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Serving Christ For His Glory… What Does “His Glory” Mean?

SIH STSTA ICONINTRODUCTION:

From the pulpit, from the classroom, and from the mouths of most Christians, we hear the instruction to “serve the Lord for His glory”… unfortunately, this phrase can be very confusing for each one of us due to the variety of teachings about the Lord’s glory found in the Bible.

Many times, when the Bible describes God’s glory (as in Exo 24:17), it is speaking of a bright manifestation of the very presence of God.  This meaning of the phrase reveals to us that God’s glory “appears” (Exo 16:10), “can be seen” (Num 14:22) and is “revealed” (Isa 40:5) to us.   When we tell others to “serve the Lord for His glory” are we telling them to serve our Lord in the hopes of seeing His presence revealed as a bright, overwhelming light?  I think we all understand this is not the case.

In at least three different occasions (Job 40:10, Psa 93:1 and 104:1-2), God’s symbolic clothing is described as his glory.  If we use this Biblical definition then we are to serve Him to receive a vision of the symbolic clothing that He is said to wear.  Of course this is not the meaning of “for His glory” that is to motivate us to service for Christ.

The Bible also describes His glory as being revealed in a thunderstorm (Psa 29:3).  Does this mean we serve Him so that we will see lightning and hear thunder roll?  We can all agree, this is not the case.

The list goes on and on.  When God’s glory is described it can be revealed to man in many, many different ways.

So what is “God’s glory” and how is it shown to mankind when we serve Him and bear his fruits in our life?  In other words, what is the Scriptural motivation for our service to Christ?  These questions are what we will be seeking to answer in this Bible study.

 

TODAY’S TEXT:

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

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

 

TODAY’S LESSON:

To come to an understanding of our motive for service (as we serve Christ “for His glory”, we need to understand the definition of the term “glory”.  The word glory is translated from several different words in the Bible.  In the Old Testament, it is translated from these Hebrew words and their forms:

  1. kabowd – weight, splendor, honor
  2. paar – to gleam or boast
  3. hadar – ornament, splendor
  4. halal – to shine, flash forth, boast
  5. shabach – laud, praise, command
  6. tipharah – beauty, boasting
  7. howd – splendor, majesty, vigor
  8.  addereth – mantle, garment, robe
  9. tohar – brightness
  10. yeqar – wealth

 

In the New Testament, it is translated from these Greek words and their forms:

  1. doxa – dignity, honor, praise, worship
  2. kauchema – to  cause to boast
  3. kleos – praise, respect

 

As we can see, in both the Old and New Testaments, the most basic, shared meaning behind all the words translated “glory” involves a revelation of the Lord’s excellence.  Whether it be speaking of the bright light like fire that appeared over Mt Sinai, the Lord’s clothing being symbolized as a bright light or His voice thunders and “is full of glory”, we can see that the Lord’s greatness is being described.

Excellence, or the Supremacy over all others, is the central theme we can see in all the above words translated “glory” in the Word of God.  To put it very simply, the phrase “the glory of the Lord” is describing a revelation of the Lord’s greatness.

When we are told to “serve the Lord for his glory” we are being told to serve the Lord motivated by the desire to reveal His Greatness to others.  This should be the motive and goal in all of our ministries and in everything we do…

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

 

We should never seek to exalt ourselves or others around us, our one purpose of ministry is to allow the greatness of Christ to be displayed in us.  This is symbolically like Christ’s glorious light that shines forth from us revealing our Savior to the world around us….

Matt 5:16 – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”

 

As you can see from the above passage the way that Christ’s light shines forth from us is through the fruits of the Spirit which we possess within us.  When we bear these fruits the end results are good works which exalt Christ.

This is the true meaning behind the phrase “we are to serve the Lord for His glory”.

 

 

PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

Let’s close our study this morning by asking a few very simple questions….

Why do we serve the Lord and live our daily lives for Him?

Is the end result of our ministry His glory, our glory, or a combination of both?

May we all seek to have Jesus glorified in everything we do!

 

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What Really Happened At Pentecost?

SIH HALTAL ICON“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.”   (Acts 2:1-4)

For The SIH Bible Study On This Subject:

http://wp.me/pU88A-3pn

The Importance Of The Local Church -10 “The Accrediting Of The Assembly”

SIH STSTA ICON

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

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

In this tenth lesson of our study on the Lord’s church, we will be looking at the accrediting of the assembly.

What do we mean by the term “accrediting of the assembly”?  This phrase is describing the way that the Lord proved to all men that the local churches on earth are genuinely His assemblies.  Although there are many religions and cults that claim to be His assembly, He has given us indisputable proof that only His local assemblies on earth were established and authorized by Him.

 

THE STUDY:

The Lord Accredited His Assemblies Through The Use Of Miraculous Gifts Exercised By Those Who Were Members Of His Assemblies…

The Exercise Of The Gifts:

1 Corinthians 12:

1) Now concerning spiritual [gifts], brethren, I would not have you ignorant.
2) Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.
3) Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and [that] no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
4) Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit.
5) And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord.
6) And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.
7) But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Because there were many who did not recognize the authenticity of God’s Word nor His place of worship, the Lord graciously gave miraculous gifts to his local assemblies to endorse their message and their claims of authority.   Through the workings of these miracles, the Lord clearly differentiated between His message and house of worship from all of the counterfeits that this fallen world has to offer.  Although these gifts are many and diverse, they were all given by the same God for the singular purpose of accreditation and edification of His fledgling assemblies.

11) I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing.
12) Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
13) For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except [it be] that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.
 
Here, Paul helps us to understand that these gifts were given to accredit (give irrefutable proof) the God-given authority of the apostolic office (an office created to expedite the founding of His  local assemblies).

27) Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
28) 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.
29) [Are] all apostles? [are] all prophets? [are] all teachers? [are] all workers of miracles?
30) Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
31) But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

In this text, we see that the Lord not only varied the gifts that were given, but also He varied the individual recipient of the gift.  Not all men received the same gift(s), but God distributed His gifts based upon the needs of the local assembly and their community.  The recipient’s only responsibility was to exercise the best gift(s) that he was given in accord with the will of God for his individual ministry.  What are the “best gifts”? The gifts most needed by the assembly.  This phrase is basically teaching that each member should have desired to exercise whatever gift they possessed that would be of greatest benefit to the assembly for the current situation.

 

The Identity and Role Of The Gifts:

8) For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit;
9)  To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;
10)  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:
11) But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

 Here we find a specific list of the accrediting gifts given by God. They are divided into three basic types:
1.  The Revelation Of The Truth – The supernatural handing down of God’s Word to man:
a. “word of wisdom” (utterance of wisdom)
b. “word of knowledge” (utterance of knowledge).

2.  The Signs Of The Truth – The supernatural marks that indicate the presence of the divinely authorized Truth:
a. “faith” (not the fruit of saving faith, this is extraordinary faith that resulted in the performance of miracles),
b. “gifts of healing” (using an individual as the instrument of a physical healing),
c. “working of miracles” (ability to exercise of power to accomplish what is naturally impossible), d. “prophecy” (to perfectly foretell a future event),
e. “discerning of spirits” (perfect judgment of the aim and content of a message)

3.  The Proclamation of The Truth – The supernatural ability to proclaim truth in an unknown tongue:
a.  “diverse kinds of tongues” (the ability to speak God’s Word in a human language that is known by the hearer but unknown by the speaker),
b.  “the interpretation of tongues” (the ability to interpret God’s Word into a language known by the hearers.

This is a miracle sign gift because the language of the original message, or the language of the hearers is unknown to the interpreter).

The Ceasing Of The Gifts – The Word’s effect on them:

1 Corinthians 13:8-10

Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”  

The gifts involving “the revelation of the truth” ended immediately with the completion of God’s Word being given to man in approx. 100 AD.  This can be seen in the phrases “they shall fail” and “it shall vanish away”.  In the original language of Greek, these phrases reveal that the failing and the vanishing away would take place with something directly acting upon them.  What was that “something”   that acted upon them bringing them to an end?  The completion of God’s Word…. “that which is perfect”.

The gifts involving “the signs of the truth” and “the proclamation of the truth” went out of existence gradually following the completion of God’s Word.  Once the Word was completed, the Lord ceased from granting these gifts to His assembly.  Those who possessed these gifts continued to exercise them until their physical death.  These gifts gradually “died off” as the miracle workers died off.   This can be seen in the phrase “they shall cease”. This phrase in the original language teaches us that these gifts will cease “in and of themselves”.  Nothing would act upon them bringing them to an abrupt end, but they would cease of their own deficiency.  Since the gifts were no longer granted, as the miracle workers died, these gifts went out of existence because they lacked an ongoing renewal.

There is no longer a need for these visible proofs of the authenticity of the Lord’s assembly.  Now that we have the completed Word of God, we have a written record of this accreditation.  It now becomes an issue of faith in the record of Word of God for proof of the accreditation of His assembly.

The Ceasing Of The Gifts – Their length of existence:

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have learned something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Description Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
Miracle Workers Moses, Joshua Elijah, Elisha Christ, Apostles
Message Accredited Law Prophets New Testament
Place Of Worship Accredited Tabernacle Temple Church
Dates of Accreditation (Approximate)Based upon Philip Mauro’s Chronology 1530 BC-1460 BC 835 BC-765 BC 30 AD-100 AD

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.

In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existence for approximately 70 years.

In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

So therefore, tongues, being one of several sign gifts came to an end approximately 70 years after they had come into existence (29 or 30 AD), probably about 90-100 AD.  They would have gone out of existence in and of themselves, nothing had to act on them. This is unlike the gift of prophecy and knowledge which ceased at the completion of God’s Word.

 

THE SUMMARY:

The Lord has clearly displayed that the local assemblies on earth are the genuine, authorized places of worship for Jehovah God.  As such, they are the assemblies that are to proclaim the true message given from God to man contained in the Bible.

Why should we should attend, join and support the ministries of a local church?  God, Himself as proven beyond doubt that He has sanctioned the local assembly as His place of worship and His minister of God’s completed Word to mankind.

May the Lord bless us as we seek His truth.

 

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

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

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

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

 

 

Do You Believe In Magic ? How About Miracles?

SIH STSTA ICONIn 1965 the Lovin Spoonful band asked the question “Do you believe in magic?” , this became a top 10 song for their group. (Listen to this song at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBVOYkhNb1o&feature=related)

Although the “magic” the song spoke of was the magical effect of music on it’s listener… it is still a great question to ask in many different contexts.

One of the areas of today’s entertainment that I enjoy is magicians practicing their craft.  David Copperfield, Doug Henning, David Blaine, Penn and Teller, Kevin James the list goes on and on.   It never ceases to amaze me how their “magic” looks so real, it almost makes me a believer.  And yet, in actuality, it is only an illusion they have created for the benefit of their audience.  In other words, today’s magic is complex deception meant to entertain and amuse.

What about the sign miracles performed in the Bible?  Were they real, or just deception, that was intended to entertain?  Could they be believed in?

Let’s see what God’s Word says….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Ah Lord GOD! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee: (Jer 32:17)

I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee. (Job 42:2)

And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you…And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The LORD hath not appeared unto thee.  And the LORD said unto him, What is that in thine hand? And he said, A rod. And he said, Cast it on the ground. And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; … And he put his hand into his bosom: and when he took it out, behold, his hand was leprous as snow. … And it shall come to pass, if they will not believe thee, neither hearken to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign. (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)

God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?  (Heb 2:4)

THE STUDY:

To begin our look at the Scriptures, I would like us to quickly summarize the above passages in the context of our subject “Can the miracles of the Bible be believed?”  Basically, we can draw from the verses above the following truths:

1.  Our God is able to do all things…. This includes giving His followers the ability to perform miracles, as a sign of their ministries authenticity (1 Cor 12:8-11).  If it is His will…. He can do these things! (Jer 32:17, Job 42:2, Heb 2:4)

2.  Both in the Old and the New Testaments, God’s motive for bestowing this miracle working power upon His followers was to accredit their message and to prove He was the only true God.  This is why these types of miracles are called “sign gifts” from God (Exo 3:14, 4:1-8)   A listing of the sign gifts can be found at 1 Cor 12:8-11.

Over the years, studying the sign gifts of the Bible, I have noticed something very interesting.  It seems as if these sign miracles of God were basically performed in three “groups” throughout Biblical history.  Please notice the following basic, generalized table to help explain my point:

Group 1                 Group 2                               Group 3

Miracle Workers:      Moses, Joshua        Elijah, Elisha, Prophets     Christ, Apostles

Worship Accredited:  Tabernacle             Temple                               Church

Message Accredited:  Law                         Prophets                            New Testament

It has been so interesting for me to come to an understanding of the Lord’s motives in these sign miracles that were performed.  Note that the Lord, through divine miracles, accredited the messenger, as well as the section of Scripture written, and the worship place used at that time.

In each case, the “sign miracles” were in existance for approximately 70 years.  In each case, a “silent time” existed after each group of miracles, where no  sign miracles and few, if any, other miracles were performed.  Why?  Once God established the validity of each of the above segments, there was no need for miracles until another segment was about to take place.

For example, following the accreditation of the tabernacle and the message of the law, there was no reason to accredit anything, or anyone, until the temple and the prophets came on the scene.  Likewise, there was an extended period of “miracle silence” after the completion of the Old Testament.  It was only when Christ came on the scene that we have a period of sign miracles taking place to validate the message of the New Testament and the church as the new place of worship for God’s people.

We have the end of the last period of miracles being described in 1 Cor 13:8-10…

“Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. “(1Co 13:8-10)

This verse is teaching us that the miraculous gifts of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, shall come to an end.  At the time of Paul’s writing this letter, the NT was not yet completed.  This is why he makes the statement that “we know in part and we prophesy in part”.  However, when the New Testament reached completion, bringing about the perfect Bible (that which is perfect) then the revelation of His Word, bit by bit, (that which is in part) would be finished and no longer needed.  The completion of the Word acted upon the sign gifts of prophecies and knowledge, immediately bringing them to an end.

(Note:The sign gift of tongues died out as that generation of gifted men died and went home to their Lord, shortly thereafter.)

Also remember, prior to the Word’s completion, the church had already been established in Jerusalem  as the worship place of the True God, through the sign miracles of tongues and healings etc.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION:

How do we know the church is where we are to worship?  We can read all about the wonderful miracles the Lord performed as the New Testament church was being established that proves to us it is His place of worship.

How do we know the Bible is truly His Word?  We can look in the Bible and see where all the segments of the Bible have been accredited previously… the Old Testament which is made up of the law and the prophets, and the New Testament.  They have all been clearly proven to be the Words of the True God through the sign miracles that were performed.

It is now simply an issue of faith in His Word. In our day, we need no sign miracles to accredit anything… we have the Word that has recorded these previous accreditations for us to rely on today.  In the last days, the working of counterfeit miracles will be on the increase, empowered by Satan, performed to mislead even God’s elect (if it were possible). (2 Thess 2:7-10, 2 Cor 11:13-15, Matt 12:38-39)

Does the Lord still perform miracles? Absolutely everyday, spiritual and physical healing, to name a few, are common place in today’s time.

Does the Lord still give men the ability to perform the “sign gifts” listed in 1 Cor 12:8-11? Absolutely not.  He used the sign gifts to accredit the ministries He had ordained.  There is no longer a need for these gifts to be exercised by men.  We have a written record in His Word of the accreditation of these ministries.

As Christians, our responsibility is to be on guard, always watching for the workings of Satan and the deceptions that only he can perform…

Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before. (Mat 24:23-25)

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

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