Monday, February 29, 2016

ANGER

Anger is an emotion.  It is not an attitude.  It is an emotional response to an injustice or an evil act.  Feelings and emotions are not sinful unless they become an unrighteous attitude.  When anger becomes hatred and malice, then sin has been conceived in the heart.  If anger is controlled by grace, correction and mercy, then it will produce a positive and beneficial deterrent to evil. 

Anger is defined by the dictionary as: “A strong feeling of being upset or annoyed because of something wrong or bad.”

Anger produces strong feelings which must be overcome and controlled.    
A common temptation which Satan uses against the saints and sinners is an event which stirs up the emotion of anger.  Satan will try to convince them that their emotions are evil.
 
To be frustrated by someone’s unrighteous conduct is not a sin.  If you allow that frustration to grow into revenge, retaliation or bitterness, then, it would become a sin issue.

To be angry with someone for their unrighteous conduct is not a sin.  If you allow your anger to become an evil attitude against that person; then, it defiles your heart. 

Anger must be controlled by the love and grace which God gives to all His children.  Anger does not begin as an attitude; but, if it is not controlled, it will affect the attitude and cause malice, hatred or bitterness to rise up in the heart and defile the soul.

Matthew 5:22
But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. 

The key point in this verse is being “angry with his brother without a cause.”
The cause of your anger must be a just and righteous.  If you do not have a just cause for your anger then you are out of order.    

If you are angry with someone, your most likely need to go to that person and explain why you are angry.  And, if someone is angry with you, you most likely need to go to them and find out the cause of the offense and do your part in being reconciled to that person. 

Matthew 5:23-24
23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Not only must you control your anger and not allow it to become a grudge, you must respond to someone’s anger at you and do the kind and charitable thing to be reconciled to that person. 

Psalms 7:11
God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.

To be angry at an unjust act or some wickedness is not out of order. 
God is angry with the wicked every day.
Jesus was sometimes angry with the wickedness of the religious Jews.
False doctrine and false religion should stir up our anger and move us to stand in defense of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. 

There are many cautions and warning in the Holy Scriptures teaching us to be careful that we do not let our anger get out of control. 

Proverbs 14:17
He that is soon angry dealeth foolishly: and a man of wicked devices is hated.

Don’t be a person who is quick or hasty to become angry.  A person who is quick to be angry will often err in his judgment and opinion of others. 

Proverbs 16:32
He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.

God is not hasty to become angry.  He is merciful and kind to every person. 
By God’s grace you have the power to rule your spirit and be slow to anger.
Proverbs 19:11
The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.

Discretion as defined by the dictionary is: “the quality of being careful about what you do and say so that people will not be embarrassed or offended.  If you are careful and in control of your emotions, you will be able to delay and/or overcome your expression of anger. 

Proverbs 21:19
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.

We may also add that this counsel is true with “a contentious and an angry man.”  An angry person is not in the right frame of mind to be a peacemaker.

Micah 7:18
Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

God does not retain His anger.  He is always ready to forgive.  We should be like Him.  Consider the next two passages of scripture. 

James 1:20
For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.

Ephesians 4:26-27
26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
27 Neither give place to the devil.

I think that some people think that they are doing the work of God when they are angry at some perceived offense.  The response to help another person should usually take precedence over being angry with them.  Be quick to forgive.  Instead of condemning and being critical, try to understand how you can help them learn to do good. 

Colossians 3:8
But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.

Colossians 3:21
Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

Many fathers think that they are making their children strong and independent when they provoke them to anger.  Christians do not yield to that temptation to allow their anger to become wrath or malice.

Titus 1:7
For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;

The character of a bishop is an example of how each child of God should attain in their conduct. 

Deuteronomy 9:16-20
16 And I looked, and, behold, ye had sinned against the Lord your God, and had made you a molten calf: ye had turned aside quickly out of the way which the Lord had commanded you.
17 And I took the two tables, and cast them out of my two hands, and brake them before your eyes.
18 And I fell down before the Lord, as at the first, forty days and forty nights: I did neither eat bread, nor drink water, because of all your sins which ye sinned, in doing wickedly in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.
19 For I was afraid of the anger and hot displeasure, wherewith the Lord was wroth against you to destroy you. But the Lord hearkened unto me at that time also.
20 And the Lord was very angry with Aaron to have destroyed him: and I prayed for Aaron also the same time.

Disobedience, rebellion, idolatry, etc. are evil deeds which stir up the anger and wrath of God.  You can make God angry at you and you will suffer the terrible consequence. 
There is a time to be angry.
And, there is a time to show compassion and mercy.
Don’t fall into the devil’s snare by being too hasty to show your displeasure at some wrong deed or hurtful word. 

Jesus Christ is our example and he was sometimes angry, but without sin.

Don’t let your anger cause you to sin against your own soul.  

Saturday, February 20, 2016

SAFE FROM ALL EVIL

Dear Christian, Satan would like to cause you to think that he has the power to control your spirit and your decisions.  Satan wants you to believe the statement, “The devil made me do it.” is still a reality in the Christian’s life.  The Devil is a liar.  A Christian has power and authority over all the power of Satan and all his devils.  When a person repents and is washed clean by the blood of Jesus Christ, every evil chain which has held you in bondage has been broken by the grace of God.  The child of God has been made FREE!  John 8:36, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.”

Come, let us study and believe the truth as we are taught by the Word of God.   

1 John 5:13-21
13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.
14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:
15 And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.
16 If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
17 All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.
18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.
19 And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
21 Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

Don’t let Satan take this understanding away from you.  If you have been “born again,” you are safe in the arms of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Satan cannot touch your spirit unless you allow him to come into your heart.  Resist the Devil and he will flee, so says the Word of God.

John 14:30
Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.

How can Satan control you if he has nothing in you?  As a child of God, you have power over every evil spirit. 

Matthew 10:1
And when he had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.

Who has power over and against unclean spirits?  The answer is: God’s children.

1 Peter 3:12-16
12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

Satan cannot harm your soul, if you are a follower of that which is good.   We will suffer adversity and difficulty in this life, but our soul is safe in the keeping of Jesus Christ. 

Mark 6:7
And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two; and gave them power over unclean spirits;

Unclean spirits have no power over us.  We have power over them. 

Luke 9:1-2
1 Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases.
2 And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.

We have power and authority over all devils.  If you are a Christian, you have power and authority over all devils.  They cannot harm you or control you. 

Acts 26:18
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

We have been turned from the power of Satan.  Satan no longer has any power to bring our spirit under his control.  God may allow Satan to touch this body of flesh; but, he cannot touch the soul of a child of God. 

Colossians 1:9-17
9 For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
11 Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

The power of darkness is sin.  Christians live holy, free from sin.  If therefore, you are free from sin, then you are also free from darkness and all the powers of evil.  Don’t let Satan disturb your mind and cause you to believe that he is able to take control of your spirit and bring you into bondage. 

2 Timothy 1:7
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

I REPEAT: Don’t let Satan disturb your mind.  Have faith in God that He will keep you from Satan and every evil spirit. 

1 John 5:18
We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

Resist and rebuke the devil.  Do not let Satan, that wicked one, touch your spirit.  You have grace to overcome all of the power of Satan.  Jesus Christ has given you power and authority over Satan. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

WHO IS YOUR TEACHER?

The church of God is the visible body of Christ in this world.  He sets the members in the church and equips them with faith and gifts to perform the functions according to His pleasure and wisdom.  In the body of Christ there are those members which have been given the grace, faith and gift to be teachers of others.  In this lesson, I want each of you to realize that God has provided you with a teacher to whom He expects you to listen and learn. If God sends you a teacher and you ignore and disregard the teacher whom God has sent to you, there will be undesirable consequences. 

Ephesians 4:11-16
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

In this passage, it is very clear that God has set certain members in the congregations of the church of God to perform the specific functions assigned to them.  The Holy Spirit has called and equipped these teachers to teach others.  Can you receive and be instructed by one of God’s teachers?   If you are a part of the body of Christ, the church of God, how can you not need these ministerial workers which God has given for the benefit of His people? 

The Holy Spirit has been given to us to teach us all things.  However, it is very evident that often times the Holy Spirit will use a person to teach you.

APOSTLES
SEC:  NT: 652 GREEK apostolos (ap-os'-tol-os); from NT:649; a delegate; specially, an ambassador of the Gospel; officially a commissioner of Christ ["apostle"] (with miraculous powers):  KJV - apostle, messenger, he that is sent.

Paul tells us that the call to be an apostle is one of the gifts and responsibilities which Jesus Christ has provided for the ministry of the people of God.  An apostle has the faith and gift to go to a place where there is not congregation of the church of God and raise up a congregation with the power of God bearing witness of God’s approval. 

PROPHETS
SEC:  NT: 4396  GREEK prophetes (prof-ay'-tace); from a compound of NT:4253 and NT:5346; a foreteller ("prophet"); by analogy, an inspired speaker; by extension, a poet:  KJV - prophet.

A prophet is one who is able to speak under divine inspiration.  His message may sometimes be predictive of future events.  The prophet of God will speak the truth and his prophecies will come to pass. 

EVANGELISTS
SEC:  NT: 2099 GREEK euaggelistes (yoo-ang-ghel-is-tace'); from NT:2097; a preacher of the gospel:  KJV - evangelist.

An evangelist is a traveling preacher.  He is not the permanent shepherd of the local congregation. 

PASTORS
SEC:  NT: 4166 GREEK poimen (poy-mane'); of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively):  KJV - shepherd, pastor.

A pastor is the minister and shepherd of a local congregation.  He is a Spirit filled overseer.  He has the responsibility to guide the congregation with wise counsel and righteous judgment.  Do you need a pastor?  Do you have a pastor?   Are you expecting God to make an exception to His ordained method of instructing His people so that you do not have to submit to a pastor and a teacher?  How will you be perfected and edified if you refuse to learn from His pastors and teachers and ministers? 

TEACHERS
SEC:  NT:1320  GREEK didaskalos (did-as'-kal-os); from NT:1321; an instructor (genitive case or specially):  KJV - doctor, master, teacher.

A teacher is someone who has the maturity, knowledge and wisdom to instruct others according to the doctrines of the gospel of Jesus Christ.   The congregation needs teachers.  The saints, the children of God need teachers.  God has chosen to use human instruments to teach others the great truths of the salvation and gospel of Jesus Christ. 

Acts 8:27-31
27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.
30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.

The Ethiopian eunuch recognized that he needed some man to explain the scriptures to him.  He was humble in his search for the knowledge of truth. 

Acts 9:3-6
3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Saul asked the Lord for instructions on what he should do.  Jesus told him to go into Damascus and he would send a man to tell him what to do.  Many people do not want to listen to some man tell him what to do.  There are people who claim to be Christians and yet they are too proud to humble themselves and receive instructions from another man.  If God sends you a teacher, will you listen to him. 

Acts 10:1-6
1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,
2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.
4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.
5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:
6 He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.

Cornelius was a man in authority.  He was accustomed to telling others what to do.  But when it came time for him to listen to another man, he was willing and able to listen and be taught the more perfect plan of salvation.

Later when Peter is explaining what happened in Joppa to the Jews in Jerusalem, he used these words in chapter 11:

Acts 11:13-14
13 And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter;
14 Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved.

Peter did not teach Cornelius and the believers in Joppa how to build a house or catch fish or plant a garden.  Peter taught them how to preserve and be made whole that which they had believed to be the truth about Jesus Christ.  Cornelius was a devout man whose prayers were answered.   God sent an angel to him to tell him what he must do to learn and receive the remainder of the grace of God by being filled with the Holy Spirit.   


Who is your teacher?   Who is watching for your soul?  

THE PROMISES OF GOD

The children of God have a heavenly Father who has provided all things that we need as we pass through this life.  All of the promises of God, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament, which have their foundation in Jesus Christ, are for the children of God.  Some of these promises are promises of spiritual blessings; and, some of these promises are promises of material blessings.    

2 Corinthians 1:20
For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

What is the apostle Paul teaching us?  We have the word of God with us today.  We can read the promises which are in the Bible.  Paul has said that “all of the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen.” 

2 Corinthians 1:18-20
18 But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay.
19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.
20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

All things which are established in Jesus Christ are “yea.”  There is not one promise or commandment which is variable or uncertain.  God never said: “I know that I promised this blessing, but you can’t have it.”  God may say “Wait” or He may say “Yes,” but He will never say no to something that He has promised.  God is faithful to keep all of His promises.  If the people do not enjoy the promises of God, the problem is with the people, not with God.  If we have failed in our faithfulness to God, then He may tell us “No.” 

James 1:17
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Although God may change His mind about a certain course of action, God is never variable or changeable in His promises and commandments.  He will do what He has said He will do. 

Psalms 132:12-16
12 If thy children will keep my covenant and my testimony that I shall teach them, their children shall also sit upon thy throne for evermore.
13 For the Lord hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation.
14 This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.
15 I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread.
16 I will also clothe her priests with salvation: and her saints shall shout aloud for joy.

Every promise of God is predicated upon the conditions of a holy and mutual covenant between God and man.

2 Peter 1:1-4
1 Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

No man can ever truthfully say that God has broken His promise.  God cannot lie.  God cannot fail.  Listen to the words of the apostle James.

Psalms 145:17-21
17 The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works.
18 The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth.
19 He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked will he destroy.
21 My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless his holy name for ever and ever.

I am a witness to the faithfulness of God.  He has met all of my needs all the time.  He is righteous and holy in everything He does.  He will bless and preserve everyone who loves Him and keeps His commandments.   

Hebrews 8:1-6
1 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
2 A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.
3 For every high priest is ordained to offer gifts and sacrifices: wherefore it is of necessity that this man have somewhat also to offer.
4 For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law:
5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.
6 But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.

“We have such an high priest” which is greater than any high priest who came before Him or after Him.  Our High Priest, Jesus Christ, has purchased with His own life and His own blood, a Kingdom which is established upon better promises than anyone has ever known.

But know this: the promises of God are for the children of God.  The promises of God are not to be enjoyed by a rebellious and disobedient person.

1 Kings 9:6-9
6 But if ye shall at all turn from following me, ye or your children, and will not keep my commandments and my statutes which I have set before you, but go and serve other gods, and worship them:
7 Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:
8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passeth by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say, Why hath the Lord done thus unto this land, and to this house?
9 And they shall answer, Because they forsook the Lord their God, who brought forth their fathers out of the land of Egypt, and have taken hold upon other gods, and have worshipped them, and served them: therefore hath the Lord brought upon them all this evil.

If you forsake God, He will forsake you. 

Numbers 14:27-35
27 How long shall I bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me.
28 Say unto them, As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you:
29 Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered of you, according to your whole number, from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against me,
30 Doubtless ye shall not come into the land, concerning which I sware to make you dwell therein, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.
31 But your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised.
32 But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness.
33 And your children shall wander in the wilderness forty years, and bear your whoredoms, until your carcases be wasted in the wilderness.
34 After the number of the days in which ye searched the land, even forty days, each day for a year, shall ye bear your iniquities, even forty years, and ye shall know my breach of promise.
35 I the Lord have said, I will surely do it unto all this evil congregation, that are gathered together against me: in this wilderness they shall be consumed, and there they shall die.

By disobedience, a person can lose the blessing of every promise which God would love to fulfill.  If you forsake God, He will forsake you.