Wednesday, June 17, 2015

ACCEPTED BY GOD - By J. C. O'HAIR



        There are many seeming contradictions in the Bible, which disappear when the Word of God is rightly divided and the Greek text is understood.

In this lesson we are to study several Scriptures. First II Corinthians 5:9: “Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be ACCEPTED of Him.” Now Acts 10:35: “But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is ACCEPTED of Him.” Now Ephesians 1:6 and 7: “To the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He hath made us ACCEPTED in the Beloved, In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.”

In the light of Paul’s clear statements of grace how are we to understand II Corinthians 5:9, “labor to be ACCEPTED of God?” How are we to reconcile Peter’s message to Cornelius in Acts 10:35, that men who work righteousness are ACCEPTED of God with Paul’s message of grace in Romans 4:5, that the man who does not work, but believes on Christ, is declared righteous?

Then compare II Corinthians 5:9 and Ephesians 1:6 and 7 (quoted above).
The first verse tells us, that we labor to be accepted of God. The other verses say that believers have been made accepted in Christ, redeemed and forgiven.

Now, first of all, the word, “accepted” in II Corinthians 5:9 is from the Greek words “love” and “honor” - “to love honor.” - In Philippians 4:18 it is translated “well-pleasing.”

Then again, the word “accepted” in II Corinthians 5:9 is altogether different from the word “accepted” in Acts 10:35.

In order that we might understand this difference we quote these words from Philippians 4:18 “a sacrifice acceptable, WELL PLEASING to God.” Here the word “acceptable” is the same Greek word as “accepted” in Acts 10:35 whereas the word “well-pleasing” is the same Greek ward as “accepted” in II Corinthians 5:9.

But the word “accepted” in Ephesians 1:6 and 7, where we read that the believer has been made accepted, according to the riches of God’s “grace,” is still a different word. This “accepted” is the verb form of the word “grace.” Believers have been “graced” in Christ according to the riches of God’s grace. What an inexcusable blunder by the Holy Spirit, if He wrote in Ephesians 2:8 and 9, that sinners are saved by grace through faith, not of the sinner, and not of works, and then wrote in II Corinthians 5:9, that sinners have to labor to be accepted by God, that is, saved by God.

By grace are ye saved, not of works. Read this truth in II Timothy 1:9 - Romans 4:4 and 5 - Romans 11:6 - Ephesians 2:8 and 9.

The seeming contradictions are in our misunderstanding, or lack of understanding, of what the Holy Spirit dictated to holy men of God.

        We do not labor to be accepted for salvation or righteousness and eternal life. These are all God’s free gifts or grace.

But we should labor to be well pleasing to God; we should endeavor to please Him with our good works done in the name of Christ. Thereby our labors are accepted by Him.

In Titus 3:5 to 7 God’s “grace” way of salvation, without any of man’s doings, religious or otherwise, is made very plain. But in Titus 3:8 the redeemed sinner is exhorted to excel in good works (maintain good works). This is in harmony with Ephesians 2:10, “God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works” that God expects the saint to do. Philippians 2:12 should be studied in the light of all the above Scriptures; “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of His good pleasure.”


 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


Posted By Cecil  and Connie Spivey 

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WHY STRUGGLE? - By Miles Stanford



"But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord" (ll Corinthians 3:18).

 Our Father allows the believer to struggle with self, not for victory, but for defeat. Then the "wretched man" learns to rest in the Victor.

 "Once you have begun the Christian walk, and know the blessedness of it, you are not trying to correct yourself, for you know that all has been removed from the eye of God; and you insist on the fact that self has been to the Cross, and that Christ is your life. The old man was crucified, and you cannot reform him; all attempts of amiable people to reform him are only denying the fact that he has been dealt with in judgment. The responsible (law) man is not before God now. It is now the day of grace. Everyone who receives His grace is set free from the domination of the old man. The appeal to the believer now is not to do, but to look." - J. B.S.

 "The believer is never told to 'overcome sin,' but to reckon, on the ground of his death with Christ, that he has died to it. On the basis of death, he is told not to 'let' sin reign in his life. It is to be dealt with by an attitude of death not by 'overcoming.' The believer therefore is not to be spending his whole life in getting victory over sin, but understanding his position as having died unto sin."

 " [We] are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord" (II Corinthians 3:18).



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


(A 10 Minute Video)


 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
cspivey1953@gmail.com


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Saturday, June 13, 2015

ADMINISTRATION OF THE CROSS - By Miles Stanford



   

ADMINISTRATION OF THE CROSS -
By Miles Stanford

   
 "For ye died, and your life is hid with Christ in God" (Colossians 3:3, ASV).
 It is futile for us to attempt to curb our sins while we ignore their source, the indwelling principle of sin. In trimming the branches (sins), we strengthen the root (self). Rather, as we count upon the finished work of Calvary, the Holy Spirit will apply the Cross to the old life. And as that death cuts deeper and deeper into the root, the branches will wither and fall away.
 "The Lord Jesus has been waiting for us to come to the end of our own efforts. He sends the call, 'Come back to the Cross.' At last we can see we have been standing and working on the wrong ground, and we hear Him say, 'It is you who are in My way. I can do My work myself. I simply need empty vessels. You parted with your sins, but you kept yourself. Come now, part with yourself, take your place where I put you. When I died you were in Me on that Cross.'  'Now I see! What next, Lord?' 'Now you pass to another sphere where you become aware that you are joined to Me as your life.' "
 "Our identification with Christ in His death was a death unto Sin--- the principle of Sin as a master and a tyrant --- Sin, not sins. The Holy Spirit is ready to apply that finished work of death to the depth of our self-life, until Sin loses its mastery at point after point. It goes deeper than the cutting off of visible and external things. Cause, not symptoms."

 "Christ, who is our life" (Colossians 3:4).


Video Archive - Les Feldick Bible Study


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


(A 10 Minute Video)


 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
cspivey1953@gmail.com


E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 


















Thursday, June 11, 2015

And So Shall We Ever Be With The Lord - By Keith Blades



 In I Thessalonians 4:13-18 God has the apostle Paul set before us some final details and pieces of information for our edification regarding the nature of the event that will conclude this present dispensation of His grace - the rapture of the church.

       But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words. (I Thessalonians 4:13-18)

 When we understand and appreciate what Paul sets forth here, these final details provide for us to have the full measure of comprehension that God wants us to have for our "blessed hope." These final pieces of information primarily pertain to the further knowledge that we need to have about the mechanics of the rapture, as well as what we need to understand about the effects of its all-inclusive nature as it encompasses both those who have already died and so "sleep in Jesus," and those "which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord."

      Now when we consider the complete doctrine of our "blessed hope," it is easy to understand why it is called our "blessed hope." For every detail is "blessed" indeed. Whether we are considering the simple fact of it, or the issue of our confident hope of it, or what it delivers us from, or the redemption of our body in connection with it, or the glory of the coming of the Lord, or of our being caught up to meet Him in the air, or whatever detail it might be, each is a thrill for us to consider and a joy to know.

      Moreover the very nature of the doctrine itself, along with how it works within us, is also "blessed." For not only is each and every detail "blessed" to think about, but each one also purposefully makes a particular kind of thrilling impact upon us. In other words, each one is designed by God to effectually work within us in a particular way.

      For instance, some details of the doctrine of the rapture are designed to fill us with the thrill of anticipation for it, while others are designed to produce comfort and consolation. Some specifically work to generate patience within us, while others are designed to help shape our godly perspective. Some of them even stretch the limits of our understanding, giving us further insight into our heavenly vocation in God's plan and purpose, while others specifically work together with this further insight and thereby help keep our hearts and minds focused upon what really matters in this present life.

      Collectively, therefore, all of the information that is contained in the doctrine of the rapture is "blessed" for what it does, as it ranges far and wide throughout the scope of our godly edifying. In fact the complete doctrine of the rapture has some of the most far-reaching and multifaceted capabilities of any of the forms of doctrine in the curriculum for our godly edification in this present dispensation. Its overall effectual working within us is designed by God to be very extensive, spanning as it does the entirety of our godly edification from beginning to end. As such 'roots' are located in "the gospel of Christ" itself, and then all of the various 'fruits' of its progressive effectual working within us are designed to benefit us at every stage, and every step of the way, in the progress of our edification. Even benefiting us right up to and including the time of our death, (if we die before God ends this dispensation), as well as at the very rapture itself.

      Wherefore the complete doctrine of our "blessed hope" is  "blessed" indeed, both in its details and in the way in which each one of them is designed to effectually work within us.

Blessed, Yet Some Times A Bit Puzzling

 There are, however, some issues about the rapture that some times can seem a bit puzzling, especially when they make us wonder either why they will occur, or exactly what their full purpose might be. For example, the reason for "the voice of the archangel" some times  puzzles folks. Likewise some matters can even cause a bit of consternation, because at first they might not seem to naturally fit in with the event. Or they might not seem to be fully consistent with some other things that we are taught to understand and appreciate, either about ourselves as the church the body of Christ that we are, or about this present dispensation of God's grace in which we live.

 However more times than not whenever such things puzzle us it is because we do not fully or clearly understand all that we should. This is especially so whenever we are puzzled by information that is given to us at the end of a doctrine. Or if it is information that completes a doctrine, rather than begins it; as is the case with the information in I Thessalonians 4.

 One such issue in the doctrine of the rapture that some times puzzles folks is what Paul states at the end of I Thessalonians 4:17. As Paul concludes describing the mechanics of the rapture he says...

 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. (I Thessalonians 4:17)

 Now when Paul ends this verse by saying "and so shall we ever be with the Lord," at first thought this might not seem to convey anything that could be construed as being the least bit puzzling. After all having believed "the gospel of Christ" we have received justification unto eternal life and personal, permanent reconciliation to God. This then makes it so that we are able to live together with God forever. And is not this simply what Paul is saying will be what we will experience from the rapture on?

 However when you think about what Paul says in the light of the knowledge of who we are in God's plan and purpose, (i.e. not simply being justified unto eternal life, but also being the members of God's "new creature," the church the body of Christ), then the issue of us 'ever being with the Lord' from the time of the rapture on can seem to pose a problem. For in being God's "new creature" we are taught that we have a heavenly vocation in God's plan and purpose. We are taught that in accordance with the revelation of "the mystery of Christ" we are going to be used by God for His reconciliation of the heavenly places back to Himself. As such, therefore, we are going to be occupying the heavenly places, being God's "new creature."

 Now add to this the fact that God will resume His program with Israel on this earth when the rapture of the church occurs, and you can begin to see where the puzzlement comes in. For when God resumes His program with Israel the Lord will return to the earth at the concluding portion of His day of wrath. At which time the Lord will then establish both His residence and His kingdom on this earth. In so doing He will dwell on the earth forever, just as He has purposed to do all along, and just as He has prophesied that He will do.

 Wherefore the puzzlement is this: How is it that we can't ever be with the Lord' from the rapture on, when we will be occupying the heavenly places and He will be on the earth? How can we be said to be 'with Him' when we are not on the earth, and therefore are not physically in His presence on the earth?

 This seeming incongruity is also some-thing that is often latched on to by ones who either do not 'rightly divide the word of truth,' or who deny that we have a heavenly vocation. They use it to say that we cannot have a heavenly vocation, (or at least not a permanent one), and that therefore we will not be residing in, or occupying, the heavenly places. For as they say, 'Since Paul says that we will "ever be with the Lord"; and since the Lord will be coming back to establish His kingdom and to reside on the earth, just as the prophets teach; then obviously we will not be staying in the heavenly places. Rather we will have to come back with the Lord to the earth and we will be with Him on the earth in His kingdom. For this is the only way that we can "ever be with the Lord. "

 Thus it is that this particular "blessed" truth -"and so shall we ever be with the Lord" - seems to pose a problem.


Not Really Puzzling At All

 However what appears at first to be puzzling or incongruous, is really not so at all. It only seems so. In other words it only seems that our heavenly residence and vocation would be an impediment to, or would be inconsistent with, the issue of us 'ever being with the Lord.' But in truth this is not the case at all. For in view of who we are as God's "new creature," God has actually made it so that we can "ever be with the Lord" even though the Lord will be residing on the earth and we will be residing in the heavenly places.

 In fact this amazing and remarkable capacity is actually part of the astounding glory that belongs to us as God's "new creature" and as the members of "the church, body of Christ" that we are.

 Now doctrinally-speaking, as we progress through the curriculum for our sonship edification, the knowledge of this remarkable capacity is something that we are given to understand and appreciate long before we ever come to the final details about the rapture that are set forth to us in I Thessalonians. Hence we are expected to have learned about this remarkable capacity, and to be familiar with it, beforehand.

 Wherefore in order to 'solve this puzzle' we at least need to have a basic appreciation for this remarkable capacity. And for this we must make sure that we understand some of the fundamental things that God teaches us about who we are in His plan and purpose as His "new creature."


The Remarkable Creation of The "New Creature

 In Romans 8, (and as part of our sonship establishment), God teaches us to understand and appreciate the basics regarding our heavenly vocation in His plan and purpose. He teaches us that in accordance with His now revealed plan for also delivering "the creature" from the bondage of corruption and not just the earth, He has purposed that we are to be His "new creature," and that thereby we will be the means by which "the creature" will get delivered and its realm will become reconciled unto God.

 Then after having established us as His "sons," (and as we begin going through the curriculum for our sonship edification and for our vocational training), God also begins to teach us about something else that is directly connected to our capacity to function as His "new creature." Something that specifically provides for us to fulfill this unique vocation.

 Beginning in Romans chapter 12 God begins to teach us about the new and different and special kind of living-union-relation-ship that we in this present dispensation have both with the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, and also with each other, whereby He has made us fit to be able to actually function as His "new creature." As such, this new and different living-union-relationship has been specifically designed by God to perfectly suit the particular vocation that He has for us in His plan and purpose. It, therefore, has been tailor-made by God for us in this present dispensation, and also it has been tailor-made for our heavenly vocation. Hence it truly does provide us with the mechanical means and capacity to fulfill our heavenly vocation.

 Now this new and different and special living-union-relationship that we have with the Lord Jesus Christ, and with one another, is the issue of us being "one body in Christ" and also being "members one of another." It is the result of God Himself Iegally identifying us with, and associating us with, the Lord Jesus Christ, who in connection with His now revealed inheritance as God the Father's "firstborn" has both received dominion over "the creature" and is the legal heir of its realm.

 What's more, having legally identified us with Christ as such, God has also legally joined us to Christ as the 'head of the creature' that He now is. Whereby He has made it so that we can legally be incorporated into "the creature," with both the right to occupy its realm and to assume its function.

 Now our legal identification with Christ, and our legal joining to Christ, have been accomplished by the Holy Ghost Himself. Who when He baptized us "into Christ" not only made us 'dead to sin and alive unto God,' but He also created the vitally necessary and living bond of genuine union between us and the Lord, as well as between each of us collectively, which enables us to mechanically function as "the new creature." Hence by the Holy Spirit God has organically joined us to the Lord Jesus Christ as the 'head of the creature' that He now is, and He has also organically joined us one to another.

 Wherefore in this present dispensation of His grace God has indeed created, (and He has put us into), a new and different and special living-union-relationship with His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. For the sake of being able to make it so that we can function as His "new creature" God has both created this new living-union-relationship, and by it He has made it so that we are "one body in Christ," and we are also "members one of another."

 Now this is not just some theological concept. Nor is it some abstract, ethereal type relationship that only exists as virtual reality, or as imagery, but without real substance. Instead it is a genuine, real, living relationship, and an organic union, just as we are taught in Romans 12, and just as Paul describes to the Corinthian saints when he says...

 12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. (I Corinthians 12:12-13)

 So it is then that in creating "the body of Christ" - i.e. this new and different living-union-relationship -God has created a new living entity, or a new life form, so to speak. One that possesses all of the essential attributes and functions of the original "creature," with the result that it can be His "new creature."

 Wherefore being God's "new creature" we indeed have both a heavenly residence and a heavenly vocation in God's plan and purpose. Hence when God concludes this present dispensation of His grace He not only will 'rapture' us "to meet the Lord in air" n accordance with His promise to deliver us from the wrath to come, but He will also 'rapture' us in accordance with providing for us to assume our heavenly vocation as His "new creature."

 Moreover in full accordance with the issue of our inheritance, and with His own future plans, God has designed for us to stay in the heavenly places; to reside there. Even when He Himself and the Lord Jesus Christ are residing on the earth in fulfillment of His purpose for the earth, and in fulfillment of His program with Israel.

 Now even though this will be so, once again it will not be any impediment whatsoever to us 'ever being with the Lord.' For since we have this new and special living-union-relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, and with one another; (that is, because we are the members of "the body of Christ" and "members one of another"); we will be able to both occupy the heavenly places and "ever be with the Lord" at the exact same time. For this very capacity is one of the remarkable features of a body.

The Remarkable Features of A Body

 There are many unique features, characteristics, abilities, capacities, and the like, belonging to a body. And especially is this so regarding the individual members that make up a body. As the composite organism that it is, a body is an intricate union of a variety of different members with their different features and abilities, which being governed by a head mutually function for the good of the whole body, and for the purpose of accomplishing the desires of the head. A body, therefore, is a corporate entity and it functions as such.

 For this reason when we are taught to understand and appreciate the workings of our special living-union-relationship with Christ and with one another in "the body of Christ," they are taught to us on the basis of the natural parallel that exists with our own physical bodies. For the individual members of our own bodies, being the collective members of a body that they are, possess the same type of living-union-relationship one with another as we have with the Lord Jesus Christ and each other. In accordance with this, we are naturally first of all taught to understand and appreciate such remarkable things as the ingenious and mutually profitable interactions that the individual members of a body are designed to have one with another, and how that the members are designed to function for the benefit of the whole body. Wherefore in Romans and I Corinthians we are taught such things as...

 4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. (Romans 12:4-5)

 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?

 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body?'

 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling?

 18 But now hath God set the members everyone of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body?

 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. (I Corinthians 12:14

 Now these basic, yet remarkable things that pertain to the issue of us being "members one of another," (along with others like them), are what we are taught to understand and appreciate first and foremost about "the body of Christ." And naturally so. For they are fundamental and integral to our proper functioning as the members of "the body of Christ" right now, and also they are integral to our vocational training for what is yet to come. Besides this they are also the easiest and most obvious of the body's features and capacities for us to understand, appreciate, and put into operation. Hence they come first.

 However as remarkable as these elementary 'member-to-member' features and capacities are, they certainly are not the only remarkable capacities of a body. There are others, especially those we are taught about later on in our edification that pertain to the head of the body. And of those that pertain to the head, the ones that involve the head's unique relationship to, and interaction with, each member of the body are especially significant and fascinating.

 One such capacity is how it is that each of the members of a body are equally 'in touch,' so to speak, with its head, and are also equally sensing the head's presence, regardless of where it is located in the body.

 In fact this is one of the most remarkable capacities belonging to the head. And it is experienced and enjoyed by each one of the members of a body, and also by the head itself. What's more, it is a capacity that also exists with us in "the body of Christ." As such it has a direct bearing upon our ability to "ever be with the Lord" from the time of the rapture on, even though we will be residing in the heavenly places in accordance with our heavenly vocation.

A Head's Pervading Presence In A Body

 Because of what the head of a body is, it possesses a capacity that is uniquely commensurate with its name and its position. Being the head, the force of its presence exists throughout the whole body, touching as it does every member, and also being sensed by every member. Wherefore a head pervades the entire body with its being. There is no member that does not know that it is there, and there is no member that does not know that it is the head.

 Moreover each and every member of a body is equally 'in touch' with its head. For the head recognizes and knows the role and value of each member of its body, and it purposefully maintains direct, constant, and fully sensed contact with each and every member. As such each and every member of a body fully 'feels the presence,' so to speak, of its head, and it thereby knows that it is in constant, personal contact with the head.

 Furthermore this is true in spite of where each member of a body is located in the body. As far as a head's pervading presence is concerned, the proximity of a member to the head is not an advantage, nor is its distance from the head a disadvantage. A head's pervading presence within its body transcends any physical factor. There are no barriers to its pervasive and permeating presence, nor any limitations on it.

 Wherefore in essence a head's presence within its body is omnipresent, with each and every member equally aware of its presence, as well as being appreciative of it and responsive to it.

Now this is the way it is with our own body. Disregarding the issue of any corruptive effects from "the bondage of corruption," our own head has this pervading and permeating presence throughout our body. And each and every member of our body 'feels its presence' equally, and knows that it is 'in the head's presence.'

 Mechanically-speaking the pervading and permeating presence of our head throughout our body is a function of our inner self; that is, of our spirit/soul complex; the immaterial part of our being; our inner man. In being what it is, our inner man possesses the God-designed capacity to be in real, functional, and equal contact with each and every member of our body. Our inner man is functionally and equally joined to each and every member of our body, and thereby is able to functionally and equally live in, (and express itself in and through), each and every member.

 Simply put, therefore, our spirit/soul within us provides for the pervasive and permeating presence of our head throughout our entire body. This in turn makes it so that each and every member of our body is not only in the immediate presence of its head, regardless of where it is located in the body, but each and every member also senses that it is in the head's presence.

The Parallel

 This remarkable capacity for the head to pervade the body with its presence also exists in "the body of Christ." And as the spirit of a man provides the mechanical means for the head's presence to pervade and permeate throughout a person's body, so also does the Spirit of God provide for this to be so in "the church, the body of Christ."

 Wherefore as "the head of the body, the church" that He is, the Lord Jesus Christ's presence pervades His body, and it is brought to bear upon each and every member of the body through the function and ministry of the Holy Spirit. For having been "baptized into one body" by the Spirit, the Holy Spirit is not only the former of "the body of Christ," but He is also its 'adjoining spirit.' He is responsible for uniting each and every member to the head, and each and every member to each other, as well as being responsible for producing the effects of our living-union-relationship, both during this present dispensation and in the future.

 At this present time we possess only a measure of the fulness of Christ's pervading presence as the head of His body. Wherefore we can only experience, respond to, and appreciate the measure that we presently have. And the fact that we presently possess only a measure of this fulness is only natural. For this is perfectly in accord not only with the conditions that are presently imposed upon our sonship status, edification, and life; but it is also perfectly in accord with the fact that we do not yet have 'the redemption of our bodies. '

 Now it will not be until our bodies are redemed, and we are manifested as God's "sons," that we will actually possess the fulness of Christ's pervading presence as the head of His body, and will be in the position to experience it and appreciate it. This, therefore, means that it will not be until God concludes this present dispensation of His grace with the rapture of the church that we will possess the fulness of Christ's pervading presence, and will begin to experience the effects of its fulness.

 However when our bodies are re deemed and we do possess the fulness of Christ's pervading presence as the head of His body, this is what will provide for us to "ever be with the Lord" even though we will be in the heavenly places.

The Redemption of Our Bodies

 There are numerous changes that will take place when our bodies are redeemed. In fact as Paul deals with the issue of the resurrection of the dead in I Corinthians 15, he sets forth 5 general categories of changes that will occur, with a number of changes belonging to each category.

Hence he says...

 42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in in-corruption: 43 It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (I Corinthians 15:42-49)

 Each of these categories of change is glorious to consider. Yet the one that is most germane to our subject is the fifth one - i.e. the change in our bodies that will have us 'bearing the image of the heavenly,' and that thereby will make us physically fit to both reside in, and function in, the heavenly places.

 Within this final category of change, the particular change that we need to take note of is the one that provides for us to possess and enjoy the fulness of Christ's pervading presence as the head of His body. And Paul has reason to cite this particular change later on in II Corinthians 5. He cites it as part of his description of how the doctrine of the redemption of our body effectually works within us to enable 'the eyes of our understanding' to 'look at the things which are not seen,' and thereby enable us to confidently face and endure the threat of death in a godly manner. Wherefore Paul says...

 1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5 Now he that hath wrought us for this selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. (II Corinthians 5:1-8)

 As Paul says, our present bodies are "our earthly house of this  tabernacle." Yet when they are redeemed we will have "a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." Then our bodies will be fit to reside "in the heavens" in accordance with our vocation in the heavenly places as God's "new creature."

 However since our present bodies are "our earthly house of this tabernacle," this not only means that right now they are unfit to exist "in the heavens," but it also means that they are not capable of fully possessing, sensing, or responding to the issue of the Lord's pervading presence as the head of His body. And this is one of the reasons why Paul says that "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord. "

 We are not only "absent from the Lord" location-wise, but we also sense this issue of being "absent from" Him in our present relationship with Him. Even though by the Holy Spirit we are "one body in Christ" and we have been placed into living-union-relationship with Him as the head of His body, we do not fully sense this right now. For our present "earthly house of this tabernacle" does not allow for us to sense the Lord's full pervading presence as the head of His body. It does not have that capacity. Hence we do not sense that we are 'with the Lord' in our present bodies. Rather our sensed situation, and our real situation, is that "whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord."

 But neither our sensed nor our real situation will be that of being "absent from the Lord" when our bodies are redeemed and we are clothed with our "building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." In that day our redeemed bodies will provide for the Lord's full pervading presence as the head of His body to be fully sensed and enjoyed by us. No more, and never more, will we think of ourselves as being "absent from the Lord." Instead we will fully and constantly know that we are "with the Lord" regardless of location.

The Ingenuity of The Body of Christ

 So then it is the combination of our new and special living-union-relationship with the Lord as the head of His body, together with our redeemed/changed bodies, that will provide us with the capacity to "ever be with the Lord" from the time of the rapture on, even though we will be residing "in the heavens." From the rapture on the perfection and fullness of Christ's pervading presence will be fully known by us, fully sensed by us, fully experienced by us, and fully enjoyed by us in our glorified bodies. With the result that our location in the heavenly places will not be an obstacle or an hindrance whatsoever to the reality of us "ever being with the Lord." In fact we will be "with the Lord" to the exact same degree, and with the exact same sensing of His presence, as if we were residing on the earth with Him.

 Wherefore God's genius in designing and creating "the body of Christ" is indeed marvelous, to say the least. For it not only provides for Him to have a "new creature" for the reconciliation of the heavenly places, but it also provides for Him to have it so that the members of His "new creature" possess a living-union-relationship with Him that is equivalent to the very nature of the relationship that exists between the members of the Godhead themselves. A relationship in which the physical location of the members relative to one another, or their distance one from another at any time, makes no difference whatsoever. Instead by nature they are always 'with one another. '

 Therefore with us possessing this same nature of relationship with the Lord in "the body of Christ," and with us possessing its perfection and fullness at the time of the rapture, Paul logically concludes our edification on the details of the rapture by saying, "and so shall we ever be with the Lord." For indeed this will be true of us, even though we will be residing in the heavenly places.


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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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Grace And Peace - by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam


For many years this writer, along with the mass of religious people, supposed that the Bible phrase “grace and peace be unto you” was simply a beautiful, spiritual salutation. Thank God we have come to learn that it is much more than a salutation. It is an official proclamation.

Every single one of the epistles signed by St. Paul opens with the declaration: “Grace be unto you and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” This was the theme of the message which he, as a duly appointed ambassador, had been sent to proclaim.

To appreciate this fully we must remember that God had declared in prophecy that He would reply to the world’s rejection of Christ with judgment. Psalms110:1 pictures the Father saying to the Son: “Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” Psa. 2:5 declares: “Then shall He speak unto them in His wrath, and vex them in His sore displeasure.”

After the crucifixion and ascension of Christ it seemed that all was ready for the judgment to fall. As the signs of Pentecost appeared Peter declared: “This is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:16) and it did indeed look as if the rejected Lord was about to return to “judge and make war,” as Revlation 19:11 puts it. But now, instead of judgment and war, St. Paul proclaims grace and peace. Does this not indicate that in grace God interrupted the prophetic program to bring in the present dispensation under which God’s ambassadors proclaim with Paul:

    “But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound; that as sin hath reigned… so might grace reign” (Romans 5:20,21).

Indeed, Paul the former persecutor was himself the living demonstration of God’s grace to a Christ-rejecting world. In I Timothy 1:15,16 he declares:

    “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.

“Howbeit, for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.”


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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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Important Contrasts in the Bible - by Pastor John Fredericksen




Important Contrasts in the Bible

Pastor John Fredericksen

When parents are blessed with both a daughter and a son, there are obvious differences. Each has his or her own distinct looks, clothing, goals, and requirements. Both are recognized for their God-given differences, and loved separately, yet equally. Even after they have children of their own, this continues to be true. In a similar way, God established two distinctly different programs and peoples in the Bible. One is the children of Israel, who were given the Mosaic Law as their instructions and to whom nearly two thirds of the Bible was written, and the other is the sons and daughters of God in the Body of Christ, who are under Grace.


The Nation of Israel

There are several specific reasons why God made the nation of Israel His “special people” (Deuteronomy 7:6). It begins with the persistent rebellion of man very early in history. We learn from Romans 1:21-32 that even “when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God.” Mankind plunged so deeply into idolatry and immorality that they sank to the level where “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge.” Since man was created as a free moral agent with choice, God did not force man to have a relationship with Him. However, He was not willing to stand idly by and allow the entire human race to foolishly run down a course leading to the eternal Lake of Fire, so He intervened by establishing the nation of Israel.

When Abram was called to become the father of Israel, God promised him three things: “I will make of thee a great nation… and make thy name great… and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:2-3). The first two promises amount to using the nation of Israel as an undeniable witness of God to an unbelieving world. Repeatedly, the Scripture tell us this was one of the primary purposes for Israel as a nation and all she encountered in history. Solomon’s prayer was “that all people of the earth may know thy name…” (I Kings 8:43). Hezekiah prayed that the Lord would deliver them from enemies “that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the Lord God, even thou only” (II Kings 19:19). Ezekiel was told to predict a future when enemies will “come up against my people of Israel…that the heathen may know me” (Ezekiel. 38:16). Likewise, Isaiah predicts a day when “all flesh shall know that I the Lord am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:26). Even those who do not want to retain the knowledge of God have heard of the Lord parting the Red Sea and providing a host of miracles for Israel. Israel has been God’s witness to the world.

The third promise to Abram was to bless all the families of the earth through him and his seed. Ultimately, this was fulfilled in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, coming as the Son of Man and Son of God to pay the ransom for the sins of all mankind. Salvation is now available to all because God used Israel to produce a needed Savior.


The Mosaic Law f Israel

It is imperative that we understand to whom the Law of Moses was given, what it involved, and why it was given. The Lord told Moses, “I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments…that thou mayest teach them [to Israel]” (Exodus 24:12). These laws were given only to the nation of Israel. They were not given to, nor intended for, Gentiles of the past or present. Moreover, many further misunderstand the scope of the Law of Moses. It was far more than the Ten Commandments; it included volumes of strict requirements governing the social, civil, dietary, and worship life of Israel. It was an entire package to be obeyed. No one was allowed to pick and choose certain requirements and ignore others.

God had several important purposes for giving these laws. They were to be a testimony to all who “hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people…who hath God so nigh unto them” (Deuteronomy  4:5-8). It was intended to draw lost souls back to God, but it was never intended as a way to merit eternal life. Paul taught, “Ye could not be justified [from sin] by the law of Moses” because it was given that “all the world may become guilty before God… for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:19,20). The law was a beautiful system for Israel, but even Peter acknowledged that it was a heavy “yoke…which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear” (Acts 15:10). God’s ultimate purpose for the law was to prove man’s guilt, to prove his inability to be righteous through good works, and to become “our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Gallatians3:24). It is absolutely not intended for the practice of believers today


How Long Did the Mosaic Law Last?

The Lord Jesus clearly said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). He told His disciples, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles…but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6). In the early chapters of Acts, it is clear that Israel was still the exclusive focus of ministry (Acts 2:5,22,36; 3:12,25; 7:2,51,52; 11:19,20). Moreover, these Jewish believers were still operating under the law. The Lord Jesus taught, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: all therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do” (Matthew 23:1,2). They were still to keep the law because Christ said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law… but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).

For many present-day Christians, much confusion exists because they incorrectly attempt to apply instructions or promises that were given exclusively to Israel under the law. Only Israel was to “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat…or drink…but seek ye first the Kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:25-33). Only Israel was promised, “And these signs shall follow them that believe… In my name shall they cast out devils… speak with new tongues… they shall lay hands on the sick” (Mark 16:17,18). Only Israel was promised, “If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it” (John 14:13,14; 16:23; Matthew 18:19). When we read the Old Testament, the Gospel accounts, and the early chapters of Acts, we are not to claim promises or instruction intended exclusively for Israel. These books were included as part of our present-day Bible because God intended them “for our learning” (Romans 15:4). Let’s learn the lessons God intended without claiming Israel’s promises.

The Body of Christ

Believers today are not part of the nation of Israel. In the early part of the Book of Acts, God set Israel aside from her favored and exalted position due to repeated waywardness (Romans 11:11,12). Today, “There is neither Jew nor Greek…for ye are all one in Christ” (Galatians 3:28). Those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ today are placed into a new group of believers called “the church, which is His Body” or the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). This is a brand new group of believers that began with the Apostle Paul. Dr. C. I. Scofield said it well in his reference Bible when he wrote: “In his [Paul’s] writings alone we find the doctrine, position, walk, and destiny of the Church.” 1

The Apostle Paul teaches us, “Ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Rom. 6:14). God saves us by His grace (Ephesians 2:8,9), keeps us Growing in God’s Grace secure because grace “reign[s]” (Rom. 5:21), and grace provides a lasting daily peace “wherein we stand” (Romans 5:1,2). Finally, “…the grace of God [is]… teaching us that, denying ungodliness… we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world” (Titus 2:11-13). As we live in this current Age of Grace, we are to depend on grace in every area of our lives, and look consistently for our promises and instructions in the letters of the Apostle Paul.

Israel (under the law), and the Body of Christ (under grace), are like a brother and sister. God is the Father of both, yet each is distinctly different. These differences are not intended to be diluted until they are indistinguishable. We are to recognize, respect, and maintain these distinctions. This is a key to understanding our Bible.

Notes:
1.Taken from notes on Ephesians 3:6 



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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Melting Hearts - by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Melting Hearts

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

Melting hearts, in Scripture, are consistently associated with discouragement and fear. Note a few examples:
And he also that is valiant, whose heart is as the heart of a lion, shall utterly melt…” (II Sam. 17:10).
Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt” (Isa. 13:7).
The heart melteth and the knees smite together…” (Nah. 2:10).
Christians, therefore, should not pray for melted hearts, as so many do. There are too many believers with melting hearts now! Indeed, men of God, down through the ages, have always found it a real task to keep the hearts of Christians from melting. Fear can easily become cowardice and cowardice, like courage, is extremely contagious. For this reason God explicitly instructed the military officers of Israel to announce to their armies:
What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart” (Deut. 20:8).
If ever God’s people needed confidence and courage it is in the day of crisis — especially spiritual crisis — in which we live. Here Paul’s word to the Ephesian believers is appropriate:
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against [wicked spirits] in high places” (Eph. 6:12).
Thank God! While the opposition of our adversary during “this present evil age” calls for special courage and steadfastness of heart, God has made particular provision for us, for He has given us more light on His Word than was given those of former ages and we can meet the enemy with “the whole armor of God.” Moreover we have God’s Word through Paul, that battle-scarred warrior:
God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me, His prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God” (II Tim. 1:7,8).

Video Archive - Les Feldick Bible Study


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


(A 10 Minute Video)


 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
cspivey1953@gmail.com


E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 















What About Me? - by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

What About Me?

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam
 
Hebrews 2 states that unbelievers are, “through fear of death… all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Ver. 15). How often they must ask themselves: “What will become of me: finally become of me?” The best they can hope is that God will be merciful to them and accept them at last, but God cannot do this without a just basis, and since unbelievers have rejected His gracious payment for sin, they must remain under its condemnation. Many hope that physical death will be the end for them, but they fear that the Bible may be true and that death will not be the end.

This writer once talked with a profane barber who had boasted that he was his own “God,” and would be until they put him “six feet under.” To this we replied: “The Bible says that ‘it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this is the judgment.’ You may not believe this, or accept it as the Word of God, but you can’t prove it isn’t so, and I would urge you to look into it carefully, asking God to give you light.”

Here we ask the reader a very personal question: Are you saved? Have you accepted Christ and His payment for your sins, now standing before God “justified from all things,” and “accepted in the Beloved”? If not, we beg you: do not delay. These are serious times and who knows how soon God will take His own away and bring this dispensation of grace to a close. Then it will be too late, so we urge you, face up to your sinful condition now, and place your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ who, in infinite love and grace, bore the burden of your guilt and condemnation at Calvary. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved…” (Acts 16:31).


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


(A 10 Minute Video)


 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
cspivey1953@gmail.com


E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends 































Monday, June 1, 2015

RAGS TO RICHES - By Miles Stanford


"But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members" (Romans 7:23).

 Self is the believer's indwelling enemy; its degrading bondage is his deepest heartache. However, the reign of self is overthrown by its own enmity, since it creates the needs that cause us to hunger for and appropriate Christ's life and liberty.

 "A sense of spiritual poverty is necessary to spiritual growth. This awareness of failure becomes acute to the believer during those days when he is attempting to attain holiness of heart through self-effort. Knowing what he ought to be and do, he proceeds to try to reach those goals. He purposes, resolves, promises, struggles, weeps, and fails again. His testimony, with Paul, is, 'The things that I want to do, I do not do, and the things that I do not want to do, I do' (Romans 7:15).

 "What a delightful day it is for him when he realizes that 'in him, that is, in his flesh, dwelleth no good thing' (Romans 7:18). Only then does he, in his failure, cry out, 'Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?' 'I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord' (Romans 7:24, 25) comes back the reply. He begins to recognize that God expects only failure from the flesh, never success, but that 'in Christ' is his sanctification, his growth. Thus it is that freedom comes through bondage, life through death."

 "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). 





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


(A 10 Minute Video)


 Posted By Cecil and Connie Spivey
cspivey1953@gmail.com


E-mail this BIBLE STUDY to all your friends