Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.  (18)  Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:  (19)  And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.  (20)  Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.  (21)  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  (22)  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  (23)  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  (24)  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  (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.  (28)  And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.  (29)  As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.  (30)  Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.  (31)  The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.  (32)  Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  (33)  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,  (34)  And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  (35)  Jesus wept.  (36)  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!  (37)  And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?  (38)  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  (39)  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.  (40)  Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  (41)  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  (42)  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.  (43)  And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  (44)  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.  (45)  Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  (46)  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.

 

Joh 12:27-28 – (27)  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  (28)  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.

Joh 13:21-26 – (21)  When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  (22)  Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. (23)  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. (24)  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.  (25)  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? (26)  Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.

 

THE STUDY:

Mar 3:1-6 – “And he entered again into the synagogue; and there was a man there which had a withered hand.   And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him.  And he saith unto the man which had the withered hand, Stand forth.   And he saith unto them, Is it lawful to do good on the sabbath days, or to do evil? to save life, or to kill? But they held their peace.  And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other.  And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.”

In this text, we find Christ experiencing both anger (to abhor with passion) and grief (extreme sorrow).

What caused these emotions within Christ?

This account tells us it was due to “the hardness of their hearts” which was made manifest in their great desire to find some type of fault with Christ, as He went about fulfilling the call given to Him by His Father in heaven. They wanted to mischaracterize God’s workings among sinful man.

In other words…. it was the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by a sin-hardened heart by mischaracterizing the works of God.

 

 

Joh 13:21-26 – “When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.   Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake.  Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.  Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake.  He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it?   Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon.”

In the above Scripture we are told that Jesus was “troubled in spirit” (agitated, stirred, anguished).

What was taking place at the time?

Christ was preparing to declare that one of you shall betray me.”  He then would identify that individual, Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon”

In other words… it was the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by the desire to oppose the work of the Lord using deceit and conspiracy.

 

 

Joh 11:1-46 – Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.  (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)  Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.  When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby…  and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.  Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.  Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.  Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.  And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him…  Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.  Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.  Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.  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…. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.  When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,  And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.  Jesus wept.  Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!  And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?  Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.  Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?  Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.   And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.  And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.   Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.  But some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done.”

In this set of verses we find that Jesus is described as “groaned in the spirit”, “troubled”, and “groaning in himself”, all of which was displayed for all of us as He “wept”.

What was the background to this experience in the life of Christ?  The EFFECTS OF SIN shown in the existence of universal physical death affecting all of fallen mankind.

 

 

Luk 19:41-44 – “And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

In the text above, we find Christ as He “wept” over the city of Jerusalem.  Why was He experiencing such sorrow?  Because He understood the coming destruction of 70 AD that would take place annihilation the city, due to their rejection of the Messiah…  For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,  And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.”

Once again, we see the EFFECTS OF SIN shown by physical destruction and death that is experienced as the direct result of sin.

 

 

Mat 26:36-46 – “Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder.  And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.   Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.  And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.  And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter, What, could ye not watch with me one hour?  Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.  He went away again the second time, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done.  And he came and found them asleep again: for their eyes were heavy.  And he left them, and went away again, and prayed the third time, saying the same words.  Then cometh he to his disciples, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take your rest: behold, the hour is at hand, and the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Rise, let us be going: behold, he is at hand that doth betray me.”

Luk 22:39-46 – “And he came out, and went, as he was wont, to the mount of Olives; and his disciples also followed him.  And when he was at the place, he said unto them, Pray that ye enter not into temptation.  And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,  Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.  And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.   And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.   And when he rose up from prayer, and was come to his disciples, he found them sleeping for sorrow,  And said unto them, Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation.

Joh 12:27-28 – “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.   Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

In the above three passages, we find Christ described as being “sorrowful”, “very burdened”, “troubled” and “in agony”.   Especially, please notice He is said to be “exceeding sorrowful, even unto death”.  This was made clear to all when we are told that “sweat was as it were great drops of blood”.

What was the event that was causing this tremendous emotional occurrence in the life of Christ?  In all three of these accounts, Christ is thinking upon His upcoming death on the cross.

Here, as before we can see the EFFECT OF SIN on display in two different ways:

First, His upcoming sufferings were a necessity because of sin devastating effects upon His people whom He loved.  This is what motivated His Father to send Him to the earth and motivated His own willingness to die on the cross as payment for their sins.

Secondly, the very suffering and terrible death of Christ on the cross was the effect of sin, as He bore the judgment of His people’s sins. When He became sin for us, He suffered the agony of God’s wrath against sin as He hung on the cross…

Mat 27:45-50 – “Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?  Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.  And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.  The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.  Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.”

We see Christ suffering the most horrible of all deaths as He was separated from His Father as He bore our sins on the cross.

 

 

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Christ, willingly, suffered this most horrible effect of sin, separation from His Father on the cross.  Why did He do this?

To protect those He loved from the monstrous effects of sin that affects the lives of all fallen mankind:
1.  hardness of heart leading to  mischaracterization of God’s workings among fallen man.
2.  opposition to the work of Christ through deceit and conspiracy
3.  physical (and spiritual) death and suffering
4.  destroyed and ruined lives

In protecting them, He had to bring upon Himself horrible physical suffering, separation from the Father and terrible death upon the cross.  He did this as He bore the judgment of His people’s sins upon Himself, so that they might be reconciled to God and given eternal security in Him.

“And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech [you] by us: we pray [you] in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” – (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

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

 

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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 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:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf


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

 

 

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

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

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

Baptism as a picture of salvation from sins:

Baptism is immersion in water…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Luke 22:14-20)

 

THE SUMMARY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

 

 

The 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:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

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

The Importance Of The Local Church -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:

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

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

 

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -3 “The Nature Of The Church: The Lifespan 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 third lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will begin looking at the church’s promised span  and purpose of existence in this sin darkened world.

 

THE STUDY:

Our Lord has clearly shown us the “lifespan” of His local assemblies on earth… 

1. The Lord’s church began with the call of His disciples to form an assembly of followers: 1 Corinthians 12:27-31, Mark 3:13-19, Luke 6:12-20

Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.  [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?  Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”   (1 Corinthians 12:27-31)

Here, we are told that the first members of that the Lord called into His assembly were His apostles.  In the beginning times of the Jerusalem assembly, you have the Lord as the Pastor/Teacher of the assembly with the other apostles making up the membership of the church. The only other office that was existing in the beginning days of the church was the office of Treasurer into which Judas was placed (John 13:29).

Keep in mind, all of the Apostles, as well as Christ Himself, had been baptized by John the Baptist. This baptism followed the apostles’ fruits of repentance and made them eligible to obtain church membership (Mark 1:4). This is one aspect of John the Baptist’s ministry of which it was said that he was to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Mark 1:2), by making them eligible for membership in the Lord’s first assembly on earth.

The actual beginning of the Lord’s church is described for us in detail in two passages that describe the same historical event..

And he goeth up into a mountain, and calleth [unto him] whom he would: and they came unto him.  And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach, And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:  And Simon he surnamed Peter;

17) And James the [son] of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:  And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite, And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.”   (Mark 3:13-19)

In these verses, we can see that the Lord chose these original twelve apostles to fulfill specific duties, one of which was to BE WITH HIM.  In other words, they were chosen to accompany Him and be pastored by Him.  Christ fulfilled His role of pastor to them as He led them, taught them, and protected them.  All of this was done to prepare them for their future, permanent, ministries that would begin at Pentecost (the EMPOWERING of the local assembly for ministry in Christ’s absence by the Holy Spirit) (Acts 2:1-36).

 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God.  And when it was day, he called [unto him] his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;  Simon, (whom he also named Peter,) and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew,  Matthew and Thomas, James the [son] of Alphaeus, and Simon called Zelotes,   And Judas [the brother] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor.  And he came down with them, and stood in the plain, and the company of his disciples, and a great multitude of people out of all Judaea and Jerusalem, and from the sea coast of Tyre and Sidon, which came to hear him, and to be healed of their diseases;  And they that were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed.  And the whole multitude sought to touch him: for there went virtue out of him, and healed [them] all.  And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed [be ye] poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.   (Luke 6:12-20)

The Lord began His church by choosing, and assembling His apostles (here they are called “his disciples”), who are separated from the crowds that had gathered. Then they rejoined the crowds and ministered to them.

Following their ministry to the crowds, the LORD BEGAN TO TEACH HIS CHURCH (ie His disciples) as He shared with them the Sermon on the Mount.  This is clearly seen by Him looking directly on His disciples as He taught.   In other words, when the Lord taught the Sermon on the Mount, He was teaching His disciples (ie His church, His apostles) as the crowds looked on.

2. The Lord’s church will continue to exist on earth until He comes back at His second coming: Matthew 16:16-20, Matthew 28:18-20, 1 Corinthians 11:25-26

And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed [it] unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.  Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.”   (Matthew 16:16-20)

In the above text we can see that the Lord is making a clear promise that the His church will not be overcome, die a slow death and go out of existence.  Not Satan, not the powers of darkness, NOTHING will gain a lasting complete victory over all of His assemblies on earth.   Individual church assemblies may come and go, but there will always be at least one of the Lord’s churches in existence to minister to His people and the lost world around it.

Also note the phrase “will build”.  This phrase is translated from a Greek word that means “to strengthen”, “to edify”, “to add to”.  This is teaching us that, at the time Jesus spoke this, the church was already in existence and He is promising He would strengthen it, prepare it and “build it up” to be able to exist until His second coming.

He did this in many ways… His personal teaching during His earthly ministry, His completion and accreditation of the inspired Word and ministry of the church of God by 100 AD, the giving of the Holy Spirit to empower His assembly at Pentecost, the establishing of other offices that would be used to further “build up” the assembly, the adding of believers to the first assembly at Jerusalem and the sending of the gospel to (and establishing His churches) throughout the Gentile world.  All of these strengthened the Lord’s assemblies which enabled them to exist in His absence and in the face of all types of opposition.

(There will be much more about the “rock” being mentioned in this text in the next section of our study.  For now, the only important point to be seen is that the church will not die and go out of existence.)

The Lord also explains the event that will cause His churches to go out of existence… it would not be the opposition of the powers of darkness, but the end of the current age. This will take place at His second coming….

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 28:18-20)

 

A part of the Great Commission that the Lord delivered to His local assembly was the promise of His continuing accompaniment with His churches until the “end of the world”.  The term “world” was translated from a Greek word that means “age” or “specific time period” or “period of duration”.  This is teaching us that the second coming of Christ, which will bring about the end of the current age in which we are living, will also bring an end to the existence of the Lord’s churches on earth.

This same principle is also supported in 1 Corinthians 11:25-26…

 

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 11:25-26)

 

The ordinance of the Lord’s supper is a church ordinance, therefore, it is under local church authority and is to be observed, and controlled by His local assemblies.  Here, we are told that His churches are to be observing His supper consistently until He comes back. For His churches to be able to keep this command, His churches must be in existence until His second coming.

The Lord’s church, which started with Christ’s call to assemble given to His Apostles, will exist until the second coming of Christ.

THE SUMMARY:

 

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

In the second part of our study we saw that the church, as an assembly offers to Christians the three-fold blessing of:
1.  the teaching of God’s Word – to strengthen, mature and ground them.
2.  the care and fellowship of other believers
3.  opportunities of service to Christ.
4.  enriched worship of the Lord through the observance of the ordinances and enhanced prayer effectiveness.

In the third, and last part of our study on the Nature of the Church, we can see that:
1.  The Lord’s church began with Christ’s call for His Apostles to assemble and to accompany Him.
2.  The Lord’s church would go out of existence during the age in which we live
3.  The Lord’s church will not be overcome by the powers of darkness in this world
4.  The Lord’s church will cease to exist at the end of this age, brought about by the second coming of Jesus.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is promised to remain in existence until Christ comes again, therefore it can be a consistent source of instruction, fellowship, worship and opportunities of service as we live our lives on earth.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

THE STUDY:

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

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

The usage of “Ekklesia”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The of definition of “ekklesia”

The Greek word “ekklesia” contains two basic parts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SUMMARY:

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

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

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

Click to access lordsassemblyprotected.pdf

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

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

 

Are You An Encourager?

SIH STSTA ICONBarnabas, the missionary companion of the Apostle Paul, is found mentioned throughout the pages of the New Testament Scripture.  Although Barnabas is mentioned several times, little is known about this man and his service to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Barnabas, and his service to Christ, are overlooked subjects lost within the pages of the Word.

The name Barnabas means “son of prophecy”; “son of inspiration”; “son of consolation” or “son of encouragement”.  This name for Barnabas was not his given name, it was applied to him later in life as a description of his life and ministry (Acts 4:36).  Barnabas was a master at giving strength to those who were weary; he helped give hope to the hopeless and accompaniment to the lonely. Barnabas was, truly, an “encourager” above all fallen humans.

By studying the life of Barnabas we will be placing before us the prime Biblical example of giving encouragement to those who struggle in their service to Christ.  Would to God we all could become the “Barnabas” of our day…

THE SCRIPTURES:

Col 1:9-13; Luke 22:31-33; 2Cor 1:3-6; Acts 4:32-37; Acts 9:23-28; Acts 11:19-24; Acts 11:25-26; Acts 11:27-30; Acts 13:3-5; Acts 14:14; Acts 14:11-12; Gal 2:8-13

THE STUDY:

As we study the life of Barnabas, we find several events in his life that help us to understand important aspects of being an encourager…

Event #1 –

The first mention of the events in Barnabas’s life is in found in Acts 4:32-37… here, we find the gifts of sympathy for others in need and a willingness to sacrifice himself for the welfare of others…..

A time of great need had come upon the church members at Jerusalem.  Barnabas, realizing the people’s need, was willing to sell personal property to help the poverty stricken church members…

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any [of them] that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.  Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold, And laid [them] down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.  And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, [and] of the country of Cyprus, Having land, sold [it], and brought the money, and laid [it] at the apostles’ feet.”

 Event #2 –

The another event in the life of Barnabas displays his willingness to accept those rejected by others.  Also, he made honest, spiritual judgments not being influenced by the judgments made by others.

Here, we find Barnabas willing to stand with the newly converted Saul of Tarsus.  This same Saul was the one guilty of persecuting and murdering Christians in Jerusalem. Barnabas’ trust in Saul, and his conversion experience, can only be explained as a divine act of grace.

Acts 9:23-28 – “And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him: But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.  Then the disciples took him by night, and let [him] down by the wall in a basket.  And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple.  But Barnabas took him, and brought [him] to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.  And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem.”

 Event #3

 In Acts 11:19-24, we see that Barnabas was selected to represent the church at Jerusalem as he visited the newly formed church at Antioch.  This tells us he was a very responsible man who could be trusted in difficult situations.  This speaks volumes about the person of Barnabas. Note how he was described in the later verses of this section of Scripture…

He is described as a “good man” and “full of the Holy Ghost and faith”.  In other words, an Godly encourager must be one that spent his life being beneficial to others; he allowed the Holy Spirit and trust in the Lord to control every aspect of his life.

Also, as we see his actions with the Antioch Christians … he was sensitive to the workings of God in the lives of others, he was joyful to see God at work in  their lives, and he called them to action by standing with them. 

Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.  And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.  And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.  Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.  Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.  For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.”

Event #4

Barnabas shows his humility by recognizing the need for Paul’s ministry at Antioch. There was no room for puffed up pride in his life.  He recognized that, for the Antioch church’s good, Paul need to minister to them as well as he.

Acts 11:25-26 – “Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:  And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

Event #5

 Barnabas was used as a courier/representative by taking offerings from the church at Antioch and delivering it to the Judaean Christians.  This showed his trustworthiness, and willingness to serve in any capacity where needed to help others.

Acts 11:27-30 – And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.  And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Event #6

Barnabas, along with Saul, was recognized as having the calling of God upon him.  This calling of Barnabus, in context, was to a ministry of missions… however, this calling included the  exercise of encouragement during the course of his missionary ministry.

(This is why Barnabas is said to be an Apostle of God in Acts 14:14.  Barnabas never held the office of apostle, however, a wider meaning of “Apostle” is “one called of God to be a delegate or ambassador” or “one called to do the bidding of another”.)

Also, please note that Barnabas was a willing servant of the Lord, willing to do whatever he was called to do.

Acts 13:2-5 – “As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid [their] hands on them, they sent [them] away.  So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.  And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to [their] minister.”

Event #7

As before in event #4, we see the humility of Barnabas, who was willing to take a back seat to the ministry of Paul.  Please recognize, the ministry of Barnabas was JUST AS IMPORTANT as the ministry of Paul. However, Paul’s ministry was a more public ministry that was recognized by many more individuals (“he was the chief speaker” of the two.)

Acts 14:11-12 – “And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.”

 Event #8

 Here we find, perhaps the greatest exhibition of encouragement in the life of Barnabas.  Previously, John Mark had accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys.  John Mark, unexpectedly leaves them at Pamphylia.  As time passes, John Mark desires to rejoin Paul and Barnabas as they begin another missionary journey.  Paul is not willing to take John Mark for fear of him leaving the group again.  Barnabas is willing to give John Mark a second chance at service to the Lord.

Here, we see Barnabas exhibiting forgiveness, the willingness to give second chances, the  recognition that no one is perfect, and the desire to accompany those struggling to serve the Lord.

Acts 15:36-41 – “And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, [and see] how they do.  And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.  But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;  And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.”

 As time passes, we find that Barnabas made the right decision in trusting John Mark.  We find Paul, in later years, desiring to have John Mark present with him because John Mark had proven himself faithful to the Lord once again…

 2Tim 4:11 – Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Event #9

 Encouragers are not always perfect… their ministry calls them to make judgments about others all the time.  At times, they can make wrong judgments about those they are trying to help… in spite of their imperfections and misjudgments, they continue to serve the Lord and attempt to encourage those who are trying to serve God.

 In this case, Barnabas mistakenly encouraging Peter to bend his beliefs to please other men.  In the context, there erupts a disagreement between Paul and Peter concerning the gospel going to the Gentiles.  At one point, Peter joins with John and James in agreeing with Paul that the gospel should go to the Gentiles… based upon this belief, Peter began to associate freely with Gentiles.  However, when Peter enters into the presence of other physical Jews who disagreed with his beliefs, he compromises his stand and separates himself from the Gentiles in an effort to please the Jews.  This was a horrible display of hypocrisy.  Unfortunately, Barnabas fell into the trap of compromise as well, following the example of Peter.  In doing so, Barnabas wrongly encouraged Peter by following his lead.

Gal 2:8-13 – “(For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we [should go] unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Only [they would] that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do.  But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.  For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.  And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation.”

Here are a few more points about being encouragers ….

Additional Point #1

 Godly encouragers point others to the ultimate source of encouragement and strength, The Lord Jesus Christ

Col 1:9-13 – “For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;  Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;  Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated [us] into the kingdom of his dear Son:”

Additional Point #2

 Godly encouragers recognize the role of their life experiences in their ministry. They also recognize the importance of their ministry in the plan of God and the lives of God’s servants.

 Luke 22:31-33 – And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired [to have] you, that he may sift [you] as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.

2Cor 1:3-6 – “Blessed [be] God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. And whether we be afflicted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, [it is] for your consolation and salvation.”

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved…

Let us all be thankful to the Lord for the encouragers who have aided us throughout our lifetime of service to the Lord.  Also, let us take seriously, the opportunities the Lord opens to us to be an encouragement to others.  Let us always be watchful for those opportunities and be thankful when we are allowed to help others who are striving to serve the Lord.

For those who have never come to a saving knowledge of Christ…

Do you find yourself in need of encouragement?  Do you miss having someone who will always accompany and strengthen you throughout your walk on this earth?  Then look to the Lord for the forgiveness of your sins and an everlasting presence in your life.

I have a tab available on my blog that gives in depth information on what salvation is and what you must do to be saved.  Please click on this link for more information about salvation.

If you have any questions or concerns about your salvation, find a Bible-believing church in your area.  The Pastor would be glad to share Christ and the way of salvaiton with you.   If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, you are always welcome to email me at settledinheaven@gmail.com.

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

————————————————————————

SIH Ministries Homepage: http://www.settledinheaven.org

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

SIH STSTA ICONThe belief in the existence of ghosts is on the rise, and no wonder… in today’s world the subject of ghosts has flooded the TV screen. A few of the TV shows that have ghosts as a central theme are: “Ghost Whisperer”, “Ghost Hunters”, “Ghost Stories”, “Ghosts Lab”, “American Paranormal”, “A Haunting”, “Celebrity Ghost Stories”, “Being Human” the list goes on and on.  One list I found said there are 50 shows currently on TV centering on ghosts.  If you would like to see the list just click here: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110628172308AA4hkzC

With the existence of ghosts a major subject in today’s entertainment world I thought it would be good to look at the truth about ghosts.  The Word of God is the final authority on all issues of life here on earth and in the spirit world.  Let’s take some time to examine the truth about ghosts.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Acts 7:58-60; Luke 23:39-43; 2 Cor 5:1-9; Phil 1:23-26; Psa 88:9-12; Eccl 9:10;

Heb 9:27-28; Luke 16:19-31; Luke 8:51-56;

THE STUDY:

To begin our study, it is very important to define what we mean by a “ghost”.  “ A ghost”, for this study, refers to the disembodied spirit of a dead person that dwells among the living on earth.  This is the definition we will be using for this study.

The Bible teaches us that once a person dies they immediately depart from this world: 

(Act 7:58-60) And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.   And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.   And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

(Luk 23:39-43) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

(2Co 5:1-9)   For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.   For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.

(Php 1:23-26)  For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:  Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.  And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith;  That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again.

This is why the Word makes it plain that once we are dead we can no longer praise the Lord or serve Him on earth…

(Psa 88:9-12) Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee.  Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah.  Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?  Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness?

 (Ecc 9:10) Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

Also, the writer of Hebrews understands that, once we die there is no longer any opportunity to receive forgiveness of our sins…. We are given this warning to motivate us to be sure we have received forgiveness in this lifetime…

(Heb 9:27-28) And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The account of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a clear understanding of what takes place following the death of both God’s people and those who have never been forgiven of their sins…

(Luk 16:19-31) There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.  But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.  And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.  Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house:  For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.  Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.  And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent.  And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Notice in this account several interesting points:

  1.  Immediately upon death both saved and unsaved leave earth and enter the eternal state (saved into “Abraham’s bosom” – another name for God’s presence; unsaved into “hell” another name for eternal torment – or “prison” in 1Pet 3:19)
  2. They are recipients of the justice of God based upon their deeds on earth during their lifetime.  “he is comforted, and thou art tormented”
  3. Their eternal state cannot be changed.  There is a division between the two that cannot be spanned. “there is a great gulf fixed, so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.”
  4. When there is a suggestion of sending one from the dead back to earth, it is assumed there would be a resurrection from the dead.  There is no other option even discussed…  “though one rose from the dead”.  When Christ resurrected someone from the dead, their spirit re-entered their physical body, and then walked among men on earth…

(Luk 8:51-56) – And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.  And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.  And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.  And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.  And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.  And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.

After studying all the above verses, it is quite obvious that the spirits of those who have died DO NOT return to the earth as disembodied spirits. 

If this is the case, does this mean that the only living beings on earth are human embodied beings?  Absolutely not!

In our next blog posting, we will examine what spirit beings exist among us and how they affect our lives…

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

Let’s be careful to not get “caught up” with the modern day “ghost fever” running rampant around us.  Let’s always keep in mind, the final authority on the spirit world is our Lord and His Word.  Keeping in mind that departed loved ones will not return to the earth as a spirit, helps us to understand the tremendous responsibility to be a witness to those around us before it is eternally too late. (Matt 9:36-38)

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

The Lord, the Creator of all things (including the spirits of men) has clearly told us in His Word that the dead do not return to earth and dwell among us as spirit beings.  Knowing this should motivate us to seek the Lord while we yet have our physical life.  Once, we are dead, we no longer have the opportunity to come to Christ, nor can we avoid eternal punishment by simply returning to the earth as spirits and dwelling among the living.  (Jer 8:20)

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

SIH STSTA ICONIt seems as if the practice of meditation is becoming more popular with the passing of each generation. And no wonder, the claimed benefits of habitual meditation are far reaching.  They range from alleviating stress to helping to break smoking or drinking habits and to help reduce pain.  It is claimed that “Meditation is wonderful in that it’s free, always available, and amazingly effective in short-term stress reduction and long-term health.”  With claims such as these, is it any wonder that the number of those who practice meditation is growing throughout the world?

Mediation is described as:

“Meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind.”

“Meditation encompasses a variety of practices that are somewhat different, while holding to the basic principles of consideration and quiet thought to bring about a state of rumination.

“Meditation is not a technique but a way of life. Meditation means ‘a cessation of the thought process’ . It describes a state of consciousness, when the mind is free of scattered thoughts and various patterns . The observer (one who is doing meditation) realizes that all the activity of the mind is reduced to one.”

To view the source of the preceding quotes, the results of meditation and the descriptions of meditation please see: http://stress.about.com/od/tensiontamers/p/profilemeditati.htmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meditationhttp://www.project-meditation.org/what_is_meditation.html ;

http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/meditation.html

Based upon the above, it seems as if meditation, in some cases, involves “clearing the mind’, while in other cases, it is said to centered on one centralized point of attention, while excluding “scattered thoughts and various patterns”.   There seems to be lacking a uniform, consistent definition for meditation.

Is meditation mentioned in the Bible?  If so, what is the Bible teaching on meditation?

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Gen 24:63 – 63) And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming.

Josh 1:8 (KJV) – 8) This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

Ps 1:2 (KJV) – 2) But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Ps 5:1 (KJV) – 1) To the chief Musician upon Nehiloth, A Psalm of David. Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my meditation.

Ps 19:14 (KJV) – 14) Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.

Ps 49:3 (KJV) – 3) My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart [shall be] of understanding.

Ps 63:6 (KJV) – 6) When I remember thee upon my bed, [and] meditate on thee in the [night] watches.

Ps 77:12 (KJV) – 12) I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.

Ps 104:34 (KJV) – 34) My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Ps 119:15 (KJV) – 15) I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

Ps 119:23 (KJV) – 23) Princes also did sit [and] speak against me: [but] thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:48 (KJV) – 48) My hands also will I lift up unto thy commandments, which I have loved; and I will meditate in thy statutes.

Ps 119:78 (KJV) – 78) Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: [but] I will meditate in thy precepts.

Ps 119:97 (KJV) – 97) MEM. O how love I thy law! it [is] my meditation all the day.

Ps 119:99 (KJV) – 99) I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation.

Ps 119:148 (KJV) – 148) Mine eyes prevent the [night] watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

Ps 143:5 (KJV) – 5) I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands.

Isa 33:18 (KJV) – 18) Thine heart shall meditate terror. Where [is] the scribe? where [is] the receiver? where [is] he that counted the towers?

Mark 13:11 (KJV) – 11) But when they shall lead [you], and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost.

Luke 21:14 (KJV)- 14) Settle [it] therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer:

1Tim 4:10-15 (KJV) – 10) For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.  11) These things command and teach. 12) Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13) Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14) Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.15) Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all.

 THE STUDY:

In the Old Testment, the word “meditate” or “meditation” is translated from three different words.

  1. In Genesis 24:63 the Hebrew word means “to muse” or “to be absorbed in thought, to turn over in the mind”
  2. In all the Psalm 119 references to “meditate” the Hebrew word means “to speak to yourself, to think deeply and thoroughly”
  3. In all the other OT references a different Hebrew word with much the same meaning is used “to mutter, to ponder”

In all the New Testament references, the word “meditate” is translated from a Greek word that means “to revolve in the mind, to look over from every angle”.

What does the definitions for meditate teach us about Biblical meditation?:

  1. In EVERY case, to meditate Biblically involves having our mind thinking about something.  NEVER does the Lord tell us to “empty our mind” or “clear your mind” or “cease your mental processes”. I believe this is a point that needs emphasis… To empty our minds of every thought is a very dangerous practice.  The dark (sinful, demonic) powers of this world seek to inhabit lives that are “emptied” (Matt 12:43-45)  I believe, by emptying one’s mind opens up an opportunity for Satanic oppression of the emptied mind.
  2. Biblical mediation involves active mental concentration and examination.  If you notice in our definitions some of the terms used are “to turn over in the mind”, “to think deeply and thoroughly”, “to ponder, and to look over at every angle”.  None of these words implies a state of rest or cessation of the minds activities.

To summarize our definition study we find that to meditate in a God honoring, Scriptural way involves a mind actively examining and thinking.  NEVER does the Lord advocate a empty or inactive mind.  This type of inactivity, very possibly, can open the door to demonic influence.

Now, let’s continue our study by answering the question what subjects should a Christian be meditating about?

“To meditate” or “meditation” is mentioned in the Bible 21 times… Gen 24:63;  Josh 1:8; Psa 1:2, 5:1, 19:14, 49:3, 63:6, 77:12, 104:34, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97,  99, 148, 143:5;  Isa 33:18;  Mark 13:11;  Luke 21:14;  1 Tim 4:15.

If we study these references, in their context we find the following:

  1. Subject of meditation not described: Gen 24:63

(Although we are not told, Isaac was thinking about something!  Based upon the word used for meditation he was “absorbed in thought” over some subject, we are simply not told what that subject is.)

  1. Subject of meditation Word of God: Josh 1:8, Psa 1:2, Psa 119:15, 23, 46, 78, 97, 99, 148
  2. Subject of meditation burdens on heart seeking His mercy: Psa 5:1
  3. Subject of meditation desires of heart being acceptable to the Lord: Psa 19:14,
  4. Subject of meditation spiritual understanding: Psa 49:3
  5. Subject of meditation The Lord and His works: Psa 63:6, Psa 77:12, Psa 104:34, Psa 143:5
  6. Subject of meditation terror for disobedient facing Divine judgment: Isa 33:18
  7. Subject of mediation the gospel message and need for service to Him: 1 Tim 4:10-15
  8. Not to be a subject of meditation: Concern, worry about answering opponents of Lord : Mark 13:11, Luke 21:14

To summarize the above:

  1. As faithful children… we are to be thinking about Our Heavenly Father, His works, and His Word.  They should always be on our minds.   We should seek quiet times when uninterrupted, we can solely place our minds and hearts on Him.
  2. As burdened pilgrims on earth… we should be taking quiet times to concentrate on turning our trials over to Him seeking His presence, mercy and strength.
  3. As faithful servants… we should be meditating on our desires, making sure they are pleasing to Him; we should be examining the understanding He has given to us to enable us to serve Him in greater ways.   Finally, our meditations should also involve an examination of our lives making sure we are leading lives of holiness and separation to His work.
  4. As witnesses of His grace in salvation,… we are to always have the gospel message of grace upon our hearts, remembering what He has done for us and our need to share it with others. We are to lay aside any worry about how to answer those who oppose our message.
  5. As those who have never experienced God’s gracious salvation but are continuing to face His wrath… examine your current condition and allow terror to fill your mind, as you continue to face judgment from Almighty God.  Turn to Him and trust in Him, realizing that the Lord is abundantly gracious, slow to anger and of great mercy.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

The Lord summarize what our daily meditations should be based upon….

May the Lord bless our times of Godly meditation when we turn our minds to these things….

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

4) Rejoice in the Lord alway: [and] again I say, Rejoice.

5) Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord [is] at hand.

6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

8) Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.

9) Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Finding God’s Will For Our Lives – What Is God’s Will? (Part #2)

SIH STSTA ICON“Not my will, but thine, be done”

Prov 3:6 – “In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

 In this short 12 word verse, we find one of the most precious promises of the Bible… the promise for the Lord’s leadership and guidance in our lives.   But in this same verse, we find one of the most difficult aspects of the Christians life… following the path the Lord desires for our life.

One of the my most frequently asked questions is “How can I find God’s will for my life?”   In the next 6 blog entries we will be seeing what God’s word teaches us about this important subject…

    1. What is God’s will ?
    2. Not my will, but thine be done.
    3. Thus saith the Lord
    4. Oh what a feeling
    5. Open and shut doors
    6. Summary of the study

In part number 2 of our study lets study… “Not my will, but Thine, be done.”

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ps 40:8 I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.

Luke 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

John 4:34 Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.

John 5:30 I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.

John 6:38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

THE STUDY:

Our search for the Lord’s will starts with a brutally honest look at our own hearts.  Before beginning our search, we must ask ourselves the question, “Am I willing to do whatever the Lord wants me to do?”  By God’s grace we all can answer “yes” to this question.  If we can say “yes”, we are ready to begin our search for His guidance in the many life issues that we face.

Unfortunately, if you are like me, at times, I would have to say “no” in response to this question.

King David is described by the Lord as, “a man after mine own heart” (Acts 13:22).   David illustrates this principle when he wrote: “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law [is] within my heart.”  (Ps 40:8)

David’s desires were the same as the desires of Christ’s heart ….

“Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” (John 5:30)

“For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.” (John 6:38)

Christ not only talked the talked but He walked the walk…

One of the verses that has been the greatest blessing to my heart over the years is found in Luke 22:42,  “…Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”   To appreciate the depth of Christ’s devotion to the will of His Father, please remember the context of this verse.  The “cup” Christ is speaking of is His coming crucifixion.  Think about it… when faced with a horribly brutal death on the cross, Christ voiced His own desires to the Father before stating, “it really doesn’t matter what I desire…. I am willing to put my desires aside, and do what you would have me to do…. even to the point of a brutal, painful, humiliating, torturous death on the cross.”  (my paraphrase)

After being given such a wonderful example of self-sacrifice, putting our heavenly Father first in our lives, shouldn’t we do the same?   Think of what a sad example we set when we go through the motions of seeking His will as an after-thought.  We basically are saying…. “I’m going to do (fill in the blank), I’ll see if that’s ok with you, Lord.”  What a shame.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For those who are saved…

As Christians, we have been purchased by Christ through His death on the cross, paying the price for our sins.  (1 Cor 6:20).  That’s why Paul describes the need to be a living sacrifice for the Lord… after all, it is simply our “reasonable service” to Him. (Rom 12:1).

Would the Lord deny showing us His will, if we sincerely desire to act upon His will, putting

Him above all others desires in our life?   I think not.

Matt 7:7-11

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

In our search for God’s Will to be shown to us….

Prayer Principle #2 –  We must pray for a spirit of self-sacrifice and self-control, putting our Lord first, as we begin our search for His will.

For those who are not saved….

The Lord’s will for the life of those who have never trusted in Christ is clearly declared in 1Tim 2:3-6 …

For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

For more information about salvation and the forgiveness of sins, please refer to my blog page found here: https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-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.

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 Good Samaritan

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most common phrases used to describe someone who helps others in times of need is “a Good Samaritan”.  This phrase has become so common that in many cases, those using this title have no idea its source or contextual meaning.

The original description and story behind the Good Samaritan is found in God’s Word… let’s take a few minutes to read about the Good Samaritan and how his actions affect every one of us.

THE SCRIPTURE:

 Luke 10:25-37 (KJV)

25) And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?…37) And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

THE STUDY:

For us to properly understand the story of the Good Samaritan, we need to notice the pretext of this story found in Luke 10:25-29…

And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

Here, we find the Lord talking to a lawyer (a person who was educated in the Old Testament laws of God.)   The lawyer stands up, and asks a question of Christ desiring to trip up Christ and find fault with Him.

 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

To avoid falling into the lawyer’s trap Jesus wisely responds by asking the lawyer two questions….“ What is written in the law?  How readest thou?”

 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

The lawyer responds with a quote from the OT found in Deut 6:5

 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Here, Jesus knew that no fallen human can love the Lord with all their heart, soul and mind.  Jesus response was clearly an attempt by Christ to point out the lawyer’s great spiritual need… to recognize his sin and then come to Christ for the forgiveness.

 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

However, the lawyers response clearly indicates that he was blind to his own sinful condition.

The lawyer had missed the point.  He didn’t want to own up to his own sinful condition.  He now was trying to change the subject to the second part of his response, the need to love our neighbour as ourself.

This is where Christ now begins the story of the Good Samaritan.   Christ, in His infinate wisdom seeks to show this man his sinful condition, his need of salvation, as well as trying to answer this man’s question about who is our neighbor….

And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead.

Here, the Lord begins the story by presenting sinful mankind’s condition before salvation.  Mankind, following Satan’s attack in the garden of Eden is now sinful, naked in God’s presence and mortally wounded.  Sinful man is now half dead…. He is spiritually dead while still possessing physical life.  Soon, however, he will be totally dead without God’s intervention in his life.  This was the lawyer’s current condition.

 31) And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.

Here, the priest represents organized religions.  They can do nothing to heal this man’s condition.  Religion without submission to the will and ways of God is simply hypocrisy and of no value to God nor man.

 32) And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side.

Next, the Levite (a picture of the law) passes by, once again of no help to this wounded man.  All of our works of righteousness are nothing in the sight of a Just God.

 33) But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him],

Jesus Christ is pictured by this Samaritan.  Here Christ comes to the wounded one, the helpless one, the half dead one.  When Christ saw him, out of mercy based upon love He begins to help meet his needs.

 34) And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

Christ goes to the sinner, medicates his wounds of sin with the Spirit (oil) and His blood (wine).  He then supports and enables him through His Spirit (beast) leading him to His church (inn).

It was there at His church that this man was cared for by God and loved.

 35) And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Here Christ is seen paying the debt of the sinner, giving this debt payment to the host (the saints in the congregation). By this He is enabling the host to care for the newly saved one.  In other words, He is giving the church the truth and leadership and other blessings so that they can properly care for him.   At Christ’s second coming a further set of blessings (rewards) will be given to those who are faithful in caring for this newly saved man.

 36) Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?

After Christ told this story, trying to show this man his sin and the salvation and care that is found in Christ, Jesus now points him to the answer to his question…  the Samaritan is the true neighbor of the man is such great need.

 37) And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Now once, again Christ places the responsibility on the man to show mercy to those who has wronged him.  Again Christ, is trying to show him his sin and need to come to Christ for salvation.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

We need to never minimize what the Lord did for us when He came to us, saved, us and then led us by His Spirit into His church where we are fed and cared for.

For those who have yet to be saved…

Don’t be like this man who was unwilling to take an honest look at his sin and spiritual needs. By being honest with ourselves, and our God, we can not only see our spiritual need and look to Him to meet that need.

Heb 12:2 (KJV)

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

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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 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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What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 6 – What about the Lord’s Supper?

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 #6…. What about the Lord’s Supper?  ….

THE SCRIPTURES:

Matt 26:26-29 (KJV)

26) 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.

27) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;

28) For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

29) 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.

 Mark 14:22-25 (KJV)

22) 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.

23) And he took the cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave [it] to them: and they all drank of it.

24) And he said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.

25) 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.

 Luke 22:17-20 (KJV)

17) And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide [it] among yourselves:

18) For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.

19) 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.

20) Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

 1Cor 10:15-17 (KJV)

15) I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.

16) The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

17) For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

 1Cor 11:23-34 (KJV)

23) 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:

24) 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.

25) 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.

26) For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

27) Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

28) But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.

29) For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.

30) For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

31) For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.

32) But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

33) Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.

34) And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 THE STUDY:

Continuing with our study to find the answer to the question “What must I do to be saved?”, we now turn our attention to the church ordinance of “the Lord’s Supper” or “Communion”.   These are the only two Scriptural names for this ordinance.  We find the title “communion” given to this observance in 1 Cor 10:15-17.  We find that the Lord personally instituted this observance in Matt 26:26 and Mark 14:22, hence the name “The Lord’s Supper” (ie The Supper Began By the Lord).

What is “Communion” or “The Lord’s Supper?  It is when a local assembly of believers partakes of unleavened bread and fruit of the vine.  As they are partaking of this “supper” it is being used as a reminder of Christ’s sufferings, His shed blood, and His death for the sins of His people.  It also is a reminder of the promise of His second coming. (1 Cor 11:26)

Other observances SIMILAR to that of the Lord’s Supper are commonly called “The Eucharist”, “The Blessed Sacrament”, or “The Sacrament of the Altar”.

A common teaching existing throughout the ages is the need to partake of this observance to gain, or keep, salvation from our sins.  Let’s take a moment to see if this belief has Scriptural foundations.

The historical accounts of the institution of the supper…

Matt 26:26-29 – 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.

 Mark 14:22-25 – 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.

 Luke 22:17-20 – 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.

 1Cor 11:23-26 – 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. 

 In the above four texts, we find the origins of the Lord’s Supper.  All four are very similar in their accounts of the supper.

When Christ served the bread, He referred to the bread as “my body”… “Take, eat; this is my body” and “ This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me”.  Likewise, when serving the fruit of the vine he described it as “my blood” … “ For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins”, “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many.”, and “This cup [is] the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. “

When Christ described the bread and fruit of vine as “His body” and “His blood” respectfully, what did He mean?  Did He mean that they mysteriously, literally, became His body and blood?  Or did He mean that they symbolized His body and His blood?

Both Christ and the Apostle Paul help us to come to answer these questions:

Note that Christ used the phrase “this do in remembrance of me.”  Here, we are clearly told the motive of our taking the supper is not to partake of His literal blood an body but to simply remember what He has done on our behalf.

In 1 Corinthians 11:, Paul described the observance of the supper in this way… “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.”

Here he says the observance is to “shew the Lord’s death” which should continue until Christ comes at His second coming.  In other words, Paul’s emphasis in on the public declaration of the death of Christ that the supper produced.

Please notice, in both examples… neither Christ, nor Paul said anything about the act causing a gain of, or a retention of salvation. Both clearly declared that the Lord’s Supper was a symbolic act.  It was done to remember and declare what He has done for us through the use of symbols.

When the bread (a symbol of His body) was chewed it symbolized the abused and mistreatment that the body of Christ suffered.  His beatings, plucking His beard, being spat upon, the spear piercing His side, the nails being driven in His hands and feet; all of this abuse is pictured by the biting, chewing and tearing apart of the unleavened bread.

When the fruit of the vine (a symbol of His shed blood) was poured from the cup and running over the lips, gums and throat, it symbolized the blood pouring from His body and running down His body, and the cross.

This entire process of His physical abuse and His shed blood resulted in His physical death.  In this way, the supper declared and symbolized His death.  This is what Christ and the Apostle Paul were speaking of.

When Christ described the elements of the Supper as “my body” and “my blood”, He was referring to their symbolic significance, not any literal transformation that took place.

Paul continues in 1 Cor 11:27-34 – Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink [this] cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.  But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of [that] bread, and drink of [that] cup.  For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. For this cause many [are] weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.  For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.  But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.  Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.  And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

 These verses help us to understand the need to understand and prepare ourselves properly for the observance of the supper.  Paul makes it plain that the proper observance of the supper is A BIG DEAL.  Paul explained that if an individual, or the church as a whole, observed the supper in an unworthy fashion they could suffer sickness or even death.  Contextually, observing the supper unworthily involved not recognizing the proper symbolism of the supper by “not discerning the Lord’s body”.  The word for “discerning” carries with it the meaning of “to discriminate, understand, or separate thoroughly”.

In other words, if those partaking of the supper fail to understand it’s symbolism or purpose, they are abusing the supper and therefore, symbolically, guilty of “the body and blood of Christ”.

In Hebrews 10:10-13, Paul emphasizes that the sacrifice of Christ’s body was a one time event. It was not only unneeded, but actually, heretical, to speak of a need to be continually sacrificing His body for the forgiveness of sins.  This is another reason why we know that the bread does not mystically become His body, nor is it offered continually for the forgiveness of sin… Heb 10:10-13 – By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once [for all]. And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.

 In John 6:32-51 we find Christ as the Bread of Life being discussed.  In verses 53-58  we read… Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.

Is this teaching us that we must literally partake of His body and blood for salvation? If so, then the obvious reference must be understood of the partaking of the Lord’s Supper and the mystical transformation of the bread and fruit of the vine into His literal body and blood.

 To fully understand these verses, we must see the context in which Christ was speaking… John 6:28-31 Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.  They said therefore unto him, What sign shewest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.

 Contextually, Jesus is answering the question “What shall we do to work the works of God?”  He then clearly explains that the work of God that is man’s responsibility is to “believe on Him, whom He hath sent”.  In other words, it is to believe on the Messiah, the Lord, Jesus Christ.

The hearers then desired proof that Christ was the One they were to believe upon… they point out to Christ that God was able to perform miracles in the desert, assuring the Israelites He was with them.  One of those miracles was the miracle of manna from heaven.  If Christ was truly the Messiah, surely He could do miracles as well and prove His claims.

Christ then uses the picture of the manna and the partaking of it to symbolically help them to see the need to BELIEVE in Him for spiritual life.  He was the bread sent from God.  They were to turn to Him, in faith, and receive Him into their life, just as the Israelites of old, had turned to the bread and received it as their source of physical life from God.   We see this teaching summarized in vs 57 –  As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.  This is why Christ used the symbols of bread and eating to describe securing salvation through belief in Him.  It was a continuation of a subject brought up by the HEARERS who was seeking authentication of His person and message.

Before the subject of eating manna was brought up to Him, He described the act as “believing”, however, once the hearers brought up the subject of the OT manna from heaven, Christ simply turned the OT account of the manna into a wonderful lesson of our need to receive Him (the wonderful manna from God) into their life, and in doing so, secure their spiritual life.

Finally, we will take a quick look at 1Cor 10:15-17 – I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.  The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we [being] many are one bread, [and] one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

Here, we are told that partaking of the Lord’s Supper is an act of communion with Christ and His work on the cross.  The word communion carries with it the idea of “fellowship, association, and relationship”.  In other words, when we observe the Lord’s Supper we are associating ourselves with Christ and His work.  We are saying that we have a relationship to Christ and His work on our behalf.   It is much like the public declaration of faith that we make when we are baptized.

SUMMARY

In this blog entry we have seen the clear Scriptural declaration that the Lord’s Supper is a very important way to remember Christ’s work on our behalf and make a public profession of our faith in Christ.  However, the Lord’s Supper is not necessary for the receipt of salvation.  The Lord’s Supper should always follow salvation.

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

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

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

 ————————————————————————

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

What Must We Do To Be Saved? Part 2-Repentance

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 #2…. Repentance….

 THE SCRIPTURES: 

Luke 13:1-5 (KJV)  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in JerusalemI tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 Luke 24:45-48 (KJV)  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.

 Acts 3:17-21 (KJV)  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did [it], as [did] also your rulers.  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

 Matt 9:10-13 (KJV)  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 Acts 17:29-31 (KJV)  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 Acts 26:20 (KJV) But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

 Acts 3:26 (KJV)  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

 THE STUDY:

 What does the Bible mean by the term “repentance”?  Repentance carries with it the idea “to turn from” or “to change your mind”, “to reverse”, or “to reconsider”. 

 Biblically, repentance refers to an inward change of mind and desires that result in an outward change of action…

Acts 26:20 (KJV) – But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

 Here in our Acts 26:20 text, we see that the term repentance is describing an inward change.  In the context, we have those who had not come to believe in Jesus being told they must “repent”  .  This repentance would lead them to “turn to God” and then “do works meet for repentance”.  (“works meet for repentance” refers to works that are suitable or fitting for repentance.)

 When we are told to repent the Bible is saying that we must change our minds about….

 God’s Word – the message of the Bible, what it says about our sin, Christ, salvation, service and the eternal things of God.  The first step in our coming to Christ, is acceptance of the Word and what it says as being the very Words of God.  (John 6:63-64, John 17:17-19)

 Our Sin – the presence of sin in our lives, the guilt we have upon us because of that sin, and the judgment of God that will fall upon us due to our sin. We must come to an acceptance of all of these truths, as a part of our salvation experience. ( Rom 3:23, Rom 5:12, Rom 1:16-18)

 The Person of Jesus – Jesus, the very Son of God the Father, and God Himself, coming in obedience to His Father’s desires.  Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, or in other words, the One   Anointed by God to secure the salvation of His people.   Acceptance of the true person of Christ is of utmost importance.  (John 10:30, John 1:1-14, John 14:9)

 The Work of Jesus – Although it is true that Jesus was “a prophet”, and “a wonderful example for us to follow”, His work goes far beyond these things.  Christ, when He came to the earth was the One chosen by God the Father to live an absolutely perfect, sinless life.  When Christ was crucified, He was “the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world.”  When He died on the cross, He was paying the price for sin.  His death satisfied the demands of His Heavenly Father against our sin.  It is through His shed blood that we can find forgiveness for our sins.  Coming to a belief in these things is a part of true repentance. (1 John 3:4-5, 2 Cor 5:21, Rom 8:1-4, Gal 3:13-14, Eph 5:1-2, 1 Pet 1:18-23)

 Our Goals in Life – Where before our repentance we were living according to the goals and desires of this world and our flesh, at repentance, we now desire to seek to please Him as Lord of our lives.  This change in our goals for living is also a part of Godly repentance that works salvation in our lives. (Gal 6:14-15, 2 Cor 5:14-21)

 Repentance is for Jew and Gentile alike

 Acts 17:29-31 (KJV)  Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by [that] man whom he hath ordained; [whereof] he hath given assurance unto all [men], in that he hath raised him from the dead.

 Repentance, or a change of attitude and beliefs about our Lord, is a responsibility handed to all men everywhere. Both Jew and Gentile have been given this responsibility.  Based on our above text, we can see that repentance is a command handed down to all men, from their Creator, Jehovah God.  Our God will hold all men responsible to fulfill this command, by establishing a future time of judgment for all.

 Repentance is for those who recognize their sinfulness

 Matt 9:10-13 (KJV)  And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples.  And when the Pharisees saw [it], they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?  But when Jesus heard [that], he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.  But go ye and learn what [that] meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 For an individual to come to repentance they must recognize their sinful condition.  No one can say, “Well, I know I’m a good person who is not in need of forgiveness but I will go to Christ for communion without seeing a need for my life to change.” 

 Remember repentance involves CHANGING what we believe about ourselves and our condition.  If we have never seen our sinfulness, and we continue to believe in our innocence, as we come to Christ, no change has taken place.  Therefore, no repentance has occurred in the life of the individual.

 Repentance leads to salvation

 Luke 13:1-5 (KJV)  There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.  And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.  Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?  I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

 Acts 3:17-21 (KJV)  And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did [it], as [did] also your rulers. But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

 A sincere change in our beliefs (resulting in an acknowlegement of the truth concerning:

1. our sinful condition;  2. our coming judgment; 3. and the basis and source of Divine forgiveness) will result on an individual coming to Christ for salvation.   A sincere, true type of repentance will lead a man to Christ and His gracious salvation.

 Therefore, repentance is a part of the great commission (the proclamation of the gospel message)

Luke 24:45-48 (KJV)  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.

 Based upon our study so far, we can easily see the necessity of repentance in the process of salvation.  This is reaffirmed to us in the above passage, that makes it plain that repentance is a part of the great commission.  What is the great commission?  It is the responsibility to tell others about Christ and His work of salvation on behalf of sinful mankind.  We can see this clearly when Christ says “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:”

 In the context, of telling others about Him and His work, Christ declares “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.”

 Repentance is a gift of God.  It is the result of God working in the heart of sinful mankind.

Acts 11:18 (KJV)  When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Acts 3:26 (KJV)  Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

 What great grace!  Our Lord, saw fit to work in the heart of sinful mankind, convicting of sin, convincing of His work, and bringing that sinful man to Himself.  Why did He have to work in this way?  Because lost mankind cannot come to Christ apart from the Lord’s intervention…

 John 5:39-40 (KJV)  Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.  And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

 John 6:44-51 (KJV)  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.  I am that bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.   This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.

In this blog entry we have seen the very basic principle of the necessity of repentance 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. 

————————————————————————

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com 

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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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Easter Week Devotion: The Sayings of Christ On The Cross

SIH STSTA ICONAs we think about the glorious resurrection of Christ, it is very important that we also recall His suffering and His death that led to His burial and later resurrection. The gospel message is a message that includes all three His death, burial, resurrection and its proofs. (1 Cor 15:1-9).


As our Lord was being crucified, He uttered 7 sayings that teach us a summary of His accomplishments while on the cross. These seven sayings, when taken in the context of His crucifixion, reveal to us a loving, sinless, sovereign God who was willing to give all for the sake of those He loved…

THE SCRIPTURE:

Luke 23:34 (KJV)

34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Luke 23:43 (KJV)

43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

John 19:26-27 (KJV)

26) When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!

27) Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].

Matt 27:46 (KJV)

46) And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

John 19:28 (KJV)

28) After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

John 19:30 (KJV)

30) When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

Luke 23:46 (KJV)

46) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Matt 27:50 (KJV)

50) Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

THE STUDY:

The Voice Of Forgiveness…. Luke 23:34 (KJV)Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Here, we find our Lord making a plea motivated by His love for those who were mocking, physically abusing and murdering Him.

Not only was His love on display as He uttered these words, but also the purpose of His death on the cross is being revealed as well. One of the great motives that drove the Son of God to submission to the sufferings of the cross was FORGIVENESS. You see, without a substitutionary sacrifice being made on the cross, God cannot forgive the sins of His people. Christ was issuing his plea for forgiveness in view of His coming death on the cross. He was determined to finish the work that His Father had given Him to do.

The Voice Of Promise …. Luke 23:43 (KJV) – 43)And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Here, we see the Lord’s promise to one of the thieves that was being crucified with Him. His promise was that very soon both He and the thief would be together in heaven. Following the death of Christ, His spirit would ascend to heaven while His body would remain in the grave for three days and three nights. Because the thief had placed His faith in Jesus as the sinless Messiah (Luke 23:39-42) he, too, would experience heaven with Jesus.

The Voice of Responsibility – John 19:26-27 (KJV)When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home].

In New Testament times, following the death of the father, the oldest male son was normally given the responsibility to care and provide for his widowed mother. Following the death of Joseph, Mary’s care had become the responsibility of Christ. As Christ was hanging on the cross, with death only hours away, Christ made sure that His mother would be taken care of. He looked to His closest friend, John, to take that responsibility upon himself.

Not only was Christ faithful in His responsibility to His mother, Mary. He was also faithful to the responsibility that His Heavenly Father had placed upon Him. In John 17:1-10, we find Christ praying to the Father before His arrest, trial and crucifixion. In this prayer, Christ makes the statement… “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Christ, by making this statement, was proclaiming His determination to follow the will of His Father even to His death on the cross.

The Voice of Separation – Matt 27:46 (KJV)And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

The phrase “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” – is a Hebrew phrase quoted from Psalm 22:1. This phrase in the Psalm was uttered by King David during a time of great distress in his life. As he was praying to God for aid, there appeared to be no response. This does not break David’s faith, but by the end of the Psalm, David recognizes God’s ability to intervene and deliver him IF it is God’s will for David’s life.

Likewise with Christ, as He is hanging on the cross it seemed as if God the Father was refusing to come to His aid. But just as with David, Christ is determined to follow His Father’s will for his life even to the death.

Also, it is very important to recognize when Christ uttered these words. According to the Matthew account, Christ uttered these words immediately after a three hour period of darkness (Matt 27:45). This period of darkness is thought, by many, to be the time frame when Christ had the sins of His people placed upon Him as He paid the price for these sins.

If this is the case, then as Christ proclaimed “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me”, He is perhaps, speaking of the loss of communion with the Father as He bare the sins of His people upon Himself. Our sins, when placed upon Christ, would have caused a rupture of communion that Christ had experienced with the Father. The Father cannot look upon sin, nor can he have communion with those who have sin in their life.

The Voice of Humanity – John 19:28 (KJV) After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

As Christ hung on the cross, He experienced the human fleshly desire of thirst. This helps us to understand that, although Christ was God, He was also truly of human flesh and would suffer as any human would suffer. I have heard of those who try to minimize the sufferings of Christ on the cross by saying that “Because Jesus was God, He did not feel the pain and distress a human being would feel.” THIS IS ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE. He, as a human being with a fleshly body experienced the need for water, food, rest and while on the cross most certainly felt pain and suffering just as any other human being.

The Voice of Completion – John 19:30 (KJV) – When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.

The word for “finish” here in Greek means to “to complete. To fulfill, to execute a command” In other words, as His death was drawing near, so to was the fulfill of His Father’s will for His life. He had fulfilled God’s will perfectly by paying the sin debt for His Father’s people. Out of a heart of love for His Father and His people, He had perfectly followed His Father’s will for His life. (Philp 2:5-11)

The Voice of Security – Luke 23:46 (KJV) And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.

Commend” in Greek means “to deposit to another’s trust”. As the Lord took His final breaths, He handed His spirit over to His Father knowing that His Father would secure His entrance into heaven.

Also, please note the Jesus was in control of His own death. He handed over His spirit to the Father, He was the one that gave up His own spirit (ghost). He had the power to lay down His life and to raise it again. (John 10:17-18)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have been given the Lord’s saving grace…

We are told in Philippians 2:5-11- “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.“

We, as followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, are to strive to think as He thought. We are to share the same mindset as He displayed in His seven sayings. Our goal should be to possess a mindset that has a…

  1. Willingness to forgive and pray for the salvation of those who have wronged us.

  2. Willingness to speak to others about our Lord and share with them the gospel message.
  3. Willingness to accept the responsibility for service in the areas to which we are called of God to serve.

  4. Willingness to be honest about the sin that is in our life; the communion we are lacking because of that sin; and deal with that sin through confession and repentance.
  5. Willingness to recognize the weakness of our sinful flesh, and seek to guard against Satan working in those areas of our life.

  6. Willingness to follow the Lord to completion of our appointed ministry. Motivated by a recognition of all He has done for us…even if we are called upon to give our life for Him.
  7. Willingness to trust the Lord with our future eternity. We can do this by keeping our eyes on His promises of heaven and future rewards, using these precious promises as a motivation to continue to serve Him.

For those who have yet to be given His saving grace…

After reading of the Lord’s attitude towards those who abused and mistreated Him to the ultimate degree, you can rest assured that the Lord will accept anyone who turns from their sin and comes to Him in faith…

John 6:37-38All 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.

By turning from sin to submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find forgiveness, peace and joy that surpasses all understanding. May the Lord use His Word to bring you to a saving knowledge of Him.

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”. Also, you are welcome to contact me via a blog comment or email for any further questions you may have.

May the Lord bless you.

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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.”

The Symbols of the Church

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the most interesting areas of Bible study is the area of Bible symbolism.  Symbols are used in the Bible to help illustrate many differing Bible doctrines.  Symbols are used throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, covering most of the major teachings of Scripture.

The symbols of the Bible have come to us by the grace of God.  Our Lord understood our need to understand Bible teachings. Because He loved us, has made it easier for each of us to understand these teachings through use of symbolism.

As an example, within the pages of the Scriptures we find the Lord uses everyday objects to help us understand spiritual truths.

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Christ used everyday objects to teach the truth about Himself:

John 6:35 – I am the BREAD of Life – By this He was teaching us that we must partake of His work for spiritual life, satisfaction for our spiritual hunger and the basis of our eternal salvation.

John 10:9 – I am the DOOR – By this He is saying that He is the entryway into salvation, which leads to an eternity in God’s presence.

John 15:5 – I am the true VINE – By this symbol He was expressing that He is the source of our strength, our life, and the bearing of our spiritual fruit

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In this lesson we will be looking at the symbols that Christ used to help us understand truths about His local churches on earth.

THE SCRIPTURE:

1Tim 3:15 (KJV)  – But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

THE STUDY:

Here is a listing of 10 different items in the NT believers lives that helped them (and us) understand His church on earth.

  1. The Salt of the Earth – Matt 5:13
    1. Preserving influence in the earth
    2. Flavor, better earthly existence
  2. The Light of the World – Matt 5:14
    1. Reveals the Truth
    2. Removes Darkness
  3. The Inn – Luke 10:34
    1. Place to Care and Nurture God’s People Once They Are Saved
  4. The Flock of God – Acts 20:28
    1. Led by the Lord
    2. Fed by the Lord
    3. Protected by the Lord
  5. The Body of Christ – 1 Cor 12:27
    1. Unity of Many Differing Members
    2. Follows Instructions Given by the Head (Christ)
    3. Works for Each Others Benefit
  6. The Temple of the Living God – 2 Cor 6:16
    1. Lives Within The Church
    2. Worshipped Within the Church
    3. Taught Of Him
  7. The Virgin Bride of Christ – 2 Cor 11:2
    1. Moral Purity
    2. Commitment Made Based upon Love
    3. Submission Given Based upon Reciprocal Love, Respect and Honor
  8. The Household of God – 1 Tim 3:15
    1. Where God and His Family Meet Together
  9. The Pillar and Ground of the Truth – 1 Tim 3:15
    1. To Support Truth
    2. To Elevate the Truth
  10. Candlestick – Rev 1:20
    1. To Shine Light of Christ To World
    2. To Possess His Authority Thru Spirit’s Workings

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved …

The importance of coming to an understanding of Bible doctrine cannot be overemphasized. Our loving heavenly Father has seen fit to make this understanding a bit easier for each of us through the use of many, varied Bible symbols.

For those who have yet to be saved…

The most important Bible truths for anyone to understand are truths about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

In the introductory portion of this blog entry, we find that Christ is declared as the gateway (door) to forgiveness, salvation and an eternity with the Heavenly Father.  It is through the application of His work to our lives that we are given salvation from our sins, much like the partaking of bread brings about satisfaction from the spiritual hunger in which we all share. And finally, our source of spiritual life and divine supplies comes from Him also.

Won’t you come to Christ today, realizing He is the only source of forgiveness for your sins and an eternal relationship with the heavenly Father?

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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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