Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Preeminence of God's Love

God's love is not permissive or prejudice. 

In this thesis, we are not speaking of eros.  We are speaking of agape.

Love is the power of the presence of God’s compassion. 

The love of God which comes from God is entirely separate and different from self-love.  You must rightly divide this great difference. 

THIS IS A HARD AND DISTURBING LESSON to those who do not understand the nature of God’s love. 

1 John 4:7-21
7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

WOW!!  Everyone that loves is born of God!  What does that mean?  It seems like a lot of sinners love someone.  Can a sinner love?  According to the Word of God, a sinner is under the over-riding control of self-love.  They may seem to love others, but their self-love is greater and dominant.  Therefore, God does not recognize their affection for others as equal to that holy love which emanates from God only.  God’s love will not mix with self-love.  You can not be both good and evil simultaneously.  The love which the Apostle John is writing to us about is the pure love of God which cleanses away all the corruption of self-love.  The love of God is a sacrificial love which puts the welfare of others and the commandments of God above the self-serving desires of one’s own heart.

The love of God is perfect, pure, pious, powerful and precious. 

A sinner's love is limited.  It only extends to that point wherein it is beneficial to himself.  Outwardly it may appear admirable, heroic and worthy of commendation.  However, if it does not emanate from the Spirit of God, it is imperfect and will fail at the limit of the person's consecration. 

8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.
10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.
12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.
18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. he that feareth is not made perfect in love.
19 We love him, because he first loved us.
20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?
21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

Where Love is ruling, there is no respect of persons.

Where Love is ruling there is no prejudice.   Prejudice is defined as:  injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights.

People become prejudiced because of unresolved disagreements.

Disagreement is not a justification for condemnation. 

Where love is ruling, there is no disrespect.

Where love in ruling, there is no spirit of dominion.  DOMINION is defined as “supreme authority” and “absolute authority.” 

Jesus Christ alone has dominion in the Kingdom of God.   All of us are servants.  In our positions of leadership and having administrative rule in the church of God, we are still servants of one another.  We do not have dominion over one another’s faith.

Genesis 1:26-28
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

There is no mention of men having dominion over one another. 

Men and women having dominion over others is a sure sign of self-love.  It is pride in disguise.  A child of God is a servant of others.  A child of God is a servant to their spouse, their children and their neighbor.  Jesus taught us who are neighbor is.

Matthew 20:25-28
25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.
26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;
27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:
28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

Jesus did not ordain any one of His disciples to exercise dominion over the others. 
Jesus always emphasized that the disciples should be servants of the church.  Self-love produces the attitude of superiority which leads to dominion. 

2 Corinthians 1:20-24
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
23 Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not as yet unto Corinth.
24 Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand.

The Apostle Paul clearly states that he did not have dominion over the faith of the people. 

Love will cause you to manifest a burden to serve, to teach and to be a guide and a healer in the church of God.

Self-love will lead you to trespass against others. 

WHAT IS REPENTANCE?

What is repentance?

What is a broken and contrite heart?

What is godly sorrow?

Psalms 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.”

Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

2 Corinthians 7:10, “For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.”

Worldly sorrow is the kind of sorrow that says, “I am sorrow because I got caught doing wrong.”  This person is not sorry for his deeds.  He is sorry for the consequences of his deeds.

Repentance is the act of man when he turns away from his sins to obey the commandments of God. 
Many who claim to be saved have never repented.  They have not forsaken their sins.  They continue to do their sins because they have not repented.  They may have confessed their sins; but, they have not forsaken them.

Ezekiel 18:20-22
20 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.
21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.

They have been deceived by false preachers and by false doctrine, in that they have not known the calling of God which brings godly sorrow to the heart and moves them to repent of their sins. 

Repenting is more than confessing your sins and asking God to forgive you.
Repenting is confessing and forsaking your sins.  It is the wholehearted intention to turn from sin and fully embrace holiness by obedience to God. 

Matthew 3:1-3
1 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

In the beginning of the Gospel Day, John the Baptist came to the people and preached to them the necessity of repenting.  The Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance defines the word “repent” as: moral compunction.  Webster defines “compunction” as:  1 a : anxiety arising from awareness of guilt.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart and bring you to understand that you have violated the commandments of God and cause you to feel the weight of guilt upon your soul. 

Matthew 4:16-17
16 The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and  shadow of death light is sprung up.
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

When Jesus began His ministry of preaching this “good news” of a better covenant between God and man, He called the people to “Repent.”
Man’s relationship with God must begin with man repenting of his evil works.  There is no salvation without this repentance.  I must ask you these questions today:

 “Have you experienced the moral compunction, the awareness of a guilty conscience for the sins you have committed?” 

Have you experienced the heartbreaking knowledge that you disobeyed the voice of God? 

Have you felt the godly sorrow of a broken and contrite heart which caused you to bow on your knees and ask God for His forgiveness? 

If you have not experienced this knowledge and conviction of God and repented, turned away from committing sin; then, you are not saved.  You have not found the saving grace which empowers you to say “NO” to temptation and obey the voice of God. 

Luke 13:1-5
1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices.
2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things?
3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?
5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

The message is still the same today: “Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.” 

Revelation 2:1-5
1 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;
2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:
3 And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted.
4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.
5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

It is a foolish and dangerous act to refuse to yield to the Holy Spirit when He convicts and reproves you of your disobedience to God.  If you refuse and rebel against God, He may remove the candlestick from you.  This means that the light of truth which enlightens your understanding of right and wrong will be taken away.  You will deceived by sin; and, you will walk in darkness.

Revelation 3:14-22
14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:
18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.
19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.
20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

If you have not repented of your sins, God is calling you to be serious, be intense about your condition, be zealous and repent. 

Have you repented?

Have you turned away from all your sins?

Do you have the grace of Salvation to say “No” to every temptation which draws you away from God’s commandments?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Cost of Salvation

You may say, “I thought salvation was free.” 
It is free because you can not buy it. 
It is free because God has chosen to bless you.
It is free because you and I were not worthy of the price it cost Jesus Christ to purchase it.
However, there is a price to pay.  There is a personal cost associated with having salvation.
You must give to God whatever He may ask you to give to follow the leadership of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 4:17-22
17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
18 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.
19 And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.

Matthew 16:24-26
24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

These disciples gave up their vocation of being fishermen.  They were engaged in the fishing industry with their father.  Perhaps some of what they possessed was part of their inheritance from their parents.   But when Jesus said, “Follow me.”  They left their fathers boats and business and followed Jesus.

What have you given to God in thanksgiving for your salvation?
What sacrifice have you made? 

I am confident that living the holy, spirit filled life which God has called us into will cost us materially and physically.  Not only must you give up the pleasures of sin to be saved; you must also give yourself and your life.

To obey God and walk in His perfect will, may involve a change of jobs, careers, giving up a home or moving away from friends. 

I was a career military man.  I had 12 years in the U.S. Navy.  Six more years and I could have retired from the Navy with a government check for the rest of my life.  I got saved and God told me to leave the Navy and raise my family in a Church of God congregation.  I gave up my career in the Navy to obey the command of God. 

I worked 14 years for Fred Jones Mfg. and God told me to give up that job and go preach the gospel and pastor a congregation far from my family and friends.  I gave up that job on the same day the company offered me an excellent promotion.  I am prepared to give up whatever God asks of me.  No reservations or exceptions.  My attitude is “Here am I, send me.”  All I need to know is that I am doing the perfect will of God.  I have some desires and preferences, but they are all submitted to God. 

Hebrews 12:2-3
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

Jesus is our first and most important example.  He gave His life so that we could have salvation.  Salvation cost Jesus everything in this world. 

James 5:10-11
10 Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.
11 Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

Consider the prophets and saints who have lived before us.  Did they pay a great price for their salvation? 

Job 2:7-10
7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.
8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.
9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Did Job pay a great price to keep the commandments of God?
If God takes something from us, will He also reward us for our submission and obedience?  Yes.
The “evil” which Job spoke of was not moral evil but rather physical evil.  In our service and obedience to God, there will come occasions when our flesh must suffer.  

Hebrews 11:32-12:3
32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:
33 Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,
34 Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.
35 Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:
36 And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:
37 They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;
38 (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.
39 And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:
40 God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

12:1  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

These are the testimonies of those who have paid the price regardless of the cost. 
Can you stand before God and have confidence that you have paid the price God has asked of you?

Romans 8:35-39
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Is the reward worth the price we have to pay?  Yes.
Are you willing to pay the price God ask you to pay?

Psalms 23
1he Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

Do you have faith to obey God and trust Him to meet your needs?  “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Christian Example



1 Timothy 4:12

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.

What does it mean to be an example of the believers?  The apostle Paul mentions six areas in which we are to be an example of the believers.  These are:

In word                       logos – a topic or subject of discourse, intent of speech

In conversation           anastrophe – behavior, how you dress, act and talk

In charity                     agape – affection, benevolence, love

In spirit                        pneuma – the breath, the rational soul

In faith                                    pistis – moral conviction, what you really believe

In purity                      hagneia – chastity, abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse

When people look at us, watch us and know us; they should see the will of God and the righteousness of God evident in our daily life.  We should have holiness unto the Lord written all over our conduct, our speech and our modest manner of dress. 

Can you take the scriptures, with all their instructions, and apply them to yourself? 

How do you behave?  Are you kind, courteous, friendly, respectful, humble, pleasant, forgiving, loving, merciful, tender, sharing?

Are you selfish, rude, critical, suspicious, greedy, covetous?

How do you dress?  Are you modest?  What is immodest?  What part of your body does the word of God call nakedness and do you cover that part?  Do you dress with pride to show off? 

How do you talk?  Do you use vulgar words?  Do you use euphemisms?

A euphemism is a word which is a substitute for a more offensive vulgar or slang word.  There are many euphemisms for God and Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost.  There are many euphemisms in the English language for words which would normally be considered curse words.  Do your words build or destroy? 

1 John 3:3-7
3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.
4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

As Christ is, so are we in the present world.  We are examples of Him.  People must see Him in us.  We are a refection of Him. 



1 Thessalonians 1:5-9
5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
6 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
7 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.
8 For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

Your influence upon others may extend further than you think.  There are people talking about you that you do not know about.  As saints of God, we should act and live in such a manner as to cause people to want to talk about us, and they will.  We must make sure that we are careful to maintain a good testimony. 

You are the:

      Co-worker they talk about

The employee who will not lie or steal or cheat the employer

      Person at the store they told others about

      Relative who is the subject of their conversation

      The person in the other car

      The different one in the elevator

      The stranger they will not forget

1 Peter 5:1-4
1 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:
2 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;
3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

The older saints must be an example to the younger saints.  The older saints must have a testimony of the value of suffering for Christ knowing that God rewards those who make sacrifices for His sake.  The older saints must be an example in prayer and fasting and good works. 

Where are the examples in this our day and age? 

Upon whom do we see the power and blessings of God resting and anointing because of their faithful obedience? 

I want to be an example of the believer?  How about you?

I want God to show me where and what I need to change or do to be His example.

I want to grow in grace, wisdom and power with God. 

I am not satisfied or content with accepting the status quo as being perfect. 

I want the future to be better than the past.  I want to be on the path of progress. 

Are you willing to turn loose of your life and let Jesus have full control?    

John 13:13-17
13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am.
14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
15 For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.
16 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.
17 If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

Can you wash your brother or sister’s feet with a humble, loving attitude?

Do you have a grudge (an offense unforgiven) which hinders you?

Jesus literally washed the disciple’s feet and commanded that we wash one another’s feet. Are you doing that?

James 5:10
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.

Can you be an example of the believer in suffering affliction and of patience.  Sometimes when sickness or afflictions come to us, God chooses to let us suffer for a little season to see if we will patiently wait on Him to heal and restore.  Can you practice and manifest patience when you suffer affliction?

1 Peter 2:21-23
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

When people revile you and persecute you, can you be an example?  Can you control your tongue when you are reviled and spoken evil of?  It isn’t hard to be good when all men speak well of you and things are going in a pleasant way.  How about when they are going contrary to what you want?  

Hebrews 4:11
Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

Some people are an example of unbelief.  Are you? 

You are an example of the believers or the unbelievers?  Which one are you? 

If you live like an unbeliever, why do you expect to be rewarded as a believer?

You can not live wrong and die right. 

I challenge you to pray and ask God to help you to understand better how to be an example of the believers. 

“…be thou an example of the believers,

in word,

in conversation,

in charity,

in spirit,

in faith,

in purity.”

-+Let us consider this exhortation:

In word                logos – a topic or subject of discourse, intent of speech

Let us be an example of the believer in word  This is a reference to the Word, to the Greek “logos” 

NT:3056   logos (log'-os); from NT:3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive.

As the apostle Paul exhorted young Timothy; we ought to study to show ourselves approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  Some people ought to be ashamed of how little the know about the Word.  The Word is the gospel of Jesus Christ.  And people do not know the Word and they are not ashamed. 

If you do not know the doctrines of Jesus Christ, you should ask yourself why don’t you know.  Are you walking after the Spirit or giving place to the flesh?  Are you spending all your time and energy on the things of this world and giving very little to the things of the Word.  A careless attitude toward the Word is not a good example of the believer. 

What does God think about the way you handle the Word?  Does He see a hungering or thirsting after the Word?  Have you been deceived by some false witness because you were not rooted and grounded in the Word?  Have you believed a lie of the Devil because you were unprepared to resist him with the Word?  Knowledge of the Word is a good defense against deception.  Have you failed to be an effective witness to some lost person, because you were unlearned in the scriptures? 

In conversation    anastrophe – behavior, how you dress, act and talk

We need to be an example of the believer in our conversation.  Our conversation, which is spoken of here, is the way we behave ourselves in every activity, every day.  It is the way we act and talk and dress.  It is our total conduct in this world.  It is what other people see us doing.  Do you dress like a saint, act like a saint and talk like a saint? 

Are you letting the world influence you to dress in a way that is grievous to the Holy Spirit?  Have you justified yourself in the way you dress by making excuses and comparing yourself with others. 

The Holy Spirit will raise up a standard of modest apparel if you will listen to His voice.  The Holy Spirit will talk to you about the clothes you wear if you will ask and listen.  Men and women, boys and girls, is your clothing too tight and form fitting?  Does it cover your body sufficiently to not be a distraction to others?  Are you dressing in an intentional effort to attract the sensual, sexual attention of others? 

Have you ever studied the Word to see what the Bible says about modest apparel?  If I asked you what does the Bible teach about nakedness, uncover and make bare, could you tell me?  If you don’t know, what righteous principle and rule do you follow?  If you don’t know the rule, how can you keep it?  Do you want to know the rule?  The Holy Spirit will teach you, if you have the Holy Spirit in your heart? 

Is your conversation, your speech, the things you say to others and about others, approved by God?  Is God pleased with your speech?  Are you guilty of gossiping, repeating false rumors?  Do you edify others with your words; or, do you hurt people with your words? 

Proverbs 21:23, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

James 1:26, “If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.”

In charity             agape – affection, benevolence, love

Are you an example of the believer in “charity?”  The word charity and love are translated from the same Greek word “agape.”  The love of God is the most valuable and most transforming power known to man. 

The love of God in your heart will cause you to respect and honor one another. 

It will cause you to carry a strong burden for the unsaved person. 

It will cause you to make sacrifices on your part for the benefit of others. 

It will cause you to put the well being of others ahead of yourself. 

If you have the love of God in your heart, the Holy Spirit will be there to manifest the power of that love. 

If you do not manifest the love of God, you do not have the Holy Spirit in your heart. 

In spirit                 pneuma – the breath, the rational soul

Are you an example of the believer in your “spirit?”  Do you have a gentle spirit or a mean spirit?  Are you kind and tenderhearted, or are you rude and disrespectful?

Your spirit is reflected in your attitude.  Your attitude is the position you take towards another person or subject.

Your attitude and your spirit is reflected in your desire to help someone or be their adversary. 

Are you a peacemaker or a trouble maker?  Are you conscious of the effects of your words on the people who hear you? 

Are you critical, judgmental and condemning; or, do you endeavor to understand and be a helper for the good of others?

Do you promote unity or division? 

Do people see you as sincere and honest or stubborn and hardheaded?  Are you easily entreated?  Can people sense a feeling of safety in coming to you, or do they feel threatened?  

In faith                 pistis – moral conviction, what you really believe

Are you an example of the believer in “faith?”  You can not please God without faith in His Word, faith in His promises and faith in the value of His commandments.  This faith is a strong internal conviction that God is real and that He will reward you for your obedience. 

Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

The faith of the Bible is more than just an intellectual knowledge of the truthfulness of God.  The faith of the Bible is so strongly connected to Love and Hope that one can not exist without the other.  If you really love God, it will produce faith.  If you have the love of God in your heart, and it is mixed with faith, you will have hope; and, that hope will make you confident in your relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Yes, we can grow in faith; however, we must have sufficient faith to always move us to obedience in every action and decision.  You are certainly deceived if you think you have faith and yet you walk after the flesh instead of after the Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will not live in the heart that chooses to walk contrary to the commandments of God. 

1 Corinthians 6:9-11
9 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,
10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
11 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.

Galatians 6:7-8
7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.


In purity   hagneia – chastity, abstention from unlawful sexual intercourse

Are you an example of the believer in “purity?” 

This purity is a direct reference to your moral conduct in your relationships with the opposite sex.  Saved people who are full of the Holy Ghost are not flirty, provocative and sensual.  They have a definite shamefacedness and bashfulness when it comes to sexual matters.  Sexual permissiveness is a sure sign of a sinful heart.  Our world is full of this corruptible spirit.  It has been the destruction of millions.  The child of God is not exempt from sexual temptations; however, he should have a clear and strong rebuke against this lustful spirit. 

Sexual sins are at the top of the list in:

Romans 1:29-31

2 Corinthians 12:21

Galatians 5:19-21

Ephesians 5:3-5

And many other passages of scriptures.

Are you walking in the flesh or the Spirit?

Romans 8:1-8
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.
3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

Are you an example of the Believer?

Are you walking after the flesh or after the Spirit?

Where you spend eternity will be decided on whether or not you have been obedient to the Holy Spirit who has been sent to speak to your heart and draw you into the way of holiness. 

As the Holy Spirit draws you right now, what is your response?

Will you yield and submit yourself to be obedient to the Holy Spirit?  Or, will you refuse and rebel.

Isaiah 1:16-21
16 Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil;
17 Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.
18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Perhaps, in times past you were sincere and obedient to the Holy Spirit, but you have fallen away from your stedfast obedience and the guilt of sin now separates you from God.

Come and be restored to that relationship of peace with God.

God will forgive, if you repent and obey. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

PARABLES OF THE BIBLE

Is the church in a war against unrighteousness and evil doers?  Yes.

What is our instruction manual for fighting this war?  The Bible.

What has God done to prevent the enemies of the church from understanding our instruction manual?  He has encrypted/hidden the meaning of the instructions.

God has given instructions to the church of God in the form of parables, symbols, allegories, types and shadows.  God has hidden the meaning of these things from the evil doers and has revealed them unto His children. 

2 Corinthians 4:1-6
1 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;
2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.
3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost :
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 11:25
At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

Luke 18:31-34
31 Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished.
32 For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on:
33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.
34 And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.

PARABLES

New Testament
Matthew 13:10-13          Reason for parables
Matthew 13:34,35          without parables spake he not
[Note: Matthew chap 13 contains seven parables which identify various characteristics of the kingdom of God which is the church of God.]
Mark 4:13                         Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Old Testament
Judges 9:7-15                 Parable of Jothan/trees chose a ruler
2 Samuel 12:1-14          Parable of Nathan/King David and his sin
2 Samuel 14:5                Parable of woman of Tekoa concerning Absalom and Joab
1 Kings 20:39                 Parable of a prophet to King Ahab
2 Kings 14:9                    Parable of Joash-thistle marriage to cedar
2 Chronicles 25:18        Parable of Joash-thistle marriage to cedar
Isaiah 5:1                         Parable of prophets-Israel as vineyard
Jeremiah 13:1                 Parable of prophets-girdle hid by river
Ezekiel 17:3                    Parable of prophets-eagle and the vine
Ezekiel 19:2,3                 Parable of prophets-lion and whelps
Ezekiel 20:45-49                        forest of the south field…doth he not speak parables?
Ezekiel 24:3                    Parable of prophets-scum in the pot

When reading and studying the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, everyone must have the help of the Holy Spirit to rightly understand the meaning and the interpretation of the Word of God.  The Revelation can not be properly understood by men’s intellectual and analytical reasoning.  Understanding is not achieved by any personal or private interpretation.  The Revelation is not intended to be understood as a literal description of future events.  The Revelation is a symbolic book wherein God has used many pictorial and analogous symbols to represent other religious and spiritual objects, principles and events. 

2 Peter 1:16-21
16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

ALLEGORY:  A figurative sentence or discourse, in which the principal subject is described by another subject resembling it in its properties and circumstances.  The principal subject is thus kept out of view, and we are left to collect the intentions of the writer or speaker, by the resemblance of the secondary to the primary subject.  An allegory is in words what hieroglyphics are in paintings.  We have a fine example of an allegory in the eightieth Psalm, in which God's chosen people are represented by a vineyard.  The distinction in scripture between a parable and an allegory is said to be that an allegory is a supposed history, and a parable, a figurative description of real facts.  An allegory is sometimes called a “continued metaphor.”

Galatians 4:22-26
22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman.
23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.
24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar.
25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children.
26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

PARABLE:  A similitude, a fictitious narrative of common life conveying a moral, adage.  A fable or allegorical relation or representation of something real in life or nature, from which a moral is drawn for instruction.  The 13th chapter of Matthew contains seven parables which instruct the reader in the divine nature of the Kingdom of God. 

SYMBOL:  The sign or representation of any moral thing by the images or properties of natural things.  Thus the lion is the symbol of courage; the lamb is the symbol of meekness or patience. Symbols are of various kinds, as types, enigmas, parables, fables, allegories, emblems, hieroglyphics, etc.  An emblem or representation of something else.  Thus in the Eucharist, the bread and wine are called symbols of the body and blood of Christ.

TYPES:  The mark of something; an emblem; that which represents something else.  A sign; a symbol; a figure of something to come; as, Abraham's sacrifice and the paschal lamb, were types of Christ.  The type is not the true; it signifies or is the mark of the true.  Christ, in this example, is the antitype.  The Old Testament temple with its two rooms (the Holy Place and the Holiest of Holies) is a type of our New Testament salvation which includes two specific and separate works of grace (justification and sanctification).  The two rooms of the temple are types and the two works of grace which constitute full salvation are the antitype. 

It may be observed in the oral and written discourses of some modern church of God ministers that a certain definition of the terms “symbols” and “types” will be consistently followed.  Symbols are often held to be fictitious and not existing in reality, while types have a corresponding reality in that there was or is a real article, animal or person which existed and is used to represent another.  For example:  the seven headed – ten horned beast of the Revelation is a symbol and nothing of its kind exists in reality.  Whereas, the golden altar referred to in the Revelation is a type because there was a literal golden altar in the Mosaic Tabernacle. 

The book of Revelation is a symbolic book which has been greatly misunderstood and mis-interpreted by religious people.  However, it is a book given to the church and it was given for our instruction, for a blessing, for our encouragement and our understanding. 

Revelation 1:1-3
1 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:
2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw.
3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

The Word of God must be spiritually understood by the divine inspiration of the Holy Spirit.  We can not understand God’s word by our own intellect.  The natural man can not discern or understand heavenly things without the help of the Holy Spirit.

1 Corinthians 2:9-16
9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

If we will submit ourselves to Jesus Christ, to love Him and obey Him, He will give us the Holy Spirit to understand everything we need to know to make heaven our home and to walk pleasing unto Him in this life. 

Do you love Jesus Christ enough to submit yourself wholly unto Him and let Him be the Ruler and Master of your life?