Saturday, February 27, 2010

Luke—"The Beloved Physician" By John D. LaVier



Luke—"The Beloved Physician"
John D. LaVier


The account of the heroic lives of these companions of Paul, all of whom were dedicated servants of Christ, ought truly to inspire us. Like the prophets of old it may be said of them, "Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition." Among the many to be admired, there is none more deserving than Dr. Luke. He was a friend indeed, true to the very end.

The background of Luke is rather obscure. Some think he was a Philippian and others that he was from Antioch in Syria. Whether he was a Jew or Gentile is also a matter of debate. Those thinking he was a Gentile refer to Colossians 4:10-11. Here Paul mentions some "who are of the circumcision" and then a few verses later refers to Luke, and because Luke seems to be distinguished from the others they assume he must be a Gentile. This is rather thin evidence on which to base such a conclusion. It would seem strange that, all the other writers of the Holy Scriptures being Jews, God would make this one exception and use a Gentile. When Paul was at Jerusalem the Jews charged him with bringing a Gentile into the temple and polluting the holy place.

They had seen Trophimus with him and supposed he had brought him into the temple. Now we know Luke was with Paul in Jerusalem at that time and in his company more than any others, yet the Jews did not get upset about Luke, evidently knowing or believing that he was a Jew. It is true that the gospel which bears his name, as well as the book of Acts, were both addressed to Theophilus, a Roman official. But because of his profession as an educated medical man he could very well have been acquainted with many Gentiles in high position. There could have been no one better suited to accompany and serve the apostle to the Gentiles. The following is written by Scofield in his forward to Luke's gospel and we are inclined to agree with him:

"The writer of the third gospel is called by Paul `the beloved physician' (Col. 4:14) and, as we learn from the Acts, was Paul's frequent companion. He was of Jewish ancestry, but his correct Greek marks him as a Jew of the dispersion. Tradition says that he was a Jew of Antioch, as Paul was of Tarsus.

There is a tradition also that Luke was not only a physician, but also a painter. This may be nothing more than tradition yet he did indeed paint some beautiful word pictures. In his gospel he portrays the miraculous birth and matchless life of the Man among men, the Man Christ Jesus, while in the Acts he gives us a splendid portrait of Christ's ambassador bearing Christ's message to all the world. We would know very little about the apostle if it were not for Luke. He accompanied the apostle much of the time but about the only way we sense his presence is by his use of the pronouns "we" and "us." Also in what he says of Paul and abstains from saying about himself, we see not only his ardent friendship but also his modesty and humility.

Luke joined the other three, Paul and Silas and Timothy, at Troas and is mentioned for the first time in Acts 16:10. This meeting was not happenstance, but most surely providential. In spite of Paul's untiring zeal and arduous labors we are not to think of him as being strong and robust. It was far otherwise, for he was in bodily presence weak and often subject to the infirmities of the flesh. To read the account of his sufferings in II Corinthians 11:23-33 is to wonder how he survived at all. But his precious Lord, the One who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, gave him sufficient grace for his need and then in love provided him with a personal physician. That was dear Dr. Luke, a companion whose friendship gave Paul inner strength and whose medical skill contributed to his well-being.

At Troas Paul had the night vision of the man of Macedonia calling for help. We read: "And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us to preach the gospel unto them" (Acts 16:10). Notice the word "immediately." Paul was a man of action. When doors were opened and he discerned the Lord's leading he wasted no time. It was forward march. Oh that we might be as prompt. We dream of doing something tomorrow or in the future and pass up the doors of opportunity open to us now. It is good to read about our commission in the fifth chapter of Second Corinthians but we shouldn't stop there. The inspired writer goes right on to the opening verses of Chapter six and says (and we paraphrase): "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ and to us has been given the ministry of reconciliation; so then, as workers together let us not receive the grace of God in vain but let us get busy and what we are going to do let's do it now, for now is the accepted time, behold, now is the day of salvation." The Lord said to his disciples, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest, behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest" (John 4:35).

The little intrepid band of four did not linger. They got busy immediately and we see them going along the waterfront seeking a vessel bound for Macedonia. Finding such a vessel we watch as with little or no luggage they board the ship. The sails are hoisted and the vessel sails out of the harbor and onto the Aegean Sea on this momentous and historic voyage. What a thrill to be sailing with Paul. This can be the lot of everyone. Dr. Ironside has written: "What is it to sail with Paul? It is to know Paul's Saviour and to share Paul's blessings." All who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their all sufficient Saviour are then, as sinners saved by God's grace, sailing with Paul over life's sea.

We have already taken note of the events connected with their arrival at Philippi. The work there began with a few women meeting for prayer at the river side. These were the first European converts, and this became the church that was so dear to the heart of Paul and which was of tremendous help to him over the years. He wrote of them, "Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving but ye only, for even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity" (Philippians 4:15-16). Paul's stay at Philippi was comparatively brief, and though accompanied with blessing it was also associated with strife. It was here that Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed and Paul later referred to this as shameful treatment (I Thessalonians 2:2). Luke stayed behind when Paul and the others left and it was about five years later, here at Philippi, that he rejoined Paul and became his constant companion.

In the interim, while Luke was not with him, Paul had visited several places, spending a year and a half at Corinth and three years at Ephesus. His ministry at Ephesus was signally blessed of the Lord. Many miracles were wrought through Paul and we read: "So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed" (Acts 19:20). There was such a work of God that the business of the silversmiths suffered as people ceased buying their idolatrous wares. Among the items they made and sold were silver models of the temple of Diana. Seeing their income being jeopardized they organized a march and caused a great uproar. If they could have found Paul he would have suffered, but his friends had taken him into protective custody. The riot was finally quelled with no great damage being done.

After the uproar at Ephesus Paul again crossed the Aegean and visited the churches in Macedonia, exhorting and encouraging the saints. From there he went south to Corinth for a promised visit, staying with the Corinthian saints for three months. His plan was then to sail from Corinth to Syria on his way to Jerusalem to observe the Passover, but just before sailing it was discovered the Jews had a plan to kill him. Some of them would have been on the same vessel going up to the feast and perhaps they planned to throw Paul overboard when they were at sea. This caused a change in plans and it was decided to go back to Macedonia and Philippi. This time he had plenty of company for there were seven who went with him (Acts 20:4). Arriving at Philippi he was reunited with Luke and they were inseparable during the remainder of the apostle's life.

The seven took ship from Philippi and went on before to Troas and a bit later Paul and Luke followed them. Let us take a minute and look in on one of the services at Troas as described in Acts 20:6-11. This service is being held in a room on the third floor of a building and the room is quite hot from the many lights being used. The room is filled to capacity. We see Paul standing in a central place. Near him is Doctor Luke. On one side of the room we see Gaius, who had been treated roughly during the riot at Ephesus. In Romans 16:23 Paul refers to Gaius as his host and indicated Gaius had oft entertained him and other Christians in his home at Corinth. Over yonder in the room is Tychicus, whom Paul spoke of as "a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord" (Ephesians 6:21). And there, with eyes fixed on the speaker, sits Timothy, Paul's own dear son in the faith. Blessed companions all. The room is crowded with the saints of Troas. Paul has much to tell them and will be preaching practically all night, but they sit expectantly, drinking in the Word, for they are not bothered with the ear trouble that afflicts many in the present day. What a delightful spectacle is this, precious in the sight of the Lord, and a far cry from the gatherings that dominate the scene today with all the religious trappings and sensuous programs that people need to satisfy the flesh. How few are content with Paul's gospel, the rich Word of truth.

We cannot leave this scene at Troas without noting an unusual happening during the service. A young man, Eutychus, was sitting by a window and about the midnight hour went to sleep and fell from the third loft to the ground below. He was taken up for dead but Paul went down and he was restored and they all returned to the upper chamber and resumed their meeting. Now it is unlikely this narrative would be included in Scripture if it was without spiritual significance. What may be learned from it? First of all, we learn that Paul has been preaching long. For almost two thousand years Paul has been preaching. The Lord has been speaking to the world, not through Moses or Peter or any other, but He has been speaking through Paul. Secondly we learn that the church fell asleep under Paul's preaching and had a great fall.

The third story from which Eutychus fell reminds us of the third heaven into which Paul was caught up. With the call of Abraham God revealed his purpose having to do with Israel and the earth. When that nation was set aside God was through, for a season, with both Israel and the earth. Then it was through Paul that God revealed his purpose to bring on the scene a called-out company of believers, sinners saved by His grace constituting the Church, the Body of Christ, and this Church would be heavenly in character and have no connection with the earth. This Church is seen as seated in the heavenly places (Gr. epouranious, super-heavenlies) and blessed there with all spiritual blessings. The apostolic age had scarcely ended when the Church went to sleep, insensitive to Paul's preaching concerning the true character of the Church. The result was a great fall and the Church became just an earthly organization, with an earthly outlook, earthly aims, and even exercising earthly power.

Our friend Eutychus was restored to life by Paul and brought back up to the third story. Thank God, like Eutychus there has been some restoration for the Church. After the long night of the dark ages Luther and the other reformers used Paul's preaching and justification by faith alone to arouse the Church from its long sleep. Later, men like Darby used Paul's preaching to awaken Christians to the truth of the One Body of Christ and the Blessed Hope of the Church. But much work remains in getting Christians off the ground and up again to the third story, the heavenlies. How few professing Christians know anything about their heavenly position and heavenly possessions in Christ. How few walk as citizens of heaven, confessing they are only strangers and pilgrims on earth. Read carefully the following, written over a century and a half ago by the beloved C. H. Mackintosh:

"It is of the utmost importance that the Christian reader should understand the doctrine of the Church's heavenly character....To be soundly instructed in the heavenly origin, heavenly position, and heavenly destiny of the Church, is the most effectual safeguard against worldliness in the Christian's present path, and also against false teaching in reference to his future hopes. Every system of doctrine or discipline which would connect the Church with the world, either in her present condition or her future prospects, must be wrong, and must exert an unhallowed influence. The church is not of the world. Her life, her position her hopes, are all heavenly in the very highest sense of the word....The doctrine of the Church's heavenly character was developed in all its power and beauty by the Holy Ghost in the apostle Paul....We must never forget that every tendency of the human mind not only falls short of but stands actually opposed to all this divine truth about the Church. The heart naturally clings to earth, and the thought of an earthly corporation is attractive to it. Hence we may expect that the truth of the Church's heavenly character will only be appreciated and carried out by a very small and feeble minority."

After seven days our party of travelers left Troas. The rest of the party went by ship down along the coast, while Paul had decided to go by foot and meet them at Assos, about twenty miles south. It had taken Paul and Luke five days by vessel to cross from Philippi to Troas because of contrary winds and a rough sea, so perhaps Paul had enough sailing for the moment. More likely he just felt the need be alone, and as he walked he was probably thinking of his planned trip to Jerusalem and of the trouble he might encounter there. And as he walked he had a most blessed time talking to the best companion of all.

At Assos, Paul joined the others on the ship. This was probably a mercantile ship that stopped at the various ports along the coast to deliver or pick up cargo. They sailed right by Ephesus, as Paul did not want to be delayed as he desired to reach Jerusalem in time for the day of Pentecost. He did, though, send word for the leading brethren of the Ephesian church to meet him at Miletus, about thirty-six miles to the south. They had such a meeting somewhere along the sea shore, and Paul exhorted and bade a fond farewell to these church elders. Paul had labored in their midst for three years and he reminded them of the untiring effort put forth on their behalf, and how he kept back nothing that was profitable to them and had declared unto them the whole counsel of God. We could look with much profit at this touching farewell message to these men, but such is not the purpose of this account. It would be pleasing to God if every one of His servants would so labor that when leaving a particular field they could repeat these words of the apostle. One verse in this message stands out and this is a verse we often quote. Paul had been warned of the bonds and afflictions that awaited him if he continued to press on. He replied, "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 20:24).

In spite of the pleading of his friends and even though he himself knew of the danger, he would not turn back. Just as our blessed Lord "stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem" (Luke 9:51) so did His faithful follower. He was "ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 21:13).

There was another who did not shrink from danger and that was loyal companion Luke. He went with Paul and faced the howling, blood-thirsty mob at Jerusalem. He stayed with Paul during the two years at Caesarea and while there wrote his gospel. He was a fellow traveler on the long and trying voyage to Rome, suffering shipwreck enroute. From the prison in Rome Paul could write that "Luke, the beloved physician" was with him (Colossians 4:14). In the letter to Philemon, which accompanied the Colossian epistle, Paul referred to him as "Luke, my fellow-labourer" (Philemon 24). Luke was not only a medical man and inspired writer but a preacher as well, standing with Paul and the others and boldly proclaiming the Word of truth.
In the last letter that came from the pen of the aged apostle, his second letter to Timothy, he writes that all in Asia had turned away from him (1:15). He also tells us that at his first trial before the emperor no man stood with him, that all forsook him (4:16). He states that Demas, once a close co-worker, had forsaken him (4:10). How alone he must have felt. But there was one standing by him and he could say, "Luke is with me" (4:11). The following is from the writings of Kenneth Wuest:

"How beautiful it is to see that the beloved physician should feel that his place was beside Paul when the end was approaching. How true to his medical instinct this was; not to depreciate the grace of God moving him in his heart to the same action. What a trophy of God's grace Luke is. Here is a Greek doctor of medicine, leaving his medical practice to be the personal physician of an itinerant preacher, to share his hardship and privations, his dangers, and toil. The great success of the apostle whom he attended in a medical way is due in some measure, to the physician's watchful care over his patient....Luke knew all the marks of the Lord Jesus on the body of the apostle, the scars left after the assaults on his person. He had bathed and tended these wounds. Now his patient, grown old before his time, was suffering the discomforts of a Roman cell. He had to be guarded against disease. `Only Luke is with me.' What a comfort he was to Paul!"

Thank God for friends and companions like Luke, who can be depended upon to stand with you through hard times as well as good. Luke was such a friend. We like to think that loving, caring, faithful Luke was with the great apostle walking by his side to the place of execution, and perhaps caring for the body after Paul's spirit had soared away to be with the One he loved above all others.


 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
ead Acts 16L31 Romans 1:16, and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4


(A 10 Minute Video)


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Friday, February 26, 2010

Why I Cannot Practice Water Baptism - By CLARENCE E. KRAMER




Why I Cannot Practice Water Baptism! 
  By  PASTOR CLARENCE E. KRAMER

Why I Cannot Practice Water Baptism!
Sermon Delivered November 15, 1959
By PASTOR CLARENCE E. KRAMER
At Berean Church Holland, Michigan
and over WJBL, 1260 K.C.

       Whenever someone teaches a doctrine that is contrary to popular opinion, most people automatically reject it without thinking it through. This is especially true in the matter of water baptism. Christendom has always practiced water baptism, though in many differing modes and for many different reasons" Some teach that water baptism actually contributes to one's salvation while others teach that baptism is only a witness of some inward transformation. But though most baptizes differ among themselves as to the significance of the ceremony, yet they all band together to reject the sufficiency of the one divine baptism by which the Holy Spirit places the believing sinner Into Jesus Christ.

A remark often heard is: "How can you say that the whole Church has been wrong all these centuries and now only you have the truth about baptism." Let us first remember that we do not know if all believers practiced water baptism even though. the church as a whole did; and don't forget there Is a difference between all believers. and the religious hierarchy  of Christendom. But further, is it so strange that most have been misled regarding this truth? it will not be so strange to the one who knows the tragic history of Israel And Martin Luther must have been faced with the same problem when he, a mere 'monk, challenged the entire church of Rome on the question of Justification by faith. Truth has never been popular, and spirituality is not usually found with the majority. Rather than look around us to see what others believe, lest we be found different, we should stand for God's truth in spite of its unpopularity and the church’s indifference to it.
  
Now, we believe that the one basis of fellowship among all believers is the blood of Jesus Christ witch saved us from our sins. Our relationship with the blessed Son of God is what relates us to each other. I love every Christian not because they all agree with me doctrinally but because they all love my Lord, and we are brethren in Him. Water baptism should never be made a basis of Christian fellowship, unless, of course, water baptism makes us children of God, which no true evangelical, Bible believing Christian teaches or believes.

As for me, I cannot practice water baptism because: 1. WATER BAPTISM IS AN OLD TESTAMENT ORDINANCE (Hebrews. 9:10).

   In Hebrews 9:10 we read, regarding Israel's worship under the law: 

   "W1Iich stood only in meats and drinks, and divert washings and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation."

The Greek Word for "washings" in this verse is baptism  or baptisms. This incidentally shows that water baptism in the Bible is a ceremonial purification aid not a symbol of death and burial. There were no immersions under the old covenant or law. John the Baptist's disciples had a dispute with the Jews In  John 3:25 about purifying, not burying.

This first covenant (now the old covenant)"had also ordinances of divine service and a worldly  sanctuary" (Hebrews 9:1). The religious worship of Israel under the law consisted in "meats and drinks and divers baptisms." So water baptism was a part of the law worship and not a "New Testament" ordinance as so many try to make it. One need only read Exodus and Leviticus to find there the numerous ablutions and purification ceremonies. In Leviticus alone there are some twenty references to washings or baptisms. The laver, an important piece in the Tabernacle furniture, was used to wash or baptize the hands and feet of the officiating priest.

Then we read, in Hebrews 9:10, that the various regulations of the law, including baptisms, were "carnal ordinances" (the "and" after "washings" is not in the original). Water baptism as a ceremonial cleansing was a physical ceremony, a shadow of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1) which never could "make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the con­science" (Hebrews 9:9). It would be interesting to contrast this passage with First Peter 3:21 where the baptism which "doth also now save us" is a baptism that does meet the demand of "a good conscience toward God," something which a water ceremony could never do. This baptism is the antitype of Noah's baptism and must surely refer to the death baptism of the Lord Jesus Christ who experienced God's wrath for us on Calvary. We are safe from God's wrath being in Christ the same way that Noah was safe from God's wrath while' in the ark.      

We also read in Hebrews 9:10 that water baptism was "imposed on them until .... "Here was law. it was not left up to the believer's conscience; nothing was ever' said about it not being absolutely necessary. It was "imposed," but only temporarily. Like the law covenant itself which was "added because of transgressions, till the seed should come" (Galatians 3:18) water bap­tism was a temporary institution.

      Many fine Bible believing  Christians who are sure that believers today are not under the law, still insist that believers ought to be under the water. But the water is part of the law. Whatever we do with the law we must do with the water, and since the believer is not under the law he should not be under the water!

     Further, I cannot practice water baptism because:

      II. WATER BAPTISM IS NOT A PART OF THE PAULINE REVELATION (First Corinthians 1:14-17

The important question regarding water baptism is not whether or not it is taught in Scripture. It very plainly is, and for that reason I believe in water baptism. But is water baptism to be practiced today? ­This is the vital issue. Though God's Word does teach water baptism, it also teaches the need for blood sacrifices, circumcision and speaking in tongues. I believe in these things too. But are they to be practiced today?

    How can we know what is to be practiced today and what is not? By what principle of Bible study can we rule out some things that do not seem to fit, and hold on to others? The key to this important problem is in the Word itself. God has dealt with men in various ways under differing programs. God is now dealing with men in grace, and this dispensation of grace under which we live was first revealed to the Apostle Paul who made it known to us in his epistles (see Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:24-27; Romans 16:25), This is why we must be "Pauline." Some things once commanded by God are now strictly forbidden (compare Genesis 17:9-14 and Galatians 5:2-3). The Word of God which is specifically addressed to us today is that revelation committed by the glorified Lord to the Apostle Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). Pauline truth is our guide, and all truth must be taught in the light of this revelation

       Now what does Paul command in regard to water baptism? Absolutely nothing! There is not one command in the Pauline epistles to the effect that members of the Body of Christ should practice water baptism. Paul himself says he was not sent to baptize (Read First Corinthians 1:17 again). True, he did baptize some, as he also spoke in tongues, but water baptism was not a part of that particular revelation he received from the Lord for us. He was not sent to baptize and neither are we.

Now if Paul was working under the same commission as Peter (and the one most believers today are trying to obey) he could never have said: "Christ sent  me not to baptize.". Peter was sent out under the commission of Mathew 28:19-20 and Mark 16:15-17. Under that commission, Peter and the circumcision apostles were told to baptize all nations and he that believed and was baptized would be saved. Furthermore, miraculous signs would follow those who believed. Read the commission in Matthew and Mark again and see all it commands. This "great" commission' definitely required water baptism.

But Paul was not sent to baptize and hence could not have been working under that commission. What was his commission? It was a new commission for the new dispensation of grace which he received from the Lord in glory (Galatians 1:11-12: Ephesians 3:1-3). Water bap­tism is not included in this commission or in the program for this d1spensatlon. (see Second Corinthians 5:18-20)

Finally, I cannot practice water baptism because:

III. THE "ONE BAPTISM" IS THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT THAT MAKES US ONE WITH THE LORD JESUS CHRIST.  Ephesians and first Corinthians

    Paul does say a great deal about baptism but it is not water baptism. In Ephesians as part of the unity of the Spirit the one baptism. The following verses w1l1 show what this one baptism is:

mans 6:4-4  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

First Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.

Galatians  3:27  For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Colossians 2:11-12  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

It is Quite obvious a simple reading of these important passages that the one baptism that is common to every believer, irrespective of denomination, is the baptism into Christ and His Body. This baptism occurs the very moment one believes the gospel. If this baptism is by water then water baptism saves, for it is a baptism into Christ.

But it is only God who can save and only the Holy Spirit who can put anyone into Christ. In Romans 6:3-4 we are told that those who have been baptized into Christ (by the Holy Spirit) have been baptized into His death. It is in His death that we died to sin (Verse 2). Since we died with Him we were also buried with Him by means of that baptism into His death; buried, not in water but in His tomb. And when He arose we arose with Him to new life.

This is not symbolic language for water could never symbolize crucifixion, burial in a rock tomb or resurrection to new life.  This is all a spiritual reality which we are to reckon true by faith. This baptism into Christ transforms the life and breaks the power of the sin nature. Could water ever do this? Only God can, and God did, by making us one with Christ through this divine baptism.

This divine baptism, then, presents a spiritual obligation. Because we have been baptized into Christ and thus have died to sin and are now alive unto God, we are commanded to "reckon" ourselves "to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans. 6:11). Our baptism into Christ is the only true basis for Christian living. We died to sin only in Him and are alive spiritually only in Him. Put water here and we miss the whole lesson God would teach us. Yea, we miss the power to live pleasing to Him! 



Thanks be unto God for His wonderful gift:
 Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God
 is the object of the faith; the only faith
 that saves is His faith.





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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A DATE WITH DESTINY-Roger G. Andersen

So you are a Christian, a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, a member of the Church which is His Body, but do you know what that means to you? Have you grasped both its present and future implications? You have a date with destiny, an appointment with Jesus Christ scheduled in the mind and plan of God from before the foundation of the world. No member of His Body, whether living or dead, will be so much as one second late for it. The purpose of this little booklet is to introduce you to that date and its ensuing results. Let us begin with a look at...

I. A Fantastic Truth

.
Close your eyes for a moment and try to visualize what Heaven will be like! Are you aware that you are already on the grounds of eternity? Ephesians 1:3 tells us that He has already blessed us with "spiritual blessings in the heavenlies"; 2:6 that we have already been raised and seated with Him; and Colossians 2:10 that we are "complete in Him." Let it sink into your mind that in the sight of God we are already position-ally on the grounds of Heaven. The very moment we receive Christ as our Saviour heaven begins for us. In the great missionary passage of II Corinthians 5, Paul tells us that "we are ambassadors." An ambassador is a citizen official of one country who is conveying his government's communications to the government of the land in which he is serving. He is a stranger who has been granted diplomatic immunity in the land of his service. For this reason we read that we are not to be subject to worldly ordinances (Colossians 2:20)—that is to the spiritual rules of this present world system. The analogy is further related in Philippians 3:20-21 where the word "conversation" could better be translated commonwealth, homeland, or citizenship. An ambassador is subject to recall at any time by the homeland's administration. In this age of ambassadorship, we call the "Dispensation of the Grace of God" (Ephesians 3:2), we live in the constant expectation of recall. This recall is called the "Rapture" (I Thessalonians 4:13-18). The first step in studying the destiny of the Church is for the individual member to realize that his destiny has already begun! He is already a teacher of angels (Ephesians 3:10) while ambassadoring on earth.

II. Where the Action Is


Has anyone ever asked you to name the place of your origin? How did you respond? Some will say, "I'm from Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, etc." We may be physically correct in doing so, but spiritually we have a greater place to cite—Heaven. Vacations are wonderful things, but even after the most enjoyable of them, home sure looks good. The destiny of the Church is a great and glorious homecoming. Israel, the nation, had an earthly homeland promised to it, "a land flowing with milk and honey" (Exodus 3:8,17). When they are scattered among other nations far from their own special God-given piece of real estate, they are called the "diaspora" (dispersed ones cf. I Peter 1:1 ). They look forward to the day when they shall be regathered to their land (Ezekiel 38:11,12). The hope that kindled in the breast of the Israelite was to be at home in their land with a Son of David upon the throne (II Samuel 7) and the curse of sin removed from the land (Isaiah 35:1-10). Stand this in contrast to the fact that in the Church Epistles (Romans through Philemon) there are no earthly real estate promises. The destiny of the Church is not bound up with the earth, but with Heaven. Notice a few points of contrast between the hopes of Israel and the Church.

1. Israel awaits the Lord's return to earth (Acts 1:8; Matthew 24-25) while the Church awaits a call to ascend into Heaven (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

2. Israel is to .be manifested before the nations (Ezekiel 39:21-24) while the Church is to be manifested "in glory" with her Lord at the manifestation of His glory (Colossians 3:1-4).

3. Contrast the inheritance of the "meek" under the Kingdom program (Psalms 37:11; Matthew 5:5) with the inheritance of the saint under the administration of grace (Ephesians 1:11; Colossians 1:5).(Here we ought to take note that I Peter 1 stipulates that Israel's hope is reserved in Heaven, as indeed it is. It is intimately tied to the King, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is presently seated in the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:20-23) awaiting His unveiling or revelation. However, the fulfillment of the national hope relates to the earth according to the prophets.)

When God began creating in Genesis 1:1, He created both "heaven and earth." The Bible opens and closes with a creative act involving these spheres (Revelation 21-22). Why, if all of God's purposes were centered in either locale would the other be of such scope in both creation and revelation? He has prepared redeemed men to fill and function in these areas. Saved nations for the earth, saved Israel for the land and city and a saved Body for the heavenlies.

III. A Great New Style


To achieve that destiny some changes must occur in the bodies of the "Body" members. A facet of our hope is this change. It is described in I Corinthians 15:20-57 and Philippians 3:20-21. Our new, celestial body will be incorruptible (no aging process), potent (not subject to limitations of space and matter, i.e., the post-resurrection appearances of the Lord Jesus Christ), glorious (like unto the body of His glory), spirit-centered (not soul or ego-centered as is our present one), and it will exceed this one as the plant exceeds the seed from which it grows. If you were to take a canoe trip through the boundary waters area of northern Minnesota, you would have to stop at an outfitters first. There you would be supplied with all you would need for your trip. It would be a light pack, small enough to be easily carried. Even so, the Church will be outfitted for its destiny in glory.

IV. Sitting on a Fluffy Pink Cloud


A fellow once said to me, "I don't want to go to Heaven because it would be very dull to sit on a fluffy pink cloud playing a harp forever." This comic strip view of Heaven is very inadequate. Let us consider a moment the intimations of eternity found in Scripture. Turn in your Bible and read I Corinthians 2:9,10). There it says that we cannot decide what Heaven will be like based upon our experiences (sight and sound) or our imaginations (heart cf. Romans 1:21). The other morning one of the men at our men's prayer breakfast said, "Won't it be wonderful when we get to glory and have this kind of fellowship all the time?" His sentiments were marvelous, but according to this passage, we have not yet come to such a blessed experience as that which shall be ours when the Church is summoned home. Those of us who tend to daydream have taken some wonderful imaginary trips. Think of the power of the statement that it exceeds those excursions by far. While we cannot know it either by experience or imagination, Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit unveils it for us. The Spirit moved men to write the Word of God (II Peter 1:20-21) even when they did not fully grasp what they were writing (I Peter 1:10) and then becomes our interpreter (I Corinthians 2:13). While these eternal things are undiscoverable to humanity at large, they are sampled in revelation for the believer. There are many such intimations of what we shall do in glory. Let's look at a few of them:

1. The Church and the Angels: We are already knowingly or unknowingly involved in the teaching of angels. We are instructing those who from a godly vantage point are curiously seeking to understand the redemptive workings of God (Ephesians 3:10-11; I Peter 1:12) and opposing those who are actively seeking to hinder the redemptive workings of God (Ephesians 6:12). Notice the singular usage of "the evil day" in Ephesians 6:13 and contrast it with the "evil days" of Ephesians 5:16. The additional "s" is not a slip of the pen. After the Church is caught home and judged (I Corinthians 3), there is a battle
in the heavenlies (Revelation 12:7-12) following which Satan and his host have no more access to the heavens. There will be no more room for him. The heavens will be filled with the Church. It is my conviction that the present struggle, the Rapture, and the ensuing Judgment outfit the Church for its role in that final struggle which results in the cleansing of the heavenlies. The words "rulers . . . of this world" (Ephesians 6:12), are the translation of a single word, "cosmocrats" or the ruling party. Now if you will note I Corinthians 6:2-3, you will discover that the Church has a role in judging the "world" and "angels" or these beings and their system. Israel will function in a judgmental capacity over the earth and its nations, the Church over the heavens and their system.

2. The Church and Knowledge: In I Corinthians 13:12 we read, "For now we see through a glass darkly; but then, / know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known."
We have made available to us all the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge" which are hidden in Jesus Christ our Lord (Colossians 2:3). It is estimated that even one as intelligent as Albert Einstein used only a very small fraction of his fleshly mental capacities. Think of what will be discoverable to the mind unfettered by sin and with access to the Creator Himself! A great illustration of how much there is to be learned about this present creation can be found in God's dealing with Job. When He wanted to open Job's eyes to His power and glory, He asked him a series of devastating questions about creation and the workings of God (Job 38-41). Job, in his sinful state, stood speechless before God. When the shackles of sin are removed from man's mind and God is openly communing with him for eternity, the possibilities are unlimited. If we can be struck so speechless and be so mystified by this creation, think of the wonders of the New Heavens and the New Earth which will so far outshine this one that it will. no longer come to mind (Isaiah 65:17).

3. The Church and Recognition: Will we know one another in Heaven? This question gets asked very frequently. It is my conviction that there will be recognition there. Let me illustrate this with the story of Lazarus and the rich man, taken from another dispensational setting (Luke 16). A conversation takes place in vs. 23-25 which reveals some interesting things. Firstly, Dives recognizes Lazarus. This is understandable in that they were contemporaries who had seen one another frequently. However, the second thing that leaps off the page is that they both recognized Abraham, who lived 2,500 years precedent to them. Some might say this is no wonder for Lazarus was with him, but think about the other fellow, the one across the gulf. Thirdly, the location of Lazarus is paradise. Why is it called Abraham's bosom? That is not in reality the name of the location, but an indication of the fullness of the fellowship between these two non-contemporaries of earth time. It is the same kind of terminology used to indicate the fullness of the fellowship of Christ and John shortly before the time of the crucifixion (John 13:23). Surely if such recognition were possible for the people of the Kingdom, it will be for the members of the Church which is His Body.

4. Church and Life: The Lord said to His Kingdom saints that He was come to give them abundant life (John 10:10). If this were true for them, it stands to reason that it is also true for the members of His Body. It means abundant life both now and eternally. Think of what it will be like to live without the groaning of the present limitations of sin (Romans 8:22-28). Think of the opportunities of life now. There is no real cause for the believer today to be bored with life. If this is true today, then it surely will^be.for eternity. God will not allow eternity to become one bit dull. With expanded knowledge, fellowship, unity, and without the fetters of sin, the vistas of life are so wide that our minds are boggled by them.

5. The Saints and the Lord: In both the Kingdom letters and the Church letters you have statements on serving and reigning with Christ (Revelation 22:3,5 cf.Ephesians 1:10; 2:7;
II Timothy 2:12). Both of these concepts convey the idea of some administrative function. Therefore, God has a stewardship for each of us which exceeds our present functions like the resurrection body will exceed the present one. No fluffy pink clouds for the Church. see Him as He is" (I John 2:2).It will indeed be glory to be with Him while the world and its leader, the Anti-Christ, will ponder the . . .

"It does not yet appear what we shall be, but when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is" (I John 2:2).

VI. Case of the Disappearing Saints


When will this take place? This is important to every believer for it marks the historical point of his date with destiny. Before the unfolding of the Dispensation of Grace through Paul, the Church was a secret (Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:24-29; Romans 16:25-26). There is nothing about it in the prophetic writings of Israel. It is true that there is much more about Gentile salvation, but always proselyted through Israel (Zech-ariah 8:23 cf. Matthew 28:19 where "teach" should be translated "discipling" or making followers of all nations. Now read Acts 2:42 and 21:20 cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34 to see this in action); but never such equality of position as set forth in I Corinthians 12:12,13 and Ephesians 2:11-22. It stands to reason then, if the Church is not found in prophecy its destiny cannot be found
there either. Some would feel this an inadequate reason, but the stress on the "secret" concept in the Pauline letters cannot be denied. The 1,900 plus years of grace that have elapsed are a void in Israel's prophetic calendar. This is of critical importance for the destiny of the Church is consummated in an event called the "Rapture" which is missing from the prophets.

The Rapture is described in I Corinthians 15:51-52; I Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:13 and Philippians 3:20,21. It is the upward calling of the Church to a full reunion with its Head, our Lord. The members of the Church shall come with a specified series of events (cf. I Thessalonians 4):
1. The Lord descends to meet it (16);
2. A shout (16);
3. A trumpet (called last in I Corinthians 15) (16);
4. Dead raised (16) (result of shout as in story of Lazarus?);
5. Living raised or ascending (17);
6. Bodies changed (Phil. 3:21);
7. And a judgment (I Cor. 3).

The departure of the Church is the signal for the prophetic clock to begin ticking for the 70th week of Daniel (Daniel 9:27).

The most frequent question among believers is not whether there will be such an event, but when it will occur. Many are running about seeking the "signs of the times" as did Israel of old (I Corinthians 1:22). The disciples were not atypical in this matter either as evidenced by their question in Matthew 24:3. The most common views of what lies ahead are the four which follow:
1. One-half of Daniel's week (the Tribulation) must elapse before the Rapture which occurs before the second half of the week (wrath of God).
2. The Rapture will occur after the total of the seven years has elapsed but before the Kingdom begins.
3. The Rapture is simply another name for the last great general Resurrection, occuring when the Lord returns for the Final Judgment.
4. It is the next event to occur and is precedent to the Tribulation, not relating to the prophetic writings of Israel.

To these views we attach the names: mid-tribulationist, post-tribulationist, amillenia'list, and pre-tribulationist respectively. It is not the purpose of this booklet to attack any of them, but rather to set forth what we believe to be the correct view.


We believe our hope (the Rapture) is next on the scene of spiritual world events and that the only necessary things to transpire before it becomes a reality are recorded in II Timothy 3. These things could be summed up very simply by saying that things are going to get worse and worse as time marches on. This condition has been true ever since the beginning of this dispensation. Since prophecy concerning Israel's tribulation (Jeremiah 30:7) and her Kingdom will begin at the Church's departure, the scenery may be emplaced and prepared before the curtain (Church) rises, but the events themselves will await that moment. Your date with destiny is imminent.

Here are a few of the reasons that support the immediate Rapture view.
1. One of prime importance has already been given. It is that the Church and its administration were a secret hidden from the view of the prophets. It is consistent to this view and to the nature of the Church that if the commencement and course of this age were a secret, so also is its consummation.

2.1 Thessalonians 4:17, "we which are alive and remain" and Titus 2:13, "looking," both require a constant expectation. Paul had no more knowledge of how long this dispensation would last than do you or I. If the Rapture were a part of the long history of prophetic utterances, the Scriptures would have tied their expectations with the events of Matthew 24 or Daniel 9.

3. II Thessalonians as a whole is written to correct errors in circulation at that time relating to the Rapture. Some of them quit living in the present, stopped working and began to free load (II Thessalonians 3:6-15). This was wrong! If the Lord could come momentarily, He could also wait indefinitely. On the prophetic time scale His return cannot be postponed indefinitely. Seven years after the beginning of the Tribulation, He will return. The converse error was also being taught. Some were saying that they had already missed the Rapture. In responding to this Paul cites prophecy, saying if the Rapture had occurred, the following events would be taking place (II Thessalonians 2). Since they were not, this teaching must obviously be in error. Here is a further demonstration of the exclusion of the Church from Israel's prophetic program.

4. Philippians 3:20, "we look," is another of those present tense, self inclusive statements which indicate an immediacy of expectation.

5. Compare Matthew 25:1-13 and Titus 2:13. The Kingdom parable of the ten virgins indicates a warning related to the Second Coming. There is a threat of being unprepared for Him. There is no such warning note to the Church about the Rapture. The note sounded for us is one of joyful, encouraging anticipation (I Thessalonians 4:18). The reason for this is that one is not physically born into the Church as into the nation. No one is a member of the Church unless he is saved and is therefore ready to receive his hope. No member of the Church will miss the Rapture. If it is missed, it is because the person was not a child of God.

6. An interesting comparison can be seen by laying Acts 1:7 alongside of I Thessalonians 5:2. The Kingdom apostles wanted to know when the signs would occur while the Body saints know perfectly. What caused the difference? The revelation of the Dispensation of Grace occurred between these two passages. The Lord could not tell the apostles for the message of grace was not theirs to give. Once revealed, however, the time clock of signs is fixed. It will begin ticking immediately upon the removal of the Church. (Note in I Thessalonians 5:1-3 the change from "ye" to "they" and ask yourself why this. occurs.)

7. Revelation 14:13 marks the midpoint of the Tribulation by saying, "blessed are the dead." Can you reconcile this with the tone of anticipation and joy for those yet alive as seen in I Thessalonians 4?

It has been argued that since Paul was expecting (according to his commissioning in Acts 9:15) to witness in Rome, he could not have been expecting an "any moment" Rapture. This argument only holds true because of the dispensational changes which are now fully in effect. Paul was aware of the rapid transit journey of Phillip (Acts 8:38,39) and the miraculous speed of the fishing boat on Galilee (John 6:21). He believed God could "do exceeding abundantly above all that we could ask or think" (Ephes-ians 3:20). He saw too many miracles to to doubt that God could fulfill such an event instantaneously.

Yes, we have a date with destiny as members of the Church which is His Body. Every day should be lived in the excitement and anticipation of His coming for us and of our homecoming in glory.

Monday, February 15, 2010

 THE CHURCH-WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE? - Pastor R. B. Shiflet



 THE CHURCH-WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?
Pastor R. B. Shiflet


What difference does it really make whether I, as a Christian, understand the scriptural teaching about the Church God is building today? I find myself surrounded by churches of every description. I had nothing to do with the divisions that started these various denominations. I can do nothing to bridge the gap between them.

So what difference does it make whether I understand the Biblical doctrine of the Church. Should I not just find a denomination that I can work in, join this church of my choice, and do the best I can?

These questions are asked in all sincerity by many of God's children who are perplexed in regard to the many divisions in Christendom today. Perhaps we can begin to answer these questions by using Paul's metaphor or illustration of the Church as a building (Ephesians 2:19-22).

Viewing the Church as a building, we become aware of the fact that as believers we are members of the building, but in another sense we are also the builders.

In every building program God has undertaken, whether it be the Tabernacle in the wilderness, the Temple in Jerusalem, or the Church, the Body of Christ, which God is building today—He has stressed the importance of building according to plan.

Therefore, if we are to please God in His building program today, we must know the building plans.

THE BUILDER'S AIM Understanding What The Will Of  The Lord Is

Let us consider our aim as builders, first. We are warned in Ephesians 5:17: "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Only as we know the will of the Lord concerning the Church can we be builders who can be used.


UNDERSTANDING THE WILL OF THE LORD
Ephesians 5:17 What God Has Determined


As we study the Word, we learn that the will of God sometimes has to do with what He has determined. God has a definite plan that is being worked out and will continue to be worked out, until His ultimate intended goal is reached. Satan and his demons, evil men and wicked organizations, cannot hinder the will of God in this sense.

A sketch of God's determinate will for the Church today is found in Ephesians 4:11-13. He has given the Church evangelists and teaching pastors. The evangelists and teaching pastors are given to adjust and to fit the saints for the work of the ministry and for the work of building up the Body of Christ. These functions are to be performed "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. . ." As each of us accomplish our part of the work of the ministry, the Church will grow into the "perfect man" God has determined it to be. Understanding what God's will for the Church is, will make a difference in the strength of the Church.

What God Has Desired


The term "will of the Lord" is also used of what He has desired. The will of God as thought of in this way is God's wish. For example, God "... is not willing (does not will or wish) that any should perish . . ." (II Peter 3:9). Yet people are perishing daily.

A clear statement of God's desire for today is I Timothy 2:3,4. "For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come u-nto the knowledge of the truth."

Each of us must spread the gospel so men can believe and be saved. "He that winneth souls is wise" (Proverbs 11:30), for he understands what the will of the Lord is.Understanding God's desire will make a difference in the growth of the Church.

UNDERTAKING THE WILL OF THE LORD Separation


Once we understand the will of God and our role as builders, we must undertake His will in our spiritual life. One is just as important as the other! If we know Bible doctrine—even dispensational truth—to the extent that we understand clearly the will of God, it profits us nothing unless we undertake to do His will. In the same way, if we undertake to do His will without a Biblical and dispensational foundation, we will be completely^ frustrated. There can be no acceptable work apart from an acceptance of the Word.

The context of Ephesians, chapter 5, stresses the importance of a life of separation from things that would hinder us, verses 1-12, and a life of separation unto the God who has called us, verses 18-21. "Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them" (Ephesians 5:11).

Spirit Control


This life can be lived only in the energy of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). It is the Holy Spirit who baptized us into the Church, the Body of Christ when we believed (I Corinthians 12:13). It is the Holy Spirit who sealed us in the Body of Christ until the day of our redemption (Ephesians 1:13). It is the Holy Spirit who also lives within us (Ephesians 2:22), and desired to fill or control us, making it possible for us to understand and to undertake the will of God in His building program for His Church today.

THE BUILDER'S APTITUDES


In the Old Testament, Jehovah gave the craftsmen building the Tabernacle a special aptitude for their task (Exodus 31:2-6). The Messiah told the builders of the Millennial Church to wait in Jerusalem until they received needed power from on high (Luke 24:49).

Each of us must know our human limitations, "not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think," and to appraise our talents and abilities properly, "to think soberly, according to every man the measure of faith" (Romans 12:3). Nevertheless, we should proceed with the knowledge that "I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13). This is a worthy Christian attitude of our aptitudes.

THE BUILDER'S WALK Walking Worthy Of The Vocation



This divine ability referred to in Philippians 4:13, provides for our walk, as members of God's construction crew. It is that power which gives us, who were once without strength, an aptitude for service.

A Walk That Is Worthy


This aptitude makes it possible for us to walk worthy of the high calling that is ours in Christ (Ephesians 4:1).

A Walk That Is Different


It is to be demonstrated in a life that is different from our lives before we became Christian builders. "This I say therefore and testify in in the Lord, that ye walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind" (Ephesians 4:17).

A Walk That Is In Love


It is to be a walk in love toward our brethren (I John 4:11-21) and toward all men (Romans 13:8-10).

A Walk That Is In Light


It is to be a walk in paths of righteousness as the children of God bearing a family resemblance to Him (Ephesians 5:8,9).

A Walk That Is Diligent


Finally, it is to be a walk in diligence and caution, exercising great wisdom and avoiding the foolish (Ephesians 5:15,16).

THE BUILDER'S WORK Let Every Man Take Heed How He Buildeth

The divine capacity to please God in building His Church includes not only our walk as Christians, but our work. Just as He strengthens us and controls us

by His Spirit in our walk, so He enables us to be accurate in our work as builders for Him.

Paul, His apostle to the Gentiles, has given us the blueprint. He describes himself as the wise "masterbuilder" or architect, and tells us to take heed how we build from that plan (I Corinthians 3:10).

The Materials


The materials involved in this building are sinners saved by the grace of God. Our work as builders not only involves getting them into the building (evangelism); it involves using every provision available for their adjustment to service, (pastoring and teaching).

The Methods


The methods we use must be scriptural. The Bible warns, "And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully" (II Timothy 2:5).Schemes and gimmicks may attract more people; organizations and committees may be able to control more; recreation and entertainment may allure more, but our apostle warned young Timothy that even when men would not endure sound doctrine, his responsibility was still to PREACH THE WORD.

We cannot depend on carnal means to do spiritual work. Though hard work and good planning are always important, methods must not take the place of the preaching of the Word.

The Motives


Our motives, too, must be pure. The love of Christ is our compelling force (II Corinthians 5:14). We labor to be accepted of Him (II Corinthians 5:9).

THE BUILDER'S ASPIRATION Pleasing The Lord In All Things


Our aim as workmen is the third great reason for understanding the Church, God's program for today. Paul, our masterbuilder, shows us what our single desire should be, "proving what is acceptable [well pleasing] unto the Lord" (Ephesians 5:10).

THE REASONS


Our ambition is to edify or build up the Church. Greatest care should be taken to be sure that our aspiration is always in keeping with sound doctrine. "Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and lov& which is in Christ (II Timothy 1:13). False teaching and doctrines of devils will steer many to destruction (I Timothy 4:1-3; II Timothy 2:16-26).

Sound Doctrine


Think again of the instruction to "prove what is acceptable unto the Lord." The word "prove" means to "put to the test and then approve." We can test spiritual things only through the searchlight of God's Word—trying the things that differ (Philippians 1:9-10), and then holding to that which is sound doctrine.

Sane Deportment


When we know what is well pleasing to the Lord, we can "approve" those things by "practicing them" through the controlling power of the Holy Spirit. The result will be sane deportment!

THE RESULTS Finding The Peace Of God


The result of our labors as workmen aspiring to please the Lord in sound doctrine, will be the peace of God keeping our hearts.

Fruitfulness In Service To God


Another outcome will be fruitfulness in the service of the Lord. This fruitful-ness will be found both in our lives (Colossians 1:10); Galatians 5:22-23), and in our service to the Church (Romans 1:13; 16:5).

Furtherance In The Knowledge Of God


Still another effect of aspiring to sound doctrine will be continued growth, a progression, in the knowledge of God and His will.

Bible knowledge of God's plan, put to practice in Christian service as builders with Him, is somewhat self-perpetuating. The more we study the Word, the
greater our desire to serve the Lord. The more we reap the joys of service, the greater our appetite for studying the Word.

THE BUILDER'S APPRAISAL We Must All Appear Before The Judgment Seat Of Christ


The purpose of the judgment seat is not to determine our salvation. That, praise God, was settled at Calvary and became ours when we believed. The aim of the judgment seat is to examine our works as believers. Work that meets the building code (standards laid down by Christ through the Apostle Paul) will be rewarded. Work that is not in compliance with the architect's plan will be condemned.

THE PROCEEDINGS AT THE JUDGMENT SEAT


The proceedings at the judgment seat are given in detail in I Corinthians 3:9-15.

THE PREPARATION FOR THE JUDGMENT SEAT


The time to prepare for this in spection is NOW. Let every man TAKE HEED how he buildeth.

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE


What difference does it make whether or not we understand the Church as revealed by the risen Christ through Paul? What difference can it make as far as our Christian life is concerned?

What difference does it make whether or not the carpenter who is to build your new home understands the blueprint? The difference in both cases is the same.

Recently in a large city, a new multistory motel was under construction. When it was about half finished, something went wrong, and five stories came tumbling down one upon another. Someone did not understand the architect's plan. It did make a difference.

Today, the majority of builders in Christendom are following the blueprints of Judaism that were given to Peter and the Eleven to offer God's earthly kingdom to Israel. Others go all the way back to the blueprints of legalism given to Moses for the Dispensation of Law, which was also given to Israel.

Israel failed miserably in the Law Dispensation; she rejected the gospel of the circumcision preached by Peter and his associates (Galatians 2:7-9). The ascended Christ has now given us the plans for His building in the Dispensation of Grace. Let us follow the master-builder and TAKE HEED how we build on the foundation (I Corinthians 3:10-15). It does make a difference!



 How God Saves Men
Believing Christ DIED, that’s HISTORY.
Believing Christ DIED for YOU SINS and Rose again that’s SALVATION.
Read Romans 1:16, Romans 10:9-10 and 1. Corinthians 15:1-4


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