Settled In Heaven Blog

Home » Posts tagged 'Church' (Page 2)

Tag Archives: Church

Where Does Waldo Go To Church?

SIH STSTA ICONIn the late 1980’s a series of books containing the theme, “Where’s Waldo?” came to America.  Originating in Britain, these books contained illustrations of many characters all participating in a variety of activities.  The goal of the reader is to seek out Waldo, in the midst of the crowd.  For more about the book series take a look at these sites:

http://www.findwaldo.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Where’s_Waldo

Just as children throughout the world looked for Waldo in the pages of his books, how many of us are looking for a church that we can confidently attend?   How many of us are frustrated, not being able to find a church that aids our spiritual growth?   Many times, the reason why we can’t find a spiritually edifying church is because we do not understand what we should be looking for in a church.

The Word of God is not silent about this matter….

THE SCRIPTURE:

Hebrews10:

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

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

THE STUDY:

Here is list of the characteristics of a church (local assembly of believers) that we can attend with which the Lord is pleased…

Uses Scriptures only as foundation of beliefs and teachings  (1 Tim 3:15 )

The Lord’s churches are described as being the “pillar and ground” of the truth.  In other words, one of the greatest roles the church has is to firmly hold up the truth of His Word.  This refers to both the declaration of His Word from the pulpit as well as declaring His Word through the practices of the church.

Seeks to glorify the Lord in all of it’s ministries by putting His desires first.  (Eph 3:21)

The Lord Jehovah is to be glorified in all things (every ministry/activities) of the Lord’s churches.  Every endeavor that is undertaken by the church is to be done with His authority, His direction and His glory as the end motive.

Clearly teaches salvation by grace through faith …man’s inability to save himself from his sinful condition  (Eph 2:8-9)

The Word of God is clear, salvation is entirely of God’s grace, even the faith we exercise at our salvation is a gift that is given to us through His intervention in our lives.  Understanding these truths results in God being exalted to His deserved level, while properly humbling man and showing his true impotence in the salvation experience.   Any other message of salvation leads to a man trusting in not only Christ’s work, but his own actions, and righteousnesses, for the forgiveness of his sins.

Observes ordinances of Lord’s Supper and Baptism as declarations and memorials to work of Lord Jesus Christ  (1 Cor 11:23-29, Matt 28:16-20)

The Lord’s church has been given two, and only two ordinances to observe, baptism and the Lord’s supper.  Both of which are observed as a form of remembrance and declaration.  Baptism, declares an individual’s salvation and is a remembrance of the Lord’s death, burial and resurrection.  The Lord’s Supper is a declaration of a church’s existence and the unity of its members, as well as a remembrance of His suffering and death on the cross.

Teach practical and doctrinal truth during it’s services to encourage spiritual growth of members (Eph 4:11-13, Acts 20:27-29)

The Lord placed those who teach and lead within the church so that the members may become perfect (spiritually mature), edified (built up, strengthened), they are to do this by teaching the “all the counsel of God”… a churches goal should be to gradually build up and mature it’s members so that, eventually, the entire Word of God can be declared with no fear of misunderstanding on the part of it’s members.

Promotes a lifestyle of service and worship of Christ through the leadership of the Spirit (Rom 12:1-2, Rom 8:1-9)

The church is to lead and teach God’s people so that they will become living sacrifices, bringing praise to their Lrod in every aspect of their life.  This is done through an exercise of the fruits of the Spirit, as they follow God’s Word through leadership of the Holy Spirit.

Emphasizes the need for prayer and independent Bible study (Roms 17:10-13)

One of the greatest needs within a local assembly is a clear acknowledgement of each man’s responsibility to learn, understand, and live according to God’s Word.   This can only be accomplished through each member developing an intimate knowledge of His Word.

Has evangelistic outreach/missionary ministries to local area and throughout the world (Acts 1:7-8, Matthew 28:16-20)

The Lord, in giving His assemblies a mission, made it plain that the gospel was to be declared to the entire world…locally, nationally and internationally.  The mission of the church, described as “the Great Commission”, includes proclaiming the gospel to the lost, baptizing those who are saved (to publically declare the salvation they have already received) and teaching those who have been saved and baptized.

Meets the physical needs of the community in which they reside (Matt 14:13-21)

The first and primary mission of the church is fulfilling the Great Commission.  However, in the course of ministering, meeting the physical needs of others opens many doors and creates receptive hearts in the community.  This, in turn, aids the proclamation of the truth to them… meeting the physical needs of the community not only yields physical benefits but spiritual benefits as well.

The members lives are living testimony to the righteousness, love, peace and joy given by the Lord Jesus Christ. Roms 13:11-14, Gals 5:22-25

A church that is fulfilling the mission the Lord has given to them, will have a membership that will be growing in grace, knowledge and spiritual fruit bearing.  As a general rule, if the members of a church are not growing spiritually, there is a problem in the churches ministry to them.

THE APPLICATION:

Hebrews 10:24-25 ….  “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

Church attendance is a necessity for the Christian’s seeing to grow in the Lord and in His service…  if you are one of the many Christians who are seeking a church home, my prayers are with you. 

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

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

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

In God We Trust

The motto “In God We Trust” first appeared on US coins during the Civil War era.   Since that time, with only a few exceptions, the motto has continuously appeared on US government coins.  For a full, in-depth account of the motto’s history please refer to the following:

http://www.ustreas.gov/education/fact-sheets/currency/in-god-we-trust.shtml

Without a doubt, this motto has stood as a public testimony of our nation’s belief in the existence of God.   This motto is a part of our legacy as a nation… throughout history, our nation has sought out  God during it’s most troubling hours.   Despite the current attempts to remove this motto from our coinage, our historical reliance on God can never be denied.

The Bible talks about a nation’s need to trust in The Lord.  But in a much more personal context, the Bible repeated declares the necessity for an individual to place their faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the only One who can save us from our sins.

THE SCRIPTURE:

And if ye call on the Father, … Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. (1Pe 1:17-21)

THE STUDY:

And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

All mankind will stand before God the Father and be judged for the works that they have done during their life on earth.   (James 5:9, 1 Pet 4:5)   Knowing this, we are to take our time on earth very seriously.  We are to always have a reverence for the Lord, and His desires for us, so that we will not be found wanting at our judgment. (2 Cor 7:1, Hebs 12:28)

Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

“Redeemed” is translated from a Greek word meaning “to be released from bondage through a payment”.

For those who are saved, we need to remember that we have been removed from the bondage of our sin through a payment much more precious than gold or silver.

This payment was not received through the empty pursuits of our previous lifestyle.  It was received as we turned from our past lifestyle of sin to Christ and His work. (Acts 26:17-20, Acts 14:15, Hebs 9:14)

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

The precious payment made was that of the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  He was the sinless Son of God who came to the earth and died on the cross for the sins of His people.  (Matt 20:28, Eph 1:7, Col 1:13-22, Rev 7:14)

Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

Christ’s earthly ministry and death on the cross was a part of God the Father’s sovereign plan from before the creation of the world. (Rom 16:25-26, Eph 1:4-14, Eph 3:11, Titus 1:2-3 ).  The fall of man, and man’s need of a Savior, did not come as a surprise to the Lord.  This is another display of His greatness…He is truly an all-knowing God. (Isa 45:21, Isa 46:10, Acts 15:18)

Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

“believe” is translated from a Greek word that means “to entrust” “to commit to”

If we commit our sin, our life, and our eternity to Him…we receive forgiveness of our sins and eternal security through Christ.

It is through the work of Christ that we can receive the ability to believe in God (John 6:26-29, Eph 2:4-9, Mat 16:17, John 6:65)   This same God is the One that brought Christ from the dead and glorified Him at the Father’s right hand in heaven. (1 Cor 15:15, Acts 4:10, Acts 2:32-33, Phil 2:5-12)

Why did Christ die for us and grant us faith so that we could be saved?  So we could live our lives trusting in God and having hope for our future knowing we are saved and headed for a wonderful eternity in heaven.

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION

For the Christian….

We should never undervalue the great price that was paid for our salvation.  Although our salvation was free it was by no means cheap.  Out of appreciation for His great sacrifice and price paid, we should be willingly serving Him.  Knowing we are bought with a great price.

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.(1Co 6:20)

For those who have never trusted in Christ…

By committing yourself to Him (your sin, your life, your future), you will be forgiven of your sins and assured of an eternity with Christ.   Without trusting in Christ, the Bible makes it plain that you must face the eternal judgment for the sins you have committed.  The worst aspect of this judgment is being separated from God for an eternity, while receiving your punishment in the Lake of Fire.

God is sending an invitation to you through His Word to turn to Him, entrusting your life to Him, before it is too late.

Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (Mar 1:14-15)

——————————————————————————————————————–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.”

——————————————————————————————————————–

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.

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.”