Understanding what God Wants

Scriptural Authority in Acts.

One of the biggest questions of life is, What Does God Want? Along those lines comes the question, how do we find out?

Acts fifteen contains an event that will show us how God communicates, whereby we can know today what it is that God wants.

As we begin this study, we must recognize a few facts.

  • The New Testament was not yet written.
  • Miraculous gifts were to confirm what God wants. Heb 2:4; cf. Deut 18:21-22; 13:1-5.
  • Once the Written Word was completed, the signs and miracles were no longer needed. John 20:30-31; 1Cor 13:10; Eph 3:3-4; 2Tim 3:15-17.

These facts being established, we can learn how to determine what God wants by examining this passage.

God communicates in the same manner as we do with one another. We communicate our desires by TELLING, SHOWING, & IMPLYING. We also trust that our SILENCE on a matter is prohibitive. We can easily see these four concepts being utilized in Acts fifteen. The question the disciples wanted answered was, Are Gentiles candidates for the Gospel of Christ?

And certain men came down from Judaea and taught the brethren, saying, Except ye be circumcised after the custom of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” [Acts 15:1]

Some claim that this was a council to vote on the question. This is wrong. The Apostles already knew the answer, as will be shown by their looking at God’s method of communication (Telling, Showing, Implying & Silence).

FIRST, Peter rose up and reminded them about the first Gentile converts (Acts 10 & 11). How the Holy Spirit fell upon them as He had them “at the beginning.” [Acts 11:15]. Peter Necessarily Infers (inescapably concluded) that God had implied, both through a vision and the falling of the Holy Spirit upon them, that God is accepting Gentiles. He closes by saying, “Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples…” [Acts 15:10] “But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.” [15:11]

NEXT, Paul and Barnabas “declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.” [15:12] This is God communicating through SHOWING. Another way this is stated is Approved Apostolic Example. This testimony agrees with Peter, and with what was said about miracles. (see opening statements). “God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?” [Heb 2:4]

THEN, James answered. His appeal is to the revealed written word from God. He quotes from Amos nine, verses eleven and twelve. His appeal is to the DIRECT STATEMENTS of God. From this command of God, he concludes that God had already planned and authorized for Gentiles to be included in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

James connects the testimony of Peter with these verses in Amos. Who are we to fight against God? He begins by saying, “as it is written.” [15:15] We know from both Old and New Testaments not to go beyond that which is written. [1Cor 4:6; Deut 4:2; 12:32; Rev 22:18; Prov 30:6]

LASTLY, a letter is written and from it we find this statement about the prohibitive nature of SILENCE. “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:” [Acts 15:24. emph mine seb]

From this we learn that if there is no command, there is no permission. It is to speak presumptuously, something God has already condemned. [De 18:22; 13:2; 18:20; Jer 28:9] Silence is prohibitive is logically understood and demonstrated in at least two other places. Read & Study 2Samuel 7:1-7; Hebrews 7]

In conclusion, we see that the Apostles already knew what the Lord had commanded. They were guided into all truth [John 14:17,26; 15:26; 16:13]. They then declared to those in error the truth of the matter by appealing to God’s Direct Statements, Approved Examples, Inescapable conclusions along with the prohibitive nature of Silence.

We can do the same today utilizing “the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” [2Tim 3:15-17]

Here are some questions to ask ourselves and of any who still believe that miracles are happening, revelation is still being received.

  • We know that Gentiles that obey the Gospel are accepted by God. What further evidence beyond the scriptures do we need to prove this?
  • We know that Baptism is commanded by God, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know what moral behaviors are accepted and which behaviors God abhors, what further miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that there will be a judgment day, what additional miracle do we need to show this?
  • We know that Jesus is the Christ the Son of the Living God and that we are to do whatever He commands [Luke 6:46], what additional miracle do we need to show this?

The Book of Acts, a book of conversions

Conversions in the Book of Acts

A mistake that is made in learning what we must do to be saved is by consulting only the books written to the saved without looking at what else is said in Scripture.

For example, many will quote the book to the Roman Christians; (Rom 10:9) without considering what Paul taught the Romans when he dwelt there for two whole years. [Acts 16:30]

They will quote the book written to the Ephesian Christians; (Eph 2:8-9) without considering what Paul taught the Ephesians [Acts 19:1-5].

These two examples show us why we must look into the book of Acts to see what lost people did. Those who heard the gospel and either obeyed it or rejected it. This is why it could be called the book of Conversions.

Let’s examine just a few of the conversions in this book to see how they responded to the preaching of the Gospel as commanded by Christ Jesus. [Mat 28:18-20]

Jews at PENTECOST [2:14-47] This represents the first gospel sermon after the DBR of Christ. The beginning of the church that Jesus promised to build [Mat 16:18] and the first example of those being saved. “Be saved from this perverse generation.” What happened? They HEARD the gospel [22-36]. They believed [37]. It must be inferred that they CONFESSED Jesus as the Christ the Son of God [Mt 10:32]. They were told to ‘REPENT & be baptized’ [38]. They were BAPTIZED into Christ [41] and 3,000 were added to the church. Then we see them ‘CONTINUING steadfastly in the Apostles Doctrine, which is from Christ [42; cr. John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; 1Cor 14:37].

THE ETHIOPIAN EUNUCH [8:26-39] This man is reading from Isaiah and struggling with its meaning. Philip approaches him and is invited by the Eunuch to explain the passage. We then are told, “Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” What Happened? He HEARD the gospel of Jesus [35]. He BELIEVED [36-37] It is inferred that he REPENTED [Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30]. He CONFESSES that Jesus is the Christ [37]. He is BAPTIZED with water, by immersion, into Christ [38-39 cr. Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27]. He went away REJOICING [39].

The Apostle PAUL (Saul of Tarsus) [9:1-18; 22:6-16; 26:12-19]. While on his way to persecute the church of Christ, Saul saw Jesus risen from the dead. He HEARD & BELIEVED [9:5-6]. He was REPENTANT [9-11]. He CONFESSED [5-6]. He was BAPTIZED [18]. When retelling of this event, he states that baptism was the moment his sins were washed away [22:16].

CORNELIUS [10:1-11:18] This story tells of the first Gentile conversion. We must read chapters 10 & 11 to get the full picture. They were told to HEAR and they HEARD [6, 22, 33-43; 11:14]. It is inferred that they REPENTED & CONFESSED [Luke 13:3; Act 17:30; Mat 10:32]. They were BAPTIZED in water [47]. They received remission of sins [43].

Chapter 11:1-18 contains the retelling of this event by Peter to those of the circumcision who contended with him about being with gentiles. This retelling is necessary to show that God had made the same gospel plan of salvation available to every nation [Mat 28:18-20]. Up to this point, the preaching had been only to the Jews. “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” [Rom 1:16] The “Baptism of the Holy Spirit” only occurred twice, here and at Pentecost. It was done to show God’s approval at the beginning.

As you can see, the book of Acts shows people obeying the Gospel. The same method can be applied to…

LYDIA [16:14-15]

THE JAILER [16:25-34]

THE CORINTHIANS. [18:8]

THE EPHESIANS [19:1-5]

The same Gospel requires all after Pentecost to HEAR, BELIEVE, REPENT, CONFESS, be BAPTIZED in water & have FAITHFULNESS. God shows no partiality, no bigotry. The Gospel is for all and all must obey the Gospel in the same way. God is no respecter of persons.

He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him,” [Hebrews 5:9; cr 2Thess 1:8-9; 1Cor 15:1-4] –Spencer

How to have Biblical UNITY

“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:” [Eph 4:13]

Every few years there is a call for UNITY. Nobody likes arguing nor complaining. We all seek for UNITY to avoid such fighting.

It would seem that many think, as long as there’s no arguing, then UNITY must therefore exist. While this may give the appearance of UNITY, it is not biblical UNITY.

What we have is peace, but not UNITY. “If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, be at peace with all men.” [Rom 12:18]

What must exist for us to have biblical UNITY?

Fraternity or Fellowship? Living at peace with others is key to developing UNITY, but there’s much more involved in developing Biblical UNITY.

To illustrate the problem, answer this question; If two math professors are kind to one another, yet one teaches 2+2=8,346, do they have Mathematical Unity? Certainly not. While they may be agreeable, they do not agree on the facts, therefore they are not in UNITY. They have Fraternity, but not UNITY.

This illustration brings us to the very FIRST condition needed in developing Biblical Unity. An UNDERSTANDING of the Will of the Lord is essential to establishing Biblical Unity.

whereby, when ye read, ye can perceive my understanding in the mystery of Christ; [Eph 3:4]

For this people’s heart is waxed gross, And their ears are dull of hearing, And their eyes they have closed; Lest, haply they should perceive with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And should turn again, And I should heal them.” [Acts 28:27]

Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.” [1Tim 1:7]

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” [Eph 5:17]

Without agreement on the doctrine of Christ, how can two walk together? [Amos 3:3]

Next, we can never achieve UNITY if we fail to be NICE in our words & deeds. “Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,” [1Cor 13:4]

Next, without personal INTEGRITY there can be no UNITY. Integrity is defined as; adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. We may speak about UNITY all we want, but without INTEGRITY no one will believe us. That’s hypocrisy. “If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:” [1John 1:6]

Biblical Unity must also include TENACITY for the Truth without wavering. It should go without saying that UNITY is based on the TRUTH of God’s word. [John 17:17] “that we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error;” [Eph 4:14]

Lastly, since we’re not perfect and we’re all in a state of growing and maturing, we may not yet know what we ought to know. People coming together with varying levels of maturity can achieve UNITY if we all have a YEARNING to do the Will of the Lord. With this Yearning, we can still have UNITY because we all want to learn and do the will of the Lord. This is the best understanding of “Unity of the Faith” in Eph 4:13. It doesn’t mean that we all have the exact same understanding. What it means is that we all have access to the same information, God’s word and our desire, YEARNING, to know the Word.

Putting away therefore all wickedness, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, long for the spiritual milk which is without guile, that ye may grow thereby unto salvation;” [1Peter 2:1-2]

With these 5 elements we can develop Biblical Unity.

U- Understanding the will of the Lord.

N- Nice words & Deeds

I- Integrity

T- Tenacity, consistency

Y- Yearning to know the will of the Lord

–Spencer

What Would You Do?

Watch What Would You Do? TV Show - ABC.com

“And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” [Gen 2:8]

There’s a TV program called, “What Would you Do?” The premise is to create scenarios in public and film the reactions of innocent bystanders.

What if we took the same concept except, we used events from the Scriptures?

What Would You Do if…

You were in the Garden?

You were called to build an ark?

You were told to marry a harlot?

You were told to sacrifice a son?

You met Jesus by a well?

You were Peter by that fire?

You were standing by Stephen?

These are just a few of the People and events we will explore in this & future articles.

What would you do

If you were in the GARDEN in Eden?

GOD had placed man in the Garden and was told to dress it and to keep it. [Gen 2:8] Having access to all the good fruit that God had made, What Would You Do? Would you view the work as being good, or would you view work as a necessary evil?

Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” [Eph 4:28]

Adam was ALONE in the Garden. What Would You Do if you were alone? How would you feel if after a search of all of creation that not a creature was found suitable for you? What Would You Do if no one was watching? Would you continue to be faithful? Would you slack up on your work?

Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching:” [Luke 12:37]

What Would You Do if you were RESTRICTED from just one tree? You’re given everything else, but one tree, the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. [Gen 16-17]. Just two commands, one positive (do) and one negative (do not). What Would You Do? Would you be angry saying, ‘I don’t like being told what to do?’ You have freewill. Why can’t you do what you want? What Would You Do, realizing the penalty for disobedience?

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” [Ecc 12:13]

What Would You Do if the DEVIL appeared to you in the form of a Serpent? [Gen 3:1-5] What Would You Do if someone misquotes God’s command? Would you put up with it?

[2Cor 11:1-4] Would you know that the original command had been changed? An addition was made.

But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” [Gen 2:17]

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.” [Gen 3:3]

You’ve EATEN the forbidden fruit, now What Would You Do? Will you hide from God? How would you do that exactly? Where would you go, What Would You Do? Would your conscience try to excuse you or accuse you? Would you consider it sin, or would you call it a little thing?

Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” [1John 3:4]

The last question is more troubling. What Would You Do if were NOT allowed to remain in paradise? Would you cry out that it’s not fair? Would you put together a list of all the good things you’ve done trying to ignore or overlook your iniquity? Would you blame everyone else as they did?

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?”

[Mat 7:22]

What Would You Do?

God’s LOOK

God LOOKS at the Heart

God’s LOOK

“Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Jehovah seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but Jehovah looketh on the heart.

[1Sam 16:7]

What a comforting verse, or troubling, depending on what’s going on in our hearts. Whether we like the scrutiny or not, the looking continues.

This passage demonstrates two divine truths:

  • God Looks upon the heart. [cr. Prov 15:11]
  • Man looks upon the outer appearance. [cr. Mat 7:1-2]

There are two looking at man, but did you know there’s a third?

Who’s Looking at whom? Being aware that someone’s watching gives us an advantage. We can and should make adjustments to our lives.

The DIVINE look.

We think of God as LOOKING down from above. “And the LORD came down to see…” [Gen 11:15] And in another passage; “I will go down now, and see…” [Gen 18:21].

Man is willing to overlook or hide sin when it favors him, but God looks down and sees. “For mine eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hid from my face, neither is their iniquity concealed from mine eyes.” [Jer 16:17] He has, “set our iniquities before thee, Our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.” [Psalm 90:8] In looking down, Divinity takes account of these three main things:

God sees our state of mind, or attitude, when rendering service. “For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not.” [2Cor 8:12] “Let each man do according as he hath purposed in his heart: not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” [2Cor 9:7] God doesn’t accept our obedience if the heart is not connected.

God sees and takes into account our capacity of output. What are we able to do? “…to each according to his several ability;” [Matt 25:15] The problem for the one talent man wasn’t his one talent. It was his failure to USE his talent. The first two received the same reward; “Well done, good and faithful servant:” [25:21,23] Neither did more than the other for each were doing according to their ability. It is not the amount of work done that gets the attention & approval of our Lord. What matters is whether we are reaching our capacity for output in service to the Lord. We will be LOOKED upon based on our individual ability as well as our attitude.

The third thing God sees is not how much we give, but how much we have left after giving. Don’t mistake this statement as being just about money. It includes our TIME and other RESOURCES. We remember that the widow gave all that she had. [Luke 21:3]. The Macedonians were poor, but it wasn’t the money they gave that got God’s attention, “But first they gave their own selves to the Lord, and to us through the will of God.” [2Cor 8:5] God sees whether we are trusting in Him or in ourselves. [cr. 1Tim 6:10-17; Matt 6:19-21] “for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also.”

The SATANIC look.

“And Jehovah said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” [Job 1:7] What was Satan looking for? Satan looks OVER the earth for the purpose of seeing where he can hinder our Christian work. “…and Satan standing at his right hand to be his adversary.” [Zec 3:1]

Paul said, “we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.” [1Thess 1:18] Satan’s power is limited, but his teaching and his human followers are certainly hindering the Gospel. [cr 2Cor 11:13-15] Peter also warns, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:” [1Peter 5:8] Satan hinders the spreading of the gospel, which is able to save men’s souls, through false teachers. Satan looks OVER to hinder.

The HUMAN look.

God LOOKS DOWN, Satan is looking OVER, and man is to look into his OWN self. If man looks unjustly at another he is looking with the eyes of Satan. The bible clearly teaches that we humans are to look at our OWN heart. “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” [Matt 7:3] The Lord is emphasizing that we must look into our hearts by looking in His word.

The Lord wants us to look at our OWN selves during worship. “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” [1Cor 11:28] While we eat, we may find ourselves looking at another, impugning their hearts, while we are to be looking at our own heart. This is an outward examination, when our Lord says it should be inward.

“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?” [2Cor 13:5] An inward look is essential for our lives. David said, “I thought on my ways, And turned my feet unto thy testimonies.” [Psalm 119:59] God LOOKS down, Satan looks OVER to hinder and humans are to look at our OWN heart. One more thing; Our eyes should be KEEPING watch; “Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.” [Matt 24:42]

2021 Easy Bible Reading Plan

No photo description available.

How to EAT an Elephant?

One Bite at a Time.

The answer to this question is one way of talking about beginning & finishing an enormous task. Another illustration… “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

I’m inviting you on a journey with me in 2021. A journey through the scriptures. Admittedly, it appears at first as a daunting task. Some have said, “where do I even begin?”

I can empathize, the Bible is…

66 Books, with 1,189 chapters.

There are

929 chapters in the Old Testament.

260 chapters in the New Testament

Where do we begin?

How do we stay motivated?

What does it mean to me?

The answer to these questions is the same answer to the question; “How do you EAT an Elephant?” One bite at a time.

Jesus said, “I Am the Bread of Life.” This discourse about Himself, He is not referencing the Lord’s Supper. Rather, He is encouraging followers to learn everything we can about Him. This is done through reading His word. [John 6:22-68]

Following is a 3-step overview of how to EAT an Elephant, then a Bible Reading Plan for 2021;

3 Steps for how to…

EAT an elephant?

The first thing is to break it into

EASY to manage, smaller bites. (A Bible Reading Plan)

Just as we have regular eating times, we should set an

APPOINTED time to bite, chew & digest. Nothing ever gets done until it is scheduled. (Set an Appointment with yourself)

The hardest part has been in taking the first bite, now just

TAKE another bite. Then rest a bit. Chew on what you’ve read.

Psalm 1 says; “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” (emp mine seb)

The Hebrew word for meditate literally means to chew the cud. It is an agrarian term used for us to compare how cows digest their food & how we can study God’s word. Cows sit and ‘chew the cud’ so as to squeeze out as much nutrition from their food as is possible. So, take small manageable bites. Meditate upon what you’ve read. Then TAKE another bite.

Here is an easy Bible Reading Plan for 2021. Here are a few helpful tips.

  • Maintain your own pace, each according to their own ability.
  • If you miss a day, just read what is appointed for that day.
  • Read to understand not just to get through the material.

Pray for wisdom. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” [James 1:5]

The COMFORT of the scriptures

Romans 15:4 Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach  us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently  for God's promises to be fulfilled. |
…through COMFORT of the scriptures we might have hope.

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that through patience and through comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.[Romans 15:4]

Read that again; “…through the comfort of the scriptures we might have hope.” Did you catch it? Paul was referring to the Old Testament scriptures, and that those scriptures can give us comfort and hope.

I know many that find the Old Testament unpalatable, being too disgusting and violent. While it’s true that the OT is full of those things, the Holy Spirit has revealed that through them we may have COMFORT and HOPE.

The new year is upon us. Let’s renew our efforts to read for COMFORT and HOPE.  

7 ways we may find…

COMFORT and hope in the OT Scriptures.

The first thing we can notice is that CHRIST is in the Old Testament. “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Jesus taught of Himself to those on the road to Emmaus, and they said, “Was not our heart burning within us, while he spake to us in the way, while he opened to us the scriptures?” [John 5:39; Luke 24:13-27,32]

Paul wrote in two of his letters saying the scriptures were written for OUR Learning and OUR admonition upon whom the end of the age are come. We have a huge advantage in that we have the full revelation of Jesus Christ. [Rom 15:4; 1Cor 10:11]

In the letter to the Corinthians he wrote about those God brought out of Egypt, “Howbeit with MOST of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. We always learn by others example or experiences. The Old Testament scriptures reveal both good and negative examples. It is foolish to try to learn from just your own mistakes. You may never recover! [1Cor 10:1-13]

A major lesson the entire world needed from the very first day of man in the Garden until now is to learn the FEAR of the Lord. Every generation, every person must learn this. The Old Testament teaches this lesson over and over through the example of those that disobeyed God. “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; And to depart from evil is understanding.” Some dislike this idea of the FEAR of the Lord, but they misunderstand. If you’re in Christ through faithful baptism, you will have a reverential fear. But if not, you ought to have a terror type fear. “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.” [Job 28:28; 2Cor 5:11; cr Prov 1:7; Ecc 12:13; Mat 10:28]

Another lesson is that the OLD Covenant was hard, really hard. By reading Leviticus & Deuteronomy (reading through Romans & Hebrews also) we can see that the Law of Moses went well beyond the 10 Commandments. The Jewish traditions teach that there are about 613 commandments. But now we are under the Liberty of Christ. “A better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises.” We are no longer under the bondage of the OLD testament system that couldn’t remove sins, but left a reminder of sin year by year. “Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.” [Heb 8:6; Gal 2:4; 4:3, 9, 24, 25; 5:1]

The Law of Moses has been REMOVED & REPLACED by the Love and Blood of Christ on that cross. Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments. We now live under grace through the doctrine of Christ. [Col 2:12-14; Eph 2:15; 2John 1:9]

Finally, we can use both the Old and the New Testament scriptures to TEST the spirits. The Bereans were “more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of the mind, examining the Scriptures daily, whether these things were so.” Who’s teaching where they testing? It was the Apostle Paul’s delivered to him through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, AND THEY ARE CALLED MORE NOBLE! [Acts 17:11; Eph 3:3-4; cr. 1Thess 5:21; 1John 4:1-4; Deut 13:1-11; 18:20-22]

We need not abhor the OT scriptures for in them is COMFORT and HOPE.

What made the Wise Men WISE?

What made the Wise Men WISE?

FOLLOWING THE STAR…

We know not the date of His birth

We have no command to celebrate it.

We have no idea how many Wise men.

Mat 2:1-12 Wise men following the star

Following the star, what made these…

WISE men? Matt 2:1-12

What can we learn from these WISE men?

It’s WISE to

WORSHIP. Mat 2:11.

When Christ was born, all the angels of God worshipped Him. (Heb 1:6)

John 4:24 must, in spirit and in truth.

It’s WISE to

INVEST in Christ. Mat 2:11; 6:20

GIVE. Gold = King; Fran = Priest; Myrhh = Burial.

GOD has always required it.

Deut 14:22-29 (1st Tithe, Lev 27:30-33; 2nd & 3rd Tithe Deut 14:22-29

Abraham gave; [Heb 7:4].

Give of yourself first! 2Cor 8:5

INDIVIDUALLY, directly. Luke 10:33.

The judgment scene, Mat 25:31-46

VOLUNTARY. 2Cor 8:12, 9:7

EVEN a cup of water. Mr 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name,

It’s WISE to

SEEK Christ. What GUIDE to use?

Those with lessor wisdom seek the perishing things. Col 2:22-23 perish with using.

They had a divine GUIDE, the star.

Mat 6:33 seek ye first. Col 2:1-2 seek, set…

Emotionalism. Deceived, joy or hurt. Consider Jacob about Joseph. Gen 37:34; 45:26

A painful or joyful falsehood, if believed by us, will affect us in the same way.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

DIRT man wisdom.

Mars Hill Men’s IGNORANCE. Act 17:22,23

Man’s wisdom doesn’t know God. 1Cor 1:21

The wisdom from above is not within man. James 3:17; Jer 10:23. Judges 21:25

INSIDE your conscience? consider Paul.

Ac 26:9 I verily thought with myself, contrary

His conscience was perfectly clear. Act 23:1

A Conscience trained in the truth urges.

A conscience untrained cannot bear the truth.

Rom 2:15 conscience accusing or excusing

Weak (1Cor 8:12), Defiled (Titus 1:15), Seared (1Tim 4:2), Evil (Heb 10:22).

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

UNIVERSE, nature?

While the heavens declare (Rom 1:20; Psa 19:1)

Nature as a sole guide makes sun, river, moon, animal worshippers. EGYPT.

We can learn from nature… Prov 6:6

Nature alone doesn’t lead us to know God.

Wise men depend not on uncertain guides.

NOT… Emotion, Dirty man, Inside us, Universe…

The wise men followed a divinely created star, the only divine guide for today’s wise man is

GOD’S revealed, inspired word.

Ps 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Pr 6:23 For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:

John 8:33 The truth shall make you free. John 17:17

2John 1:9 abide not… hath not God.

Mat 7:21-23; Luke 6:46

It’s WISE to go the

ENTIRE way.

The wise of the east did not stop until they reached.

Far too many stop SHORT of reaching Jesus…

SCRIBE was close. Mar 12:34 Thou art not far from the kingdom of God.

HARD sayings stop some short. Joh 6:60-66

One w/ greater sin, Judas. Mat 26:14-17; John 19:11

RULER so young, lacked one thing. Mark 10:17-22

TURNING back once the hand is at the plow… Luke 9:62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

ENDURE unto the end.

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matthew 24:13

4 strategies on how to GIVE more.

4 strategies on how to…

GIVE more. Eph 4:28

To give more we can

GET rid of Debt, Get more income. Prov 23:7

Work some OT to have extra money to Give?

Sometimes folks need mentoring and some new

INFORMATION giving. Prov 9:9 give instruction…

It takes no money to

VOLUNTEER giving. Snack Pack, hold a flashlight, hold a hand. Mat 25:31-ff

Take a look at your current spending and

EVALUATE your budget. Expensed vs Extra

You can tell a lot about a person when you look at their monthly spending. I knew a man that spent most of his money on food delivery. It’s no wonder he was also a heavy man.

reverse the direction.

Run out of Money before you run out of month?

Put giving first and EXTRAS last.

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: SUMMARY:

give
We can have and enjoy things. 1Tim 6:10

God want us to give and to have. 2Cor 9:8 Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

Preaching JESUS in order

Preaching JESUS.

For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel.[1Cor 1:17]

Many will cite the above verse as proof that baptism is unnecessary for salvation. Does it really mean that? Not if you understand the context of the passage and the problem of sectarianism that existed in the church at Corinth.

Another point can be drawn out of this passage; preaching the gospel of Christ out of order. Because denominations reject baptism so vehemently, we often place baptism at the front of preaching of the Gospel.

It reminds me of a preacher trying to reach a denominational group. He said, “I think I’m only making them better Lutherans.”

We often preach against certain sins and unscriptural practices of denominationalism. (ie. instrumental music, social gospel, false worship etc.) While we are preaching the truth, there are preeminent truths.

Here’s an illustration of what I am saying. Before a child can run, they must first build strength to crawl, then stand, and then walk.

Another illustration is the building a house. We never begin to build with the roof! We begin with pouring a foundation, then the walls, and then the roof.

Much of our preaching emphasizes baptism without laying first the foundation of the Authority of Christ. We rightfully understand that the ‘steps’ of salvation are; Hear, then Believe, then Repent, then Confess, and then be Baptized. Once we become Christians we Grow and Endure. Unfortunately, we get caught up cramming faithfulness and baptism verses down the throats of those who haven’t truly yet believed in the Preeminence of Christ. [Col 1:18]

Jesus gave us the order when He gave what is commonly called “the Great Commission.” “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth. Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” [Matt 28:18-20]

An evangelist named Philip met up with a Eunuch where we read that he “preached unto him Jesus.” [Acts 8:35]. While nothing else is revealed about his preaching, we can necessarily infer that ‘preaching Jesus’ included submission to His authority.

How can we preach Jesus?

Philip…preached unto him…

JESUS, Acts 8:35; Matt 28:18-20 ‘Go ye…’

We begin with showing that

JESUS is the Christ, and He has all authority.

Mat 28:18 “All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.”

Hebrews 1; Mark 9:7 ‘Hear ye Him.’

Hearing is first, and hearing leads to Believing. [Rom 10:17; John 20:30-31]

Preaching Jesus must include the

EXAMPLE of His life leading to His Death, Burial, and Resurrection.  

This is the GOSPEL. 1Cor 15:1-4

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must

SUBMIT to His will,

Luke 6:46 And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say? [Mat 7:21-23; John 14:15; 15:14; 1John 5:3]

“And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” [Col 3:17]

This teaches us about Repentance from sins and Confessing Him.

Preaching Jesus must include teaching that we must go

UNDER the water to come in contact with His blood,

The Eunuch, upon hearing the preaching of Jesus, concluded baptism was necessary for Salvation. [Acts 8:35-38]

Matt 26:28; Rom 6:3-4

Only after laying the foundation of Hearing, Believing, Repenting, Confessing, will we have laid the foundation for scriptural Baptism. Mat 28:19

With a foundation in the Authority of Jesus, they’ll also believe they’re

SAVED if they Grow and Endure until the end.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” 2Peter 3:18

“But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.” Matt 24:13

Matt 28:20; Rev 2:10

Spencer