Wednesday, December 7, 2016

THIS IS MY INTERPRETATION OF HOW BELIEVERS OUGHT TO LIVE

JESUS AS OUR EXAMPLE
*  Luke 24:25-27 - "Then Jesus said to them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory.  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded unto them from all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself."

NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING ON HOW WE OUGHT TO LIVE
*  Acts 5:29 - "Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men."
*  Acts 17:29 - "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 devices."
*  Acts 20:35 - "I have showed you all things, how that by laboring, you ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
*  Romans 12:3 - "For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God has dealt to every man the measure of faith."
*  Romans 15:1 - "We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."
*  Ephesians 5:28 - "So men ought to love their wives as their own bodies...." 
*  Colossians 4:6 - "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how ye ought to answer every man."
*   Hebrews 5:12 - "Though by now you ought to be teachers, you still need others to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have need of milk, rather than strong meat."
*  James 3:10 - "Out of the same mouth you speak both blessings and cursings.  My brethren, these things ought not to be."
*  James 4:15 - "For that you ought to say, If the Lord wills it, we shall live, and do this, or that."
*  1 John 2:6 - "He that says he abides in Him, ought to walk, even as He walked."
*  1 John 3:16 - "This is how we know the love of God, because He laid down His life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren."
*  1 John 4:11 - "Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another."
 
IF JESUS IS MY LORD AND MASTER, MY LIFE OUGHT TO SHOW IT!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

BELIEVING IS NOT A RELIGIOUS WORK

Yesterday, I wrote of the two factors involved in one being saved:  Repentance AND Remission (Lk. 24:47).  And while they appear to be two different things, when it comes to the salvation of one's soul, they are really "two sides of the same coin":  Faith!  The Gospel message, the only message that God's Word says can save us (Rom. 1:16), reveals two things:  we are sinners in need of salvation, and Jesus Christ was crucified for our sins according to the Scriptures, He was buried, and He was raised from the dead, all according to the Scriptures (1 Cor. 15:3-4)!  When a person believes the Gospel message, he turns from a life marked by sin (Repentance), to a life dedicated to living for the One Who gave Himself for us (Remission)!  The Holy Spirit convinces us we need a savior, also convinces us that Jesus fulfilled that role (Jn. 16:7-15; Heb. 9:22; 1 Jn. 2:2)!

Let me be absolutely clear; we are not saved by religious works, but are saved by faith in His finished work on our behalf on the cross!  Some have said that repentance and believing constitutes works, but the Apostle Paul wrote:  "Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified." (Gal. 2:16)!  Clearly, believing we need to turn to God and willingly trust in His Son's sacrifice for us, is not works!

The word "believe" appears seventeen times in the entire Old Testament, and one hundred fourteen times in the New Testament:  it appears forty-six times in the Gospel of John!  John declares that the very purpose for his writing his Gospel, was that you and I might believe, and turn to Jesus Christ as our Lord!  Paul states that salvation is acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus:  he wrote, "That if you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved." (Rom. 10:9)!  Here are but three examples of John's focus on salvation by faith in Jesus:

*  John 6:28-29 - "Then said they to Him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?  Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him Whom He hath sent."  [Note: The only "work" God accepts for salvation, is for us to believe God sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; Gal. 2:16)]!

*  John 9:35-38 - "Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said unto him, Do you believe on the Son of God?  He answered and said, Who is He, Lord, that I might believe on Him?  And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He Who talks with you.  And he said, Lord, I believe.  And he worshipped Him."  [Note:  True faith always results in the worship of Jesus Christ! (Mt. 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Lk. 24:52; Rev. 5:14)]!

*  John 20:29-31 - "Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:  But these are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing, you might have life through His name." [Note:  Faith is believing without seeing (Rom. 8:24).  Jesus' name is the only name that can save the lost (Acts 4:12; 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Gal. 3:22)]!
 
DO YOU BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST?  I PRAY YOU DO!

Monday, December 5, 2016

SALVATION INVOLVES TWO THINGS

THE COMMAND TO PREACH TWO THINGS

*  Luke 24:46-47 - Jesus said unto them, "Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:  and that repentance AND remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem."

"Repentance" should be preached:  "Repentance" is from the Greek μετάνοια (metanoia), which means:
*  A change of mind; a remorse concerning one's relationship to God (Webster).
*  Results from knowing the goodness of God (Rom. 2:4).
*  A godly sorrow leading to salvation (2 Cor. 7:9-10).
*  A change that is evidence of one's repentance (Mt. 3:8).
*  Repentance is the result of genuine faith (Acts 20:21).
*  Repentance from dead works is foundational to salvation (Heb. 6:1).
*  True repentance should be followed by good works (Acts 26:20).

AND

"Remission" should be preached:  "Remission" is from the Greek ἄφεσις (aphesis), which means:
*  Forgiveness of sin; excusable, forgivable, pardonable (Webster).
*  Christ shed His blood for the remission of our sins (Mt. 26:28).
*  John preached repentance and the remission of sins (Mk. 1:4; Lk. 1:77; 3:3).
*  Peter preached repentance and the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
*  All who believe in Jesus will receive the remission of their sins (Acts 10:43).
*  Without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins (Heb. 9:22).
*  When remission of sins become effective, there is no need of further sacrifice (Heb. 10:17-18).

THREE KEY PASSAGES CONCERNING SALVATION

*  Acts 10:39-43 - Peter said, "And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; Whom they crucified and nailed to a cross:  God raised Him up the third day, and showed Him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before by God, even to us, who did eat and drink with Him after He rose from the dead.  And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He Who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the living and dead.  To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name, whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins."
 
*  1 Corinthians 15:3-4 - The Gospel:  "For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures."
 
*  Romans 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ:  For it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes...."

Sunday, December 4, 2016

GENESIS 1:26 IS YET TO BE FULFILLED

GOD'S GOAL FOR MANKIND
*  Genesis 1:26-27 - "And God said, Let Us make man in Our image, after Our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.  So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He Him; male and female created He them."  [Notice He created man in His own image, but not in His own likeness; that will not occur until we see Jesus face to face (see 1 John 3:1-2 below)]
 
JESUS BECAME HUMAN TO DIE FOR US
*  Philippians 2:5-8 - "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
*  Hebrews 1:1-3 - "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, Whom He has appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds; Who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, He sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high."
*  1 Timothy 3:16 - "And without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness:  God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, and He was received up into glory."
 
JESUS REVEALED HIS TRUE IDENTITY TO MAN
*  Matthew 17:1-5 - "And after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, and brought them up into a high mountain apart, and He was transfigured before them:  and His face did shine as the sun, and His raiment was white as the light.  And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elijah talking with Him.  Then Peter said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here:  if it is Your will, let us make three tabernacles here; one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.  While Peter was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them:  and a voice from out of the cloud said, This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased; listen to Him."
*  Revelation 1:13-16 - "And in the midst of the seven candlesticks stood One like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to His feet, and He was girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
His head and His hair were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; and His feet were like fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice was as the sound of many waters.  And He had in His right hand seven stars:  and out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword:  and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength."
*  Revelation 19:11-16 - "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He does judge and make war.  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a name written, that no man knew, but He Himself.  And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood:  and His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.  And out of His mouth went a sharp sword, with which he should smite the nations:  and He shall rule them with a rod of iron:  and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.  And He had on His vesture and on His thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
 
BY HIS GRACE, WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM
*  1 John 3:1-2 - "Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God:  therefore the world does not know us, because it doesn't know Him.  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be:  but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is."

Saturday, December 3, 2016

LORDSHIP SALVATION

Throughout my forty-five years as a born again believer in Jesus Christ, I have heard, and unfortunately have repeated, that when people get saved, they recognize Jesus as their Savior, but as they grow in Him, they come to realize that He is worthy to be Lord of their lives.  I was wrong!  Let me illustrate from God's Word:  the words Lord Jesus appear 117 times in the New Testament!  Here are a few examples of Jesus being identified as Lord by the early Church:

*  Luke 23:42 - "And he [the thief on the cross] said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom."
*  John 13:13 - "Ye call Me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am."
*  John 20:28 - "And Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God."
*  Acts 4:33 - "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all."
*  Acts 7:59-60 - "And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.  And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep."
*  Acts 9:29 - "And he [the apostle Paul] spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him."
*  Acts 15:11 - "But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they."
*  Acts 16:31 - "And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."
*  Acts 19:4-5 - "Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus."
*  Acts 20:21 - "Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ."
*  Acts 21:13 - "Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart?  For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus."
*  Acts 28:31 - "Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him."

Yes, the Gospels and the Book of Acts, foundational to understanding Who Jesus Christ is, clearly present Him as God (John 1:1, 14), as Lord and Master (John 13:13), and as the resurrected Son of God (Matthew 14:33; 28:6; Mark 1:1; 16:6; Luke 1:35; 24:6; John 1:34; 20:16; Acts 2:21-24; 4:33)!  So my question is, if Jesus is not being proclaimed as Lord, is the true Gospel being preached?  My contention is, if Jesus is not your Lord, you have not truly accepted the Jesus of the Bible!  The Apostle Peter calls Him first Lord, and then Savior (2 Peter 1:11; 2:20; 3:2, 18)! 

If the Gospel message has the power to save (Romans 1:16), and the Gospel message presents Jesus as Lord (1 Corinthians 15:58-59) to those who believe He died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried and His Father raise Him from the dead, according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4), how can a person be saved without acknowledging Jesus is Lord?  He cannot!


Friday, December 2, 2016

WHAT WAS MATTHEW'S FOCUS?

*  Matthew 1:20-23 - "But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS:  for He shall save His people from their sins.  Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, 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."
*  Matthew 2:14-15, 23 - "When he arose, he took the young child and His mother by night, and departed into Egypt:  And was there until the death of Herod:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son....And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene."
*  Matthew 4:13-16 - "And leaving Nazareth, He came and dwelt in Capernaum, which is upon the sea coast, in the borders of Zabulon and Nephthalim:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, The land of Zabulon, and the land of Nephthalim, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up."
*  Matthew 8:14-17 - "And when Jesus was come into Peter's house, He saw his wife's mother laid, and sick of a fever.  And He touched her hand, and the fever left her:  and she arose, and ministered unto them.  When the even was come, they brought unto Him many that were possessed with devils: and He cast out the spirits with His Word, and healed all that were sick:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, He Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."
*  Matthew 12:15-18 - "But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew Himself from thence: and great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all; And charged them that they should not make Him known:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying, Behold My Servant, Whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in Whom My soul is well pleased:  I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall show judgment to the Gentiles."
*  Matthew 13:34-35 - "All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spoke He not unto them:  That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."
*  Matthew 21:4-5 - "All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt, the foal of an ass."
*  Matthew 27:35 - "And they crucified Him, and parted His garments, casting lots:  that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted My garments among them, and upon My vesture did they cast lots." 
[Note:  The phrase "that it might be fulfilled" appears nine times in the Bible - ALL in Matthew's Gospel!]
Read Matthew 27:62-63; 28:5-6; Acts 2:22-32! 




Thursday, December 1, 2016

LIGHT

"Light" in the Bible, is expressed in three main ways:  1.  God IS Light;  2.  Fallen man loves the absence of light, that is, darkness; and  3.  The Gospel light reveals God's righteousness and love, man's need for a Savior, and Jesus Christ, Himself, the Savior and Light of the world (1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 1:10)!  Read these verses and decide to which category each belongs (they may actually fall under more that one):

*  Genesis 1:3-5 - "And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.  And God saw the light, that it was good:  and God divided the light from the darkness.  And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night.  And the evening and the morning were the first day."

*  Isaiah 5:20 - "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!"

*  John 3:19-20 - "And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved."

*  John 8:12 - "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the  Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."

*  John 12:46 - "I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on Me should not abide in darkness."

*  2 Corinthians 4:6 - "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ."

*  2 Corinthians 6:14 - "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:  for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness?  And what communion hath light with darkness?"

*  Ephesians 5:8 - "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light."
 
*  1 Thessalonians 5:5 - "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
 
*  1 Peter 2:9 - "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light."
 
*  1 John 1:5 - "This then is the message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all."
 
*  1 John 2:9 - "He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now."
 
JESUS SHINES LIGHT FOR GOD'S CHILDREN TO FOLLOW HIS LEAD. 
JESUS SHINES LIGHT ON THE DEEDS OF THE CHILDREN OF DARKNESS!

DO NOT MISHANDLE GOD'S WORD!

It always amazes me when I read quotes from the Bible, written by those who have no concept of biblical context.  Most often, it is someones effort to encourage other Christians, using promises God made to His chosen people, Israel.  First of all, it is clear from Scripture that God's promises to Israel were quite different than those He made to the Church.  The Jews were rewarded for "good behavior" here on earth:  longevity, health, wealth, many children, etc.  The Church is promised nothing of the sort.  We are told that we will be hated, persecuted, and even martyred for having faith in Jesus.  Our rewards will not happen in this world, but, in fact, they will be reserved for us in heaven!  Notice the difference between these two passages:

"Ye shall observe to do therefore as the LORD your God hath commanded you: ye shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.  Ye shall walk in all the ways which the LORD your God hath commanded you, that ye may live, and that it may be well with you, and that ye may prolong your days in the land which ye shall possess" (Deuteronomy 5:32-33).

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Peter 1:3-5).

I can just "see" those of you reading this and thinking, what about all the promises Jesus preached to His people in the Gospels?  The first clue one should have, is that He was speaking to HIS PEOPLE:  Israel!  John wrote:  "He (Jesus) was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.  He came unto His own (Israel), and His own received Him not.  BUT, as many as received Him (whomsoever will), to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:  which (who) were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God" (John 1:10-13)!  Except for a very few cases, He and His disciples rarely spoke to Gentiles (non-Jews)!  In fact, the entire Church was made up of Jewish believers until Acts Chapter Ten!
 
Haven't you ever wondered why there are Christians by the millions, who are being raped, tortured, and martyred, when so many people are preaching the prosperity gospel?  Do you actually believe God loves Americans more than He loves Christians in the Sudan?  People who quote the passage about never seeing "His seed begging bread" (Psalm 37:25), would have a hard time convincing born again believers in third world countries, that the Bible is all true.  And yet, it is; it simply needs to be "rightly divided!"  Israel and the Church are two different entities, with one being promised earthly rewards and the other heavenly rewards! 

I know you mean well, but don't use God's Word out of context!