4 Wise Creatures Pt1/4 the ANTS

Wise Little Creatures pt1/4

ANTS

God uses nature to teach spiritual lessons. “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.” (Job 12:7).

In Proverbs 30 there are several lessons being taught using nature. This article and the next 3 will look at “four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.”

(Prov 30:24-28)

The first little creature in the text are the ANTS (25; cf. Prov 6:6-11).

The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;”

The ANTS are among 4 little creatures that are called exceedingly wise. What makes that so? Here are at least 4 lessons from the ANTS.

ANTS are ALL in ALL the time. Not only do they gather enough for their current needs, they also gather for the coming winter. “Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 6:8)

What are the lessons for us? There are two types of lessons, physical and spiritual. First the physical lesson; We ought to be working while we can and while we’re able more than our present needs. The scriptures point out a few physical needs. 1) Needs of others. “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; cf. Ac 20:35; 1Th 4:11) and 2) Needs of our family when we can no longer work, the winter of life. “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1Tim 5:8-16). The spiritual lesson is in the third point.

The second lesson from the ANTS is that they NEVER give up. If you try to block the way of a line of ants, they will climb over, go around, he’ll go under, or move whatever is blocking them. They NEVER quit. That’s a great lesson for us. “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,” (Eph 5:15). They press on, “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:14). They fight the good fight, they run and they strive for their purpose.

A third lesson from the ANTS is they THINK ahead in the summer. (I don’t know what an ant thinks, but the proverb tells us what they do) “…they prepare their meat in the summer;” “Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” (Prov 30:25; 6:8)

The spiritual application is what’s important. Man doesn’t live forever on the earth and must make arrangements for eternal life. We can’t be so naïve as to believe that summer lasts forever, neither does our physical life. The Hebrew writer wrote, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Heb 9:27). Paul wrote, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” (2Cor 5:10-11). The wisdom from the ANTS instructs us to be reconciled to God through obeying the gospel of Christ before it’s too late. (cf. Heb 5:9; 2Thess 1:8-9).

The fourth lesson from the ANTS is they START immediately. On the first warm day of spring, they’re out working. At the first opportunity, the ANTS go marching on to find their food. The proverb writers contrasts those that slumber too much with the diligent effort of the ANTS. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Prov 6:9). In the NT, sleep is a metaphor for those that are dead spiritually (1Cor 11:30) and for those that aren’t watching (1Th 5:6). “And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Rom 13:11).

You can easily tell which denominations believe that baptism is not necessary for salvation; THEY SCHEDULE BAPTISMS. That is completely opposite to what the scriptures teach. “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.” (Acts 16:33). The Eunuch, upon hearing about Jesus asked, “See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?” When your ‘pastor’ teaches about salvation, will his hearers have the same response as the Eunuch? The lesson of the ANTS is that they START immediately. When is the best time to obey the gospel? TODAY! “For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” (2Cor 6:2).

From the mouth of Babes

“When it’s thundering, that’s just God bowling.”

“When it’s lightening, that’s God taking pictures.”

“When it’s raining, that’s God crying.”

Perhaps many of us have heard these as children from our parents trying to comfort us. While their intentions were good, the doors were opened for more errors.

I remember hearing a little girl refer to spirits, witches, demons, devils & ghosts to explain sickness, troubles and strange events in her young life. She said, “that’s what my mom told me.”

And this mom is a church goer!!

This little person continued to describe other things she was taught from her parents. “The devil has horns, a red face and a long tale.” Truly sad.

You think that these lies will leave the heart of an imaginative child and not follow them into adulthood? Nay, Nay. An acquaintance of mine spoke about the loss of an adult son; “he had demons.” They weren’t speaking figuratively. Truly sad.

These lies continue to be taught through movies, songs, and YouTube videos. All of which our children are given unfettered and unsupervised access without giving them access to the truth, God’s word.

These stories illustrate a problem we have, people know more that isn’t so than they know about the comfort from the truth. They don’t know the truth, because they are too busy to read it.

A LITTLE MAID.

In second Kings, we hear of a little maid who offers comforting hope to the man that had stolen her from her home in Israel [2King 5:1-4]. What can we learn from a little girl, a little MAID?

The story begins with the description of a MIGHTY MAN of Valor that had stolen a little maid during a raid on Israel. He is not a friend; he is an enemy to the little maid. However, he had a problem, he was a leper.

Rather than withhold from her enemy the hope of a cure, she ADVISED her mistress, Naaman’s wife, who then told Naaman. Naaman believed and was willing to go to the land from which he stole, and went to the land for help! This all began because of the faith of a little maid. This speaks volumes about her more than it does of the others.

What was it about her that she was willing to tell of a cure to her enemy? Perhaps it was the teaching about love for an enemy… “Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.” [Lev 19:18; cf. Mat 22:35-39] This command is connected to Loving God Himself! When a person has love for their enemy, the desire for vengeance will evaporate. Love changes our actions toward another, even toward an enemy.

But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” [Luke 6:27-28]

What Advice did she give her captor?

IF ONLY my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” She told of a cure, not half-truths or falsehoods. She told of actual hope, not the mythological fairy tales we tell children to give them false hope. AND THEY BELIEVED HER.

We have to turn to hear Jesus to complete the story

And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.” [Luke 4:27] Did you catch it? She told them of a cure that She DID NOT HERSELF SEE!! She knew it because of her faith in God, her trust in the Almighty. She had more faith than the king of Israel [2King 5:7]. Jesus uses her example to illustrate Himself being rejected by his own people.

What’s the moral to the story? Children can learn the truth and be comforted by it during their time of need. They don’t need to be told myths. They can handle the truth. The truth will make them free from fear [John 8:32]. And not only that, they can grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ and share their faith with others in their time of need.

That You May Know

We have started a podcast site for those who prefer hearing a short message on the go.

It’s called, “THAT YOU MAY KNOW.”

Many of the podcast will be about 12 minutes long, divided into two 6 minute sections. (Except the first episode, which was the test run to learn how the website worked.)

The first half will be about a particular Bible text.

The second half will be applications drawn from the text.

Our aim is to provide an additional method for you to discover more of God’s word, THAT YOU MAY KNOW the truth and that the truth shall set you free.

Letter to a friend (3o3)

Dear Friend, (continued 3o3)

When the New Testament refers to churches it refers to local congregations of the same body, the same church (Romans 16:16; Revelation 1:11). There is only one church, one body of Christ (Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 1:22,2); Romans 12:5; 1Corinthians 12:12).

Denominations are not all part of “one universal church,” they are different churches. That is why we call them the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, the Church of God, etc. The word “churches” does not refer to denominations. The term church is never applied to a denomination in the New Testament. A denomination is too large to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is larger than the local congregation.

It is too small to be what is referred to as the church in the New Testament; it is smaller than the universal church. Therefore, the church of Christ in the New Testament, those who are saved, are not in a denomination.

What we are to do is to be part of the one true church; not the church of our choice, but the church of God’s choice. Religion is not merely a matter of good intentions, but a matter of obedience to the will of God (Matthew 7:21-29; Hebrews 5:9; 1Peter 1:22-25; 1Samuel 15:22; 1John 1:6,7; 5:3; 2John 1:9). We are not to be a part of the church we like the best, as though we are picking cars, but of that which is described in the New Testament.

Friend, the Apostle Paul in writing to the Corinthians, told them that they could not worship falsely and still belong to God.  Be you not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion has light with darkness?  and what concord has Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty (2 Corinthians 6:14-18). The Christian could not worship with the unbeliever and be doing that which was right. Although Paul was particularly addressing the problem of idol worship, the principle remains the same for any unbeliever, or group of unbelievers.

The apostle John said: We are of God: be that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error (1John 4:6). If a man, or group of men does not listen to the instruction of the inspired apostles as revealed in the New Testament, he or they are of the spirit of error, they are unbelievers. This includes the plan of redemption, the organization of the church, and the worship of the church. If it is different than the New Testament pattern, then they are of the spirit of error. Therefore, for one to be obedient to God, he must come out from among them and be separate; else he has separated himself from God.

Friend, I plead with you to be a part of the congregation of the saved, the church of Christ, by being born again in the waters of baptism. My prayer is for you to walk in the light of God sword.

With the greatest of affection, I pray that I may also remain…

Your Friend

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]

MIRACLES in Acts?

A problem with many denominations today is the belief that God still uses Holy Spirit gifts [9 HS Gifts, 1Cor 12:7-11] through men today. The belief includes thinking that God is still speaking directly to individuals. They say things like, “God spoke to me,” “I’ve been called by God.”

While God is all powerful and can do whatever He wants, He is not still revealing His will and is not using men to do miracles today. Remember this verse:

And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:30-31]

The miracles & the revelations to the Apostles recorded in Scripture are sufficient for us to believe, repent & obey [Eph 3:3-4]. The miracles in Acts will bolster this assertion.

The MiracleLocationVersePurpose & Result
Baptism of the Holy Spirit #1Jerusalem2:1-21to confirm the teaching at beginning of the church. John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Peter heals a lame manJerusalem3:1-11Teaching. 11-26; Belief John 20:30-31; Heb 2:3-4; Mark 16:17-20
Ananias & Sapphira struck deadJerusalem5:1-10Teaching at the beginning of the New Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3
Apostles perform many wondersJerusalem5:12-1620 “go stand & teach”
PhilipSamaria8:4-13 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching
Paul convertedRoad to Damascus9:1-9To call an Apostle out of due season. 1Cor 15:8
Peter heals Eneas of a palsyLydda9:33, 34Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Peter raises Tabitha, or Dorcas, to lifeJoppa9:36-41Belief. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Gentiles receive Holy Spirit Baptism #2 (& last)Caesarea10; Acts 11 & 15Confirming God’s acceptance; Acts 2
Peter delivered out of prison by an angelJerusalem12:7-17Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
God smites Herod, so that he diesJerusalem12:21-23Teaching at the beginning of the new Covenant. Cr. Lev 10:1-3. 24 word of God grew.
Elymas, the sorcerer, smitten with blindnessPaphos13:6-1112 astonished at the teaching. Belief Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals a cripple Lystra 14:8-1017 witness. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul casts out a spirit of divinationPhilippi16:16-18Confirming Preaching. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul and Silas’s prison doors opened by an earthquakePhilippi16:25-34Lead to converting the Jailor
Paul communicates the Holy SpiritEphesus19:1-6Confirming the word before it was written. John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals multitudesEphesus19:11,12Belief John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul restores Eutychus to lifeTroas20:9-12Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul shakes off a viperMalta28:3-6Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
Paul heals the father of Publius and othersMalta28:7-9Joh 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4

An honest review of the above list will show the student why the miracles were needed.

  • To Confirm the preachers and the teaching were from God.
    • John 20:30-31; Mark 16:17-20; Heb 2:3-4
  • For Belief, not for them alone, but for us in our times.
    • “But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.” [John 20:31]
    • Spiritual gifts were to edify in the absence of the written Word [1 Cor. 14:12-13,26; cf. 13:9]. The written Word is now completely sufficient to edify us [Acts 20:32; 2 Tim 3:16-17].
  • To produce Godly Reverence at the beginning of a covenant to demonstrate God’s displeasure. Not repeated for same error.
    • see Leviticus 10:1-3; Acts 5:1-10; Acts 12:21-23;

Spiritual gifts have fulfilled all three reasons for which they were given.

WHAT MORE SHOULD WE SEEK? When you review both the Old and New Testaments, considering the time frame of the writing, you’ll discover that the Miraculous is quite rare. Additionally, you’ll see that God is very patient and longsuffering [2Pet 3:15]. You don’t see God constantly striking people down. “Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” [1Cor 10:6]

God has completed His revelations to us, and He confirmed them through the various signs, miracles and wonders. As you read the last chapters of Acts, you’ll see fewer and fewer miracles. Even Paul, Timothy, Trophimus & Epaphroditus did not perform miracles on each other to cure their pains. [cr. 2Tim 4:20; 1Tim 5:23; 2Cor 12:7; Phil 2:25-27].

The Miracles in Acts show us how and why miracles were done. They were done primarily to confirm the Word that was spoken through the Apostles. These signs were referred to, NOT REPEATED, in Acts 15:7-12 to show the others God’s approval of their activities. Now that the Scriptures are complete and the church has been built, what further need do we need of Miracles?

“…thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

[2Tim 3:15; cf 16-17]

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?

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]