Settled In Heaven Blog

Category Archives: Scnd Peter 3:

God’s Word: Believe It Or Deny It… But Don’t Twist It!

SIH STSTA ICON

INTRODUCTION:

Over the years I have seen people believe God’s Word and see their need to come to Christ for forgiveness and salvation from their sins.  Also, I have seen many people make a decision to not believe God’s word, ignore its warnings and continue to live a life that is separated from Christ and characterized by the practice of sin.  We all must make the choice to either believe the Word and apply it to our lives, or ignore its message and the offer of salvation that lies in its pages.

But sadly, there is another group of people whom I have seen that choose to make an attempt to  change the Word of the Lord and twist its meaning and its message.  They do this in an attempt to make it align with their own personal morals, philosophies and carnal desires.  They come to a sinful faith in their version of God’s Word, while in affect denying the true gospel message that it contains.

In this study we will be looking at the Scriptural teachings on the need to refrain from attempting to change His Word to meet our carnal desires.

 

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

2 Tim 4:3-4 – 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.

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

 

Psa 119:160 – Thy word is true from the beginning: and every one of thy righteous judgments endureth for ever.

Many years ago, King David understood that God’s Word, in its entirety was “true”.  The Hebrew word translated true in this verse refers to something that is trustworthy and certain.  Folks, the reliability of God’s Word is no small issue indeed.  If we cannot depends on the Word in its entirety, we have no assurance of Christ’s existence, identity, or work done on our behalf.  This leads us to understand that we then have absolutely no assurance of our salvation nor of an eternity that awaits us.

King David then continues  by telling us that God’s Word “endureth” forever.   In other words, it remains in existence, and affect, throughout all time and into eternity.  What a blessing this is for all of us.  We can know that not only is God’s Word reliable, but it remains reliable throughout the ages! Never will there be a time when God’s Word will no longer be dependable.  It is only in this truth that we can have eternal confidence of our salvation and the home that awaits us on the New Heavens and Earth.

Sadly, those who seek to change God’s Word, and twist its meaning, are living in denial of its truthfulness and endurance.

 

2 Tim 4:3-4 – 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.

Paul, in his writings, prophesied of a day when men would “not endure sound doctrine”, “heap to themselves teachers having itching ears”,  “turn away their ears from the truth”, and finally ‘be turned unto fables”.   In other words, because their sinful natures and desires they did not desire to hear the truths of God’s Word.  Instead, they sought out false teachers who substituted the truths of the Word with “fables”.  The Hebrew word used for fables refers to fictional tales.

When a man is convicted due to their sinful condition, instead of turning from their sin and looking to Christ as their Lord and Savior, they simply attempt to change the truths of the Word which relieves their conscience and allows them to continue living their sinful lifestyles.  When this takes place they no longer see their need to repent and come to Christ.

 

2 Peter 3:16 – As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Peter confirms the writings of Paul when he says that, even in his day, there were those “that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”   These men were “wresting”,  i.e. twisting or perverting, the teachings of the Scriptures “unto their own destruction”.

Folks, as difficult as it may be to come face to face with our sinful condition and need of Christ, it is far better than to change God’s Word, twisting its content and meaning resulting in a soothed conscience in the midst of our sins which separates us from Christ, keeps us under His wrath, and condemns us eternally.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Folks, the message of the Word is clear, either accept the Word as eternal truth from God, or look upon it as a collection of error filled human writings, but under no circumstances should we attempt to change it to make it more palatable to our personal whims and sinful tastes.

When we simply choose to believe the Word, or deny it, we are responding to the Scriptural responsibility that God has laid on us.  This allows us to clearly see our standing before the Lord.

For those of us who believe His Word and apply it to our lives resulting in a Godly repentance and belief in Christ, we know our sins have been forgiven and we are secure in Him.

For those who choose to deny His Word and reject its teachings, they can clearly see that they have never accepted the gospel message, and therefore never come a saving faith in Christ.  They are yet lost in their sins and stand guilty before the Almighty God who is the Eternal Judge over all mankind.  This knowledge can then be the basis of consistent guilt and conviction which can later drive them to Christ.

However, when they try to twist the Word to meet their own personal preferences, they are, in effect, fooling themselves into thinking that they are right with God.  They are telling themselves that they are living according to God’s Word and in good standing before Him.  Yet, in reality, they are under the bondage of sin, possessing a carnal assurance of a nonexistent salvation.  They have blinded themselves from the truth and have made themselves “two-fold more the children of hell”. They are living with a false sense of spiritual security when, in actuality, are doomed to eternal punishment in the Lake of Fire.

Lord help anyone of us who have chosen this path of self-deception and self-assurance for our lives.

 

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“The Deliverance Of Creation 2”

SIH STSTA ICON

 

One of the many wonderful truths involving the Christian’s eternity with Christ concerns the deliverance of God’s physical creation from the pain and decay of sin.   What a blessing it is to know that, not only will our bodies be completely delivered from the effects of sin, but so too, the physical creation of God… 

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.”  (Romans 8:21-23) 

Let’s take a few moments to look at what the Bible teaches concerning the future deliverance of creation from the effects and presence of sin. 

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

[Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.   Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;”  (2 Peter 3:10-15)

 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.”   (Romans 8:18-23)

 

 

 

THE STUDY: 

The main texts of our study will be Romans 8:18-23 (where we find the basic principle of creation’s deliverance from sin affirmed) and 2 Peter 3:10-15 (where we find the creation’s deliverance described in detail)…

Now let’s take a look at the PROCESS behind the renovation of this heaven and earth from 2 Peter 3:10-15.   Peter now presents to us teaching on the same event as was spoken of by the Apostle Paul, the deliverance of this heaven and earth from sin, its effects and its presence…

 

10) But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

Once again, we see that the timeframe for the deliverance of creation is shared with that of the glorification of our bodies.  Both take place when Christ comes as a “thief” (at His second coming – 1 Thess 5:1-10, Matt 24:36-41).

 

The removal of sin’s effects and presence from this creation is described with several different terms:

  1. “pass away” – to cease to be. In other words, their sinful condition will no longer exist.  They will “cease to be” what they once were because they will be changed.  Just as the Christian’s fleshly, sinful body will no longer exist when it enters into its glorified condition.
  2. “melt” – dissolved, loosened, stripped away. Creation will be “stripped” much like damaged, worn, finish is stripped from old furniture during the renovation process.
  3. “burned up” – to be burned to the ground. Much like a forest fire burns all to the ground producing fertile soil for the regrowth to begin.

Please note that NONE of these terms dictates a new creative act must take place.  Each term can easily describe a renovation process   Keep in mind, the heavens and earth will not be totally destroyed with new ones created in their place.  Contrary to this false teaching, the Bible is plain that the appearance of the new heavens and earth is the result of the RENOVATION of the old not their total destruction.  They will be “changed” much like restoring used garments…

And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:  They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;  And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail.”  (Hebrews 1:10-12)  

 

11) [Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,

12) Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

Because we know that the Lord will prepare for us an eternal dwelling place wholly separated from sin, should we not seek to rid ourselves of sin while yet on this earth?

Here, in these verses, we find two terms for this act of renovation…

  1. “dissolved” – this is the same term as “melt” in above verse.
  2. “melt” – this is a term that means “to liquefy”. Perhaps this is the most important term of them all.

We are told that through the use of fire and extreme heat the Lord will “melt” the components that make up His creation.  This melting will be used by the Lord to reform (reshape) the heavens and earth, while using its original components…

  1. This reminds us that the earth was covered with water as a part of the original creation process (Genesis 1:1-2)
  2. Also this reminds us of the world-wide flood that was God’s judgment of sin that resulted in a similar, yet incomplete cleansing of the earth… 

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”  (2 Peter 3:5-7) 

 

13) Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

Although we are told that the heavens and earth will “pass away”, “melt”, “be burned up”, and “dissolved” we know that, based upon His promises to us, He will reform these into a “new” heavens and earth.   These will then be the containers of “righteousness” with the Lord and His people forever inhabiting them.

 

It is very important to notice the description “new”.  The Greek language has two terms that are translated “new” in the New Testament:

  1. “neos” which means “new” in relation to age and time.

This word means “young” or coming later in time.  This word carries the idea of a child compared to an adult, or a new place of employment that follows the previous place of employment.

 

  1. “kainos” which means “new” in relation to quality or condition.

It means “fresh”, “youthful” or “renewed”.  In speaks of the idea of a “fresh” coat of paint or the “restoration” of an antique car.

The word “new” in this passage is “kainos” (and every NT passage where we find new heavens and earth mentioned) clearly revealing the heavens and earth are “new” in the sense they are reinvigorated, or refreshed as the result of their renovation.   It CANNOT mean they are new in the sense they are young and come after the old heavens and earth.   Again, this helps us to see that the New Heavens and New Earth are the same Heavens and Earth which we are experiencing now, simply reformed and renovated to remove all traces of sin.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION: 

 

Now Peter gets to the practical application of all these things…

14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.  15) And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

 

For those who have trusted in Christ.

14) Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

As believers, we all look forward to the appearance of the New Heavens and New Earth and our entrance into it.   Because of this wonderful future awaiting us, let us be certain of our standing before Him.  Let us not “miss out” on this wonderful eternity, simply because we are lax in our self-appraisal of our spiritual condition.

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

 

For those who have never trusted in Christ. 

15) And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

For those who have never trusted in Christ, please remember, the delay of His second coming (which includes the end of mankind’s opportunity for salvation and the appearance of this New Heavens and New Earth), is because He is a long-suffering Lord who is giving ample time for the lost to come to a saving knowledge of Him.  Please turn from your sins and come to Christ before it is too late…

And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?   Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?   But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;  Who will render to every man according to his deeds:

 (Romans 2:3-6)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

“The Deliverance Of Creation 1”

SIH STSTA ICON

 

One of the many wonderful truths involving the Christian’s eternity with Christ concerns the deliverance of God’s physical creation from the pain and decay of sin.   What a blessing it is to know that, not only will our bodies be completely delivered from the effects of sin, but so too, the physical creation of God…

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.”  (Romans 8:21-23)

Let’s take a few moments to look at what the Bible teaches concerning the future deliverance of creation from the effects and presence of sin.

 

THE SCRIPTURES:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. 

[Seeing] then [that] all these things shall be dissolved, what manner [of persons] ought ye to be in [all] holy conversation and godliness,  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? 

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.   Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;”  (2 Peter 3:10-15)

 

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.  For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.  And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.”   (Romans 8:18-23)

 

 

THE STUDY:

The main texts of our study will be Romans 8:18-23 (where we find the basic principle of creation’s deliverance from sin affirmed) and 2 Peter 3:10-15 (where we find the creation’s deliverance described in detail)…

Let’s begin with Romans 8:18-23 and look at the PRINCIPLE of the renovation of this heaven and earth…

 

18) For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time [are] not worthy [to be compared] with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

Paul reminds us that no matter what opposition may be faced for the cause of Christ, they cannot be compared to the eternal glory that is awaiting the people of God.  This eternal glory includes living in the very presence of Christ; the receipt of a glorified body; no longer facing pain, sorrow nor death; and removal from the very presence of sin and it’s effects; to name a few…

And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 

And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.”  (Revelation 21:1-5)

 

For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.   But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy.  And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 

There shall be no more thence an infant of days, nor an old man that hath not filled his days: for the child shall die an hundred years old; but the sinner [being] an hundred years old shall be accursed.  

And they shall build houses, and inhabit [them]; and they shall plant vineyards, and eat the fruit of them. They shall not build, and another inhabit; they shall not plant, and another eat: for as the days of a tree [are] the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.  They shall not labour in vain, nor bring forth for trouble; for they [are] the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. 

And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.  The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, and the lion shall eat straw like the bullock: and dust [shall be] the serpent’s meat. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, saith the LORD.”   (Isaiah 65:17-25)

{Note: Although these verses are commonly thought of as referring to the 1000 year reign, based upon their context (vs 17), they are clearly referring to our future existence on the New Heavens and New Earth}

 

22) For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain.   (Isaiah 66:22)

 

 

19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. 

20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope, 

21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

All of God’s creation is now waiting anxiously for the glorification of the believer’s body which will usher in “glorious liberty” (deliverance from the influence, effects and presence of sin) of the children of God.

Why is all creation looking forward to the glorification of the believer’s body?  Creation’s deliverance from sin will take place in a similar fashion, during the same timeframe, as that of the believer’s glorification:

  1. Both involve a renovation or a remaking – The believer’s glorification involves the believer’s body being changed (glorified and ushered into God’s presence) at His second coming. (1 Cor 15:51-58). The deliverance of God’s physical creation will involve its renovation and entrance into God’s presence (Heb 1:10-12, Rev 21:1-5)…
  2. Both involve the same timeframe (Christ’s second coming)- The believer’s glorification will take place as Christ returns in the clouds which will be followed immediately by His wrath falling upon lost mankind culminating in the renovation of the heavens and earth (Mark 13:24-27)…

For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:  Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:  But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3:5-7)

 

 

22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

23) And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.

The creation of God is now going through painful times due to sin’s effects.  She is groaning due to the pain of the effects of sin.  She “travaileth in pain” (ie suffering birth pains) as she is awaiting the “birth” of her coming reforming by God.

Paul compares this to each one of God’s people who, enduring the results of sin, are groaning in pain and eagerly awaiting the receipt of their glorified bodies and the removal of sin’s influence, effects and presence.

All of these blessings are the result of the Lord’s redemptive work on the cross where He has undone the sin and death that has entered the world through Adam (1 Corinthians 15:51-57).

 

In part two of our two-part series, we will look at the PROCESS behind the renovation of this heaven and earth from 2 Peter 3:10-15.

 

 

May the Lord bless you as you study His Word.

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

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The End Of The World Revealed (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICONThis was first posted in 2010.  The truths in this post remain unchanged… may we all come to a better understanding of the times of Christ’s second coming!

 

 

2012… just four little numbers that in the past few years have become a BIG DEAL!  What used to be simply a descriptor, for a 12 month segment of time on coming calendars, has become synonymous with the end of all mankind.  How did this happen?  Well, to tell you the truth, I think it takes a Mayan scholar and historian to really get the answer straight; there is much controversy over the whole theory.  I can’t read the Mayan language, nor do I understand how the Mayans went about creating their calendar; so to be fair to supporters of this theory, I think I’ll leave the explanation of all this to them.  If you are interested this link may help you…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

As far as I’m concerned, the only area of interest for me is … “What does God’s Word say about the world ending in 2012?”   From my perspective, God’s Word (made up of 66 separate books, Genesis – Revelation) is the only reliable authority on this whole issue.  Therefore, if God’s Word teaches that the world ends in 2012… so be it, then that proves to me that the Mayan’s had it right all along; but, if God’s Word proves the 2012 theory is baloney…. that settles it for me… I’m placing my faith in my Lord, and His Word, and I’m delegating the 2012 theory to my trash can (file 13).  (If anyone is interested in why I count God’s Word as the ultimate authority in matters like this, please refer to my previous blog entry on the Bible and Science: http://bit.ly/bYDWbZ for more info)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? … But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only… Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (Mat 24:3, 36, 42; see also Matt 25:13, 2 Pet 3:10)

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  (1Th 5:1-11)

THE STUDY:

Matthew chapter 24 is a record of the teachings of Christ on the subject of His second coming and the events surrounding the end of the world:

Matthew 24:1-3…

If you notice, the question that initiated the Lord’s teachings of Matthew 24 is found in verse 3 …” Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

So clearly, the context of this chapter is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.  To say otherwise is to deny the context of this chapter.

(Please note, the “things” being referenced in verse 3 was the destruction of the temple by Rome a few years later in 70 AD by Roman general Titus.  This brought an end to the Hebrew worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem and began the time period we call the “latter days”.)

Matthew 24:4-28

In these verses, the Lord describes the different events leading up to His second coming. An in-depth look at these signs will be presented in Part #2 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:29-31

The coming of Christ is described as he takes His followers to heaven to be with Him. A closer look at these verses will follow in Part #3 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:32-51

Here our responsibility to look for the signs and to be ready for His coming is brought into view.  These verses we’ll look at in detail in Part #4

Note in verse 36 and verse 42 …

He clearly says in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

And then in verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

In the context, watching the signs of His coming, He makes it plain that, as we watch, we should not expect the exact time to be revealed to us!   In other words, the signs are to help us know the basic time frame of His return, but we will not know exactly when He is coming.

He explicitly states that no man, nor angel would ever know the exact time of His coming.  Even Christ, while on earth, as a human, who did not exercise His divine attributes (Phil 2:5-8), did not know the time of His second coming.  (Just a note here…. I believe that since Christ is ascended and has begun to exercise His divine attributes and authority, (Phil 2:9-11) He now knows when the second coming will take place.)

This same principle is also brought out in the Scriptures in our other text, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

In other words, Paul did not need to write to the believers in Thessalonica about the times and seasons of Christ’s second coming because Christ had already addressed the topic.   But even though they already had teachings on the signs, there would be no specific announcement of when He would come.  In that sense, He would be coming as a thief, unannounced and unexpected by many.

SUMMARY OF OUR STUDY SO FAR:

So for this blog entry, it is important for us to see that Christ gave us signs marking a basic time frame of His coming.   However, the coming of Christ and the end of the world, will not be announced with any exact date. He specifically teaches that no man, nor angel will be shown the time of His coming.   It is a truth only known by the Triune God.

By the way, good old “2012 theory” is already rattling around in my file 13, and we are only one-fourth finished with our study!

My next blog entry will answer the question, “What are the signs of His second coming?” from Matt 24:4-28.

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

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

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

To Love As Jesus Loved: “Charity Beareth All Things”

SIH TOTT ICON“And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

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

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…  

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity.

(1 Corinthians 13:3-8, 13)

 

As we continue looking at events in the life of Christ that set a wonderful example for us of Scriptural love. In this devotional, we will see Christ’s great love being on display as He exercised tremendous patience to those around Him…

 

Christ’s Life:

 

The Characteristic of Scriptural Love: Silently, Patiently Holds Up Under Heavy Loads

 

Patience that springs from a heart of love is one of the most outstanding characteristics on display throughout the life of Christ. His patience shown in the Garden of Gethsemane was just one of many times His patience was on display…

 

And they came to a place which was named Gethsemane: and he saith to his disciples, Sit ye here, while I shall pray.  

And he taketh with him Peter and James and John, and began to be sore amazed, and to be very heavy;And saith unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death: tarry ye here, and watch.

And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.   And he said, Abba, Father, all things [are] possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly [is] ready, but the flesh [is] weak.

And again he went away, and prayed, and spake the same words.

And when he returned, he found them asleep again, (for their eyes were heavy,) neither wist they what to answer him.

And he cometh the third time, and saith unto them, Sleep on now, and take [your] rest: it is enough, the hour is come; behold, the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.Rise up, let us go; lo, he that betrayeth me is at hand.(Mark 14:32-42)

 

What a wonderfully patient Lord who kindly pointed out the continuing failure of His closest followers who chose to sleep instead of joining Christ in watchful prayer. Please notice He “caught them red handed” three times as they had fallen asleep during His times of prayer. They deserved His chastening and anger to be placed upon them, yet from a heart of love, He chose to correct them by kindly speaking words of truth to them.

 

From our human standpoint, this may seem like an extreme act of love on His behalf, however from a spiritual standpoint, He has shown to us a much greater patience than this…

His loving patience shown towards us as sinners (those who rebelled against His Word, scoffed and mocked His claims, and rejected His message of love and grace) intervening in our lives, breaking our sin hardened hearts and bringing us to Himself clearly stands out from all His other displays of longsuffering.

 

Paul, who described himself as “the chief of sinners” understood the great love that Christ had shown to him when He intervened in his life and showed him such great patience and mercy. In doing so, Christ was setting a perfect “pattern” of loving patience for all of us to follow in His steps.

This [is] a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.

Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

(1 Timothy 1:15-17)

 

Our Lesson To Be Learned:

If we love our Lord as we should, and we recognize His great patience shown to us, we will find ourselves, motivated by appreciation, following His example and living holy lives separated for His use.

Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;(2 Peter 3:14-15)

 

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SIH Email: settledinheaven@gmail.com

Spiritual Gifts: When Did The Accrediting Gifts Go Out Of Existence? (Part 4)

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 Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

There is a principle that seems to be repeated throughout both the Old and New Testament Scriptures… it is the principle described as of “Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation”.   This principle says that in many, if not all cases, a Godly feat of creation relies upon miraculous divine intervention for its existence and the uses a series of natural acts for its continuation.

Here are a few examples of this principle….

 

God’s Creative Work Miraculous Beginning Natural Perpetuity/Maintenance
The Universe Spoken Into ExistenceHebrews 11:3, Psalm 33:6-9, Genesis 1:1-2:7 Gradually Decaying Waiting For DeliveranceRomans 8:19-24
The Tabernacle Divinely Inspired Plans Given To ManExodus 35:30-35Miraculous AccreditingMoses – Book of Exodus Joshua – Book of Joshua Levites To Care For TabernacleNumbers 4:16, Exodus 40:33-38
The Temple Divinely Inspired Plans1 Chronicles 28:11-21Miraculous AccreditingElijah -1 Kings 17:-18: Elisha-1 King 19:-2 King 13: Levites To Care For Temple1 Chronicles 9:26-34
The Bible Inspired Men Handed Down Scriptures2 Peter 1:19-21, 2 Timothy 3:16-19 Human Beings Translate and Copy ScripturesDeuteronomy 17:18-20
The Local Church God Comes To Earth/ Forms AssemblyRomans 9:5, Matthew 10:1-2Miraculous Empowering and AccreditingHebrews 2:3-4, Acts 2:1-13, Acts 19:1-7 Church To Send Out Other Men To Form Other Assemblies Throughout The World.Matthew 28:18-20
Eternity Divine Visitation and Recreation of World1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 2 Peter 3:6-8 The Constant Continuation of EternityDaniel 12:1-3, Revelation 21:-22:

 

If you notice, based upon the above chart, the Local Assembly follows in this same pattern. The Lord miraculously came to the earth and, while He was present, He founded the local church (Matthew 10). Also, through miraculous means, following His ascension, He empowered His assembly to do His work in Acts 2:, and then He accredited His assembly through the miraculous works of the Apostles and other members of His churches throughout its beginning years.

However, also in alignment with His other acts of creation, His miraculous intervention stopped during New Testament times and from then forward the perpetuity of the local assembly is brought about through the fulfilling of the Great Commission by members of His assemblies.

Once, again, this falls into perfect alignment with the concept that the age of the accrediting miracles came to an end during the later years of the Apostles’ existence on the earth (approx. 100 AD).

We will finish this section of our study next time with a look at the prophecies given by God of the existence of false miracles workers in the last days.

 

Additional Information:

The Supernatural Beginning and Natural Perpetuation Of God’s Workings:

1) In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2) And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness [was] upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3) And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4) And God saw the light, that [it was] good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5) And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6) And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which [were] under the firmament from the waters which [were] above the firmament: and it was so.
8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9) And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry [land] appear: and it was so.
10) And God called the dry [land] Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that [it was] good.
11) And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, [and] the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed [is] in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12) And the earth brought forth grass, [and] herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed [was] in itself, after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
13) And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: [he made] the stars also.
17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that [it was] good.
19) And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20) And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl [that] may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21) And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
22) And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23) And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24) And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25) And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.
26) And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27) So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28) And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29) And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which [is] upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which [is] the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.
30) And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein [there is] life, [I have given] every green herb for meat: and it was so.
31) And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, [it was] very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day.

1) Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.
2) And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
3) And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.
4) These [are] the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,
5) And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and [there was] not a man to till the ground.
6) But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.
7) And the LORD God formed man [of] the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
(Genesis 1:1-2:7)

 

30) And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah;
31) And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship;
32) And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass,
33) And in the cutting of stones, to set [them], and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work.
34) And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, [both] he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan.
35) Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, [even] of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.
(Exodus 35:30-35)

 

33) And he reared up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the hanging of the court gate. So Moses finished the work.
34) Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35) And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
36) And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys:
37) But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up.
38) For the cloud of the LORD [was] upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys.
(Exodus 40:33-38)

 

16) And to the office of Eleazar the son of Aaron the priest [pertaineth] the oil for the light, and the sweet incense, and the daily meat offering, and the anointing oil, [and] the oversight of all the tabernacle, and of all that therein [is], in the sanctuary, and in the vessels thereof.
(Numbers 4:16)

 

18) And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of [that which is] before the priests the Levites:
19) And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:
20) That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, [to] the right hand, or [to] the left: to the end that he may prolong [his] days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.
(Deuteronomy 17:18-20)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 17:1-18:1)

(refer to the Bible for 1Ki 19:1- 2 Ki 13:1)

 

 

26) For these Levites, the four chief porters, were in [their] set office, and were over the chambers and treasuries of the house of God.
27) And they lodged round about the house of God, because the charge [was] upon them, and the opening thereof every morning [pertained] to them.
28) And [certain] of them had the charge of the ministering vessels, that they should bring them in and out by tale.
29) [Some] of them also [were] appointed to oversee the vessels, and all the instruments of the sanctuary, and the fine flour, and the wine, and the oil, and the frankincense, and the spices.
30) And [some] of the sons of the priests made the ointment of the spices.
31) And Mattithiah, [one] of the Levites, who [was] the firstborn of Shallum the Korahite, had the set office over the things that were made in the pans.
32) And [other] of their brethren, of the sons of the Kohathites, [were] over the shewbread, to prepare [it] every sabbath.
33) And these [are] the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, [who remaining] in the chambers [were] free: for they were employed in [that] work day and night.
34) These chief fathers of the Levites [were] chief throughout their generations; these dwelt at Jerusalem.
(1 Chronicles 9:26-34)

 

11) Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat,
12) And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:
13) Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD.
14) [He gave] of gold by weight for [things] of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; [silver also] for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:
15) Even the weight for the candlesticks of gold, and for their lamps of gold, by weight for every candlestick, and for the lamps thereof: and for the candlesticks of silver by weight, [both] for the candlestick, and [also] for the lamps thereof, according to the use of every candlestick.
16) And by weight [he gave] gold for the tables of shewbread, for every table; and [likewise] silver for the tables of silver:
17) Also pure gold for the fleshhooks, and the bowls, and the cups: and for the golden basons [he gave gold] by weight for every bason; and [likewise silver] by weight for every bason of silver:
18) And for the altar of incense refined gold by weight; and gold for the pattern of the chariot of the cherubims, that spread out [their wings], and covered the ark of the covenant of the LORD.
19) All [this, said David], the LORD made me understand in writing by [his] hand upon me, [even] all the works of this pattern.
20) And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do [it]: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, [even] my God, [will be] with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.
21) And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, [even they shall be with thee] for all the service of the house of God: and [there shall be] with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people [will be] wholly at thy commandment.
(1 Chronicles 28:11-21)

 

6) By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
7) He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
8) Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
9) For he spake, and it was [done]; he commanded, and it stood fast.
(Psalms 33:6-9)

 

1) And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
2) And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame [and] everlasting contempt.
3) And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
(Daniel 12:1-3)

 

(1) And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.
(2) Now the names of the twelve apostles are these; The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
(Matthew 10:1-2)

 

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.
(Matthew 28:18-20)

 

1) And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
2) And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
3) And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
4) And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
5) And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
6) Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
7) And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
8) And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
9) Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
10) Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
11) Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
12) And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?
13) Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
(Acts 2:1-13)

 

1) And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
2) He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
3) And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
4) Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
5) When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
6) And when Paul had laid [his] hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
7) And all the men were about twelve.
(Acts 19:1-7)

 

19) For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20) For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected [the same] in hope,
21) Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22) For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23) And not only [they], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, [to wit], the redemption of our body.
24) For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
(Romans 8:19-24)

 

(5) Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.
(Romans 9:5)

 

13) But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.
14) For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.
15) For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive [and] remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.
16) For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17) Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
18) Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
(1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 

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.
(2 Timothy 3:16-17)

 

3) How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
4) God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
(Hebrews 2:3-4)

 

 

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.
(Hebrews 11:3)

 

19) We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20) Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21) For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.
(2 Peter 1:19-21)

 

(refer to the Bible for Revelation 21:1-22:21)

 

Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 1)

SIH TOA ICONIntroduction:

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

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

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

1. Gifted Men – These are men, used by God to serve the Lord as a part of the ministry of His local assemblies.
2. Accrediting Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to establish and accredit His Word and place of worship. A secondary purpose of these gifts is to minister to others within the context of local church ministries.
3. Ministering Gifts – These are the gifts whose main purpose is to testify of Christ and His Word through the ministries of His local assemblies.

We will be studying the differing types of spiritual gifts today we will be studying the “Sign Gifts” the Lord has given us.

 

 

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts) – gifts given to establish the local church and New Testament scriptures

Accrediting gifts, another type of spiritual gift given through God’s grace to mankind, is also commonly called sign gifts.  Lists of these gifts are found in the following verses…

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 12:28-31)

In 1 Corinthians 12:28-31, we find a sampling (incomplete list) of accrediting gifts given along with samples of other types of spiritual gifts (gifted men and ministering gifts).

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 

To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;

to another [divers] kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:  But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”   (1 Corinthians 12:8-11)

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-11, we find a complete listing of the accrediting gifts.  Because we find the complete list in this passage, we will concentrate our study on this text.

To properly understand this text, we have to take notice of the words “another”.  They are translated by two differing Greek words.  The understanding of these Greek words is of utmost importance to our study.

Please notice these two Greek words:

1. “allos” – this word means “another of the SAME kind”.
For example… “Lassie” is a dog and “Rin Tin Tin” is another.  In this sentence, if “another” was translated from “allos”, it would be tqeaching us that Rin Tin Tin is the same type of animal as Lassie.  Both are dogs.

2. “heteros” – this word means “another of a DIFFERENT kind”.
For example… “Lassie” is a collie and “Rin Tin Tin” is another.  In this sentence, if “another” was translated from “heteros”, it would be teaching us that  Rin Tin Tin is a different breed of dog than Lassie (RTT was not a collie).

Although both our example sentences use the word “another”, we can see that “another” can hold two differing meanings.  This is what happens in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11.  If we understand this principle, we can see that our text clearly places the accrediting gifts into  different divisions. Please notice our text…

Vs 8

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;

This “another” is translated from the word “allos”This teaches us that the gifts of “word of wisdom” and “word of knowledge” are gifts of the SAME type.

These are the gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF TRUTH.

 

Vs 9 – 10a  

To another faith by the same Spirit;

This “another” is translated from the word “heteros”.  This teaches us that the gift of faith is a different type of gift than the previous gifts mentioned.   

to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits;

These “anothers” are all translated from the word “allos”.  This teaches us that gifts of: gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, and discerning of spirits are all the same type of gift as the gift of faith.

These are all gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL INDICATORS OF THE TRUTH.

 

Vs 10b

to another [divers] kinds of tongues;  

This “another” is translated from the word “heteros”.  This teaches us that another new division of gifts is beginning.  In other words, this teaches us that “diverse kinds of tongues” is a different type of gift than the those we just listed under the supernatural signs of the truth.

to another the interpretation of tongues:

This “another” is translated from the word “allos”.  This teaches us that the interpretation of tongues is the same type of gift as the interpretation of tongues.  Both of these gifts form our third division among the accrediting gifts.

These gifts involve the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.  

 

Vs 11 – “But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”   

All of these Accrediting Gifts are given graciously by God through the person of the Spirit.  They are distributed among men based upon the sovereign will of the Lord.

Now let’s take a look at each of these gifts in detail…

 Gifts Involving The Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth

1.  “The Word of Wisdom” –  This involves uttering wisdom (practical truths for living) through the inspiration of the Lord.  It is a first- time revealing of God’s wisdom to mankind which makes up the text of the Bible. (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Peter 3:15-16)

2.  “The Word of Knowledge” –  This involves uttering knowledge (doctrinal truths) through the inspiration of the Lord.  It is a first-time revealing of the truths about Himself to mankind which makes up the text of the Bible.  (2 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Peter 3:18)

Please note:  Both of these gifts came to an end at the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

Gifts That Are The Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth

1.  “Faith” –  This is a supernatural faith that far exceeds the fruit of faith mentioned in Galatians 5:22-24. This supernatural faith results in many different types of miracles being performed.

Some mentions of this faith include:
a.  Moving mountains – Matthew 17:20, Mark 11:23, 1 Corinthians 13:2
b.  Lack of this gift hindered work of God – Matthew 13:58, Mark 6:5-6
c.  Heavens shut up for 3 ½ years, Lepers healed – Luke 4:25-29
d.  Uprooting sycamore tree – Luke 17:6

Again, it is important that this “gift” is not confused with the “fruit” of the Holy Spirit which bestowed at the point of salvation and then is exercised in every Christian’s life.

2.  “Gifts Of Healing” –  This is not the “gift of healing” but it is the “gift of the gifts of healing”.  The name of this gift is translated from the Greek language.  Literally it is translated “to freely bestow a cure” or “to graciously deliver from an infirmity” or “gracious healings”.  This clearly points out the gracious nature of the healing.  It is not a matter of those being healed are more faithful or more spiritual persons than those who are not healed.  This is the ability to heal a person who is entirely underserving of that healing.

3.  “Working Of Miracles” –  The gift of “the working of miracles” allows acts of power to accomplish desired, yet naturally impossible results.

4.  “Prophecy” –  Literally, this gift is described as the ability “to reveal the mind of God”.  When used in the context of the Accrediting Gifts, this gift involves the forth-telling of a future event.  This was used as a proof that the speaker was speaking the truth.   This is why the Lord has included this gift in the SUPERNATURAL INDICATORS OF THE TRUTH division and not the SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF TRUTH division. (2 Kings 10:9-11)

5.  “Discerning Of Spirits” – This involves the ability to PERFECTLY make judgment of the aim, content, and deliverer of a message. Put another way, this gift allowed men to discern the authenticity, reliability and intents of a verbal or written message without error. (Acts 5:1-6)

All of the gifts in the Supernatural Indicators of the Truth division came to an end in the same time frame as the completion of God’s Word.  We will look at this in much more detail in the section of our study entitled “When did gifts given to establish the Word and the Local Church come to an end?”

In our next study, we will look in detail at the gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH: “diverse kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues”.

Additional Information (Verses referred to in this study):

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts) – gifts given to establish the local church and New Testament scriptures  

Gifts Involving The Supernatural Revelation Of The Truth

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.   (2 Timothy 3:15)

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;”   (2 Peter 1:3-5)

And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;  As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”   (2 Peter 3:15-16)

But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.”   (2 Peter 3:18)

 

Gifts That Are The Supernatural Indicators Of The Truth

And it will be in the morning, and he will go forth and stand and say to all the people, Ye are just: behold, I conspired against my lord, and I will kill him: and who struck all these?  Know now that nothing shall fall from the word of Jehovah to the earth which Jehovah spake concerning the house of Ahab: for Jehovah did what he spake by the hand of his servant Elijah.  And Jehu will strike all those being left to the house of Ahab in Jezreel, and all his great, and all his acquaintance, and his priests, till he left to him nothing escaping.”   (2 Kings 10:9-11)

And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”   (Matthew 13:58)

And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.”  (Matthew 17:20)

“And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed [them].  And he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went round about the villages, teaching.”   (Mark 6:5-6)

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.”  (Mark 11:23)

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;  But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow.  And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.  And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,  And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.   (Luke 4:25-29)

And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.”  (Luke 17:6)

And a certain man, Ananias by name, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,  And separated from the price, his wife also knowing; and having brought a certain part, laid at the feet of the sent.  And Peter said, Ananias, wherefore filled Satan thy heart, for thee to belie the Holy Spirit, and separate from the price of the farm.  Remaining, did it not remain to thee? and sold, it was in thy power: for what hast thou put this thing in thy heart? thou hast not lied to men, but to God.  And Ananias hearing these words, having fallen down, he expired: and great fear was upon all them hearing these things.  And the younger having risen up, drew him together, and having carried out, interred.”  (Acts 5:1-6)

And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.”   (1 Corinthians 13:2)

 

The Importance Of The Local Church -11 “The Membership and Attendance Of The Assembly”

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

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

In this eleventh lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the teachings of the Bible concerning the importance of church attendance.

We will be looking at this subject from three different standpoints:
1.  The command to attend the assembly
2.  The examples to attend the assembly
3.  Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

THE STUDY:

The command to attend the assembly

Perhaps Hebrews 10:25 is a command for every believer to join, and faithfully attend the Lord’s local assembly… “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” 

Here, the Christian is exhorted to not “abandon” or “permanently walk away” from the assembly of believers.  This can hold one of two meanings:

1.  This is speaking of the assembly of believers in the Lord’s church.

In this case, this text explains the need for Christians to not abandon the attendance of a local assembly where God’s people meet.  It seems to go further and explain that as the second coming of Christ draws nearer, the need for faithful attendance to the assembly will increase.

This interpretation is the historical interpretation that is held by most Godly men of the past.  Also, it seems to apply in today’s time that we see more and more Christians forsaking the assembly. This could be why we are told to attend so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Could this be said because, in the latter days, there would be a forsaking of His assembly?

If someone does walk away with no intention of every returning to the place of worship, prayer, praise and fellowship there is a real question as to whether his faith is a persevering, genuine faith.  This is the point John made in 1 John 2:19 – They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

However, there is another possible interpretation of this text as well…

2.  This could be telling the followers of Christ to not forsake belief, nor concentration, on His second coming when He will “assemble” His people to Himself. 

A true genuine faith will not lose hope in the second coming of Christ and the entrance of His saints to glory.  Col 1:27-29 makes it plain that the indwelling Spirit and His second coming are inseparably linked and a source of great encouragement for the people of God… To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:  Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.”

 

Why do many believe this is the interpretation of this text?

The phrase “assembling together” comes from one Greek word “episunagoge” it carries with it the idea of “a gathering from all areas” or “a complete gathering”.  This same word is only used one other time in the Scriptures in 2 Thess 2:1 where it is speaking of the assembling of God’s people at the second coming of Christ.  This word for assembly NEVER spoke of God’s people assembling in a church meeting. There is another Greek word “ecclesia” that is normally used to describe that type of assembly.

Lastly, Peter related a denial of His second coming to lost mankind in the days before His coming in 2 Pet 3:3-4…. Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,  And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

 

This can explain the phrase so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

These are the basic reasons why some believe this text is speaking of not forsaking a belief in His second coming and the deliverance of His people from a sinful world.  But to further explain the confusion on this text….

3. Could this text be referring to the assembling of believers in BOTH ways we have previously described?

We need to study the root word from which we get “episunagoge” which comes from the Greek word “Episunago”  this root word is used as follows:
1. Christ gathering Jerusalem like a mother hen to protect them – Matt 23:37, Luke 13:34
2. Christ gathering His people at His second coming – Matt 24:31, Mark 13:27
3. Citizens of a city gathered to see miracles of Christ – Mark 1:33
4. Multitudes following Christ to hear His teachings – Luke 12:1

In EVERY case the Greek word “episunago” and it’s derivative “episunagoge” is used to described people gathered TO CHRIST.  There is no exception to this.   This is a very important point.

In Hebrews 10:25, a way to transliterate this verse would be “Not abandoning the assembling ourselves to Christ, as the manner of some is…”

If this is the case, then either event could apply to this text…
1.  You see, when God’s people meet to worship Him, He promises to be in their “midst” in the person of the Holy Spirit.  (Matt 18:18-20, 1 Cor 5:4).
2.  And as we have seen previously, we will all be gathered together to be with Him at His second coming. (1 Thess 4:13-18).
Could it be, that this verse is written on purpose to be vague, and both ways of understanding it are in alignment with God’s Word?  We have seen in this short section, Scriptural foundation laid that support both views.  In my own personal studies, I believe this dual-view of the text is the closest interpretation to its intended meaning.

4. Basic Principle Summarized…
To summarize this verse… Whatever was meant by the phrase “assembly” the principle is basically the same.  To encourage (exhort) other believers, and ourselves, we need to be sure we are living out our beliefs.  This can be done by not forsaking church membership and by not forsaking our hope in the second coming of Christ.  This is the last great sign of a living faith that will affect the lives of others.

 

The examples of attendance of the assembly

 
Here are a few, of many texts, that set a clear example for believers to join and attend the local assembly…

1.And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.”   (Luke 4:16)

Jesus set the example for us by consistently (“as his custom was”) attending the place of worship chosen by God. (Which was during the first stages of His ministry, the synagogue).

 

2.  “Now the first [day] of the [feast of] unleavened bread the disciples came to Jesus, saying unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare for thee to eat the passover?  And he said, Go into the city to such a man, and say unto him, The Master saith, My time is at hand; I will keep the passover at thy house with my disciples.  And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the passover.  Now when the even was come, he sat down with the twelve.  And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me.  And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I?  And he answered and said, He that dippeth [his] hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me.  The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.  Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.  And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed [it], and brake [it], and gave [it] to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.  And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave [it] to them, saying, Drink ye all of it;  For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.   And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.”   (Matthew 26:17-30)

Here Jesus met with the first church members (His apostles) as they met to observe the Lord’s Supper PRIOR TO His death.  This is one of many examples showing us that Jesus continued to set the example for us of attendance to the new place of worship, the local assembly.

 

3.  “Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.  And when he had so said, he shewed unto them [his] hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace [be] unto you: as [my] Father hath sent me, even so send I you.  And when he had said this, he breathed on [them], and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:  Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.  (John 20:19-23)

Following Christ’s death we find the church continues to meet on the first day of the week.  Again, this is setting the example for us.

 

4.  “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added [unto them] about three thousand souls.  And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.  And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”   (Acts 2:41-43)

Following Christ’s ascension, the Lord’s church continued to meet on a regular basis.  This can be seen throughout the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles.

These verses, and others, clearly establish that the followers of Christ joined together forming an assembly and then continued to meet together for instruction, encouragement, and fellowship.

Our responsibility to others to attend the assembly

There are many texts that help us to understand that all of us have a responsibility to join a local assembly, and by doing so, show our love to our brethren (John 13:34-35).  This is done by giving them support, encouragement and strength.

For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think [of himself] more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, [being] many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.   (Romans 12:3-5)

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.  For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.  For the body is not one member, but many.  If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?   And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?  If the whole body [were] an eye, where [were] the hearing? If the whole [were] hearing, where [were] the smelling?  But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.  And if they were all one member, where [were] the body?  But now [are they] many members, yet but one body.   And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.  Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary:  And those [members] of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely [parts] have more abundant comeliness.  For our comely [parts] have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that [part] which lacked:  That there should be no schism in the body; but [that] the members should have the same care one for another.  And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.  Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  (1 Corinthians 12:12-27)

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”   (1 Peter 4:10)

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”   (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:  And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.  Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.  And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.”   (James 5:14-18)

When we come to understand the role that we can play in the lives of our brethren within the context of local assembly, we can see it is our duty to join the assembly for the sake of our love to them.

 

THE SUMMARY:

Through these verses we are given an understanding of the importance of membership and attendance in the Lord’s local assembly.  May we all remember the Lord’s command, His example, the example of other New Testament believers, and the great opportunities that await us to show our love for others, to motivate us to find a local assembly of the Lord, enter into its membership, and serve Him among our brethren.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  It is an act of obedience to the Lord, and it is an act of love towards the other spiritual brethren in your area.

Just a quick note…  Please keep in mind, this study as all the rest of the studies, is only speaking about our responsibility to the Lord’s local churches that exist throughout the earth.  These principles do not apply to other houses of worship that hold to false doctrine and are not sanctioned by Christ.  The idea that “it is better to attend a false church than no church at all” is unscriptural and can actually harm a child of God’s testimony, growth and communion with the Lord.

What happens if there is no church of the Lord in my area?  The best way to handle this situation is to find the closest church of the Lord and explain your situation and your desire for an assembly in your area.  They will then examine your particular situation and find the best remedy for you.  Normally, most church will accept your membership under these conditions, minister to you through the mail or internet and also seek to establish a sound body that you are able to attend.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.
 

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

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


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

 

 

The Year 2012, The 66 Ancient Books, and File 13… Or, The End Of The World Revealed (Part #1)

SIH STSTA ICON2012… just four little numbers that in the past few years have become a BIG DEAL!  What used to be simply a descriptor, for a 12 month segment of time on coming calendars, has become synonymous with the end of all mankind.  How did this happen?  Well, to tell you the truth, I think it takes a Mayan scholar and historian to really get the answer straight; there is much controversy over the whole theory.  I can’t read the Mayan language, nor do I understand how the Mayans went about creating their calendar; so to be fair to supporters of this theory, I think I’ll leave the explanation of all this to them.  If you are interested this link may help you…  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_phenomenon

As far as I’m concerned, the only area of interest for me is … “What does God’s Word say about the world ending in 2012?”   From my perspective, God’s Word (made up of 66 separate books, Genesis – Revelation) is the only reliable authority on this whole issue.  Therefore, if God’s Word teaches that the world ends in 2012… so be it, then that proves to me that the Mayan’s had it right all along; but, if God’s Word proves the 2012 theory is baloney…. that settles it for me… I’m placing my faith in my Lord, and His Word, and I’m delegating the 2012 theory to my trash can (file 13).  (If anyone is interested in why I count God’s Word as the ultimate authority in matters like this, please refer to my previous blog entry on the Bible and Science: http://bit.ly/bYDWbZ for more info)

THE SCRIPTURE:

And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? … But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only… Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.  (Mat 24:3, 36, 42; see also Matt 25:13, 2 Pet 3:10)

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  (1Th 5:1-11)

THE STUDY:

Matthew chapter 24 is a record of the teachings of Christ on the subject of His second coming and the events surrounding the end of the world:

Matthew 24:1-3…

If you notice, the question that initiated the Lord’s teachings of Matthew 24 is found in verse 3 …” Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”

So clearly, the context of this chapter is the second coming of Christ and the end of the world.  To say otherwise is to deny the context of this chapter.

(Please note, the “things” being referenced in verse 3 was the destruction of the temple by Rome a few years later in 70 AD by Roman general Titus.  This brought an end to the Hebrew worship of Jehovah in Jerusalem and began the time period we call the “latter days”.)

Matthew 24:4-28

In these verses, the Lord describes the different events leading up to His second coming. An in-depth look at these signs will be presented in Part #2 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:29-31

The coming of Christ is described as he takes His followers to heaven to be with Him. A closer look at these verses will follow in Part #3 of this blog series.

Matthew 24:32-51

Here our responsibility to look for the signs and to be ready for His coming is brought into view.  These verses we’ll look at in detail in Part #4

Note in verse 36 and verse 42 …

He clearly says in verse 36, “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.”

And then in verse 42, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”

In the context, watching the signs of His coming, He makes it plain that, as we watch, we should not expect the exact time to be revealed to us!   In other words, the signs are to help us know the basic time frame of His return, but we will not know exactly when He is coming.

He explicitly states that no man, nor angel would ever know the exact time of His coming.  Even Christ, while on earth, as a human, who did not exercise His divine attributes (Phil 2:5-8), did not know the time of His second coming.  (Just a note here…. I believe that since Christ is ascended and has begun to exercise His divine attributes and authority, (Phil 2:9-11) He now knows when the second coming will take place.)

This same principle is also brought out in the Scriptures in our other text, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”

In other words, Paul did not need to write to the believers in Thessalonica about the times and seasons of Christ’s second coming because Christ had already addressed the topic.   But even though they already had teachings on the signs, there would be no specific announcement of when He would come.  In that sense, He would be coming as a thief, unannounced and unexpected by many.

SUMMARY OF OUR STUDY SO FAR:

So for this blog entry, it is important for us to see that Christ gave us signs marking a basic time frame of His coming.   However, the coming of Christ and the end of the world, will not be announced with any exact date. He specifically teaches that no man, nor angel will be shown the time of His coming.   It is a truth only known by the Triune God.

By the way, good old “2012 theory” is already rattling around in my file 13, and we are only one-fourth finished with our study!

My next blog entry will answer the question, “What are the signs of His second coming?” from Matt 24:4-28.

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

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

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

Do Aliens From Other Planets Exist? A Biblical Perspective. (Part 1 of 2)

SIH STSTA ICON{A note to my readers:  This blog entry is the first of several entries answering my reader’s questions.  I trust they will be of interest to all of you. I enjoy answering your questions and reading your comments… keep them coming!   Finally, thanks to everyone who is reading my blog, you are a blessing to me. }

With the increased number of reports of UFO sightings, comes increased curiosity concerning the legitimacy of those reports.  Google “UFO sightings” and you will see a list of over half a million websites, recording multiplied thousands of UFO sighting reports.

We are constantly bombarded with the opinions of scientists and other researchers attempting to prove or disprove alien’s existence.   So let’s go to the final Authority, our God.

What does the Lord have to say about the existence of UFO’s and aliens from outer space?  I will share with you some of the Biblical teachings on this subject.

(Note for an in-depth scientific answer from a Bible believing scientist please refer to the following link Institute for Creation Research)  Dr Henry Morris is director of the Institute for Creation research.  He is a dedicated Christian scientist who has contributed to many different areas of scientific thought.  I encourage you to make use of his website for Biblically based research.

THE SCRIPTURE:

But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (2Pe 3:10-13)

THE STUDY:

There are several Biblical principles that help us to understand the Lord’s teachings concerning the existence of aliens….

Principle #1 – In all the creation accounts, the Bible never describes God creating life on other planets.

Man is the jewel of God’s creation… God gave man the dominion of all creation – Gen 1:26-28; God made man exalted over all earthly creation – Psa 8:5-9.  The earth was given to man, all the rest is possessed by God – Psa 115:16.  He gave none of the other parts of creation to alien beings.  There is nothing mentioned about aliens or any role that God has given to them to fulfill in His creation scenario.

Principle #2 – Gen 6:17 – describes the flood as destroying “all flesh under heaven”…

in other words, the only flesh that exists “under heaven” (ie the third heaven see 2 Cor 12:2) is the flesh which is on the earth, that was capable of being destroyed in the flood of Noah’s day.

Principle #3 – There is no reason to believe that the Bible records any alien sighting by man.

Every supposed account of men seeing alien beings in the Bible is better interpreted as …

God revealing Himself to man in a vision (Isa 6:1 etc etc) or  God symbolically revealing creatures that live in heaven with God (the third heaven see 2 Cor 12:2) (Isa 6:2, Ezek 1:1-28, Rev 1:12-17, Rev 9:3-5  etc etc )  There is NOT ONE account that, due to context, must be interpreted as a man seeing an alien being.

Principle #4 – God’s earthly creation is the central theme of His Word and His eternal plan laid before the foundation of creation itself.

God sent His Son to die on the cross to redeem human beings from their sin.  Earth and human beings are in the center of God’s attention and workings.   It is extremely difficult to conclude God has other worlds filled with life when everything in His Word points to the earth, and the earth alone, as the cradle of life.  (John 3:16-18 – “world” is speaking of this earth, the center of His orderly creation.)

In our text, 2 Pet 3:10-13, the entire creation, including the special universe, are connected to God’s plan for man.  As a part of His second coming to earth, all the universe will be remade for His followers to dwell in.  Once again, we see how mankind is dominate in the plan and ways of God.  All creation (including the heavens) fall under that plan.

Roms 8:18-22 – When Adam fell “all creation” was affected.  The sin of one man dictated the state of the entire universe.  Once again, we see man as the dominate created being in all the universe.

Gen 1:14-15 – He made the lights in the heavens to give light to man on earth, no where is it said He made the heavens to house other beings.

All 4 of these principles point to man as being at the center of God’s attention and workings in the universe.  With no mention of aliens in God’s creative or redemptive plan for the universe.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who are saved, understanding the central role of earth and it’s inhabitants in God’s eternal plan is very reassuring…. we can fully trust in the principle that God’s redemptive attention is on those He has chosen to save.   He physically made us, He chose to save us, He sent His Son to die for us, and He secures our salvation through His workings in our heart (Rom 8:14-39)

For those who have never accepted Christ as Lord and Savior; understanding His great love and workings on behalf of His people, magnifies the need to look to Him for salvation.  If God Himself has sacrificed so greatly for His people, how can we neglect the salvation He so graciously offers?   (Hebs 2:1-10)

And she called the name of the LORD that spake unto her, Thou God seest me: …(Gen 16:13)

His attention is always upon us… for the saved, it is a great comforting blessing; for the lost, it is an important reminder of the certainty of no escaping judgment apart from His forgiveness of our sins.

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

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.”