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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #30 on: October 09, 2003, 12:56:45 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Bible Ambassadors
http://www.bibleambassadors.org/index.html
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Contradictions?

   There are obvious contradictions in the Holy Bible - the written Word of God - that cause much of the confusion in people today because  of a lack of understanding in How To Study The Bible.  We will address some of these issues from time to time in hopes it will help you, or someone you know, grab hold of God's simple truths.  Isn't it amazing how mankind wants to complicate what God made very simple?
   One of the issues causing abundant confusion today is whether or not we must do good works to be saved, or do good works to maintain our salvation.  Look at the following two scriptures:


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



Romans 4:5 - But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.


   Now those are both quotes from the inspired, authorized Word of God.  Yet they definitely have different messages .  So then, which one is right?  Which one does God want you  to follow?  And why?

   The key to KNOWING which one of those passages applies to YOU, so that you can "walk in the Spirit" correctly is 2 Timothy 2:15.  A contradiction  is a noticeable difference . There is very obvious or noticeable difference between the passages above.  Do not skirt around those differences by quoting a scripture most use that has nothing to do with the issue.  That is, they attempt to answer (which is not an answer but an evasion) that "Jesus Christ [is] the same yesterday, today and forever.  [Hebrews 13:8]  They do that because they do not KNOW the key to understanding the difference.  It is an attempt to hide their ignorance which means  they do not know.  Ignorance does not equal stupidity; it means lacking in knowledge.  But you CAN KNOW.  God provided a key.  The key - again - is 2 Timothy 2:15 in a King James Bible: (Modern versions change the wording because they also "don't know."  God forbid they would deliberately change the meaning of God's Word.)


Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.


   Please note:  We AGREE with Hebrews 13:8.  Jesus Christ IS the same in every way and every day.  That scripture, used as a rebuff, is a "duck blind."  Though Christ never changes - GOD never changes - how he deals with or dealt with mankind has  changed.  If that is not true, then perhaps you better "sell all you have" and follow Christ.  Including your computer and your big screen TV!

   Remember, the subject here is differences between passages addressing the same issue, and how to deal with them.  It has a very simple solution.  Man seems to want complicated solutions, therefor overlook God's very simple solutions - in this case - "rightly divide the Word of Truth."  How do you do that?

   First of all, it helps tremendously to understand  2 Timothy 2:15.  Remember, don't try to complicate it.  It means what it says.  It says, "rightly divide".  In some circles you will hear (or may have been taught) that it means to "correctly handle" (some perverted Bibles version) or to "correctly teach."  That might look good if you stop at the first word there - "rightly."  No problem agreeing that rightly and correctly mean the same.  

   Where the error comes in is that they quit there and try to ignore the other word God gave - "divide."  Actually, that is being kind, because they don't truly ignore it, they change its meaning when they teach the passage.  Now, no matter how hard I try, I can't make divide  mean handle  or teach .  It does mean to separate , to cut  or, interestingly, distribute .  (As in "dispense.")  You do not need now to go to the Greek to learn what has already been translated from Greek to English.  

   So God said to you and me (James was written specifically to Christian Jews scattered abroad who were part of the Little Flock and not the Body of Christ), that WE are to "rightly divide the Word of Truth."  And WE  (the Body of Christ) are to follow our own apostle (Romans 11:13) who told us that we are to " worketh  not, " but are to walk in God's grace.  The WORD of God then can be DIVIDED.

  Divided into what?  Well that is another whole study, but this should excite you enough to want to do that study because it will open up the whole Bible to you in a way you have never seen it, enjoyed it or been excited by it.  But the first clue is that it is full of division, from Genesis to the Revelation.  Beginning with the division in creation between the heaven  and the earth .  Enjoy! Get to the division of Prophecy versus The Mystery!

"Grace & Peace"
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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #31 on: October 09, 2003, 04:15:41 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Studying The Bible
A webpage dedicated to studying the Word of God
http://www.fortunecity.com/millennium/treearbor/603/studymain.html
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace, and Gospel, plain, and simple

"Click here for scriptural proof of what is below"
http://www.angelfire.com/tx/simplegrace/scripturalproof.html

Hey YOU! ....... yeah I mean YOU!

Do you know where your never dying soul will go
when that sinning flesh you are carrying dies?
There is a place of fiery, eternal Judgement for those that deny God ...... and here's the bad news !
WE ALL DESERVE TO GO TO THERE !
Now don't go gettin religious on me !
you cant get to heaven by things you do !
NO MATTER IF YOUR GET, DUNKED IN, SPRINKLED WITH, OR POURED ON WITH WATER, .... IT AINT GONNA SAVE YOU !
Here's the good news !
Did you know that Jesus Christ died for all of your sins?
Thats what I said !
ALL of em!
EVERY LAST PUTRID, UGLY, STINKIN SIN THAT YOU COMMITTED !
JESUS CHRIST PAID FOR WITH ALL OF HIS BLOOD !
and not only that !
HE WAS RISEN AGAIN TO SAVE ANYONE WHO WILL BELIEVE !
JESUS DID ALL THAT NEEDED TO BE DONE TO SAVE YOU !
whats that ? .... you say I am beating you over the head with the bible?
well .... if I could get you to trust the Love of God in Jesus Christ by beating you over the head with a bible .... I'd be playing bongos on your cranium !
but thats imperfect me .... God aint like that ! .... he will let you go your way by choice .... but mind you .... there are ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES !
ok .... here it is again .... the good news !
JESUS CHRIST DIED FOR YOUR SINS, WAS BURIED, AND WAS RISEN AGAIN THE THIRD DAY ACCORDING TO THE SCRIPTURES.
Now ! .... you heard the good news .... you have NO EXCUSE if you choose not to trust God .... at his judgement, you cant say nobody told you !
throw off disbelief, throw off religious works .... they cant save you !
Trust Jesus and what he did at the cross to save your soul from the deserved fiery, everlasting torments.
When you first decide to TRUST what Jesus Christ did, he will save you instantly, and eternally !

CHOOSE WISELY !


"Grace & Peace"
 
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« Reply #32 on: October 10, 2003, 03:05:05 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Eternal Life Ministries, Inc.
http://members.ccgnv.net/elm/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I Was Religious But Lost
by Dorothy Woodall

 

Though raised in a religious home and thus believing I was a Christian, I was never taught that heaven was a free gift and I could know for certain that I had eternal life.

Not knowing where I would spend eternity when I died -- whether in heaven, hell or purgatory -- I grew up with a deep fear of death. Active in a works-oriented system, I was involved with rosaries, novenas, masses and other rituals.

Not until I went away to college was my faith challenged, when a roommate told me that all my rituals and works did not make me a Christian. She shared with me that Christ died for my sins, He was buried and rose again (I Corinthians 15:3,4), but it was too simple just to believe these facts about Him and expect to be saved.

At the age of 23, however, God gave me understanding of His plan of salvation. I understood the Gospel of the grace of God, was convicted by the Holy Spirit and began to comprehend these spiritual truths:

"Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost" (Titus 3:5).

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

"But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness" (Romans 4:5).

As I continued to search the Scriptures, I learned that all my past works were like filthy rags in the sight of a holy God. "But we are all as an unclean thing and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away" (Isaiah 64:6). But it seemed too easy just to believe that "Christ died for my sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" (I Corinthians 15:3,4).

Though I had always believed in God and knew Jesus was the Son of God, I had not believed that He died for me personally and all I had to do was to believe what God said about His son.

Now that I understood those truths, the best I knew how I told God I believed He sent His Son to die on the cross for my sin. I was going to trust Christ as my personal Saviour -- not my church, not its leaders, not its traditions, nor the idolatry it entails.

With trusting Christ and Christ alone came the assurance that if I were to die right then, or even today, I would be in heaven -- not based on what I did, but by believing what Christ did for me at Calvary.

"These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God" (I John 5:13).

Now that I had settled the matter of my eternal destination, I began to search the Scriptures even more to see if these things were so. I learned about the ministry of the Holy Spirit, who came to dwell in me the moment I trusted Christ as my Saviour, and I was baptized into the body of Christ. "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are all called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all" (Ephesians 4:4-6).

As I grew in grace and knowledge of the Lord, I began to understand my role as a wife and mother. Christ had given me liberty for this age of grace, not the bondage that the Law gave Israel. I saw that prophecy and tongues were not for today, but were for Israel. "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away" (I Corinthians 13:Cool.

Instead of having to sell my possessions to follow Christ, I saw that I am to set my desires on things above, as commanded in Colossians 3:1,2, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth."

With my salvation secure and my destination settled, I began to see my position in Christ. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ... To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace" (Ephesians 1:3,6,7).

If you are religious -- depending on your works or your religion to get you to heaven -- why not trust Christ and Him alone as your all-sufficient Saviour, at the same time settling your eternal destination and your position in Christ?

Eternal Life Ministries, Inc.
10818 Cherith Lane
Clermont, FL 34711
352.242.0830
E-Mail


"Grace & Peace"
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Ambassador4Christ
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« Reply #33 on: October 10, 2003, 03:18:36 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace Age Church
http://www.graceagechurch.com/index.htm
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

TRINITY

If we are willing to accept and teach the truth as outlined in Ephesians 4:4-6, we can do away with a lot of confusion and division among the local churches and denominations. Many false teachers have lied to us and tried to make us do certain things to help the Lord out and to make us have a part in our salvation, but when we know the truth, we can see that He did it all.

 

Ephesians 4:14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

 

Ephesians 4:4 there is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5. One Lord, one faith, one baptism. 6. One God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

 

There is one body: This is the Body of Christ (the church Eph 1:22-23), which is the only true church for this age. There are other churches in the Bible but they are not the body of Christ (Acts 7:38; Matt 18:17). One Spirit: This is the Spirit of Almighty God and this Spirit is God for God is a Spirit. If we are true believers, then we have the Spirit of God and we become the Temple of God.

The Holy Spirit is God:
He strives (Genesis 6:3)        
He teaches (Luke 12:12).
He convicts (John 1:Cool.
He directs (Acts 13:2).
He makes intercession (Romans 8:26).
He inspires (II Peter 1:21).
He sanctifies (I Peter 1:2).
He is God (Acts 5:3-4).
He is truth (John 16:13).
 

One hope: This is that which is called that blessed hope. It is also called the catching away or rapture of the church (I Cor 15:51-53; I Thes 4:13-17). This is when we shall all not die but we will all be changed. This earthly body must be given a heavenly body. (I Cor 15:40-44). One Lord: There can be but one Lord for the Body of Christ and He is the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us and rose again. This same Lord is also God:

 

He has all power (Matthew 28:18).
He is all knowing (Col 2:3).
He was in the beginning (John 1:1).
He is God (John 8:58).
He gives redemption (Col 1:14).
He is present everywhere (Matthew 28:20).
He became a Man (John 1:14)
He created all things (Eph 3:9; Col 1:6).
 

One faith: This is not our faith but the faith of Jesus Christ (Romans 3:22; Gal 3:16). One baptism: This is the baptism of the Spirit that places us into the Body of Christ (I Cor 12:13). This is not the water baptism that was done in other ages.

One God and Father of all:
He makes covenants (Genesis 9: 1-17; Gen 12:1-3)
He is one God (I Chronicles 8:6).
He is a redeemer 9Isa 63:16).
He is the master (Mal 1:6).
He is the I AM (Ex 3:14).
He is JEHOVAH (Ex 6:3).
He is by whom the whole family in haven and earth is named (Eph 3:14-15).
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are all God and all three are one.
The Spirit raised him (Romans 8:11).
The Father raised him (Romans 6:4).
He raised himself (John 10:18; John 2:19-20).
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« Reply #34 on: October 10, 2003, 03:39:58 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace and The Truth Ministry
http://www.graceandthetruth.com/home2.htm
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 
The Unpardonable Sin
by L. Peterson
Matthew 12:31-32; Mark 3:2-30; Luke 11:14-23


The above caption is not exactly scriptural for the subject of which we write, but used for convenience. What do we mean by this?

Down through the years we have heard many messages on this subject spoken of in the foregoing scriptural reference. These messages have always been captioned 'The Unpardonable Sin'. This caption is a misnomer, that is, the title does not truly represent what the scriptures teach. The Word of God does not say it cannot and will not be forgiven, on the contrary it teaches that it will be forgiven and in fact gives us the exact time and place that it will be forgiven. We shall present this in the course of the message. In Mark's Gospel, where in the King James version it says 'hath never forgiveness, but it is in danger of eternal damnation' (Mark 3:29) it should rather read 'hath not forgiveness', 'not' has limits whereas 'never' carries the sense of timelessness and is thus called 'unpardonable'. Thus the use of the caption 'The Unpardonable Sin' because it is best known to Christians by this language. In order to come to the heart of our subject, we must follow certain steps or rules employed in the interpretation of any given scripture.

The first step in our progression of this study is to learn to whom our Lord was speaking. This is always important in any biblical analysis. If this rule were employed in the study of God's Word we would not have all the 'isms' and differences that we have today in so-called Christian circles. It is said, 'you can prove anything by the 'Bible'. This is almost true if the above rule is not respected. In this particular case our Lord was speaking to the Nation Israel. Gentiles were excluded and the Church, which is Christ's body, was non-existent and not even prophesied. How hard it is for some Christians to realize that our Lord never came to organize the Church. It is true as W.R. Newell has written in his booklet, PAUL'S GOSPEL, 'Christ when on earth did not start anything'. Romans 15:8 declares: 'now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers'. Thus it is well to know that whatsoever our Lord had to say about this particular sin it was to the Chosen People; it has nothing to do with the people today. In fact, this particular sin cannot be committed today. Dr. Chafer writes in his theology (Vol.7 page 48) 'It should be noted that this sin against the Holy Spirit consisted in asserting that Christ's' works, which were wrought by the Holy Spirit, were accomplished on the contrary by Satan. Such a setting could not be found now since Christ is not in the world as He was then, nor is He undertaking in the same way to do works by the Holy Spirit. It is, therefore, impossible for this particular sin to be committed today'. Today we preach the Israel and that is the 'vengeance' of 'the day of the Lord', or the tribulation period.

Here, in Hebrews 10:28,29, Israel is charged again with a threefold sin, the last far more sever than the first two and unforgiven Note these sins: Verse 28, 'despised Moses' law', a blatant rejection of God the Father, Verse 29, 'trodden underfoot the Son of God....., rejection of God the Son, Verse 29b, 'done despite unto the Spirit of Grace'. This latter is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. 'Despite' in the original language means 'insult' or 'outrage'. Because of this one thing remains 'the day of the vengeance', or the time of tribulation, or the day of the Lord' at which time Israel is forgiven this sin and restored again to national and spiritual favor with God.

In Joe 2:12-29 we have presented to us the story of Israel's repentance for committing this sin of which we are writing. Scofield has captioned this, and properly so, 'Repentance of the Jews who are in the Land'. All Israel is called upon to repent. They acknowledge that they have been without God as in former covenant relationship for they declare in verse 17, 'wherefore should they say among the people, where is their God?. Upon cleansing and repentance God answers them in divine favor. Before their repentance they have been in deep sorrow and suffering, actually, it appears to them that God was never to receive them again in fulfilling the covenant promises of the Old Testament. It appeared that God was going to give the Gentiles their heritage. Verse 17 says 'spare they people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen (Gentiles tiles) should rule over them.' Had they believed the prophet Hosea, they would have known that they would be restored to divine favor. Hosea 3:3-5 says, 'Thou shalt not be for another man; (God speaking of husband and wife relationship) so will I be for thee. For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice and without an image and without an ephod, and without teraphim: Afterward shall the children of Israel The prophet is speaking of the day when they, the chosen people, repent and are forgiven the sin of which we have been writing , i.e., the so-called 'Unpardonable Sin'.

In conclusion may we remind you then, that this sin is not personal, it is not possible to commit it today. It has nothing to do with 'the Church which is Christ's body'. It is a misnomer to call it 'unpardonable' for it is pardoned in the great tribulation period at the 'time of Jacob's trouble'. Today the Jew is not in any sense standing in divine favor above other peoples. 'All have sinned (Jew and Gentile) and come short of the Glory of God'. Today, in this age of Grace, God is calling out from all peoples sinners who are saved by grace plus nothing, adding them to the church which is Christ's body. Today Jew and Gentile, lose national identity and become a 'new creation' as spoken of in 2 Cor. 5:17. This becomes the highest and greatest of all God's creation for we Jew and Gentile, become 'flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone'. for this we bow before our God in worship, adoring Him and thanking Him for such marvelous grace.

Pastor Lloyd Peterson
 
"Grace & Peace"
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« Reply #35 on: October 10, 2003, 03:52:05 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace Bible Church
Chattanooga Tennessee
Pastor : Steve Atwood
http://www.understandingyourbible.com/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

WHY ALL THE CONFUSION ?

"Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." 2 Timothy 2:7

Did you ever wonder why there is so much confusion in religion today? Why is it that you can hear so many people teaching contradicting doctrines when they all use the Bible? There is an answer.

Most of the confusion and contradicting doctrine that you hear today is a result of failing to obey God’s command in II Timothy 2:15, to “Rightly Divide the Word of truth”. Most people do not distinguish between the KINGDOM MESSAGE of Christ and his apostles found in Matthew through John and Hebrews through Revelation and that of THE MESSAGE OF GRACE given to and through the apostle Paul in ROMANS through PHILEMON.

We are told to RIGHTLY DIVIDE THE WORD OF TRUTH, and to follow PAUL, and failure to do so results in confusion.

WE ASK THAT YOU EXAMINE PRAYERFULLY SOME SCRIPTURAL FACTS KEEPING IN MIND WHAT PAUL SAID IN 1 Corinthians 14:37:

  If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

ALL REFERENCES ARE FROM THE KING JAMES BIBLE.

1. PAUL IS THE APOSTLE TO THE GENTILES.

Romans 11:13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

Romans 15:16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.

2. PAUL RECEIVED HIS MESSAGE BY DIRECT REVELATION AND HIS WORDS ARE THE WORDS OF CHRIST FOR TODAY.

Gal 1:11-12 But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

3. PAUL LAID THE FOUNDATION FOR THE CHURCH, CHRIST’S BODY.

1 Cor 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth there upon.

4. PAUL WAS THE FIRST MAN EVER SAVED TOTALLY BY GRACE.

1 Tim 1:16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

5. PAUL WAS GIVEN THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD.

Eph 3:2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

6. PAUL'S MESSAGE WAS A MYSTERY N0T MADE KNOWN UNTIL REVEALED TO HIM.

Eph 3:3-5 How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

7. PAUL PREACHED A DIFFERENT GOSPEL FROM PETER AND WAS SENT TO A DIFFERENT PEOPLE. THE APOSTLES ACKNOWLEGED PAUL’S MINISRTY AND WERE IN AGREEMENT WITH IT.

Gal 2:7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

Gal 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

 

WHILE WE DO NOT WORSHIP PAUL, WE DO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT HE WAS GOD'S CHOSEN VESSEL TO MAKE THE MESSAGE OF SALVATION BY GRACE KNOWN IN THE DISPENSATION OF GRACE AND WE ARE TOLD TO FOLLOW HIM. (1 COR 11:4)

 

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« Reply #36 on: October 11, 2003, 09:13:19 AM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace Bible Church
1450 Oak Hill Road
Fort Worth, TX 76112-3017
(817) 451-0937

Gregg Bing, Pastor
Charles Wages, Pastor Emeritus
http://www.gracebiblechurch-fw.com/?subpages/default.shtml
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From: Timely Messenger

FAITH AND HOPE

Faith and hope came into being through sin. Unfallen man knew nothing of faith, nor did he know of hope. Faith and hope were born after the Lord gave to fallen man the first promise, the first announcement of redemption (Genesis 3:15). Then Adam and Eve believed and hoped for that which the Lord had promised. And ever since, when man accepts what God has spoken, the exercise of faith and hope has followed. But those who do not accept God’s Word know no faith and have no hope. What dying Jacob said, “I have waited for thy salvation” (Gen. 49:18), has been the faith and hope of all Jewish believers in the Old Testament. They believed in a coming One, they hoped for life and glory.

Beautifully it was expressed by that Old Testament saint to whom the Holy Spirit had given the assuring revelation that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. When Simeon held the Child in his arms, his faith and hope were realized. He blessed God, not the Child, for he knew that Babe he held in his arms was the Blesser and needed no blessing from him; then he said, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy Word; for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation” (Luke 2:25-30).

And we also who have accepted the Word of God and believed on Him Who came, live now by faith and look forward in hope, for we are saved in hope and wait for the hope of righteousness, the blessed consummation glory, which will come when He comes again. Some day our faith will terminate in sight; we shall see Him as He is. In that day our hope will end for we shall possess all we hoped for. Unbelief knows no faith and has no hope. For all who do not believe, who refuse to accept God’s revelation, there comes the day when faith is impossible, and over the portals of the place of outer darkness is written “Leave hope behind.” What a delusion it is when men teach today that the sinner who lived on in sin, who refused God, who died without faith in Christ and without hope, will have another chance, or that there is such a thing as universal salvation. Now is the accepted time, and only now.

"Grace & Peace"
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« Reply #37 on: October 11, 2003, 02:24:15 PM »

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The key to understanding the bible (Part 1 of 3)

The Bible is the world's most marvelous book, all because it is God's book. It is wonderful that God wrote a book, even more so that He has preserved it intact through history and has even provided for it to be translated into the languages of the nations. We have His Word, preserved for us and translated into our own language so that we can hold it in our hands, read it and see for ourselves just what God has said. This is all a marvelous blessing! But there is more.

It is important to recognize that God has also provided us with a divinely prescribed method for understanding it. "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable," II Tim. 3:16 declares. But if we are to gain the profit from God's Word that He has placed there for us, we must approach it in His way. Thus II Tim. 2:15 Instructs:

"Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."

Clearly our study of the Word is for the purpose of showing ourselves "approved unto God." This is to be our one great goal, our objective: to have God's approval, to be workmen who have no need to be ashamed before Him. But how is this objective to be reached? The answer is given with equal clarity: "Rightly dividing the Word of truth." This is the key to having God's approval on our service for Him - the key to understanding His Word.

"Rightly dividing the Word of truth" is a reference to the dispensational approach to studying the Bible and it is clear that this is the correct approach if we are to have God's approval on our lives and ministries.

It is important to notice that Paul says "rightly dividing the Word." The clear implication is that there is a wrong way to divide it. Paul does not, as many seem to suppose, simply say we are to make divisions in God's Word. No. We are to make right divisions - correct, proper distinctions. Great care is called for at this point for, remember, it is God's Word we are handling. This is not the Word of a doctrinal statement, a church creed, or tradition of human view point; this is the Word of Almighty God!

As we approach it, therefore, we want to approach it in God's way, properly recognizing the distinctions He has made in it. Just how to do this is the important question.

Since it is Paul who instructs us to rightly divide the Word, it would seem safe to ask Paul just how this should be done. So, instead of going to Darby, Scofield, Larkin, Hodges, Calvin, Strong or the like, let's turn to Paul and see if he can help us understand just how God's Word is to be "rightly divided"

A three fold division

God Himself never changes. In His person, essence and character. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb. 13:Cool. His dealing with man, however, have undergone various changes down through history - changes made necessary by changes in man himself. Identifying these changes is a basic issue in studying the Bible dispensationally for a dispensation is a particular program that God administers (or dispenses) for man's obedience. For examples of man's changes, compare Ex. 31:15 with Col. 2:16; Lev. 11:7,8 with I Tim. 4:4; Matt. 5:19 with Rom. 6:14; Psa. 51:11 with Eph. 4:30; Gen. 17:11 with Gal, 6:15; etc.

In Ephesians 2 the Apostle Paul gives us a panoramic view of his understanding of the way God's dealing with mankind have been divided. He does this by making a clear, distinct and easily identifiable threefold division: Time Past (vs. 11,12), But Now (v. 13), The Ages to Come (v. 7).

Time Past: During "Time Past" there was an unmistakable distinction made between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between the nation Israel and the Gentiles:

"Wherefore remember, that YE BEING IN TIME PAST GENTILES IN THE FLESH, WHO ARE CALLED UNCIRCUMCISION BY THAT WHICH IS CALLED THE CIRCUMCISION IN THE FLESH MADE BY HANDS;
"THAT AT THAT TIME YE WERE WITHOUT CHRIST, BEING ALIENS FROM THE COMMONWEALTH OF ISRAEL, AND STRANGERS FROM THE COVENANTS OF PROMISE, HAVING NO HOPE, AND WITHOUT GOD IN THE WORLD" (vs. 11,12).

The terms circumcision and uncircumcision identify a basic physical, racial and social distinction; one that was "in the flesh" and "made by hands." It was, in fact, so real and intense that they were obviously "calling" each other names! But there was more:

In this "time past" status, the Gentiles were also spiritually alienated from God and thus said to be "without Christ." This is said to be their condition because they were "aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise."

Thus the physical distinction only pointed to the more important spiritual alienation the Gentile masses occupied in Time Past.

The basic issue in Time Past is this division between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between Israel and the Gentiles. When you find this issue governing the way God was working with men, you know immediately you are in Time Past.

But Now: Eph. 2:13 indicates that in the But Now period all this has changed. No longer are Gentiles considered "far off" but rather this distinction has been eliminated and now "those who were far off are made nigh."

"BUT NOW IN CHRIST JESUS YE WHO SOMETIMES WERE FAR OFF ARE MADE NIGH BY THE BLOOD OF CHRIST.
"FOR HE IS OUR PEACE, WHO HATH MADE BOTH ONE, AND HATH BROKEN DOWN THE MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION BETWEEN US" (vs. 13,14)

So there is a Time Past, the basic characteristic of which is the separation between the circumcision and the uncircumcision, between the Jew and the Gentile. Then there is But Now where Jew and Gentile are dealt with on an equal basis and in the same manner. During But Now there has been a change in the way God deals with the nations, for "the middle wall of partition" has been "broken down." There is one remaining section:

The Ages to Come: Much is to come in the future as God brings His purposes to fruition and hence the final division:

"That IN THE AGES TO COME HIS MIGHT SHEW THE EXCEEDING RICHES OF HIS GRACE IN HIS KINDNESS TOWARD US THROUGH CHRIST JESUS" (v. 7).

So we have Paul's threefold division: Time Past, But Now, and the Ages to Come. How can the Word of God be laid out according to this? Let's see.

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« Reply #38 on: October 11, 2003, 02:26:24 PM »

PART 2 of 3

TIME PAST

Time Past is marked by the basic characteristics of the separation between circumcision and uncircumcision. We know where circumcision came from. It began with Abraham as a sign of the covenant God made with him and his seed after him.

In Genesis 17 the Lord confirmed His covenant with Abram, changed his name to Abraham and instituted the sign of the Abrahamic Covenant-circumcision:

"And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
"This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; EVERY MAN CHILD AMONG YOU SHALL BE CIRCUMCISED.
"And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and IT SHALL BE A TOKEN OF THE COVENANT BETWIXT ME AND YOU.
"And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
"He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, MUST NEEDS BE CIRCUMCISED: AND MY COVENANT SHALL BE IN YOUR FLESH FOR AN EVERLASTING COVENANT.
"AND THE UNCIRCUMCISED MAN CHILD WHOSE FLESH OF HIS FORESKIN IS NOT CIRCUMCISED, THAT SOUL SHALL BE CUT OFF FROM HIS PEOPLE; HE HATH BROKEN MY COVENANT" (Gen. 17:9-14).

Thus "circumcision in the flesh made by hands" was a sign of the special status given to the seed of Abraham by God. It was an outward sign of the spiritual privilege God had given to them and was a required mark of their identity and covenant privileges.

So the division between the circumcision and the uncircumcision began in the book of Genesis. It was there, with Abraham, that God began to erect "the middle wall of partition" between Jew and Gentile by giving to Abraham and his seed circumcision as "the sign of the covenant."

In Genesis 22:17,18 God states His purpose in that covenant and in thus separating the nation Israel from all other nations of the earth:

"That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the starts of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;
"And IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE NATIONS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED; because thou has obeyed my voice."

Numbers 23:9 declares concerning Israel's special status:

"... LO, THE PEOPLE SHALL DWELL ALONE, AND SHALL NOT BE RECKONED AMONG THE NATIONS."

God not only erected this "middle wall," He also reinforced it by the giving of the law through Moses:

"Behold I have taught you statutes and judgments, even as the Lord my God commanded me, that ye should do so in the land whither ye go to possess it.
"Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.
"FOR WHAT NATION IS THERE SO GREAT, WHO HATH GOD SO NIGH UNTO THEM, as the Lord our God is in all things that we call upon him for?
"And WHAT NATION IS THERE SO GREAT, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?" (Deut. 4:5-8).

We see from this that what is generally referred to as the "Old Testament" is in fact part of Time Past. But when does the change occur? When do we move into the But Now status? And what about the earthly ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Paul sheds real light on this latter question when he writes:

"Now I say that JESUS CHRIST WAS A MINISTER OF THE CIRCUMCISION for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers" (Rom. 15:Cool

Note well that the character of our Lord's earthly ministry is defined as His being "a minister of the circumcision." Thus we learn that the period covered by the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John is in fact part of Time Past. The distinction between the circumcision and the uncircumcision still formed the basis of God's dealings with men at that time.

There is no way one can read the records of our Lord's earthly ministry and fail to see this basic fact. For example, in His first great commission to His Apostles, He declares:

"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying GO NOT INTO THE WAY OF THE GENTILES, AND INTO ANY CITY OF THE SAMARITANS ENTER YE NOT:
"BUT GO RATHER TO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL" (Matt. 10:5,6)

Later when they besought Him to work a miracle for a Gentile woman, He pointedly told them:

"I AM NOT SENT BUT UNTO THE LOST SHEEP OF THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL" (Matt. 15:24).

Further, John 4:22 records His words to the woman at the well in Samaria:

"Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: FOR SALVATION IS OF THE JEWS."

Too often such passages are simply ignored-no doubt because they are not properly understood. Such plain words, however, cannot be gainsaid or mistaken. They mean what they say and their implication is clear: the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ demonstrates itself to be a part of Time Past. Thus the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John are properly placed in the Time Past division when we "rightly divide the word of truth."

The same is true of the early Acts period. In His post-resurrection commission our Lord clearly maintained the advantaged status of the circumcision:

"And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM" (Luke 24:47)

After some 40 days of personal instruction from their resurrected Lord in things "pertaining to the kingdom of God," the apostles understood that the program of God still focused on Israel and her coming kingdom:

"When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, LORD WILT THOU AT THIS TIME RESTORE AGAIN THE KINGDOM TO ISRAEL?" (Acts 1:6)

That this understanding was in no way a mistake of human frailty is borne out by the fact that on the day of Pentecost, Peter, speaking "as the Spirit gave (him) utterance," three times specifically limits his message to the nation Israel:

"But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, YE MEN OF JUDAEA, AND ALL YE THAT DWELL AT JERUSALEM, BE THIS KNOWN UNTO YOU, AND HEARKEN TO MY WORDS:
"YE MEN OF ISRAEL, HEAR THESE WORDS..."
"THEREFORE LET ALL THE HOUSE OF ISRAEL KNOW ASSUREDLY..." (Acts 2:14, 22, 36).

Thus the understanding of Peter and the eleven as to just where they stood in the program of God gives clear evidence that they still functioned in the Time Past division, when Israel was still in the place of honor and advantage.

Peter is identified in Galatians 2:8 as the apostle of the circumcision and as such preached "the gospel of the circumcision" (Gal. 2:7). It is in this capacity and with this message that he declared to his nation:

"YE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE PROPHETS, AND OF THE COVENANT WHICH GOD MADE WITH OUR FATHERS, SAYING UNTO ABRAHAM, AND IN THY SEED SHALL ALL THE KINDREDS OF THE EARTH BE BLESSED.
"UNTO YOU FIRST GOD, HAVING RAISED UP HIS SON JESUS, SENT HIM TO BLESS YOU, IN TURNING AWAY EVERYONE OF YOU FROM HIS INIQUITIES" (Acts 3:25,26).

Throughout their ministry as recorded in Acts the Pentecostal believers declared their testimony that

"The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree.
"Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, FOR TO GIVE REPENTANCE TO ISRAEL, and forgiveness of sins" (Acts 5:30-32).

In fact, Israel's special privileged position extended even after they were scattered from Jerusalem by persecution, for Acts 11:19 tells us:

"Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen traveled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, PREACHING THE WORD TO NONE BUT UNTO THE JEWS ONLY."

The record is clear: The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and the early part of the book of Acts properly belong in Time Past.

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« Reply #39 on: October 11, 2003, 02:27:39 PM »

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The key to understanding the bible (Part 3 of 3)


BUT NOW

When, then, does the change to the But Now position occur? When did the circumcision and the uncircumcision being reconciled into one body begin to take place? Ephesians 3 supplies the answer:

"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,
"IF YE HAVE HEARD OF THE DISPENSATION OF THE GRACE OF GOD WHICH IS GIVEN ME TO YOU-WARD:
"HOW THAT BY REVELATION HE MADE KNOWN UNTO ME THE MYSTERY...
"WHICH IN OTHER AGES WAS NOT MADE KNOWN UNTO THE SONS OF MEN, AS IT IS NOW REVEALED UNTO HIS HOLY APOSTLES AND PROPHETS BY THE SPIRIT:
"THAT THE GENTILES SHOULD BE FELLOW HEIRS, AND OF THE SAME BODY, AND PARTAKERS OF HIS PROMISE IN CHRIST BY THE GOSPEL" (Eph 3:1-3,5,6)

From the record it is evident that the Apostle Paul was the instrument our ascended Lord used to initiate the program of grace for the Gentiles by way of a message he calls "the mystery" - a secret purpose which God kept "hidden" in Himself until He revealed it to and then through the Apostle Paul.

With the raising up of Paul we move from Time Past into the But Now section and cross what in fact is the most important boundary line of the Bible-that between prophecy and the great mystery proclaimed by Paul. It is into these two great subjects that the Bible is basically divided.

Manifestly there is a great difference between Peter's preaching of that "which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His hold prophets since the world began" (Acts 3:21) and Paul's proclamation of that "which was kept secret since the world began" (Rom. 16:25).

This secret message has to do with the breaking down of the middle wall of partition and the placing of Jew and Gentile into one body on an absolutely equal basis through simple faith in the cross-work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 2:13-22). How is it that this "mystery" message can now go to the Gentiles without regard to Israel's former status? Romans 11 answers:

"I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather THROUGH THEIR FALL SALVATION IS COME UNTO THE GENTILES, for to provoke them to jealousy."
"...THE CASTING AWAY OF THEM (IS) THE RECONCILING OF THE WORLD..."
"FOR I WOULD NOT, BRETHREN, THAT YE SHOULD BE IGNORANT OF THIS MYSTERY, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that BLINDNESS IN PART IS HAPPENED TO ISRAEL, UNTIL THE FULLNESS OF THE GENTILES BE COME IN" (Rom. 11:11,15,25).

Our Lord set the nation Israel aside during the Acts period and from heaven's glory introduced a new program through a new apostle. With the revelation of this new program we move into the But Now period and thus we read Paul now declaring:

"FOR I SPEAK TO YOU GENTILES, INASMUCH AS I AM THE APOSTLE OF THE GENTILES, I MAGNIFY MINE OFFICE" (Rom. 11:13)

Romans through Philemon are the books, then, that fit into the But Now division. These are the books that detail what God is doing during the present dispensation of grace.

THE AGES TO COME

After the present dispensation is brought to a conclusion, there is still much that God has to accomplish. Since His prophetic program for the nation Israel has currently been interrupted in order to form the Body of Christ, the first order of business would logically be it's completion.

Appropriately, the grouping of books following the Pauline epistles is called the Hebrew Epistles. They, in fact, fit doctrinally into the Ages to Come. Consider Hebrews 2:3-5:

"How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, WHICH AT THE FIRST BEGAN TO BE SPOKEN BY THE LORD (Matt. thru John), and was CONFIRMED UNTO US BY THEM THAT HEARD HIM (early Acts);"
"For unto the angels hath He not put into subjection THE WORLD TO COME WHEREOF WE SPEAK (Heb. thru Rev.)."

The distinction between the circumcision and uncircumcision is also again in vogue in the Hebrew Epistles, and thus we find such things as:

"James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, TO THE TWELVE TRIBES which are scattered abroad, greeting" (Jas. 1:1).

"BUT YE ARE A CHOSEN GENERATION, A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD, AN HOLY NATION, A PECULIAR PEOPLE..." (1 Pet. 2:9).

AN IMPORTANT QUESTION

Thus we see that the Word of God itself provides us with the key to its own proper understanding and right division:

TIME PAST: In Matthew through John we find the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ to the nation Israel. In the book of Acts we have the fall of Israel and salvation going to the Gentiles through the ministry of the Apostle Paul.

BUT NOW: Romans through Philemon provide the doctrine for the present dispensation of grace.

AGES TO COME: Hebrews through Revelation focus on the ages to come when God will bring to fruition His purposes for both the nation Israel and the Body of Christ.

We are not the only people in the programs and purposes of God. People in other ages need Scripture to instruct them in the specifics of God's dealings with them just as we do. Remember: All of the Bible is for us but it is not all to us nor is it all about us. If we fail to recognize this important fact we will never be able to property understand just what God is doing today nor will we know just what He would have us do.

An important consideration remains: The "middle wall of partition" has been broken down and now there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile in God's program. Thus you are part of "the nations," The Apostle Paul says unequivocally, "I am the apostle of the Gentiles (i.e., the nations), "Who then, is your apostle? There can be no answer but that Paul is your apostle, for he was raised up by our ascended Lord specifically that he "should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles" (Rom. 15:16).

"Verily, verily, I saw unto you, HE THAT RECEIVETH WHOMSOEVER I SEND RECEIVETH ME; AND HE THAT RECEIVETH ME RECEIVETH HIM THAT SENT ME" (John 13:20).

Thus it is in Paul's writings alone that we find the doctrine, position, walk and destiny of today's church, the Body of Christ.



"Grace & Peace"

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Part 1 of 2
How to be Filled
with the Spirit

The most blessed possession anyone can have (i.e. eternal life) is offered to all today as a gift of God’s grace.  It’s offered freely to be received by faith.  God gives the believer life.  He “…has quickened us together with Christ…And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. 2:5&6) That is a lot of togetherness in Christ.  The next verse goes on to tell us what God’s purpose for it all is: “that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace and kindness towards us through Christ Jesus.” God is looking forward to demonstrating to men and angels the exceeding riches of his grace.  All that we have as believers, we have it:  

In Christ,

By His grace,

And through faith in the working through His Word.

“For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10)

 

Salvation from the penalty of sin by Christ’s redeeming work on our behalf is a wonderful thing in itself.  But that is just the beginning of the blessedness that the believer has by God’s grace.  That is just the induction to the blessed life that we know as eternal life.  Salvation is but the start of the working of God in the believer. Most believers never proceed much beyond this rudimentary knowledge in their understanding.  Therefore, God says, “…Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore, be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit…” (Ephesians 5:18).  Understanding and doing the will of God is here associated with being filled with the Spirit.

 

To be filled with the Spirit is probably (or at least ought to be) the most sought after concept found in the scripture.  It is also among the most misunderstood concepts found in the Word of God.  There are abundant misconceptions on what it is to be filled with the Spirit. The misconceptions abound largely because people go to the second chapter of Acts and conclude that the pouring out of the Spirit of God upon all flesh as described there is or the norm for Christianity today.  There, in Acts 2, being filled with the Spirit was an automatic experience for the believers involved.  Also, it was involved with miraculous phenomenon; notably speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4).

 

Yet when we consider our text in Ephesians 5:18, we find that being filled with the Spirit is presented not as an automatic experience but as a goal that believers are admonished to achieve. Also, it is a goal that is within the reach of every believer.

We note also from the Ephesians passage the effect that being filled with the Spirit has on the believer.

“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…” (Ephesians 5:19 & 20).

 As we study this passage in Ephesians further, we find that being filled with the Spirit affects every aspect of the believer’s interpersonal relationships and his attitudes towards duties and the filling of God given roles.  It produces a harmonious relationship of wives toward husbands and husbands toward wives; of children toward parents and parents toward children, of employees toward employers and vice versa.  Truly then we see the importance and the great benefit for believers to be filled with the Spirit.

 

Comparing scripture with scripture of Ephesians 5 with Colossians 3, we find something most interesting.  There in Colossians 3, we find the identical effect presented:

“…Teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  

The passage goes on to talk about the same positive effect in the interpersonal relationships of husbands toward wives and vice versa; of children toward parents and vice versa, of employers toward employees and vice versa.  However, the cause that produced this effect in Colossians chapter 3 is “Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly, in all wisdom…” Being “filled with the Spirit” in Ephesians 5 is a cause that produces the same effect as “letting the Word of Christ dwell in you richly” does in Colossians 3.  It is therefore simple logic: If A=C and B=C then A=B. Specifically, since being filled with the Spirit produces the same results as letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly does, we now understand that to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly is to be filled with the Spirit.

 

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« Reply #41 on: October 11, 2003, 04:08:23 PM »

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Part 2 of 2
How to be Filled
with the Spirit

As we come to Paul, the apostle of the Gentiles, the one to whom God gave our instructions for the dispensation of the Grace of God, we find that the Holy Spirit is the active agent of God working in the world today.  The salvation that God the Father planned, and God the Son accomplished, the Holy Spirit ministers.  The Holy Spirit does this through the lives of people through the written Word.  

 

Now then, we understand how one can be filled with the Spirit—by letting the Word of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom. Consider this admonition that we might appropriate the wonderful desired results in our interpersonal relationships. First consider exactly what the Word of Christ is.  Obviously, one could say “the Word of Christ” is the Bible.  And truly, the Bible is the Word of Christ.  The pages of scripture from cover to cover present His character and His personality as well as the sufferings that He endured for us and the glory that was, is, and shall be His.  Our Lord tells the religious leaders of Israel to: “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.”  To the disciples on the road to Emmaus, “He expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning Himself.” (Luke 24:27).  

 

As we study the Old Testament we see Jesus Christ as the unstated subject and author for

“The testimony of Jesus as the Spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10). It is as Peter told the house of Cornelius: “To him gave all the prophets witness” (Acts 10:43).  All of the Old Testament prophets spoke of a salvation that would center in Jesus Christ.  Peter speaks of this in I Peter 1:10-12, “of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when, it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which we now reported unto you by them that now preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven…”  Peter here speaks of a salvation that was spoken by the prophets that involved the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, likewise “was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied. saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us [i.e. Israel] in the house of his servant David; As he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we [Israel] should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us.”

 

We see so far in all that we have looked at, that the prophets’ presentation of Jesus Christ pertains to a salvation of Israel.  He is Israel’s Messiah (Matthew 16:16) as we see Him in prophecy.  However, when we come to that portion of scripture that we know as the Pauline epistles, we find the “Word of Christ” to be far more to us than simply being Israel’s Messiah.  

 

The word for “word” in Colossians 3:16 is the word that we get our English “logic” from.  It is a reference to a logical concept of Christ put into words on the pages of scripture.  God has revealed a concept of Christ in Paul’s epistles that is different from the concept presented in scripture either before or after them.  Paul describes the concept of Christ as He is presented in the prophets as knowing Christ  “after the flesh…” (2 Cor. 5:16).  That term simply points to the fact that the prophets spoke of Christ as the king who would reign on a physical throne on the earth over a physical kingdom through the nation of Israel.  But, the fact that the concept of Christ, as presented to us in Paul’s epistles is different than what went before, is evident by Paul’s statement “…when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I should preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me;…” (Galatians 1:15-17).  This is a revelation of Jesus Christ that predates in time the revelation of Jesus Christ in glory as John writes of Him in the Revelation (Rev. 1:1) or Peter (I Peter 1:13).  This revelation is “…The preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery.” (Romans 16:25). And this revelation is unique to the Pauline epistles for it is through him that the Lord revealed it (Ephesians 3:1-3). This revelation of Jesus Christ describes the Lord Jesus as the head (Colossians 1:18) over (and together with) the church which is His body (Ephesians 1:22) so as to form “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15); the new creature of II Corthinians 5:17.  That entire body of doctrine that Paul refers to in Romans 16:25 and Ephesians 3:3 is what he refers to in Colossians 3:16 as “The Word Of Christ”.  It describes that most blessed and special relationship whereby each believer is joined to Jesus Christ as “members of his body and his flesh and of his bones.”  It spiritually is a relationship to Jesus Christ that is so close and so tight that, as we walk by faith in His Word (i.e. the Word of Christ—the mystery), Christ lives His life out through the believer.

 

The “Word of Christ” is then a set of instructions contained in Paul’s epistles. This information enables the believer to think the way Christ thinks, to see the world the way Christ sees the world, to have the sonship spirit that Christ has, and to understand God’s plan and purpose for man as Christ understands.  In short, we have the mind of Christ. (I Cor. 2:16)  As the believer saturates his heart and mind with the Word of God, bases his decisions in the pathways of life from the Word, and stands on the truth of the Word, he is filled with the Spirit.  The Word of God and the Spirit of God are inseparable.  The Word of God never works apart from the Spirit of God, nor does the Spirit of God work apart from the Word of God.  The believer can not be filled with the Word of God apart from studying the Word of God.  God works in us in three sequential steps:

 

Step One – God makes us a new creature when we individually believe the gospel that Christ died for our sins and paid the debt in full.

Step Two – God instructs us from His Word, the Bible. This is done by God as the believer receives the Word of God “…not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” (1Thes 2:13)

Step Three – The Spirit of God leads the believer: “For as many as are led of the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” (Rom. 8:13)  But, God can not lead someone until He has instructed Him from His Word. And, He can not instruct someone until He has made that person a new creature for “…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.” (1Cor.2:14)

 

Now let’s consider the admonition of Colossians 3:16 further.  Note that is says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.” The word “let” implies to us that yieldedness on our part is necessary.  God does not save anyone against that person’s will.  He does not justify us against our will.  Rather, He offers eternal life as a gift to all but imparts that gift only to those who respond in faith.  So too, God will not make a believer faithful against the believer’s will.  Rather, He presents His will to us and waits on us to conform our will to His will as He has revealed it to us in the Pauline epistles.  As we do humbly yield to the will of God as revealed in the word of God rightly divided, the indwelling Spirit of God then takes the written Word of God and produces the life of Christ in the believer.  The believer is then filled with the Spirit as long as he/she so lives out the Word of God.  The Word of Christ is thus:

· The Word of Life (Philippians 12:16) because it produces the life of Christ in the believer.

· The Word of His Grace (Acts 14:3; 20:32) because it is truly “good news” to the believer that God deals with us on the basis of grace today in the Dispensation of grace.

· The Word of Truth (Ephesians 1:13) because nothing more needs to be said.

· The Word of Promise (Romans 9:Cool because it presents the promise of God that will never fail.

· The Word of the Truth of the Gospel (Col. 1:25) because it is the good news of the hope laid up for us in heaven.

· The Word of Faith (Romans 10:Cool because our faith can rest in the faithfulness of God.

· The Word of Reconciliation (II Corinthians 5:19) because, in it God is acting to reconcile us, His one time enemies, to Himself.

· The Word of Christ (Colossians 3:16) because it presents Christ to the world the way God wants Him presented today.

 

M . J. Tiry

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« Reply #42 on: October 11, 2003, 06:22:39 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace Bible Church
1450 Oak Hill Road
Fort Worth, TX 76112-3017
(817) 451-0937

Gregg Bing, Pastor
Charles Wages, Pastor Emeritus
http://www.gracebiblechurch-fw.com/?subpages/default.shtml
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From: Timely Messenger


Oklahoma Howdy to Ambassador4Christ,

I was moved and happy to see this. The original name of Grace Bible Church was 615 College Avenue. The congregation grew and a larger church was built. My grandfather, Isaac Sidebottom, was the founder of the Timely Messenger and 615 College Avenue Church. This post brought back many precious memories. My dad also began his 60 year ministry in this same church. Both have gone home to be with the LORD. There is much more to the story about other churches and many sweet Christians who love the LORD. Thank you brother.

In Christ,
Tom  
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« Reply #43 on: October 11, 2003, 07:28:30 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Grace Bible Church
1450 Oak Hill Road
Fort Worth, TX 76112-3017
(817) 451-0937

Gregg Bing, Pastor
Charles Wages, Pastor Emeritus
http://www.gracebiblechurch-fw.com/?subpages/default.shtml
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
From: Timely Messenger


Oklahoma Howdy to Ambassador4Christ,

I was moved and happy to see this. The original name of Grace Bible Church was 615 College Avenue. The congregation grew and a larger church was built. My grandfather, Isaac Sidebottom, was the founder of the Timely Messenger and 615 College Avenue Church. This post brought back many precious memories. My dad also began his 60 year ministry in this same church. Both have gone home to be with the LORD. There is much more to the story about other churches and many sweet Christians who love the LORD. Thank you brother.

In Christ,
Tom  

WOW!! Brother, it is a small world. I have been reading Timely Messenger, for over seven years. I have read almost every they they have in print. Thanks for letting me know about your grandfather and dad. I Love You Brother
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« Reply #44 on: October 11, 2003, 07:49:29 PM »

My Favorite Web-Sites And Studies
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Bible Doctrines to Live By, Inc.
http://www.bdtlb.org/phpshop/
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Articles- A Passion for Souls  (Part 1 of 3)
2 Peter 3:9

I want to focus our attention on the thing that is closest to the heart of God - the salvation of souls. I want you to see from the Scriptures that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have an intense passion to see lost people saved. The idea of winning the lost to the Lord Jesus, the idea of evangelism is not the preacher’s idea. It is not something that the evangelist has thought up. It is not something that the Sunday School teacher does just to occupy time or to entertain children. But this idea of winning lost people to the Lord Jesus originated with the Godhead. These Three unite in a desire for believers to be placed in union with the Lord; become heirs and joint-heirs with the Lord Jesus; have the comfort and the hope of knowing that Heaven is their home. I want you to know that passion comes from the heart of God.

Turn with me to 2 Peter 3:9.

“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

Here we are instructed, “the Lord is not slack.”  The word slack means to be off schedule. God is not off schedule. It tells me that the program of God is not an accident. God has a plan and that plan is moving on with every tick of the clock, with every breath and with every heartbeat. The implication that we can draw from this verse is - time is running out. The whole context here is the fact that Jesus Christ is coming back and if we are to get our friends and loved ones saved we must win them now! You and I are living in what we know as the Dispensation of the Grace of God. That doesn’t mean the grace of God was not manifested in other dispensations, but it does mean that the grace of God has never been displayed so large, so big, so wonderful, and so wide as in the day and age in which we are now living. Today is really a day of opportunity. It is a day wherein those who are called “ambassadors” of the Lord Jesus are not only equipped with the “word of reconciliation” but are commissioned to be the ministers of reconciliation. We, members of the Body of Christ, are dispensers of the wonderful Grace of God. We really are living in the day and age of great opportunity for poor lost sinners and God has entrusted us with that responsibility.

So, the Lord is not off schedule but to us-ward is “longsuffering.”  Why is that? Let me suggest it is because of God’s number one attribute – love. Who is God? The Bible says, “God is love.”  That’s why the Apostle Paul said, “God commendeth (ie., recommends) His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ Jesus died for us.”  There is no greater love. It is greater love that a father or mothers. So, here is a loving God who, as we are told, is “not willing that any should perish.”

God didn’t send His Son just to save those who are worthy. He didn’t send His Son just to save those who behave. The truth is, He sent His Son to demonstrate His wonderful grace and love to those who were fist-shaking, enemies of God. The Bible says, "while we were yet without strength” - when we were alienated from God. Guess what? The sinner doesn’t come looking for God. The Bible says, “no man seeks after God.”  Guess who came seeking the lost one? It was the Father through His Son. Again, the Bible tells us, “we love Him beause He first loved us.” God took the initiative. “God soooooo… loved the world.” He’s the greatest lover in the entire universe. Saving the lost sons of Adam was the passion of God’s heart – it is the thing closest to Him – “not willing that any should perish.”

Please go with me now to the Book of Exodus.

“And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.  Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them” (Ex. 32:30-34).

I want you to see something here in the history of Moses. Notice the punctuation in verse 32. “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.”  Moses is so distressed over Israel’s sin and at the same time he had a great love for them – he is deeply and emotionally caught up in the reality of the moment - that he doesn’t finish the sentence! He is so overcome with passion for the people of Israel that he tells God to “blot me out of thy book.” Question, Where did Moses get such a passion? I’ll tell you what I believe. I believe somehow Moses saw the heart of God. He saw and felt God’s love and remembers what God had said of His love for the Israelites,

“The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the LORD brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt” (Deut.  7:7-8).

“At the same time, saith the LORD, will I be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be my people.  Thus saith the LORD, The people which were left of the sword found grace in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest.  The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 31:1-3).

I want to tell you something. A man left to himself – a man left to his own desires and his own wishes does not seek the lost sinner. If Moses had a passion for his own people then he got it from God! This is an amazing passage of Scripture. The nation of Israel had sinned a great sin. They were in jeopardy. Moses is filled with passion for these sinning Israelites. He is so taken up with passion. The very thought of these people being destroyed because of sin is more than he wants to comprehend. There is a love in his heart for people. Please notice again what he says. He prays a prayer that cannot be answered. “And if not, blot me I pray Thee out of Thy book which Thou has written.” Oh, such passion. To feel the heartbeat of God and then look at the neighbors, friends and loved ones who are in jeopardy of punishment because of sin and are lost - is something the “flesh” does not desire!

Please go with me to Romans Chapter Nine. I want you to see that we find almost exactly the same passion from the lips of the Apostle Paul. Here he says,

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh” (Rom. 9:1-3).

Again I remind you that the natural man, a man left to himself, doesn’t think thoughts like this. Let me be foolish and be transparent with you - I confess that if the salvation of the lost were left up to Lee Homoki and the desires of my flesh, I’d say, “to hell with most of them.” To care for others beyond my own little world is not a natural desire. The desires of my flesh are quite normal and I am quite sure are like yours too. If I’m left to my Adamic nature, I am concerned primarily with my own needs and welfare. However, the believer can have a desire that is not our own. It comes to us with salvation through faith in Christ. It is born from God Himself for God is love. – It is a divine love and nature. It is not father’s love, mother’s love, brother’s love, sister’s love, grandma’s love, grandpa’s love – as wonderful as that is it is no match for God’s love and impartation of His Nature (2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 5:5; Gal. 5:22).

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