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Spiritual Gifts: What Types Of Gifts Are There? Accrediting Gifts (Part 2)

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

After coming to an understanding of the basic definition of a “spiritual gift”, we now need to examine each of the different types of spiritual gifts that God has given to man.
There are three basic types of spiritual gifts given to the Lord’s local churches:

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

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

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

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

Lesson:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
In our previous studies we saw that the Accrediting Gifts that were given to the Lord’s churches on earth were divided into three different types as seen in 1 Corinthians 12:8-11…

“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)

As we studied this text we saw the gifts were divided as follows:
1. SUPERNATURAL REVELATION OF TRUTH:
“the word of wisdom” and “the word of knowledge”
2. SUPERNATURAL INDICATORS OF THE TRUTH:
“faith”, “gifts of healing”, “the working of miracles”, “prophecy” and “the discerning of spirits”
3. SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH:
“[divers] kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues:”

In our last lesson we looked at the gifts that are contained in the first two divisions. For this lesson, let’s begin to look at the final division of the Accrediting Gifts…. The gifts involving the SUPERNATURAL PROCLAMATION OF THE TRUTH.

Gifts Involving The Proclamation Of The Truth
1. “Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” – This involves the ability to speak HUMAN LANGUAGES that are UNKNOWN TO THE SPEAKER but KNOWN TO THE HEARER.

(Note: Nowhere does the Bible speak of a “heavenly language”.
In 1 Corinthians 13:1 – “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, …” this phrase needs to be closely examined.
What language(s) do angels speak? EVERYTIME we find an angel speaking in the Bible, he is speaking a KNOWN HUMAN language as he delivers God’s message to mankind. There is no evidence in the Bible that angels have spoken a language other than that which is spoken and understood by man.
The phrase “tongues of men and angels” is simply saying… “ the languages that are shared by men and angels”. There is no reason to make “tongues of angels” refer to a different set of languages than “the tongues of men”)

 

2. “The Interpretation of Tongues” – This involves the ability to interpret HUMAN LANGUAGES that are UNKNOWN TO THE HEARER AND THE INTERPRETER.

Both of these gifts 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?”

 

For today’s lesson lets concentrate on the first time the gift of tongues was given to the local assembly. This text is found in Acts 2:1-24. In this study, we will particularly note the detailed description of the characteristics of this gift.

The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At Pentecost
In Acts 2:1-24, we find the first reference to the exercise of the gift of tongues. This event was prophesied in the following passages:
Joel 2:28-32; Matthew 3:11-12; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Luke 24:49; John 1:33-34; John 21:22; Acts 1:3-5

Some Basic Truths About The Gift Of Tongues (Acts 2:1-24)….
Vs 1- “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”
The gift of tongues was given to members of a local assembly (church at Jerusalem) who were experiencing unity between their members and gathered together to worship the Lord.

Vs 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.”
The gift of tongues was given to this church in conjunction with their baptism in the Spirit. This Spirit baptism was performed to empower the local assembly to fulfill the Great Commission. This involves taking the gospel to a lost and dying world, baptizing the converts and then teaching those who are baptized the truths of God’s Word.
This baptism in the Spirit manifested itself to the believers in that local assembly as a sound from heaven of a great wind and then the filling of the building with the Spirit surrounding the members of the assembly. In other words the church body was immersed in the Spirit, just as when a believer is baptized in water, they become entirely immersed and surrounded by the Spirit of God.

To help us understand “baptism in the Spirit”, here is a quick comparison of baptism in water and baptism in the Holy Ghost:

Type Of Baptism            Water                                                    Holy Spirit

Administrator     Local Assembly (normally Pastor)              Jesus Christ
Substance             Water                                                               Holy Spirit
Mode                      Immersion                                                     Immersion
Subject                   Believer                                                          Local Assembly

Also, please notice that 1 Corinthians 12:13 is not teaching that the Holy Spirit baptizes the local assembly, it is teaching concerning water baptism of those entering into local church membership…

“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.”

In other words… “Through the leadership of one Spirit are we all baptized (in water) into one local assembly, whether we are Jews or Gentiles, or slaves or freemen, we all receive the same indwelling Spirit.”

This verse is teaching that it does not matter about our race, nationality, or social status, the Lord will save anyone and lead them into church membership. Also it teaches us that a local church made up of Jews is on equal footing with that made up of Gentiles. Or a church having slaves as members is on equal footing to that church whose membership is made up of freemen. Etc etc.

Vs 3 – “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.”
The gift of tongues includes a visual aspect to this gift. When the gift of tongues was given, this gift could be seen visibly as split tongues of fire came and sat upon each member of the local assembly. We are told that Simon “saw” the HS was given in Acts 8:18.

Vs 4 – “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
The gift of tongues included a verbal aspect, as the members following their being filled with the Spirit, began to speak in human languages that were unknown to the speakers…

Vs 5 – And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
Vs 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.
Vs 7 – And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Vs 8 – And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Vs 9 – Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Vs 10 – Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Vs 11- Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues …”
Although this gift of tongues was unknown to the speakers, they were human languages that were known by those who were listening.

Vs 11- the wonderful works of God.
What was the content of the message spoken by the assembly members? They were proclaiming the wonderful works of their God…. His message of salvation and all that He had done for them. In other words, they were witnessing to those around them. Keep in mind, the gift of tongues had been given to the church to enable them to fulfill the great commission that had been given to them. A part of the great commission involves presenting the gospel message to the lost men gathered around them who were unable to speak the native language of the speakers.
Because of this gift, the speakers were able to present the gospel of Christ to those who could not speak their language, nor understand their testimony of Christ.

Vs 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Vs 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
Here, we have the response of the lost who were hearing the gospel through the gift of tongues. Some were amazed at this wonderful testimony of God’s miracle working power and grace. Some did not know what to think. Still others mocked and rejected the wondrous miracle they had experienced.

Vs 14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all [ye] that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
Vs 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is [but] the third hour of the day.
Vs 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
Vs 17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
Vs 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
Vs 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
Vs 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
Vs 21 And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Peter now explains what is actually taking place so there would be no misunderstanding… He tells those who are observing this event that it is not due to drunkenss… but a sovereign, planned act of Almighty God as proven by it as being the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy.
It also proved that this great event had a main purpose, to enable the gospel to be shared and for the lost to come to salvation through their calling upon the name of the Lord. (Note at the end of Joel’s prophecy, we have this text “And it shall come to pass, [that] whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved “ Peter reapplying this phrase to those observing this wonderful gift of God)

Vs 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Vs 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Vs24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
Peter then shares the gospel message to the observers, once again emphasizing for us the purpose and scope of tongues… to enable members of a local assembly to fulfill the great commission by enabling them to speak in languages they do not know. Thiis enables them to speak to those of other languages, sharing with them the wonderful gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We then see in the closing verses of this chapter that the great commission is fulfilled by the church at Jerusalem – (gospel proclaimed – vs 25-36, souls saved and baptized– vs 37-41, fellowship and training received by new converts – 42-47)

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

The Word has now explained the details of the Scriptural gift of tongues that existed during the period of the establishment of the Lord’s church and the giving of the New Testament to man. Following this, when the Bible speaks of the gift of tongues, it simply mentions the gift without a lengthy description of what we have just learned.

This above principle can be used with many different teachings of the Bible. This principle of Biblical interpretation is described as “The Law Of First Mention”. This law states that “the very first time a word, doctrine or other teaching is mentioned in the Bible, usually, the Scriptures gives that word, doctrine or teaching its most complete description and meaning.” This is the case with the gift of tongues. This first reference to it has given us the detailed description of the gift which is to be applied throughout all of the other Biblical mentions of the gift.

In our next study, we will look at other times in the Bible that this same gift of tongues was given to local assemblies.

Additional Information:

Accrediting Gifts (Sign Gifts)
Gifts Involving The Proclamation Of The Truth
The “Gift Of Diverse Kinds Of Tongues” Resulting From Baptism In The Spirit: At Pentecost

Joe 2:28-32 – “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.”

This prophecy took place in its entirety during the 30-100 AD time frame:
1. “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. “ – The spiritual gifts (especially accrediting gifts given to accredit the assembly)

2. “And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come.” – The invasion of 70 AD and the preceding events that would involve the judgment Israel for their rejection of the true Messiah. The devastation of Jerusalem using fire as weapons of war resulted in great amounts of smoke and fiery ashes to appear in the sky above Jerusalem.
Why was this event mentioned in the context of the spiritual gifts? The accrediting gifts greatly increased their responsibility to accept the message and worship of the NT. Yet many rejected it.

3. “And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered: for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.” – True believers in Christ paid attention to His warnings of coming destruction upon Jerusalem and left the country. Other true believers were driven out due to the persecution of the Romans coming upon them. In either case, in Israel both the message of Christ and the persecution of Romans took place resulting in the deliverance of God’s people before Titus entered the country. These persecuted Christians then took the gospel to a lost and dying Gentile world.

Mat 3:11-12 – I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
This prophecy speaks of Pentecost in combination with Titus invasion of 70 AD. As also seen in the Joel passage

Mar 1:8 – “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.”
Pentecost is being prophesied

Luk 3:16 – “John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:”
This prophecy speaks of Pentecost in combination with Titus invasion of 70 AD. As also seen in the Joel passage

Luk 24:49 – “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”
The church baptized in the Spirit at Pentecost, empowering and enabling them to take the gospel into the world.

Joh 1:33-34 – “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.
The baptism of Christ in water and the baptism of the local church in the Holy Spirit being described

Joh 21:22 – “Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.”
“till I come” Christ’s coming to His local church at Pentecost

Act 1:3-5 – “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”
Pentecost, the empowering of the local assembly with the HS is described here.

Act 8:18 – “And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,”

“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
(Acts 2:1-24)

“For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13)

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)

 

Spiritual Gifts: Gifted Men (Part #2)

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

SIH TOA ICON

Introduction:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lesson:

Gifted Men

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Apostles

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

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

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

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

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

The Original 12 (Luke 6:13-16)…

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

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

13. Matthias

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

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

14.  Paul

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

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

The two main missions of the Apostolic Office were

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

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

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

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

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

Prophets

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

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

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

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

The main mission of the Prophetic Office was

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

 

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

The men who performed this ministry:

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

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

Evangelists

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

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

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

1. Philip – Acts 21:8

The main mission of the Evangelist is:

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

 

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

The men who performed this ministry:

1.  Timothy – 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Pastor/Teachers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. “blameless” – no public lawlessness

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

The Men Who Are Said To Be Pastor/Teacher:

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

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

The men who performed this ministry:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

Gifted Men

Apostles

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Prophets

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

 

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

 

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

 

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;”  (Luke 2:36)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Evangelist

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

 

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

 

Pastor/Teacher

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Spiritual Gifts: What Is A Spiritual Gift? (Part #1)

SIH TOA ICONThe Spirit’s Workings Among Men

Spiritual Gifts: What Is A Spiritual Gift? (Part #1)

Introduction:

“Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.”  (1 Corinthians 12:1)

This verse is the beginning of a three chapter section of Scripture that addresses the subject of “spiritual gifts”.  Why does Paul write at such length concerning this subject?  It is obvious from what is written that the church at Corinth had many misunderstandings about spiritual gifts which led to their misuse.

In spite of these many misunderstandings, Paul’s clearly explains that concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.  He was determined to give the church at Corinth much needed information clearly explaining the identity, purpose and longevity of these gifts.  In doing so, he was giving to the Corinth church the opportunity to be educated in these gifts which would allow them to exercise their God-given gifts in a way that would be pleasing to the Lord.

There can be much fault found with the church at Corinth which was, probably, the most carnal church in existence at that time.  But one thing we must always remember…  It is because of the church’s ignorant abuse of these gifts that we have these wonderful teachings concerning spiritual gifts which can be used for our edification.  Our Lord is so great He was able to turn their ignorance and misuse of gifts for our good and His glory.

Much, but not all, of our study on spiritual gifts will be derived from these three chapters in the book of 1 Corinthians.  Not only will we be sharing the teachings of Paul and others on this subject, but we will also share his motive for this study…. Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.   Our greatest desire for this study is that we all may come to a better understanding of spiritual gifts and their proper place in the local assembly before, and after, the completion of the Word of God.

 

Lesson:

A Spiritual Gift Defined

Throughout this study the word commonly translated “gift” is the Greek word “charisma”.  It is from this word that we get the phrase “charismatic”.  So what is the definition of “charisma”?

“Charisma” refers to:

1.  a “free gift”

2. an “undeserved gift”

3.  a “gift of grace”

4.  a “gift given out of kindness and mercy”

The idea behind “charisma” is God giving us a gift that we DO NOT DESERVE, and WE CANNOT GAIN OF OUR OWN MERIT OR EFFORTS.  It is given to us as a favor, or as an act of mercy done on behalf of the unworthy.

n 2 Corinthians 8:4-6, we find a clear reference to this principle…

Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and [take upon us] the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  And [this they did], not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.  Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.”  (2 Corinthians 8:4-6)

 Here, we find the word “charis” (the root of charisma) translated in two different ways.  In verse 4, we find it translated by the word “gift”, while in vs 6, we find it translated by the word “grace”.   In the context of these passages, we find Paul speaking of love offerings received from the churches at Macedonia to be distributed by the Apostles to the poor of Jerusalem.  These love offerings were gifts given as an act of grace.  The churches at Macedonia were not obligated to give them, and the poor of Jerusalem did not deserve them.  They truly were “gifts of grace” bestowed upon the poor from the churches of Macedonia.

We Are Not To Seek To Obtain A Specific Spiritual Gift

Please note in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:

1.  The Lord exercises His power in many different ways –

And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  (“operations” – mighty workings)

2.  The Lord has different areas of service in which we are to serve Him –

And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.”  (“administrations” – service, waiting on tables)

3.  The Lord sovereignly dispenses to His servants differing gifts to enable them to fulfill their calling –

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.

But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.(to profit withal” –  to benefit collectively – to profit entire local church not just gifted person)

But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. (“severally as he will” – individually as he decides.)

From all of this, we learn that a spiritual gift is nothing that can be earned, nor gained by our efforts.  It is not a matter of “becoming good enough” to receive any specific gift.  They are sovereignly distributed by the Lord for the good of the local assembly in which they were to be exercised.    These gifts are given by grace to those who do not deserve them, nor can be gained through any effort of man.  It is not in our place to attempt to dictate to the Lord what gift is best for us to possess.  It is totally up to Him based upon the needs of the assembly.  Therefore we are not to seek to obtain any specific gift.  We are to be content with whatever gift(s) He chooses to graciously bestow upon us.

However, in 1 Corinthians 12:31, 1 Corinthians 14:1, and 1 Corinthians 14:12 the terms “covet earnestly”, “desire” and “zealous” are used to describe the attitude Christians should possess concerning spiritual gifts. Each of these phrases/words are translated from the same Greek root word “zelos”.   What does “zelos’ mean in these passages?  To understand one of the usages of “zelos” in God’s Word we need to look at two other passages where its meaning is made clear…

 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.”   (Acts 18:25)

Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;”   (Romans 12:11)

In these verses, “zelos” is translated by the term “fervent” and, in both cases, it is not speaking of a desire to OBTAIN but it is speaking of a desire to USE what is previously received from the Lord.

We can see that the word “zelos” can be describing what our attitude should be concerning a gift we have already received.  It is a desire to use the best gift to profit the local assembly for any given situation.

For example:

1.  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”  (1 Corinthians 12:31)

We are being told that when the local church has a specific spiritual need, we are to look at the gifts we have been given by God and seek to use the gift that will meet the current needs of the assembly.   All of God’s gifts are equally good but each is “best” to be exercised when it is the gift needed the most by the local assembly.

2.  “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.”  (1 Corinthians 14:1)… 

1 Corinthians 14:1, in the current condition of the Corinth church, they could best benefit from the gift of prophecy to  instruct them more fully in the ways of the Lord.  In this instance, the use of the other spiritual gifts would not be as much of a benefit to them  (1 Corinthians 14:1-5).  Therefore, they were to desire for the proper gift to be exercised in the assembly, which, in this case, was the gift of prophecy.

3.  Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”  (1 Corinthians 14:12)

This verse clearly explains that the gift they should desire to exercise should be the gift that will give the most benefit to the local church at Corinth.  These gifts are not given to bring attention to oneself, nor for other personal gain. The Christian is to always exercise his God-given gifts with a spirit of selflessness exercising his gifts for the good of the assembly.

Every Gift is Meant To Be Exercised Within A Local Assembly

Various gifts of the Spirit were included in the context of the Great Commission, which is a set of responsibilities that the Lord has given to His local assemblies…

And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”   (Mark 16:15-18)

This helps us to understand that the exercise of these gifts were a responsibility of members of the local assembly and were given to them for their benefit.  All of the spiritual gifts are given to us for the purpose of use and edification of the local assemblies which are, individually, the body of Christ…

…  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 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 12:12-31; see also Romans 12:3-8 and Ephesians 4:10-16)

If we do not recognize the needs of our local assembly (and therefore do not exercise our gifts when needed) or, if we are not a member of the assembly that the Lord would have us to join, the assembly is harmed through our lack of action.  Also, if we selfishly exercise gifts that are not needed by the assembly, the assembly is harmed as well.

Possession of our gift(s) is a great blessing, but along with it comes a great responsibility of stewardship as well.

The Difference Between Talents, Fruits and Gifts Of The Spirit:

The following table helps us to understand the difference between the talents, fruits and gifts we are given by God through the Spirit’s intervention…

Type Of Gift Texts Gifted Person Evidenced From Nature Of Gift Types Received
Physical Talent Matthew 4:18-20 Mankind Physical Birth Natural (Physical) Various(Lord’s Discretion)
Fruit Of The Spirit Galatians 5:22-24 Saved Spiritual Birth Natural (Spiritual) All
Spiritual Gift (Charisma) Romans 12:4-81 Corinthians 12:8-11Ephesians 4:11-121 Peter 4:8-9   etc. Saved Lord’s  Intervention Supernatural (Spiritual) Various(Lord’s Discretion)

Notes on above chart:

This chart is given to quickly illustrate there is a distinct difference between the “Spiritual Gifts”, which is the theme of this Bible study, and the “Fruits of the Spirit” and “Physical Talents” all of which are given by God to man.  The individual points in this outline will be covered in much greater detail during the course of our studies.

At this stage of our study, please simply understand that when we speak of the “Spiritual Gifts” they differ greatly in many areas from “Fruits of The Spirit” or “Talents”.  These three are not to be confused.  (Note: One area of similarity between the three is that all three are given through God’s grace and all three are to be used in our service to Him.)

In our next study, we will begin to look at the different types of Spiritual Gifts given to man.

Additional Information (Verses Referred To In This Study):

 

 

A Spiritual Gift Defined

We Are Not To Seek To Obtain A Specific Spiritual Gift

Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.  And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.  But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.  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 12:4-11)

“Follow after charity, and desire spiritual [gifts], but rather that ye may prophesy.  For he that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth [him]; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.  But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.  He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.  I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater [is] he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.”  (1 Corinthians 14:1-5)

 

Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual [gifts], seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.”   (1 Corinthians 14:12)

Every Gift is Meant To Be Exercised Within A Local Assembly

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.  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 12:12-31)

 

 

 

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.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

(Romans 12:3-8)

 

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)   And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we [henceforth] be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, [and] cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, [even] Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”   (Ephesians 4:7-16)

The Difference Between Talents, Fruits and Gifts Of The Spirit:

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left [their] nets, and followed him.”   (Matthew 4:18-20)

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.”   (Galatians 5:22-24)

 

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.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, [let us prophesy] according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, [let us wait] on [our] ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, [let him do it] with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”   (Romans 12:4-8)

 

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)

 

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:”  (Ephesians 4:11-12)

 

As every man hath received the gift, [even so] minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.   If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  (1 Peter 4:10-11)

 

New World Order – Part 4 – Is The Lord Pleased

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33)

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (Isa 53:4-5)

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa 103:1-5)

THE STUDY:

In our previous studies we saw that the Lord was in opposition to all the attempts at a NWO.  Why would this be?

First of all. In many of these cases, those attempting to form a NWO by force, were harming His people.  He would not allow this to take place… Psa 91:14-16

Secondly, to date, every attempt to form a NWO has been motivated by a desire for power, wealth or glory.  The Lord makes it plain that He is the One to be glorified, and honored. (Psa 118:128, Isa 42:8, Isa 48:10-11, Exo 34:14)

To receive glory, honor, and power we are to submit to His Lordship and then allow Him to exalt us according to His will.  We are not to pridefully seek our own exaltation. (Luke 14:11, Oba 1:4, Jer 49:16)

He is the One that gives authority, power and glory. (1 Pet 5:6-7, Psa 89:15-18, Job 36:22)

Thirdly, remember the desired goals for a future NWO are universal peace, prosperity and decreasing of problems worldwide.  And yet, the Lord makes it plain that these are given to mankind from the Lord.  He is the source of these not a NWO in which man can bring them to himself.  (peace – John 14:27, Psa 29:11, Psa 12:5;  prosperity – Psa 1:1-3, 128:1-4, Josh 1:7-8; deliverance from problems – Psa 50:15, 34:1-4, Psa 91:15)

Also, many of these evils that the NWO is hoped to solve, will only be taken from the earth at the coming of Christ. (peace- 1 Thess 5:1-3, Matt 24:5-6, Isa 2:1-4 Isa 65:24-25;  prosperity- Mark 14:7, Deut 15:11, Jer 31:12-13; deliverance from problems – John 16:33,  Jer 8:15, Roms 8:16-19, Rev 21:1-4

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

In our texts two basic principles are brought forth…

First, it is a certainty, that due to the fallen nature of mankind, as long as we live in a sinful world there will be trials and troubles.

But, secondly, through the Lord Jesus Christ we can find peace in the midst of the storms of life, and in eternity we will find total deliverance from the trials we face.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33)

“A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psa 103:1-5)

How does the Lord bless us as we face our trials and deliver us in the future?  Through His death on the cross, He made the payment for our sins and worked deliverance for us…

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  (Isa 53:4-5)

How does sinful man receive the forgiveness of their sins and the promise of an eternity with Him?

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it kNWOn unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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

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

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

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

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

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New World Order – 3 – The Tower of Babel

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech…. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city… (Gen 11:1-9)

THE STUDY:

From our text:

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”

Before the tower of Babel all of mankind shared in the same language and speech.  In other words, they spoke the same language and the same dialect.  Because of this, it was much easier for them to unify and work toward the same goals.

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

They, by consensus, decided to travel together as one nation and to build a tower that would serve as a centralized meeting place for all mankind.  Note the phrase “whose top may reach unto heaven”, this is not stating that they desired to enter into the 3rd heaven (the abode of God), instead they desired it to be a very high tower that stood out from all others. It could be seen from a long distance away, thus allowing them to become a conspicuous people (“name”) among all of God’s creation and stay united (”lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”)

Here, we can see mankind choosing to form a “New World Order” by uniting and working to gain recognition, strength and perpetual unity. These were selfish motives which went in direct opposition to glorifying and honoring the Lord.  Instead of glorifying God they desired to bring honor, praise and renown to themselves.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The Triune Lord responded by “confounding their language”, which resulted in them dividing and scattering.  Probably, after they began speaking in various languages… they formed various groups, made up of those who spoke the same language.

The New World Order that mankind attempted to create was brought to an end by the Lord.  We can see that the Lord, through His sovereign intervention, stopped the attempt to unify and glorify mankind instead of Himself.

Throughout history, this has been the story of the attempts to unify into a NWO.  Mankind has wanted to unify, under the guise of improving the condition of mankind… and yet, in every case, this unification would result in individuals being glorified, empowered and made wealthy as the end result of this unification.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Once again, we see that man’s plans, which do not take into consideration the will of the Lord, is destined for failure. (James 4:14-15, Pro 19:21, Lam 3:37, Hebs 6:3)  No matter how determined mankind might be, it is futile to rebel against the Lord. (Psa 16:18-19, Pro 29:23, Acts 12:21-23)  Eventually, man’s rebellion will be brought into submission to the Lord.  (Roms 14:11-12, Phil 2:9-11, Isa 2:11-12)

For those who have trusted in Christ, pride and going ahead of God’s will only leads to a life of heartache and sorrow.  We should be constantly aware of His will for our lives and our need to submit to it.

For those who have never trusted in Christ, the most valuable lesson that can be learned is that rebellion against the desires of God for our lives only works sorrow, and eventually, eternal separation from the Lord.  By submitting to the Lord, and humbly turning to Him, He promises to forgive us of our rebellion and secure our eternity with Him…

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. (Neh 9:16-17)

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (Joh 17:2-3)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30)

New World Order – 2 – The Seven World Empires

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…
1.Part #1 – The NOW – What is it? – Will it take place?
2.Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)
3.Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)
4.Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority… And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:1-8)

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns…I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast… (Rev 17:3-14)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev 19:19-20)

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth… And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure… (Dan 2:31-46)

THE STUDY:

Throughout history there have been seven world empires that have sought, through the use of force, to overtake and rule all of the nations that were in existence in their day:

  1. Egypt
  2. Assyria
  3. Babylon
  4. Medo-Persia
  5. Greece
  6. Rome
  7. Includes a variety of world powers existing in the last days – (Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan etc.) that attempted to overtake world in WW1 and WW2.

In every case, their attempt to overtake the known world was unsuccessful due to divine intervention.

This truth is presented in the prophecy of Revelation 13:+17:+19:  In these verses, a beast with 7 heads is described.  The 7 heads represent the 7 world empires;  while the 10 horns on the 7th head represents the 7th world empire being made up of a varied group of nations. see Rev 17:9-12.  The end of this beast is made plain in Rev 19:19-20.  It will be cast in to the Lake of Fire, picturing the Lord’s defeat of all these national empires.

Likewise Daniel 2:, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed an image that represented the world empires that would exist from Daniel’s day forward into the future (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the world powers of the latter days.)  These were pictures by the gold, silver, brass, iron, and iron and clay parts of the image.  Once again, the end of these powers was clearly presented by the stone (Christ) culminating the destruction of the image.

The Bible gives us accounts and prophesies of divine intervention that proves the Lord’s control over the world empires.  These accounts are limited to the empires that fell during the periods in which the Old and New Testaments were written….

  1. Egypt – Exo 14:21-31 – Egyptian army drowning in Red Sea.
  2. Assyria – 2 Kings 19:35-37 – Angel of the Lord defeating Assyrian army at night
  3. Babylon – Dan 5:25-31 – Defeat of Babylon by Lord through use of Darius the Median
  4. Medo-Persia – Dan 8:2-8, 8:20-21 – Prophecy of defeat of Persia by the Greek Empire
  5. Greece – the fall of the Greek empire took place during the silent years of 400-0 BC.
  6. Rome – fell after the New Testament writings were completed and Divine revelation brought to an end.

In every case, these empires wanted to control the wealth and military power of each of these individual nations.  In each case, the Lord said “No’ and acted on behalf of his people, stopping the world wide takeover through His personal intervention or the use of other nations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

The truth that the Lord is sovereign over all nations cannot be denied.  From the title of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” to the many verses describing His sovereignty (Dan 4:34-37, Isa 40:15-17, Jer 10:10, 1 Tim 6:14-16, Rev 19:15-16) the Bible is filled with references to this truth.

We have every reason to praise and honor our Lord based upon His strength and Lordship over all.  (Psa 150:1-2)  It is because of this truth, that we can find peace and rest in the midst of a tumultuous world.  When we see Iran working to create a nuclear arsenal, terrorist threatening our country on almost a daily basis, and China growing economically and militarily, we can still trust in the fact that He is in control.

Even as we see the world rushing to form new alliances that will involve a unified monetary/economic system, a lessened military defense for our country, and loss of national sovereignty, we can rest assured that the Lord is in control.  None of these events will take place apart from His hand of protection and allowance allowing these things to take place.

While we can freely worship and proclaim His Word, let us increase our efforts to reach the lost around us with His message of salvation by grace.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The events leading up to the establishment of a NWO should be a warning to all of the closeness of the Lord’s coming and the end of the world.  To date, every attempt to unite the world by force was stopped by the Lord but, someday, world unity will come into existence.  Our time of national freedom is perhaps coming to a close.  The freedom to proclaim the message of God’s grace and the freedom to worship Him is still with us.  Now is the time for you to consider your eternal destiny while the truth is being proclaimed publically and you have the opportunity to worship freely.

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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.”

http://www.settledinheaven.org
http://www. settledinheaven.wordpress.com
http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven
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New World Order – 1 – What is it and when will it take place

SIH STSTA ICON
This is part of a previously posted series on the New World Order. These postings are more relevant now than ever before. The remaining portions of this series will be posted every Saturday this month…

Over the past 20 years or so, we have heard much said about a “New World Order”.  Especially GHW Bush, the president of the United States had much to say about the subject.  Other presidents, as well, spoke outwardly about this subject… listen to the last 4 presidents in their own words…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc7i0wCFf8g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvEqg_UlGaA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF-obJ8lYWc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CV8Xt2VWvc

The word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

1. Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

2. Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

3. Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

4.  Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

In this first section of our study we will be answering these questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

THE STUDY:

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The New World Order” or “The One World Order”, but do we really understand what this phrase is talking about?  Is it simply a harmless concept of world unity to bring about peace, or does this phrase refer to something that displeases the Lord and endangers us as the United States of America, and as individual citizens of our country?

New World Order defined…  (Please note… I have, on purpose, omitted definitions of NWO that is presented by conspiracy theorists.  For purposes of this study, the mainstream definitions of NWO will suffice.)

“the post-Cold War organization of power in which nations tend to cooperate rather than foster conflict.”  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/new+world+order

“any period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Order

“a vision of the world in which greater peace and stability is achieved through a new political order following the end of the cold war.”

http://www.allwords.com/word-New+World+Order.html

“a political situation in which the countries of the world are no longer divided because of their support for either the United States or the Soviet Union and instead work together to solve international problems”

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/the-new-world-order

Based upon the above definitions, my understanding of the meaning of New World Order (NWO), has these basic parts to it…

  1. some type of political unity between nations
  2. this unity is brought about by an exercise of authority
  3. the desired results of this unity are
    1. less conflicts
    2. dramatic changes in political thought
    3. dramatic changes in national power
    4. greater harmony and agreement between nations
    5. greater prosperity between nations (military, economic, social)
    6. the solving of international problems

This sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  To unify all the nations so that there is no more wars, no more social injustice, and basically, no more disagreements.  Who would want to oppose that?

The principle sounds pretty good and for those who are fans of a NWO there is even better news… in our texts, it will take place…

And it was given unto him… and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world… Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

See also (Dan 7:21-25, Dan 11:36-39)

There is coming a day, I believe not too far into the future, the world is going to be put under a unified authority.  The identity of the authority is under much debate, but one thing we know for sure… when this takes place, Satan will be the ultimate authority. (Rev 13:1-6)

SUMMARY:

The answer our original questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Simply put it is:  a political unity between nations, that results in less conflict and instability by working together to solve the problems of the world.

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

Absolutely, according to Rev 13:7-10 (and many other verses) the Bible makes it plain that this NWO will take place in the not so distant future.

The basic concept of a NWO has existed throughout the ages of mankind, beginning with the Tower of Babel; followed by the different world empires extending from the Egyptian Empire to the Roman Empire; and extending into today’s time.  The concept of the NWO is nothing new.

In our next study will we look at the different forced attempts for a NWO brought about by the ancient world empires (Egypt to Rome).  Were they successful?  What was Lord’s response to their attempts?

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http://www.settledinheaven.org

http://www.youtube.com/settledinheaven

https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com

Why Is Homosexuality Displeasing To The Lord

Christmas Themed Bible Lessons, Devotionals and Small Group Studies

ChristmasBlessings

 

Bible Lessons / Small Group Studies: 

Miscellaneous Subjects Concerning Christmas:

Christ Or Santa Claus? Man Am I Confused!

Should Christians Participate In The Christmas Celebration?

Tis The Season To Deny The Existence Of God

The Christmas Story:

The Christmas Story In Matthew Part #1

The Christmas Story In Matthew Part #2

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #1

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #2

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #3

The Christmas Story In Luke Part #4

The Christmas Story In Chronological Order

Devotionals:

Think On These Things Devotional Luke 2:10-11 Part #1

Think On These Things Devotional Luke 2:10-11 Part #2

The Prison of our Sin

SIH STSTA ICONHave you ever listened to a song without really paying attention to the lyrics?  Sad to say it happens to me all the time.  I hear a new song, enjoy it’s music and even begin trying to sing along with it, without understanding the meaning of the words.

“My Own Prison” a song by the group Creed, is one example of a song that I’ve listened to repeatedly, without ever really understanding all the lyrics. Basically, the song is telling how we have made a prison for ourselves with the sins we have committed.  Our only hope is to look to the cross of Jesus Christ as the remedy for our situation.  If you would like to hear the song, while reading the lyrics, take a look here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP4G8_alAT4

Did you know that the concept of building a prison with our own sins is a Biblical concept?  Let’s take a look at Zechariah 5: and see what the Lord has to say about making ourselves the prisoners of our own sins.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Zech 5:5-11 (KJV)

5) Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what [is] this that goeth forth.

6) And I said, What [is] it? And he said, This [is] an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This [is] their resemblance through all the earth.

7) And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this [is] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

8) And he said, This [is] wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

9) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind [was] in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10) Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11) And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

THE STUDY:

In our text, the prophet Zechariah is receiving a series of visions from an angel sent from the  Lord. These visions, when understood as as a whole, are showing Zechariah the sinful condition of the nation of Judah (the southern tribes of Israel) and their impending judgment.   (see Zechariah 1:1-6 for more details about the content and purpose of this series of visions)

The vision found in Zechariah 5:5-11, is teaching Zechariah two basic truths about the sinfulness of Judah:

First of all, it shows that Judah’s condition is of their own choosing, being the result of the sins that they have willfully committed.

Secondly, it is explaining that Judah’s sin will result in punishment at the hands of Almighty God.

I. The Introduction to the Vision

5) Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what [is] this that goeth forth.

This verse separates the vision of the flying roll (vs 1-4) from the vision we will be looking at in verses 5-11.  Along with this being a point of separation, these verses also help us to understand the origin of the vision we are looking at.  Clearly, this vision is being presented to Zechariah by an angel.

Who is this angel?  We are told more about him in Zechariah 1:12-14.  Here, the angel is described as “The Angel of the Lord” (12) clearly declaring he is sent from the Lord.  Notice that the angel is in communication with the Lord, delivering the words of the Lord to the prophet Zechariah (vs 13-14).

As the angel instructs Zechariah to “lift up now thine eyes” and “see what is this that goeth forth” , we can clearly see that it is the Lord’s desire for Zechariah to place his attention on this next vision.  Why?  It will be filled with truths about the subject at hand… the sinfulness of the nation of Judah and it’s results….

II. The Prison of Our Sinfulness

6) And I said, What [is] it? And he said, This [is] an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This [is] their resemblance through all the earth.

7) And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this [is] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

8) And he said, This [is] wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

The vision opens with an ephah.  This was a measuring basket used by ancient Judah.  It is believed that this basket was large enough to hold between one and three bushels of grain (depending on which historical source you use).

Apparently, there is a large piece of lead (about 125 pounds) covering the mouth of this ephah basket.  As the angel lifts up the piece of lead, Zechariah looks inside the basket and sees a woman sitting in the middle of the basket.

The angel reaches down pulls up the woman out of the basket and says “This is wickedness” and then casts the woman back into the basket.  Then the angel places the lid of lead upon the basket’s mouth.

To properly understand this vision we have to remember the basic message of this series of visions… the sins of Judah and it’s affects upon the nation.

Judah, in her current condition of Zechariah’s day, was filled with sin and rebellion.  As the angel lifts up the woman, he is displaying Judah, and her sins for Zechariah to see.  He then casts her back into the “prison”  that is made up of the ephah basket covered by the lead plate.    This is illustrating the results of the sin of Judah…. they were encased and imprisoned within the powerful grasp of sin.  Their sin had become their prison.

Please keep in mind, the ephah was used almost exclusively to measure grain.  If this is the case, perhaps this ephah also had grain within it.  If this is so, the picture even becomes clearer.  In Zephaniah 1:12 sinful Judah is spoken of …

12) And it shall come to pass at that time, [that] I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.

Being settled on their lees, is describing Judah’s contentment in their sinful condition (sitting upon their sins), not desiring to change their ways and not expecting judgment from God.

This woman, sitting upon the grain of her sin, is reminiscent of this same attitude of Judah in the days of Zechariah.  They were sinning… they knew they were sinning… and they no longer cared.  They had no concept of the judgment of God that would be swiftly coming upon them.

For a nation, or an individual, the affects of our sin nature, linked with the commission of sin is much like constructing a prison that slowly encases, and then holds and restrains for the judgment of God.  It is as if sin against God places us in a “holding cell” awaiting our final judgment and punishment from the Lord.

III.  The Judgment of God

9) Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind [was] in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

10) Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

11) And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

Zechariah now turns his attention from the basket to two other servants of God… the two winged women.  What do these women do?  They pick up the ephah (which contains the woman and is covered with the lead plate) and lift it up into the sky.

Why do they remove the basket of sin from the earth?  To purify the Israelite land so that God can once again be honored and worshiped throughout the land.

What does all of this mean?  The two women are shown as servants of God, doing the bidding of God, by purifying the land of its sin.  It is really important to note that women are pictured as the servants of God.

In case anyone is offended by saying that, symbolically, a woman is used to represent a sinful Israel, it is important to note that the servants of God are pictured by women as well.  There is no gender bias with the Lord.  Just as women sin, so also they can be great servants of God.

Why does the Lord describe Israel as a sinful or adulterous woman?  It is simply to emphasize their sinfulness as an unfaithful nation who has rejected the God after pledging their faithfulness, love and support.  They were like an unfaithful wife in rebellion against their husband and the marriage vows they had taken.

What about the women’s stork wings?

1. In Jeremiah 8:7 – the stork’s wisdom is being emphasized, this helps us to understand that the judgments these women are bringing upon Israel is an act of Divine wisdom… The Lord always does what is wise and right when He deals with sinful nations and men.

2. In Psalms 104:17 – the stork is used to illustrate how the Lord meets the needs of His creation.   The sinfulness of the nation of Judah was placing the nation as a whole into a great spiritual poverty.  When the Lord removed the rebellious inhabitants of Judah from their land, He would be meeting their needs, by allowing them to be blessed once again.

3. In Leviticus 11:19 and Deuteronomy 14:18 – The stork is included in a list of animals that the Lord commanded Israel to not eat.  This helps bring to our mind that the punishments of God  should be avoided.  By a nation submitting to their Almighty God, they will be avoiding the types of judgment these women are bringing to pass.

4. In Isaiah 40:31 – wings and flight are used as pictures of strength and deliverance by God. These judgments are the results of God’s sovereign strength as He was delivering His nation from the bonds of sin.

Because of Judah’s lax attitude about their sin, they would be punished.  This punishment would involve their removal from the land.

This vision would be historically fulfilled when the sinful nation of Israel would be overtaken by the invading Greek and, later, Roman empires.  Following their captivity, there would be the various dispersions of the Jews from Israel during the times of the Book of Acts.  This led to a proclamation of the gospel throughout the world, and the eventual worship of Jehovah among the Gentiles. This is partially the meaning of the reference to worship of the Lord taking place in the land of Shinar, a Gentile land.

However, this prophecy is also a reflection of the fact that God will eventually do away with ALL sin and rebellion in this world and will replace it with a world-wide worship of Him.  This is why the land of Shinar is mentioned specifically.

Shinar is located in the nation of Babylon, the seat of the false religions of this world.    Someday, as the Lord purifies the world of her sin, He will restore true world-wide worship even in the very seat of idol worship, Babylon (or “Shinar”). In the future yet to come, during the Great tribulation and the Battle of Armageddon, the Lord will eliminate sin from the world and establish a world-wide worship of Himself.

These two prophetic references are linked together with the symbolism of “the woman”.

In the futuristic prophetical writings of Revelation, the followers of the Lord (spiritual Israel) are pictured as a woman (Rev 12:) while the sinful powers of the world is pictured as a harlot  (Rev 17:). Also, we find physical historic Israel described as a feminine character (an unfaithful wife)  throughout prophetic Scripture. (Isa 54:5-7, Hosea 2:19-20 etc).

The images of the sinful woman being judged brings the truths about God’s past judgment of the physical nation of Israel (Judah) together with the future worldwide judgment of the sinful worldwide “Harlot” of Rev 17:.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Based upon the outward events taking place in our nation, it is very clear to me that our nation is simply “sitting on death row” awaiting it’s execution at the hands of a sovereign, holy God.  How did our nation get in the condition it is in?  By us allowing sin to gradually enter into our family and personal lives.  Then, as we became hardened in our sin, our nation began to slowly decline into sin as well.  I truly believe that what we see taking place in our nation is only a reflection and result of the sin that has entered our personal and family lives.

We, as Americans,  are building a prison of sin for ourselves and our nation.   As time progresses, we will continue to see the results of our sin being manifested by acts of judgment by Almighty God.  If we fail to see the handwriting on the wall, and we continue in our sin, I believe we will cause God to take us “out of the picture” entirely.   And we will become irrelevant as a nation.  We are already beginning to see this take place.

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

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

May the Lord bless you as you seek His truth.

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Spirits Among Us – Do Ghosts Exist?

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice in this account several interesting points:

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

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

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

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

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

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

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

The Benefits and Dangers of Meditation

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

Mediation is described as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 THE STUDY:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To summarize the above:

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

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

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

Phil 4:4-9 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Role of Our Government

SIH STSTA ICONOver the past several months our country has been flooded with news reports about the upcoming Presidential elections. During this time the airwaves have been endlessly comparing the political parties’, and individual candidate’s, views on the roles and responsibilities of our government. This is one of the most significant issues at the center of the upcoming elections.

Democrats and Republicans differ on their views concerning how to help the poor, how to intervene in the affairs of foreign governments, defining the role of national governments versus state governments, and how to fund the government. The list goes on and on.

If we think about it, what lies at the core of the Republican candidates differences? It involves what they believe our government should, or should not, be doing. Mitt Romney, Ron Paul, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Herman Cain and Michelle Bachmann all had a slightly different view on what should be the government’s role in our lives. Should the government intervene in the affairs of foreign nations? If so, in what way? Should government help the poor? If so, how? Should government have a say in the personal lives of others? If so, in what areas?

Who can help us come to an understanding of the proper role of government? Our Lord. After all, we need to go to the One that originally created and authorized human governments to exist and function (Rom 13:1, Col 1:16, 1 Pet 3:22) to find out what role He had intended for governments.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Ps 72:1-14 (KJV)
1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.
2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness, and thy poor with judgment.
3) The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.
4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy, and shall break in pieces the oppressor.
5) They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.
6) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.
7) In his days shall the righteous flourish; and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.
8) He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
9) They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
10) The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11) Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.
12) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper.
13) He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.
14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.

Rom 13:1-7; 1Tim 2:1-3; 1Pet 2:13-17

THE STUDY:

In the Bible, we find many texts that help us to understand the God-given authority of human government. In our study today, we will be concentrating on Psa 72:1-14 which is one of the four major passages that stress the government’s God given role: Psa 72:1-14, Rom 13:1-7, 1 Tim 2:1-3, and 1 Pet 2:13-17.

In Psalm 72:1-14, we read of some of the responsibilities Solomon would fulfill as King…

Before we are given a list of the responsibilities of government, we are reminded of the need for the Lord’s intervention in our government and in the lives of our politicians…

  “1) [A Psalm] for Solomon. Give the king thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the king’s son.”

Before Solomon could lead his nation in a way pleasing to the Lord, Solomon must be taught and graced by God. How true this is for the politicians of today… how can we expect our nation to be led in the paths laid by God, if our candidates have no knowledge of God’s will for government? How can we expect fallen, sinful men to properly lead our nation when the candidates are not relying on God’s wisdom and strength?

We now begin to look at the role of government as sanctioned by God:

1. a government is to make lawful, moral, decisions.

“2) He shall judge thy people with righteousness,”

2. a government is to uphold the rights of the poor, exercise compassion toward and help to meet the needs of those who cannot help themselves.

“3) He shall judge ….thy poor with judgment.”
“4) He shall judge the poor of the people, he shall save the children of the needy,”
“12-13) For he shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and [him] that hath no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy.”

3. a government is to be a blessing to its people, working for their growth and advancement

“6 ) He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass: as showers [that] water the earth.”
(Roms 13:4 –“For he is the minister of God to thee for good.”)

4. a government is to support, and reward, the cause of those who align themselves with God’s laws

“7) In his days shall the righteous flourish;”
(Rom 13:3 – “do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:”)

5. a government is to work for peace among it’s people and other nations around them

“7) and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.”
(1 Tim 2:1-3 – “…supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made…For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”)

6. a government is to work to bring an end to the abuse of its people (especially the defenseless) through the punishment of evildoers.

“4) And shall break in pieces the oppressor.”
“14) He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in his sight.”
(Roms 13:3-5 – “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?… But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil…Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.”)
(1Pet 2:13-14 – “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man… as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.)

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

For those who have trusted in Christ.

The need for us, as Christians, to let our voices be heard in the election process cannot be overemphasized. We should be voting for those who we believe best understand the role of government from God’s perspective. But also, we should be voting for those we believe will look to the Lord for guidance and strength as they attempt to lead our country in these troublesome days.

For those who have never trusted in Christ.

We are all confronted with the declining condition of our country. As our nation continues to turn from the Lord, and the principles found in His Word, our country’s condition will only get worse. For our country to turn around both the leaders and the common citizen must turn back to the Lord and seek to obey His commands. (2 Chron 7:14, Isa 55:6-7)

The most first thing you can do to please the Lord and fulfill His will for your life is to recognize your sinful condition and your need of salvation. Then turn from your sin, trust in Him as your Savior and seek to follow Him with your life.

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

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

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

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

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

The following are other places you can find “Settled In Heaven” blog (updated once per month):
http://www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com
http://www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Abortion: When Does Life Begin In The Womb?

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

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

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

THE STUDY:

I.  The Taking of Innocent Life Is Murder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IV.  When does life begin in the womb?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the ultimate example of goodness in the midst of wickedness.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Exod 21:22-23 (KJV)

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

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

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

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

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

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

Mark 3:28 (KJV)

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

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

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

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

———————————————————————–

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

Same-Sex Marriage: What does the Bible say?

SIH STSTA ICONOne of the more controversial issues in our country today is the issue of same-sex marriage, civil unions and the role of homosexuality.   With the upcoming Presidential primaries and general election, the subject of same-sex marriages versus civil unions has been receiving more airplay.

I thought it would be a good thing to take a few moments and refresh our memories concerning the biblical teachings on homosexuality, its historical occurrences, and its standing in the eyes of God.

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

THE SCRIPTURES:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination. Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it [is] confusion.  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers,  Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents,  Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,  Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV)  Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,  For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV)  But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter:  And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

2Tim 3:1-5 (KJV) This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,  Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;  Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

 

THE STUDY:

I.  What does the Bible Teach About Homosexuality?

 In the Old Testament the Bible makes it plain that homosexuality is a sinful act:

Lev 18:22-25 (KJV)  Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination…  Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you:  And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants.

Lev 20:13 (KJV)  If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood [shall be] upon them.

Please note an “abomination” – is the Hebrew word “tow ebah” which refers to something that is disgusting or abhorred.

The New Testament affirms, and upholds, the sinfulness of the homosexual act:

Rom 1:24-29 (KJV) Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.  For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in [their] knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;  Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful:  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Please note “vile” is a Greek word referring to “dishonorable”; while the Greek word for  “unseemly” means “indecent or shameful”.  Likewise the Greek word for “error” refers “to stray to wrong path”.

Each of these words, when linked to the last verse of this text “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”  Plainly shows the sinfulness of the homosexual act.

1Cor 6:9-11 (KJV)  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

The Greek word for “effeminate” means “to be soft”.  This possibly refers to the tendency of some homosexuals to purposefully display feminine characteristics to attract other males.  Or, perhaps, it refers to taking younger (soft) males as homosexual companions.  In either case, homosexuality is in view.

The phrase “abusers of themselves with mankind” literally means “to have sexual relations with a male”

1Tim 1:9-10 (KJV) Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

Please note: to “defile themselves with mankind” is the same Greek phrase as “abusers of themselves with mankind” found in 1 Cor 6:9-11.  This phrase means “to have sexual relations with a male”

Jude 1:7 (KJV) Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.

The word for “fornication” means uncleanness. What type of unclean activity was Sodom and Gomorrha guilty of committing?… going after “strange flesh”.

Note the phrase “strange flesh” ie foreign, or other body.  In other words, to lust after bodies that are in opposition to the commands of the Lord.  Homosexuality is foreign and goes against the plan of God for sexual unions.

In the above reference, Jude is recalling what took place in the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha….  The account of this incident is found in Genesis 19:4-8:

Gen 19:4-8 (KJV) But before they lay down, the men of the city, [even] the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where [are] the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them.  And Lot went out at the door unto them, and shut the door after him,  And said, I pray you, brethren, do not so wickedly.  Behold now, I have two daughters which have not known man; let me, I pray you, bring them out unto you, and do ye to them as [is] good in your eyes: only unto these men do nothing; for therefore came they under the shadow of my roof.

“we may know them” is a common Hebrew phrase (yada) that is used to describe a sexual relationship… (Gen 4:1, Gen 38:26, etc)  Also, please notice that a homosexual is given the title sodomite in the Bible, and is linked to sexual sins in Deut 23:17…

Deut 23:17 (KJV) There shall be no whore of the daughters of Israel, nor a sodomite of the sons of Israel.

When taken in context, it is obvious that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gommorrah did not desire to simply interrogate or become friendly with the angel/men who were visiting Lot…. They desired to have a sexual relationship with them.

II. What about Homosexual Marriage or Same Sex Legal Unions?

Once the sinfulness of the homosexual act is established the question of homosexual marriage or homosexual legal union becomes an easy issue to understand.

To allow the existence of homosexual legal unions is the governmental condoning of sinful acts.  This flies in the face of one of the purposes of human government which is to uphold the Lord’s commands through the punishment of sinful actions (Rom 13:1-5).

To allow the existence of homosexual marriages is not only the condoning of sinful acts, but it is also the perversion of the marriage union which God has ordained to be between one man and one woman… (Matt 19:4-5; 1 Cor 7:1-2)

III. How Are Christians To Relate To Homosexuals?

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” this verse applies to the heterosexual as well as the homosexual.  We are all in the same boat.

As fallen, sinful mankind, we all have the need of salvation through the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

As those who have received God’s gracious salvation from our sins… we understand the importance of proclaiming the gospel message to those who are in need of forgiveness…

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.”

Just as Paul made it plain that homosexuality is a sin… he made it just as plain that the sin of homosexuality can be forgiven, just like any other sin….  We should never treat homosexuality as an unpardonable sin or a sin that is beyond the grace of God.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.  And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”

Therefore we should gladly, willingly share the gospel message with the homosexual community as an act of love and responsibility knowing that apart from God’s grace we, too, would be living lives of separation from Him.

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

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

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

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

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

www.settledinheavenbibleblog.posterous.com

www.settledinheavenblog.blogspot.com

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

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

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

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

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

New World Order – Part 4 – Is The Lord Pleased

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (Joh 16:33)

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  (Isa 53:4-5)

A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s. (Psa 103:1-5)

THE STUDY:

In our previous studies we saw that the Lord was in opposition to all the attempts at a NWO.  Why would this be?

First of all. In many of these cases, those attempting to form a NWO by force, were harming His people.  He would not allow this to take place… Psa 91:14-16

Secondly, to date, every attempt to form a NWO has been motivated by a desire for power, wealth or glory.  The Lord makes it plain that He is the One to be glorified, and honored. (Psa 118:128, Isa 42:8, Isa 48:10-11, Exo 34:14)

To receive glory, honor, and power we are to submit to His Lordship and then allow Him to exalt us according to His will.  We are not to pridefully seek our own exaltation. (Luke 14:11, Oba 1:4, Jer 49:16)

He is the One that gives authority, power and glory. (1 Pet 5:6-7, Psa 89:15-18, Job 36:22)

Thirdly, remember the desired goals for a future NWO are universal peace, prosperity and decreasing of problems worldwide.  And yet, the Lord makes it plain that these are given to mankind from the Lord.  He is the source of these not a NWO in which man can bring them to himself.  (peace – John 14:27, Psa 29:11, Psa 12:5;  prosperity – Psa 1:1-3, 128:1-4, Josh 1:7-8; deliverance from problems – Psa 50:15, 34:1-4, Psa 91:15)

Also, many of these evils that the NWO is hoped to solve, will only be taken from the earth at the coming of Christ. (peace- 1 Thess 5:1-3, Matt 24:5-6, Isa 2:1-4 Isa 65:24-25;  prosperity- Mark 14:7, Deut 15:11, Jer 31:12-13; deliverance from problems – John 16:33,  Jer 8:15, Roms 8:16-19, Rev 21:1-4

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

In our texts two basic principles are brought forth…

First, it is a certainty, that due to the fallen nature of mankind, as long as we live in a sinful world there will be trials and troubles.

But, secondly, through the Lord Jesus Christ we can find peace in the midst of the storms of life, and in eternity we will find total deliverance from the trials we face.

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (Joh 16:33)

“A Psalm of David. Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies; Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” (Psa 103:1-5)

How does the Lord bless us as we face our trials and deliver us in the future?  Through His death on the cross, He made the payment for our sins and worked deliverance for us…

“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  (Isa 53:4-5)

How does sinful man receive the forgiveness of their sins and the promise of an eternity with Him?

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it kNWOn unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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

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

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

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

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

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New World Order – 3 – The Tower of Babel

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech…. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city… (Gen 11:1-9)

THE STUDY:

From our text:

“And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.”

Before the tower of Babel all of mankind shared in the same language and speech.  In other words, they spoke the same language and the same dialect.  Because of this, it was much easier for them to unify and work toward the same goals.

“And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

They, by consensus, they decided to travel together as one nation and to build a tower that would serve as a centralized meeting place for all mankind.  Note the phrase “whose top may reach unto heaven”, this is not stating that they desired to enter into the 3rd heaven (the abode of God), instead they desired it to be a very high tower that stood out from all others. It could be seen from a long distance away, thus allowing them to become a conspicuous people (“name”) among all of God’s creation and stay united (”lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth”)

Here, we can see mankind choosing to form a “New World Order” by uniting and working to gain recognition, strength and perpetual unity. These were selfish motives which went in direct opposition to glorifying and honoring the Lord.  Instead of glorifying God they desired to bring honor, praise and renown to themselves.

“And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The Triune Lord responded by “confounding their language”, which resulted in them dividing and scattering.  Probably, after they began speaking in various languages… they formed various groups, made up of those who spoke the same language.

The New World Order that mankind attempted to create was brought to an end by the Lord.  We can see that the Lord, through His sovereign intervention, stopped the attempt to unify and glorify mankind instead of Himself.

Throughout history, this has been the story of the attempts to unify into a NWO.  Mankind has wanted to unify, under the guise of improving the condition of mankind… and yet, in every case, this unification would result in individuals being glorified, empowered and made wealthy as the end result of this unification.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

Once again, we see that man’s plans, which do not take into consideration the will of the Lord, is destined for failure. (James 4:14-15, Pro 19:21, Lam 3:37, Hebs 6:3)  No matter how determined mankind might be, it is futile to rebel against the Lord. (Psa 16:18-19, Pro 29:23, Acts 12:21-23)  Eventually, man’s rebellion will be brought into submission to the Lord.  (Roms 14:11-12, Phil 2:9-11, Isa 2:11-12)

For those who have trusted in Christ, pride and going ahead of God’s will only leads to a life of heartache and sorrow.  We should be constantly aware of His will for our lives and our need to submit to it.

For those who have never trusted in Christ, the most valuable lesson that can be learned is that rebellion against the desires of God for our lives only works sorrow, and eventually, eternal separation from the Lord.  By submitting to the Lord, and humbly turning to Him, He promises to forgive us of our rebellion and secure our eternity with Him…

But they and our fathers dealt proudly, and hardened their necks, and hearkened not to thy commandments, And refused to obey, neither were mindful of thy wonders that thou didst among them; but hardened their necks, and in their rebellion appointed a captain to return to their bondage: but thou art a God ready to pardon, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not. (Neh 9:16-17)

As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (Joh 17:2-3)

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Mat 11:28-30)

If you would like more information concerning God’s gift of salvation, please take time to visit my blog page entitled “All About Salvation”.  https://settledinheaven.wordpress.com/all-about-salvation/

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

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

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

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

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

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New World Order – 2 – The Seven World Empires

SIH STSTA ICONThe word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

1.Part #1 – The NOW – What is it? – Will it take place?

2.Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

3.Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

4.Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority… And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. (Rev 13:1-8)

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns…I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast… (Rev 17:3-14)

And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. (Rev 19:19-20)

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth… And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure… (Dan 2:31-46)

THE STUDY:

Throughout history there have been seven world empires that have sought, through the use of force, to overtake and rule all of the nations that were in existence in their day:

  1. Egypt
  2. Assyria
  3. Babylon
  4. Medo-Persia
  5. Greece
  6. Rome
  7. Includes a variety of world powers existing in the last days – (Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan etc.) that attempted to overtake world in WW1 and WW2.

In every case, their attempt to overtake the known world was unsuccessful due to divine intervention.

This truth is presented in the prophecy of Revelation 13:+17:+19:  In these verses, a beast with 7 heads is described.  The 7 heads represent the 7 world empires;  while the 10 horns on the 7th head represents the 7th world empire being made up of a varied group of nations. see Rev 17:9-12.  The end of this beast is made plain in Rev 19:19-20.  It will be cast in to the Lake of Fire, picturing the Lord’s defeat of all these national empires.

Likewise Daniel 2:, Nebuchadnezzar’s dream revealed an image that represented the world empires that would exist from Daniel’s day forward into the future (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the world powers of the latter days.)  These were pictures by the gold, silver, brass, iron, and iron and clay parts of the image.  Once again, the end of these powers was clearly presented by the stone (Christ) culminating the destruction of the image.

The Bible gives us accounts and prophesies of divine intervention that proves the Lord’s control over the world empires.  These accounts are limited to the empires that fell during the periods in which the Old and New Testaments were written….

  1. Egypt – Exo 14:21-31 – Egyptian army drowning in Red Sea.
  2. Assyria – 2 Kings 19:35-37 – Angel of the Lord defeating Assyrian army at night
  3. Babylon – Dan 5:25-31 – Defeat of Babylon by Lord through use of Darius the Median
  4. Medo-Persia – Dan 8:2-8, 8:20-21 – Prophecy of defeat of Persia by the Greek Empire
  5. Greece – the fall of the Greek empire took place during the silent years of 400-0 BC.
  6. Rome – fell after the New Testament writings were completed and Divine revelation brought to an end.

In every case, these empires wanted to control the wealth and military power of each of these individual nations.  In each case, the Lord said “No’ and acted on behalf of his people, stopping the world wide takeover through His personal intervention or the use of other nations.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

The truth that the Lord is sovereign over all nations cannot be denied.  From the title of “King of Kings” and “Lord of Lords” to the many verses describing His sovereignty (Dan 4:34-37, Isa 40:15-17, Jer 10:10, 1 Tim 6:14-16, Rev 19:15-16) the Bible is filled with references to this truth.

We have every reason to praise and honor our Lord based upon His strength and Lordship over all.  (Psa 150:1-2)  It is because of this truth, that we can find peace and rest in the midst of a tumultuous world.  When we see Iran working to create a nuclear arsenal, terrorist threatening our country on almost a daily basis, and China growing economically and militarily, we can still trust in the fact that He is in control.

Even as we see the world rushing to form new alliances that will involve a unified monetary/economic system, a lessened military defense for our country, and loss of national sovereignty, we can rest assured that the Lord is in control.  None of these events will take place apart from His hand of protection and allowance allowing these things to take place.

While we can freely worship and proclaim His Word, let us increase our efforts to reach the lost around us with His message of salvation by grace.

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

The events leading up to the establishment of a NWO should be a warning to all of the closeness of the Lord’s coming and the end of the world.  To date, every attempt to unite the world by force was stopped by the Lord but, someday, world unity will come into existence.  Our time of national freedom is perhaps coming to a close.  The freedom to proclaim the message of God’s grace and the freedom to worship Him is still with us.  Now is the time for you to consider your eternal destiny while the truth is being proclaimed publically and you have the opportunity to worship freely.

The Lord gives us clear teaching on the way of salvation:

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  (Joh 14:6)

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. (Act 4:10-12)

For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: (1Pe 3:18)

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  (Rom 5:1-2)

Turn from your sins and come before the Lord, and trust only in Him for your salvation.

If you would like further information about salvation please refer to the page on my blog entitled “How to have a relationship with God”.

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

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

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

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

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

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New World Order – 1 – What is it and when will it take place

SIH STSTA ICONOver the past 20 years or so, we have heard much said about a “New World Order”.  Especially GHW Bush, the president of the United States had much to say about the subject.  Other presidents, as well, spoke outwardly about this subject… listen to the last 4 presidents in their own words…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rc7i0wCFf8g

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvEqg_UlGaA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF-obJ8lYWc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CV8Xt2VWvc

The word of God has much to say about the concept of a New World Order (NWO)…. We will be studying the NWO and it’s Biblical implications in a four part series…

1. Part #1 – The NWO – What is it? – Will it take place?

2. Part #2 – Past attempts at forming a NWO by force (The 7 World Empires)

3. Part #3 –  Past attempts at forming a NWO by consensus (The Tower of Babel)

4.  Part #4 –  The Future NWO – Is the Lord pleased?

In this first section of our study we will be answering these questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

THE SCRIPTURE:

And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He that leadeth into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword. Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

THE STUDY:

We’ve all heard the phrase, “The New World Order” or “The One World Order”, but do we really understand what this phrase is talking about?  Is it simply a harmless concept of world unity to bring about peace, or does this phrase refer to something that displeases the Lord and endangers us as the United States of America, and as individual citizens of our country?

New World Order defined…  (Please note… I have, on purpose, omitted definitions of NWO that is presented by conspiracy theorists.  For purposes of this study, the mainstream definitions of NWO will suffice.)

“the post-Cold War organization of power in which nations tend to cooperate rather than foster conflict.”  http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/new+world+order

“any period of history evidencing a dramatic change in world political thought and the balance of power”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_World_Order

“a vision of the world in which greater peace and stability is achieved through a new political order following the end of the cold war.”

http://www.allwords.com/word-New+World+Order.html

“a political situation in which the countries of the world are no longer divided because of their support for either the United States or the Soviet Union and instead work together to solve international problems”

http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/the-new-world-order

Based upon the above definitions, my understanding of the meaning of New World Order (NWO), has these basic parts to it…

  1. some type of political unity between nations
  2. this unity is brought about by an exercise of authority
  3. the desired results of this unity are
    1. less conflicts
    2. dramatic changes in political thought
    3. dramatic changes in national power
    4. greater harmony and agreement between nations
    5. greater prosperity between nations (military, economic, social)
    6. the solving of international problems

This sounds like a great idea, doesn’t it?  To unify all the nations so that there is no more wars, no more social injustice, and basically, no more disagreements.  Who would want to oppose that?

The principle sounds pretty good and for those who are fans of a NWO there is even better news… in our texts, it will take place…

And it was given unto him… and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world… Here is the patience and the faith of the saints. (Rev 13:7-10)

See also (Dan 7:21-25, Dan 11:36-39)

There is coming a day, I believe not too far into the future, the world is going to be put under a unified authority.  The identity of the authority is under much debate, but one thing we know for sure… when this takes place, Satan will be the ultimate authority. (Rev 13:1-6)

SUMMARY:

The answer our original questions…

What is meant by the phrase “the New World Order?”

Simply put it is:  a political unity between nations, that results in less conflict and instability by working together to solve the problems of the world.

Based on Bible prophecy will the New World Order ever take place?

Absolutely, according to Rev 13:7-10 (and many other verses) the Bible makes it plain that this NWO will take place in the not so distant future.

The basic concept of a NWO has existed throughout the ages of mankind, beginning with the Tower of Babel; followed by the different world empires extending from the Egyptian Empire to the Roman Empire; and extending into today’s time.  The concept of the NWO is nothing new.

In our next study will we look at the different forced attempts for a NWO brought about by the ancient world empires (Egypt to Rome).  Were they successful?  What was Lord’s response to their attempts?

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

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

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

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

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

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