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Tidbits from the Book of James – Part 5

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Today’s tidbit is concerning faith and works. Works have absolutely nothing to do with our Salvation, other than as fruit of our Salvation; works will not get us to Heaven. But, once we are saved, we ought to want to work for Christ, and our works are evidence of our faith in Jesus unto Salvation. Our works are our fruits of our Salvation. So faith without works is dead. All born-again saints will stand before Jesus and have our works (after Salvation) tested by the fire. Those works born out of wrong motivation and not glorifying Christ will be burned up. Those works done for the sake of Christ and the Gospel will come out of the fire and we will receive our crowns for them. I look forward to laying those crowns at the feet of Jesus in gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice He paid for me so that I can live eternally with Him as my Lord and King.

James 2:14-26

14 What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?

15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? (This is a great example of when a brother or sister says to us that they have a need and we respond with, “I will pray for you.” That is all good and well. We are to pray for our brethren. But what about actually using some of the increase that God has blessed us with to put our prayers into action and help them by supplying their need, as the Holy Spirit leads. God blesses us and provides well for us in order for us to help those less fortunate, especially our brothers and sisters in Christ.)

17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.

18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?

22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.

25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?

26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary:

Those are wrong who put a mere notional belief of the gospel for the whole of evangelical religion, as many now do. No doubt, true faith alone, whereby men have part in Christ’s righteousness, atonement, and grace, saves their souls; but it produces holy fruits, and is shown to be real by its effect on their works; while mere assent to any form of doctrine, or mere historical belief of any facts, wholly differs from this saving faith.

A bare profession may gain the good opinion of pious people; and it may procure, in some cases, worldly good things; but what profit will it be, for any to gain the whole world, and to lose their souls? Can this faith save him? All things should be accounted profitable or unprofitable to us, as they tend to forward or hinder the salvation of our souls. This place of Scripture plainly shows that an opinion, or assent to the gospel, without works, is not faith. There is no way to show we really believe in Christ, but by being diligent in good works, from gospel motives, and for gospel purposes.

Men may boast to others, and be conceited of that which they really have not. There is not only to be assent in faith, but consent; not only an assent to the truth of the word, but a consent to take Christ. True believing is not an act of the understanding only, but a work of the whole heart.

That a justifying faith cannot be without works, is shown from two examples, Abraham and Rahab. Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned unto him for righteousness. Faith, producing such works, advanced him to peculiar favours. We see then, in verse 24 , how that by works a man is justified, not by a bare opinion or profession, or believing without obeying; but by having such faith as produces good works. And to have to deny his own reason, affections, and interests, is an action fit to try a believer.

Observe here, the wonderful power of faith in changing sinners. Rahab’s conduct proved her faith to be living, or having power; it showed that she believed with her heart, not merely by an assent of the understanding. Let us then take heed, for the best works, without faith, are dead; they want root and principle. By faith any thing we do is really good; as done in obedience to God, and aiming at his acceptance: the root is as though it were dead, when there is no fruit.

Faith is the root, good works are the fruits; and we must see to it that we have both. This is the grace of God wherein we stand, and we should stand to it. There is no middle state. Every one must either live God’s friend, or God’s enemy. Living to God, as it is the consequence of faith, which justifies and will save, obliges us to do nothing against him, but every thing for him and to him.

 
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Posted by on June 21, 2018 in God's Truth

 

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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit – Part 7

Before I share the next and final entry on the Doctrine of the Holy Spirit, I would like to say thank you and God Bless all of you who have been and continue to pray for my dear sister in Christ, Mendy. There are tens of thousands of prayer warriors in more than 106 countries lifting this situation up to God. She is able to move her arms, has very slight movement of 2 fingers and the thumb of her right hand, but her torso and lower body remain paralyzed. I believe that God will heal her according to His perfect plan and His perfect timing. We continue in fervent prayer to our Mighty God who does still perform miracles. James 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Holy Spirit College

VII. The Fruit of the Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

Immediately following 18 manifestations of the flesh, the Apostle Paul, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, mentions that there are nine fruit of the Holy Ghost. The word “fruit” here refers to “maturity.” Fruit is actually singular. All nine of these begin to manifest themselves at once in a believer as they mature in the Holy Ghost.

When a person plants a seedling of an apple tree, he must wait approximately eight years before he sees the first apple. The ninth year there will be a few more apples, the tenth year a few more, and so on. Fruit is the evidence that a tree has matured. As we mature in our walk with the Holy Ghost, the fruit of the Holy Spirit will begin to show as the evidence of our changed life.

Fruit is very visible. It is not hidden. When a person looks at a tree and sees pears hanging on it, he says, “That is a pear tree.” When a person sees peaches hanging on a tree, he says, “That is a peach tree.” When someone sees the ornaments of love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness and temperance becoming obvious in the life and behavior of a person, they say, “That is a Christian.” Are these graces appearing in your life as you grow older in the Lord?

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is more important than the gifts of the Holy Spirit – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of 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 profiteth me nothing.”

Notice in the above verses that having charity is more important than having the gift of tongues, the gift of prophecy, the gift of knowledge, or the gift of helps. In fact, all of these gifts exercised are considered nothing in the eyes of God, unless they are done with charity. 1 Corinthians 12:31 “But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” It is more excellent for a believer to manifest the fruit of the Spirit than the gifts of the Spirit. The fruit of the Spirit qualifies us to use our gifts; otherwise, our gifts used are nothing.

It is paramount, therefore, that we be filled with the Holy Spirit and that we be looking for the visible fruit of our maturing in the Holy Ghost. Let us look at these nine fruit of the Spirit specifically, and let us watch for these fruit becoming more and more prevalent in our lives, our hearts, our mannerisms, and our behaviors.

all the fruits of the spirit

all the fruits of the spirit (Photo credit: stratoz)

A. Love – There are two types of love that the Scriptures tell us we should have. For the sake of simplicity, we will call the one an “inferior” love, and the other a “superior” love.

1. Inferior Love – This word “love” usually refers to a great fondness or affection for somebody or something. For instance, when a wife is told to love her husband (Titus 2:4), she is supposed to have a fondness for him.

2. Superior Love – This “love” is the word used in our text to describe the fruit of the Holy Spirit. This love is a willingness to sacrifice yourself for someone or something because of your relationship to that person or affection for that person.

The Bible says 1 John 3:16 “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” This verse says our perception of God’s love is that of sacrifice. What a person sacrifices for is what they love. This is the fruit of the Spirit. When our love goes beyond a fondness for God into a willingness to sacrifice our all to Him, then we are maturing in the Holy Spirit.

B. Joy – Joy is much deeper than happiness. Happiness is usually produced by happenings. When the happening is over, the happiness subsides. For instance, riding in a boat might make someone happy. It does not last long, and certainly does not get someone through when troublesome times come. Joy abides deep within the Holy Spirit-filled believer even on the worst day of their life. Joy is the ever present work of God as He cheers us no matter what we are going through.

The importance of joy is summarized in this statement – Nehemiah 8:10b “…the joy of the LORD is your strength.” That sounds pretty important to me!

C. Peace – Peace is an inner calmness and quietness produced by the Holy Spirit. It means to be serene or at rest in soul, spirit, and heart. Romans 14:17-19 “For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.”

D. Longsuffering – Long-suffering means to suffer for a long time! It refers to forbearance, fortitude, longanimity, endurance. This fruit of the Spirit will keep us from quitting and questioning.

E. Gentleness – Gentleness is to be “excellent in character and demeanor; to be useful in manners and morals by kindness, easiness, and graciousness.” Psalms 18:35 “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” James 3:17 “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” 1 Thessalonians 2:7 “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:” 2 Timothy 2:24 “And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,”

F. Goodness – Goodness is virtue or beneficence. When this fruit of the Holy Spirit is manifest in us, as we mature, our lives become beneficial to God and others. Acts 10:38 “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.” Life is not about us, but life is about how many people benefit from our help.

Português: Pomba do Divino Espírito Santo

G. Faith – Faith is confidence, dependence, trust, or reliance upon Christ, His abilities, and His Word. A person maturing in the Holy Ghost has more and more of this type of faith and time and trials pass. Some, who are not maturing in the Holy Ghost, do not have this. Matthew 13:58 “And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.” They do not see mighty works in their lives, churches, or neighborhood because of their lack of faith. As our faith grows, its potential is LIMITLESS! Matthew 21:21 “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.”

H. Meekness – Meekness is the inner strength to trust in God to take care of your battles, circumstances, and needs. It is putting all in God’s hands, and leaving it there. (Not fighting your own battles OR DEFENDING YOURSELF) Numbers 12:1-3 “And Miriam and Aaron spake against Moses because of the Ethiopian woman whom he had married: for he had married an Ethiopian woman. And they said, Hath the LORD indeed spoken only by Moses? hath he not spoken also by us? And the LORD heard it. (Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth.)” Meekness is humility.

I. Temperance – Temperance is self-control. Holy Spirit-given POWER to control your emotions, body, thought life, soul, and so on. 1 Corinthians 9:25 “And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.”

“Dear Heavenly Father, I pray this teaching on your Holy Spirit will bless whomever you send it to. For your word does not return to you void.” Anna

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The Gifts of the Holy Spirit (Photo credit: Lawrence OP)

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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Enter Evil

Illuminated parchment, Spain, circa AD 950-955...

 

Okay, we know how God created Eve out of Adam’s side and placed her in the beautiful garden paradise to be Adam’s help meet. Everything was provided for them and they walked and talked with God daily. They were pure and innocent until – Enter Evil!!

This entry will show the character of the serpent and what he may have looked like, and the consequences he and Adam and Eve would face because of their actions. It will include the first time God commanded wives to submit to their husbands. I will also give suggestions as to how Eve could have done differently, and how we can avoid giving in to temptations today. Let’s have some fun and do a little imagining as well.

Genesis 3:1-3 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2. And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3. but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it (note for later), lest ye die.”

I believe the snakes in the Garden were very beautiful to look upon before God cursed them. Do you really think that Eve would have stopped to talk with a slithering, hissing snake as we see them today? I also believe that he had legs giving him the ability to walk around instead of sliding along on his belly. Envision with me, if you will, that crafty creature leaning on one elbow against a tree, his feet crossed, with his tail waving hypnotically from side to side as he entices the first woman.

“Hey there Eve,” His words rolled smoothly off his forked tongue. “Why don’t you stop in the shade of this tree and chat for a while? You’ve got nothing better to do. By the way, did you know that God lied to you when he said you would surely die if you eat from that tree over there? He knows that if you eat that fruit ‘your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil'” (Genesis 3:4, 5)

Remember, he was the most subtil of all the beasts the Lord had made. The Hebrew word for “subtil” is aruwm (aw-room) which means cunning (usually in a bad sense), prudent, and crafty. Satan’s single goal on this earth is to tempt us away from God. He uses his cunning nature to suggest doubts in our minds. He got Eve to doubt God’s goodness. He, ever so slyly, hinted that God was stingy and selfish because he did not want Adam and Eve to share in his knowledge of good and evil.

Now imagine what Eve’s response might have been, “Hmmm, you know, not only did he say we must not eat of that tree, but he said we are not to even touch it. How dare he keep such a lovely fruit from us? How could he deny us to be just like him? It is just not fair.”

Eve took that evil deceiver’s bait, hook line and sinker. Feeling cheated by God, she told her first lie! As I noted in the verses above, she added that God said they were not to touch the tree. This is what God actually said in Genesis 2:16, 17 “And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17. but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” I do not see anything there about them not touching the tree.

Oh, I just had an epiphany! Maybe when Adam told Eve what God said, he added, “Do not even touch that tree!” because he already knew the woman well enough to know that her curiosity might get the best of her, so he wanted to scare her into obeying. Hmmm. Okay, it is just a joke!

Moving along, Eve was tempted and gave in, and she gave Adam of the fruit and he did eat. He must have thought, “she ate it and she is still alive, so what could it hurt?” We know what happened next. Their eyes were opened and they were ashamed and hid themselves from God when he came looking for them. I am sure God already knew what they had done and why they were hiding, but they needed to come to God and be held accountable.

When God confronted Adam he blamed Eve, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Genesis 3:12) God turned to Eve and asked, “What is this that thou hast done?” She blamed the snake, “The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat”. (Genesis 3:13) It is very easy to justify our sin by pointing to someone else, but God knows the truth.

Because of his perfect moral character, God had to respond by punishing the guilty parties. He dealt first with the snake: Genesis 3:14, 15 says, “And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15. and I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” I don’t know about you, but I can totally relate to the “enmity between thee and the woman” part. I hate snakes.

Eve was next: Genesis 3:16 “”Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.” Hebrew for sorrow used here, “thy sorrow and thy conception” is itstsabown (its-tsaw-bone’) meaning worrisomeness, i.e. labor or pain.

For “in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children” the Hebrew word is etseb (eh’-tseb) – toil; pang; labour; grievous. I gave birth to both of my girls naturally, and I can totally say, that my labor was all of those things. I must interject that God is very kind in that as soon as the labor was over, so was the pain. I was immediately in awe with the precious gift of life that I was blessed with each time.

The first time that God put woman under submission to man: “thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee”. I used to think that this meant that woman would desire her husband, but there is much more to it than that. The word desire used here in Hebrew: tshuwqah (tesh-oo-raw) – stretching out after; a longing, from the original word shuwq (shook) – to run after or over; overflow. Woman will have a desire to run over her husband, but he will rule over (have dominion over; reign over) her.

SIDE NOTE: Saying that husbands shall rule over their wives in no way means that gives husbands the right to abuse their wives in any way.

I believe Ephesians 5:22-33 explains God’s plan for the husband/wife relationship best:

“22. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 . For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”

“25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26. that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. 27. that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30. for we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.”

“31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and the two shall be one flesh. 32. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. 33. Neverthless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

The word Submission is often misunderstood. It does not mean being trampled on like a doormat. Christ submitted his will to his Father. When we follow Jesus’ example, we are honoring him. As we submit to God, we become more willing to obey his command to submit to others. In the marriage relationship, both husband and wife are called to submit. The wife willingly follows her husband’s leadership in Christ. The husband puts aside his own interests in order to care for his wife.

Submission is usually not a challenge in homes where both spouses have a strong relationship with Jesus, and they are both concerned for each others’ happiness.

I believe it is now time to see how God chastised Adam for his part in this fall from grace. Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; 18. thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; 19. in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Wow. What more can I say?

Eve should have literally run from that serpent in the garden instead of taking up a conversation with him. In giving him her attention, she allowed herself to be led astray, and she forgot about all that God had given her. She began to focus on what he had forbidden instead of being thankful for his blessings. When we start to dwell on what God does not let us have, that is when we get into trouble. Instead, we must think of the many blessings and promises he has given us and be thankful for them.

Paul gave some great advice in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 “Rejoice evermore. 17. Pray without ceasing. 18. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

 
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Posted by on February 27, 2011 in God's Love

 

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