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)

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God

The MANIFOLD wisdom of God.

One thing that keeps us from talking to others about the Gospel of Christ is the fear someone will challenge us with something we don’t know how to answer. We are also afraid of steering anyone in the wrong direction, so we do nothing.

What if I told you that the vast majority of challenges you will encounter could be traced back to just a few simple principles? What if I told you that if you learned these handful of principles you could answer most OBJECTIONS to the gospel? How would that affect your confidence?

We need not study the teachings of denominations. If we study these few truths, we will be equipped.

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” [John 8:32] 

How would you like to learn just a few biblical truths and be able answer all these errors…?

COMMON ERRORS taught by denominations.

Saved by Faith only, Grace alone, Eph 2:8-9 only, There’s Nothing man can do to be saved, Baptism does not save, John 3:1-5 is physical birth, The Jailor was told to just believe, What if you’re in a desert without water, Infant Baptism, What if you’re on the way to be baptized and die, What’s in the water, It’s a good idea to be baptized but not necessary, The Bible Doesn’t say we can’t do ___, We have liberty to do whatever is not spoken against directly, We don’t have to be accurate with the word of God, You’re a Legalist, The End justifies the means, We draw people in with Bands, brews & burgers, varying Worship activities & practices, varying days of corporate worship, Tithing v giving, Rapture, TULIP (Total depravity, Unconditional election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, Perseverance of the saints), Racial Prejudice, Men & women roles, women preachers / pastors, Popes, Cardinals & Priests, “God spoke to me,” Predestination, “I’m too sinful to be saved,” Marriage Divorce & Remarriage, Marriage perversions, Holy Spirit gifts, Another Testament of Jesus Christ, Mormons, Speaking in tongues, “God called me,” Seeing visions & dreams, Premonitions, mediums etc, Hardening pharaoh’s heart, Why does God allow evil, God is not good because of evil & pain, God isn’t good if He doesn’t end evil, God is not good if He can’t stop the evil, God has a plan for you, Demon possession, Direct operation of the Holy Spirit, Instrumental music in worship, David used instruments, Sabbath keeping, Feast days of the Old Testament, the 10 commandments, “What about the Thief on the cross,” “John 3:16 is all I need,” It’s just love, Love not Legalism, “You hate people because you judge them,” “there are Many ways to Christ,” God’s Love is so big that He has Many drawers (one for every denomination), Denominationalism, division in Religion, “God called you to your church and He called me to my church, Many churches, There are many ways to Christ, “many ships headed to one destination,” Institutionalism, Herald of Truth, In Search of the Lord’s way, Missionary Societies, church sponsored institutions, the sponsoring church, clothing rooms, general benevolence, “Christians aren’t supposed to debate,” “Let’s agree to disagree,” Once Saved always saved, Emotionalism, Gnosticism, “you think you’re the only ones going to heaven,” “You’re closed minded,” and more.

Yes, you can. By thoroughly learning a few foundational biblical truths, you can answer all of the above errors.

8 Foundational Truths

  1. Everyone MUST obey the Gospel to be saved.

[2Thess 1:8-9; Heb 5:8-9]

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

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

  • God is NO RESPECTER of persons.

[Acts 10:34; James 2:1-12]

  • The INSPIRATION of the Holy Spirit is complete.

[John 20:30-31; Eph 3:3-4; 1Cor 13:8-13; 2Tim 3:15-17]

  • The FREE WILL of man is never infringed.

[Deut 30:19; Josh 24:15; Mat 15:14; Philemon]

  • The Old Testament Law has ended.

[Hebrews 7,8,9,10; Col 2:14]

  • LOVE does not mean the acceptance of sin or that repentance is not required of us.

[John 13:35; 14:15; 15:14; Luke 6:46; 1John 5:3; 1Cor 13]

  • 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]

These 8 truths, if learned well, will aid you in facing nearly all of the challenges you will face in your personal evangelism.

May God Bless you all.

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

What Would You Do?

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“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]

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.

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

Sixth of Seven Musts of Salvation; GROWTH

Spiritual Growth

The sixth of Seven Musts of Salvation: GROW in Grace & Knowledge…

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” [2Peter 3:18]

Everyone recognizes the need for growth. Mothers desire for their children to not only grow physically, but to grow emotionally and intellectually.

God is no different. He uses Parent-child phrases to demonstrate our relationship with Him…

He is our Father. Heb 12:9

Jesus is like a Mother Hen. Mat 23:37

He calls us Newborn babes. 1Peter 2:2

We’re His children. 1Peter 1:14 Let us examine a few verses where God is commanding and therefore expecting spiritual GROWTH.

#6, we must GROW: All quotations are from the ASV or KJV

  1. “For when by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of solid food.” Hebrews 5:12
  • “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
  • “…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; but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;” Ephesians 4:14-15
  • “Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2Timothy 2:22
  • “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” Mark 4:20
  • “Yea, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply virtue; and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness brotherly kindness; and in your brotherly kindness love.” 2Peter 1:5-7
  • “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and for ever. Amen.” 2Peter 3:18

No verse states we are to grow at the same pace as another. We grow, each according to our ability. [cr. Mat 15:15]

5 keys to spiritual…

GROWTH? 2Peter 3:18

We are to have GROWTH in

GRACE and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2Peter 3:18. It is to be cultivated. Grace is a gift from God to be received by us and utilized.

GROWTH requires

REFLECTION and examination to see if we are in the faith. 2Cor 13:5. “But let a man examine himself,” [1Cor 11:28]

GROWTH requires spiritual weeding by

OFFLOADING (put off) the old man of sin. “But now ye also put off all these…” [Colossians 3:8; cr. Heb 12.1; 1Pet 2:1; Eph 4:22; Jas 1:21]

GROWTH requires a

WEIGHT check. “the LORD weigheth the spirits.” [Prov 16:2; cr. Dan 5:27; 1Sam 2:3; Job 31:6] God weighs the thoughts and intents of the heart.

When GROWTH stalls, a Mother will often make a

TEMPERATURE check. God does also, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” [Rev 3:14-16; cr. Titus 2:14]

Finally, GROWTH requires a

HEALTHY diet of spiritual food. “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life:” [John 6:35, 48, 51]. “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” [1Peter 2:2; cr. Heb 5:12]

No two children grow at exactly the same rate. There are benchmarks to which the Great Physician will look to determine our GROWTH. As we mature, we ought to examine those benchmarks in ourselves so we may be will pleasing to our HEAVENLY FATHER. May God Bless you all. Spencer