Letter to a Friend (2o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 2o3)

The church is to be subject to Christ in all things (Ephesians 5:23,24). Jesus is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,23), not any representative on earth. The church that belongs to Christ requires a “thus saith the Lord,” a scriptural reason for everything that it says and does (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1Peter 4:11; 2 John 9; Revelation 22:18,19). The church cannot go beyond that which is written. If a man teaches something other than the truth he is to be cut off from the church (Galatians 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11). That means the church will do what Christ has authorized; no more, no less (Colossians 3:17; Acts 4:7). There must be a “thus saith the Lord” before the church can act. As the army of Christ, composed of soldiers of Christ, it cannot advance unless given the command of Christ.

The commands of Christ are found in the New Testament, Jesus took the Old Testament out of the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:12-14; Ephesians 2:14-17; Galatians 3:1-5, 17-29; 4:21-5:5; Hebrews 8:1-28; 12:18-29; 13:11-12; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18). We are not under the Old Testament, for Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

The conditions for pardon and fellowship are given in the New Testament. Those who receive pardon and are accepted into the fellowship of the church are:

  • those who, having HEARD the word of God, and have FAITH (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1,6);
  • those whose faith causes them to REPENT (Acts 17:30; 2Peter 3:9);
  • those who CONFESS their faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:36,37; Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32,33);
  • those who are IMMERSED in water in order to obtain the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:26,27; 1Peter 3:21);
  • those who REMAIN FAITHFUL in obedience, for those who walk disorderly are rejected John 15:1-6; 2Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 3:15,16). Any other conditions are commandments and doctrines of men.

The church is subject to Christ in organization. There is no organization revealed in God’s Word larger than the local congregation. The local congregation is to have a plurality of men who watch over that congregation who are known as elders, overseers, bishops, and pastors (Acts 14:23; 20:17,28; Titus 1:5-7; Ephesians 4:11). This is not one individual, but a group of individuals. These men must meet all of the qualifications set forth to serve (1Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9). There is no record of a singular pastor over a congregation. The local congregation also has deacons who meet the qualifications (Philippians 1:1; Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:8-13). 

The local congregation also has preachers, or evangelists (Acts 21:8; 2Timothy 4:1-5). The church no longer has living apostles or prophets (Acts 1:21-26; Ephesians 2:20).  There is no separation of clergy and laity, for all are priests unto God (1Peter 2:5,9). A congregation can exist without elders, deacons or a preacher.  But no man has the right to assume the eldership without the correct credentials.  We cannot make up our own government for the church.

The church is to be subject to Christ in its worship. The local church meets together in one place upon the first day of the week, every week, and partakes of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine in the Lord’s Supper (Acts 20:7; Matthew 26:26-30; 1Corinthians 11:17-34). The church as it gathers together sings without instrumental music nor specialized singers (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). The worship also includes prayer (Acts 2:42; 12:5), preaching (Acts 20:7), and a free will contribution (1Corinthians 16:1-2; 2 Corinthians 9:6,7). During the assembly the women are to keep silence (1Corinthians 14:34,35; 1Timothy 2:11-15).

  • Friend, do the “churches” that you are attending realize and teach that the church is the saved, and since it is that which Christ shed his blood for, and is the Savior of, you must be a part of the church to be saved?
  • Do the “churches” that you are attending teach and practice that Christ is the head of the church, rejecting all creeds and councils for the church, and accepting the New Testament as their only creed book?
  • Friend, Do the “churches” that you attend justify their actions from the Old Testament? or do they abide by the doctrine of Christ?
  • Do the “churches” you attend teach and practice the conditions of pardon and fellowship that the apostles revealed by inspiration, or do they have other conditions?
  • Friend, do the “churches” you attend have the organization found in the New Testament? or do they have a state, regional and/or national organization?
  • Do the “churches” you attend follow the New Testament plan for worship in partaking of the Lord’s Supper every week, having congregational singing without instrumental music, praying, preaching the word, and having a free-will contribution?

Ask the preachers if they have a creed book. Ask them if they have a ruling council. Ask the preachers if they justify their actions by the Old Testament. Ask them what it takes to become a member of their denomination. Are the answers to these questions the answers which are given in the New Testament? Are they the church you read about in the New Testament?

(continued next week)

Letter to a Friend 1of3

I have no idea who wrote this following letter (part 1 of 3 parts), but I found it very powerful and convicting. May it be of help to you in your personal work.

Dear Friend,

I pray that you and your family are all well.

I am sending this letter because I have been unable to see you in person to study with you concerning the church of our Lord. I do not believe this is a matter that can be put off indefinitely because of the importance of the issue and its affect upon the eternal destiny of your soul, and those of your household.

What is written in this letter is written because of the love that I have for you. Friend, I like you and want you to do what is right in the sight of God. It is difficult in writing to see the tear in the eye, and the tenderness and cry in the voice that portray the love in the heart. Words written tend to seem harsher than the same words spoken. However, be assured of the tenderness of my heart in presenting these words to you.

Please, consider all that is said. Take your Bible and check to see that those things that I have written are true. If they are not what the Scriptures teach, do not believe it! But, if it is what the Scriptures teach, believe it and obey it for the sake of your soul. If you think that I am wrong, please show me where, I do not want to be wrong.

The church in the New Testament does not refer to a building. The church is a people. The church can hear and talk (Matthew 18:17); the church can fear (Acts 5:11); the church can be persecuted (Acts 8:1); the church can pray (Acts 12:8). A people can do these things, but neither organization nor a building can.

The church of Christ in the New Testament was the people who were saved. They were those bought with the blood of Christ (Acts 20:28). They are those who upon their belief are baptized in order to obtain the remission of sins: “Now when they heard this, they wen pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins… Then they that gladly received bis word were baptized: and the same day were added unto them about three thousand soul… And the Lord added unto the church daily such as should be saved.” (Acts 2:37,38,41,47; Mark 16:16). Being bought with a price they were God’s, and temples. (1Corinthians 6:19,20). They were redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was made manifest in these last times for you: (1Peter 1:18-20). The Lord adds the saved to His church.

The church is to be subject to Christ in all things (Ephesians 5:23,24). Jesus is the head of the church (Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,23), not any representative on earth. The church that belongs to Christ requires a “thus saith the Lord,” a scriptural reason for everything that it says and does (2 Timothy 3:16,17; 1Peter 4:11; 2 John 9; Revelation 22:18,19). The church cannot go beyond that which is written. If a man teaches something other than the truth he is to be cut off from the church (Galatians 1:6-10; 2 John 9-11). That means the church will do what Christ has authorized; no more, no less (Colossians 3:17; Acts 4:7). There must be a “thus saith the Lord” before the church can act. As the army of Christ, composed of soldiers of Christ, it cannot advance unless given the command of Christ.

The commands of Christ are found in the New Testament, Jesus took the Old Testament out of the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:12-14; Ephesians 2:14-17; Galatians 3:1-5, 17-29; 4:21-5:5; Hebrews 8:1-28; 12:18-29; 13:11-12; 2 Corinthians 3:1-18). We are not under the Old Testament, for Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

The conditions for pardon and fellowship are given in the New Testament. Those who receive pardon and are accepted into the fellowship of the church are:

  • those who, having HEARD the word of God, have FAITH (Romans 10:17; Hebrews 11:1,6);
  • those whose faith causes them to REPENT (Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30; 2Peter 3:9);
  • those who CONFESS their faith in Jesus as the Son of God (Acts 8:36,37; Romans 10:9,10; Matthew 10:32,33);
  • those who are IMMERSED (baptized in water) in order to obtain the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Galatians 3:26,27; 1Peter 3:21);
  • those who REMAIN FAITHFUL IN OBEDIENCE, for those who walk disorderly are rejected (John 15:1-6; 2Peter 2:20-22; Revelation 3:15,16).

Any other conditions are commandments and doctrines of men. There is only one DOCTRINE of CHRIST and we are not to change it by adding to it or taking from it. (2John 9; Rev 22:18; De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6). Neither do we blend it with the Law of Moses. (Col 2:14)

MANIFOLD wisdom pt8, the DOCTRINE of Christ

There is a DOCTRINE of Christ to be followed.

This last lesson is about the Doctrine of Christ. Some would have you believe the error that there is no law under the New Testament. They will claim that there are no commands to be followed, worship is personal and that Jesus accepts you as you are without repentance. This also includes that a person cannot so sin as to lose their salvation. This is wrong.

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9]

Since there is a DOCTRINE of Christ, what is it and what are we to do with it?

As we begin this study, let’s be reminded of the words from Jesus;

And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”

[Luke 6:46]

This article is unable to give you every point about the Doctrine of Christ, nor shall it be a creed. The Doctrine of Christ is the New Testament scriptures. I will address 8 key points about the Doctrine of Christ.

Doing some of Christ’s Doctrine would not do if we haven’t completed the primary part. That is to obey the Gospel for salvation. The gospel is the Death, Burial & Resurrection of Jesus [2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-5; Heb 5:8-9]. How do you obey the DBR? Our Baptism is the culmination of our Faith in Christ. When we’ve Heard the Gospel, Believed it with all our heart, Repented of our sin, and Confessed that Jesus is the Christ, we become eligible to follow Christ into His Death, Burial & Resurrection [Rom 6:3-4]. God working through our faith [Col 2:11-12].

It then follows that OBEDIENCE to the Doctrine becomes the way of life for the Christian. “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” [1Tim 4:16; cr. Rom 6:17-18]

Before His ascension into heaven, Jesus said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Mat 28:18]. What this means is that CHRIST has all authority. We as the created have no authority to make up a law of requirements for other men to follow. CHRIST, as the Head of the church, has that authority. He has given us all thing pertaining to Life & Godliness and we are to do our best to follow. [2Peter 1:3-5]. This is not limited to the ‘words in red.’ The entirety of the New Testament are His commands as given to the Apostles & inspired writers through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. [1Cor 14:37; John 16:13; 1Peter 1:20]

After Jesus commanded that we obey the gospel, He then said that His doctrine was to be TAUGHT to these new creatures. “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:” [Mat 28:20; cr. 2Tim 2:2] It would not do for the Christian to remain in their former understanding of morality [1Cor 6:9-11]. The Christian is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ” [2Pet 3:18; Heb 5:12; 1Peter 2:2; 2Tim 3:15-17].

The Doctrine of Christ teaches that it’s possible to neglect, sin, and shipwreck our faith [Heb 2:3; Gal 5:4; 1Tim 1:19]. Therefore, we are to be on guard and REMAIN Faithful. This would be easy if our faith wasn’t under attack [1Peter 4:12; Eph 6:10-17]. Christ calls us to remain faithful even if it causes our death. [Act 2:42; Rev 2:10]

Christ, through His Doctrine, also expects us to INCREASE our faith, to abound in Love, Good Works and thanksgiving [2Pet 1:5-12; 1Co 15:58; 2Co 8:7; Php 1:9; Col 2:7; 1Thess 4:1; 2Thess 1:3; Rom 15:13]. Christians grow, mature, and produce, each according to their ability & opportunity.

And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you:” [1Thess 3:12]

Throughout the Old Testament we see warnings for the people of God not to revert back to their former sinful ways. It should come as no surprise that the Doctrine of Christ has this same warning and admonition. We are to NEVER, NEVER, NEVER Turn Back! The Apostle Peter said it in a very descriptive way; “But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” [2Peter 2:22] When you understand that a Christian has their sins “washed away” [Acts 22:16; 1Cor 6:9-11] then this verse makes perfect sense. Do you suppose that a Christian that quits the faith, “turning to his own vomit” “a sow wallowing in the mire” is going to heaven? There are so many passages warning us to NEVER turn back. [Heb 6:4-6; 10:29; the Book of Galatians; Lu 9:62]

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven:” [Heb 12:25]

The Doctrine of Christ teaches us to perform a self-EXAMINATION as to whether we’re even in the faith. This self-EXAMINATION is to be done daily, and weekly in worship [1Cor 11:1; 2Cor 13:5]. “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

When we recognize that there IS a Doctrine of Christ, it follows that it is to be kept & obeyed. “In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity,” [Titus 2:7]. The doctrine also recognizes our weaknesses & failures. It gives instruction, hope, and assurance about that as well. [1Joh 1:5-10].

There is only one DOCTRINE of CHRIST and we are not to change it by adding to it or taking from it. [2John 9; Rev 22:18; De 4:2; 12:32; Pr 30:6]. Neither do we blend it with the Law of Moses. [Col 2:14]

Manifold Wisdom pt 7; LOVE defined biblically

Biblically defining the LOVE of God and our Love of Him.

“It’s just about love.” This statement is used in attempt to stop any who suggest repentance from sin as a step to salvation or toward anyone preaching obedience to the Gospel of Christ. This statement is also used when one points out denominational error.

It may also be used as the pièce de resistance rebuttal toward anyone that shows what the New Testament teaches regarding unity through the doctrine of Christ or the one true church of Christ.

Another way some misdirect the definition of love from its true meaning is when they say, “God loves us as we are.” We are to love a person’s qualities not their corruption. Love the sinner not the sin.

For most, the worldly definition of love is to tolerate sin, live and let live, and salvation has nothing to do with change. “God loves you the way you are.”

When they say, “God loves people the way they are,” it implies He also loves their corruption. This is wrong. God loves corrupt people, but He requires them to put off that corruption. [Col 3:5-7]

The Love of God is amazing and powerful, but the biblical definition is so different than the worldly definition. The Bible says…

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” [1John 2:15]

As we approach this subject, let’s state what we’re NOT saying.

  • We are NOT saying to be hateful or mean to the lost or those engaged in sin. [1John 4:8]
  • We are NOT saying that we are perfect and without sin, that would make us liars. [1John 1:8]
  • We are NOT saying that God hates people who are in sin. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” [John 3:16]. The Bible teaches that God is love. [1John 4:16]

Here is what we ARE SAYING about the biblical definition of LOVE

Love was demonstrated first by God when He

LAID down His life for us.

Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us:” [1John 3:16; cr John 3:16; 15:13; 1John 4:9]

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” [Rom 5:8; Eph 5:2,25]

Biblical Love is LAYING DOWN your life.

OBEDIENCE is LOVE demonstrated on our part. Without Obedient Godly active participation, then true LOVE is not present.

If ye love me, keep my commandments.” [John 14:15,21,23; 15:14]

For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.” [1John 5:3]

And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.” [2John 1:6]

Biblical Love is OBEDIENCE to God.

Loving God is

VOLUNTARY and not coerced. If Love only occurs because the direct operation of the Holy Spirit then there is no Love at all. This is one of the lessons taught at the beginning of the book of Job.

Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” [Job 1:9; 2:4-5]

But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.” [1John 2:5]

And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.” [Mark 12:30]

Biblical Love is VOLUNTARY toward God.

Sometimes Love is seen when the one who loves us

EDUCATES, Rebukes, Disciplines, Chastens us. Love without discipline is Enabling. Discipline goes beyond just delivering pain. It includes EDUCATION and training. God’s written word Educates us.

For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.” [Heb 12:6]

For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.” [Prov 3:12]

Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;” [Psalm 94:12]

But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” [1Cor 11:32]

Biblical Love is EDUCATION & DISCIPLINE from God.

The children of God are called to LOVE Him. Before we can truly LOVE Him, we must first FEAR him. Once we know the “terror of the Lord” [2Cor 5:11], then we can appreciate His LOVE for us and come to LOVE Him. It’s then that our True, Biblically Defined, LOVE for Him casts out fear. It casts away terror for love. It casts away fear of what man can do for the reward God will give to His children [Mat 10:28; Heb 11:6].

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us.” [1John 4:18-19]

Manifold wisdom pt 6; the OT is over

the OLD COVENANT has been taken away.

This topic is most often seen when those objecting to the practices of the New Covenant of Christ bring up…

  • Instrumental music in worship.
  • Sabbath Keeping.
  • Food restrictions.
  • Priests & Clergy Laity.
  • Saving the Thief on the cross.
  • misc. practices.

It is true that the Old Testament was written for our learning, it is not used to be used for doctrine under the New Covenant of Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:6,11].

If we understand the OT is over, we can answer the vast majority of challenges by denominations.

The Bible Calls the Law of Moses OLD.

We don’t call it OLD or New of ourselves, God calls it OLD. “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” [Heb 8:13]

The purpose of the Law of Moses was because of TRANSGRESSIONS.

If God had in mind a New Covenant, why did He make the Law of Moses? “It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator… Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.” [Gal 3:19-24]

The Bible also says that the Law of Moses is LIMITED, Faulty & Weak as compared to the Law of Christ.

For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” [Heb 10:4]

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.” [Heb 8:7]

But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?” [Gal 4:9]

These verses don’t teach that God made a mistake. They teach that the Old Covenant served a Temporary purpose, “to bring us to Christ.” [Gal 3:19-24].

When the Seed Promise, who is Christ, appeared, the Law of Moses was ABOLISHED on the cross.

Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” [Col 2:14]

Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:” [Eph 2:15-16]

What does OLD, LIMITED, ABOLISHED, & WEAK, mean to you?

Lastly, the Law of Moses WAS a SHADOW of good things to come.

For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” [Heb 10:1]

Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” [Col 2:16-17]

But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building;” [Heb 9:11]

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle:” [Heb 8:5]

When presented with these truths, some may ask, “Why then do we study the Old Testament?” This is a great question which God answers in His word. It is for our learning from their examples [1Cor 10:6,11]. What should we learn? Let’s read…

“Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.”

Just because the Law of Moses was abolished DOES NOT MEAN there is no Law nor Doctrine. That’s another mistake being made.

Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.”

[Gal 6:2]

Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” [2John 1:9; Heb 6:1]

the FREE WILL of man will not be infringed

the MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 5

the FREE WILL of man will not be infringed.

Some would have you believe that grace is Irresistible, and that grace is Limited to only those that the Holy Spirit saves.

Another way of saying this is; God has predetermined (predestined) those individuals who will be saved and those who will be lost.

Yet another way of saying the same thing; A person chosen to be saved by God cannot reject Him, and a person chosen to be lost by God cannot so act as to be saved.

Any rational thinking person can see that this is error to extreme proportions.

While it is true that God Calls [Acts 2:39], it is also true that the calling is done by the gospel. “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2Thess 2:14].

Does God’s call go against a person’s FREE WILL? We shall show that God will never infringe upon a person’s FREE WILL to follow or reject Him.

We have been given the

Freedom to choose. Throughout scripture are examples of God presenting man with a choice, to follow or not. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,” [Josh 24:15]. “therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:” [Deut 30:15-19]

It is possible to

Resisting the Holy Spirit is possible. Scripture teaches that it’s possible for a person to “resist the Holy Spirit.” Error says the His grace is irresistible.

“You always resist the Holy Spirit;” [Acts 7:51-55]

There has always been an

Expectation of God that all men repent. God does not will that any perish but all be saved. If it’s not possible to choose to walk away from God, then universalism (all saved) must be true.

Tit 2:11; 1 Tim 2:4; 2Pet 3:9

this idea of Irresistible Grace renders

EVANGELISM unnecessary. He that is drawn automatically by the Holy Spirit working directly on their mind against their will shall be saved. Why waste our time evangelizing if all is predestined. How can we know who to preach to? “Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [2Thess 2:14; cf. Mat 28:18-20]

Irresistible Grace makes God a respecter of persons.

We’ve covered this in the last lesson, God is NOT a respecter of persons. [Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11-12; 1Pe 1:17] If He chooses SOME to be saved and the REST to be lost, then God is unjust.

“Why do you call me Lord & don’t do what I say?”  [Luke 6:46] This saying from Jesus will be spoken to some on the judgment day. If we are saved or lost against our will, this question makes zero sense.

Lose free will and God is responsible for my actions.

The devil made me do it? Nay, Nay; God made me do it!!!

“Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” [James 1:13-15]. “We must all appear before the judgment that each may be repaid for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” [2 Cor 5:10]

We have free will and we are to

Learn of Jesus. Jesus said, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me;” [Mat 11:29; cf. John 6:45]. We are drawn to God by HEARING (understanding through learning) the word of God. [Rom 10:17; John 20:30-31], we are called through gospel [1Thess 2:14] which some will accept, while others will reject!

Jesus & the Holy Spirit had opportunity to teach the Gospel to Paul personally, yet he had to hear the good news through the agency of the word through a person. [cf. Acts 8, 9, 10 et al.]

Scriptural Predestination is that God has predetermined HOW mankind will be saved. The method is predetermined, and all those that obey the Gospel shall be saved. [2Thess 1:8-9]

Inspiration and Miracles have CEASED

the MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 4

Inspiration and Miracles have CEASED.

There are three components to this subject that the mainstream denominational world still believes.

That God is still revealing His will to all through the direct operation of the Holy Spirit.

That man still has the ability to perform the miraculous through the direct operation of the Holy Spirit.

That the Holy Spirit resides personally inside of the believer.

None of these are true. The serious bible student knows that God is still active, but His work of revelation, confirmation of His word through miracles, and the direct operation of the Holy Spirit have CEASED.s

Miracles were there to

CONFIRM the word.

Heb 2:3-4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.

Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word by the signs that followed. Amen.

The letters, or

EPISTLES are written for belief.

John 20:29-31 Many other signs therefore did Jesus in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book: but these are written, that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;

Eph 3:3-4; when you read you may understand. 2Tim 3:14-17; Rom 10:17

Jesus has all authority and He delegated

AUTHORITY to the Apostles and the written word.

John 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth: for he shall not speak from himself;

1Cor 4:6; not to go beyond the things which are written;

1Cor 14:37 let him take knowledge of the things which I write unto you, that they are the commandment of the Lord.

The written

SCRIPTURES are COMPLETE.

2Tim 3:16-17 Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness. That the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work. 2Peter 3:16

1Cor 13:8-10 whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away.

Partial vs Perfect (Complete) The word is complete.

The text cannot be referring to Jesus, for it says ‘THAT’ not “HE WHO” will come. This would make the text say that we only have Christ in part, but scripture states we have His fullness. We have the fullness of Christ:

Eph 3:19 and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.;

John 1:16 of His fullness we all received;

Col 2:10 ye are made full.

Wouldn’t it also mean that when Christ comes, we won’t know anything? Morons in Heaven?

The word (written miracles) can accomplish belief, John 20:30-31

Miracles were for

EDIFICATION & Verification until the completion of the New Testament scriptures.

1Cor 14:5 that the church may receive edifying. 3,4,5,12,17,26

Eph 4:12-13 unto the building up of the body of Christ:

John 20:28-31; Mark 16:20

Heb 2:3-4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders, and by manifold powers, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.

This also includes the fact that

DEMON Possession is impossible today.

Jude 1:6 he hath kept in everlasting bonds under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.

Lu 10:18 And he said unto them, I beheld Satan fallen as lightning from heaven. Rev 20:10; 19:20

If inspiration of the Word is complete, and we are living in the last days, what new revelation could God give? What does John 20:30-31 mean?

God is… NO Respecter of Persons

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 3

God is…

NOT a Respecter of Persons.

NOT a Sinner.

NOT a Failure.

A Popular trend among antagonists of God and His Word is to accuse Him of sin, weakness & prejudice.

The Bible Student needs to be ready to give a defense, for their own faith, and to effectively preach the gospel.

These errors abound in denominational error, not just among unbelievers. The Calvinist doctrine of Limited Atonement is prejudicial. Saying, “God could have failed,” is saying God is weak.

Claiming Jesus had a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene is charging God with sin.

These are grave errors.

Instead of using my own reasoning, here’s what the Bible Says…

GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSON.

Ac 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

De 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:

Pr 24:23b It is not good to have respect of persons in judgment.

Pr 28:21a To have respect of persons is not good:

Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

Eph 6:9 And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.

Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

1Pet 1:17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

Jas 2:9 But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

GOD DOES NOT SIN.

Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

1John 1:5 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

De 32:4 He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

1Pet 2:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

2Cor 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

1John 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

GOD IS NOT WEAK.

Job 40:2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.

1Cor 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

Isa 40:28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

Ps 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Rev 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

Col 1:17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Jer 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me? 17

Job 42:2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.

Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

GOD WILL NOT FAIL.

Some denominations teach that Jesus failed in establishing His kingdom when He came to earth. The Jews of the day thwarted His plans, so He had to punt and move to plan B, the church. This is utter nonsense!

Isa 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Mt 3:9 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Why this is so important?

Mt 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.

1Cor 6:14 And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. What all this means is that God has provided the way of salvation to the whole world. [Mat 28:18-20] He has not withheld it from any. Jesus is the sinless and innocent Lamb of God. God is able. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” [Mat 10:28]

All AUTHORITY is in Christ

The

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 2

All AUTHORITY is in Christ, and His commands are written in the New Testament.

[Mat 28:18; Luke 6:46; 1Cor 14:37].

This single subject is actually the KEY subject on how to answer every question, objection and error you will face. A firm understanding of how to determine Scriptural Authority will arm you against all the fiery darts of the devil. [Eph 6:10-17]

There are two fundamental differences that separate truth from error.

ERROR: “We are at liberty to do anything not specifically forbidden.” This is the approach liberals and modernists use towards the Bible that leads to death.

TRUTH: “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” [Deut 4:2; 12:32; Jos 1:7; Pr 30:6; Ec 12:13; Re 22:18-19]

As you can see, God limits our actions to what is contained in the scriptures. We cannot go beyond the word of the Lord. This is easily understood in our everyday communication. The easiest example is seen when one places an ORDER for a pizza.

We communicate our wishes when we place an ORDER, by Telling, Showing or Implying. If you can communicate your wishes without Telling, Showing or Implying, please explain it to me without Telling, Showing or Implying. [Luke 6:46; Col 3:17]

It is understood by our specific request that no REPLACEMENTS or alterations are allowed. If one orders a pizza, chicken wings would not be acceptable. If you wanted wings you would have Ordered them. [1Sam 15:22-23; Acts 15]

The person receiving our order understands they may only DELIVER what is Specifically requested, Shown or Implied. To add or remove any item is to go beyond the permission (authority) given. To say, “you didn’t say I couldn’t add black olives;” would be unacceptable to any logical thinking person. [2Sam 7:7; Heb 7:11-17]

It matters not what the server ENJOYS, likes, or otherwise wants. It’s not about them, it’s about the one placing the Order. They may say “But I really ENJOY black olives on my pizza,” or, “The majority of people ENJOY smoked oysters and pineapple.” None of these are legitimate reasons to alter the order. They are limited to the specific request.

The following words from Jesus should make it plain.

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Matthew 7:21-23]

Any alteration to the given command under specific authority is to be REJECTED regardless of how good it may feel, what good we think it may do, or how popular it may be.

[Matt 7:13-14; Luke 13:24; Acts 26:9]

How do we use this? “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” [Col 3:16; Eph 5:19] Instrumental music is an addition because it is not commanded nor is it necessary to complete the command. Song books (or other scriptural source material) are accepted under GENERIC AUTHORITY because we need something from which we could all sing. Generic authority is the liberty given to us to choose the means by which we complete a specific command. ie. Noah was commanded to build an ark, under generic authority he had liberty to choose the necessary tools. “Let all things be done decently and in order.” [1Cor 14:40]

To say that instrumental music makes things better, or more enjoyable is irrelevant. It’s not in the command. To say David used instruments is also irrelevant because he lived under the Law of Moses (more about that in Lesson 6). David also used incense and sacrificed bulls; would you suggest we do those too? [Gal 5:1-4]

All MUST Obey the Gospel

MANIFOLD wisdom of God pt 1

All MUST obey the Gospel.

The first and foremost truth that will answer many objections is the fact that everyone MUST obey the gospel to be saved.

This is easily shown by looking at the New Testament Scriptures.

2Thess 1:8 …rendering vengeance to them that know not God, and to them that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus:

Heb 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;

see also; Rom 1:5; 10:16; 16:26; [emph mine seb]

Denominational people will come to you saying

  • “Baptism is not essential to salvation.”
  • “No works of man can save you.”
  • “Ask Jesus into your heart and you’ll be saved.”
  • “What about the thief on the cross?”
  • “By grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

They will especially appeal to emotionalism

  • “Do you mean to tell me my mother, that godly woman, who was a (insert denomination here) all her life is lost?”
  • “What if you’re on the way to be baptized and you die?”

They may even quote a few scriptures out of context

  • Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
  • Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
  • Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.
  • John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

I believe all these passages, and I hope you do as well. However, I believe them in their context as well as in context with everything else Jesus said about salvation including baptism.

WHAT SAVES US?

Let’s answer one of the main objections to baptism. It is stated this way; “No work of man or from God can save you. If you get baptized, you’re working for & trying to earn your salvation.”

Colossians 2:11-14.

When you’re accused of salvation by ‘WORKS’ reply, “Yes, but it’s not me doing the work. Let’s look at Col 2:11-14.”

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.”

“…the working of God,” [ASV]

First, It’s God who is WORKING when we are baptized. It is God’s work, [Isa 29:14; Hab 1:5; Acts 13:41]

“…raised with him through faith…”

Obedience to God’s command is never considered earning anything. He’s working through OUR faith, our trust in His working. Our obedience is part of faith. James wrote, “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” [Jas 2:17]

wherein also ye are risen with Him…”

When we are baptized, we are being buried as dead sinners, then God’s working allows us to be RAISED with Christ being made alive, being forgiven of all our trespasses. [v13; Rom 6:3-4]

“…he make alive together with him;” [v13]

This scripture lets us KNOW what we’re doing in baptism, understanding that it is God working through our faith. It is not a blind faith, nor just a feeling. We may KNOW that we have eternal life. [2Tim 1:12; 1Jo 5:13]

“…having forgiven us all our trespasses;” [v13]

Lastly, because it’s God WORKING through OUR faith and that we are being RAISED with Christ, KNOWING we’ve obeyed the commands of God, we can be certain that we’ve worked out our SALVATION with fear and trembling. [Php 2:12; Acts 2:40] “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.”