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December 13 2012 5 13 /12 /December /2012 14:21

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

[About The Following Article - The Temple of God is a wonderful study. In Old Testament times, God, at certain times, dwelt in physical temples built by His servants. Please read I Chronicles 29:1-5 to find with what great care Solomon’s Temple was built. The people were to know that God dwelt there. It was furnished with such greatness because it was to be the house of God. In this dispensation, God does not dwell in temples made with hands. See Acts 17:24. In the following article, Bibi Allicock brings us the Bible truth that our bodies are the Temple of God because the Holy Spirit lives within us. Therefore, we must take good care of our bodies. She also gives us some Scriptural truths on how we must live and act to prove that the Holy Spirit is within us, making our bodies the Temple of God.]

 

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?  If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are. Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness. And again, The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain. Therefore let no man glory in men” (I Corinthians 3:16-21, first part). “That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (I Corinthians 1:31).

 

Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire” (I Corinthians 3:13-15). “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:7-9).

 

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God […] that no one of you be puffed up for one against another” (I Corinthians 4: 5-6, last part). “For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?” (verse 7). “Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (I Corinthians 5:7-8). “[…] for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (I Corinthians 4:9, last part).

 

Brethren and friends, we ought to know how our body must be kept since it is to house the Holy Spirit of God. “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (verses 9-10).

 

And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? GOD FORBID. What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. FLEE FORNICATION. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; BUT HE THAT COMMITTETH FORNICATION SINNETH AGAINST HIS OWN BODY” (verses 11-18).

 

The Apostle Paul tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation” (II Corinthians 5:17-18). “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God” (verse 20). “We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offence in any thing, THAT THE MINISTRY BE NOT BLAMED: But in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, By the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, By honour and dishonour, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things” (II Corinthians 6:1-10).

 

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

 

Here we see that as our BODIES ARE THE TEMPLE OF GOD, we ought to present it as A LIVING SACRIFICE, HOLY AND ACCEPTABLE UNTO GOD. Therefore the things we used to do before we accepted the Lord should be erased from our lives, and we should NOT DARE TO LOOK BACK as Lot’s wife who looked back and turned into a pillar of salt. The Lord Himself said, “[…] No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Brethren and friends, if we really want to be in the kingdom of God, we should “[…] put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is CORRUPT ACCORDING TO THE DECEITFUL LUSTS; AND BE RENEWED IN THE SPIRIT OF YOUR MIND; AND THAT YE PUT ON THE NEW MAN, WHICH AFTER GOD IS CREATED IN RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TRUE HOLINESS” (Ephesians 4:22-24). “AND GRIEVE NOT THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, WHEREBYYE ARE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION” (verse 30).

 

Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But FORNICATION, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:1-6).

 

Wherefore he saith, 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; 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; Submitting yourselves one to another in the FEAR OF GOD” (verses 14-21). “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”, December 31, 2012.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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April 13 2012 6 13 /04 /April /2012 22:06

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

While it is true that the church has some weaknesses, it is also true there are some things that make it strong. Let us just mention two of them.

 

THE DOCTRINAL POSITION OF THE CHURCH MAKES IT STRONG.

 

Someone has said, “No church is stronger than its doctrine.” Doctrine is the foundation of the church. Doctrine makes the church stable and durable. Many people object to the preaching of doctrine. They do not like a gospel that demands belief, loyalty and action.

 

Jesus said, “… My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7: 16-17).

 

Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers” (Acts 2:41-42). This was after Peter preached his sermon on the day of Pentecost. They were accused of filling “… Jerusalem with your doctrine …” (Acts 5:28). Peter answered, “…We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).

 

We know that there are false doctrines. Ephesians 4:14 speaks of “every wind of doctrine.”

 

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils” (I Timothy 4:1).

 

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears” (II Timothy 4:3).

 

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines ...” (Hebrews 13:9).

 

If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” (II John 10).

 

The church must have sound doctrine.

 

If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” (I Timothy 4:6).

 

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers” (Titus 1:9).

 

But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1).

 

THE MORAL STANDARD OF THE CHURCH MAKES IT STRONG.

 

Holiness must be the character of the church. When a person loses his character, his respectability is gone. This is also true of the church. There are negative elements that affect its holiness.

 

And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).

 

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world, If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (I John 2:15).

 

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:2).

 

Wherefore come out from among them, and beye. separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you” (II Corinthians 6:17).

 

The church can be holy.

 

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:15-16).

 

Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

 

Its doctrinal position and its moral standard are only two strengths that made the early church strong. May it be so today.

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”, April 23, 2012.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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March 10 2012 7 10 /03 /March /2012 18:26

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Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

This I saythen, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would . But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before , as I have also told you in time past , that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another” (Galatians 5:16-26).

 

In the above text there are four related principles: walking in the Spirit, being led of the Spirit, having the fruit of the Spirit, and living in the Spirit. The word “walk” in verse 16 is the Greek term “peripateo” and in Strong’s Concordance it means “to tread all around; i.e. walk at large; fig. to live, deport oneself, follow (as a companion or votary): go, be occupied with, walk (about).” In this definition, then, we can infer at least three of the active principles involved: walking in the Spirit, living in the Spirit, and being led of the Spirit. When this takes place the fruit of the Spirit will follow.

 

One who is led of the Spirit, as is stated above in verse 18, is not under the law. What law is this verse addressing? It certainly involves the law of Moses which much of the book of Galatians speaks about. The law of Moses was a law code made up of over 600 individual laws containing various moral, ceremonial, and sacrificial precepts. After Christ came and died, believers are no longer to be under this law code (see Ephesians 2:15; Colossians 2:14). Galatians 3:10-14 is very adamant about this point. “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written , Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them. But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written , Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

 

The book of the law (law of Moses) contained these 600 plus laws, as written by the hand of Moses, and it was placed in the side of the ark of the covenant rather than in the ark itself as were the Ten Commandment tablets (God’s law; see Deuteronomy 31:24-26; 10:1-5). Christ redeemed His followers from the curse of the book of the law when He died on the cross (tree). The reason that this law was a curse was because no one (except Christ, of course) could keep it perfectly. It was not of faith, and a person could not be justified by it since “the just shall live by faith.”

 

The Apostle Paul had to withstand (stop) the Apostle Peter for giving some credence to the law of Moses. It was unlawful for a Jew to keep company with a Gentile (see Acts 10:28) until God gave Peter the vision of the sheet containing the animals. Peter, however, did separate himself from Gentiles. “Butwhen Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come , he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision” (Galatians 2:11-12).

 

It also appears that Peter was advocating that the Gentiles live according to Jewish beliefs. “But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles, 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” (Galatians 2:14-16).

 

Paul even had to rebuke the church in Galatia for trying to live by the works of the law. “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” (Galatians 3:1-2). Notice this next point that Paul makes to the Galatian brethren. He equates doing the works of the law to being in the flesh (compare verses 2 and 3). Living by the works of the law (being in the flesh), therefore, is in opposition to the Spirit.

 

What was the purpose of the book of the law which was placed in the side of the ark? Galatians 3:19, 24-25 gives us the answer. “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made ; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator … Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come , we are no longer under a schoolmaster.” (Please also read Galatians 4:1-7).

 

At this point someone might be asking that since the book of the law contained moral laws, even principles of the Ten Commandments, didn’t these Commandments cease when the other commandments were abolished at Christ’s death? This is where many become confused. The book of the law did, indeed, contain many moral laws. Even the Sabbath is commanded in it. However, we don’t keep the Sabbath in the manner stated in the book of the law. The priests, for instance, offered sacrifices on the Sabbath day (see Numbers 28:9-10). We keep the Sabbath according to the Ten Commandments written on stone (actually these Commandments are to be written upon our hearts) and according to Christ’s instructions (see, for instance, Matthew 12:1-12; Mark 2:27-28). We know that when the Mosaic law was abolished at Christ’s death, the Ten Commandments as spoken by God, and the teachings of Christ still remained.

 

We mentioned earlier that doing the works of the law equates to being in the flesh (see again Galatians 3:2-3). This is because the person doing the works of the law is trying to be justified by his or her own efforts. Now, notice again what Galatians 5:19-21 reads: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Breaking God’s law, therefore, is also being in the flesh. When a person tries to live life on his or her own terms, the result is always one of failure. No matter how much one tries to be righteous, the opposite will always occur. God’s standard of righteousness--the holy Ten Commandment Law--is inevitably transgressed.

 

Let us examine more of what the Bible has to say about living in the flesh. Living in the flesh, basically, is disregarding God’s standard of righteousness. This righteousness can only be attained when the Holy Spirit indwells a person. If the Spirit does not reside within someone, then that person automatically is living in the flesh and is under the penalty of death. Living in the flesh may come under two related categories: disregarding God’s righteousness by living a life of sin, and disregarding His righteousness by trying to be justified by works. In either case God’s standard of righteousness is being disregarded, and the person or persons involved come under the death penalty.

 

These next passages of Scripture will bear out what I have been discussing. Romans 8:5-8, 12 reads: “For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God … Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.” In this text we can see that we owe God a debt which is to not live after the flesh.

 

In Romans 4:4 we read that the person who tries to be justified by works is also under a debt. “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.” This situation places the person outside of God’s grace. The Apostle Paul continues this thought in Galatians 5:2-4. “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.”

 

Another term for living in the flesh is being carnal. Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?” (I Corinthians 3:3). Peter wrote against a carnal group of people in II Peter 2:10: “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.”

 

The answer to not living in the flesh is given by Paul in his letter to the Colossians, chapter 3. “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Colossians 3:5-9). “Mortify” means to put to death. This can only be done through the work of the Holy Spirit.

 

Furthermore, the law does not condemn a person who walks after the Spirit. We see this from Romans 8:1-2: “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Notice that there are two other laws mentioned in these verses: “the law of the Spirit of life” and “the law of sin and death”. Being in the flesh places one under the law of sin and death. Walking after the Spirit places one under the law of the Spirit of life.

 

Our emphasis so far of not being justified by the works of the law has been about the law of Moses. Let us now discuss more of the Ten Commandments (God’s law). Though only Christ can give us salvation, the Ten Commandments are still a part of the covenant between God and His people (see, for instance, Deuteronomy 4:13). After the Lord spoke these Ten Commandments, we find in Deuteronomy 5:22: “These words the LORD spake unto all your assembly in the mount out of the midst of the fire, of the cloud, and of the thick darkness, with a great voice: and he added no more. And he wrote them in two tables of stone, and delivered them unto me.” Notice that He “added no more” to these commandments. But because of the peoples’ transgressions, as we have seen, the LORD gave them the book of the law (see, again, Galatians 3:19).

 

Notice, too, that the Ten Commandment law does not contain within its writing a specific penalty for breaking these commandments (see Exodus 20:1-17; Deuteronomy 5:6-21). The LORD does, however, state in these commandments, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children” and “the LORD will not hold him guiltless” (see Exodus 20:5, 7). The book of the law does contain the death penalty for sins committed. Exodus 21:12 states: “He that smiteth a man, so that he die, shall be surely put to death.” This passage in the book of the law is referring back to the sixth commandment (God’s law) which is about not committing murder. We know that a murderer is under the death penalty, both by man and by the Lord. Therefore, when one is living in the flesh (either by works of the law or by disobedience to God’s law) that person becomes a debtor. Not only does the ensuing death penalty occur, but John wrote that this individual does not have eternal life (see John 3:15).

 

We have seen that one who is led of the Spirit is not under the law, and that there is no condemnation for the one who walks after the Spirit. Does this mean that one can wilfully transgress the Ten Commandments (God’s law) and get away with it? Absolutely not! Transgressing God’s law, the basis for His covenant, places one in the category of living in the flesh, and thus he or she is under the death penalty once again. The Ten Commandments actually define what sin is (see I John 3:4). Romans 3:20 tells us: “for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” James 2:11 reads, “For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.”

 

Let us now spend some time observing what being in the Spirit is about. “Butye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you” (Romans 8:9-11).

 

Verses 14-17 further informs us: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” What a wonderful blessing--being adopted children of God, as well as being heirs and joint-heirs with Christ. Being joint-heirs means that He will share with us some of what God has given to Him as the only begotten Son of God.

 

The Scriptures commands one to be filled with the Spirit. “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). This is the secret to the believer’s success. Being filled with the Spirit, however, is not a one-time event. It appears that one needs to be continually filled. Why is this? When one repents of his or her sins, is baptized in Jesus’ name, and has had hands laid on to receive the Spirit, this is just the beginning of the believer’s walk. This person now has the fruit of the Spirit, but that fruit needs to be cultivated. If the believer begins to live in the flesh, then he or she is “carnal” (“babes in Christ”, see I Corinthians 3:1-3). This condition causes one to grieve the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 4:30 admonishes us: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” If this grieving of the Spirit does not stop, then one can actually quench the Spirit (see I Thessalonians 5:19). We do not have to continually have hands laid on us after baptism to be again filled with the Spirit. If we repent of our sinful ways, we can ask the Lord to fill us with His Spirit again (see Luke 11:13).

 

The Lord Jesus is our supreme example of being filled with the Spirit. Luke 4:1 reads: “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness”. After He was tempted of the devil we find in verse 14, “And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of him through all the region round about.” Jesus was filled with the Spirit and He was in the power of the Spirit. Notice that in verses 18-19, Jesus was then equipped for His ministry. “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted , to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised , 19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

 

Walking in the Spirit, then, is walking as Jesus walked. “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked” (I John 2:6). It is walking in newness of life; it is walking by faith; it is living in the unity of the Spirit; and it is operating in the diversities of gifts that the Spirit provides (see Romans 6:4; II Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 4:3; I Corinthians 12:4). When each believer is filled with the Spirit, then the whole body of Christ is also Spirit filled. This is what Christ is desiring--a Spirit filled church. Notice how the church is described in Ephesians 5:27: “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

 

Walking in the Spirit is experiencing Christ’s life within us. This condition will give us such peace and holy power that we will be able to withstand the trials, temptations, and tribulations of life. We will walk in victory and in the end be overcomers. Christ’s promise to the church in Sardis will be ours as well: “Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy” (Revelation 3:4).

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”. March 26, 2011.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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December 3 2010 6 03 /12 /December /2010 14:28

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams” (I Samuel 15:22 last part). The Lord told Saul to “…go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass” (I Samuel 15:3). Saul went his way and did as it pleased him. He spared what he wanted and destroyed what he thought was vile and refuse. He saved the best of the animals to offer sacrifice. The Lord was not delighted in whatever he was preparing to offer. Obedience was expected from Saul and he blew it.

 

“… Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king” (I Samuel 15:3). What transpired after caused Samuel to utter the words, “…The LORD hath rent the kingdom of Israel from thee this day, and hath given it to a neighbour of thine, that is better than thou” (I Samuel 15:3). Thus Saul reaped the fruit of his actions and disobedience. He was left stranded. The Spirit of God left him. He was like any other man without the protection of the power of God. Saul’s response was to seek a witch in Endor, thinking that help might come from that source. When he finally got an answer from the witch of Endor, it was just to reproach him for not obeying the voice of God, and to spell out his demise.

 

Dear ones, let us not go the way that Saul traveled and be disobedient too. Whatever the task the Lord has called us to perform; we must remember that obedience is vitally important to the children of God. It is not a one time display, then to return to one’s old life. Obedience must be constant and continuing, and must be fuelled by faith in God.

 

Without faith it is impossible to please God. Jesus is really the perfect example, since He, as the Son of God, showed us that obedience is extremely important. “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).

 

Remember, He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. We are also very privileged because He said to us that “…if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). We can go to Him regularly if sins are committed, asking for forgiveness. God never destroys a city or individual without first warning them. We are warned and reminded that we should not provoke the Lord. “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense of reward; How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him” (Hebrews 2:2-3).

 

Today the voice of the Lord is not to them in the past, like Saul. It is to us who are alive and, as children of God, we must become aware lest we fall after the same example of unbelief, and die in our sin. “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; breakup your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you” (Hosea 10:2). Disobedience has a reward, and it is not nice. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

 

Obedience also has a reward. “He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and Twill be his God, and he shall be my son” (Revelation 21:7).

 

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 24-25).

 

Obedient, you shall live; disobedient, you shall die.

 

From “The Advocate of Truth.” February 22, 2010.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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November 27 2010 7 27 /11 /November /2010 14:48

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

Actions speak louder than words. The fruit of the Spirit must be practiced by each and every child of God. These attributes from Galatians 5:22-23 are LOVE, JOY, PEACE, LONGSUFFERING, GENTLENESS, GOODNESS, FAITH, MEEKNESS, and TEMPERANCE. By having these nine attributes in our Christian life, we will be able to shine like alight out unto the world.

 

CHARITY [LOVE] suffereth long, and is kind; charity [love] envieth not; charity [love]vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil” (I Corinthians 13:4-5). God showed us His love by giving His only begotten Son to die on Calvary’s tree whereby we all can have a chance to obtain eternal life. So we, as Christians, should love our neighbor as ourselves and be a giving person from the heart. The Lord has given us a new commandment. He said, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you…” (John 13:34). “My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth” (I John 3:18).

 

Having LOVE for each other therefore brings JOY to the hearts of others. The joy that we have within is the strength of the Lord. Paul and Silas went through great trials and sufferings, but the joy in serving the Lord did not depart from them. Though many stripes were laid upon them, though they were cast into prison, they continued singing and giving praises to the Lord. Always be joyful for what all the Lord has done for us in our lives, and give Him thanks and praises at all times. “And my soul shall be joyful in the LORD: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9).

 

The joy from within therefore calms our souls with PEACE. “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). By placing all our trust and confidence in the Lord, peace will flow like a river gently through our souls. We should let the peace of God rule in our hearts and be thankful because it’s a blessing. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable…And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace” (James 3:17-18).

 

The PEACE that flows from within us will give us the PATIENCE to go through LONGSUFFERING. “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye maybe perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (James 1:2-4). Job was a perfect and upright man in the eyes of God, but he went through pain and sufferings. The patience that Job had helped him to walk through his sufferings, and he was more blessed in the end than in the beginning. When we begin the Christian journey, we must go through trials and tribulations. The road is rough and has plenty of potholes, but we should never let this keep us from obtaining eternal life. Going through fiery trials on the Christian journey is to make us stronger and better Christians. It will cause us to be brighter lights in the world. “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him” (James 1:12).

 

LONGSUFFERING therefore teaches us to be GENTLE, tender-hearted and kind to others. Gentleness is having humility toward God and others. “A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Jesus is our greatest example. In Matthew 11:29, He said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Therefore, we should be ready to give a gentle response and care to those who are weak, which may help to bring love, joy and peace in their lives. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy” (James 3:17).

 

GOODNESS gently steps in which shows the virtuousness of a child of God, which can give us the opportunity to gain honour and respect from others. “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:9-10). The wisdom of the Lord is past finding out. He healed the sick, He raised the dead, and He cast out devils. The blind received their sight, and the lepers were cleansed. He did so much more. There is only one thing the Lord wants from us, and that is to give ear and obey His commandments and keep His statutes. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

 

GOODNESS brings forth FAITH which causes us to believe and keep the commandments of God. Hebrews 11:6 informs us, “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

 

Abraham had great trust and confidence in the Lord when he was to offer up Isaac. “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). Prayer and faith work hand in hand. To receive our requests from the Lord, we must believe. If we have faith as a grain of mustard seed, we will be able to move mountains. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).

 

FAITH therefore gives us the ability to portray MEEKNESS. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). Meekness showed forth humility in the life of Moses. He was the meekest man upon the face of the earth. “The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way” (Psalm 25:9). We can find rest for our soul when we are meek and lowly in heart as Jesus was. Meekness is being calm and not easily provoked.

 

MEEKNESS will control our temper and emotions. Jesus displayed TEMPERANCE when He resisted the devil after He had fasted forty days and nights. Temperance therefore brings patience, then self control our actions are controlled by our hearts. We should pray for God to mold our hearts and make them like His, so we will be able to control our tongues and actions. Having the fruit mentioned will give us temperance. “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity” (II Peter 1:5-7).

 

If the fruit of the Spirit are lacking in your lives, you should quickly collect your baskets and head to the market, getting on your knees and asking God for more of the fruit of the Spirit. In receiving the fruit of the Spirit, make sure that it is mature so it can grow within you and shine like a light in the world. Some who see the brightness from us as Christians may want to follow our example. By just having and practicing the fruit of the Spirit, we can win souls for the Lord. I pray that the fruit of the Spirit that is within us will remain fresh and spotless.

 

From “The Advocate of Truth.” May 24, 2010.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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November 19 2010 6 19 /11 /November /2010 13:52

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven. Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall fmd it” (Matthew 10:32-39).

 

The word disciple in the Greek means “a learner”. But the word conveys much more than that. It implies the acceptance of the views and practices of the teacher, not only in the mind but also in the life. The truth of the statement that the Apostle Paul made to the Corinthians must be accepted as fact: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (I Corinthians 6:19-20). The early saints and many others since have understood the price that must be paid to enter into a state of true discipleship.

 

Let us now consider four conditions of discipleship.

 

The disciple must reckon himself to be dead.

 

No one can be a disciple until he has reckoned himself to be dead. “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:11). We hear the commandments of God, and we say, “Lord, these things are too hard. I can’t do these things that You are requiring of me. Love my enemies? Bless those who curse me? Lord, they’ve told lies about me. They have tried to ruin my name. I can’t do it!” But the Lord says to us, “That is what I require of My disciples. If you want to be my disciple, that’s what you are going to have to do.”

 

Jesus said in Matthew 5:44, “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” How can we do this? It seems impossible. It is impossible for that old man, that person we were before we were saved. But that old person is dead! He or she isn’t alive anymore!

 

The Apostle Paul wrote to the church at Rome under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him” (Romans 6:6-8).

 

So a disciple must first reckon himself to be dead.

 

A disciple must live a life of self-denial.

 

The Bible can be read and even memorized, but until its principles have been applied to our own lives, it is of no benefit to us. Jesus said in Matthew 16:24, “…If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Man’s natural tendency is to think of himself first. What is going to profit me? How can I be helped? But the true disciple is to give himself away in service to others.

 

The Lord Jesus knew that selfishness was at the root of all problems. So when the 12 apostles began to have strife among themselves over who was going to be the top dog of the group, He said, “…The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve” (Luke 22:25-26).

 

So we see, a disciple must live a life of self-denial.

 

A disciple must live a life of discipline.

 

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Paul understood that without discipline nothing great could ever be accomplished.

 

A concert pianist knows that the years of gruelling practice and self-sacrifice cannot be escaped if that one hour of perfect performance is to be realized. An astronaut knows stem discipline will be required to prepare for that day on the launching pad. The athlete who wants to be a member of the Olympic team must count on years of training, hard work, and discipline if the gold medal is to be worn. The Apostle Paul realized this when he wrote, “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (I Corinthians 9:27).

 

God is no “respecter of persons.” What He enabled Paul to do, He will also enable us to do. We can be disciplined and be true disciples.

 

A disciple must live a life of devotion.

 

A Bible student wrote that “devotion is the wholehearted and irrevocable giving up to God that which may never be taken back again.” Our devotion to Christ and His cause must be without reserve and without return.

 

Paul exemplified devotion when he told the elders at Ephesus, “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:22-24).

 

Everyone is devoted to something or someone. The child of God who would be a true disciple must be devoted to Christ. That devotion must be lived out daily by applying the teachings and commandments of our Lord to life’s situations.

 

Discipleship is required of us by our Master. He will help us attain to it. He will not require of us something that His grace will not enable us to do.

 

Yes, to be disciples we must be dead, but Jesus said, “…he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39). A disciple’s life is a life of self-denial, but Jesus said, “Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom…” (Luke 6:38). A disciple must put on the yoke of discipline, but Jesus said, “…my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30). A disciple’s life is a devoted life, but the Bible says, “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him…” (II Timothy 2:12).

 

To be saved costs nothing, but to be a disciple costs everything. Discipleship has its price, but it is worth the cost. We can say with the Apostle Paul, “…if so be that we suffer with him, that we maybe also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” (Romans 8:17-18).

 

From “The Advocate of Truth.” July 28, 2008.

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November 8 2010 2 08 /11 /November /2010 16:03

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets” (Matthew 7:12). The first part of these words spoken by Jesus, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them,” is called the Golden Rule. Another way of saying it is “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” The Golden Rule is a wonderful motto, but one that is followed by very few. However, if every one would live by this, we would need neither jails nor police. True Christians do follow this. Stephen was an example. When he was being stoned, he was praying for his enemies. Christ, as He was dying on the cross, prayed for those who were crucifying Him. When the world turns against God, He sends rain and sunshine along with many other blessings.

 

Many times we pray to God and ask Him to forgive us, yet we fail to forgive others. We expect Him to forgive us, but according as Christ taught us to pray, we are asking God to not forgive us. If we expect Him to forgive, we must first forgive.

 

Too many times when someone has mistreated us, we try to get even. We watch for opportunity to mistreat them and then try to excuse ourselves by saying, “They did not speak to me.” Maybe if we would right here put the Golden Rule into practice and speak to them, they would speak back. When Judas came and kissed Christ, thus pointing Him out to the mob, Jesus called him “friend.”

 

Be ye therefore perfect” was spoken for us as well as the people in Jesus’ day. It is a hard thing to live up to, and few do. But that will not excuse the rest of us. We cannot answer in the Judgment that our brothers or sisters did not live perfect lives in the flesh. Jesus lived a perfect life, although He was tempted in all points like as we. He left us an example that we should follow in His steps. We must not be satisfied with our life until we can truthfully say we are living as perfect a life as Christ. Maybe we fail to pray enough. Christ prayed often and sometimes spent all night in prayer. Yet we think we have prayed a long time if we spend half an hour in prayer. Prayer is the secret of the child of God’s life. We need to spend more time also in the study of His Word.

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”. July 26, 2010.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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November 6 2010 7 06 /11 /November /2010 18:31

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

 

After reciting the beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord tells His disciples in Matthew 5:13, “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

 

The Lord calls His disciples in this verse the “salt of the earth”, but in this same verse, He says that the salt can be dispelled, and then it will be good for nothing, but to be cast out into the street and be trodden under the foot of men. Thus it was in the old ages; the salt that lost its flavor when it was exposed to the elements was thrown into the street and used as a pavement or layer of the land. Nevertheless, the pure salt never lost its savor.

 

The interesting thing is to see that here the Lord compares His disciples to the “salt of the earth.” But the question is: How is it that we are salted or prepared to come to be salt in a figurative sense?

 

The answer is found in Mark 9:49 where it is recorded, “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt.

 

The answer that the Lord Jesus, Himself, gives us is that WE ARE SALTED WITH FIRE.

 

In this verse, the Lord says that every sacrifice will be salted with salt. In the days of the Levitical priesthood, all the tributes of grains, the sacrifices, and holocausts were salted with salt so they could be accepted by the Lord. Leviticus 2:13 says, “And every oblation of thy meat- offering shalt thou season with salt; neither shalt thou suffer the salt of the covenant\of thy God to be lacking from thy meat-offering: with all thine offerings thou shalt offer salt.” Also read Ezekiel 43:23-24. Salt cleans, purifies, gives flavor and represents a pact with God. In Mark 9:49, the Lord says, in a figurative sense, that all our sacrifices should be salted with salt. The Apostle Paul tells us in the New Testament that we should offer ourselves a living sacrifice. “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). Therefore, if we offer ourselves to God in a holy and living sacrifice, we should be seasoned with salt, and the Lord says in Mark 9:49 that the only way to be salted is through fire.

 

This fire represents the sacrifice by which we go through when we confront the daily trials and tribulations as children of God, according to the example or faith of our Lord Jesus Christ. The ones who reject the sacrifice and opt for disobedience, or for the easy way, do not suffer the trials and tribulations. They will never be seasoned with the salt that is pleasant to God. Let’s remember that John the Baptist said that we will be baptized with the Holy Ghost (Spirit) and with fire by the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Matthew 3:11 says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost [Spirit], and with fire.” Therefore, if we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, we should be baptized with His fire to be prepared with His salt. We have to go through the fire of trials and tribulations to be seasoned with salt, so that our faith can be refined more than gold and be found worthy in the appearing of the Lord. I Peter 1:6-7 says, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”

 

When we are exposed to the adversities of life, we should face them according to the counsel of the Word of God and the example of the Lord Jesus Christ. We should not fall into the human tendency of abandoning that way and let our salt be dispelled because the verse says, “...but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”

 

We have many enemies that trouble and oppress us, and try to offend us. There are many that want our salt to be dispelled and to see us humiliated and trampled upon in the street like the salt that has lost its savor. However, the Lord has placed in front ofus the principles to follow to be triumphant.

 

In Matthew 5:38-41, the Lord says, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if any man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”

 

In the past, the law was an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. However, the Lord expresses the principle which should govern us today. The command is not to return evil for evil, neither to appear as fools showing only a degrading or irrational attitude. We recall that, as children of God, we should present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service according to Romans 12:1. There should be good judgment in doing this, and the good judgment makes us children of God. The law, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, recorded in the Old Testament (Exodus 21:24- 25;Leviticus 24:20; Deuteronomy 19:2 1), known as the law of vengeance limited the retribution that the transgressor had to pay. By striking someone who strikes, the issue is concluded. The offense, or the aggression, only causes more hatred and offenses. On the other hand, if we use a passive attitude, it is possible that the offender will recognize his fault and repent. If he does not, the Lord will judge him with His justice, because His Word says, “Vengeance is mine; Twill repay, saith the Lord.”

 

As well as this command, the Lord gives us principles to combat everything that can cause us danger, trials or tribulations. For example, if there is need for material things, He tells us, “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:31-33).

 

We should not offend, and no one should offend us. The Lord Jesus makes strong statements against offenses. In Mark 9:42 and following, the Lord says that no one should offend us or put a barrier in front of us to cause us to fall. Still, He tells us to remove from us everything that can cause our salt to be dispelled. Please read up to verse

50.

 

The trial, or baptism of fire, with which we have to be seasoned, is always there, inside and outside of church. However, we should confront it and go through with it to be salted with fire so that our sacrifice can be acceptable before God. The Lord Jesus went through with it to the death, and He came out triumphant. His sacrifice was a sacrifice seasoned with salt. What about us? Can we be baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized? Can we drink from the same cup from which He drank? Can we also be seasoned or salted with fire? Dear reader, what do you say? The Lord says, “For every one shall be salted with fire, and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt” (Mark 9:49).

 

“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? Have salt in yourselves, AND HAVE PEACE ONE WITH ANOTHER” (Mark 9:50).

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”. September 27, 2010.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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October 30 2010 7 30 /10 /October /2010 20:39

Bible Truth

 

Unless otherwise noted, all scripture quotations are from the King James Version.

 

The Gospels tell us that Jesus was “Pressed” with everyday concerns.

 

“I will have two orders of chicken, a hamburger, and french fries,” I said to the voice on the phone.

 

“All right,” the voice responded, “But it will take about half an hour, we are kinda busy now.”

 

Deciding it was worth the wait, I tried to make good use of the half hour. When I drove up to the drive-in window, I immediately understood why they were so busy. Three large busses were parked in the back. Young men in uniforms were everywhere. It was an invasion of service men moving from one place to another and, they were having a stop-over for a meal. Still the most vivid scene came when I got out of the car. The people working inside were moving at an unbelievable pace. They seemed to be frantic. Suffering was on the face of some of the help.

 

Is this not an analogy of modem living? Pressure seems to be a principal characteristic of our time. Our jobs, our families, outside activities, and a thousand other responsibilities stand in line, impatiently waiting for us. Apparently we do not dare slow down for a minute. Yet, do we dare keep going as we are?

 

According to doctors and researchers, stress can produce some very harmful effects, both physical and emotional. The heart and nervous system are particularly vulnerable. There are people occupying hospital beds with all sorts of maladies that stem from their difficulty in handling pressure.

 

Anxiety-filled people can easily pass on their stress to those around them, says Dr. Robert Amstadter, medical director of the Center for Psychological Growth and Development in Tustin, California.

 

Stress can have equally devastating effects on young and old alike. Often it brings out the worst in young and older people. One of two things usually happens. They may panic, the youngsters may have irrational fears, which make matters worse, or they may become depressed. Many turn to escape mechanisms that can do more harm than good. Many parents give their children mild forms of tranquillizers and give themselves more powerful ones. All this is dangerous, when youth and adults depend on pills. The most effective way of handling stress is Jesus’ way. Superficially, Jesus’ life may seem irrelevant to our modern-day pressures. After all, is not this a radically different world than what it was two thousand years ago? True, but it would be hard to conceive of anyone facing more pressure than Jesus did.

 

JESUS POSSESSED AN INNER CALMNESS IN EVERY SITUATION. EVEN WHEN HE WAS CAPTURED BY HIS ENEMIES IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, HE WAS THE CALMEST PERSON THERE.

 

The Bible describes how the crowds continually “pressed” around Jesus and His disciples (see Luke 8:42). Many of these people had needs. They were desperately wanting Jesus to take care of them. Some had severe physical problems. Others cried out for spiritual help. The enemies of Jesus were continually causing stress in Jesus’ life. They tried to trick Him with loaded questions, false accusations and other devices they could to discredit Him. Ultimately they sought ways to kill Him.

 

Another group was interested in using Jesus politically. After all, a man who could perform miracles could very easily destroy the yoke of Romanism that held down the children of Israel. Jesus keenly felt the pressure from them to further their aims.

 

Jesus faced great pressure from spiritual sources. Satan’s temptations were as real to Him as they are to us. Jesus knew that His Father expected Him to be the Lamb of God. He knew that His work here on earth was not an entirely enviable task. It meant sacrifices to give His body as the true sacrifice. His life shows us today how we should act under stress. It helps to know how Jesus handled pressure, just as it helps us to know what He said and how He loved.

 

One day, in the life of Jesus, He asked the disciples to take Him across the Sea of Galilee. Jesus had been speaking to the people from the ship and now He went in to the hinder part of the ship and relaxed and fell asleep. And there arose a “great storm and the waves beat into the ship so that the ship was being filled with water.” Jesus was in the hinder part of the ship “asleep on a pillow.” The disciples had to wake up Jesus. They were in stress and believed they would drown. “Master, carest thou not that we perish?” Jesus arose and rebuked the wind and the waves. There was a great calm. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Why are ye so fearful?” Why are the disciples so full of stress? “They feared exceedingly.” In other words they all were full of pressure. They thought they had reached the end of their lives. And Jesus was so calm. He asked the disciples, “how is it that ye have no faith?” (See Mark 4:35-41). “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17). It is faith that will remove pressure and stress.

 

One thing that should be learned from the life of Jesus is that He never panicked. In spite of the great demands placed upon Him, He refused to do so. Jesus possessed an inner calmness in every situation. Even when He was captured by His enemies in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was the calmest person there. His disciples were panicky. His captors were unsure of themselves. Even Judas hesitated to kiss Jesus. Think about it. Throughout His earthly ministry, Jesus was never in a hurry. There were so many things Jesus knew that needed to be done, yet he had to accept the limitations of one living in the flesh. He did one thing at a time. There are often several different directions that one should be going. But getting in a hurry can be self defeating, as well. The person who tries to run faster than his legs can carry him will end up falling all over himself.

 

Just as Jesus refused to panic, He refused the route of escape as a response to His pressure. At the very outset of His ministry, He entered into a head on confrontation with Satan, the tempter. From there, a needy and sinful world was awaiting Him. When He knew He must journey to Jerusalem, which meant almost certain death, He turned toward that city and strode ahead of the disciples (Mark 10:32). Even as He considered the prospect of death, He prayed, “Not my will, but thy will be done.”

 

Escape is no solution to stress. Inevitably, it causes pressure to increase. This is not to say that a rest cannot be helpful. Jesus took time to rest. There is a certain point, however, when resting turns into escaping. Once our need for rest has been satisfied, responsibilities must be faced once again. Jesus’ practice of getting away to pray was vastly different from an escape. Some common escapes are drugs, alcohol, or just ignoring matters. The trouble with this is that they do not do anything about solving their problems. They are only temporary in their effects. Moreover, if one depends too heavily on them, he becomes helpless in the face of reality.

 

Prayer on the other hand, leads to renewal. When Jesus prayed, He returned to His responsibilities with new strength and vitality. He prayed and it made Him better prepared to face the pressure or stress. Jesus gave prayer a high priority. Even when He was being pressed upon by the many demands of the people, He took time to pray. His example shows us that the benefits to be gained through prayer adequately compensate for the time spent. There are at least three positive results from prayer that helped Jesus handle stress.

 

First, prayer gave Jesus confidence. There were times when He had every reason to feel discouraged. Few people really understood Him. Even His own disciples had difficulty in comprehending Jesus’ purpose. How could His mission be fulfilled when so much was working against Him? Prayer renewed His confidence. In His moments alone with His Father, Jesus obtained a surer grasp of who He was. He was the Son of God. We should receive the same assurance. We are children of God also. God was using His Son, Jesus, and He wants to use you, His son and daughter, too. This is His plan and His purpose on earth until His Son returns again.

 

Second, prayer also furnished Jesus with perspective. It helped Him to “see it as it is.” Trivial things can sometimes appear more important than they really are. Inconsequential matters posed no threat to Jesus’ vision--what really mattered. Communion with God helped Him keep things in proper form.

 

The third benefit Jesus gained from prayer was healing. Doctors claim the mental strain is harder on us than physical strain. Furthermore, mental strain affects the body. For Jesus, prayer must have been a time of letting go before His Father. The strains and stresses could ease. In God’s healing presence, He found rest and satisfaction.

 

Jesus’ prayer life was an integral part to His relationship with His Father. Everyone’s prayer life must also be centered on God our heavenly Father. That relationship between you and the Father in Heaven is the key to your ability to handle stress. Because of Christ’s absolute trust in His Father, He was able to live a pressure-filled life without panicking or giving in to depression. This is a must for all of us. Trust in God. We all must have an affirmative response to the will of God. It is thus compounded of belief and trust, with an attitude that we completely rely upon our Father. Jesus could have been overcome--but He overcame. Jesus said that what He did we should do also. “...and this is the victory that overcometh the world...” (I John 5:4).

 

From “The Advocate of Truth”. November 22, 2010.

 

The Church of God - Publishing House - Salem, West Virginia

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Published by Sabbath Keeper - in The Advocate of Truth
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