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“Jesus Is The Anointed Prophet Priest and King”

SIH STSTA ICON(Identifying Jesus as the Anointed One During His First Coming)

 

INTRODUCTION:

Many times in the New Testament Jesus is given the title of “Christ”.  The title “Christ” holds the same meaning as the Old Testament title “Messiah”.  Both of these titles possess a similar meaning, “one that is anointed”.

Why are these two titles for Jesus so important? It is based on the Old Testament practice of the anointing prophets (1 Kings 19:16), priests (Nums 3:3), and kings (1 Kings 19:16).  The public anointing of these office holders revealed  that they have been given God’s authority and enabling to hold their perspective offices.

Based upon this Old Testament practice, understanding that Jesus was “the Anointed One” reveals to us that Jesus has received God’s authority to hold the offices of “Prophet”, “Priest” and “King”.

In this study, we will be making a quick search for proofs that Christ exercised this divine authority as Our Prophet, Our Priest, and Our King, thus proving that He truly was anointed by God.

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Isa 61:1-3

(1)  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;  (2)  To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (3)  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

  

Mat 16:13-16

(13)  When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  (14)  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. (15)  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  (16)  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 

Mat 16:20

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

 

Act 10:37-38

(37)  That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  (38)  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

 

Heb 1:8-9

(8)  But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  9)  Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

 

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

In the Old Testament, there are many texts which speak of the Messiah, or “the Anointed One”. These texts describe the individual who will be anointed by God to perform many different earthly, and heavenly ministries…

Isa 61:1-3 – “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;  To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.”

Heb 1:8-9 – “But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.  Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

 

Jesus was anointed by his Heavenly Father with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit came down upon Him at His baptism…

Act 10:37-38 – “That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;  How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

 

So in Matthew 16:13-20 the Lord was not only emphasizing His position before the Father as “the Christ” (“the Anointed One”), but also he was emphasizing the ministries he was performing at His first coming as God’s Prophet, Priest and King.

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

 

While on earth, and immediately afterward, Christ fulfilled all three roles that His Father had given to Him…

  1. Prophet – During Christ’s ministry on earth, He delivered the Father’s message to the people…

Joh 12:49 – “For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what  I should say, and what I should speak. 

Joh 14:10 – “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.”

 

  1. Priest – During Christ’s ministry on earth, He acted as Priest making intercession and sacrifice for His people…

Joh 17:9 -16 – “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.   And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.   And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world…”

Joh 10:11-15 – “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.  The hireling fleeth, because he is an hireling, and careth not for the sheep.  I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.  As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

 

  1. King – immediately following His ascension Christ was seated at His Father’s right hand and began His reign as King of King and Lord of Lords… 

Mar 16:19 – “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” 

Act 2:32-35 – “This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.  Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.  For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.” 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, every time we speak of “Jesus Christ, the Messiah” we are affirming that Jesus is the promised King, Prophet, and Priest sent from God to rule, intercede for, and sacrifice Himself for God’s people.

Do we believe, with a God-given faith, that Jesus is our Christ?  Has He died for us?  Does He intervene for us?  Does He rule over our hearts and lives?

If we can answer “yes” to all of these questions, we have been delivered from our sins and are eternally secure in Him.  If we cannot say “yes” to these questions then we have to question our standing before God.

May we all come to a saving faith in Him, placing all of our trust in Him as the Prophet, Priest and King of our lives.

 

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Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 5)

 SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

“Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.” (1 Corinthians 13:8)

 

In our previous studies we have seen that there are three basic types of Accrediting Gifts which include several gifts under each type. In the above passage, we find each type of Accrediting Gift is represented by one gift from each type …

 

Type Of Accrediting Gift Gifts Included In This Type Representative Gift Mentioned In1 Cor 13:8
Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth The Word Of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge Word of Knowledge (or Knowledge)
Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth Faith, Gifts Of Healing, Working Of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning Of Spirits Prophecy (or Prophecies)
Supernatural Proclamation Of The Truth Divers Kinds Of Tongues, Interpretation Of Tongues Diverse Types Of Tongues (or Tongues)

 

Please note the above verse (1 Cor 13:8), which includes one representative gift from each group, makes it plain that each type of Accrediting Gift will come to an end at some point in time. We now will turn our attention to the question at what point in time will these gifts go out of existence?

 

In this study, we will see that this question is answered by the Word of God using several different lines of teaching which all present the same answer for us. This will be the lines of teaching that we will be studying:
I.        The Coming Of “That Which Is Perfect”
II.        The 70 Year Accreditation Time Span
III.        The Death Of The Apostles
IV.        The Supernatural Beginning / Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings
V.        The Prophecies of False Miracles In The “Last Days”

Lesson:

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Please note MANY PASSAGES will be referred to in this lesson. As in all the lessons, the KJV text of each passage can be found at the end of this study. Please take the time to refer to them to come to a more clear understanding on the biblical teachings on these things.
As Christians, it is of utmost importance that we familiarize ourselves with Satan’s deceptive practices (2 Corinthians 2:11). Satan, the father of lies (John 8:43-45), uses deception as a chief tool to mislead people from the truths of God’s Word (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14). When we understand how Satan works we can more successfully guard against falling for His lies and counterfeit gospel message.
Let’s take a very quick look at some of the ways that Satan opposes Christ’s workings in the days in which we are living.

The Bible makes it very plain that in the time period described as the “last days” false accrediting miracles will be used by Satan to mislead many from the Biblical gospel message (Matthew 24:23-24; Mark 13:21-23; 2 Corinthians 11:13-14; 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12; 2 Timothy 3:1-8; Revelation 13:11-14; 16:13-15; 19:20).
These false miracles are very effective tools of deception for Satan, This is because of man’s fallen, carnal nature which is not satisfied with the exercise of faith in the Lord and His Word, but is only satisfied by witnessing supernatural miracles being performed (Matthew 16:3-4). This attitude flies in the face of true Scriptural faith that rests in “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1-3).
Please note that… The “last days” is the time period in which we live today. It finds its beginning with the first coming of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3).   Knowing that the “last days” began with the first coming of Christ, we can know with certainty that the existence of false deceptive teachings, and false accrediting miracles, existed since the days of Christ on earth and will continue to exist until He comes back again at His second coming.

This is why John teaches us that antichrists existed in his day as well as would exist in today’s time (1 John 2:18-19)

Folks, the existence of false miracles is not something new, but has existed for many, many years. We find the exercise of false miracles periodically performed throughout New Testament church history.

The most important aspect of this teaching, for this study, is that these deceptive practices exist in today’s time. Because of this, we must take these prophecies seriously and always put the current day “miracles” to the test of God’s Word (Isaiah 8:18-20; Matthew 7: 15-20; 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21; 2 Timothy 3:16-17, 1 John 4:1-3]. There is no excuse for a Bible believing Christian to not seek out the truth concerning these practices. To naively accept modern day miracles as being of God is to show a lack of understanding of clear Scriptural prophetic warnings from God Himself.

We should all be like the Berean Christians who, after receiving teaching from God’s Word, took the time to check it’s accuracy by comparing it with the Word of God (Acts 17:10-12).  This same principles applies to the modern day accrediting miracles that are taking place around us. That is the purpose of this entire series of studies, to help us to clearly understand the teaching of God’s Word concerning spiritual gifts. This will give us the foundational information we need to properly judge that which is taking place around us.

False teaching and the use of false accrediting miracles is a big deal in the eyes of the Lord. It is such a heinous sin that, in the Old Testament scriptures these practices are deserving of death (Deuteronomy 13:1-8) and at the final judgment will result, apart from the Lord’s gracious forgiveness, in eternal death (Matthew 7:21-23; Revelation 19:20) . It is easy for us to understand why this is such a horrible practice… it is misleading many to eternal destruction and separation from God. And that is why there is such a grave need for all of us to take it upon ourselves to judge the validity of these practices.

You might be wondering why I have included this section under the heading of “When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence?”. My thoughts centered on the need for us to understand that false miracles do exist in today’s time. There are those who argue that simply seeing these things take place proves that the Biblical accrediting miracles are still taking place in todays’ time and, therefore, they have not yet gone out of existence. My answer to them is this lesson.

Just because supposed miracles are taking place around us, there is NO SCRIPTURAL reason to assume that they are divinely originated, nor that they are of the same type of gifts as the accrediting miracles that were performed by the Apostles and other local church members of the New Testament accounts. There is another very Scriptural and plausible answer to these things…. they are simply the deceptive workings of Satan that the Bible clearly teaches will exist in our day and age.

Yes, I believe that all of the false accrediting miracles fall into three basic groups which all find their source in Satan and his workings…

1. If they are miracles that actually take place and supercede the natural laws of nature, then I believe they are the result of demonic enabling and oppression (or perhaps, possession). (Mark 5:3-4)

2. In many cases, I believe they are, in actuality, not genuine miracles at all, but simply illusions that are performed (much like that of a magician) purposefully to mislead others. If that is the case, they find their origin in Satanic workings. They are the result of Satan blinding and twisting the minds of the illusionist seducing them with the promises of fame and the riches of this world. (2 Tim 3:1-8)

3. Finally, there are some “miracles” that are performed by those who are misled, sincere in their beliefs and caught up in their emotions. But once again, these find their ultimate origin in Satan, who has kept them from the truths of the Word and is actively at work in their mind and psyche. It is this group of people that “two-fold more the child of hell” misled and unknowingly headed for the Lake of Fire, while believing they are secure in Christ. (Matt 23:15)

May the Lord graciously protect us from these workings of Satan as he lies in wait to make merchandise of our very souls through counterfeit teaching and miracles (2 Peter 2:1-3; Rev 18:12-13)

I would like to close this section of our study with two very sobering texts. They are found in Matthew 7:21-23 and Revelation 19:20…

Mat 7:21-23 KJV

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

In this text we see that there will be those who stand before the Lord at the final judgment making an argument for their acquittal. Their three part argument goes something like this… “But Lord, we HAVE DONE the will of your Father, and we can prove it! …
1. have we not prophesied in thy name? – we delivered a Scriptural message
2. and in thy name have cast out devils? – we successfully opposed Satan and His workings among men
3. and in thy name done many wonderful works? – we performed miracles that prove we were doing the work of God

Although all of these 3 areas of ministry appeared to prove their ministry was of the Father, in actuality they were lost individuals who would be cast into the Lake of Fire as rebellious, disobedient, lying, ministers of Satan. By God’s grace may He allow us to escape such an end.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

“And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.”

In this text we find the beast (ungodly political powers of the world) and the false prophet (false religious powers of the world) are facing their final judgment. Note how the false religions of the world are said to work miracles which deceived the nations. Once again, these miracles are proven to be counterfeit miracles that only add to their eternal condemnation (as those responsible for misleading multitudes of people).

In our next lesson we will take a look at several Scriptural principles to apply as we seek to judge the messages and miracles being performed by those who claim to be followers of Christ.

 

Additional Information(Verses Mentioned In This Study):

The Prophecies Of False Miracles In The “Last Days”:

Deu 13:1-8 KJV

(1) If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,

(2) And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;

(3) Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

(4) Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.

(5) And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

(6) If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;

(7) Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth;

(8) Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:

 

Psa 119:11 KJV

(11) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

 

Psa 119:105 KJV

(105) NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

 

Isa 8:18-20 KJV

(18) Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

(19) And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?

(20) To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

 

Mat 7:15-20 KJV

(15) Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

(16) Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

(17) Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

(18) A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

(19) Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

(20) Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

 

Mat 7:21-23

(21) Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

(22) Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

(23) And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

Mat 16:3-4 KJV

(3) And in the morning, It will be foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?

(4) A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed.

 

Mat 23:15 KJV

15) Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

 

Mat 24:23-24

(23) Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.

(24) For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

 

Mar 5:3-4

3) Who had [his] dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:

4) Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any [man] tame him.

 

Mar 13:21-23

(21) And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not:

(22) For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect.

(23) But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

 

Joh 8:43-45 KJV

(43) Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.

(44) Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

(45) And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.

 

Joh 17:14-17 KJV

(14) I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(15) I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

(16) They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

(17) Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

 

Act 17:10-12 KJV

(10) And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

(11) These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

(12) Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

 

2Co 2:9-11 KJV

(9) For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.

(10) To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

(11) Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

 

2Co 11:13-14 KJV

(13) For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.

(14) And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.

 

1Th 5:20-21 KJV

(20) Despise not prophesyings.

(21) Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

 

2Th 2:8-12

(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

(9) Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

(10) And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

(11) And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

(12) That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

 

2Ti 3:1-8 KJV

(1) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

(2) For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

(3) Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

(4) Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

(5) Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

(6) For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

(7) Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

(8) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

16) All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

17) That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Heb 1:1-3 KJV

(1) God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

(2) Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

(3) Who being the brightness of [his] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

 

Heb 11:1-3

1) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

2) For by it the elders obtained a good report.

3) Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

 

1Jn 2:18 KJV

(18) Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.

 

1Jn 4:1-3 KJV

(1) Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

(2) Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:

(3) And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

 

Rev 13:11-14 KJV

(11) And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.

(12) And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.

(13) And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,

(14) And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.

 

Rev 16:13-15 KJV

(13) And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

(14) For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

(15) Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

 

Rev 19:20 KJV

(20) And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone.

The Importance Of The Local Church -4: “The Foundation Of The Church: Christ and His Word”

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 fourth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the church’s foundation.  In other words, we will be studying the basis and underpinnings of the Lord’s churches on earth.

 

THE STUDY:

Christ and His Word Make Up the Foundation of the Local Assembly…

1. Christ is called the Foundation with the Ministry Of The Word Building Upon That Foundation : 1 Corinthians 3:9-15

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, [ye are] God’s building.  According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble;  Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.”   (1 Corinthians 3:9-15)

 

In this text, we can see that Paul is describing his teaching ministry to the Lord’s churches as “I have laid the foundation”.  He continues by describing the teaching of those who teach the assemblies after his departure as “and another buildeth thereon”.   By using these descriptive phrases Paul is making it plain for us to see that the teaching the truths of Christ make up the foundation and mission of the Lord’s churches.

He then goes further and states that “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”  By saying this, he is making it plain that the foundation of the Lord’s churches are made up EXCLUSIVELY of the teachings concerning Christ.   The teachings of this world, no matter how popular or persuasive they might be are not a part of the underpinnings, strength, and establishment of the churches of the Lord.

These principles are further supported by 1 Timothy 3:15 which tells us that the church of God is the “pillar and ground of the truth”.

Paul then explains that the teachings that honor Christ are very valuable and will reap eternal blessings for the teacher; while the teachings that depart from God’s Word are of no lasting value and will not bring about eternal gain.

2.  Christ is called the “Chief Cornerstone” with the Word Being Called The Foundation : Ephesians 2:19-22

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:  In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19-22)

 

In these verses, Paul reveals to us that “the household of God” (ie the local church assembly) is built upon the foundation of the Word of God.  He uses the phrase “the apostles and prophets” to refer to the New and the Old Testaments.  Those who held the office of apostle were the  authors of the vast majority of the New Testament.  Likewise, those holding the office of prophet wrote the vast majority of the Old Testament.

What is the dominating, exclusive theme of both the Old and New Testament Scriptures? It is the Lord Jesus Christ.  This is why He is described as the “chief corner stone”.  What is the a chief corner stone.  Basically, it is the foundation of the foundation.  The cornerstone is set and then the other stones making up the foundation are placed in alignment with it.

3.  The Truths Of Christ Found In The Word Are Called “The Rock” Upon Which The Local Church Is Built: Matthew 16:13-20

“When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?  And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.   He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.   And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.  And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

 

Please note the series of events that take place in this text:

1. Christ asks his disciples… how does the common Jewish citizen identify Him?

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

 

 

2.  The response they give … there is no certainty and much disagreement on their part… perhaps John the Baptist, perhaps the OT prophet Elijah or Jeremiah, or another prophet.

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

 

3.  Christ’s second question… How do my disciples identify me?

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

 

4.  Peter replies …. Thou art the Christ (Anointed One, One Sent From God) the Son of the living God.

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

 

 

5.  The Lord responds by explaining that, to understand these truths about Christ Peter has been greatly blessed with enabling by 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.  

 

 

6.  The Lord continues by stating that Peter’s description of Christ is the rock (cornerstone) that the Lord’s church will be empowered, strengthened and established.  It would be through the teachings of these truths about Christ that the church would be invincible.

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. 

(In this verse, note the play on the word “rock”.  The word “rock’ is used to describe the truths that Peter has just spoken, Christ was affirming these truths as the foundational truths of His local assembly.

Please notice that Christ gives the title of “Peter” to Simon in response to the statement that Simon has just made. “Peter” is the English translation of a Greek word that means “a small piece of a rock”.  Why does Christ give Peter this title?  He is saying that Peter, as he declares the truth about Christ is adding to the foundation becoming a small part of it.  This is in perfect alignment with what Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 3:9-15 (above).  Anyone who proclaims Christ in a local assembly is adding a small piece of rock to the large rock that is the church’s foundation.  This is what Peter had just done proclaiming these truths about Christ in the midst of the local church at Jerusalem.

 

7.  The Lord continues His discourse to all the assembled disciples telling them that, as a local church assembly, they have a tremendous amount of authority as they proclaim truths about Christ to the world.

These truths if accepted by faith, will give access to the kingdom of heaven.

And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven:

 

 

As the church warns others of their bondage in sin and coming eternal judgment (binding the hearers on earth); God in heaven will “back up their message” and bring this judgment to pass. (binding the hearers in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven:

 

Likewise, as the church promises those who believe the church’s message of Christ will be released from their sin bondage and enter into spiritual, eternal life (loose them on earth); God in heaven will honor their promise and grant to the believer freedom from sin and the judgment to come (loose them in heaven).

and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

This is the great level of authority that is possessed by a local church of the Lord that is built upon Christ and the truths of His Word.

 

THE SUMMARY:

As we studied the local churches foundation, we saw that

1.  The church’s foundation is made up of the Truths of God’s Word.

2.  The Word which is made up of both Old and New Testaments exclusively reveals the Lord Jesus Christ, the “cornerstone” of that foundation.

3.  Anyone who teaches these truths of Christ in the midst of His assembly will be adding to the foundation of that assembly.

4.  The church, when it proclaims the truths of God possesses a tremendous amount of authority knowing that the Lord is support their teachings of sin, salvation and the eternity to come.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is founded upon the truths of Christ that are presented in His Word.  Because its foundation and message is based upon Christ, the church carries a tremendous amount of authority that is supported by God Himself.

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

 

 

Personal Experience Or God’s Word, Which Is Our Standard? #2

SIH STSTA ICONShould we trust the Word instead of our life experiences?

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES: 

And the LORD spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, When Pharaoh shall speak unto you, saying, Shew a miracle for you: then thou shalt say unto Aaron, Take thy rod, and cast [it] before Pharaoh, [and] it shall become a serpent. And Moses and Aaron went in unto Pharaoh, and they did so as the LORD had commanded: and Aaron cast down his rod before Pharaoh, and before his servants, and it became a serpent. Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said. (Exodus 7:8-13)

Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, [there is] a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me [him] up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, [As] the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou [art] Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form [is] he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he [is] covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it [was] Samuel, and he stooped with [his] face to the ground, and bowed himself. (1 Samuel 28:7-14)

The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came, and tempting desired him that he would shew them a sign from heaven. He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, [It will be] fair weather: for the sky is red.
And in the morning, [It will be] foul weather to day: for the sky is red and lowring. O [ye] hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not [discern] the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. (Matthew 16:1-4)

For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

And straightway he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha. And the Pharisees came forth, and began to question with him, seeking of him a sign from heaven, tempting him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit, and saith, Why doth this generation seek after a sign? verily I say unto you, There shall no sign be given unto this generation. And he left them, and entering into the ship again departed to the other side. (Mark 8:10-13)

For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

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)

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 2:8-14)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was. But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

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)

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. (1 John 4:1-6)

Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
(Jude 1:3)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

THE STUDY: 

Can our senses, and the events that take place in the physical world around us, be reliable sources to discern, and validate the will of God? This is a very important question that deserves a careful, comprehensive study of the Word of God for its answer.

With the establishment of the Lord’s churches on earth came the clear declaration of the existence of false teaching and purposeful attempts to deceive God’s people….

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:… 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;… (Ephesians 4:11-15)

We must pay attention to  the descriptive phrases that are used in this passage to describe the attempts that are used by Satan to deceive the people of God. For it is in these phrases we can clearly see willful intent, the motive of this deception, and the basic way in which the deception is brought upon Christians.  Please notice:

1. “sleight of men” – this phrase refers to seducing those who are unskillful. It was a term used to describe the experienced taking advantage of naive youths in games of chance.
2. “cunning craftiness” – this phrase refers to trickery, or cleverness, that misleads. It is speaking of the ability to lay plans ahead of time to mislead and take advantage of others.
3. “lie in wait to deceive” – to stay among travelers, or a well-traveled path, for the purpose of taking advantage of the travelers. It is describing something like a lion, who crouches along a much-used path waiting for an innocent animal to appear.

In the above, we can see the nature of Satan’s workings as he makes plans to use trickery and deceit to mislead the people of God. What was God’s remedy that He supplies to us? He graciously has given us the different offices of teachers that will share His Word, whose principles give us the ability to discern and resist Satan’s attempts at misleading us. These offices are listed in this text, “apostles” , “prophets”, “evangelists”, pastors and teachers”

So from this text we learn two very important truths…

First, as Christians, Satan is out to deceive us during our physical walk on earth. He will try to deceive us using various tricks and false teachings.

Secondly, the Lord has given us His Word, and those who minister His Word, both past (Apostles and Prophets who gave us the completed Word) and present (Evangelists and Pastor/Teachers who now minister that completed Word), to us to enable us to overcome the trickery of Satan.

In this text, He establishes the principle that His Word, when used as our standard for living, will thwart any deceitful plans of Satan that are sent our way in an attempt to mislead us. This principle is also presented in 1 John 4:1-6…

“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world… Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” (1 John 4:1-6)

Please notice that Satan’s use of false teaching (and false teachers) is emphasized. We are told in this passage that we must “believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God:” How are we to try the spirits? We do this by comparing the truth of God with the teachings that come our way. This is presented to us in this text in two different ways:

First, teachings concerning the person of Christ are used as the basis of recognition of the deceitful teaching of Satan, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” This tells us that we need to compare the teachings of man with the truthful and reliable truths of Christ found in the Word.

Secondly, please note the closing sentence of this text, “Hereby know we the SPIRIT OF TRUTH, and the SPIRIT OF ERROR.”  What is the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error?
This is further explained in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15…

“For such [are] false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore [it is] no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15)

In this passage we see emphasized the deceitful nature of Satan’s plan. His teachers claim to be sent by Christ. They claim to be doing the works of Christ and they even appear to our senses to be the servants of the Most High.   In these two texts, Satan uses the proclamation of error through false teachers, false prophets etc. in an attempt to deceive the people of God. This is the “SPIRIT OF ERROR”.

In the 1 John 4:1-6 passage, the term “truth” refers to that which is genuine, actual to fact, verifiable truth. It is this very body of truth that is contained in God’s Word. The Word is the only source of absolute truth that is available to man…

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort [you] that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
(Jude 1:3)

Here we find the need to stand fast and defend the set of doctrinal truth (or “the faith”) God has given to man is found in His Word.  This is the “SPIRIT Of TRUTH”.

Notice what is said about “the faith”…
1. it was “once delivered” – in the original language this phrase means “to be delivered in its entirety once and for all”. This clearly refers to the Word of God, once handed down and brought to completion in about 100 AD.
2. it was delivered “unto the saints” – it was given to those He had selected to be the writers of His Word…. the OT prophets and NT apostles, and their associates. These men were inspired by God to write down the very Word of God recorded in the Bible, which now makes up “the truth” and “the faith” that upon which we base our entire system of beliefs and teachings.

It is this “SPRIT OF TRUTH” that is in a constant spiritual struggle with the “SPIRIT OF ERROR” we have previously seen.

But the Bible goes farther.  As it looks ahead in time, we find that we are told that this struggle will increase and be brought to fruition as the last days draw closer…

… 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)

… Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here [is] Christ, or there; believe [it] not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if [it were] possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, [he is] in the secret chambers; believe [it] not. For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
For wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together. (Matthew 24:21-28)

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come… Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith. But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all [men], as theirs also was…. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:1-17)

… And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which [sword] proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh. (Revelation 19:19-21)

In the last three passages, please notice that Satan’s attempts to deceive the people of God are not limited to the use of false teachers and error filled teaching.  We see also the usage of “great signs and wonders” (Matt 24:); misleading miracles, “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth:” (2 Tim 3: and Exod 7:8-13); “wrought miracles” (Rev 19:).

Both in the days in which we are living, and in the days which must yet come, we can see the Bible is warning us about Satanic use of “miracles” and “signs and wonders” which will be used in an attempt to mislead God’s people.

Think about it, our physical senses observe that these false teachers are able to perform great acts that mirror the acts of the Godly men in the days of old. Based upon our senses, we are tempted to accept Satanic teachers based upon their display of “supernatural powers”. Then on top of it all, we hear with our ears messages that scratch “our itching ears” (2 Tim 4:), in other words, the messages are be pleasing to us and bring satisfaction to our sinful, fleshly, nature.

In these life experiences, our senses will certainly be working hard to mislead and deceive us. The only hope for us is clearly presented in the 2 Tim 3: passage, “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned [them]; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture [is] given by inspiration of God, and [is] profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”

It is only through the use of the completed, inspired Word of God, that we can possess a standard to compare all teachings and workings of man.

In closing let’s notice a few things about the Word of God from the 2 Tim 3: passage:

1. The Word is what we have “learned” – to come to acknowledge and understand as genuine truth
2. The Word is what we have “been assured of” – to be trustworthy
3. The Word is “known of whom we have learned” – Godly, reliable men have given us this Word.
4. The Word is “able to make thee wise unto salvation” – was applied to our heart when we were saved.
5. The Word is “given by inspiration of God” – spoken by God Himself, it is “breathed out” by God
6. The Word is “profitable for doctrine” – it benefits us by supplying the truths of God
7. The Word is “profitable for reproof” – it benefits us by supplying warnings from God
8. The Word is “profitable for correction” – it supplies direction on how to correct error in our life
9. The Word is “profitable for instruction in righteousness” – it supplies truths on how to live a Godly life
10. The Word causes us to be “perfect” – it supplies what we need to be spiritually mature
11. The Word causes us to be “throughly furnished unto all good works” – it is ALL WE NEED to be furnished to please God in every aspect of our life.

The above description of God’s Word reveals several important facts to us about the Word. Of these facts let me emphasize four of them:

Notice we have learned it is trustworthy… our physical senses, which are touched by sin, are not trustworthy witnesses of that which is Godly and that which is against God. But the Word can be relied upon to reveal the true nature of what we may experience in this life.

We also saw that it was the Word that has revealed the way of salvation to us. If we can trust this Word to give us reliable discernment that affects our eternal destiny, surely we can trust it to give us Godly discernment our experiences in life.

The Word through its own testimony, and the examination of men for over two centuries, has been proven to be perfect, without error, and absolutely trustworthy. Surely, we can continue to rely totally upon this Word to lead us from error as we seek to serve the Lord.

Finally, in the last sentence of 2 Tim 3:, we are told that the Word is ALL THAT WE NEED to become spiritually mature and to perform “all good works” that we are called upon to do. This statement confirms for us the need to rely totally on the Word of God to discern to true nature of our life experiences. We do not need our life experiences, apart from the Scriptures, to show us the will of God. But we need the Scriptures for Godly discernment of all that our senses perceive as we experience life on earth

The revealed Word, as found in the Holy Scriptures is all we need and ALL WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN by God to give us a standard for comparison of all teachings and works of the men that minister unto us.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Getting to the heart of our study for today…

The Word is our completed guidebook for Godly discernment and leadership as we seek to serve our Lord on earth. If we rely upon our physical senses and physical experiences alone to discern the Lord’ will for our lives, we are headed for doom.

How does this apply to us in a practical way? Here are just a few examples….
1. When we hear teaching on spiritual things we must run to the Word and compare its teachings with the teachings we have heard. Any teachings that are in alignment with the Word we can cling to as much fine gold, and any teachings we hear that are in opposition to the Word we must cast aside as chaff.
2. When we see works performed by those who claim to be God’s messengers, we are to grasp our “gold standard” of the Word to see if these works will stand up against its teachings. Does God say that these works will be used by His ministers? Does God say these works will be done during the time in which we are living, or have they fulfilled their purpose and no longer exist? Are the works accomplishing the proper end? Etc etc
3. When we see methods being employed by churches and ministers we must not be caught up in the idea that “the end justifies the means”. Just because a certain method APPEARS to have great results for Christ, it does not justify their use. We are to take the Word, and see if the methods being used are glorifying to the Lord and sanctioned in the Word.

It is these type of issues that Satan uses to reap havoc and chaos among God’s people. It is only through the use of God’s Word as our final authority concerning the teachings, works, and methods of ministry that we can see the true nature of the ministries and ministers that may come our way.

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

Please visit…
Settled In Heaven Ministries Home On The Web: http://www.settledinheaven.org
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Email Us At: settledinheaven@gmail.com

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 7 – What about Church Membership?

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

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

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

Blog Entry #1 Salvation

Blog Entry #2 Repentance

Blog Entry #3 Faith / Belief

Blog Entry #4 What about good works?

Blog Entry #5 What about baptism?

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

Blog Entry #7 What about church membership?

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

 Matt 16:13-20 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Matt 28:16-20 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

Acts 2:47 (KJV)

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

 Acts 20:28-31 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

 Eph 5:25-28 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

 Heb 10:19-31 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Another interesting set of verses is found below:

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

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

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

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

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

Some examples are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SUMMARY

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

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

 May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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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.”