Living Brotherly Love

“Let brotherly love continue.
Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.  Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.  Let your way of life be without covetousness; and be content with such things as you have: for He has said, ‘I will never leave you, nor forsake you.’  So that we may boldly say, ‘The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.’
Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their way of life.
Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
Be not carried about with different and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied with them.”  Hebrews 13:1-9

REFERENCES: Genesis 18:3; 28:15; Matthew 25:36; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5; Revelation 22:14; Joshua 1:5; Romans 14:17; Colossians 2:4

The Mediator’s Own Blood

“Then verily the first covenant had also ordinances of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary. For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the shewbread; which is called the sanctuary.  And after the second veil, the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of all; which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant; and over it the cherubims of glory shadowing the mercyseat; of which we cannot now speak particularly.
Now when these things were thus ordained, the priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the service; but into the second the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and the errors of the people: the Holy Spirit this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;  only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed until the time of reformation.
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; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?  And for this cause He is the Mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.  For where a testament is, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator.  For a testament is of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of no strength at all while the testator lives.
Whereupon neither the first testament was dedicated without blood.  For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, ‘This is the blood of the testament which God has given unto you.’  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission; therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.  For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us: nor yet that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must He often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world has He appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.  And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Hebrews 9:1-28

REFERENCES: 3:1; 5:3; 6:19; 8:5; 9:7; Exodus 16:33; 24:5, 8; 25:8, 18; 26:31; 29:12; 30:10; Leviticus 14:4; 16:2; Numbers 28:3; Daniel 9:24; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:14; Romans 3:25; 1 Timothy 2:5; Galations 3:15; Genesis 3:19; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Matthew 26:28; Titus 2:13; 1 Peter 2:24

Jesus – The Anchor of the Soul

“Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.  And this will we do, if God permit.  For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.  For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes often upon it, and brings forth herbs fit for them by whom it is dressed, receives blessing from God: but that which bears thorns and briers rejected, and nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.  But, beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation, though we thus speak.  For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister.  And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: that you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
For when God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘Surely blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply you.’  And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.  For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.  Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath: that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil; where the Forerunner is for us entered, Jesus, made an High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.”  Hebrews 6:1-20

REFERENCES: 2:5; 3:1; 10:29; Acts 8:14; 18:21; Psalm 65:10; Leviticus 16:15; Genesis 14:17-24; John 14:1-6

Captain of Our Salvation

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.  For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard; God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?
For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak.  But one in a certain place testified, saying,
‘What is man, that you are mindful of him, or the son of man, that You visited him? You made him a little lower than the angels; You crowned him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the works of Your hands: You have put all things in subjection under his feet.’
For in that He put all in subjection under him, he left nothing not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.  But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  For it became Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.  For both He that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying,

‘I will declare your name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto you.’

And again,

‘I will put my trust in Him.’

And again,

‘Behold I and the children which God has given Me.’

Since then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same; that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; and deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.  For verily He took not on angels; but He took on the seed of Abraham.  Wherefore in all things it behoved Him to be made like unto brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.  For in that He Himself has suffered being tempted, He is able to rescue them that are tempted.”  Hebrews 2:1-18

REFERENCES: Numbers 15:30; Matthew 4:17; 28:10, 18; Luke 1:2, 74; Mark 16:20; Psalm 22:22; John 1:14; 1 Corinthians 15:54

For Christ’s Sake, Do Your Brother Well

“Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellow laborer, and to beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, hearing of your love and faith, which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all saints; that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.  For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the bowels of the saints are refreshed by you, brother.
Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin you that which is convenient, yet for love’s sake I rather beseech, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ.  I beseech you for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: which in time past was to you unprofitable, but now profitable to you and to me: whom I have sent again: you therefore receive him, that is, mine own bowels: whom I would have retained with me, that in your stead he might have ministered unto me in the bonds of the gospel: but without your mind would I do nothing; that your benefit should not be as it were of necessity, but willingly.  For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that you should receive him for ever; not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto you, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?
If you count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself.  If he has wronged you, or owes anything, put that on my account; I Paul have written with mine own hand, I will repay, because I do not say to you, how you owe unto me even your own self besides.  Yea, brother, let me have joy of you in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord.  Having confidence in your obedience I wrote unto you, knowing that you will also do more than I say. But immediately prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you.
There, you salute Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellow laborers.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Philemon 1:1-25

REFERENCES: Ephesians 1:2; 3:1; 2 Corinthians 7:13; 9:7; 1 Corinthians 4:15; 16:17; Colossians 4:9; Genesis 45:5

Teaching a Young Pastor

“But you speak the things which become sound doctrine: that the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience.  The aged women likewise, that they be in behavior as becomes holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things; that they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, discretion, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.  Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded.
In all things showing yourself a pattern of good works: in doctrine uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.  Servants to be obedient unto their own masters, to please well in all; not answering again; not stealing, but showing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.
These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise you.”  Titus 2:1-15

REFERENCES: 1 Timothy 2:9; 4:12; 1 Peter 3:3; 5:3; Ephesians 5:24; 6:24; Nehemiah 5:9; Matthew 5:16; Luke 3:6; Romans 5:15; Acts 24:15; 2 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 9:28

Power, Love, and a Sound Mind

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, dearly beloved son: Grace, mercy, peace, from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience, that without ceasing I have remembrance of you in my prayers night and day; greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy; when I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois, and your mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in you also.
Wherefore I put you in remembrance that you stir up the gift of God, which is in you by the putting on of my hands.  For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
You, be not therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but you be partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,  but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: whereunto I am appointed a preacher, and an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles.
For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.  Hold fast the form of sound words, which you have heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
That good thing which was committed unto you keep by the Holy Ghost which dwells in us.  This you know, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: but, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me.  The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, you know very well.”  2 Timothy 1:1-18

REFERENCES: 2 Corinthians 1:1; Titus 1:2; 1 Timothy 1:2, 10; Acts 9:15; 16:1; 19:10; 22:3; Galatians 1:14; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:7; 5:19; Romans 1:16; 2:20; 3:20; 16:26; 1 Peter 1:20; Matthew 5:7; 25:34; Ephesians 6:20

Reminding the Brethren

“Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of demons; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God has created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.
If you put the brethren in remembrance of these things, you shall be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, which you have attained.  But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise yourself unto godliness.  For bodily exercise profits little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.  This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.
For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe.  These things command and teach.  Let no man despise your youth; but you be an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.  Neglect not the gift that is in you, which was given you by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.  Meditate upon these things; give yourself wholly to them; that your profiting may appear to all.  Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.” 1 Timothy 4:1-16  (KJB)

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 3:1-5, 14; Daniel 11:35; John 16:13; Matthew 7:15; Romans 14:14, 20; 1 Corinthians 4:11; 8:8; 10:25; Ephesians 4:19; 5:23; Psalm 26:6; Acts 6:6

Purposes for Staying Put

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, our hope; unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.
As I begged you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith.
Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned: from which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.  But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, for whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has enabled me, for that He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry; who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.  And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.  This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief; but for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
This charge I commit unto you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on you, that you by them might war a good warfare; holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”  1 Timothy 1:1-20

REFERENCES: Acts 3:17; 9:15; 13:39, 45; 16:1; 20:1; Colossians 1:27; 1 Peter 1:2; Galatians 1:6; 3:13; 5:14; Romans 13:8; 1 Corinthians 9:17; 7:25; Luke 23:34; 1 Chronicles 29:11; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 2:2

The Name of the Lord Jesus Christ Be Glorified in You

“Paul, and Silvanus, and Timothy, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is right, because that your faith grows exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other abounds; so that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure: a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer: seeing a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power; when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of goodness, and the work of faith with power: that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Thessalonians 1:1-12

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:3; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; 4:16; Revelation 6:10; 14:13; Psalm 68:35; 79:6; Deuteronomy 33:2; 2 Peter 3:7; 1 Peter 1:7

You Are Not In Darkness

“But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you.  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.  For when they shall say, ‘Peace and safety;’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.  But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.  Therefore let us not sleep, as others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.  For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.  Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.  And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves.
Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feeble minded, support the weak, be patient toward all.  See that none render evil for evil unto any, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all.
Rejoice evermore.
Pray without ceasing.
In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Quench not the Spirit.
Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Abstain from all appearance of evil.
And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He that calls you, who also will do.
Brethren, pray for us.  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss.
I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

REFERENCES: Matthew 24:3, 43; Acts 1:7; Isaiah 13:6; 59:17; Hosea 13:13; Romans 9:22; 13:12; 14:8; 16:16; Luke 21:34; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 2:11; 16:18; Leviticus 19:18; 2 Corinthians 6:10; Ephesians 5:20; Colossians 4:3, 16

Stedfastly Set Your Hearts Unblameable

“Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; and sent Timothy, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith: that no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.  For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know.  For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labor be in vain.
But now when Timothy came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that you have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also you: therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith: for now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord.  For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect that which is lacking in your faith?
Now God Himself and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way unto you.  And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all even as we toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”  1 Thessalonians 3:1-13

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 7:5; Acts 17:15; 18:1; 26:7; Philippians 4:1; 2 Corinthians 13:9; Zechariah 14:5

He Is Before All Things

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that you might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness; giving thanks unto the Father, which has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated into the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him: and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist.
And He is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all He might have the preeminence.”  Colossians 1:9-18

REFERENCES: Romans 12:2; Acts 5:41; 26:18, 23; Ephesians 1:7; 6:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Revelation 1:5; 3:14; John 1:1

Our Lives are About God, Jesus Christ, Heaven

“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an example.  (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, ‘The enemies of the cross of Christ: whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and glory in their shame, who mind earthly things.’)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself.” Philippians 3:17-21

REFERENCES: Galatians 1:7; Hosea 4:7; 2 Corinthians 11:12; 1 John 3:1-3

Getting Equipped for the Battle

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, with which you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But that you also may know my affairs, how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that you might know our affairs, and he might comfort your hearts.  Peace to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  Grace with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.” Ephesians 6:10-24

REFERENCES: Isaiah 11:5; 54:17; 59:19; Luke 22:53; 2 Corinthians 10:3-6; 1 John 5:4; Matthew 26:41; Philippians 1:4

O, The Blessings We Have in Jesus Christ

“Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly in Christ: according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved.  In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace; wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself: that in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; in Him: in whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel of His own will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.  In whom you also, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.
Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him: the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set at His own right hand in the heavenlies, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and has put all under His feet, and gave Him the head over all to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.  Ephesians 1:1-23

REFERENCES: Romans 1:7; Galatians 1:3; Exodus 33:19; Matthew 3:17; 1 Peter 1:18; Acts 20:28; Colossians 1:26; 1 Corinthians 3:22; Isaiah 46:10; James 1:18; John 1:17; Luke 21:28; 1 Thessalonians 1:2; Psalm 110:1; Hebrews 1:4

Except In the Cross

“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, you which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering yourself, lest you also be tempted.
Bear you one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.  For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another.  For every man shall bear his own burden.  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teaches in all good things.
Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man sows, that shall he also reap.  For he that sows to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that sows to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.
You see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.  As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ.  For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.  But God forbid that I should glory, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision avails any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.  And as many as walk according to this rule, peace on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.  From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.
Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.” Galatians 6:1-18

REFERENCES: 2 Timothy 4:22; 2 Corinthians 1:5; Romans 2:6; 6:6; 12:3; 15:27; Galatians 2:3; John 9:4; Matthew 24:13; Job 13:9

If Any Preach any Other Gospel

“Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead;)  and all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:  to whom glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.  But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.  As we said before, so say I now again, ‘If any preach any other gospel unto you than that you have received, let him be accursed.’  For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.
But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.  For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.  For you have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: and profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.  Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.  But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother.  Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.  Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; and was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: but they had heard only, ‘That he which persecuted us in times past now preaches the faith which once he destroyed.  And they glorified God in me.” Galations 1:1-24

REFERENCES: Acts 2:24; Titus 1:3; 1 Corinthians 15:1; 16:22; 1 Samuel 24:7; 1 Timothy 1:13; Jeremiah 9:14; Matthew 16:17; Romans 9:1; 16:7

For Christ’s Sake

“It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.  I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.  And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.  Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.  For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he sees me or he heareth of me.  And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.  And He said unto me,
‘My grace is sufficient for you: for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”  2 Corinthians 12:1-10

REFERENCES: Acts 14:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 10:8; 11:30; Luke 23:43; Deuteronomy 3:23; Romans 5:3

Approved By Whom?

“‘For letters,’ say they, ‘Weighty and powerful; but bodily presence weak, and his speech contemptible.’  Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such also in deed when we are present.
For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.  But we will not boast of things without measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God has distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you.
For we stretch not ourselves beyond as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in the gospel of Christ: not boasting of things without measure, of other men’s labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, to preach the gospel in the regions beyond you, not to boast in another man’s line of things made ready to our hand.
But he that glories, let him glory in the Lord.  For not he that commends himself is approved, but whom the Lord commends.”  2 Corinthians 10:10-18

REFERENCES: 1 Corinthians 1:17; 3:5; 2 Corinthians2:1; 3:1; Isaiah 65:16; Proverbs 27:2; Luke 14:11; 18:14

The Building of God

“For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:  if so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now He that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore always confident, knowing that, while we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) we are confident, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.  Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.  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 good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:1-10  (KJB)

References: Job 4:19; Revelation 3:18; 1 Corinthians 15:58; Isaiah 29:23; 2 Corinthians 1:22; Romans 8:24

God Always Causes Us to Triumph in Christ

“Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,  I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia.  Now thanks unto God, which always causes us to triumph in Christ, and makes manifest the savor of His knowledge by us in every place.  For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: to the one the savor of death unto death; and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”   2 Corinthians 2:12-17  (KJB)

References: 2 Corinthians 7:5, 6; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 15:10; 1 Peter 2:7-8; Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14

When He Shall Have Delivered Up the Kingdom to God

“But now is Christ risen from the dead, become the firstfruits of them that slept.  For since by man death, by Man also the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.  But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.  Then the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.  For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet.  The last enemy shall be destroyed, death.  For He has put all things under His feet. But when He says all things are put under Him, it is manifest that He is excepted, which did put all things under Him.  And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:20-28  (TKJB)

References: Acts 26:23; 1 Peter 1:3; John 11:25; Daniel 7:14; 2 Timothy 1:10; Psalm 8:6; 110:1; Hebrews 2:8; 1 Corinthians 3:23;

The Greatest of These

“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing.
Charity suffers long, is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, does not behave itself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil; rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Charity never fails: but whether prophecies, they shall fail; whether tongues, they shall cease; whether knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.  And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these, charity.”  1 Corinthians 13:1-13 (KJB)

References : John 3:16; 15:13; Luke 10:30-37; Matthew 7:22; Luke 17:6; 1 Corinthians 8:2; 10:24; Romans 15:1; 2 Timothy 2:24

That Spiritual Rock

“Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; and did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.
But with many 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.  Neither be ye idolaters, as 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.” 1 Corinthians 10:1-10  (KJB)

References: Exodus 13:21; 16:25;17:6; 12:23; 32:6 Deuteronomy 1:33; Nehemiah 9:12, 15; Numbers 11:4; 25:1; Psalm 106:14, 29

We Shall Judge Angels

“Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints?  Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world, and if the world shall be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Know you not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life? If then you have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.  I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? No, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren?   But brother goes to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers.  Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because you go to law one with another. Why do you not rather take wrong? Why do you not rather be defrauded?  No, you do wrong, and defraud, and that brethren.”  1 Corinthians 6:1-8 (TKJB)

References:  1 Corinthians 1:2;  Matthew 19:28;  Revelation 2:26;  2 Peter 2:4-10;  Proverbs 20:22;  Luke 6:29;  1 Thessalonians 4:6

Your Church Discipline

“Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened of sincerity and truth.  I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world.
But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.  For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within?  But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.”  1 Corinthians 5:6-13  (KJB)

References:  1 Corinthians 3:21;  2 Timothy 2:17;  Exodus 12:15;  John 17:15;  1 John 5:19;  Deuteronomy 13:5

The Mind of Christ

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.  For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.  And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: but we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.’  But God hath revealed unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.  For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know because they are spiritually discerned.  But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.  For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.”  1 Corinthians 2:1-16  (KJB)

References: Galations 6:14; 2 Corinthians 4:7; Romans 16:25; Isaiah 64:4; Proverbs 20:7; 2 Peter 1:16

Love Does No Wrong to One’s Neighbor

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, ‘Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet;’ and if any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
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. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”  Romans 13:8-14  (KJB)

References: Galations 3:27, 5:14; Exodus 20:13-17; 1 Corinthians 15:34; Ephesians 5:14

The Mind and Counsel of the Lord

“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, ‘There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is My covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.’  As concerning the gospel, enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, beloved for the fathers’ sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! ‘For who hath known the mind of the Lord, or who hath been His counsellor?   Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?’  For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.”  Romans 11:26-36  (KJB)

References: Psalm 14:7; Isaiah 27:9; Daniel 9:24; Numbers 23:19; Romans 3:9; Jeremiah 23:18; 1 Corinthians 8:6

I Will Have Mercy On Whom I Will Have Mercy

“What shall we say then? Unrighteousness with God? God forbid.  For He saith to Moses, ‘I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.’  So then not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.  For the Scripture saith unto Pharaoh, ‘Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew My power in thee, and that My name might be declared throughout all the earth.’ Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will, and whom He will He hardeneth.
Thou wilt say then unto me, ‘Why doth He yet find fault? For who hath resisted His will?’ Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed, ‘Why hast thou made me thus?’ Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? If God, willing to shew wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had afore prepared unto glory, even us, whom He hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?”  Romans 9:14-24  (KJB)

Reference: Deuteronomy 32:4; Psalm 92:15; 2 Chronicles 20:6; 2 Timothy 2:20; Colossians 1:27

While We Were Yet Sinners

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.  And not only, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Romans 5:1-11  (KJB)

The Righteousness of God Revealed; The Just Shall Live By Faith

“So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.  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 shewed 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, His eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: because that, when they knew God, they glorified not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”  Romans 1:15-21

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight: for by the law the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; even the righteousness of God by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth a propitiation through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; to declare, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.
The God of the Jews only? Not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: seeing one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:20-31  (KJB)

…For I Believe God…

“And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, saying, ‘Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.’ Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.”  Acts 27:22-25 (KJB)

Expressing the Love of Christ

An Expression Of Love

Romans 16:1-27

Love is a very powerful and important quality. It shows character, concern and caring. Love is one of the characteristics of God. It is a characteristic that is modeled in God’s people. Love is much more than simple emotion. It is an act, a decision, an expression.

Paul demonstrated much love. His commendations toward his brothers and sisters in Christ – fellow workers and ministers of the gospel – expresses much love and appreciation. Many of these people – Priscilla and Aquila for example – risked their very lives for Paul (vv. 3-4). Anyone should recognize the sacrifice which must have been made by them. How can you keep from loving someone who has given so much. Some of these people had the church meeting in their homes. Some were prisoners with Paul. Some were servants in noblemen’s households. All were loved by Paul.

It is also noted that there was some room for confrontational correction. Love warns, instructs, encourages, and corrects. Those who cause division by false teaching, working against the leadership, and the mission of the Church, or cause strife with the church leaders are to be avoided.

Coming near the end of the letter Paul speaks of those who had worked along side of him doing and preaching the word of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Then last, but not least, the apostle gives honor and glory to whom honor and glory is due and belongs. The One to whom honor and glory is due and belongs is, of course, God. We honor and glorify Him by hearing His Son Jesus and believing Him.

1. Love Is Expressed In The Family Of Faith (vv. 1-16).

*God is love (1 John 4:8b). That love is seen and expressed by the love of His people.
*Because there is so often conflict within the church does not mean we must be disagreeable with one another. Disagreements happen in the homes of Christians, but they stay together.
*Phebe was a sister, the one delivering the letter of Romans to the Christians of Rome, and most likely came to know Jesus through Paul’s ministry.
*Priscilla and Aquila – husband and wife – hazarded their own lives for Paul’s.
*Andronicus and Junia were fellow prisoners with Paul at one time or other. They too stood for Jesus Christ and the gospel. They too were messengers of the gospel.
*People who were servants of “Caesar’s household”, and the households of Aristobulus and Narcissus. These households were probably well-known, high society people. God has a way of placing His people in strategic locations. We are to serve God wherever He has placed us.
*We, as Christians, ought always greet one another with warm affection, the love of Christ.

2. Love Exposes Sources Of Division In The Family Of Faith (vv. 17-20).

*There are people in some churches, or even who seek out churches where they can cause division; by teaching false doctrines, by the error of Balaam, ie., causing others to fall, etc..
*The one who teaches the truth of God’s Word and the gospel, and who labors for God and the people of God, and the ministry is not the source of division. The ones who come in trying to bring in heresies, and division are truly the dividers
*Unwillingness to be taught, false teaching, hatred envy, going outside God’s guidelines causes division in the local Church. An unwillingness to cooperate with godly leadership; a malicious, slanderous spirit and tongue are sources of division. The loving leader will expose, and correct those who are trouble makers within the Church.
*Do that which is good in the local Church. Be wise toward evil, its way and its harm.
*Grace is the element that sets Christianity apart from world religions.

3. Love Honors The Faithful Servants Of The Lord (vv. 21-24).

*Paul now names those who have been faithful servants serving with him. Timothy for one, and we know from 1 Timothy 1:2 that Paul referred to him as, “My own son in the faith”. Timothy was discipled by the apostle to the Gentiles.
*The apostle desired the church of Rome to know about Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater who may have been brothers by physical birth, or at least brothers in the faith. They were admirers of the Roman Christians.
*Tertius was Paul’s secretary. He has penned down all the letters. He also sends a salute to Rome.
*Gaius is the homeowner where Paul is the guest. Gaius is a man of hospitality, and loves the Lord Jesus Christ, and His servants.
*Erastus was possibly the city treasurer of Corinth.
*Quartus was a brother in Christ who loved Paul, and was a devout supported of his ministry.

4. Love Honors And Lauds The God Of All Power, Glory, And Grace (vv. 25-27).

*Doxology are words of praise to the One and only who is worthy of worship and praise. He has revealed a great mystery. The mystery of the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit in Paul has given GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION more clearly than we deserve.
*God alone is the One of power to set us firmly in the security of the gospel. He alone is worthy of our faith. Faith alone calls us to obedience to the commands of God, because faith believes and trusts that God is over all; He is sovereign.
*“To Him be glory through our Lord Jesus Christ for ever. A-men.”

-by Tim A. Blankenship

God of Our Hope

The God of Hope

Romans 15:1-33

The chapter begins with summing up of the previous teaching of considering others in our demeanor, actions, and deportment. We need to act in accordance with what will glorify our Lord, and keep our brother or sister in Christ from falling.

Paul even means that we go much further than tolerating a brother’s weakness, but rather do all possible to strengthen them in faith. Carry their load. Carry them when necessary.

We are to see to it that we with one mind and one mouth glorify God together, “even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Having the heart, mind, and mouth like unto that of Jesus Himself. Being likeminded together, with Him (vv. 1-7).

Paul was obviously a believer in God’s promises. He understood that Jesus was the fulfillment of the promises of God, and their confirmation.

1. The Confirmation of the Promises came by Jesus Christ (v. 8). The Old Testament is full of promises. Promises of the coming One. A Deliverer. The Messiah. A Savior who will save the people from their sins.

In Jesus’s birth He confirmed Scripture. Born a Jew. Born in Bethlehem. Called a Nazarene. He fulfilled the law.

He was a healer; healing the lame, and the blind. Lepers were freed from their sores, the dead were raised to life. He walked on the water, stilled storms, fed multitudes, and cast our demons

Only few followed Him, and still chose to go to the cross and die for our sins as the suffering servant (Isaiah 53).

2. Jesus Confirmed the Promises by Opening the Gate for all people. Paul reminds his readers that God’s plan has always been to include all people no matter what their race or nationality or culture (vv. 9-13).

“Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.” Psalms 18:49 (KJV) v. 9.

(v. 10) “Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.” Deut 32:43 (KJV).

(v. 11) “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people.” Psalms 117:1 (KJV).

(v. 12) “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” and “And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:1, 10 (KJV)

All our hope and power is from the Spirit of God; the Holy Spirit who lives in us.

3. Something in which to Boast (vv. 14-21). When is it right to boast? We can boast of the faith, work, patience, boldness, and goodness that others do through Christ Jesus.

We can boast of the goodness of God, and what He has done in us, and through us.

To boast of anything concerning Jesus’s mighty deeds is a good boast.

4. Through Prayer for the Sovereign Leadership of the Lord in our lives and other’s lives we can grow in trusting The God of Hope (vv. 22-33). The following was the desire of Paul’s heart, and his requests from the Roman Christians.

To be delivered from the unbelieving Jews in Jerusalem;

That his work and ministry for Jerusalem would be accepted by the believers;

That he would be able to visit them – at Rome – in the will of God and be “refreshed” = renewing joy, peace and rest; with them.

God is the sovereign One. He directs the affairs of all people in all lands. His will will be done despite our arrogant, self-styled, self-willed disobedience.

Pastors and Preaching the Word

The Bible says, or ‘Thus saith the LORD’,

“Preach the Word; be instant in season, and 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 heap to themselves teaches, having itching ears.” 2 Timothy 4:2-3

Paul said,

“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.  Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:27

Having read these passages of Scripture, the ‘Thus saith the Lord’ how, in the name of God and His Son Jesus, can a pastor dare stand in the pulpit every Sunday, and preach nothing but words which comfort and encourage people.  We definitely are to preach Jesus, His death, His burial, and His resurrection.  There was a reason for His death, burial and resurrection, and that was that we are sinners, God in His love and grace desired to save us, in order that we might glorify His name.

A pastor/preacher who never confronts the sins of his people, or the sins of our society or culture is no man of God at all.  He is either a puppet of the people he professes to serve, or he is a man after the devil’s heart.  A few years ago I was told of a pastor, whom I  knew, who was asked about the stem cell issue by one of the members of his congregation, and his answer was, as it was told to me, “There are two sides to this issue…”  The all around implication was “I am not going take a stand on this issue”.  Is that the attitude of a pastor or a coward who is posing as a preacher?  I will say that he did later come to a change of mind.

There are other issues in 2018 we need to speak of, and the Biblical declaration for and against a thing.  God’s word never changes.  If it was declared sin by God; it is still sin.

Our churches, our people, the States we live in and serve, and our Country needs men of God who will without fear or favor to men, stand in the pulpit with God’s Word in their hand and on their heart, speak the Word as clearly, distinctly, with conviction, boldness and courage that the people will know they have heard the Word of God.

The man of God will preach the Word of God to get conviction in the hearts of the people.  There must be a conviction of sin in God’s people.  If God’s people will not be convicted of sin, how do we expect to ever see anyone be saved.  Why would we even pray for anyone to be saved since we have no conviction of sin, thus no need for salvation.

Wake up pastors, Preach the Word.  It is not a time for slacking in the Word.  It is time to preach for conviction.  It is time to preach holiness, righteousness, and judgment.  Let the people see the plight of sin, and the blight of sin.

Preachers and pastors – PREACH THE WORD, not comfort.  Now is the time to be uncomfortable.

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Love and Liberty

Christian Love and Liberty

Romans 14:1-23

In question are things to which there are not clear Biblical answers. These are problems which Scripture gives little to no guidance, or to which the rituals or ceremonies no longer have meaning.

In the church of Rome there were people from diverse backgrounds, similar to our nation of the USA today. It was pluralistic, and divided by many cultures. Some of the Christians were Jewish and had been subjected to many ceremonial laws and rituals. Just how was a Jewish Christian to view these matters now? These laws included certain meats which were not lawful to eat. Another culture was pagan and they worshipped idols and could eat the meats.

Becoming Christian, and not realizing the new freedom they had in Christ; they might feel guilt for not participating in the Jewish ceremonies, holy days, and no longer rejecting certain meats. They were still weak, and of an immature faith. They would also judge others for their lack of participation as well.

The pagan/Gentiles becoming Christians would forsake their idols they had worshipped, refuse to eat any meat that had been offered to those idols. Because of their immaturity they would pass judgment upon the other Christians who had the liberty to purchase the meat and eat it.

Paul addresses these issues in this chapter. For the immature Christian to participate in something they believe to be sin it is sin. For the mature Christian to participate in something they know will offend the immature Christian; it is sin. The mature Christian is at liberty to live for Christ, and will not be offended by the acts of others.

1.  The Christian in Love Receives the Weak (vv. 1-3).

Not for the purpose of argument. To love, strengthen, encourage, and teaching the doctrines and truths of God’s Word. If the one who does not eat does not judge the one who does eat, but the one who does eat judges the one who does not; which of the two is the mature one? It is the one who has not judged.

2. The Christian in Love Refrains from Judging the One Who is Bound (4-14).

We are all accountable to God. He is our judge. If I judge a fellow Christian a sinner because they have no conviction against drinking beverage alcohol, and they drink it in my presence or not, then, am I judging rightly? Only if they are drunk. My conviction is that Christians should refrain from imbibing in beverage alcohol, but it does not offend me, or cause me to stumble if others do.

3. The Christian in Love Restrains the Freedom Which May Offend the Weak (vv. 15-23).

One of the greatest acts of love is freedom which will not offend or harm others. New Christians may not understand some of the freedoms we have in Christ. We never have the freedom to offend weaker brothers and sisters in Christ. There is no law that can empower us to live a righteous life (Gal. 5:22-23). “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).

-Tim A. Blankenship

Christian Responsibilities

Christian Responsibilities

Romans 13:8-14

In the last study and in verses 1 – 7 we looked at “The Christian and Government” and could have called it the “Christian’s Responsibility to Government”. We also have responsibilities to others. Those we know and to those we do not know. To those we love, and to those we should love.

The words of verse eight, “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.” are not against owing money as in a debt for a legitimate financial transaction. It has to do with keeping our debts paid, and especially the debt of love. It is what we owe to all. In loving one another we fulfill the law, and it is a debt that is never paid in full.

God’s love paid in full the debt which we owed Him. That debt of sin was paid by Jesus’s death on the cross, and the evidence of that paid debt was the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and God’s declaring by Him, our justification.

In verse nine Paul gives us five of the Ten Commandments; all having to do with human relationships. Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two. “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…”, and “Thou shall love thy neighbor as thyself “ (Mark 12:30-31).

Paul sums these five laws up in much the same way; “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.”

One motivation for not committing these sins would be to think about how we would feel if someone committed these sins against us. Asking ourselves the question before we sin against a neighbor: “How would I feel if this was done against me?”

Love does not seek to do harm to neighbors. It rather seeks to do good. To love one’s neighbor seeks better for them than for one’s self. This is the fulness of the law.

Not only do we as Christians have responsibilities with our neighbors, but

WE ALSO HAVE RESPONSIBILITY WITH THE TIMES IN WHICH WE LIVE.

The time which we live requires and urgency due to the nearness of the return of Jesus Christ. We are nearer to the completion of our salvation than we were at the beginning.

It is time to cast off the works and deeds of the flesh, and be clothed in the “armor of His light”

Walking honestly, that all things may be seen, as in the light;

With lives of purity, holiness, and not debauchery, rebellion and sin;

Loving one another as we have been given commandment; approving the good of brothers and sisters in Christ; and promoting them;

Putting on Christ Jesus requires and act of the heart and soul and mind; Walking in the Holy Spirit – “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).

-Tim A. Blankenship

The Christian and Government

The Christian And Government

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Romans 13:1-7 (KJV)

In this study of Romans Paul is continuing to apply the basics of the gospel to all of the Christian life. He is teaching us that human government is of divine origin, and that we are subjects of human government.

Some may think that there are some forms of government which we do not have to obey. If so that is in error. Paul lived under an oppressive form of government which was persecuting Christians, and part of that was due to some of the people who were of Israel; Paul’s own flesh and blood.

In this study I pray we can come to an understanding of what being “subject” to government actually means. What are the Christian’s duties to government? What are the Government’s duties to its subjects? Hopefully these questions will be answered by this study.

Since Paul begins with the Christian’s duties, that is where we begin:

Christian’s are subjects to the “higher powers” – in this case that is government. The government under which we live is our “higher power” and under God’s rule ultimately. As a Christian we are first subject to our God, and must obey Him, as does the government in which we live.

What forms of governments are in our world?

A. Democracy.
B. Republics.
C. Communism.
D. Theocracy.
E. Anarchy.

2. God’s Government is the Supreme Government over all governments, and they are subject unto Him.
3. Resisting the government is in itself resisting God, when that government is only performing its God-given duties.

Any time a Christian gets to the place of resisting a government it should be done with extreme caution, and only resist when the government is violating the law of God.

We are still subject to the government, though resisting a policy, or an act of ungodliness on the part of our government. Subject when they come to arrest us; we go without resisting or protest.

The following is a Biblical example of being subject to the government:

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon;  Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them;  Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.  And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace.” Jeremiah 29:4-7 (KJV).

In that illustration we see God’s command to Jeremiah for the people in captivity to go on with life, subjected to the government that they were living under, which would have been Chaldean, and was their enemy.

We are also to be faithful in supporting our defenders with our taxes.

The government’s responsibilities/duties to its people:

A. A defender of good, and a terror to what is evil.
B. A minister of God for good.
C. An avenger of what is evil.

2. There are times when governments of men become unjust, cruel, and unlawful toward God’s laws.

A. Around the time of the birth of Moses (Exodus 1-2).
B. Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were commanded to bow to an image of the king (Daniel 3).
C. Daniel, and others forbidden to pray to anyone but the king (Daniel 6)
D. Peter and John commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:17-18).

3. When the government gets to perpetuating its own agenda instead of God’s agenda, and starts persecuting the people of God, then they have violated the Supreme Government. Yet, we are still subjected to them.

Governments are to be a hindrance to evil. With the exception of anarchy – no law or rule – crimes are restrained in any form of government. Those who obey laws have no fear of the policeman or the courts. There are times however, when men make laws that legalize perverse acts, and legitimize persecution of believers, and the killing of unborn babies. Believers should never disobey with a flippant attitude. “Civil disobedience” when needed would certainly call unjust laws to the attention of good government rulers, and if it is an unjust rule/law, cause them to reconsider, or at least think about overturning that rule/law.

-Tim A. Blankenship