The New Testament

“The New Testament is of full authority, and open to the understanding of simple men, as to the points that be most needful to salvation…He that keepeth meekness and charity [love] hath the true understanding and perfection of all Holy Writ,” for “Christ did not write his laws on tables, or on skins of animals, but in the hearts of men.”

John Wyclif (1320 -1384), the English reformer, headed a group that translated the Latin Bible into the English common language. (Addition mine)

From Church History in Plain Language — Bruce L. Shelley 

“…not having hope and without God in the world.”

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A few weeks ago I visited a local church to hear a friend share about suffering as a Christian. During the Q&A that followed, a middle aged woman asked how she was to cope with the sucides occurring in her family circle and among her acquaintances. There had been four in a short time, maybe less than a year.  The latest was a forty year old man who committted sucide only two weeks ago.  She had only recently come to Christ.

This discussion reminded me of Paul’s comments to the Ephesus Christians about their condition before they became Christians. He said

“…you were at that time separate from Christ…not having hope and without God in the world.” (Eph. 2:12 NASB)

This is one of the saddest statements in the whole human vocabulary when we  understand the implications.

“…without God in the world.”  (Eph. 2:12)

The world is satan’s kingdom. The night Jesus was betrayed by Judas, who satan had entered (John 13: 27), He told the disciples “The ruler of the world comes and he has nothing in me.” (John 14:30).  To be in satan’s kingdom without God on our side is a very dangerous place to be. We are satan’s slaves, on the way to destruction until we are born again.

“…not having hope…”. (Eph. 2:12)

 People who do not know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have no hope.  What a deep, dark abyss to find yourself in.  Add to that the demonic torment in the mind telling you that “you are hopeless, no one cares about you, you’ll never amount to anything, you can’t do anything right, look what you did!, God could never love someone like you”, and finally, “you may as well kill yourself and “escape” from this rejection and loneliness”. Then they find themselves in a Christ-less eternity.  Is it any wonder people are depressed and hopeless, taking their own lives?

“…you were at that time separate from Christ,…” (Eph. 2:12 NASB)

This also describes us before we came to Christ.  We were without a Messiah in an evil tyrant’s kingdom. We did not know the Deliverer.  No One to redeem us from the slave market of sin. Flying solo, deceived by the powers of darkness. Headed to eternal torment.  Thank you Father for saving us out of this horrible, hopeless situation!

Why don’t you and I be a witness today to someone who is  without a Messiah, without hope and without God in the world. Let the “rivers of living water” flow out of us today on to someone’s parched, hopeless life.  We can share the Messiah with them. He is the God of hope (Romans 15: 13).   Tell them God considers them so precious that He sent His only Son to die for their sins! Tell them He has a purpose for them existing and that He will conform them to the image of His Beloved Son. That He is preparing a place for them in Heaven and will come and get them one day. Hold forth “confident expectation of good” (biblical hope) to them if they will repent and believe in God’s Only Son.

Pray for the lost. Give someone a gospel tract or Gospel of John.  Take your authority as a child of the King and be His ambassador in the earth today and every day.

Be “…children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, holding forth the word of life…” (Phil. 2: 15-16 KJV)

Thank you for your time.

“…fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ…” (I Peter 1:13 NASB)

To Him who saved us by His grace and is able to keep us from stumbling, be all the glory before all time and now and forever!  Amen.

Carl

When Shall We Pray?

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Don’t pray when you feel like it. Have an appointment with the Lord and keep it. A man is powerful on his knees.”

— Corrie Ten Boom (15 April 1892 – 15 April 1983, Dutch watchmaker and Christian who, along with her father and other family members, helped many Jews escape the Nazi Holocaust during World War II).

Berean Call

Do You Have Rats In Your Cellar?

“C.S. Lewis takes a lesson from the same observation: “If  there are rats in a cellar you are most likely to see them if you go in very suddenly. But the suddenness does not create the rats: it only prevents them from hiding. In the same way the suddenness of the provocation does not make me an ill-tempered man; it only shows me what an ill-tempered man I am. The rats are always there in the cellar, but if you go in shouting and noisily they will have taken cover before you switch on the light.”

“In other words, my behavior, when caught off guard, is the best evidence of the sort of person I am.  That being the case, I should never excuse my bad behavior simply because I’m suddenly prodded or provoked. What I am under unexpected pressure is what I am. There’s no way around it.”

Teach Us To Number Our Days —-David Roper

Holy and Blameless: Part 4

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(Note: For parts one through three, please scroll to bottom of this post or use search bar.)

“…yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach —” (Col. 1:22 emphasis mine)

In this scripture the Apostle Paul is telling us that the Lord Jesus has reconciled us SO THAT He may present us before Himself in a state of being holy and  blameless and beyond reproach.  Notice it is “before Himself” at this point but I Thess. 3:13 tells us: “…so that He may establish your hearts unblamable in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints.”  Ultimately you will be presented to God the Father as one who is holy, blameless and beyond reproach.

Let’s break this scripture down and discuss what these descriptive characteristics mean.

“Holy” comes from a Greek word used to designate a building, person or something else that was dedicated to the service and worship of one of their pagan gods.  It is the same Greek word translated “saint” that Paul calls the born again believers.  The word speaks of separation. In our case it is separation from evil and separation to the service and worship of the Lord Jesus and God the Father.  Colossians 1: 13 says the Holy Spirit

“… delivered us out of the tyrannical rule of the darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of the Son of His Love, in whom we have our liberation, procured by the payment of ransom, the putting away of our sins; ” (Wuest)

In Galatians 1:4 Paul said:

“…the Lord Jesus Christ who gave Himself in behalf of our sins so that He might rescue us out from the present pernicious age…” (Wuest)

These two scriptures witness to the fact that our faith in the Lord Jesus has brought about a separation from evil and separation to good in our new life.   So positionally we are holy or separated unto Christ.

It is the believers responsibility, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to make this positional truth experientially true in his new life in-Christ.  We need to make it a reality in our character. Paul put it this way after telling us  what Almighty God said about dwelling in us in II Corinthians 6: 16-18:

“Having therefore these promises, beloved ones, let us cleanse ourselves from all contamination which may defile the flesh [the human body] and the [human] spirit,  progressively accomplishing holiness in the fear of the Lord.” (II Cor. 7:1 Wuest)

Notice that Paul is saying “let us cleanse ourselves“. This is the responsibility of the believer with the help of the Holy Spirit. We are to be “perfecting holiness” in the reverential awe of the Lord. Perfecting that separation from evil in our lives.

In Romans 12: 1-2 Paul says the same thing in more detail.  Notice Paul’s urgency in what he writes:

“I therefore beg of you, please, brethren, through the instrumentality of the aforementioned mercies of God, by a once-for-all presentation to place your bodies at the disposal of God, a sacrifice, a living one, a holy one, well-pleasing, your rational, sacred service, [rational, in that this service is performed by the exercise of the mind]. And stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner being but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner being, by the renewing of your mind, resulting in your putting to the test what is the will of God, the good and well-pleasing and complete will, and having found that it meets specifications, place your approval upon it.” (Wuest)

The inner being is the positional you, the real you, who you are by the new birth and the “change your outward expression” is an exhortation to make the positional a reality in your experience.  He is saying don’t cover up the new person you are in Christ with the evil characteristics of this pernicious age or world.

Therefore, in conclusion, we are exhorted to be experientially holy, separated from evil.  Sin is evil. Remember “evil” is what God says is “evil”, not what we may think “evil” is.  That is why we need to read our Bibles to learn what He says is evil.  It is that simple.

Also Peter says “Therefore, beloved, since you look for these things, be diligent to be found by Him, in peace, spotless, and blameless.” (II Peter 3: 14). “Spotless” refers to being undefiled by sin or being holy, being free from censure, irreproachable. Notice Peter says we need to “be diligent” about this. This speaks of intense effort.  This characteristic of holiness will not just happen in our lives, we must supply serious effort in our working with the Holy Spirit in sanctification.  And He will bring it to pass!!

Due to travel, we will look at the words “blameless” and “reproach” next weekend. Thank you for your time.  I pray the eyes of your heart were illuminated. Now:

“…carry to its ultimate conclusion [likeness to the Lord Jesus] your own salvation with a wholesome, serious caution and trembling, for God is the One who is constantly putting forth His energy in you, both in the form of your being desirous of and of your doing His good pleasure.”  (Phil 2: 12-13 Wuest)

May you be carrying your salvation to its ultimate conclusion!  God bless you.

Carl