Shady Oak Baptist Church

Serving Christ & Standing on Scripture (KJV 1611)

Shady Oak Baptist Church

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Prophets

God dealt with the nation of Israel through holy men known as prophets. Even when the nation had a king and priests the Lord used the office of prophet as a mouthpiece to reveal His will to the people and their rulers.
Hebrews 1:[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

2Peter 1:[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.

Romans 1:[2] (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

The Holy Spirit would come upon men and move them to speak the Word of God.
God used His prophets to give us the Scripture.

Romans 16:[26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Numbers 11:[29] And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the LORD’s people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!

God would speak to His prophets through dreams and visions.

Numbers 12:[5] And the LORD came down in the pillar of the cloud, and stood in the door of the tabernacle, and called Aaron and Miriam: and they both came forth.
[6] And he said, Hear now my words: If there be a prophet among you, I the LORD will make myself known unto him in a vision, and will speak unto him in a dream.

God gave qualifications in the law for identifying true prophets from false.

Deuteronomy 18:[13] Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God.
[14] For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.
[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
[16] According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
[17] And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
[18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
[19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
[20] But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die.
[21] And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?
[22] When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.

Deuteronomy 13:[1] If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder,
[2] And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;
[3] Thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the LORD your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
[4] Ye shall walk after the LORD your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and cleave unto him.
[5] And that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams, shall be put to death; because he hath spoken to turn you away from the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, and redeemed you out of the house of bondage, to thrust thee out of the way which the LORD thy God commanded thee to walk in. So shalt thou put the evil away from the midst of thee.

The intermittent time between the testaments saw the writings identified as apocryphal. These books though having some historical value was not recognized by the Jews as scripture nor by Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus Himself gave testimony to the canon of the Old Testament being complete before the time of the apocryphal writings in the book of Matthew.

Matthew 23:[34] Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city:
[35] That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.

When Jesus listed the saints killed by the Jews He started with Abel (Genesis) and ended with Zacharias (11 Chronicles)
The Jewish Old Testament was constructed with 11 Chronicles being the last book whereas our Bible has placed Malachi in this position.

During the period of 400 years of silence there were no prophets nor scripture written. Malachi was the last prophet to the children of Israel before the birth of John the Baptist. The silence to Israel was broken by the angel proclaiming to Zacharias the priest of the coming birth of John the Baptist. (Luke one). This was followed a short time later with the angel telling Mary and then Joseph of the coming birth of Jesus.

Prophets in the New Testament.
Luke.1:[10] And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense.
[11] And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
[12] And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
[13] But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John.
[14] And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth.
[15] For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
[16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.
[17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
[18] And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years.
[19] And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.
[20] And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season.

Luke 1:[57] Now Elisabeth’s full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son.
[58] And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her.
[59] And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father.
[60] And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John.
[61] And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name.
[62] And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called.
[63] And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all.
[64] And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God.
[65] And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea.
[66] And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him.
[67] And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,
[68] Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,
[69] And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;
[70] As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:
[71] That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;
[72] To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;
[73] The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,
[74] That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear,
[75] In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
[76] And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;
[77] To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,
[78] Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,
[79] To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
[80] And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.

The years of silence had been lifted and out came John the Baptist and a new age began.

Matthew 11:[10] For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
[11] Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
[12] And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.
[13] For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John.
[14] And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, which was for to come.
[15] He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

After the rejection of the kingdom and crucifixion of our Lord God began dealing with all of mankind and brought together a people made up of Jew and Gentile which is called the church. During the formative years of the church and the composition of the New Testament God once again used the office of prophet to speak to His people. Just as He had done with the nation of Israel with the completion of the Old Testament canon God withdrew this special gift of the office of prophet upon completion of the New Testament.

New Testament operation of prophet.
The gift of being a prophet was one of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit.

1Corinthians 12:[28] And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
[29] Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?

Eph.4:[11] And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

Romans 12:[6] Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

 Before the completion of the New Testament there must needs have been a method whereby God communicated His will to the church and expounded the gospel to the world. God did this through the Apostles and gifted prophets.

Ephesians 3:[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
[2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to youward:
[3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,
[4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)
[5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
[6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:

Acts.11:[27] And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.

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

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

Acts.21:[10] And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

Prophets and apostles were foundational.
Our New Testament faith is based upon the words of the Apostles and the foretelling of the Old Testament prophets. As the majority of the Old Testament prophecies dealt with the Second Advent and the coming Kingdom of Israel we must realize the ministry of Jesus is still ongoing. There remains ages to come. (Ep 2:7)

Ephesians 2:[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;

2Peter 3:[2] That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

The heart of prophecy is the ongoing ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Revelation 19:[10] And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Prophets for today.
Just as the ministry of the Apostles has ended so has the need for prophets in the church age. The gift of prophecy was used as a temporary method to expound the Word of God. Just as in the days of the Old Testament. The scriptures having been given to the body of Christ have replaced the prophets and the Apostles as our authority. The foundation of the church has been laid and now we build upon the foundation.

Ephesians 2:[19] Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
[20] And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
[21] In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
[22] In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

We find in First Corinthians Thirteen prophecy for the church had an end.

1Corinthians 13:[1] Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
[2] And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
[3] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
[4] Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
[5] Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
[6] Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
[7] Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
[8] 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.
[9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
[10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

We find then the complete Word of God has been given to the church through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostle and prophets and the partial gifts having been done away. It is the Word of God which furnishes the man of God for the work of the ministry to the body of Christ. It is the Word of God which can be translated in all languages and exists in the common tongue of the world KJV 1611. It is the Word of God which contains the full revelation of God for this age.

11 Timothy 3:15] And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
[17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Prophets of the future.
Just as in the days of Mary and Joseph the silence will once again be shattered. Two men will appear on the scene sent from God to once again begin the ministry of prophets. Once again, though they will appear to the whole world, their ministry will be to prepare a people for the coming Kingdom of Jesus Christ. The fulfillment of the rest of the prophets of old will then be fulfilled and Jesus Christ will sit on the throne of David and rule the world. The ministry of the church will have been fulfilled and the church removed from this world as these two prophets preach their word of repentance and the coming of Jesus to rule.

Revelation 11:[3] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
[4] These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
[5] And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
[6] These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
[7] And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
[8] And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
[9] And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
[10] And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
[11] And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
[12] And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
[13] And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

 

Virgin Birth

The birth of Jesus is an integral part of our salvation. If He were merely human then His death would have been no different than anyone else’s death. But He being born by the power of God through a virgin showed He is indeed the Son of God.
As far back as Eve God had foretold His plan by prophecy of a woman having a child without the involvement of man’s seed.

Gen.3:[15] And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

Looking in Isaiah we find:
Isa.7:[14] Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

The meaning of “Immanuel is God with us” which indeed Jesus is indeed God with us.

Look at Luke chapter One.
Luke 1:[26] And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth,
[27] To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary.
[28] And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
[29] And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be.
[30] And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
[31] And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
[32] He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
[33] And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
[34] Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?
[35] And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

In verse 34 we have the clear definition of “virgin’. Mary indeed was not just a young woman but a virgin.

1John.5
[1] Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
[2] By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
[3] For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
[4] For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.
[5] Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?

Not only do we believe Jesus is the Christ but it is imperative we believe He is the Son of God.

[6] This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
[7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
[8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

The Apostle John states the importance of knowing Jesus is born of God and not sinful man.
In a Jewish marriage the husband, upon consummation of the marriage, takes the napkin with the token of his bride’s virginity and displays it. Joseph had this privilege not after his wedding but at the birth of Jesus. At His birth proving Mary was indeed a virgin as He was born of water and blood.

The witness of the scriptures tells us Jesus was conceived by God and born of a virgin. He is the Son of God and not Joseph the carpenter.

[9] If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.
[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son.
[11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.
[12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.
[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.

The Bible is clear on the matter. Not only do we have the words of the prophecies but we have the testimony of the New Testament account Jesus was indeed born of a virgin. If He were the son of Joseph we would have to look somewhere else for our salvation.

John.3:[1] There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:
[2] The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.
[3] Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
[4] Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
[5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
[6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
[7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

Just as Jesus born of the Spirit so are we upon acceptance of Jesus as our Savior born of the Spirit becoming a son of God. (John 1:11)

Jesus was God manifested in the flesh
1 Timothy 3:[16] And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.

Jesus not only born of water and blood but the testimony of the water and the blood coming from His side showing evidence He was indeed dead.

John.19:[34] But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

 

Things Freely Given

1Cor.2:[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.

God has given many things to His children. Though it came to great expense for Him they are freely given to you through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

1) John.3:[16] For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
(Romans 6:23)

The first thing I would like to point out God has given us eternal life through the giving of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through simple faith in the substitution death of the Lord we may freely obtain eternal life.

2) John.1:[12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Second we have the power to go from being a child of the devil into the child of the Living God.

3) John.14:[27] Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
(Romans 5:1/// 2 Thessalonians 3:16)

Third we have peace through Jesus Christ. Not peace in the world, in fact Jesus specifically says in the world we will have tribulation but the peace given us is peace with God Himself. No longer worried with the sins committed having nailed them to the cross. We went from being opposed to God to being at peace.

4) 1Cor.15:[57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Four we have been given victory over sin, death and the grave. Having now been made at peace with God we no longer have to worry how it all ends. We might not achieve all of our goals but the ultimate victory belongs to us. I know this because I read the end of the Book.

5) 2Cor.1:[22] Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

The fifth thing I would like to point out is God has given us the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit given to guide us, seal us, and enable us to walk closer to the Lord. He is our guarantee we belong to Jesus and nothing the devil can do to change this.

6) 2Thes.2:[16] Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

Sixth God has given us everlasting consolation and hope. These are not temporary things. God works in eternity and when He gives us something it is forever. We might walk contrary and not have the presence of these things in our lives but God has given them to us permanently. Through our walk we might not feel the consolation or lose sight of our hope but this does not alter the fact that God has given them to us eternally.
When we were unsaved we had no hope in this world but through the grace of God we have eternal hope. We have the hope of the life to come.

7) 2Tim.3:[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

The seventh thing I would like to look at is God has given us the Word of God. The Bible given to us to win souls, to direct our walk, to encourage us and to assure us of the things freely given us of God.

 

Missionaries

                                                                                                MISSIONAIRIES
Matthew 28:18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
[19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
[20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Acts.1:[8] But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Often called the Great Commission. The summation of the gospel of Matthew being the message of salvation should be taken to all nations. Though not fully heeded until the calling of the Apostle Paul to the Gentiles. Knowing those scattered after Pentecost preached only to the Jews. The gospel was finally preached and received en masse to the Gentiles at Antioch where the name Christian became the name for those who had believed. It was from the church at Antioch Paul and Barnabas was sent out to the world to preach the gospel.

Acts.11:[19] Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
[20] And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
[21] And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.
[22] Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch.
[23] Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord.
[24] For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
[25] Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:
[26] And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
[27] And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch.
[28] And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
[29] Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:
[30] Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul.

Acts 12:[25] And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.

Acts.13:[1] Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
[2] As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
[3] And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
[4] So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
[5] And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

 

In about the year 45 AD , some 10-15 years away from the Resurrection Barnabas and Paul were sent from the church at Antioch to preach the gospel.
(verse 3) It is noteworthy they laid their hands on them. Are we to suppose the Apostle Paul was lacking in the power of the Holy Ghost or perhaps Barnabas a prophet or teacher was ? Of course not, the laying on the hands was symbolic of the authority of the body of believers at Antioch being bestowed upon them as representatives first of the Lord but also of the church. As it is to this day missionaries are authorized and sent by a local body of believers to the world. The missionaries function is to convert the lost .

(Verse five) Also noteworthy they first went to the Jews preaching the message of the grace of God.

(Romans 1:[16] For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.)

Returned to their home church
After completion of their first journey they returned to the church at Antioch to give a report of their ministry. Even as it is today the missionary spends time in the field preaching the word and teaching then returns to the church for a refreshing and report to the body of the work.

Acts 14:[25] And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
[26] And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
[27] And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
[28] And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Acts 15:[35] Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.
[36] And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do.
[37] And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark.
[38] But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.
[39] And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus;
[40] And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God.
[41] And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.

After some time at their home church they returned to the field. Though after some disagreement they went their separate ways.
After Paul’s second journey he again returned to his home church.

Acts 18:[22] And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch.
[23] And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

Giving to missions.
We find scattered throughout the church epistles references to giving to the work of the Lord. As the gospel spread and churches were began having been taught by the Apostle Paul they began giving to the ministry of Paul. So it is today. Missionaries though sent from a “home” church are supported by others bodies of believers of like faith.
Philippians 4:[15] Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.
[16] For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.
[17] Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

2Corinthians 8:[1] Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;
[2] How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.
[3] For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;
[4] Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.
[5] And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.
[6] Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.
[7] Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also.
[8] I speak not by commandment, but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love.
[9] For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.
[10] And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago.
[11] Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have.
[12] For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.
[13] For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened:
[14] But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality:
[15] As it is written, He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack.
[16] But thanks be to God, which put the same earnest care into the heart of Titus for you.
[17] For indeed he accepted the exhortation; but being more forward, of his own accord he went unto you.
[18] And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
[19] And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:
[20] Avoiding this, that no man should blame us in this abundance which is administered by us:
[21] Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men.
[22] And we have sent with them our brother, whom we have oftentimes proved diligent in many things, but now much more diligent, upon the great confidence which I have in you.
[23] Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.
[24] Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the churches, the proof of your love, and of our boasting on your behalf.
2Corinthians 9:[1] For as touching the ministering to the saints, it is superfluous for me to write to you:
[2] For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.
[3] Yet have I sent the brethren, lest our boasting of you should be in vain in this behalf; that, as I said, ye may be ready:
[4] Lest haply if they of Macedonia come with me, and find you unprepared, we (that we say not, ye) should be ashamed in this same confident boasting.
[5] Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness.
[6] But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
[7] Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
[8] And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:
[9] (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.
[10] Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;)
[11] Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.
[12] For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God;
[13] Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection unto the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto them, and unto all men;
[14] And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you.
[15] Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.

Though we as individual Christians might never walk a foreign field with the gospel we can through or local church have a part in the salvation and conversion of people around the world through our missionaries. (Phil. 4:17)

 

 

Holidays

As the Christmas time is upon us I would like to take the opportunity to discuss Christians and holidays.
We Christians may use the holiday time as an opportunity to witness to our lost loved ones and our co-workers as the world pauses and recognizes this time as a special time. We will look at the New Testament to learn how we are to handle these things.

God ordained specific days and celebrations for the nation of Israel. With hindsight we can see how He used these to paint a picture of Jesus Christ. Just as in the New Testament we are given the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper which also are reminders of the work Jesus has done. Jesus Himself said the Lord’s Supper is to be done in remembrance of Him. The Apostle Paul instructed us to continue with the Lord’s Supper until He returns.

Let us look in the book of Romans.
Rom.14:[1] Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.
[2] For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.
[3] Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.
[4] Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

I think it is noteworthy the one who refuses to eat certain things is identified as weak in the faith. Either way we must be tolerant for those who do not agree on this matter.
There are those who believe it is a sin to eat certain things while others believe in eating anything. As our diet is nothing more than attendance to the need of our fleshly bodies it is should not be an area of contention. (Though it is important to note the warning in in First Timothy four of the doctrine of devils which forbids marrying and abstains from eating meats which will be prevalent in the end of time.)
We belong to Jesus and as a servant of Jesus we must answer to Him and not to each other on this matter.

[5] One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
[6] He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks.
[7] For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself.

In respect of Holidays and Sabbaths it is an individual decision. The important thing to note is the reason one is honoring the particular day. Is Christmas to you the remembrance of Jesus coming in the flesh and being born of a virgin to die for our sins? If so, you are honoring it for the Lord and as such it is wrong for other Christians to belittle your observance just as it is wrong to ostracize those who do not observe. The key is not the observance or non-observance but the motivation behind each.

[8] For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s.
[9] For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.
[10] But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
[11] For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
[12] So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

The important thing to remember those of us who have put our trust in Jesus belong to Him. I will not answer to my fellow Christians for these things but to the Lord Himself. I should follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit in these matters and cannot go wrong if I do so.

[13] Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.
[14] I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
[15] But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
[16] Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
[17] For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
[18] For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

If you know certain things offend your brother in Christ then it is wrong to flaunt it in front of him or to try to get him to partake with you. We should not condemn each other neither should we provoke each other. However you are convinced in your own mind (vs. 5) you should act. We are to have respect for each others sentiments and not cause our brothers despair or encourage them to do something they believe is a sin.
( I.e. Give a Christmas card to a Christian who thinks it is a sin to observe Christmas or offer a ham sandwich to a Christian who thinks it is a sin to eat pork.)
We are to be His servants in righteousness, peace and joy.

[19] Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
[20] For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
[21] It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.
[22] Hast thou faith? have it to thyself before God. Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth.
[23] And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

We should look for the opportunity to build each other up and not bring each other down. We are to listen to our conscience as led by the Holy Spirit on these matters. If we go against this then we are sinning. We are to walk our walk according to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and our understanding of the will of God.

In Colossians 2 we find:

Col.2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
[9] For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
[10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
[11] In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
[12] Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
[13] And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
[14] Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
[15] And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
[16] Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days:
[17] Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Being freed from the law through the death and resurrection of our Lord we are not compelled to observe holidays which is not to say we may not choose to observe them. As long as we keep Jesus as the focal point of our observance and not get lost in the traditions and commercialism the world has heaped into the season.

Second Corinthians Eleven False Teachers

2Cor.11:[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.
[2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

Our obligation is to Jesus. Though there exists a semi-obligation to our brothers in Christ, to the lost, and to our families. As a church ultimately and most importantly our obligation is to the Lord.
As being engaged to Jesus, as in Jewish culture the bride to be was watched by others as to her chaste conducting of her every day life. Also, to her preparation for her impending nuptials.

[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Like the sneaky suitor attempting to woo a woman from her beloved. The chaste virgin being compared to the mother of all living Eve.
The area of attack being the mind. Corrupting them through what they “think”. Using their human reason to convince them away from the truth of Christ. The result being you have those who teach:
You have to be baptized to be saved.
You have to do works to be saved.
You have to be a member of their church to be saved.
You were either predetermined to be saved or not.
Notice these are compared to the devil himself.
Nothing can be simpler than the death, burial and resurrection nothing added nothing subtracted. The cross being fully effective for the saving of the soul, the burial showing our death to our old life and the cares of the world and the resurrection giving us the hope of the life beyond.

[4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

Three areas of satanic attack on our doctrine; Jesus, Holy Spirit and the gospel all three of these vital to our salvation.
Another Jesus- those that teach Jesus was a mere man not God incarnate; those that teach Jesus hated sinners;

Another spirit which you haven’t received. The second blessing. You received the Holy Spirit the moment you are born again in Christ. There are those who teach you must receive a “second” blessing of the Holy Spirit which you did not receive at the moment of being saved.

Another gospel- those that teach salvation by works; salvation through endurance; predestined salvation

(look at Galatians 1:6-9)

[5] For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.
[6] But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.
[7] Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely?
[8] I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service.

The “chiefest” of apostles being Peter, James and John. The last mention of Peter in the Acts of the Apostles is in chapter 15 where we are told the door of belief through simple (simplicity) of faith is open to the Gentiles without the need of following the Mosaic law and this blessing of the open door is to the Apostle Paul.
The Apostle Peter is mentioned 58 times in Acts 1 through 15 and NONE after that. The only other mention in the epistles is when Paul says he had to confront Peter’s hypocritical actions.
The majority of the New testament given to the Apostle Paul. The gospel of God’s grace being given to the Apostle Paul. The order of conducting of the church given to the Apostle Paul.
When the Apostle Paul came to Corinth he did not demand their money but rather other churches having supported his travels giving him the ability to preach the gospel to those of Corinth. Missionaries today are still supported in this manner. They do not go to a foreign land and receive offerings of the people to which they are sent but rather from those who have sent them to preach the gospel.

[9] And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.
[10] As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia.
[11] Wherefore? because I love you not? God knoweth.
[12] But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we.

The Apostle Paul indeed suffered financial hardships and had NEEDS but the Lord provided through the churches of Macedonia. Corinth was a major city of Achaia. Paul went throughout the region boasting of the support of the churches of Macedonia and the Lord supplying his need through them. Paul is not attempting to magnify himself but cause the people to realize he is truly concerned with them and not like the false apostles that attempt to deceive them away from the truth of the gospel. If the false apostles are true apostles let them not take any wages of the Corinthians and show the proof of their “love” for the body of believers at Corinth.

[13] For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ.
[14] And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.
[15] Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.

These ministers having preached a different Jesus, different spirit and a different gospel. Now claiming to be an apostle of Christ. Satan as he deceived Eve appearing to be an angel of light and not of darkness. Remember the promise he made to Eve was to bring her the light of knowledge and instead plunged the human race into spiritual darkness. God will deal with these false apostles and ministers in the end.
There indeed is a day of reckoning coming.

[16] I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.
[17] That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.
[18] Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.
[19] For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.
[20] For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

Paul is about to give the proof of his ministry and the falseness of the false ministers and false apostles.
(Let us keep in mind the 3 areas of attack; Jesus, Spirit and gospel)
The false ministers:
Bring you into bondage- are there not those who teach salvation combined with the works of the law? This is indeed bringing someone under bondage.
Devour you- Are not the followers of false doctrine those who lose themselves in the identity of the one they follow? Campbellites or Calvinists.
Take of you; Are not the false ministers made multi-millionaires on the back of the people?
Exalt himself-Those whose ministry is about themselves and not the Lord
Smite you- whether this is a sarcastic reference to the degree to which they would allow false ministers to abuse them or a reference to those who would preach the gospel of the kingdom (smite you in the face …turn the other cheek). I believe the latter.

[21] I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.
[22] Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.
[23] Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft.

The proof of Paul’s ministry is not in the great works he built, nor the number of converts, nor the number of miracles, nor the changed lives through his ministry. The proof of Paul’s ministry was the amount and greatness of the trials he endured for the cause of the gospel of the Lord.

[24] Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one.
[25] Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;
[26] In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren;
[27] In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.
[28] Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.
[29] Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not?
[30] If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities.
[31] The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.
[32] In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me:
[33] And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

Let us be like the Apostle Paul and count our successes by the number of hardships God has seen us through and not the greatness of the blessings in our lives.

Hell

Recently while studying I came across the website of a prominent Independent Baptist College. While perusing some of their teachings I came across one that stated there is no literal Hell and when the Bible refers to Hell it is referring to the grave. NOTHING could be further than the truth than this. The Bible is so clear on the doctrine of Hell I find it hard to imagine someone, who considers themselves a theologian, could possibly not believe in the reality of Hell as a place of torment and punishment. Rather than accept man’s teachings let us look directly to the teaching of God’s Word on the matter.

The Bible says in Matthew 25:40-41:
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Are we to imply the grave is a place of fire? Or we to imply it is a temporary place but the fire is everlasting? Are we to understand the GRAVE was prepared for the devil and his angels?
If there were no other references to Hell in the Bible surely this one alone would be sufficient to say:
1) It is a literal place
2) It burns with fire
3) It was CREATED as a place of torment
4) It was meant as a place of punishment for the devil and his angels
5) Only certain people will end up there

How can the grave match any of these criteria?

Hell is as eternal as Heaven and is it’s opposite.
We find in Job 11:
[6] And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.
[7] Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?
[8] It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

Heaven is above and Hell is below.

Hell is a place with a defined location.
By the teachings in Proverbs we know it is below us.

Prov.5:[5] Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Prov.7:[26] For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her.
[27] Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Prov.15:[24] The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

Looking further in scripture in Isaiah we find:

Isa.5:[13] Therefore my people are gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge: and their honourable men are famished, and their multitude dried up with thirst.
[14] Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

Having been created to hold the devil and his angels it had to be enlarged to accommodate the souls of men.

Isa.14:[9] Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
Again, it is told to us in scripture Hell is beneath.
Looking in the book of Amos we find again Hell is beneath.

Amos.9:[2] Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

When Mary saw Jesus in the garden after His resurrection He clearly told her He had not ascended yet.

John.20:[17] Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.

And she had just been to the grave where Jesus was not.

John.20:[1] The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
[2] Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
[3] Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
[4] So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
[5] And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
[6] Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
[7] And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.

Where had He been then? He was not in the grave and He was not in Heaven. The scripture tells us.

Acts.2:22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
[23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
[24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
[25] For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:
[26] Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
[27] Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
[28] Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
[29] Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.
[30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;
[31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
[32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

So then the clear teaching of the Word of God is:
1) Jesus was NOT in the grave.
2) Jesus was NOT in Heaven
3) Jesus was in a PLACE called Hell.

In Jesus own words we know Hell is a real place with keys and gates.

Matt.16:[18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Rev.1:18] I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

In Luke we find angels do NOT die.

Luke 20:[35] But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:
[36] Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.

In 2 Peter we find certain angels are being held in Hell awaiting judgment.

2Pet.2:[4] For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

So then how say men Hell is the GRAVE?

The scripture teaches Hell has different levels. How say men then that Hell is the GRAVE? Are we to understand there are different degrees of DEAD?

Deuteronomy 32:[22] For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

Proverbs 9:[18] But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Pss.86:[13] For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Matt.23:[14] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows’ houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation.
[15] Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Hell is a place of punishment, torment, sorrow and fire.

2Sam.22:[6] The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

Psalms 116:[3] The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Matthew 8:[28] And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.
[29] And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?

Matthew 13:[40] As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world.
[41] The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;
[42] And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
[49] So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,
[50] And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 18:[9] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 23:[32] Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers.
[33] Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 25:40-41:
[40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mark 9:[42] And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
[43] And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
[44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
[45] And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:
[46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.
[47] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:
[48] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.

James 3:[5] Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!
[6] And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

In the gospel of Luke we find the clear teaching of Jesus on the matter. In Luke the word “parable” is used seventeen times BUT not used in the account of the rich man and Lazarus. Repetitively in Luke we are told when Jesus was speaking a parable BUT NOT in the account of the rich man and Lazarus. In all of Jesus’ parables there is NEVER a person’s name given. So then, in the account of Luke 16 we must conclude this is not a parable but an actual account of two people. Let us let Jesus speak with finality on the matter!

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

The Lord’s Supper

The verbiage used by the Lord at the institution of the Lord’s Supper has been used by some to construe that the wine and bread by some magic becomes the literal body and blood of the Lord. The scripture repetitively uses the food metaphor when describing spiritual food. This is to mean we are a triune being and we not only require physical food for our body but spiritual food for the well being of our spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:[44] It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body.
[45] And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

Too many Christians concern themselves with the physical world and disregard their own spiritual well being. Let us begin by looking at several passages dealing with this spiritual food necessary for spiritual well being and growth.

Meat means food that provides sustenance.

John.4:[31] In the mean while his disciples prayed him, saying, Master, eat.
[32] But he said unto them, I have meat to eat that ye know not of.
[33] Therefore said the disciples one to another, Hath any man brought him ought to eat?
[34] Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.
[35] Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
[36] And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.
[37] And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.
[38] I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.

For our spiritual food we must do what God wants us to do. First of all, this means to be born again. (John 3:7) After having been born of the Spirit then our spirit needs food in order to grow and become strong.
Surely we understand we are not sowing literal seeds and reaping literal fruit? These are spiritual.

John.6:[26] Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.
[27] Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.
[28] Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
[29] Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 6:[48] I am that bread of life.
[49] Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
[50] This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.
[51] I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
[52] The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.
[54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
[55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
[56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.
[57] As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
[58] This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.
[59] These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.
[60] Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
[61] When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
[62] What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?
[63] It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
[64] But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.
[65] And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
[66] From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

Jesus points out the physical food partaken by the Israelites in the wilderness did not impart unto them eternal life but those of us who partake of His body , the bread from Heaven spiritually speaking, do indeed receive eternal life. Just as there are those today who believe they are physically eating the body of Jesus and drinking His blood, these also struggled with the concept of spiritually partaking being represented by a physical ceremony. They having not been born again cannot understand spiritual things.

1 Corinthians 2:[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.

Here are other scripture dealing with the subject of “spiritual” food.

1 Corinthians 3:[1] And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.
[2] I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

Hebrews 5:[12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
[13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
[14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 13:[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

1Corinthians 10:[1] Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
[2] And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
[3] And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
[4] And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

 

 

Let us examine the Lord’s Supper.

1 Corinthians 10:[14] Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry.
[15] I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say.
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
[17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
[18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the alter?
[19] What say I then? that the idol is any thing, or that which is offered in sacrifice to idols is any thing?
[20] But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
[21] Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
[22] Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he?

The body of Christ, His bride, is to have NOTHING to do with idols. We are also to have no COMMUNION with those who do worship idols. The passage is clear the Lord’s Supper is to show we are partakers with the Lord. Being one in body. In Ephesians chapter 5 we are told the church is the bride of Christ. The bread and wine ceremony is the same as when a Jewish couple became engaged. The pagan ceremonies of Corinth involved lavish feasts and often perversions. We as Christians have a different methodology to our commemoration.

1Corinthians 11:17-34

[17] Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse.

As in many other instances this church is divided. The purpose of the Lord’s Supper being one of commemoration of the sacrifice of the Lord and the unity of the believer with Jesus. The bread and the wine ceremony being one of the union of a groom and his betrothed. A symbol of the marriage covenant between Christ and His bride. This ceremony should be one of unity of the believer as we are His bride.

[18] For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.

The Apostle having already admonished them in chapter 3 for separating themselves according to who had introduced them to the gospel.
Here they found another reason to divide rather than unify.

[19] For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

In chapter fifteen he admonishes them for the false doctrine of saying there is no resurrection.

[20] When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.
[21] For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

They had turned the LORD’S Supper into their own. Keeping in mind the idolatrous culture of Corinth from which they have been saved. The practice of their culture was to have great feasts of revelry in observance to their gods. Having already warned them not to be partaker of both tables (1 Corinthians 10:14-22)

[22] What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Too many modern churches have turned the church into a social club. (This is why I do not believe in having “dinner on the grounds” at the church) These people evidently used their suppers as a means to show who was prosperous in the world and who was not. Those who had abundance would bring lavish fixings while those who were poor had nothing to bring. This created a disparity among the body and shamed those who had nothing.

[23] For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

The manner of conducting the LORD’S Supper was given to the Apostle directly from the Lord Himself.
First of all, it was at night. So many churches, in an effort to have as many people as possible observe the Lord’s Supper at the morning service. The Lord had His at night.
The union service occurred on the same night He was betrayed. So which is it for us? A service of unity or betrayal? Have we been unfaithful to the Lord? It is a time for the body to personally rflect on their walk with their Groom to be.

[24] And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
[25] After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

The simplicity of the ceremony is evident in its contents. Simply bread and wine. Not an extravagant meal. Starting with the giving of thanks. Always cognizant of the fact God sent His Son to die for our sins. The gift of God.
His body was indeed broken, not His bones, but His body. Pierced in the side by the Roman spear from which flowed the water and the blood. Showing the new covenant made with believers. We having become His bride.
In John chapter 6:35 we are told Jesus is the bread and in John 15:5 He is the vine (from whom the wine (blood) flowed giving us eternal life. (John 6:55)

[26] For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.

We are not instructed how often to have the Lord’s Supper but are simply told to do it and to continue doing it until He returns for His bride. Though I have bee taught the early church commemorated it once a year on the night of Passover.

[27] Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
[28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.
[29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.
[30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Damnation as receiving punishment from the Lord not as in eternal damnation of Hell. The eternal destiny of the believer was determined the moment the believer put their trust in Jesus as pointed out in verse 32. The only way to be worthy first of all is by being a Christian. Secondly, we must be “confessed up”. The Word is clear, we are to examine OURSELF, not the brother sitting next to us but OURSELF. You know whether or not you have been faithful to your Groom to be. You now how your walk is. Examine yourself and confess and forsake as needed. If you do not you become guilty and have needs of discipline.

[31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.
[32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

When we eat or drink out of fellowship we are punished not in eternity but NOW. In verse 30 it explains the punishments we might receive: weak (no power or evidence in our walk), sickly (illness), early death. This verse clearly says we are NOT condemned with the world but our chastening happens in this life.

[33] Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another.
[34] And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come.

We are to eat in unison. There is to be an order to the ceremony. It is not to be one of confusion. We are not to make a meal of it. So if we make it a big extravagant meal we are bringing condemnation on the body of believers.

Giving

There are varied thoughts on the subject of giving for the New Testament church. As in all things pertaining to doctrine we must look to the Pauline epistles for direction.

In First Corinthians we find the following passages dealing with giving.
The first purpose of Christian giving is to support the work of the Lord by paying ministers and missionaries who labor in the Word.
A soldier does not fight a battle supporting himself but rather receives monies and provision from those he fights for. (1 Corinthians 9:1-15///1 Ti 5:16-18) He asserts he has needs as does everyone and the meeting his needs is the responsibility of those for whom he fights.
The key verse being verse 14:
1 Co 9:[14] Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.

We are told in First Corinthians sixteen the offerings are to be gathered on the first day of the week.
The criteria for our giving is to be in proportion to how one has prospered. If one is struggling to pay their bills and put food on their table there is not a lot of prospering going on.
We also find another purpose of giving here which is to support another Christian work these offerings spoken of being sent to the poor ministry in Jerusalem.
1Cor.16:1-3

2Cor.8:1-24
Though in Second Corinthians we find in spite of being poor the churches of Macedonia found a way to give to the work of the Lord. This being a result of first giving themselves to the Lord. If God has your heart He also has your wallet. We find our giving is an extension of God’s grace towards us.

(11 Co 8:5-7)
Most seem to miss verse 8 where the Apostle clearly states that giving out of poverty is NOT a commandment but a sign of their love for the Lord. (11 Co 8:8)
As our prospering by God should be growing so should our gifts to the ministry. (11 Co 8:10)
As with anything we do for the Lord we must first be willing to allow the Lord to direct us. It all begins with the heart and attitude. (11 Co 8:11-12)
We find rather than putting away our abundance it should be a means to supply to someone’s need.
(11 Co 8:13-15)
We also find there should be an openness on how the gifts are used so there be no opportunity for the devil to try and hinder the work with accusations of malfeasance. (11 Co 8:16-21)
Finally we find, our giving is a proof of our love for the Lord and a testimony to others. (11 Co 8:23-24)

11 Corinthians 9:1-15
Continuing the teaching on giving we look to chapter nine of Second Corinthians. Our giving can be a means of encouraging others to give. Our giving should be budgeted and prepared. (11 Co 9:1-5)Our giving should be with the knowing the more we give the more we receive. (11 Co 9:6) The amount of our gift is a personal decision and not based on being commanded. Our giving should be willing and with gladness that we are able to give a portion of the blessing we have received back to the Lord. (11 Co 9:7)
God is able to prosper us and give us the right heart towards giving. Our giving is used for the minister who sows and we receive blessings and spiritual food from him. We then being fed grow in the Lord and with our growth impact the effect on those around us. (11 Co 9:8-11)
This brings praise to God by us showing our love and supplying to the spiritual needs of others. This being a new method of supporting a work of the Lord not being one of command but one of the willing heart. Realizing God has given His all for us. (11 Co 9:12-15)

 

 

Christian Walk

We as Christians should have a different walk than the lost people around us. In Ephesians we find several passages dealing with our day to day living here on earth. Let us look to Ephesians.

Eph.2:[2] Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

As a lost person we followed the ways of the world. Sinners bound for an eternity in Hell. Not caring for God, the things of God or the people of God. Walking blindly in step with the world. Caring about nothing but the things of this world without consideration for eternity. Looking out for number one and self gratification. Under the influence of our father the devil.
Here the lost are called the children of disobedience. In other verses also referred to as children of the devil and children of wrath.
We who have trusted Christ as Savior have no business any longer walking with them. We have a different Father, a different destination and different purpose.
We should walk according to the course of Heaven, according to the Father’s will and be the children of obedience.

2:[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
[9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.
[10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Having now been saved by His grace through faith we have become a new creature. Being created to bring honor to our Father through our good works. Christians do not work to GET to Heaven but because we are GOING to Heaven. Manifesting God’s love by our actions. God has left us in the world that we might show Him to the lost. We now become an expression of God’s love for mankind.

Eph.4:[1] I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called,
[2] With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
[3] Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

We now being on the path to Heaven should walk like it. We were unworthy but now through Christ we are made worthy and have a responsibility to walk like it. Not being proud or gloating but in lowliness and meekness. Not the drawing of attention to ourselves but by drawing attention to the Lord. Not giving up on the lost or hope but constantly exhibiting the love of God. Enduring the ridicule and rejection always striving to show Christ to a lost and dying world.
We walk with our brethren for the glory of God and not ourselves. Being at peace within the body as Christians belonging to the same body.

4:[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,
[18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:
[19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.
[20] But ye have not so learned Christ;
[21] If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
[22] That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
[23] And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
[24] And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
[25] Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
[26] Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:
[27] Neither give place to the devil.
[28] Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.
[29] Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
[30] And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
[31] Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
[32] And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

We no longer under the influence of the devil according to our own thinking. The lost suppose they are thinking for themselves not knowing their thinking is jaded by the prince of the air and not being in their right mind. We are to not walk like them but walk having been enlightened by the Spirit. Not walking in ignorance or our own way.
The first step being putting off the old man. No longer being driven by the lust of the flesh.
We do this by changing the way we think.
Not just a putting off but a putting on also.
The putting off would be to stop lying the putting on would be speaking truth (Jesus Christ) to those around us.
The putting off not holding a grudge, not giving the devil an opportunity and not stealing.
The putting on would be working and giving to those in need.
The putting off would not letting corrupt communication out of our mouth (cursing swearing condemning).
The putting on the speaking of good things such as the gospel and encouragement.
The putting off those things which bring sadness to the Holy Spirit, bitterness wrath, anger and complaining, evil speaking and malice.
The putting on of kindness, tenderhearted, forgiving.

Eph.5:[1] Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children;
[2] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

We as Christians should walk in love. God extended His love to us while we were enemies to Him. Are we to walk towards the lost with hatred seeing that Jesus died for their salvation as an expression of His love?
Jesus gave His all because of His love.

[8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
[9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
[10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
[11] And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
[12] For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
[13] But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.

We should walk as light. Illuminating by contrast the evil deeds of the lost. Walking doing good things, doing what is right and as an exhibition of truth. We are Jesus to the lost world in all that we say or do should manifest Jesus Christ to those around us.

[15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
[16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
[17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.
[18] And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
[19] Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
[20] Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
[21] Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

We are to walk cautiously knowing what God wants us to do living a godly lifestyle making full use of the opportunities God gives us to show Him to the lost world.
Being a happy and grateful people, being of one accord and working together for the glory of God.

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