Bible Studies

Notes from Bible Studies

Reason

Wednesday Evening Service, 7/29/09

Songs

Message: Reason

Pastor Thomas

Pastor Paine, Dan Lantis, and I were on a motorcycle ride in Oregon once, and every morning you’d get up and it would be that kind of overcast, drizzly day, but I knew that on the other side of those clouds there was sunshine. Don’t look at what you’re going through and complain; this too shall pass. You’re going to get through it.

I was reading an article last week, and it really ticked me off. A message has been brewing ever since.

The article, called “Reason,” was by written by Jeffrey McDonald of Religion News Service.

> Up until last summer, Jennifer Gray of Columbus, Ohio, considered herself “a weak Christian” whose baptism at age 11 in a Kentucky church came to mean less and less to her as she gradually lost faith in God.

> Then the 32-year-old medical transcriptionist took a decisive step, one that previously hadn’t been available. She got “de-baptized.”

> In a type of mock ceremony that’s now been performed in at least four states, a robed “priest” used a hairdryer marked “reason” in an apparent bid to blow away the waters of baptism once and for all. Several dozen participants then fed on a “de-sacrament” (crackers with peanut butter) and received certificates assuring they had “freely renounced a previous mistake, and accepted Reason over Superstition.”

> “It was very therapeutic,” Gray said in an interview. “It was a chance to laugh at the silly things I used to believe as a child. It helped me admit that it was OK to think the way I think and to not have any religious beliefs.”

> Within the past year, “de-baptism” ceremonies have attracted as many as 250 participants at atheist conventions in Ohio, Texas, Florida and Georgia. More have taken place on college campuses in recent years, according to Hemant Mehta, chair of the board of directors for the Secular Student Alliance, a group that promotes atheism among high school and college students.

> “If we’re having a winter solstice or summer solstice get-together or some other event, we might say: ‘Who wants to get de-baptized?’ ” said Greg McDowell, the Florida state director for American Atheists, an advocacy and networking group. “It’s a bit of satire. People will play the fool by waving their arms in the air and saying, ‘I got de-baptized!’ But the paperwork is still legit.”

> Some of the so-called “de-baptized” have used their certificates to petition churches to remove their names from baptismal rolls. One argument: they were baptized without their consent as children and should now be declared de-baptized.

> Some churches, however, aren’t budging on what they regard as an irreversible sacrament.

> Atheist Gary Mueller recently mailed his de-baptism certificate to St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Concord, Calif., and asked to be dropped from its baptismal record. The church told him, in effect, that he was all wet.

> “While we do not remove a name/person from a Baptism register, we can note alongside your name that ‘you have left the Roman Catholic Church,’ ” the Rev. Richard Mangini replied in an e-mail. “I hope that God surprises you one day and lets you know that He is quite well.”

> In Christian theology, baptism can’t be undone. If a Southern Baptist renounces his or her baptism, then that person is usually presumed to have never received an authentic baptism in the first place, according to Nathan Finn, assistant professor of Baptist studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C.

> For mainline Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox Christians, baptism is commonly understood as a sign or means of grace and a covenant that God maintains even when humans turn away, said Laurence Stookey, professor emeritus of preaching and worship at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington. He said “de-baptizers” misunderstand baptism when they caricature it as an attempt at magic.

> Baptism “is a kind of adoption where you become a child of God, of the church and of the family,” Stookey said. “You can renounce your physical parents, (the church and God), but they cannot renounce you because you are their child. Anybody who makes fun of baptism probably hasn’t gone into it in enough depth to know that.”

> De-baptism efforts have been growing internationally in recent years. More than 100,000 Britons downloaded de-baptism certificates from the National Secular Society (NSS) between 2005 and 2009, according to NSS campaigner Stephen Evans. Upwards of 1,000 Italians requested de-baptism certificates prior to Italy’s “De-Baptism Day” last October, according to Italy’s Union of Rationalist Atheists and Agnostics.

> “For a long time, non-religious people in the Bible Belt just kept quiet, but they aren’t keeping quiet anymore,” Zuckerman said. “I think that’s largely a reaction to George W. Bush’s presidency. (Atheists) were saying, ‘The government is being taken over by very religious people. We need to stand up and say: ‘We’re here. We’re secular. Deal with it.’ “

I think this is the one that upset me the most.

> Atheist groups expect more de-baptisms in years ahead. Mehta, of the Secular Students Alliance, says college groups already bring blow driers to campus recruitment events, offering to de-baptize undergraduates on the spot.

I wonder if they have the college Bible Studies groups recognized to recruit people into their study groups?

> Meanwhile, organizers of de-baptisms are broadening their mockery to include other religions. At the American Atheists’ national convention in Atlanta last April, the de-baptism event included a dance where women in burqas stripped down to red-sequined leotards, according to Blair Scott, the group’s national affiliate director.

> The goal, he said, was to say blasphemy shouldn’t be prohibited.

> “We made fun of Islam, we made fun of Hinduism, we made fun of Christianity with intent to be blasphemous on purpose to make a point” about a proposed anti-blasphemy initiative at the United Nations, Scott said. “It’s not done with malice or intent to offend. But anytime you criticize religion or poke fun at what atheists would call the sillier parts of religion, you’re going to offend somebody. There’s just no way around that.”

Wow! There are such incredible beliefs and attitudes that are in the world today. We who believe must be able to stand up and reason with those who don’t believe.

I wanted to go over some scriptures about what the purpose of baptism is, and what it isn’t. Then I’d like to focus on why we should stand up and uphold baptism as an important part of Christian life.

Baptism isn’t a ritual to join the church.

You don’t get baptized to join the church. You don’t get baptized because you’re afraid, and so “just in case, I’ll get baptized.” You hear the message of salvation that Jesus has to offer, and stand up like the men in the book of Acts and say, “My heart and pricked; what shall I do?” The first message to a lost person isn’t baptism; it’s repentance. You’ve got to acknowledge the sin in your life and ask God for forgiveness. Then, in that acknowledgement, you must be buried in baptism. Sprinkling isn’t burial. If you put a dead body in a cemetary with a handful of dirt sprinkled over it, they’d arrest you! Burial means putting the body into the ground, covering it with dirt, and leaving it there. The problem with the church today is that people want to dig that old man back out of the ground.

Baptism is far more than getting wet.

Reason
1. a cause, explanation, or justification for an action or event;
* good or obvious cause to do something: we have reason to celebrate.
* Logic: a premise of an argument in support of a belief.
2. the power of the mind to think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic: there is a close connection between reason and emotion.
* what is right, practical, or possible; common sense: people are willing, within reason, to pay for schooling.
* (one’s reason) one’s sanity: she is in danger of losing her reason.
(verb, intransitive) think, understand, and form judgments by a process of logic.
(verb, transitive) (reason something out) find an answer to a problem by considering various possible solutions.
* (reason with) persuade (someone) with rational argument: I tried to reason with her, but without success.

God said,

Isaiah 1:18-19
  1. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
  2. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

God want to reason with you; he doesn’t force you to live for him.

When someone writes “Reason” on the side of a blow-dryer, that doesn’t make sense. Where is the persuasion? You can’t blow away guilt. You cannot blow away sin. You cannot blow away a promise made to God. That is an impossibility. It’s not logical; it’s not reasonable to think that you can. We need to understand that the purpose of baptism was for cleansing and purification. Look at the use of water in God’s plan for the church, and for the world.

Genesis 1:1-2
  1. In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
  2. 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.
Genesis 1:9
  1. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.

After that, man lived in the garden, transgressed, and spread out over the land. Man sinned in not recognizing God as God, and in doing whatever he wanted without regard to God’s commandments. So God buried the whole earth in water. He saved Noah for his righteousness, but he didn’t save his wife and children because of their righteousness. He saved them because of Noah’s righteousness. Who would you be able to save in an ungodly world because of your righteousness?

When Lot left the side of Abraham, he left the source of his blessing. While he stayed with Abraham, everything he had was blessed and grew. But as soon as he left, he was taken captive. After being restored by God’s grace on Abraham, he still didn’t learn his lesson. He turned back toward the city. When God sent an angel to tell him to leave, he tried to persuade his family to come with him. But because Lot lived a life of compromise, only his two eldest daughters and his wife came with him.

God wants you to live a life without compromise, so that God can spread an umbrella of righteousness over you.

We know the story of the flood. Later on, God saved Israel by leading them through the Red Sea. Israel passed through the water again.

When Israel was in danger of dying of thirst in the wilderness, God brought forth water out of a rock, which was symbolic of the water that came forth from Christ’s side.

We learned last week that the priests had to wash in water before they entered the holy place. It wasn’t for cleansing from dirt. It was a symbol of purification.

When a woman had her time, she had to sit without the camp for seven days. And before she came back in, she had to wash, as a symbol of purification.

Purification isn’t just an Old Testament thing.

Romans 12:2
  1. 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.

In the church, you should have an understanding of baptism and purification, so that you can reason with those who would come against the gospel.

Revelation 3:20
  1. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

God wants us to make that choice of our own will, saying “I am unclean; I want to be clean. I am ungodly; I want to be godly. I have no peace; I want peace.” God says, “Your sin is terrible, but I can offer you eternal life. I can offer you joy. I can offer you stability.”

After the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness, God brought them through the waters again, when they crossed the Jordan river.

When I talk to somebody about death, I talk to them about crossing the threshold into a new existence. We don’t understand it, but we have the promise that God went to prepare a place for us. Getting baptized is also a crossing into a new existence. That crossing over, that getting baptized, is a choice we must willingly make. That’s why we don’t baptized infants. We’ve decided that we won’t baptize anybody under the age of twelve, because a child of seven or eight can’t really understand what the choice entails. When a child becomes a man or woman, when they reach that age of reason, then they can really make that choice in understanding.

In today’s church there is no “casual Christian.” You can’t be a lukewarm Christian. You’re either going to be righteous or you’re going to be lost. You’re going to understand the choice that you made or you’re going to be lost. God is not going to judge you for eternity based on what you did for an hour or two in this building. God is going to judge you based on what you did while you were home with your family and while you were out by your self.

God says we should hate the garment spotted by the flesh. Ladies, you’re careful to guard your purse. We must take the same care to secure your eternity.

Galatians 5:1
  1. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

The church, God’s church, (not the building), has reasoned and determined to follow God. As a pastor, I’ve laid hands on people and seen God do miracles. It wasn’t me, but I was in touch with God and God used me to touch somebody else.

Your salvation has got to matter. You’ve got to keep your mind cleansed. Don’t look back across that river and say, “I’d rather go back into captivity.” Elisha showed his power by parting the water with Elijah’s mantle. Naaman was cleansed not because he was washed in the Jordan river, but because he was obedient.

There is a story about three truck driver who went to a job interview. The employer called them in one at a time and showed them a picture of a hairpin curve on the side of a mountain. You could see in the picture where trucks had missed the curve to crash in the rocks at the bottom of the cliff. The employer asked the first driver, “How close can you come to the edge of that curve without going over?” The driver answered confidently that he could get within four inches with no problem. The employer said, “Thank you; that’s all. We’ll call if we need you.” The second man was called in and asked the same question. He answered, “I’ve got a good steady eye; I can get within a foot. The response again was, “Thank you; that’s all. We’ll call if we need you.” The third man was called in, but as soon as he saw the picture, he got up to leave. “Wait; where are you going,” asked the employer. “I’m sorry, sir, but I’m not your man. I’m going to stay as far away from the edge of that cliff as I can get.” The employer said, “You’re hired.”

God doesn’t want you to see how close you can get to the world. Why use words that sound like swear-words? Why use a vocabulary that sounds so close to profanity that people have to ask you what you said? God wants righteous, holy, godly, pure, cleansed people. He doesn’t want people who wear a mask to look like everybody else. If you’re married, would you want your wife to hang out with everybody else and come home once in a while? Would you want your husband to visit only when he wants his clothes washed? But that’s what we do to God! You say, “God I love you,” but then you go whoring after the world!

Can people tell by your conversation that you’re a Christian? Or do they wonder? You can look at a crowd and tell if there’s a Marine in it. Everybody wants to wear the uniform, but they don’t want to go lie in the mud getting shot at in Afghanistan. There’s a price to pay to wear that uniform. And there’s a price to pay to call your

John 3:4-5
  1. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?
  2. Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
Mark 16:16
  1. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

We know that when Christ’s side was pierced, there came forth both water and blood.

John 19:34
  1. But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.
1 John 5:6-7
  1. This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.
  2. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

It doesn’t say they are like one; it doesn’t say they agree in one; it says they are one.

1 John 5:8
  1. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

What do they agree in? Salvation requires all three. You can’t get half-baptized. That’s like getting half-born.

1 Peter 3:20-21
  1. Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
  2. 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:

I remember when a guy came up to Pastor Paine on the streets of Waukegan and confronted him, saying “You can’t show me one place in the Bible where it says you have to be baptized for salvation!” Pastor Paine opened up his Bible to 1 Peter 3:21 and read it. The guy just grabbed his Bible and stormed off.

If you planned to get baptized but never did it, know that there are only two books going to be opened in heaven, the book of works and the book of life. There is no book of intents. God doesn’t care what you “intend”; God cares what you do.

This decision we make is a decision for life; not a decision of convenience. If you live a life of convenience, you’ll answer for that.

Colossians 2:11-14
  1. In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
  2. 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.
  3. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses;
  4. 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;

Our circumcision is a circumcision of the heart. Is your heart toward God, or is it toward the world?

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.

Just because you’re religious, or have a belief in God, or had someone prophesy over you, doesn’t mean that you’re saved. A decision you made ten years ago doesn’t mean you’re saved today. What makes the difference is that you cherish that decision every day.

God lets you know when you’re going astray. I remember a few hours after I got baptized, God spoke to me and said, “You will never return to sin, because if you do, I’ll take your life.” It was a powerful experience. I said, “Okay, God; I’ve got the message.” But I was twenty-four years old, and at twenty-four years old, you’re invincible. At twenty-four years old, you’ve got Alzheimer’s. You remember what you want to. So when I went home on leave and got in touch with some old friends, I did some things I shouldn’t have. When I got back, Pastor Davis said to me, “Son, I don’t know what you’ve been doing, but I see the death angel over your shoulder.” I prayed to God for another chance, and I’ve never had Alzheimer’s on that subject ever since.

The book of Romans talks about being grafted in.

Romans 11:21
  1. For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.

If you live an ungodly life, God will separate you. But if you love and honor him, God will love and honor you.

John 15:16
  1. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

That scripture isn’t about asking for new sneakers or a better car. That scripture is about asking for what you need to fulfill your ministry.

When Saul spoke with God, God told him to go to Damascus and wait there. Can you imagine what was going through his mind? He had talked with God and couldn’t see. Then a man said, “Brother Saul, receive thy sight.” But he wasn’t saved until he got baptized.

[Acts 22;13-16]

Even if someone convinces you that you can take a blow-dryer and get “de-baptized”, you can still come back to God. When you come to your senses, God will welcome you back, put the ring on your finger and bring out the fatted calf. Your reward will be different, because of that period of disobedience, but that’s a different Bible study.

What is preventing you from spending time in fellowship? How many of you call your brothers and sisters at lunchtime, just to have a prayer with them? The church has got to stay in touch with God, and you can stay in touch with God through your brothers and sisters. But if you separate yourself from prayer, from fellowship, from study, why are you surprised when you find yourself in sin?

Anything that won’t last for eternity doesn’t really mean anything. Cherish your eternity, church. If we only had hope in this life, if we didn’t have the promise of eternal life, we’d be of all men most miserable. But I’m not miserable. I might be going through some rainy days, some financial difficulties, some family problems, but that doesn’t matter. I know that the sun is shining on the other side of those clouds. What matters is my relationship with Jesus Christ.

Your salvation matters to God. He paid the ultimate price: he suffered on Calvary not so that you could do whatever you want, but so that you could wear the family name. God doesn’t care how many mistakes you make, as long as you keep coming back to him.

We must care about people’s salvation. We’ve got to wear that breastplate of salvation. That article should anger you. God has something better for you. Be persuaded in your own mind. Come, let us reason together.

Church Talk

Wednesday Evening Service, 7/1/09

Songs

  • [ Majestic]
  • [ All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises]
  • [ One Less Stone]
  • [ In The Name Of Jesus]
  • [ Can’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore]
  • [ Light The Fire Again]
  • [ Holy Is The Lord God Almighty]

Blessings

  • Pastor Lantis’ nephew was rushed to the hospital with kidney failure; we all prayed for him and the next day he was fine.
  • Carlyle Miller found by experience the benefits of giving to God first.
  • Dwight Hohnes was able to share a testimony with a minister whose church had burned down.
  • Todd Morgan spoke with people on base who had met this ministry in other parts of the world.

Pastor Thomas

God answers prayer in many different ways. Most of us in this room probably wouldn’t pick the other people in this room as friends, when we were lost and in the world. What brings us together isn’t the music or the activities, but Christ and our salvation. That’s what keeps us going in the right direction. That’s why I appreciate Pastor Paine’s message. You can hear all kinds of evil report, but when you listen to God, great things happen.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of what God can and will do with this ministry.

Pastor Paine

Who has a scripture on your heart?

  • Jeff Wiedenhoeft
Proverbs 3:5-7
  1. Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.
  2. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
  3. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil.
  • John Connors
Hebrews 11:1
  1. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
  • Pat Mahoney
James 1:17
  1. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

My father had some expressions when I was a young man, and I didn’t realize until I was older the impact they had. My father said silly things like “No good deed goes unpunished.” He meant it as humor, but if that’s what you rehearse in your mind, you begin to believe it. That’s why it’s important to rehearse the scriptures. As we gather together and reconnect, what has been happening over the past several weeks has been a blessing. It’s a good reminder for the church that ministry doesn’t have to happen in the church building, although there is some ministry that does happen in the building.

Jasmine and Matthew, would you please stand? Jasmine and Matthew are getting baptized at the conclusion of this service.

Some of the great moments of ministry happen when we gather together. Some of them happen when we have a few moments to sit down with somebody and share. Some of the ministry we do doesn’t happen in the building.

Ephesians 6:12
  1. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

There is a spiritual battle that we fight every day. Some of the battles we fight over and over, and maybe one day God will allow us to move on to another battle. For some, it’s lustful thoughts; for some it is anger; for some it is laziness. I encourage you to keep fighting that “good fight of faith.”

Some of the battles that we fight are unseen. We don’t even recognize them.

Matthew 10:16
  1. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.

Here we are, in a Christian church, on a Wednesday night, talking about Jesus. Why do we have to be wise as serpents? In today’s vernacular, maybe that’s saying you’ve got to be “street-wise.” Not every “good deal” is a good deal.

I’m talking to the church family now. I don’t want to, but I’ve got to talk about Facebook. No, I don’t think it’s the antichrist. Some people use Facebook for good, and some people, if you don’t pay attention, will get you on their friends list, and you’re communicating with people that you don’t know.

Do you know there are people who hate Walmart, and think they’re part of the antichrist? Do you know there are people here who think that Disneyland is part of the antichris?. There are those who hate this ministry, and we have not escaped them. Just in the last three or four weeks, I’ve had several people tell me that they’d been invited to be friends with somebody on Facebook, and after accepting the invitation, had found that the friends of that “friend” are people who hate us and who are working against us.

To give just one example, we were scheduled to have a high-ranking Navy official here to speak with us, and on the day he was due to appear, he was contacted by several people from Facebook who hate us. They told him several things that, if he hadn’t been very careful about who he listened to, might have convinced him not to come. But after he came and looked around, he realized that what he’d been told wasn’t true. So be careful.

I’m excited about what Jesus is doing for me, and I’m excited about what I’m doing for Jesus. I’m excited about living a life that matters. I don’t mean that in a self-centered way, but I’m thankful to have the privilege to preach the gospel message.

I hope that somehow, someway, God blessed you and refreshed you. Some Wednesday nights we have much more teaching. Some nights it’s all praise and worship. Tonight it was a mixture of family meeting and praise and scriptures. But however, it’s good and pleasant for us to gather together.

Pastorship

Wednesday Evening Bible Study: Pastorship

Todd Morgan

A pastor is a shepherd; someone who watches over our soul so that we can be spiritually healthy and successful. A pastor is not a babysitter, but he will help you and challenge you. You can give your tithes and offerings or not; it’s your choice. If you know to do it, then it’s your blessing.

The pastors want to help us, but we have to ask for that help. I caught myself today and called Pastor Paine about something that really should have gone through him. And he said that he appreciated that I’d taken steps to do better the next time.

The world doesn’t understand pastorship; they’ve got it all mixed up.

Jeremiah 3:15
  1. And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.

That’s something that we can trust is of God. Pastors are ordained of God, not elected by men. They follow God, not the money.

We need to pray and support the pastorship; we don’t know the half of what they deal with on a daily basis. We need to make it easy for them. We shouldn’t be “high-maintenance” spiritually. But that doesn’t mean that we just stay out of their way. We should want to learn from them and draw from what they know. We don’t worship the man, but we honor and respect them.

A lot of times people are afraid of authority, because the flesh doesn’t like authority.

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

When you’re in church, watch the pastors. Watch their example. Ask yourself, “why did Pastor Paine do that?” I’m not saying they’re perfect, but there are a lot things you can pick up by watching them. They have the experience, the knowledge, and understanding that God gives them, and we can learn from that.

There’s church-work and there’s the work of the church. We have to do a certain amount of church-work to be good stewards, but the most important thing is doing the work of the church.

It is important to establish a pattern of good works. Look at what you’ve done that has been successful, and pattern your actions after that example.

There’s a definite framework and structure of the ministry; it’s not all helter-skelter. Everyone has a part to play in the ministry; everyone has a place in the overall structure.

1 Peter 5:1-8
  1. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
  2. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
  3. Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
  4. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.
  5. Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
  6. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
  7. Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
  8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

In those documentaries in Africa they show the attacking animal looking for the weaker animals who can’t stay with the pack. When you’re in the pack, you’re stronger. We can liken that to the unity of the fellowship. When you stray out on your own, you’re weak. So Pastors are like shepherds, looking after the flock and gathering up those who have wandered astray.

When you subject yourself to the pastorship, you have to be humble. Don’t be afraid of rebuke; we all fall short; we all get rebuked. But the humble person can learn from instruction. If your brother says something that totally convicts you, then it’s good to recognize the holy ghost and learn from it.

Hebrews 13:16-18
  1. But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
  2. Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  3. Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.

When we see a lack of communication with the pastors, we need to pick up the pace. If we see a lack of communicate in some thing, it’s important to get it right the next time around. It takes effort; it takes sacrifice; but effective communication is worth it. Communication makes for a tight-knit group.

It’s easy to criticize leadership; Satan will help you with that. But it’s far more worthwhile to step up and make things better, by doing your part and praying for the rest. It’s important to communicate ahead-of-time, to plan ahead.

The flesh doesn’t like the phrase “rule over you,” but that’s where you have to have a humble heart. Everything God does is to help us, and the pastors are there to make things better, not worse. The pastors love hearing from you, but they’re not going to beg you to communicate.

1 Timothy 5:17-18
  1. Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.
  2. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

We don’t worship a man, but we respect and honor the man of God. They’re not asking us to do anything they aren’t doing; they set the example.

If the pastor doesn’t hear from you, he’s going to wonder how you’re doing.

Romans 13:1-7
  1. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
  2. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
  3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
  4. For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
  5. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
  6. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
  7. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

It says “let every soul be subject…” Every soul; every one of us is subject to that power, the authority in leadership that is given to them by God. So don’t be afraid; just do good. The pastors see you developing in the ministry, and it encourages them. But you still need to communicate. Send an email or something. Shake their hand when you walk in the room. Their whole concern is the care of the churches; we just have to do our part. When we show up for fellowship, it’s important to both give and receive.

Memorial Day

After the civil war, many communities set aside a special day for remembering those who had died in battle. Because the most common way to remember the dead was to take flowers to their graves, the day was originally called “Decoration Day.” A national organization of Union Veterans participated in these memorials, by order of their Commander-In-Chief, John Logan. His General Orders No. 11 set aside May 30 as a day to “tenderly remember our heroic dead”. He said in part, “If other eyes grow dull and other hands slack, and other hearts cold in the solemn trust, ours shall keep it well as long as the light and warmth of life remain in us.”

After World War I, the day was used to remember all Americans who had died in wartime. In 1971, Congress declared this “Memorial Day” to be a national holiday and moved its observance to the last Monday in May, in order to create a convenient three-day weekend.

On Memorial Day Service of 2009, Pastor Paine quoted from Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, which dedicated a field to the memory of the soldiers who had died there. Ironically, the point of Lincoln’s message was that the deeds of those men should be remembered far longer than the words that he spoke. Today, most people can quote Lincoln’s speech from memory, or at least the “Four score and seven years ago” part. We remember the words because we’ve heard them rehearsed dozens of times. Like the children of Israel, without this “rehearsing in our ears”, we soon forget even the great lessons of history. And like the children of Israel, we pay more attention to ceremony and observance of tradition than to the historical lessons they were created to preserve. For many people, Memorial Day is a day for picnics, just as Christmas is a day for presents and Easter is a day for baskets of candy. But I encourage you, as John Logan did, to keep the solemn trust, though others eyes grow dull and other hands slack. This memorial day, I took out time to study some history about the civil war. I put it in my heart and made it personal. I’ll probably share what I learned with many of you. That’s how I intend to keep the memory alive. I hope that each of you take out time to look beyond the ceremony and observance of tradition. I encourage you to make it personal; make it powerful. Remembering the past is not something that comes naturally; it takes diligent effort.

Deuteronomy 6:6-12
  1. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
  2. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
  3. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
  4. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
  5. And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not,
  6. And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full;
  7. Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.

The Early Church, part 1 of 3

The Early Church, Part 1 of 3

Larry Glander

When you think of the early church, you probably think of Paul, Peter, Matthew, and John. But the church existed before then; Jesus said “I came not to destroy the church, but to establish it.” The early church started, in fact, with Abraham.

What if I told you that Abraham was a squatter? In Haiti, they build walls around their land before they build a house on it. The reason they do that is that, if they built the house first, and then they left it alone for a few hours, another family would move in and it would become their house.

About 3,700 years of recorded history occurred before the birth of Christ, and we’re now in the second millenium afterward. But believing that takes faith. Science and God differ on their history. Science says that a dinosaur bone is millions of years old, but God could have planted it pre-aged.

Abraham’s vision was to establish the nation of Israel. Let’s draw some parallels with America. Why was America established?

  • Freedom of religion
  • Freedom from oppression
  • Failure of due process
  • Laws being set aside at the king’s whim

The key word is freedom. We still hear it today, right? Today we’re talking about freedom, about the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.

The whole existence of the nation of Israel is based on their belief in God. Is it any wonder that their whole history is filled with wars for their freedom? In America we pursue the same goals. It’s part of our culture.

Hebrew
The people who crossed over.

Without that element of freedom and belief in God, Abraham would be no more than a land-squatter who wanted his own kingdom.

What was the purpose of the sacrifice? The purpose is that a person would be accepted by God, in spite of their sins. Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission.

Hebrews 9:22
  1. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Leviticus 17:11
  1. For the life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.

There were a lot of different sacrifices, and each had their own purpose, and each one was given by exact instruction from God.

We know that God has all wisdom and all knowledge. They didn’t have refrigerators back then, so they had to do something to make sure they didn’t die from their food.

Leviticus 11:1-8
  1. And the LORD spake unto Moses and to Aaron, saying unto them,
  2. Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which ye shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth.
  3. Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is clovenfooted, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that shall ye eat.
  4. Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  5. And the coney, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  6. And the hare, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.
  7. And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.
  8. Of their flesh shall ye not eat, and their carcase shall ye not touch; they are unclean to you.

The rest of the chapter has a lot more. The first time I ever heard that, I got all confused. What is all these parting of hooves and chewing of cud for? Let me break it down. They didn’t have refrigerators. God knew what was clean and what was not. God knew that if they ate that pork and it wasn’t cooked to at least 160 degrees, they would get sick and die. Mozart died that way. But all the things that God listed were safe to eat.

Leviticus 3:16-17
  1. And the priest shall burn them upon the altar: it is the food of the offering made by fire for a sweet savour: all the fat is the LORD’s.
  2. It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.

See, fat is bad for you. Even God said so. In those times, the fat held the disease and bugs that they couldn’t get rid of. Our American cows these days are taken care of so their fat doesn’t have those things, but they didn’t have that advantage back then.

Leviticus 11:9-12
  1. These shall ye eat of all that are in the waters: whatsoever hath fins and scales in the waters, in the seas, and in the rivers, them shall ye eat.
  2. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas, and in the rivers, of all that move in the waters, and of any living thing which is in the waters, they shall be an abomination unto you:
  3. They shall be even an abomination unto you; ye shall not eat of their flesh, but ye shall have their carcases in abomination.
  4. Whatsoever hath no fins nor scales in the waters, that shall be an abomination unto you.

The regular fish are safe to eat, but bottom-feeders like catfish, and crustaceans like shrimp and crab can carry disease or poison.

In Jerusalem, in Jesus’ day, the church had already been established for a long time. So they had a ruling council called “The Sanhedrin.” Later on, they had another council called “The Jerusalem Council” which were made up of Christians. But the Sanhedrin were Jews, and they didn’t get along with Jesus.

If somebody comes into your office and starts using your computer and doing your work, how does that make you feel? Not happy at all, right? That’s your realm responsibility, and you like to do it. If Pastor Paine is up there preaching, and somebody else were to get up there and start preaching, it would get taken care of pretty quickly. So imagine the Sanhedrin, who wore these big symbols on their forehead to show how holy they were, and along comes this Jesus.

Around 37 B.C., King Herod separated the functions of the high priest and the secular rulers, forcing the priests to limit their authority to the religious activities of the church. So these guys weren’t happy to begin with. First King Herod took away most of their power, and then Jesus started preaching that people could go straight to God without consulting them, first. He was taking their power away. Think about that the next time you watch “The Passion of The Christ.” Remember the scene where they were going around at night, rousing people up for the next day? They had to do it at night so the Roman soldiers wouldn’t find out.

Let’s talk about the wise men. Were there three? We don’t really know; there were three different gifts. Who were they? We know that they came from the East, so it’s possible they were descendants Abraham. Remember that Abraham gave gifts to his sons and sent away to the East.

Micah 5:2
  1. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

This is the verse that shook up Herod, because it challenged his rule.

Matthew 2:7-10
  1. Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
  2. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
  3. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
  4. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.

It took them a while to get there. The scriptures hint at it by calling him a child rather than a baby. That’s why Herod killed all the children under two years of age, to make sure he got them all.

Matthew 2:11-12
  1. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
  2. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

So they were spiritual. They listened to God.

Matthew 2:13
  1. And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.

Even there, God had a plan. He sent the wise men and gave them a dream. You might ask, “Why would Herod send soldiers with the three wise men?” They wouldn’t have led them to the child. They were smart; they would have gone another way.

Matthew 2:16
  1. Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

So it wasn’t just Bethlehem.

Matthew 2:17-18
  1. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
  2. In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

God had a plan. He took this man Abraham out of his land, and said “Here is a new place for you; I want you start a country with its basis on worshipping God.” That basis still stands today.

Handout: Christ and the New Testament Tabernacle

Hebrews 9:1-10:10The New Covenant
Exodus 25:8-9 The Old Tabernacle 
Exodus 27:9-21One Door 
Exodus 27:1-8 The Altar of Sacrifice 
Exodus 30:18-21 The Lavern 
Exodus 26:1-33 The Holy and Most Holy Place 
Exodus 25:10-22 The Ark and Mercy Seat 
Exodus 25:23-33 The Table of Shewbread 
Exodus 25:31-39 The Candlestick 
Exodus 30:1-6 The Altar of Incense 
John 8:24 Christ Our Tabernacle 
John 10:7-10 One Door 
John 12:23-32 Our Altar of Sacrifice 

Mark 16:16; 1 John 5:6-8 

Water 
John 6:48 Bread 
John 8:12 Light 
John 14:13-14 Prayer 

Who Is This King Of Glory? (Part 3 of 3)

Who Is This King of Glory (part 3 of 3)

Pat Mahoney

  • Christ’s Ministry and Authority
  • Recognizing God in us
  • Messianic Prophecies Fulfilled

Christ’s Ministry and Authority

Luke 2:46-52
  1. And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.
  2. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers.
  3. And when they saw him, they were amazed: and his mother said unto him, Son, why hast thou thus dealt with us? behold, thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.
  4. And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?
  5. And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them.
  6. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.
  7. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.

A lot of people at that time saw Jesus as the flesh, not the spirit. Even his parents looked at him as a child, not as the fulfillment of prophecy. But he knew that his life’s purpose was to serve his father’s will. We know that he was in the flesh and subject to all the temptations of the flesh, but without sin.

Matthew 3:13-17
  1. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
  2. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
  3. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
  4. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
  5. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

One of Christ’s very first examples in ministry was to establish baptism as an act of obedience to fulfill all righteousness. This happened even before he called his disciples. As leaders go, before you have a following, you have to set the example yourself. Otherwise, you followers won’t have much confidence in your ability.

When Jesus was tempted in the wilderness, he knew God’s word and used it to withstand Satan. He was establishing his ministry and authority by the power of God’s word, not through the flesh. For homework, read Matthew 14:1-11.

Luke 4:16-22
  1. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.
  2. And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,
  3. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
  4. To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.
  5. And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
  6. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
  7. And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?

So they were amazed at his ability to convey God’s word with authority that the Scribes and Pharisees didn’t have. Yet they fell back on their fleshly understanding, saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”

Read all of John 5, where Jesus withstood the religious hypocrites by healing on the Sabbath and using his works to prove that God had given him authority. They wanted to kill him because he made himself equal to God.

Matthew 9:20-23
  1. And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment:
  2. For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole.
  3. But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour.
  4. And when Jesus came into the ruler’s house, and saw the minstrels and the people making a noise,

When Jesus commanded the unclean spirit to come out, he didn’t call on any higher power to do so.

Luke 4:36
  1. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out.
John 8:3-11
  1. And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,
  2. They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.
  3. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
  4. This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.
  5. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.
  6. And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.
  7. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
  8. When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
  9. She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Jesus had uncommon mercy, because he was able to see into the heart of man.

John 2:25
  1. And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.
Mark 4:39-41
  1. And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.
  2. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?
  3. And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?

Jesus had authority over the creation. He even had power to raise the dead.

John 11:43-44
  1. And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
  2. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.

Before this, Jesus had stayed away so that it couldn’t be said that he had healed Lazarus rather than raising him from the dead. Again, he didn’t call on any higher power or name; he simply said, “Lazarus, come forth.” And by the power of his own word, it was done. So his ministry bears witness that he was more than just a man.

Matthew 28:18
  1. And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

That’s a pretty bold statement for “just a man” to make. There has been discussion and debate on how Christ, being flesh, could have the authority of God.

Recognizing God In Us

In the Old Testament, we studied the relationship the Jews had with God, through the law. But now in the New Testament, we have a relationship through the “inward man.” This inward man is the one that God “made in his own image.” Jesus said that he came that we might have life more abundantly. This more abundant life is in the inward man.

The law of the inward man is grace. Grace influences us spiritually, binds us to, and compels us to live according to the word of God. It is both desire and motivation, not out of fear, but out of love.

Philippians 2:12
  1. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Worldly knowledge won’t do this for us. As a converted Pharisee, Paul was aware of the contrast between the Old Testament law and the New Testament grace, which has appeared to all men.

Romans 2:14-16
  1. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
  2. Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)
  3. In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

This law of the inward man rests upon us all, but it is not brought to fulness until we are baptized in Jesus’ name and risen to walk in newness of life.

Paul discussed the great tribulations and distresses faced by the New Testament Christian.

2 Corinthians 4:16
  1. For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.

Though we suffer tribulation, we can take comfort from the Holy Spirit to continue on.

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.

Man can destroy the body but cannot destroy the soul. So we should fear the Lord more than men.

Romans 7:22
  1. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:

This passage would be meaningless if men were made of unholy material and not subject to spiritual influences.

Ephesians 3:16
  1. That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

So there is an extra measure, like “spiritual vitamins” that helps you keep on going. It’s like having a deep desire, as an individual, that keeps you going. Thomas Edison used to work late nights, and sleep in his workshop, because of his dedication. Paul said he lived of the gospel. This is something more than “taking your sacrifice to the temple” because you’ve done something wrong. This is a constant effort of will.

Hebrews 9:10
  1. Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.
Jeremiah 31:33-34
  1. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
  2. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

God foretold that this law of the inward man would be established in the New Testament.

John 13:34-35
  1. A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
  2. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

When you consider all the weight of the law, all the “do’s” and “don’ts”, it’s amazing how much simpler it is in the New Testament.

Romans 13:8-10
  1. Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.
  2. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
  3. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

So simple, yet so against the nature of man. To be more like Christ is to love more, and thus to fulfill the law. The Children of Israel had to be accountable to the myriad requirements of the Old Testament law: the sacrifices, the offerings specific to each sin.

1 Corinthians 2:14
  1. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

If you don’t have the understanding of that love in your heart, which is only given through the Holy Ghost, it will seem to be foolishness. There is a law that the world doesn’t understand, and it can live within us, if we have that relationship with God.

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.

At the beginning of this study, we talked about how important it is to have the word of God and to know it accurately. In order to have it brought to our remembrance, we had to study it first.

Acts 24:16
  1. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

Messianic Prophecied Fulfilled

One of the biggest problems in the Trinity doctrine is Jesus Christ being God in the flesh. How can a man in the flesh be God? This study will center on Christ’s oneness of God as the Father. We’ll forego the study of Jesus being the fullfilment of the prophecies concerning the messiah, because most people know and agree with them.

Last Sunday we heard that Jacob wrestled with an angel, and asked for his name. The angel answered, “Why do you ask?” In another passage, another angel answers, “Why do you ask, seing it is secret?” Even the name “Jehovah” literally means “The mighty name of God.” It isn’t really a name. When Moses asked God for his name, God said, “Say that ‘I AM’ sent you.” So God had a name reserved, to be revealed at a later time.

Isaiah 7:14
  1. Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
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.
Matthew 1:23
  1. 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.

Sometimes that’s not enough for people to understand that Jesus was “God in us.” They explain it away saying, “It was the presence of God with him,” or something like that.

Here we see a literal reference to the name of God being revealed:

Zechariah 14:9
  1. And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.
John 17:6
  1. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
manifest
Made known to the senses.

The only name manifested was “Jesus”.

Acts 4:10-12
  1. Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.
  2. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.
  3. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

God said in Isaiah 53 that he was the savior, and there is none else. But it says here that the name Jesus Christ was the only name given whereby we must be saved.

Isaiah 45:22-23
  1. Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.
  2. I have sworn by myself, the word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear.

That was God talking.

Romans 14:10-11
  1. But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.
  2. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

I don’t think that Jesus was saying, “Bow to me, but confess to God.” I think that God had made Jesus “both Lord and Christ.”

Zechariah 12:10
  1. And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.

The wording is kind-of odd here. God speaking through the prophet said, “they shall look upon me whom they have pierced”. I don’t think the prophet was speaking of himself. And when it says, “his only son”, and “his firstborn”, I don’t think it was just a play on words.

Psalms 22:16-22
  1. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.
  2. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me.
  3. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture.
  4. But be not thou far from me, O LORD: O my strength, haste thee to help me.
  5. Deliver my soul from the sword; my darling from the power of the dog.
  6. Save me from the lion’s mouth: for thou hast heard me from the horns of the unicorns.
  7. I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise thee.

This is an exact prophecy of the crucifixion of Christ.

John 17:25-26
  1. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
  2. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Note the echoing of “I will declare thy name,” and compare with John 14.

Ephesians 3:14-15
  1. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
  2. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

Whether you want to talk about God the father or about Christ, the name is Jesus.

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.

Again, the word “manifest”, meaning “revealed” or “made known.” This verse is a pretty good description of Christ’s ministry.

2 Peter 1:10-11
  1. Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:
  2. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Some say that God was on vacation and said, “Take over, son; I’m retiring.” But I believe that God has the power to work however he wants to; he doesn’t have to be divided to manifest his power in a different way.

Only a perfect sacrifice or priest could establish the New Testament.

Hebrews 9:11-28
  1. But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;
  2. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.
  3. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh:
  4. How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
  5. And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.
  6. For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.
  7. For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator liveth.
  8. Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.
  9. For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
  10. Saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
  11. Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
  12. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
  13. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.
  14. For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
  15. Nor yet that he should offer himself often, as the high priest entereth into the holy place every year with blood of others;
  16. For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.
  17. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:
  18. So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

No man or fleshly being could contain all of the spirit of God.

Colossians 2:9-10
  1. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
  2. And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

All the fulness of the godhead bodily means “everything that could be known of God”. And it was all found in Christ.

It is helpful in understanding the role of Christ to consider that the flesh is of no importance to God. God doesn’t want the flesh to be glorified. I think it’s relevant to consider that Mary Magdalene didn’t recognize Jesus in the garden. I don’t think it was because the flesh had decayed in three days; it was because Jesus didn’t want the flesh to be lifted up, or glorified.

John 20:14-15
  1. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
  2. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
1 Corinthians 1:29
  1. That no flesh should glory in his presence.
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.

Who Is This King Of Glory? Part 2 of 3

Who Is This King of Glory? (part 2 of 3)

Mike Jackson

For this week, we’re talking about the Old Testament God, and how God communed with man in the Old Testament. Then we’re going to look at the New Testament as it relates to prophecies of the Messiah. Next week we’ll put it all together by looking at the New Testament and how God communes with man today.

We looked at the Godhead last week, especially as it contrasts with the doctrine of the Trinity.

In the times of Isaiah, the people had many different cultures and many different gods. But the God of Abraham was always quick to remind them that he was the only true God, and they should worship no other god but him.

Isaiah 44:8
  1. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

God wasn’t denying the existence of those other cultures and their gods; he just said that there was none beside him. You can take that two ways. When God said it was him and him alone, there was no dispute. The Trinitarian doctrine hadn’t been invented yet. But another way to look at it is, there are other gods, but they are all false. None of them can stand beside the one true God, as Elijah showed to the prophets of Baal.

Jeremiah 10:10
  1. But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

Even though the children of Israel had been taught the magnificence of God; even though they knew his omnipotence, God had to continually remind them, lest they succumb to the influences all around them.

1 Kings 18:24
  1. And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answereth by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.

Here we have the story. Elijah told the people, let’s make two piles of wood, and call on our gods, and whoever answers by fire, let him be God.

1 Kings 18:39-40
  1. And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
  2. And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.

Elijah wanted there to only be one God. Whoever disputed that, there was no more use for them.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
  1. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:
  2. And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
  3. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:
  4. And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
  5. And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
  6. And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.

Here’s God telling them again that he was it; there is no other god. Even though there were all kinds of people and cultures who worshiped other gods, God was making it clear that for the children of Israel that he was the only one.

God’s relationship with man in the Old Testament

God showed people in the Old Testament, time and time again, that if they went against him, there would be consequences.

What the Law Is

Romans 7:12
  1. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

The law is holy. It was. That’s what God established to commune with man, and to show us when and where we erred. At the time, the law was just and holy, because it was brought forth by God for man.

Romans 7:14
  1. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Secondly, the law is spiritual. Those who followed the law were spiritual, because they followed what God had laid down for them. We understand that God gave the law to bring the guilty man to the understanding of his sin.

What the law can and cannot do

John 1:17
  1. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Galatians 3:17
  1. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.

The law was necessary. In the Old Testament, man could only find salvation through the law.

Romans 3:20
  1. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Man got to the point that there was no conviction in following the law. Whatever sin there was, they did what the law required, but there was no repentance. When that happened, the law could not save us.

Romans 8:3-4
  1. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:
  2. That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Since the law was imperfect in bringing salvation to man, God diminished the law. And the only way he could do that is to take all the sacrifices of the law, and roll them all into one perfect sacrifice, of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 7:19
  1. For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

The law was unable to bring men salvation, so God abolished the law in order to bring a more perfect salvation through his sacrifice on the cross.

In the New Testament, we understand that as believers, we are not under the law, but under grace.

Galatians 3:12
  1. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.

We are under grace, because it says that the law is not of faith. There was no faith in the law; it was all right there before them; it was all seen. There was no conviction in following the law. Now we are under grace, through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:14
  1. For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

So what was the difference between the Old Testament law and the New Testament grace? In the Old Testament, there was no escape from sin; therefore sin always had dominion over them.

Romans 6:15
  1. What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

Read Romans chapter 7 for a better understanding of this principle.

God chose to do away with the law, to come down in the flesh and make himself a sacrifice. Let’s look at this sacrifice through the prophecies of the Old Testament. Next week, we’ll look at their fulfillments in the New Testament. As homework, I’m going to ask you to find some of them yourselves.

Genesis 3:14-15
  1. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:
  2. And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

You may ask, “Where does it talk about the coming of Christ in there?” There are scriptures that make reference to this in talking about Jesus. This scripture talks about the serpent, that evil spirit, and the emnity between it and the seed of the woman.

Deuteronomy 18:15-19
  1. The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken;
  2. According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not.
  3. And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken.
  4. I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.
  5. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.

It’s talking about the messiah back in the time of the prophet Moses. God said, “I will put my words in his mouth.” Next week we’ll look at the manifestation of that prophecy.

Micah 5:2
  1. But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.

This is talking about Christ the messiah being born in Bethlehem. We all know that Christ was born in Bethlehem, and next week we’ll see it in the scriptures.

All the things we see in the prophecies, Jesus did in the New Testament. But the Jews refused to receive him, because they were looking for a mighty warrior to deliver them from their enemies by force. That’s not what they got.

Isaiah 53:7-9
  1. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
  2. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
  3. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

This is Isaiah prophecying that Jesus would be brought to die, without guilt or shame, as a perfect sacrifice. Next week we’ll look in the New Testament and see that it all happened exactly as the prophet said. We’ll look at how the One God of the Old Testament decided to commune with man in the New Testament. We’ll also talk about the authority of Christ as he walked the earth.

Who Is This King Of Glory? Part 1 of 3

Who Is This King Of Glory, Part 1 of 3

Pat Mahoney

The title of this study comes from Psalms 24. “Who is this King of Glory” is something that a lot of people want to know.

We will be covering the following subjects:

  • The King James Bible and other versions
  • Historical References
  • Manifestations of God and God’s Roles

The Godhead is one of the most misunderstood doctrines in Christianity today.

2 Timothy 2:15
  1. Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Timothy 3:7
  1. Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Definition of Godhead

Strongs Greek 2304 theios (from 2316)

Divine in nature or essence. The nature of God, especially as used in three persons, or when combined with “The” as in “The Godhead” (Webster’s)
The supreme being; the holy trinity. Divinity, godhead, a god or goddess, a deity (Dictionary.com)
Divinity or Godhead, the Christian God, especially a trinity. (American Heritage Dictionary)
Acts 17:29
  1. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

These Greeks had a shrine or monument to the unknown God. God doesn’t want us to worship him ignorantly. He wants us to have an understanding of his word and his essence.

  1. Not all versions of the scriptures, or “Bible” are complete and accurate.
  2. The “authorized” or “King James” version of 1611 is found to be the most literal in its translation of the original texts.
  3. The Bible shows the different roles and manifestations of God.

For the purpose of understanding the Godhead, it is important to understand that not all versions of the Bible are complete and accurate in their translations. Our understanding of God can only be as pure as the word upon which it is based.

Some examples of omissions in different versions of the Bible include:

Luke 22:20
  1. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.

In the NEB and RSV, this whole verse is removed. Somebody somewhere thought it was not appropriate to talk about “blood”, so they took it upon themselves to remove references to the blood of Christ. But without the blood, there is no salvation.

John 8:16
  1. And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

Some versions take out the word “Father” and replace it with “He”. The pronoun is pretty ambiguous. Maybe it refers to God, or the Holy Spirit, or maybe it refers to some guy down at the deli; I don’t know.

Ephesians 3:9
  1. And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
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.

In some versions, the word “God” is removed from these scriptures. In those versions, the fact that Jesus is God is not evident.

1 John 5:7-8
  1. For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.
  2. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

If God the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are one, then we understand that the Spirit, the blood of Christ, and the water of baptism agree in one.

In other versions, verse 8 is combined with verse 7 or omitted entirely.

The Word of God must be pure; we need the most accurate translation available to be sure that we have understood the original intent. Some versions, even when they don’t corrupt the actual text of the verse, cast doubt upon it through footnotes which question its authenticity.

The Trinity

Catholics, the largest group of so-called Christians, created the trinity doctrine. Historically, the Jewish religion (from which Christianity springs) worshipped one God.

Deuteronomy 6:4
  1. Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

The trinity doctrine was created by theologians to justify corrupted translations fully three hundred years after the ascension of Christ.

Here are some excerpts concerning Trinitarian doctrine, taken from christadelphia.org.

Man’s Religion, by John B. Noss, 1968
The controversy first became heated when Apollinarius, a bishop in Syria … asserted that Christ could not have been perfect man united with complete God, for then there would not have been one Son of God, but two sons, one by nature and one by adoption, the first with a divine, the second with a human will. Such a thing seemed inconceivable, religiously abhorrent.
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?
New Bible Dictionary, 1982
The word trinity is not found in the Bible … it did not find a place formally in the theology of the church till the 4th century. … it is not a biblical doctrine in the sense that any formation of it can be found in the Bible, … Scripture does not give us a formulated doctrine of the trinity …
Harper Collins Encyclopedia of Catholicism, 1985
… scholars generally agree that there is no doctrine of the trinity as such in either the Old Testament or the New Testament.
Encyclopedia Americana, 1956
Christianity derived from Judaism and Judaism was strictly Unitarian (believing in one God). The road which led from Jerusalem to Nicea was scarcely a straight one. Fourth century trinitarianism did not reflect accurately early Christian teaching regarding the nature of God; it was, on the contrary, a deviation from this teaching
New Catholic Encylopaedia, 1967
The formulation “one God in three persons” was not solidly established, certainly not fully assimilated into Christian life and its profession of faith, prior to the end of the 4th century.
Who Is Jesus?, by Anthony Buzzard
The Old Testament is a strictly monotheistic. God is a single personal being. The idea that a trinity is to be found there or even in any way shadowed forth, is an assumption that has long held sway in theology, but is utterly without foundation.
New Encyclopedia Britannica, 1976
Neither the word trinity, nor the explicit doctrine as such, appears in the New Testament, nor did Jesus and his followers intend to contradict the Shema in the Old Testament: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord’ (Deut. 6:4) … The doctrine developed gradually over several centuries and through many controversies. … By the end of the 4th century … the doctrine of the trinity took substantially the form it has maintained ever since.

During the council of Nicea, the emporer Constantine established the doctrine of Trinity, and ever since, people have studied to prove the doctrine instead of studying the truth.

Manifestations of God

We just studied the Trinity doctrine, that there are three persons of God: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. An understanding of these manifestations is very important. God has other manifestations, but these are the three that we’ll run into in our study of the Godhead.

Jesus Christ said in one place, “To know the times is not given unto me” yet after his resurrection he said “All power is given unto me.”

In the garden, Mary didn’t recognize Christ after he was raised from the dead; she thought he was the gardener. God didn’t want the flesh to have preeminence; the flesh holds no authority. The flesh was an example of obedience and suffering, but the flesh was not God. God was in the flesh; not all of God, but the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Everything of God that can be recognized in the flesh was present in Christ. He said, “If you have seen me you have seen God,” not because he looked like God, but because he did everything that God did.

Genesis 3:8
  1. And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden.

If God had no form, why would Adam and Eve hide from him? I know that we sometimes think we can hide from God, but we don’t do it by taking cover behind a bush or a tree. I believe that this scripture shows that God had a form that he used to commune with Adam and Eve in the garden.

So in truth, God had more manifestations than those of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

Genesis 18:1-3
  1. And the LORD appeared unto him in the plains of Mamre: and he sat in the tent door in the heat of the day;
  2. And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,
  3. And said, My LORD, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

When Abraham recognized his three visitors, he called only one of them “Adoni” which is the singular form of a Hebrew title used only for God. It might also be noted that the two other men who left were later described as angels.

Genesis 14:18-20
  1. And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
  2. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
  3. And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

At that time, there was only one priesthood.

Hebrews 6:19-20
  1. Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
  2. Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

If God wanted to order Christ after a priesthood, I don’t think he would have chosen a priesthood of men. If he was transitioning from the Old Testament law of the flesh to the New Testament law of the spirit, he would not have used an example of the flesh.

Exodus 13:19-22
  1. And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him: for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.
  2. And they took their journey from Succoth, and encamped in Etham, in the edge of the wilderness.
  3. And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:
  4. He took not away the pillar of the cloud by day, nor the pillar of fire by night, from before the people.

God appeared as the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. There’s another manifestation. Maybe it’s not one that is necessary for salvation, but it’s a way that God chose to show himself.

Daniel 3:23-25
  1. And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
  2. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonied, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.
  3. 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.

The fourth figure in the furnace was another manifestation of God. At least, Nebuchadnezzar recognized it as such.

God’s Roles

I had considered at the beginning to address the gender of God. I have met people who say, “Why does God have to be male? Why should we address God as ‘He’?” If we think of God in his authority, and he had a son, he fits more in the masculine than in the feminine role.

Isaiah 45:12
  1. I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

God is a creator. He is able to create in our lives, and he created the essence of life within us.

Matthew 6:30-33
  1. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
  2. Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
  3. (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
  4. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

In this sense, we see God as a provider. God doesn’t want us to worry; if we have faith in God as a provider, then he will provide for us all things that we need.

Matthew 23:9
  1. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.

We want to think of God as male, or in the masculine role, as a Father to us. There are subcategories or roles that fall under the general heading of “Father.” I could have placed “Creator” and “Provider” under that heading.

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.

This passage provides the roles “Comforter” and “Teacher”. God comforts us in our times of need through the Holy Spirit. Read John chapter 14 for a better understanding of this subject. Don’t just read it; break it down and study it. That chapter brings God the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit together.

Isaiah 45:18
  1. For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.

God in that passage is the supreme ruler. Some would think that “I am the Lord, and there is none else” would leave out Jesus, but we also read where Jesus fulfilled these Old Testament scriptures. Again, the flesh had no preeminence, but the spirit.

Exodus 33:11
  1. And the LORD spake unto Moses face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend. And he turned again into the camp: but his servant Joshua, the son of Nun, a young man, departed not out of the tabernacle.

Here we read that Christ is a friend, though not one to be abused or taken lightly. He is someone who we can lean on, to whom we can tell our sorrows. You can pour out your heart to God in human terms, and he will hear you. But like a Father, he will also give you what you need, not what you want.

Isaiah 43:11
  1. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.

God is also our savior. We especially know God as our savior in the form of Jesus Christ. That’s why he came: to be the sacrifice, to spread the gospel, to establish the new covenant.

Isaiah 3:2
  1. The mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient,

God is a judge. In the New Testament, it says that if our heart is contrary to God’s word, he will reveal this unto us. Even if we are unwilling to judge ourselves, God will judge us. That’s called our conscience. As a father, I fulfill the role of a judge over my children, but God’s judgment is weightier.

2 Kings 20:5
  1. Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the LORD, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: behold, I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the LORD.

God is a healer. Hezekiah was about to die; he cried out to God, and God heard his prayer. (He also warned Hezekiah that he only had fifteen years left.) God reaches beyond our limits to do what we can’t. He heals both physically and spiritually. Sometimes we wonder why God doesn’t heal more physically. The flesh isn’t all that important. Some things are sad for us, but not for God. God doesn’t intervene in all cases; else we would become robots and not creatures of individual choice.

Exodus 15:3
  1. The LORD is a man of war: the LORD is his name.

God is a warrior. If it were not so, Paul would not have talked about putting on the armour of God. God wants to teach us how to fight. In the Old Testament, they fought on a physical front, but now we fight against principalities, against powers, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Isaiah 9:6
  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.

There are a bunch of roles listed here, but I chose “Counselor.” God will counsel you. Part of good counsel is good judgment. He counsels us primarily through his word.

These are not by any means all of God’s roles, but these are the ones I chose to highlight. You can find many more examples in the scriptures. God has a lot of depth to offer; he isn’t just three manifestations.

Psalms 113:6
  1. Who humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth!

Stewardship

Stewardship

Bruce Avants

This series has been a well for me. It is providing the water that will help me grow and carry on.

Four Signs of a Sensible Steward

  1. Responsible
  2. Relaxed
  3. Ready
  4. Rewarded

Jesus gave us two commandments that the whole rest of the Bible is built on. Those were to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourself. Stewardship is the application of those two commandments.

There are two books in heaven, the book of life and the book of works. The book of works might as well be named the book of stewardship.

How do you treat yourself?

How responsible are you? Are you responsible for yourself? You should be; yet you shouldn’t be overly critical of yourself. Jesus will judge you; you won’t judge yourself.

Good judgment comes from experience, which usually comes from bad judgment.

Will Rogers

You’re not going to make it through life without making mistakes, without needing to repent.

1 Corinthians 4:1-4
  1. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God.
  2. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
  3. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine own self.
  4. For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord.

So we have to be found faithful, not judging ourselves, but overcoming our mistakes and continuing to be faithful. Finding fault is Satan’s job.

How are you treating others?

History is full of examples of people mistreating each other. But if we were living by the first two commandments, these things wouldn’t be happen.

One of the things that hit me in Sunday’s service is that we should be a river, not a reservoir.

We have to be reponsible to God. He has trusted us with his most precious items. He doesn’t care for precious gold, or jewels, or cattle. But he cares about his word, and he trusts us to get that word out.

Psalms 24:1
  1. The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.

It all belongs to God. And we are the stewards of all God’s possessions, including the most important ones.

Luke 12:42
  1. And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

Is that you? Only you can answer. God says that the greatest among you will be servant of all. If I take the glory myself, I’m not giving glory to God.

Being Relaxed

Being relaxed in your stewardship is all about having a made-up mind. A good steward can only relax when he’s done his job well.

Isaiah 26:3
  1. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

If you’ve got a made-up mind, you’re going to have perfect peace.

James 1:5-8
  1. If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.
  2. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
  3. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
  4. A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

If you lack wisdom, ask of God. He’s not going to refuse and call you stupid. But you’ve got ask in faith. And you’ve got to be willing to believe and act on the answer that God gives you.

Romans 8:38-39
  1. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
  2. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Some of the stuff that Paul is talking about, there’s no way we could overcome them on our own. But Paul had made this determination in his mind, and acted on it.

Why do we have our talents?

Gifts were given to every man to profit thereby. If I can fix a car, and somebody’s car is broke down, then God has given me the ability to help that person.

1 Corinthians 12:7
  1. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

God gave the positions of the church for the same thing: for the edification of the church, not for their own glory.

Ephesians 4:11-15
  1. And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
  2. For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
  3. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
  4. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
  5. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Luke 12:15
  1. And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

Not even Rockefeller or Howard Hughes were rich enough to extend their own lives. Sure, we need money to live, but we should never lose focus of what is most important.

Ecclesiastes 10:19
  1. A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things.
1 Timothy 6:10
  1. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Worry is destructive; it takes your focus away from the solution and places it on the problem. But if you pray for help, count the cost before opening your mouth. If there is a problem in your life, you’ve got to be willing to accept the solution that God gives you.

Ananias and Sapphira were an example of what happens when you open your mouth and then fail to do what was promised.

Ecclesiastes 5:4-7
  1. When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed.
  2. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.
  3. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?
  4. For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

We’ve got to make sure we pay our vows to God. If you say, “I’m doing this in God’s name,” and then back out of it, what kind of God will people think you serve?

Psalms 15:4
  1. In whose eyes a vile person is contemned; but he honoureth them that fear the LORD. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.

When you make a vow, even if it’s painful, it’s better to keep it.

Focusing on the eternal

Jeremiah 1:6-9
  1. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
  2. But the LORD said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
  3. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD.
  4. Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
Jeremiah 1:17
  1. Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound thee before them.

Just like God told Jeremiah, you can’t say “I’m a brand-new Christian; I can’t share with these guys!” If you do, God will make you ashamed before them.

Luke 19:20-23
  1. And another came, saying, Lord, behold, here is thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin:
  2. For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layedst not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow.
  3. And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, thou wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow:
  4. Wherefore then gavest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury?

This man was afraid to do anything, because God would hold him accountable. It’s like showing up in heaven and saying, “Here I am!” Then the angel asks, “Who did you bring with you?” And you say again, “Here I am!”

Being Rewarded

First of all, you’ve got to know what your reward is. God already told you, so if you study his word, it’s like playing “Deal or No Deal” when you already know that the money is in suitcase number seven.

Luke 12:36-37
  1. And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.
  2. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

God says, “In the end, I’m going to serve you. But for now, you’ve got to serve me.” How many other gods or men can make the same promise? We know that we have a short time, so let’s serve him.

Stewardship Is Lordship

Wednesday Evening Service, 1/21/09

Stewardship is Lordship

Patrick Taylor

Jesus is a hard teacher; he gives the test first, and then the lesson.
(paraphrased quote from Vernon Sanders Law)

How many came here prepared to learn? How many came prepared to teach? We’re all going to learn from each other today. To learn something well enough to teach it is to learn it twice. One of our goals is to re-create that experience tonight.

How many of you thought this series would be just about tithes and offerings? C’mon, be honest. How many people still feel that way?

I need someone who was not here the first Sunday when we started this message. Name something that you own in life that is precious to you.

  • My dog.
  • My flatware.
  • My car.

How many of you have had something that was precious, but you don’t own it anymore? My new Ford Maverick was crushed three weeks after I got it.

If we really look at it objectively, we don’t really own anything. There’s a story about a guy who visited his friend on a ranch out west as big as the state of Rhode Island. The rancher, “Look around. I own this land, as far as you can see.” The guy said, “No you don’t.” The rancher said, “Sure I do. I can show you the title.” The guy said, “Talk to me in a hundred years; then we’ll see who owns the land.”

Who can name a scripture from last Sunday’s service that recaps that point?

Psalms 24:1
  1. The earth is the LORD’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalms 50:7-15
  1. Hear, O my people, and I will speak; O Israel, and I will testify against thee: I am God, even thy God.
  2. I will not reprove thee for thy sacrifices or thy burnt offerings, to have been continually before me.
  3. I will take no bullock out of thy house, nor he goats out of thy folds.
  4. For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.
  5. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.
  6. If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world is mine, and the fulness thereof.
  7. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats?
  8. Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:
  9. And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

So let’s go back to “What is a steward?” Who’s got a working definition?

Steward
A steward is a person who looks after another’s property, to take care of it and make sure that it does well and prospers.
Here’s an example for someone on the front row. Seth. Have you ever been here before? No? Here’s my phone. It’s yours. I want it back at the end of the study. Take good care of it. If it rings, just take care of it.

(Rick Hahn asks to borrow the phone and gets refused. Then the phone rings; it’s Chris Mays asking if Pat is there.)

1 Corinthians 6:19-20
  1. What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
  2. For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

You hear people say, “It’s my body; I can do what I want to, as long as I don’t hurt anybody with it.” Well, that’s true; you have the option to disobey. But your body isn’t really yours. God didn’t ask if you wanted it, just I didn’t ask Seth if he wanted my phone. He didn’t ask if you wanted the height or hair color or eye color or talents or abilities or whatever else you were dealt with. He just gave it to you. So before we deal with the issue of what we do with what God gave us, we have to determine our relationship with him. Are we going to recognize Jesus as Lord? Are we going to obey him?

Seth, is my phone still okay? Is it on? I know you got one phone call already, from Chris there behind you. I’m a licensed realtor in Illinois, so you might get a call from someone wanting to sell their million-dollar home. You might get a call from Pastor Paine; I’m his personal assistant, and he might want something. You might get a call from someone wanting to get baptized. Are you still okay with holding my phone?

Here’s a summary of Sunday’s service:
The evidence of loving God and serving God is obeying God.

The key of our entire relationship with God after first acknowledging him as Lord is our obedience. Who remembers a scripture from Sunday about obedience?

Matthew 7:21
  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.
Matthew 7:13-14
  1. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
  2. Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

Who is Jesus speaking to? Who is the audience? He was talking to the disciples, who were Jews, God’s chosen people. He wasn’t talking to the masses. He was talking to people who had his commandments. And he was saying to them, to those who had his commandments, “few will find that path.” Why? Because he new who obeyed him.

Romans 9:27
  1. Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved:
Isaiah 10:22
  1. For though thy people Israel be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them shall return: the consumption decreed shall overflow with righteousness.

Who knows what a remnant is?

Remnant
A piece, whether carpet, clothing, or whatever, that is insignificant.

A remnant is so small and insignificant that it can’t be used to make anything new; it’s a scrap piece that you throw away.

How do you feel when you hear “a remnant is going to be saved”? For me, my feeling is that I’m going to be part of that remnant. Do we have any Marines or ex-Marines in here? I’ve worked with Marines when I was in the Navy. There’s a mentality. Even in a profession, if you go to school or whatever, a Marine is a Marine first. There’s a real philosophy behind it. When somebody gives an order, the goal is to react immediately. We understand that philosophy in a military situation, but how about when the Lord of heaven gives an order? When he says “jump” do we jump? When he says to talk to some person, do we run to do it?

When you realize the potential in the first commandment, “Love the Lord with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength,” then there’s a lot more to obedience than just ten commandments. God told Stephen to go into Gaza, which is desert. He didn’t even tell him that he was going to talk to someone; he just said “go,” and Stephen went. There’s no specific commandment that says “If God says to go to the desert, go.” But as long as we know that God wants us to do something, then not doing it becomes sin.

Three questions:

  • Will saying the right words get me into God’s kingdom?
  • Will doing the right works get me into God’s kingdom?
  • Will obeying God’s will get me into God’s kingdom?
Luke 6:46-49
  1. And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
  2. Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will shew you to whom he is like:
  3. He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
  4. But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.

Three steps to get to the place where Jesus is Lord of my life:

  1. Come to the Lord and acknowledge him as Lord.
  2. Hear his words.
  3. Do his words.

The one who built his house on sand heard the words, but didn’t do them.

And that’s really the key. As long as we have the obedience down, everything else will fall into place.

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