Bible Studies

Notes from Bible Studies

Suffering

Men’s Fellowship Bible Study, 7/1/11

Hope In Suffering

– Jonathan Santiago

I’d like to start by reading our key scripture:

1 Peter 3:14-16
  1. But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
  2. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
  3. Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

This book was written to churches that were kind-of scattered. They were suffering a lot of persecution, because they were the minority, in areas that practiced a lot of paganism. They suffered a lot of verbal slander.

1 Peter 3:14
  1. But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

That’s what I like to call an “easier said than done” scripture. What? Do we all go and update our Facebook page to say “I’m happy, because I’m suffering.” So this week I prayed to God, “Help me suffer … better.” That makes for an interesting week.

The scripture says, “Be not afraid of their terror.” What are a couple of things that we as Christians should be afraid of?

  • Burning in hell, eternally.
  • Hell
1 Corinthians 9:26-27
  1. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air:
  2. But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

Paul feared being a castaway from God’s kingdom, from God’s glory. When you see “beating the air,” what do you think about? I think of a three-year-old throwing a tantrum. But a boxer won’t throw a punch unless that punch has a purpose. They won’t waste energy, because they don’t want to lose a fight from passing out in round two.

Here’s another scripture on what we should fear:

Matthew 10:28
  1. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

So we fear not “them” (plural) that can destroy the body, but “him” (singular) which is able to destroy both soul and body.

Do we fear offending people? Yeah, we don’t want to do it. Why? We don’t want that sin to separate us from God.

Isaiah 59:2
  1. But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

What should we not fear?

Revelation 2:10
  1. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

So we shouldn’t fear:

  • prison
  • false accusation
  • death

Was Jesus happily skipping through the meadows the night before he got crucified? No, he was praying great drops of blood. His body was saying, “I don’t want to do this.” We’ll never get rid of fear. Fear is a good thing, in some respects. If people run into the room with guns and knives, I would hope that fear would make me do something, like run away. But spiritually, we don’t fear death. Spiritually, we don’t fear the same things that the world does. So that should affect our actions. We should not allow ourselves to suffer in the same way that the world does. We get our power from different places.

How do we know if we’re suffering for righteousness’ sake?

I’ve studied and prayed about it, and I don’t think there is an answer that applies 100% of the time. Job didn’t know why he was suffering. He didn’t say, “Oh, this is just for a short time, and then God will give me more than I had.”

Matthew 5:11-12
  1. Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
  2. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

The key here is that we suffer for Christ’s sake. If you’ve been a Christian for a week, a day, or even half a day, you’ve probably gone through some sort of suffering because of your Christianity. It kind-of comes with the territory.

Matthew 5:13-15
  1. Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
  2. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
  3. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

So you want to have flavor. You want to be salty. You don’t want to be a “low-sodium Christian.” But if you’re not suffering the way God wants you to suffer, it’s wasted suffering. How do we know?

If you’re getting stoned, because people say “Deny Jesus Christ, or we’ll stone you,” and you get stoned, then you suffered for Christ. That’s pretty obvious. But how about when you’re doing everything right; you’ve just got your bills paid off, and you gave the rest to support the ministry, and suddenly there’s a hole in your roof and you’re in bondage to man because of this thing that happened. There’s no glory in that. Nobody is naming any churches after you. I was in that situation recently. I was praying to God, saying “God, I’m mad at you for doing this to me, and putting me in this situation.” I never denied God, but I told him how I felt. “What’s going on here, God?”

I’ll give the answer the best way I know how. Maybe some day, whether later in this study or later in the year or many years from now, I’ll have a better answer.

Galatians 5:22-23
  1. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
  2. Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

What’s the last one in that list? Temperance: self-control. That doesn’t sound very spiritual. I’ve been in the situation where all I could do was to stand, saying to myself, “Don’t kill this person. Don’t!

Christianity isn’t about self; it’s about others. If you’re not bearing fruit, then your suffering is probably self-inflicted. If you’re not bearing any fruit and your life is “just dandy”, then God is probably knocking on the door of your heart, and you need to answer.

1 Peter 3:15
  1. But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

The modern idea of “hope” is kind-of diluted. It’s like, “I hope I can go to Disneyland and meet Mickey Mouse.” It’s “I hope I win a million dollars.” But when you look at the Greek word used in this scripture, and how it was used, it means “A confident expectation of something that cannot be seen.”

Romans 8:24-25
  1. For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
  2. But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.

We hope for spiritual things. That’s why people ask us, “What is this hope that is in you?” Their terror and their hope is all for carnal, for fleshly things. But we hope for spiritual things.

1 Peter 3:16
  1. Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

The goal here is to have a good conscience in Jesus Christ while we are suffering. If we don’t have hope in suffering, then we’re wasting ourselves. New-age religions are all about finding inner peace. “Fix yourself.” But suffering shouldn’t be self-ish; it should be self-less. Suffering should bring us to God, not to ourselves. God has given us suffering as a gift. What does it mean to be a steward of something?

> Being a caretaker

You are a steward of everything God has given you. That’s not your suffering; that’s God’s suffering. This might sound cold and cruel, but it’s selfish of you to turn that suffering inward, and use it as an excuse to sin.

God needs us to be weak so that he can show his strength. I love our country and I love our freedoms, and I hope that we will always have the choices we have today. But if our government were replaced by communism, I’m tempted to wonder whether the gospel would spread quicker than it does today. The early church spread so fast because of the things that it suffered.

2 Corinthians 12:9
  1. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Praise God in your suffering. God needs you to be weak so that he can show his power in you.

When I’m suffering, I’ve got to look for the fruit. If I don’t see righteousness, then I’m going to make it righteous. I’m going to either find the fruit, or I’m going to make some. And you know what? People are always watching. Rich has gone through some stuff that he can use to minister. I may have all the right scriptures and say all the right things, but I can’t reach some people in the way that he can.

Hebrews 5:8-9
  1. Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
  2. And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

I’m going to read how Peter summed up his letter.

1 Peter 5:9-10
  1. Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
  2. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

– Rich Brand

Proverbs 24:10
  1. If thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small.

Sometimes we have to go through sufferings to increase our strength. Sometimes we need more strength so that we can be a testimony, and lead others through that testimony. So if you’re going through battles in your life that just don’t make sense, maybe that’s the reason.

Maybe you’ve prayed to God, “Whatever it takes, I’ve got to make it to heaven.” And maybe God put something in your path. You don’t have to understand; you just have to be obedient, like Jon read in Hebrews: “yet learned he obedience.”

There are plenty of times that God answers our prayers, certainly in ways that were unexpected, but he answers our prayers.

I can think of two times in my life that I honestly sought out to kill somebody, and it took pure Holy Ghost to keep me from doing it. Sometimes suffering can be equally strong. If somebody else suffers, whom you love very much, you take it into yourself.

Proverbs 18:14
  1. The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?

We don’t have to understand God’s ways; all we have to do is be obedient. There was a situation that happened just a little while ago; one of those two times that I mentioned, when it took every bit of the Holy Spirit in me to keep me from killing someone. And then I had to go back to that very prayer, “God, whatever it takes, this person has to get right with you.” But that prayer has some consequences, about as much as praying “God, teach me how to suffer righteously for you.”

Whether your suffering is physical or spiritual, suffering comes in many forms. It comes in infirmities. We all fight the same devil, and we all fight to the edge of our ability, and then cry out to God. All I know is that the fruit of the spirit is temperance and suffering. We learn obedience by our suffering. We learn temperance. In everything that is going on around you, God is looking for you to be a testimony.

There was a time when I was ministering to a co-worker. You know what it’s like when world-war-three is going on in your mind. And right in the middle of all that, he came down and said to me, “Tell me more about this peace of mind that you keep talking about.” And I laughed. Because he didn’t see what I was going through; he only saw the peace of God.

So if you’re suffering, there is a reason. I know that there are sometimes you suffer “stupicution”, but no matter what is going on, you must have prayed for it at some time in your life.

Christian Essentials Series: The Christian Example

Wednesday Evening Service, 6/29/11

Songs

Christian Essentials Series: The Christian Example

– Mike Jackson

Tonight is going to be the final installment on our Christian Essentials series. I’m pretty excited, because we got a lot of input from a lot of people. Mark Sanders is going to share about The Christian Example.

– Mark Sanders

Testimony.
Evidence given to be a witness.

Evidence is hard testimony. The way we live is evidence … on what? It’s evidence either that Christ is our God, or that Satan is our God. Our testimony is evidence on whether we worship God or the world.

When I get to a new job or a new station, it doesn’t take long before people start apologizing for cursing. People get it. They understand when you make a stand on certain issues, when you’re immovable. That’s your testimony. It’s your evidence that you’re a child of God.

  1. What you say
  2. What you do
  3. What you think

What you say

1 Peter 1:15
  1. But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
Ephesians 4:22-25
  1. That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
  2. And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
  3. And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
  4. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Why is telling the truth so important to your testimony? Why is telling the whole truth so important? Because not telling the truth, lying, is contrary to your testimony. When I was in sales, I found it astonishing how many people were willing to compromise the truth in order to get their sales numbers higher.

In our conversation, what do we talk about? What is the first thing that comes out of our mouth? Is it always worldly, or do we praise God?

James 3:13
  1. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

What we do

1 Peter 4:8
  1. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Sometimes I mess up with Christine. I make a mistake that makes her upset. One of the best ways to fix that is to give her a big old hug and say, “I love you.” She tries to hold a straight face, but eventually a smile breaks through

2 Corinthians 6:3-6
  1. Giving no offence in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:
  2. But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses,
  3. In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings;
  4. By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned,

These things are evidence that we are the children of God.

  • In much patience

Have you ever been driving and lost patience?

  • In afflictions
  • In necessities

Food, clothing, shelter: those are necessities. When we have those things, how can we minister to others?

  • in distresses
  • in stripes
  • in imprisonments

That doesn’t necessarily mean “in prison”. Sometimes…

  • in tumults

That means “in confusion.” Are you able to minister, even in confusion?

  • in labours

Do you go the extra mile, or do you cut corners? It’s not easy to go the extra mile, but cutting corners becomes evident, too.

  • in watchings

That means sleeplessness.

  • in fastings

When you fast, it’s easy to get cranky.

  • by pureness
  • by

What we think

Romans 12:1-2
  1. I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
  2. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Why is this so important? Why do we need to renew our minds? The longer you think about something, the longer you dwell on it, the more likely it is to become action.

You see a car once, you’ll probably never buy it. But you go and look at that car; you test-drive it; you smell the leather; you get your picture taken in it, and you’re not thinking about the cost. You’re thinking about how to make the payments.

Sin is the same way. If you dwell on it long enough, you’re going to find a way to do it. Sexual lust isn’t just in seeing someone attractive. It’s dwelling on it.

Conclusion

What we think, do, and say are all part of our testimony. It’s what proves whether you’re a child of God or not.

Matthew 5:14-16
  1. Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
  2. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
  3. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

Questions and Answers

– Pastor Thomas and Pastor Paine

  • We combined two questions about association. Who are your friends on Facebook? Should we have fellowship with other “Jesus-name” people who don’t go to our church? There’s no blanket answer. But it does say in Romans:
Romans 16:17
  1. Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

It also says in Philippians:

Philippians 3:15-16
  1. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
  2. Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.

In the Old Testament, it talked about digging wells. Abraham digged wells, and the Philistines filled them back in. So his son went and digged the same wells. And they filled them back in again. There are people who left Christian Fellowship Ministries who do not like us and have no good thing to say about us. Unfortunately, there are some of you who have those people on your Facebook page as “friends.” How can they be your friends if they speak evil of your family, of your leadership? These people poison the wells; they fill them up with hate and things that are not good for our spiritual man.

What battles should we fight? Should we sit down and argue with people about points that don’t really matter? If they don’t want to live right and Godly, if they want to spread hateful things, why spend your time talking about anything else? If you have specific questions, email me or Pastor Paine. Communication is the key. If you have a doubt, you’ve got to ask yourself, “Why?” That should be clue number one. If you can’t answer that doubt, ask. We’d be glad to discuss it with you.

  • Are senior pastors going to kick anyone out of the church who makes friends with such individuals?

No, but if you keep listening to hateful, repetitive nonsense, you’ll eventually kick yourself out. The Bible says to mark them which cause division among you and avoid them.

  • Is it okay to get a Christian-theme tattoo?
Leviticus 19:18
  1. Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

If you have a tattoo, I’m fine with you. If you got a tattoo and you got saved, your tattoo stays with you, unless there was something unique about your baptism that I’m not familiar with.

Can we take Leviticus 19:28 and say that you shouldn’t get a tattoo? Some say yes, and I’m okay with that. Some say no, it’s not specific enough. To them I would say this. How many of you would be okay if I decided to grow a pony-tail?

> Maybe a dozen hands raised

How many would have trouble listening to me if I had a pony-tail?

> About the same number of hands

How many of you couldn’t care less, one way or another?

> Lots more hands raised

There was a pastor who ministered on TV who had a mustache. A friend of mine said, “I can’t listen to that pastor, because I can’t get over the fact that he looks like Hitler.” Wait a minute. This person lived through the Second World War. What if that minister said, “Show me in the scripture where it says I should shave my mustache?”

The question was on tattoos. As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men. Is it okay to get a Christian-themed tattoo? I don’t think it would be the best decision. Some people would be offended by a Christian-themed tattoo. Some people would think it’s a contradiction all by itself. So if you’re a Christian and you’re asking me if I think it’s a good idea to get a tattoo, then my answer is, “No, I don’t think it’s a good idea.” Can someone have a Christian-themed tattoo and go to heaven? I don’t think there will be an angel at the gates standing there with a copy of Leviticus 19:28 and turning people away.

When I was singing (well, lip-syncing) with the Good News Singers, Pastor Davis had a rule for the men. No hair should extend beyond the shirt collar, because some people find long hair offensive.

So to answer the question. Is it okay to get a Christian-themed tattoo? I think it would be a bad idea. You might alienate someone, and the Bible says “if meat offend your brother, don’t eat meat.” Do you understand what I’m saying? I think there is scriptural basis for this. But if you don’t, then go to the heart of the matter. When we’re only concerned with the letter of the law, I think we miss the point.

  • What is CFCMI’s stand on online dating?

I don’t have a stand on online dating. And our ministry doesn’t have a stand on online dating. But if you ask how I feel about it, I’ll tell you that I know one guy who had already proposed when he found out that his girlfriend was a guy who was in prison. So there are some risks involved. The Bible does talk about being unequally yoked together with unbelievers, and you’ve got to be careful about that. No matter how you meet someone, you want to make sure that person loves the Lord like you love the Lord.

I want you to know that God has called us to do great things for his glory, and I don’t want us to miss the big picture while we’re focused on the small details. And I will tell you that the heart matters. A lot of times, the things that we’re really struggling with are just a matter of whether we’re willing to yield to God. When we get better at letting our light shine, then we can do that which is most pleasing. I’m convinced that God has much more for us to do than we’ve done. When we focus on doing the work of the Lord, I believe that we’ll have peace and harmony in our heart.

Here’s my commitment to you. I’ve spent the last two days in prayer, and the Holy Ghost has convicted me to be more about his business than ever before. I’m going to find ways to do that. So let’s run the race that is set before us.

You can convince yourself of anything, but the only way to try the spirits is by the word of God. You are a walking billboard, an epistle that is seen by men everywhere. People see us and they judge the place that we worship. That’s why the Bible says “giving no offense, that the ministry be not blamed.” Don’t do anything that would bring shame upon yourself, your ministry, or your God. And if we live a testimony like that, we will bring a smile to God’s face, and people will know where we stand, and whom is our God. Don’t see how close to the edge of the road you can walk; walk in the very center so you’ll be sure to make it through those gates. God bless you.

Christian Essentials Series: Faith and Works

Wednesday Evening Bible Study, 6/15/11

Christian Essentials Series: Faith And Works

– Mike Jackson

faith
To be persuaded, come to trust

works

People tend to be confused about the relationship between faith and works, and how the two tie together.

What is the relationship between faith and works?

Faith and works tie together. Your faith should move you to works. That’s the relationship. That’s the link that ties them together.

You might ask, “Why do we even need works? What is the purpose?” Our faith is justified before God. God knows our heart; he knows our faith; he knows our intents. So our faith is jutified before God. But when it comes to man, we are justified by our faith and works. No man can look inside you and see your faith. So it’s not that we do what we do to be seen of man, but our works show the genuineness of our faith. It’s a natural extension of our faith.

This group of scriptures are the cornerstone of faith and works:

James 2:14-20
  1. What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
  2. If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
  3. And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?
  4. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
  5. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
  6. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
  7. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

The first scripture here says, “What doth it profit, my brethren” What is the profit of saying anything, if there are no works? Man cannot see your faith; they only see it by what you do.

If you skip down to verse 17, it says “faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” I love the example, “If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Because in court, it’s all about proof. Hearsay doesn’t cut it.

Works prove our faith

Are we trying to prove our faith to God? No. God already knows our faith. Are we trying to prove it to anyone else? No. We do what we do because we love God. But at the same time, we are called to be an example of Christ.

So James isn’t talking about how to get saved. He’s saying, “If you want to keep what you have, here’s how it goes.”

James 1:25
  1. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

We don’t do works unto salvation. We dont’ do the works that we do to obtain salvation or to get into heaven. We’re not on a “points system”. It doesn’t work that way. But you have to put your faith into action; that’s what God is looking for.

Tell somebody you’re a Christian, and watch what happens. Because that’s what they’re going to be doing to you. They want to see if you are what you say. There’s a lot of people who say all day long, “I am a Christian.” But what do they do? How is their faith put into action?

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

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Why? Because your faith should be moving you to works. If you don’t have faith, it won’t move you to works. And if you’re not doing anything, guess what? You’re not pleasing God.

When we look at Christ, how is that they knew who he was? Just because he said so? How did they know he wasn’t just some crazy guy? I’m sure it wasn’t because they didn’t have any crazy people back then.

John 7:1-4
  1. After these things Jesus walked in Galilee: for he would not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him.
  2. Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.
  3. His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest.
  4. For there is no man that doeth any thing in secret, and he himself seeketh to be known openly. If thou do these things, shew thyself to the world.
John 10:25
  1. Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

So here he is, Jesus the Messiah, and he’s telling them, but they still don’t believe. So he said, “You know what? I told you, and you didn’t believe, but the works that I do; those testify of me.”

John 14:11-12
  1. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.
  2. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.

So here it is. You have faith. You believe. And he says, “If that is true, then do what I do.” You don’t have to like it; there are some things you’d rather not do. You’d rather just get saved, accept salvation, and kind-of hang out until the rapture happens. But you don’t get to do and live unto yourself. If you think you can live your life unto yourself and then just arrive at judgment, we’ll see what the Bible has to say about that.

Faith is more than lip-service

Matthew 5:16
  1. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Hebrews 6:10
  1. For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.

Your works and labor of love. That’s why we do works. It’s easy to move your lips and say all kinds of wonderful things, but to do them is different. The main reason we do works is that we don’t want to be found just giving Jesus lip-service. That’s not going to bear any fruit. In order for a tree to bear fruit, there’s some work involved.

Matthew 23:3-5
  1. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
  2. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
  3. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,

God’s not looking for your lip-service; he’s looking for you to do. Jesus said, “They say good things, so do what they say, but don’t do what they do.”

Works is your profession of faith

When you talk about your profession, it’s something you do. I can say I’m a doctor, that it’s my profession, but it’s not true, It’s not what I do. It’s not how I earn a living. Your profession is what you do. So is your profession of faith.

There are a lot of people who want to say they’re Seals, because the Seals are an elite group. Well, guess what? We are an elite group. Christ has called us to a purpose. So if you say that you are part of this elite group, there are people who are going to look and see if you’re doing what you say you’re doing.

Matthew 7:21-23
  1. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
  2. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
  3. And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

It’s not about faith alone. Who is going to enter in? Thos that do. So you’ve got to have faith behind your action, but it’s got to be the right kind of faith. So it’s more than just works; it’s our faith in action.

Lots of people don’t know how to swim. Imagine you are one of those people. The most water you’ve ever been in was in a bathroom. Imagine that you want to learn how to swim. That’s okay; I can teach you how to swim. But the only place I can teach you is in a pool that’s ten feet deep, everywhere. There is no shallow end. So I tell you that if you get into the water, you’re going to float. I even get out an encyclopedia and show you that the density of the human body is slightly less than water, so you’ll float.

Are you guys ready to jump in?

> *scattered “no’s”.

So I teach you about bernoulli’s law, and physics, and you start to believe. So you say, “I believe.” Fine; let’s jump in.

> No, you don’t hear me right. I love swimming. I’m ready to go.

Have you got into the water yet? Not a drop has touched your body. So all your faith that you’ve told me about doesn’t mean anything to me. You’ve got to have some action. Faith without works is dead.

Again, it’s not the actual work that’s going to save you. We’re not on that points system. I say that because there are some who teach that’s the way it is.

> You have a debt of sin. Christ has come and made a sacrifice, which is kind of like a down-payment, to pay off your debt of sin. Now you’ve got to pay off the rest through works of faith.

That’s not what the Bible says. Christ has paid it all.

Ephesians 2:8-9
  1. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  2. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

If we could get saved by our works, you think your job is cut-throat? We’d be beating each up for blessings. But it’s not about us; it’s about God.

Titus 3:5
  1. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
2 Timothy 1:9
  1. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
Romans 11:6
  1. And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

It is by grace. That’s how we attain salvation. That’s how we enter in. But we maintain it until we enter in by what we do, by putting our faith into action.

Confidence is something you earn. It’s something you have to do something to gain. But salvation isn’t something you earn. That’s both good and bad.

Matthew 16:27
  1. For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Death is separation

When you look at what the Bible means when it says “death”, it talks about a separation. It’s a separation of body and spirit. When you talk about the second death, tha’t also about a separation of the spirit. Keeping this in mind, let’s read again in James:

James 2:26
  1. For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

That death comes from the separation. The last thing you want to do is to separate yourself from God. God has brought you in, but unless you maintain your faith through works, then it is dead. And anything that is dead can’t produce anything.

No works doesn’t mean No faith

So some people may say, “If I have no works, does that mean I have no faith?”

No. You have faith, but guess what your faith is? It’s dead. If you say you’re saved, I can’t pass judgment. I may think you’re not, but only God can judge. We know what the scripture says.

If the battery in my car is dead, does that mean if you open up the hood of my car, the battery won’t be there? No. It’s still there, but it’s not serving its purpose.

So you may have faith, but if it’s dead, it’s not serving its purpose of moving you to works. It’s like stagnant water. It can get really gross if you leave it stagnant. We must have works. The Bible requires it; God requires it.

John 9:4
  1. I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
John 10:37-38
  1. If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not.
  2. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

That’s pretty bold.

Some people say, “What about salvation? That’s not a work.” Baptism is a work. But how many people in here baptized themself?

> (no hands)

Good. You passed the test.

Titus 3:8
  1. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

We should choose to serve Christ at every moment, not because we’re looking to make points, but because we love him.

It’s hard to believe someone loves you if they don’t do the things that would move you to believe that they love you.

If you said, “To show you that you love me, a warm meal when I come home every day says that you love me.” If you tell a person that, and every day you come home, there’s no warm meal. Would you have a hard time believing that person when they say that they love you? If you say that you love me, show me.

There’s a lot of people who say, “God knows my heart.” That’s so true. I love it when people say that. I don’t think they even know what they’re saying when they say that.

It’s funny when you fool yourself into believing that something happened the way you remember it, and when someone says something different, you correct them. I’ve seen that on TV, where people say, “I did not do that,” and then it cuts to a clip showing that they did.

Matthew 23:1-7
  1. Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
  2. Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
  3. All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
  4. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
  5. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
  6. And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
  7. And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

All these things they do to be seen, not because of love, or because of their heart, but to be seen. Jesus came to make disciples. He’s called us to be disciples as well.

So is it possible for someone to show their faith without any works?

James 2:18
  1. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

You say you have faith, and you don’t have any works, then let me see this faith you’re talking about.

Revelation 2:19
  1. I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first.

Faith was so important that God wrote it twice.

Revelation 3:15
  1. I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Jesus is looking for us to do something. He’s not looking for us to play around and fake it. He’d rather you not do anything than half-heartedly playing at being a Christian. I don’t want you saying that your’e part of my elite group if you’re only doing it halfway.

Revelation 20:12
  1. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

There is a judgment, and in that judgment, we shall be judged by what we’ve done, whether we like it or not.

Saint Francis of Asissi said
Preach the gospel at all times, and if necessary, use words.

I’ve got to admit, at first I didn’t get it. I had to read it a few times. But what you do has way more power than what you say. That’s the whole point.

Questions and Answers

Are works required for me to be saved?
No. Works are not a part of the great commission given to us by Jesus. He said to believe and be baptized. But a natural extension of your faith is your works. Imagine an orange tree. You walk by and there are no oranges on it. You ask someone, “What type of tree is that?” and he says, “It’s an orange tree.” Is he right? Sure. But if you walk by and see oranges on the tree, you don’t have to ask. If an orange tree lived it’s entire life without giving any oranges, then we’d say that there was something wrong with that tree. It’s an orange tree; we expect it to bear oranges. It’s the same with our faith.
Ephesians 2:8-9
  1. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  2. Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Titus 3:5-7
  1. Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
  2. Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
  3. That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Are you saying that my works determine my reward in heaven?

Matthew 6:20
  1. But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
: Without any works, then you won’t lay up any treasures. I like the story about the rich man who is taking a tour through heaven and he sees all these glorious houses. “Whose is that?” Oh, that’s your gardener’s. “And who’s is *that*?” That’s your chauffer’s. And at the end, he sees a little shack. He asks, “What’s that little shack?” That’s yours. “What? I don’t understand.” Look, we do the best with what you send us.
The things that we do are building up a reward in heaven. It’s like we’re sending the lumber to build our mansion. If you send very little, then you won’t have a big house.
No matter how hard we work, even a person with a perfect track record could never live up to the price of salvation. We could never reach that; it’s the gift of God. I think that’s important, because we need to never measure ourselves against someone else. If I have no works, does that mean I have no faith?
James 2:17-19
  1. Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.
  2. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.
  3. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

: This scripture tells us a couple of things. Our works are a measurement of our faith. So if you have no works do you have no faith? No, but you don’t have a perfect faith. Somebody who just got baptized today has no works. But if you seek to grow in your relationship with God, then it will lead to works. You don’t get to choose if you’re a 30-fold, 60-fold, or 100-fold Christian. You don’t get to sign up for the 30-fold club; you don’t get to choose your level of involvement. It’s not like a military enlistment. If someone is a 60-fold Christian, then it takes 100% of their effort to be a 60-fold Christian. Mike might be a 100-fold Christian, and for every 10 things he does, I do 6. But the Bible talks about having a good conscience toward God.

1 Corinthians 7:24
  1. Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
1 John 2:3-4
  1. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
  2. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
Do our works allow us to get to heaven by paying off our debt of sin?
We know that the Bible does not support that; it’s not scripturally based. But it’s a good illustration to explain works, in a sense. So let’s go with that. If Christ paid the down-payment, then what’s your portion? How do you know when it’s paid off? When can you stop? You wouldn’t know. And the Bible doesn’t support that.

I hope these questions help you as you are called to explain this subject to the poeple around you, so that you’d have the tools that you need.

Christian Essentials Series: Salvation

Wednesday Evening Service, 6/8/11

Songs

Salvation

– Adam Paine

So we are in the second week of our five-week series, talking about Christian Essentials. Last week we talked about the Godhead. This week we’re talking about Salvation. Let’s start with an everyday dictionary definition of the word.

salvation
The act of saving or protecting from harm, risk, loss, descruction, etc.
The state of being saved or protected from harm, risk, etc.
The source of protection from harm, risk, etc.

The Bible dictionary definition is a little bit different, but at its core, it’s the same.

salvation (Easton’s Bible Dictionary)
In the New Testament, especially used with reference to the great deliverance from the guilt and pollution of sin wrought out by Jesus Christ.

If salvation is being saved from something, what are we being saved from? We’re being saved from hell. There is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun. The God who created us created heaven and hell. He didn’t create us to go to hell, but we can go there by choosing not to follow him.

We often say as a Christian, “I want to have eternal life.” You’re going to have eternal life either way. All you need to worry about is where you’ll spend it. It’s not like you get to live forever in heaven –or– “retire early.”

Romans 3:22-23
  1. Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
  2. For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

We all deserve hell. The ways of the world are, “Live a good life, and good things will happen to you.” But we are each a sinful creature. If you don’t keep your mind on a leash, it’s like an untrained dog. It just runs about. We’re not worthy of God’s salvation, on our own.

Romans 3:12
  1. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.
2 Peter 3:7-10
  1. But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
  2. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
  3. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
  4. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

At the end of verse 9, it says “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” So it’s God’s will that we all should spend eternity in heaven. He’s not rooting against us. I think that some people go through life thinking that God’s against them, but that’s not the case.

Also, God is going to come like a thief in the night. It’s going to happen quick. You’ve got to be prepared every day. So as soon as you come to the realization of what you need to do to gain salvation, you should do it right away. There’s no reason not to. We’ve seen news stories about someone predicting the day that Jesus will return. “It’s going to be this day.” And then, “No, it’s going to be this day.” And the sad thing is, the day he’s right, no one will be here to confirm it.

Let’s take a look at the history of God’s salvation in the Old Testament. Who was God’s people in the Old Testament?

> The Jews

That’s right.

Deuteronomy 7:6-9
  1. For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
  2. The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people:
  3. But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
  4. Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

So God keeps his commandments; he doesn’t change; he says “Ye are my beloved people.”

Here’s what it would take, if you were not one of Jewish descent, to God’s chosen people in the Old Testament. It is possible.

Exodus 12:45-50
  1. A foreigner and an hired servant shall not eat thereof.
  2. In one house shall it be eaten; thou shalt not carry forth ought of the flesh abroad out of the house; neither shall ye break a bone thereof.
  3. All the congregation of Israel shall keep it.
  4. And when a stranger shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the passover to the LORD, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that is born in the land: for no uncircumcised person shall eat thereof.
  5. One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.
  6. Thus did all the children of Israel; as the LORD commanded Moses and Aaron, so did they.

Let’s look at another confirmation of this:

Ezekiel 18:21-23
  1. But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.
  2. All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in his righteousness that he hath done he shall live.
  3. Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: and not that he should return from his ways, and live?

So it’s not God’s will that any should perish. Anybody could partake, even in the Old Testament. It’s just that the males needed to be circumcised. There were also other requirements according to Jewish law. A sacrifice would be prepared and offered at the temple, and both males and females needed to be washed with water.

Let’s look at an example of someone in the Old Testament who was not born a Jew, converting and accepting God’s salvation.

Ruth 1:10-16
  1. And they said unto her, Surely we will return with thee unto thy people.
  2. And Naomi said, Turn again, my daughters: why will ye go with me? are there yet any more sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands?
  3. Turn again, my daughters, go your way; for I am too old to have an husband. If I should say, I have hope, if I should have an husband also to night, and should also bear sons;
  4. Would ye tarry for them till they were grown? would ye stay for them from having husbands? nay, my daughters; for it grieveth me much for your sakes that the hand of the LORD is gone out against me.
  5. And they lifted up their voice, and wept again: and Orpah kissed her mother in law; but Ruth clave unto her.
  6. And she said, Behold, thy sister in law is gone back unto her people, and unto her gods: return thou after thy sister in law.
  7. And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

When you look at this Old Testament conversion and read the story, Naomi is talking with a lot of common sense. Her arguments are sound. She’s doing the kind, the right thing, according to the world. So she let them go, but Ruth said “No. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.” So you see the flaw in all that Naomi said, in that she said, “Go back, and worship other gods,” not “Go back, and continue.”

We talk about the Jews being favored people of God, but there’s a change when Jesus comes. He created a new law. Salvation is given to us in New Testament times. (Although the New Testament was written a really long time ago, there’s nothing else newer, so we still call it “New”.)

Jesus created himself the perfect sacrifice. There is no way we can give a sacrifice greater than Jesus, because he lived a sinless life. And unlike any sacrifice of an animal, he was a willing sacrifice. He gave is own life.

Colossians 2:12-17
  1. 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.
  2. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
  3. 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;
  4. And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.
  5. 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:
  6. Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

Why did Jesus come as a sacrifice for us? Because he loved us. He wanted to give us a direct line to God.

John 3:16-18
  1. 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.
  2. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
  3. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

They say there is no greater gift than to lay down your life for another. Jesus gave us that gift. He died, was buried, resurrected, and then went back to his disciples with some final instructions that we commonly call “the great commission.” I’m going to read three separate accounts of this same event.

Matthew 28:18-19
  1. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
  2. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Jesus said in verse 18, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.” There seems to be some confusion about baptism. What name should it be in? This is going to be a continuing theme: “All power is given to me.” It’s in this one name of Jesus.

Mark 16:16-17
  1. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
  2. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

One of the things I love about this version is that if you step out of it and look at the first baptism of the New Testament, what did they do, right before the baptism? They spoke with new tongues, proving that these people were walking in the same steps that Jesus talked about.

Guys, if you’re looking for a story that’s in all four gospels, and you don’t know which one to read, go to Luke. He’s like the Cliff Notes of the gospels; he didn’t waste a word.

Luke 24:47
  1. And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

We just talked about the confirmation of Mark 16. It’s in Acts 2:

Acts 2:36-39
  1. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
  2. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?
  3. Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
  4. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.

Listening to what Peter is saying, doesn’t it sound like he’s rehearsing in our ears what Jesus said in the Great Commission? He uses different phrases, but he’s saying the same thing. And he does it over and over again in the scriptures; he’s a model of consistency.

Jesus if for all men, not only the Jews. Before Jesus, you had to become physically a Jew through circumcision and following the religion. But Peter was praying to God and received a vision of all kinds of unclean things, and God said “Rise, kill and eat.” And Peter did the same thing he always did: he was consistent; he said “No.” And God said, “It’s okay.”

Acts 10:27-29
  1. And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together.
  2. And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.
  3. Therefore came I unto you without gainsaying, as soon as I was sent for: I ask therefore for what intent ye have sent for me?

So immediately after the vision, a person outside the Jewish faith came to Peter and said, “Would you come and talk to us?” God’s timing was perfect. He showed that vision for that moment.

Baptism

From the scriptures, it’s pretty clear that Jesus commanded baptism. We see in 1 Peter 3:

1 Peter 3:21
  1. The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

We must be baptized in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins. Not only is it important that we are baptized, but it’s important how we are baptized.

Ephesians 4:5-6
  1. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
  2. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

I was talking with Jonathan about this, because I had a person bring a question saying, “The Bible doesn’t say that you can’t be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. There are plenty of places where it says to be baptized in Jesus’ name, but it doesn’t say not to be baptized in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” It’s true. It’s not there. If you bought a TV stand at Walmart, it says “Put screw ‘A’ in board ‘B’,” and doesn’t follow up with “And don’t attach the screws with duct tape.” Because instructions tell us what to do, not what not to do. If the Bible told us all of what not to do, it would be a lot longer. The Bible in a Year would be impossible.

Acts 4:12
  1. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

So the power is invoked in the name of Jesus. That’s why we do things in the name of Jesus.

Colossians 3:17
  1. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Everything you do, in word or deed, do it in the name of the Lord Jesus. Baptism is no exception.

There was a time when baptism was a ritual. And then there came a time after the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ when baptism became necessary for salvation. Every recorded baptism after that point was done in reference to the name of Jesus.

Some people claim that baptism is a work, and we’re not saved by works. That’s true, but baptism is required by God, and there is also another component of baptism: belief. It says “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.”

Ephesians 2:8-9
  1. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
  2. Not of works, lest any man should boast.

So it’s not the physical act of baptism that saves; you can’t force someone into the water to save them. That’s also why you can’t baptize for the dead, or baptize babies for salvation. Belief is an essential part of salvation.

Acts 8:35-38
  1. Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
  2. And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?
  3. And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.
  4. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.

So Philip’s response to the question, “What hinders me to be baptized?” was only that he wanted to know if the eunuch believed with all his heart.

Meaning

The word “baptism” comes from the Greek “baptizo” which means to be whelmed, or make fully wet. There’s really no way of getting around that. If you want to be baptized, you have to go down into the water and and come up out of the water. There is another word, “rantizo” which means sprinkling. That’s the short-cut to baptism. It’s the drive-through window of Christianity.

The mode of baptism was changed in the year 1311 A.D. to allow sprinkling as an alternate form of baptism.

Jesus came and brought the new law. After his death, burial, and resurrection, he commanded that we be baptized in his name, and teach all men to do likewise. So here we are, obeying that commandment.

Questions and Answers

  1. Can a person lose their salvation, once they have it?

This is a question that comes up a lot, because people teach the precept that “Once you’re saved, you’re always saved.” The short answer to the question is, “No.” Once you’ve been baptized, you can’t commit so much sin that you need to be re-baptized. There is only one sin that the Bible says cannot be forgiven, and that’s blasphemy of the Holy Ghost. So God will not turn away from us, no matter how much we sin. But at the same time, we can find ourselves turning away from God.

2 Peter 2:21
  1. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

When you get married, you don’t say as part of the wedding vows,

> I want you to know that from now on, no matter how bad I treat you, or even if I cheat on you, I still love you.

That sounds rediculous, doesn’t it?

  1. What about the thief on the cross?

There’s a couple of things that make that a weaker argument than it would appear to be. One is chronology. Jesus was on the cross with the thief. The commission requiring baptism for salvation hadn’t even been given yet. But did Jesus have the power to forgive sin on the spot? Yes, absolutely he did.

Luke 5:18-25
  1. And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him.
  2. And when they could not find by what way they might bring him in because of the multitude, they went upon the housetop, and let him down through the tiling with his couch into the midst before Jesus.
  3. And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.
  4. And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
  5. But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?
  6. Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk?
  7. But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.
  8. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

If you’re doubting Jesus and he reads your thoughts and answers you, that’s another indication that he might be God. Even if the thief on the cross had come along after the great commission, if Jesus in person said, “thy sins are forgiven thee,” they are.

You don’t want to get to heaven and lay every single brick of your argument on, “Well, he did it.” The thief on the cross had a limited amount of time, and Jesus made an exception for him. You don’t want that to be your leg to stand on. I don’t want to get to heaven and argue the finer points of the Bible. I just want to get there and hear “Come on in.”

  1. Is it acceptable to be baptized “in the Name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,” as long as I have the full knowledge that the name is Jesus?

I want to go back to a scripture that Adam presented earlier.

Colossians 3:17
  1. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

It’s the name of Jesus that brings the power. It’s your faith in action, by the application of that name, that brings the power. So yes, it is important that the name be applied in the act of baptism.

An analogy for this is, if someone is in prison on death row, and they’re awaiting a pardon from the president, and a letter comes in from President Obama and says in a letter, “I pardon this person. Let him go.” and he signs it, “The President.” What would happen? They wouldn’t let him out. What if he signs it, “The Commander-in-Chief”? It still wouldn’t work. But if he signed it, “Barack Obama”, they’d let him out.

  1. Are you saying that anyone who isn’t baptized in Jesus’ name is going to hell?

That’s a touchy question. Our job is not to condemn someone to hell. All we can do is study the Bible and do what it says. I don’t think there is a special reward in heaven for people who are willing to say, “My dead mother went to hell.” But if your mother wasn’t baptized in Jesus’ name, and she was a good enough person for you to ask that question, then I’m sure she loves you enough that she would say, “Do it. Get baptized. Don’t wait just because of me.”

  1. What about those who have never heard about Jesus at all?

You hear people saying this in jest, but I love the Bible, because it has an answer for everything.

Romans 1:20
  1. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

So when you think of that scenario, you’re limiting God’s power and ability to reach anybody, anywhere. Who formed the earth? Is there anybody on earth that God doesn’t know where they are? Is there anybody on earth that God cannot touch? If someone is seeking after God, then God will make himself known. To think otherwise would be to limit God’s power. God sends missionaries throughout the world, even into the darkest jungles, to spread God’s word.

Think about Philip and the eunuch. This guy was in the middle of the desert, seeking God and seeking to understand him, and up popped Philip.

You will always find people who will play around with hypotheticals. “What if there’s no water around? What if there’s nothing but a big vat of motor oil?

  1. What about baptism for the dead, or baptism of babies?

We’ve talked about belief being an essential part of baptism. Obviously, babies don’t have that capability, and neither does someone who is dead. It’s up to each person to make their own decision. Also, babies are without sin. They don’t know what’s right and wrong, so how can they sin by choosing wrong?

James 4:17
  1. Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

We hear Jesus saying several times, “Come to me as a little child,” referring to their innocence. Some would say that they baptize a baby pre-emptively, because they will sin. Well, sure they will. And when that happens, we need to teach them the way to make it right, and that includes baptism.

The Power Of Belief

Mens Fellowship Bible Study, 6/3/11

The Power Of Belief

– Todd Morgan

I know that Jeff is wondering how many sports and fishing analogies I’m using tonight. This is a study we started on the Base and I added to.

Mark 9:17-29
  1. And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
  2. And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
  3. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
  4. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
  5. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
  6. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
  7. Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
  8. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
  9. When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
  10. And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
  11. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
  12. And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
  13. And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

So we see here that Jesus was always working with the disciples on their belief system. Got today is working with us and our belief, and trusting in him. The battles get stronger and more intense as you grow in Christ.

For instance, last night’s game, in the fourth quarter, it got intense. Miami Heat got comfortable with their lead and didn’t continue that intensity.

We have to stay intense until we make it to heaven. We’ve got to look at every day like it’s a championship game.

Mark 9:24
  1. And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

Sometimes when we look at the Bible, we’ve got to consider the emotions involved. This man was in tears. He needed more belief; he needed a boost from God. Sometimes we need to “up” our level of belief.

Jeff was taking down our tree in the back yard, and even though he had help, the task seemed daunting. It was like a mountain. It’s those things that God allows us to go through to see if we’ve got the faith to accomplish his will. We’ve got to be a conduit for God to work through; we don’t want to get in God’s way.

We’ve got to be like Caleb, every day, working in faith.

I remember in Everett, when Josh and I were looking for a place to stay, and a job. I was getting pretty intense about it, but when I saw Josh remaining calm, it helped me to be calm. We’re together; we’re a team.

How many like to go on roller-coasters?

> (lots of hands)

How many are tentative? You’ll go on, but you’re not sure you like it? That’s me. I worked in an office for years; I hardly ever got off the ground. I got on the rollercoaster and I was freaking out at first, but I looked over at the other brother and saw how much fun he was having, and I got over it.

James 2:19
  1. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

There’s a lot of people who have surface belief; they believe God is real. I had myself deceived when I was in the world. I thought I could just accept God when it came time to stand before him. But I needed help. And we’ve got to help others to believe. There are many people who are struggling; they have a hard time believing in what God can do. Some people may be stone cold, but God uses you to help thaw them out a little bit. Does anyone remember Jim Alsup in the Waukegan Church? He said he’d never come to church, but by and by, he did. Then he said he’d never get baptized, but by and by he did. And now, he and his wife are faithful members. We’ve got to be careful we remember to reach out to people.

John 6:26-29
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
  4. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

So that’s the thing. Jesus is helping people to see things. He’s always helping people to have a spiritual mind. We’ve got to have a spiritual mind as well, or we’ll slip into a carnal way of thinking and doing. We’ve got to have belief to know that our labor is not in vain. We have to keep investing and investing and investing, and it will be worth it in the end.

John 6:28-29
  1. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?
  2. Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

I thought, “Wow! The work of God! If you have that true belief, you’ll also obey. I’ve heard people say, “Todd, that’s good for you, but I just don’t believe it that strong.” My grandma was like that.

We don’t see God, but we have the fear of God in our lives. That’s why we obey.

There is a story about some men working in the fields, and they saw a storm coming, so they worked harder, and harder. But the devil wants us to become complacent. He doesn’t want us to take on any challenges.

We’ve got to take on challenges to see the great work of God. You’ve got to have a spiritual eyee to see what God is doing from day to day in your own life and in the ministry. God is constantly on the move.

Proverbs 23:7
  1. For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.

Paul, did you believe that you would make chief one day? No? When did you start to have some kind of belief that you would?

> *When they called my name over the 1MC, saying “Chief Rudolph…”

Really? Scott, what about Music. Did you have some thoughts of doing something in that area?

Thoughts lead us to actions. They become a part of us. We can have reverse doubts, to. Some people are always thinking about doubts and problems and turmoils, and their life shows it. I like to spend time in prayer just thanking God for all he’s giving me.

I remember when I didn’t have any part in the leadership of the Military Ministry. I always was a part of it, and I remember God dealing with me on it. But I saw that every place of leadership in the Military Ministry was filled, and I said, “God, where is my part?” But I paid attention to what God had dealt with me on, and later on a position opened up, and I was there.

I know a lot of you remember when I worked on the phones in the front office. A lot of people probably thought I’d always be there. But from time to time, I went to Pastor Wilson to see if the door was open, and eventually, the time was right. I went to Pastor Paine, and he said, “I was thinking about sending someone to Everett.” And that was exactly what I brought up. The door was open.

Pastor Paine had a similar experience in being able to fly an airplane. Eventually the door opened, and he was able to get his pilot’s license.

John 8:31
  1. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;

The bible says that we’re the fewest of all people.

[(strait gate narrow)]

I remember in High School, I wanted to start playing football in my Senior year. So I used to lift weights on the days when a lot of my friends were out at the beach. Not only did I get a chance to start, but I was co-captain with my best friend, and we won the league that year.

Is everybody satisfied where you’re at right now? No? We’ve got a lot of things that we desire from God. I like what Dave Rivera said recently; “We actually reap more than we sow.” It’s like the vegetables that Bill plants. He gets a lot out of that little garden. It’s the same way, spiritually.

Psalms 27:12-14
  1. Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
  2. I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living.
  3. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

This is one of my favorite scriptures. I remember the first time I heard it; it just floored me. Just think of how many times we would have given up, if it wasn’t for the hope of heaven. If we lose our hope of heaven, what’s left? Hell. That just blows my mind, thinking of being there for all eternity. If you go to jail, you can someday get out, but hell is forever. Sometimes we have thoughts of, “I don’t know; I’m barely making it.” But we need to overcome those thoughts. And it’s not like we think we stand, but we need to do what it says in verse 14:

Psalms 27:14
  1. Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.

Many, many times over we need to strengthen our hearts. There was a time when the Celtics were playing the Lakers, and they wheeled Paul Pierce got wheeled off in a wheelchair. They took him back to the locker room, and he was the star player. But he got back in the game, and helped his team, and they won that game, and they won the championship. So there are times when, if we would take a snapshot of that moment, we’d think all was lost. But God allows us to overcome those snapshot moments. The devil wants us to just dwell on them forever, but God lets us be like Rocky, up against the ropes. You know the best thing when you’re down? Go and get some fellowship.

Habakkuk 2:3
  1. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.

Man; that is another one of my favorite scriptures. You know how many people have given up on their visions, just because it didn’t happen in their timeframe? But our timeframe is not God’s. And then there are other times when you don’t expect something, and God has it all ready. To wait on God, how sweet it is when you do! When you don’t give up, and you stay faithful. So many people try to go out and do the will of God on their own, and things just fall apart.

Are there any things in your life that you’ve been waiting for a long time?

  • College.
  • Getting transferred here.
  • Music. My grandma was a piano teacher, but I just learned how to play at age 28.
  • I waited about 25 years for a personal prayer to get answered.
  • I just had a dream to do some acting and be on TV. But when we got out here, God allowed it to happen.
  • Some years ago, I thought it would be interesting to have my own house. Fifteen years later, last Friday, I finally closed on it.

Things that you never thought you’d get a chance to do, but God just blesses. Letting God putting things together for you, and saying “Why not?”

Ecclesiastes 5:3
  1. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

If you really want to work toward your goals and vision of God, do the things you know to do. Just put the action in whatever area of ministry you have your eyes set on. I like to take my goals and set them where I can see them. I read over them daily, and prepare for them. If we don’t work toward the goals that God sets before us, then they’ll just remain a daydream.

Titus 3:8
  1. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

I like this scripture. It says they that have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. We’ve got to make sure that the devil doesn’t rob us of our pattern of dedication to good works. We have to constantly examine ourselves, or else the devil will eat up our dedication, just like that.

Matthew 8:5-10
  1. And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
  2. And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.
  3. And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.
  4. The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.
  5. For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.
  6. When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Jesus saw that, and Jesus sees our faith, too. What happened when there were cities that didn’t have faith? What happened then? Jesus didn’t do any works there; he didn’t do any healings. But if we have that faith, God will work through our life in a mighty way.

Expectation

Proverbs 23:18
  1. For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.

God holds his promises, so we need to hold our expectation. The devil will do everything he can to discourage us. He knows where we hurt, so he’ll ping on that. So we’ve got to keep our expectation high. Anybody who has achieved anything, did it through high expectation.

Matthew 21:22
  1. And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.

So nothing’s too hard for God. If it’s in his will, you can count on it; you can bank on it.

So just to recap real quick, we need to raise up our level of belief. We need to keep our level of belief high in battle. We’ve got to never let them down; never put them on a shelf. Take some time to envision and picture what you want. How many people have won championships because they had a vision since they were a little kid? How much more a vision of getting to heaven. Some people have championship rings on every finger and think their legacy is set, but we’re working for a legacy that will last for all eternity. Finally, we’ve got to have an expectation for what God can do. Without eyes to see, you can look around and think that nothing is going on, but God is always working.

– Ralph Howarth

When unbelief prevails, whose fault is it? Where does it come from?

Can a man be healed from unbelief? How about the man who was born blind?

  • In the Bible study, the one guy said with tears, “Lord, help thou my unbelief.” So apparently we can be cured of our unbelief.

So he recognized that he had something to overcome.

  • Anything you believe in has got to build momentum. I think this branches off into, “You could be deceived, or you could believe in something that is.” Unbelief is your responsibility.

  • I think it depends on the situation. In Romans, Paul said, “How shall they believe on him whom they have not heard?” Some people don’t believe because they lack that testimony before them.

  • It’s a confidence issue. If you don’t think you can do something, you won’t want to do it. Belief requires action; it requires getting out of your comfort zone. Peter had to believe that he could walk on water in order to step out of the boat. Belief requires an action. Ultimately it’s up to you.

  • The Bible says that tongues is a sign to the unbeliever. I’d like to think that God provides other ways as well.

It does say that it is the work of God, that we believe on him who he has sent.

  • In the parable of the sower, we see many things that can choke out belief.

  • The burden falls on we the believers. If a brother does not believe, that’s his fault, but it’s also up to us to encourage each other to remember to believe.

  • Which side of our life are we feeding the most? We can take the message of Christ from the Garden of Gesthemane. He was right there where he was supposed to be, yet the flesh was in agony. In any minute of the day, we have the ability to change our mind. The man who came to Christ with the desire to see his son healed was in tears. He had a passion and emotion; there wasn’t anything that could sway his mind.

  • If the devil gets in there and takes away our faith, it’s only because we let him.

  • The battle starts right here in my mind. When I’m starting to think crappy, I’m going to have a crappy day. I think about casting down imaginations and bringing every thought into captivity, my mind can be like a firewall. I can block or allow.

Christian Essentials Series: Who is God?

Wednesday Evening Service, 6/1/11

Songs

Christian Essentials Series

Intro

– Scott Shepherd

We’re going to be looking at some black-and-white issues in this series, and some issues that aren’t so black-and-white. We stripped away any preconceived ideas that we had, and looked at the Word of God and in some cases, some scholarly writings that shed some light on the issues.

As we did our research, we found that some things that we use to promote the doctrine of our church, others use to promote their doctrine. So we took the whole word of God, and came to a conclusion based on that. For each week, we’ll start with a prepared study, and then we’ll answer some of the questions that were submitted online. We’ll have more extensive notes available online at MyChristianFellowship.org

Week 1: Who / What is God?

– Jonathan Santiago

If you look at the god of the “Christian Church” (I use that term loosely), he’s kind of a mess. Tell us what your belief is concerning who God is, and what’s the correct way to serve him. Fill in the form with a number-two pencil, and we’ll tell you what your denomination is.

The concept of the god of the Christian faith is really broad and open to interpretation. I’m sure that we will never understand the fullness of God, but his word does make some things very, very clear. God started a conversation, a love letter with us, thousands of years ago. Time means nothing to God. That conversation is still going on today.

If I say “Jesus, the lamb of God, born in a stable”, what do you think? Jesus is a sheep? But if I say, “Jesus was born of a virgin”, you would think he’s some kind of supernatural being. It’s important to take the whole scripture in context.

Three things:

  1. God is a Spirit
  2. God does not change
  3. God is one

1. God is a Spirit

John 4:24
  1. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Greek word for “spirit” is pronounced “pneuma” and it’s singular. God is a singular spirit. A spirit has no form, no boundaries.

Jeremiah 23:24
  1. Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

So the deepest galaxies, from the blackest black to the center of the earth, and throughout every living creature, God fills all.

We also cannot think of God as a man.

Numbers 23:19
  1. God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?
Isaiah 55:8-11
  1. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
  2. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
  3. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
  4. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

2. God does not change

God is forever and eternally the same God.

Malachi 3:6
  1. For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
Psalms 90:2
  1. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God.

How long is from everlasting to everlasting? It’s forever.

Psalms 90:4
  1. For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

So does this mean we try to figure out how many hours there are in a thousand years? No. What it means is that time is irrelevant with God. Everything we see and touch has a beginning and an end. The only thing that doesn’t is a spirit. We are all made in the image of God.

God is one

Deuteronomy 6:4
  1. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
Isaiah 45:5
  1. I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me:
Isaiah 43:11
  1. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

So he says, “There is no God; there is no savior; there is none else beside me.” God has no equal; he is the eternal unchanging spirit, and beside him there is nothing.

Manifestation

So we’ve described the spirit of God as best we could. But the manifestation of God is something we can see and experience with our carnal senses. God appeared as the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night, and as a voice walking in the garden. Because God is a spirit, he can manifest himself in many different ways. But because God doesn’t change, the Old Testament God is the same in the New Testament.

Let’s look at some Old Testament prophecies about how God will manifest himself in the New Testament.

Psalms 2:7
  1. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
begotten
to bear young, bring forth children
Genesis 3:16
  1. Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
Genesis 4:1
  1. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
Genesis 4:26
  1. And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Genesis 5:1
  1. This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;

All of these are talking about bringing forth a child; in this case human beings. So God chose a moment in time to “beget” a human child. He can’t “beget” without becoming a father.

Mary was found with child of God, of the Holy Ghost. So God “begat” a human son, fully God and fully man. Why fully man? Because he had to live and die in order to conquer death.

God has a lot of titles, but in the New Testament, God becomes our personal Father, through the mediator, Jesus Christ.

God manifested himself as both the Father and the Son in the New Testament.

Isaiah 9:6-7
  1. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
  2. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

So there is a son. We don’t know who this son is yet, but this son will be called “counselor, the mighty God, ,the everlasting father.” You know what aren’t titles of the son? “Home boy”, “Co-pilot”, “My buddy”. Please don’t use those as titles of God.

If you look up Christinaity in an encyclopedia, it’s going to say that the majority of Christians believe in this thing called the Trinity.

> *The most popular belief in the church today is that the triune God is one being, consisting of three separate, co-equal, co-eternal persons. God sent his son Jesus Christ, who was the second person in the trinity, to give us a way of salvation. Jesus was fully God and fully man. Jesus was with God the Father in the spirit from the beginning of time. It is through belief in Jesus Christ that the Holy Ghost, the third person in the trinity, comes and dwells inside of us and makes us Christians; makes us saved.

A common illustration is this nifty triangle, which looks kind of like a space ship.

It took the church about 425 years to establish the doctrine of the Trinity, after Christ was resurrection. There were many meetings and councils and creeds. The final creed was that God is three separate persons, co-equal, co-powerful, and co-eternal, and that Jesus is fully God and fully man. That set the standard for the church today.

There are many false doctrines, but we’re going to specifically focus on the Trinity, because it is one of the most popular.

Let’s start at the beginning of the New Testament and introduce God:

John 1:1-4
  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
  2. The same was in the beginning with God.
  3. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.
  4. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
John 1:14
  1. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

We’re going to start with a foundation in the New Testament, and then the rest will make sense. It starts with “In the beginning.” Where else does it say that?

> Genesis 1:1

And it says,

John 1:3
  1. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

But God created the world by himself.

Isaiah 44:24
  1. Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;

The Lord God was alone and by himself when he created the earth. Yet it says that God spoke, when he created the earth:

Genesis 1:2-3
  1. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
  2. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

God said, “Let there be light”. If God said something, and someone heard it, then God was providing a manifestation.

Saying that “The word of God was with God” doesn’t require multiple personalities any more than someone speaking of their soul being with them.

Luke 12:19
  1. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

So he was speaking to himself? Or was there two people?

Matthew 15:8
  1. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

So what does this mean? Are the lips crawling toward God, and the heart going the other way? But there’s only one person, right?

The Bible says:

John 1:1
  1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
John 1:14
  1. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Yes, God manifested himself as the Son, as flesh, at a certain point in history.

Salvation

Understanding God is helpful in understanding salvation. We preach Christ out of love, because “woe unto us if we preach not the gospel.” The trinity is wrong. God is not in three parts, sitting beside each other. Jesus Christ was God manifest in the flesh, given a name which is above every name.

Matthew 22:44
  1. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?

Jesus Christ the Messiah was not from the very beginning; only God (Yaweh in the Hebrew) was from the beginning. That’s a really cool study; look for it online.

The Word of the Lord

John 1:4
  1. In him was life; and the life was the light of men.
Psalms 119:105
  1. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.
Isaiah 55:11
  1. So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Jesus Christ, referenced as “the Living Word” in 1 John 1:1

John 19:28
  1. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst.

God’s word spoke to the prophets of the old Testament and God’s word speaks to us today.

Hebrews 1:1-2
  1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
  2. Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Jesus himself said it like this:

John 12:48
  1. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.

Jesus is the content of God’s word; he is the image of the invisible God.

Colossians 1:15
  1. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

I hope this helps you understand the context of the scripture a little more. If you’re not totally clear; check out the notes online. If you look at John, the disciple whom Jesus loved, the one most likely to call him, “Hey, Jesus of Nazareth!” was the one to recognize his deity.

If the Trinitarian doctrine were correct, he would have written:

> In the beginning was the Son of God, and the Son of God was alongside God the Father, and the Son of God and God the Father work in perfect harmony.

But that’s not what it says.

Now let’s read in Matthew where it all started.

Matthew 1:18
  1. Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

You know what it means when it says that they haven’t slept together yet? All right. So if we have God as a triangle, and the Holy Ghost is the one who made Mary pregnant, who is the Father of Jesus? Not the Father, but the Holy Ghost. That’s what happens when you try to explain the Godhead in human terms. But if you look at the Word through a new set of eyes and examine what it really says, then it will become personal to you. The word of God has been twisted throughout history. Around seventy percent of Americans claim to be Christian. The better we know God’s word, the better we can guide them to a more perfect truth.

Matthew 1:21-23
  1. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.
  2. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
  3. Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

She called his name what? Jesus. But the prophecy said his name would be called what? Emmanuel, or God with us.

Now let’s read about Jesus having a dialog with his closest disciples, talking about the promise of the Holy Ghost.

John 14:6-10
  1. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
  2. If ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also: and from henceforth ye know him, and have seen him.
  3. Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us.
  4. Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?
  5. Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works.

Jesus was our perfect example as a human. He fasted; he wept; he cried out in pain. I believe that his physical flesh was just like ours.

Hebrews 4:15
  1. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

Jesus never gave glory to the flesh; he always gave glory to the Father. He said, “If you have seen the Father, you have seen me.” Back then, that meant that he was putting himself on an equal playing field with God.

John 14:16-18
  1. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
  2. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
  3. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.
John 14:20
  1. At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.
John 14:23
  1. Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.
John 14:26
  1. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

In this case, Jesus said, “I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you.”

I think this chapter is pretty much self-explanatory. Jesus freely used the titles, “Father, Comforter, Holy Ghost”, and himself, interchangeably.

Isaiah 9:6-7
  1. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
  2. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

The prophecy was given in old times, so if it happened, we’ll know that it happened. Who was known by all those titles? One God, with multiple manifestations, each for a specific purpose and a specific operation.

Ephesians 4:4-6
  1. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
  2. One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
  3. One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

I like the way this breaks it down even further:

1 Timothy 3:16
  1. 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.

So what was the name given to the little baby manifest in the flesh?

> Jesus.

Who lived a sinless life? Who was seen of angels? Who was preached unto the Gentiles? Who died, was resurrected, and received up into glory?

> Jesus.

Who is the savior?

> Jesus.

Besides God, there cannot be any other savior; therefore Jesus must be God.

John 14:6
  1. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
Acts 4:12
  1. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

I want to say that a full understanding of everything we just talked about is not necessary for salvation. We preach Jesus Christ and him crucified. It’s all about Jesus. But if we don’t get this Godhead down, the plan of salvation will tend to vary as well.

Matthew 28:18-19
  1. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
  2. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Colossians 2:9
  1. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

Every single account of baptism in the New Testament was done in the name of Jesus Christ, which we know to also be the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

Questions and Answers

– Scott Shepherd

We’re going to give the short version of the answers. My answer on one question runs to about six pages, so if you want the long version, you’ll have to go online.

If there isn’t separate persons of the Godhead, why does the Bible talk about Jesus being on the right hand of God?

Psalms 110:1
  1. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

This is a metaphor, denoting the power and strength of Jesus Christ. The “right hand” in the Hebrew, was a common metaphor denoting strength and power. One of the enemies is death, and when we all meet at judgment, Jesus will be walking us down the aisle, as his bride, presenting us to himself. There is a word, “anthropomorphic”, which means attributing human characteristics to things that aren’t human. When — said, “I see Jesus standing on the right hand of God,” he wasn’t literally seeing God; he was seeing a vision.

Why in the Old Testament, does God sometimes say “us” and “we”?

Genesis 1:26
  1. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Genesis 3:22
  1. And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Genesis 11:17
  1. And Eber lived after he begat Peleg four hundred and thirty years, and begat sons and daughters.

We know that God is one, so we go on the next verse:

Genesis 1:27
  1. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

So the record of the singularity of God immediately follows. In the other passages, it is the same. Is God therefore divided? No; there must be another explanation. Some people say that God sometimes refers to himself in the majestic plural; others say that God was referring to himself and the angels. I think it is a combination of both. There are numerous instances in the Bible where God is described as standing in the midst of a heavenly host.

1 Kings 22:19-22
  1. And he said, Hear thou therefore the word of the LORD: I saw the LORD sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left.
  2. And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner.
  3. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him.
  4. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so.

Also we see two instances in Job where the angels presented themselves before God, and Satan showed up, also.

Here is an instance where God refers to himself in the plural:

Isaiah 6:1-3
  1. In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
  2. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
  3. And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.
Isaiah 6:8-9
  1. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.
  2. And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.

Without getting into too much detail, the most probable explanation we could find, according to scripture, was that God was addressing the celestial body in his own majestic way.

A lot of trinitarians will say that “elohim” in Genesis is a plural form of God, and it is. But is a special kind of plural, denoting intensity or majesty, not separate beings.

Another question that comes up is, “Is God male or female?” There are people who will tell you that Jesus couldn’t be male, because he was only born of a woman and therefore couldn’t have a “y” chromosome.

The short answer is that God is neither male nor female. Both men and women were created in the image of God. We were created in the spiritual image, not the physical image of God. However, God did choose the masculine pronouns when he inspired the prophets to write. He revealed himself to us through the man, Jesus Christ, and through masculine pronouns. God reveals himself to us as a Father, protector. Some say that’s sexist, but there are things about God that being masculine that make it easier for women to relate to God. To give an example, I do not, nor will I ever aspire to be anyone’s bride. Yet the Bible speaks of us becoming the bride of Christ.

Daniel 3:25
  1. He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

Is the fourth person referring to the son of God, or a manifestation of God, or an angel? The research I did showed that it must have been an angel.

Daniel 3:28
  1. Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God.

Nebuchadnezzar referred to this fourth person as an angel. When you read the Aramaic, “elohim” is a word that is usually translated as “god” (little-g). Only in the King James Bible is it ever translated as “God” (big-g). Why is that?

Job 1:6
  1. Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.
Job 2:1
  1. Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.
Job 38:7
  1. When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?

“Angels” and “sons of God” are used interchangeably. So why does the King James Version say “sons of God?” Anything done by men is not perfect, but I believe the King James Bible is pretty accurate.

Of English versions antedating the KJV, such as the Geneva Bible, in Daniel 3:25 we find “sonne of God”. The KJV apparently reproduced the Geneva Bible, but left out a significant marginal note: “Before angels were called the sons of God because of their excellencies.”

Let’s look at we know for a fact. God begets his son only once, at a certain time. Can God manifest himself as a man in the flesh? Yes. Is this such a case? I don’t think so, but it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is that God intervened to save his children.

Closing

– Pastor Paine

God, as we seek to know you better and understand you more clearly, continue to guide and bless us. Keep our hearts pure and pleasing to you.


Handout / Outline

Old Testament

God is a Spirit

God does not change

God is one

God does not change, but promises a Saviour will come in the form of a Son.

New Testament

The Word:

In the beginning was the Word

And the Word was with God

And the word was God

Jesus declares the Father, Holy Spirit, and himself are one in John 14

Speaking in Tongues, part 2

Wednesday Evening Bible Study, 5/18/11

Songs

Message: Speaking In Tongues, part 2

– Pastor Paine

Let me ask you some questions. Based on scripture, is speaking in tongues for the church today?

> Yes!

What if your co-worker says, “I’ve never heard anyone speaking in tongues at my church.” Well, it’s still for the church today. I grew up in a church that believed that tongues was for the church two thousand years ago, but not today.

What are the two types of tongues that the Bible speaks of?

> 1. Personal prayer life. > 2. A word from the Lord that would be interpreted by prophecy.

What is the purpose of the tongues that is part of personal prayer life? It is to edify and build up the person who is praying in tongues.

What is the other benefit of tongues in the church? It builds up or edifies the church.

We talked last week about the word edify. It means “to build up” or “to say good things about another.”

Last week we looked in 1 Corinthians where the apostle Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. He was dealing with a church that had used tongues in a way that he felt was unprofitable. Paul thought they had used the gift of tongues in such a way that it was creating confusion. Instead of unity, it was creating division.

Let’s look at some reference on tongues. We’ll start with Acts chapter two. Christ has lived his life on earth, been crucified, resurrected, and spoke to those who followed him closely. He gave what is called the Great Commission:

Matthew 28:19
  1. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

Also, in the other three gospels, we have a reference to that great commission, but the most specific is in Matthew. Then the next thing that happens is the New Testament church being put in order, and that’s what is happening in the book of Acts.

Acts 2:1
  1. And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

By the way, when people refer to tongues being for the church of two thousand years ago, they are speaking of this day of Pentecost.

Acts 2:2
  1. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

Have you ever been outdoors when there was a rushing mighty wind? I’m not talking about thunder; I’m talking about the power of the wind. That’s what was happening here.

Acts 2:3-7
  1. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
  2. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
  3. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
  4. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.
  5. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

Everyone that was speaking wsa a Galilaean, but not everyone who was hearing was a Galilaean.

Acts 2:8-12
  1. And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
  2. Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
  3. Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
  4. Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.
  5. And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

When was the last time, chronologically, that they were in doubt?

Matthew 28:17
  1. And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

Here we find again that some doubted. That was when Jesus spoke to the disciples saying, “Go do this” and now they’re doing it.

Acts 2:13-15
  1. Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.
  2. But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:
  3. For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Why would they think they were drunk? It sounded like it. Everyone was speaking something that the others didn’t understand.

Acts 2:16-18
  1. But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
  2. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:
  3. And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

Here the people heard in their own tongue. Go back with me to verse 8, if you would.

Acts 2:8
  1. And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

When you look up the root word for the word “tongue” here, it means “dialect.” To my knowledge, this is the only place in the scripture where this happened. But if you look in verse 4 of the same chapter, the root word for the word “tongue” means “naturally unaccquainted tongue.”

Acts 2:4
  1. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

So two things happened in that prayer meeting. One thing that was happening was people praying in tongues, and that is not an interpretable language, except by the spirit. We’re going to talk about that interpretation of the spirit.

The other thing, in verse 8, was a miracle of God. It was like the United Nations, where they all have headsets, and one person speaks in their own language, and everyone hears it in their own language.

A prophecy, from 1 Corinthians 13, means “a foretelling of future events, or speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” In the Old Testament, prophecy means “to speak under the inspiration of the spirit.”

You have given me some questions, and I don’t think that in this session tonight, I will not complete your understanding of tongues. My own understanding is incomplete. But the gift is for the church today.

I believe that for the body of Christ to be healthy, tongues should be in the body. That doesn’t mean that I believe that every single member of the body of Christ should speak in tongues for the body to be healthy. But I believe that for the body to be healthy, tongues should be present. I believe that it is healthy for the body.

The other thing I believe is that tongues is available for everybody. I don’t believe that there is anyone that the Holy Spirit said, “This person will never speak in tongues.”

Questions and Answers

Question: Is there a difference between prophesying and speaking in tongues?
Answer: Yes. Tongues is a prayer language, or a spiritual language that will lead to interpretation. But Prophecy is speaking in a known language. While they are related gifts, they are different. I guess the easiest way to say it, is the difference is between a known tongue and an unknown tongue. If you’re praying, and you hear yourself speaking in a language that you don’t know, and it’s sincere, (the Bible says try the spirits and see if they be of God) that’s tongues. And the Bible says that it edifies you. It charges you; it builds you up.

Have you ever had a situation that you didn’t know what to do about it? I’ve had those situations. I’ve sought God and prayed and spoken in tongues. Sometimes it was at the altar, but not in a voice loud enough for other people to hear. Sometimes it’s been in a car; sometimes it’s been outdoors. But it was just between me and God, praying in a heavenly language.

Question: Is speaking in tongues something that is done once, and you have it forever, or is it, like prayer, something that must be done often to keep the gift alive?
Answer: Here’s how I answered: If it’s done once, it equals confirmation that it’s in your life. But if it’s done often, it equals edification of the body.

I heard someone say, before I’d ever had any Biblical education on tongues, “I can pseak in tongues. Wanna hear?” So I said, “Sure.” And he just began to babble. Then he said, “Isn’t that cool?” I thought it was weird.

I think that if you spoke in tongues, you should seek to continue, because it will bless you. If you do it in your private prayer life, it will edify you. It will build you up. It will charge you. But if you do it for a show, it’s not of God.

Question: If I did “speak in tongues”, how could I know for myself that it was real, and that I’m not just fooling myself?
Answer: The Bible says to try the spirits and see if they’re of God. That’s a fair question. It’s like asking, “How do I know I’m really in love?” It becomes a very personal thing. How do you know?

It’s a very spiritual question, and I really think it’s something for you to ask God about. God’s not trying to trick you or anything.

Question: A respected church member once told me, “Tongues isn’t necessary for salvation, but I think at some point you need it to keep going.” Is this true? How does my failure to speak in tongues limit me, as a Christian?
Answer: If you believe that tongues edifies you, and you’re missing that, that’s one way to answer that question. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:14, “my spirit prayeth”.

Have you ever communicated with someone you love, without words? Sometimes words are inadequate. I think tongues helps bridge that gap.

The first few years I was a Christian, I would never thought it appropriate to say, “God, I don’t think this is fair.” But now, I pray that way all the time.

> (laughter)

Thanks for laughing. I don’t really pray that exact prayer all the time, but I pray with that same honesty and transparency. So now think about praying in tongues. Did you ever try to write something to someone, and it’s a really heartfelt and emotional topic, and you couldn’t find the words? I think tongues is for that kind of communication with God.

Question: If praying is talking to God, I would think that talking in tongues should not include a message to man. Is that accurate?
Answer: We talked about two types of tongues. If it’s just between you and God, then it doesn’t include a message to man. But if it’s for interpretation, to edify the church, then it does.
Question: I’ve heard people “speak in tongues” but never in a way that I could believe it was real. How can I be sure that people aren’t just putting on a show, or fooling themselves?
Answer: You can’t. It’s a very spiritually-discerned thing. I suspect, although Paul doesn’t go into it, that in 1 Corinthians 13, that was an issue. I suspect that there were some people who were doing it to be seen of others.

Now I’m going to answer the unwritten question. Be careful how you judge others. I’m not accusing the person who wrote that question, but be careful where you judge.

I’ve heard a story about a lady who had rented the downstairs of a two-story flat. The landlord was an elderly lady who chose to live upstairs. The lady downstairs was a Christian, and she prayed constantly for the lady upstairs to know the Lord. And the reason she knew the lady upstairs needed prayer is that she heard her using the Lord’s name in vain as she went up the steps at night. And one day they were having tea, and the lady downstairs had been praying for her for two years here. The lady upstairs said, “You are such a sweet and loving person. I imagine you are a Christian.” The lady downstairs said, “Yes, I am.” The elderly lady continued, “I want you to know that I love the Lord with all my heart. In fact, my arthritis is so bad that it really hurts me to go up the steps, and the only way I can make it is, on every single step I call out “Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

Question: Do I have to speak in tongues before I can receive any of the other gifts of the spirit? What scriptures support this doctrine?
Answer: This is a big question. And I’m not sure that I have the answer. I’ll read a verse, and then I’m going to try and respond.
1 Corinthians 12:7
  1. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.
 
I would say that speaking in tongues is perhaps the most tangible, provable, undeniable, notable, observable, unquestionable gift. And I can’t think of any scriptural reason to discourage anyone from seeking that gift. And once you’ve got it, I can think of lots of reasons for you to use it, as Paul says:
1 Corinthians 14:40
  1. Let all things be done decently and in order.
 
I’m going to try and answer by using the analogy of a court of law. No one should be convicted of a crime based on circumstantial evidence. I think there’s a ton of circumstantial evidence for that statement, but I can’t find a single chapter or verse or any combination of chapters or verses that prove it. If you believe that’s the entry door, then why wouldn’t you start there? But if you believe, for whatever reason, that you’ll never speak in tongues, but God has given you other gifts of the spirit, then I won’t call you a liar, either.
1 Corinthians 14:39
  1. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
Question: Several years ago, it was put out in the ministry that you could not be a leader in the ministry until you have spoken in tongues. If you speak in tongues while you are alone should you report it to your leadership to get a stamp of approval?
Answer: It’s not a stamp of approval or a badge of honor, but why wouldn’t you share that blessing with your leader? If something good has happened in your life, you should communicate it. And you shouldn’t be reporting as a reason for getting a raise or a promotion, but as sharing about what is happening, spiritually, in your life.

The clock is telling me that I’m done. There is no way in this amount of time that we can do a comprehensive Bible study on this topic. But my prayer is that we will all seek this. I believe that every healthy body should have this gift in it.

1 Corinthians 12:25-31
  1. That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
  2. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
  3. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
  4. 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.
  5. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles?
  6. Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?
  7. But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

– Pastor Thomas

You can study this long beyond what we are doing now. I encourage you to get into the Word of God and seek for understanding. Seek for spiritual gifts, because it edifies the body of Christ. But God never gives these gifts so that we can say, “Look at me.” God gives these gifts to the body of Christ so we can say, “Look at him.”

Speaking in Tongues, part 1

Wednesday Evening Bible Study, 5/11/11

Songs

Speaking In Tongues, Part 1

– Pastor Paine

We’re going to read where the apostle Paul writes to the church in Corinth about tongues. Maybe you grow up like me, and you grew up never hearing about speaking in tongues in a spiritual context. The church in Corinth used tongues quite frequently in their church services. That’s praying in a heavenly language that is not known to man. The first time I prayed in tongues, it scared me. Some of you are scared by me even talking about it. But what I get out of this writing from Paul is that the church in Corinth had got it out of context. They were wearing it as a badge of honor. They prided themselves on speaking in tongues more than the church down the street.

Some churches teach that if you don’t speak in tongues, you don’t have the Holy Ghost and you’re not going to heaven. I don’t understand that from the scriptures.

If you have a question on this topic of tongues, write it down. I’m going to continue on this topic a week from now. Give your question to an usher between now and Sunday, and I will address those questions in the study a week from tonight.

1 Corinthians 14:1
  1. Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.

Remember in chapter 13, he talked about charity. That’s something we should pursue. Now he’s going to talk about the importance of prophesying in the church.

1 Corinthians 14:2
  1. For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

The purpose of tongues isn’t so that we hear people speaking in tongues. For those of you who haven’t heard it, it’s just like hearing someone speaking in a foreign language. We’ve all had that experience, haven’t we? Parents with teenage children?

1 Corinthians 14:3
  1. But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

Sometimes when someone speaks in tongues, there is an interpretation. If it’s real, it’s an awesome thing. What you understand is the interpretation of the tongues, or the prophesy that comes as a result of it.

1 Corinthians 14:4
  1. He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

For the purpose of this teaching, I think it’s important that you understand the word “edify” means “to charge or build up.” I think of it like charging a battery. When you go to someone and compliment them, it edifies them; it charges them up. It builds you up; it charges you to speak in tongues. But when there is an interpretation, it edifies the whole church. If someone comes to preach in a foreign language, they bring an interpreter with them. It’s just like that.

1 Corinthians 14:5
  1. I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

This gift is for everyone; it’s available. “But how come I haven’t spoken in tongues?” I don’t know, but it’s available to you.

Remember what I said at the beginning? Paul was teaching the church at Corinth for what reason? They had got it out of order. They needed their priorities straightened out. So he’s explaining.

1 Corinthians 14:6-7
  1. Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
  2. And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?

Every instrument has a sound that it’s supposed to give. It’s not just noise. And that’s what tongues is. It’s not just noise; it needs to be understood. Now, if you’re speaking in tongues and you’re all by yourself, that doesn’t need an interpretation, because it edifies you. And God knows. You’re communicating in prayer to God, not the person next to you.

1 Corinthians 14:8
  1. For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?

If you don’t have the right sound, then nobody knows what it’s for. We know what “taps” is, and we know what “reveille” is, and we know what it’s for.

1 Corinthians 14:9
  1. So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

It’s not going to make any difference. It won’t help anybody.

1 Corinthians 14:10-11
  1. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.
  2. Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

We won’t understand each other. We’ll be barbaric, as if we were just making grunting sounds at each other.

1 Corinthians 14:12
  1. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

He’s telling them, “Look, this has to be a blessing, or else it’s for nothing.” It’s not a badge of honor. It has to have meaning. It’s got to matter. Unless it’s just personal between you and God, and then the scriptures say that it edifies you.

I don’t know how that happens, but it does. How many have had that experience, of speaking in tongues? It builds you up; it edifies you.

1 Corinthians 14:12-16
  1. Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
  2. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
  3. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.
  4. What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
  5. Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

Remember again why Paul wrote this. One of the great mistakes that we make when we read the scriptures is that we forget the context of it. Paul was writing to a church that had got tongues out of order. There’s nothing wrong with tongues, but there was something wrong with the way they were using it.

Let’s not take the scriptures out of context, and argue with each other. And let’s not ignore it just because it’s a challenging topic.

1 Corinthians 14:18
  1. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

What was Paul’s position on tongues? Good or bad?

1 Corinthians 14:19
  1. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

Those two scriptures could be taken to contradict each other, if taken out of context. He’s saying, “If I come to church and show off with my tongues, it doesn’t help; it hurts.

1 Corinthians 14:19
  1. Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

I love that verse. “In malice, be ye children.” Have you ever seen children forgive? My brothers and I would poke each other in the eye, and minutes later we’d forgive and be the best of friends. I don’t know how that works, but it works, as children.

1 Corinthians 14:20-22
  1. Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.
  2. In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the LORD.
  3. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Tongues are for a sign. Done properly, the unbeliever comes to church, and hears tongues, and thinks, “Wow! Something wonderful is happening.”

Now, the church, the body of believers, is strengthened by prophesy.

1 Corinthians 14:23
  1. If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?

You remember that in the second chapter of Acts? People thought they were crazy, or drunken.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25
  1. But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all:
  2. And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

Isn’t that the testimony that we want to have?

1 Corinthians 14:26
  1. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.

There’s that word “edifying” again. Let it bless the church.

1 Corinthians 14:27
  1. If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret.

He’s saying, “The whole church ought not to be praying in tongues all at once.”

1 Corinthians 14:28
  1. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

So, you may be praying at your seat, and praying in tongues, but you’re not speaking in a voice that is intended for everyone else to hear. Right now, my voice is intended for everyone to hear. But if we’re all praising at our seats, and one is praising in tongues, that’s what it means. It’s not like you’re having a conversation with yourself.

Some people wonder, “How do I know whether there’s going to be an interpreter?” I’m praying, and I feel the unction of the Holy Ghost. “HEY! IS THERE AN INTERPRETER IN THE HOUSE?” Many of you have heard me pray with you, and sometimes I

1 Corinthians 14:29-30
  1. Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
  2. If any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace.

I heard a couple women speaking tonight. I did; I heard it. But Paul is speaking of authority here. He did write,

1 Corinthians 14:34
  1. Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.

Women have a place in the church. Jesus sent Mary and Mary to tell his message to the disciples. And I don’t believe it’s because they were the only ones available. Women do have a place in the church, but there is an order to things.

1 Corinthians 14:39
  1. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

Isn’t it interesting that in a chapter where he speaks to a church who had gotten tongues out of order, he wraps it all up by saying, “Forbid not to speak in tongues.”

1 Corinthians 14:40
  1. Let all things be done decently and in order.

If there’s a spiritual gift out there, I’m inviting you to seek it. Not everybody will have it, but in a healthy body, it’s available to every one of us. And we want this to be a healthy body, amen?

I know that I will go to heaven with a lot of things I don’t know about the scriptures. If there were two books, one of things that I know and another of things I don’t know, the second book would be the bigger, by far.

Are You Deceived?

Men’s Fellowship Bible Study, 5/6/11

– Paul Rudolph

Are You Deceived?

What does it mean to be deceived?

  • If you’re deceived, you don’t know you’re deceived, because you’re deceived.

  • When you’re on a path that you think you’re not.

  • When you’re one place and you

  • What is not real

  • Believing in a fallacy

deceive
To lead into error; to cause to believe what is false, or disbelieve what is true; to impose upon; to mislead; to cheat; to disappoint; to delude; to ensnare.

That’s really what we’re going to talk about tonight. As I was thinking and praying, I realized that everybody is deceived at some point. Unless you know everything, there are probably some things that you believe that aren’t true. You will never know that you’re deceived, because in your own mind, you’re on the right track.

The apostle Paul was doing just that; skipping along, thinking he was doing the will of God. Are we better than the apostle Paul? I think so, because we have his example, and we can learn from his mistakes.

Let’s start with scriptures.

Proverbs 14:12
  1. There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

In general, being a man, the way that man goes isn’t the right way. There is a way that seemeth right. It may not be sin, but being deceived has all different levels. The longer you stay saved, the more you’ll learn that you didn’t know as a young Christian. The guy sitting next to you isn’t where you’re at. He might do things that if I did that, God would fry my bacon so hard that I wouldn’t be able to sleep for a week. That doesn’t make him less of a Christian; he’s just at a different stage of the game.

How many people ride a bicycle in here?

> (About a dozen hands)

How many people ride a bicycle every day?

> (Only one hand)

Not everyone rides at the same pace. If you ride a fifty-pound bicycle like I do, you probably won’t be able to keep up with the guy riding a two-pound bike that costs more than my car.

So we all run at a different pace. But if you see your brother overtaken in a fault, then correct him.

Ecclesiastes 8:11
  1. Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

How do we know? It’s not like the cop sitting by the side of the road with a speed gun, telling you that you’re going too fast. Like I was talking to the guy earlier, “I could never do that; my butt would be on fire from conviction of the Holy Ghost.” But not everyone has that same conviction. If you’re deceived, ‘cause you don’t know you’re deceived… What is it? The better choice is a distraction from the best choice. Stretching the truth can be a “good” choice. But there’s nobody, no judge that will punish you on this earth. And once you die, that’s it. You can’t change it. If you seek and pray and study and work at being the best Christian you can… And I mean work. It’s a continuing press towards the mark of the high calling. Because if you don’t, you’ll stray off the mark, and you won’t know it.

Don’t get off I-95 in Philadelphia if you don’t have GPS. It isn’t like here, where you have another on-ramp on the other side of the road. You can spend hours, if you get off at the wrong exit, trying to get yourself turned back around. That’s kind of what being a Christian is like. You get turned around; you’re in the dark. If you’re not doing the will of God, you’re in the dark, right?

Believing something that is false, or not believing something that is true.

Philippians 4:8
  1. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Whatsoever things are true; think on these things.

Luke 21:8
  1. And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

We see that all the time; people on the radio think they know what they’re talking about. We’ve got to be seeking and praying and studying, looking for the guidance from God. As long as you’re deceived, you won’t know it. If you’re close-minded about something (well, that would never happen)

> I was working the base with a young brother who had been coming out for two weeks. I was happy and excited to work with him. He was ready to run. And he said, “Let’s get some breakfast at the galley.” I was thinking, “What? We never do that.” The galley was one of those places that we just didn’t go. Finally, to pacify the brother, we went to the galley to get something to eat. He probably didn’t have any money for McDonald’s. So we met three or four different guys at the galley who wanted to come to church. And all the way out of the galley, I’m kicking myself. “You dummy! You should have listened to that brother a lot earlier.”

> I was stationed in Maine by myself. I had flash cards. Every time I got a letter from the brethren about the services, I would make up flash cards with the scripture on one side and the book, chapter, and verse on the other. And I hit a lull where I had about 200 scriptures down pat, but I was getting more scriptures in than I could learn. A still, small, voice said, “Why don’t you get a candy bar?” I didn’t want a candy bar. I had scriptures to memorize. Then it came again: “Why don’t you get a candy bar?” So finally, I went. And I went to where the candy machines are, and there was this guy sitting there, just crying. He wasn’t even trying to hide it. And people were just walking by. So I talked with him, and calmed him down, and started a friendship. And all the way back to my room, I was kicking myself again.

There is always a way, if you pray.

Galatians 6:7
  1. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

What you sow, you’ll reap. Everyone knows that. How many have ever planted a garden?

> (Lots of hands)

How many have planted crops?

> (Only a few hands)

What you put in the ground, will grow. But if you don’t weed it, and fertilize it, and water it… I had one of those Topsy-turvy tomato things, and I had to water it twice a day in the summer. But it’s all of what you put into it that you get out of it. You can go happy-go-lucky along the wrong path, thinking it’s right, or you can put the effort into making sure. But one day, you’ll wind up in the middle of the dark, wondering how you’re going to get back on track.

There is something called “set and drift” when you’re navigating a ship in the Navy. The North Pole is not magnetic north. I don’t know if you knew that. And if you don’t set the difference when you need to, and check it, then you’re going to wind up a long way away from where you wanted to go. And then you’ll have to give an account.

You don’t give an account for me. You encourage me, and you have to give an account for that, but if I don’t take it, if I don’t enjoy it, if I don’t follow it, if I don’t read my scriptures, if I don’t pray, then what’s that to you? I’m looking out for Numero Uno. I’ve got to get my own soul to heaven. Don’t worry about the guy next to you. Your butt may be on fire because of what he’s doing. So? Maybe I’ll say something. Or maybe I’ll pray, “God, help my brother.”

> I was a relatively new Christian, two years saved. I finally got to go to my first ship. I was tickled pink to be part of the real navy. We go on deployment, and I bought a brand-new wristwatch. It had a feature that you could make it ring every so many seconds, or on the hour. At first, I set it every thirty minutes. Then I thought, “Well, that’s probably not enough.” So I set that thing, for my whole deployment, to chime every twenty minutes. And my buddy said, “Why does that thing keep beeping?” I said, “That’s to keep me from killing somebody.” And every time it chimed, I had a short prayer. Nothing long or exuberant; just “Lord, bless this brother.” Then it got to the point where it was annoying, and the prayer wasn’t heartfelt, so I turned it off. But twenty minutes later, I was praying. And then, I realized that my prayer was slacking off. I realized, “Wow, I haven’t prayed for maybe an hour or two.”

Nobody taught me in a Bible study, “You’ve got to buy a watch and set it to ring every twenty minutes to remind you to pray.” But being a Christian is like laying cement. You start out with the foundation.

The Bible doesn’t specifically say how to not be deceived. It tells you to seek and pray and study and read, but no specifics. It says, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” But it does say a lot of things that you’re going to do if you are deceived.

I have a whole list of scriptures I didn’t have time to get to, because I told too many sea-stories. The Bible says that all nations will be deceived.

Revelation 18:23
  1. And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

And from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaketh.

Luke 6:45
  1. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

A Second Touch

Sunday Morning Service, 5/1/11

Songs

Message: A Second Touch

– Pastor Hubert Ulysse

We all have been touched by the Word of God. It’s been a great experience for all of us. For some, it was last week. For some of us, it’s been years. But I think that we all need a second touch. For some of us, we need more than a second; we need infinite touches.

Go with me and read a story about Jesus:

Mark 8:22-25
  1. And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.
  2. And he took the blind man by the hand, and led him out of the town; and when he had spit on his eyes, and put his hands upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.
  3. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.
  4. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

So he touched the man’s eyes, and then he asked the man, “What do you see? Are you all right?

Mark 8:24
  1. And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

He saw, but he did not see right. Imagine seeing a man walking, but as a tree. If you saw men like trees, you would probably try to treat them as trees. In Haiti, you would want to cut them down to cook your food.

Mark 8:25
  1. After that he put his hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

I don’t know how you were touched, but in many areas of your lives, we may need at least a second touch. What is it that would be common to all of us? I thought about the tongue. The Bible says that if a man can tame his tongue, he is a perfect man. Let me pause and ask the perfect men and women in this congregation to stand up. There’s not too many of us. It’s me…

> (As Pastor Ulysse looks around, all the ushers are crouching down.)

So this scripture is for all of us. We at least need a touch to see men clearly, to speak words that would edify and please God. For that to happen, we need a second touch.

When you call an ambulance for someone who is down, the first thing they check for is vital signs – signs of life. Our tongue is a vital sign. Anybody can check our tongue and say, “Hm… That person is spiritually alive.” Or they can check our tongue and say, “Hm… that person is dead, or nearly dead.” The tongue is a visible indication of what is inside.

As a parent, I want my kids to speak to me. I want to know what is going on. I find ways to ask questions that they can’t answer yes or no, but they have to explain what is going on. You should ask the same kind of questions of your brothers and sisters, so you could know what is going on. By the tongue, by the speech, you can know what is inside. The tongue reveals the heart.

I don’t want to speak of the tongue as just an organ. But the tongue is like communication. An average man speaks sixteen thousand words a day. I’m sure that for women, it is even more.

> (groans and scattered laughter)

I’m sorry. I grew up with twelve women, and I have five in the house. I know what I’m talking about.

If we cannot tame the tongue, we speak so many words a day that we need to be touched. And the Bible says that we cannot tame the tongue. Only Christ can do that.

I have also read that in our lifetime, we will influence one hundred and sixty seven people. Imagine what damage, or what good you can do. If everyone you influence can also influence that many, your influence is very, very important.

Of course we focus on the tongue and on words, but our communication is more than that. They say that only seven percent of our communication is the essence, or the words you choose. But thirty-eight percent is in the tonal quality, or how you say them. If I say (with a sigh), “Yeah, I’m in church again,” you know that I’m not very happy about it. But if I say it with excitement, “Yeah! I’m in church again!”, you know I’m excited to be here. And also five percent of our communication is our looks. Even in church, a look can say more than just a handshake.

The Bible says that is not what enters in, but what comes out of a man’s mouth, that defiles a man.

We read in Matthew 15 that Jesus’ disciples were being chastised by the elders for not washing their hands before they eat. And Jesus answered them, saying:

Matthew 15:7-8
  1. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
  2. This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

Hypocrites. Naturally, like I just said, whatever came out of the mouth comes from the heart. There is that connection. But we may argue that sometimes what comes out of the mouth is not true. You may lie. You may say good things out of a bad heart, and you may say bad things out of a good heart. When you don’t tell the truth, when you fake it, that’s called being a hypocrite. So with their mouths, with their lips they honor God, but the connection is not made.

Jesus’ disciples didn’t understand what he meant, so he explained:

Matthew 15:16-20
  1. And Jesus said, Are ye also yet without understanding?
  2. Do not ye yet understand, that whatsoever entereth in at the mouth goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught?
  3. But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.
  4. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:
  5. These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Our tongue is the means by which sin has its way with us.

David prayed in Psalms:

Psalms 141:3
  1. Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.

David said, “I want a guard before my mouth. I want my lips to be watched over. I don’t want to just open the door.”

We talked one time about fasting from words. Once in a while, you need to try that. “In this subject, for this day and hour, I am going to fast from talking.” You will be amazed how much more spiritual you will become. If you are talking, you do not think, because by the time you think, the words are already out. This is what happens if you do not practice thinking first. So David said, “I want a guard. I want the doors of my lips to be watched over.”

Proverbs 10:19
  1. In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Practice it. You’ll like it. I love the French way of doing it. They’re changing their politics right now, but the French are known for this. When there are two cases before them, they turn to one and say, “You are right, because of this and this…” And they turn to the other and say, “You are right, because of this and this…” And at the end, they don’t say anything. Sometimes you do have to say something. But when you do, be mindful of this:

James 1:19
  1. Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

Even when you have to speak, don’t try to be the first one to speak. Just because your words are few doesn’t mean your tongue is tame. You will still offend, whether you speak five thousand words, or ten thousand, or whatever.

Our spirituality can be tested by our tongue.

If you are around someone who doesn’t go to church, you can definitely tell by their tongue. There was an article in the news about a lady who was tailgating someone. She was really in a hurry, but the man in front of her wasn’t. So he stopped for a yellow light. The lady was expecting to cross the intersection after him, so she was mad. She started banging on her horn and she rolled down the window and shouted and cursed at this man. Then someone came to her window to talk to her. It was a police officer. He asked her, “Will you please step out of the car, Ma’am?” So she got out of the car nicely, and he took her to his car, and called for backup, and took her to the station, and took her fingerprints, and a statement, and finally let her go. She didn’t understand why they had picked her up in the first place, so the officer explained: “Well, I saw the bumper stickers on the car saying “Christian on board”, and “Praise the Lord”, and then I heard the way you were talking, and I thought, “Surely this woman has stolen someone else’s car.”

Your personality is known by your tongue.

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

Whatever you do should come out of your heart. So as long as it doesn’t, you are deceiving your own heart. Your words should definitely say what is in your heart. That’s why, if you cannot say the truth, you should not say anything. There is a saying, “I love my enemy who tells me the truth, more than my friends who will not.” What you really feel, you should be able to express. And if you don’t, you deceive your own heart, because you make your mouth to say what your heart is not saying.

You know what happened to the man who came to David and said that he killed Saul, when he did not. He paid for it. So whether you are deceiving your own heart or not, you will pay for it. You will be judged by every word that proceeded out of your mouth.

Matthew 12:31-37
  1. Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.
  2. And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.
  3. Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
  4. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
  5. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.
  6. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
  7. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

There is what is called the “prisoner’s dilemma.” You know when the police officer takes two to be interrogated, they question them separately. They are looking for the truth. The dilemma of the prisoner is this: If both confess, they will be free or have a very light sentence. But if one tells the truth and the other lies, the one who tells the lie will go free while the other will have a heavy sentence. So the prisoner says, “I would confess, but what if my partner lies? I will go to jail for a long time.”

Don’t you think it would be better if you were in the habit of telling the truth all the time?

When you are rebelling against a government, and they are after you, you may arrange in advance what you are going to say in case you get caught. So two men agree that they will never be in a cemetery. So each promises that if he gets caught, he will say that the other is in the cemetery. But when one of them got caught, the other reasoned, “Surely he will be pressured to tell the truth, and he will tell them that I will not be in the cemetery.” So he went to the cemetery.

The most vital thing that can happen to any of us is that we tell the truth. James encourages the church to be more willing to hear than to speak. He also said, “Not too many of you should run into this profession, because you will offend many. Many will not tell you the truth, and you will know them as hypocrites.” If you tell me nice things, will you also tell me the bad things, if they are the truth? We have to have people we can trust, who will tell us the truth. There are some people who only look for the negative, and we have to pay attention to that, too. That’s where wisdom comes in, and we have to learn to listen more than to talk.

If you’re from the South, you have a southern accent. Wherever I go, people say, “You have an accent. Where are you from?” I am an American, but at the same time, I am not. I was born and raised elsewhere. Do you know there is a story that Peter tried to hide himself by disguising his accent?

Matthew 26:69
  1. Now Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him, saying, Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee.

She wasn’t really sure, but she was suspicious. It wasn’t a strong accusation; she just mentioned it.

Matthew 26:70
  1. But he denied before them all, saying, I know not what thou sayest.

So it was simple. Peter just said, “Nah, I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Matthew 26:71
  1. And when he was gone out into the porch, another maid saw him, and said unto them that were there, This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth.

That’s two witnesses. It’s getting more serious, now. And Peter took it very seriously. He denied it, but this time with an oath.

Matthew 26:72
  1. And again he denied with an oath, I do not know the man.

This was more than just, “I don’t know what you are talking about.”

Matthew 26:73
  1. And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

“We have proof. Your speech tells everything about you; it betrays you. Your speech is a proof.”

So Peter began to curse and to swear.

Matthew 26:74
  1. Then began he to curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man. And immediately the cock crew.

The more you deny something, the deeper you go. First he denied it, and then when proof came, he began to curse and swear, but he just could not win.

That’s why I really like this scripture, talking about the perfect woman:

Proverbs 31:26
  1. She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

We need a second touch. It’s not anything you can I can do. It’s even worse when you don’t know it, because no man can tame the tongue. We walk around with this dangerous weapon, and if we are not aware of it, the next thing you know we will have blood on us. Jesus touched us, but trust me. You don’t want to see men as trees. You want to see clearly. You don’t want to deceive your own heart. We need that second touch. I hope you will think about it, and seek after it, because whether we realize it or not, we all need a second touch. God bless you.

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