Wednesday, April 23, 2014

EVERYONE WILL DIE

When you believe that ALL Scripture is inspired by God, you automatically know that it is ALL true.  And if ALL Scripture is true, whenever there appears to be a contradiction, it is due to my failure to understand what the Word of God is actually saying.  When this happens, it is my responsibility to study the "contradictory passages," and try to reconcile them.  Because I am incapable of understanding ALL that God has revealed in His Word, I am humbled by my human limitations, and I must simply "file" the topics in a "drawer" labeled "I'll understand it all, by-and-by!"  For the really spiritual, and truly brilliant children of God, their "drawer" is relatively small; for me, my "drawer" is the size of the Grand Canyon! 

Every once in a while, the Lord reveals something to me that enables me to remove an item from my "drawer," praise God!  Yesterday, a friend and I were discussing the change that takes place when the Rapture occurs.  During the conversation, we discussed the apparent contradiction of there being a Rapture in which believers, living at that time, would escape death, and yet, there is Scripture which indicates that ALL men die.  Romans 5:12 states, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon ALL men, for that ALL have sinned."  Hebrews 9:27 says, "And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment."  In weeks past, we had already reconciled fact that although Enoch and Elijah had not died (Gen.5:24; 2 Kg. 2:11), we believe it is they who will be the two witnesses who die during the Tribulation (Rev. 11:7).  But, how is it possible to reconcile the Rapture with Hebrews 9:27?

We came to the conclusion that those being "raptured," would actually die and be resurrected, ALL in "a moment, in a twinkling of an eye" (1 Cor. 15:52)!  Looking at the context of this verse, we see that the "dead in Christ" are resurrected first, and then, the same change that happens to them, happens to us:

"Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory'" (1 Cor. 15:50-54).

 
We will be transformed from life to death to life instantaneously!







Tuesday, April 22, 2014

LAODICEA: THE CHURCH TODAY!

"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.  For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away!" (2 Tim. 3:1-5).

"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables." (2 Tim. 4:1-4).

"Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, 'Where is the promise of His coming?  For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.'  For this they willingly are ignorant...." (2 Pet. 3:3-5).

"For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them.  For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  because that, when they knew God, they glorified Him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.  Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things." (Rom. 1:16-23).

 
Apostasy:  the sign of Christ's soon return! 

Monday, April 21, 2014

CHURCH GROWTH IS NOT ALWAYS A GOOD THING!

In Luke 24:13-53, Luke records the testimony of two of the Lord's disillusioned disciples, who, following the reports of Christ's Resurrection, could not accept the fact that Jesus was alive.  The women had testified to what the angels had told them, and they did not believe (Lk. 24:22-23).  Peter and John had testified that the grave was empty, and still, they did not believe (Lk. 24:24).  Then it happened!  They met the risen Savior on their way home!

Luke states that, at first, they were blind to the fact that it was Jesus who joined them (Lk. 24:16).  But following His teaching them, using the Old Testament (The Law, The Prophets, and The Writings - Lk. 24:26-27), that their Messiah had to suffer death, He opened their eyes so that they could recognize Him (Lk. 24:31).  He immediately disappeared, and they hurried back to Jerusalem to tell the rest of the disciples of their encounter with the risen Lord (Lk. 24:31-35).  While they were testifying, Jesus appeared in their midst, and still, they could not comprehend it all; they were afraid (Lk. 24:37).  Jesus reassured them it was He (Lk. 24:38-43). 

Jesus opened their understanding (Lk. 24:45)!  He reminded them that He had told them before He was crucified, that it was going to happen (Mt. 20:17-19; Mk. 10:32-34; Lk. 18:31-34; etc.).  And again, Jesus taught from the Old Testament, those things which were written of His death, burial, and Resurrection.  I am quite certain the passages He showed them included Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53!

Here we are, approximately 2000 years later, and Christianity is the world's largest religion.  About two in seven people on this planet of seven billions souls, claims to be Christians.  What began with twelve, has grown into a "massive tree" with its "branches" being hundreds of denominations.  That sounds wonderful until one reads, with understanding, the parables of the Church Age, found in Matthew Thirteen!  There, we find, the Lord taught that His Church would be infiltrated by the enemy:  tares (Mt. 13:24-30); birds (Mt. 13:31-32); leaven, that is, false doctrine (Mt. 13:33 c. Mt. 16:6, 11-12); a field of mostly dirt (Mt. 13:44); and bad fish (Mt. 13:47-48)!  Yes, the Church has grown in numbers, but many of its members are travelling down the "broad way," saying, "Lord, Lord..."; and are in for a horrible surprise! 
 
Mega-churches are known for watered-down doctrine and compromise of truth!
Many are filled with Laodiceans who do not hear Jesus knocking to get in!  

Sunday, April 20, 2014

BOY, DO I HAVE GOOD NEWS!

HE IS NOT HERE - HE IS RISEN!  (Mt. 28:6). 


"(Jesus) made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:  And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name:  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father!" (Phil. 2:7-11).


"He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.  But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God!" (Jn. 1:11-13).


"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!" (Rom. 10:9-10, 13).

Saturday, April 19, 2014

THE BREAD AND THE WINE

I am not certain when Jesus privately taught the Apostle Paul, but it is presumed by many scholars that it was during the three years from the time he was born again, until the time he conferred with the other Apostles (Gal. 1:15-18).   And, based upon his writings, Paul received instruction that the others did not.  Even proud Peter admitted Paul's writings were Scripture, and he also admitted that some of Paul's writings were difficult to understand (2 Pet. 3:15-16).  However, one passage in Paul's writings was clearly understood, for the "eleven" were present when the Lord instituted what was to become known as the "Lord's Supper" (1 Cor. 11:20).  Paul states that Jesus personally taught him:  

"For I have received of the Lord which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread:  and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, 'Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me.'  After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, 'This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me.'  For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come" (1 Cor. 11:23-26).

The occasion for the first "Lord's Supper," was, I believe, at least twenty-four hours before the time the Passover was to be killed (Jn. 13:1).  Since Jesus is declared to be the Passover Lamb (Jn. 1:29, 36; 1 Cor. 5:7; 1 Pet. 1:19), I believe He died exactly when the Passover lambs were to be slain (Ex. 12:1-28; Num. 9:1-5; 28:16-25; Lev. 23:4-5).  He was on the cross on the "day of preparation" for a special Sabbath (Jn. 19:14, 31).  That "special Sabbath," I believe, was the Passover.

There are two symbolic meanings of leaven in the New Testament:  there is the yeast used to make both bread and wine, always representing sin (Mt. 13:33; Lk. 13:21; 1 Cor. 5:6-8; Gal. 5:9), and there is the use of "leaven" as a metaphor for false teaching (Mt. 16:6, 11-12; Mk. 8:15; Lk. 12:1).  The "Lord's Supper" consisted of unleavened bread, and unfermented wine, because only they could represent Christ's sinless body (2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 9:28).  As for the false teachings of the Pharisees and the Sadducees, they rejected Jesus.  Basically, their view of Him was the exact opposite of the truth. 

The most important thing about believers partaking in the "Lord's Supper,"
is that in so doing, we remember what Jesus did at His First Coming,
and that there will be a Second Coming!  Praise God for both!  

Friday, April 18, 2014

WHERE IS JESUS? WHAT'S HE DOING?

HE IS IN HEAVEN
"Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me.  In My Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also" (Jn. 14:1-3).

"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following. Amen" (Mk. 16:19-20).

"And He led them out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them.  And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up into heaven.  And they worshipped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy:  and were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen" (Lk. 24:50-53).

"And when He had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their sight.  And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?  This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" (Acts. 1:9-11).
 
HE IS INTERCEDING FOR US
"Who is he that condemneth?  It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us" (Rom. 8:34).  Note:  see also Col. 3:1; Heb. 1:3; 7:25; 8:1; 9:24; 12:2; 1 Pet. 3:22.
 
HE IS WAITING FOR THE APPOINTED TIME
"But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.  For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.  Wherefore comfort one another with these words" (1 Th. 4:13-18).


THE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTION IS:
WILL HE BE COMING BACK FOR YOU?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

MAKING GOD PERSONAL

I noticed while studying the Book of Genesis in Sunday School, that the words, "my God," only appear one time in the entire book.  And on that occasion, it was Jacob acting like the vast majority of folks today.  He was making his relationship with Almighty God, conditional!  The text reads: 

"And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, 'If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so that I come again to my father's house in peace; then shall the LORD be my God'" (Gen. 28:20-21).

How many times have you heard of people saying something like, "If God will just heal my son, I will start going to church!"  Or, "If He will just keep me out of jail this time, I will never do that again!"  Heard less often, but often enough, is the "give me" prayer.  "If God will just let me win the lottery, I will donate a fourth to a local church!"  These folks have an "IF - THEN" relationship with the Creator of the Universe.  Sad!  They don't realize that God guarantees to always do what is the ultimate best for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28)!  We really don't even know how, or for what to pray; He even does that for us (Rom. 8:26-27)!

Fourteen times in Genesis, God is said to be the "God of" someone or something; but He is never claimed to be "my God" by a person himself.  He is the God of heaven and earth (24:3) of Abraham (26:24); of Isaac (31:5; 31:29; 46:1; 46:3); of Abraham and Isaac (28:13; 31:42); of Abraham and Nahor (31:53); of Bethel (31:13); and of Jacob (43:23; 49:24-25; 50:17).  God is first called the "God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob" in the Book of Exodus (Ex. 3:6).

Surprisingly, the first person to call God "my God," is Moses (Ex. 15:2).  Even more surprising, is the fact that the second person to call Him "my God," was Balaam (Num. 22:18)!  Joshua acknowledged God as "my God" (Josh. 9:23).  Ruth did (Ruth 1:16).  David did (2 Sam. 22:7).  Solomon did (1 Kg. 3:7).  Elijah did (1 Kg. 17:20). And so did Micaiah (2 Ch. 18:13); Ezra (Ezra 7:28); Nehemiah (Neh. 2:8); Isaiah (Isa. 7:13); Jeremiah (Jer. 31:18); Daniel (Dan. 6:22); Hosea (Hos. 9:8); Jonah (Jon. 2:6); Micah (Mic. 7:7); Habbakuk (Hab. 1:12); Zechariah (Zech. 11:4); and of course, Jesus (Mt. 27:46)!

But, even though many people in the Bible called God their own, the question I have for you is, is He your God?  Have you trusted in the God who sacrificed His Son so that you could be free from your sin debt, and so that by faith in Him, you could become a child of God Himself?  Jesus offered Himself as THE WAY to God!  Jesus' Resurrection will be celebrated in churches all over the world this coming Sunday; will you be there?  Is Jesus more than a Bible character to you?  Is He your LORD?  If not, give Him your life; allow Him to be your God - you will never regret it!