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Doctrine of the Holy Spirit – Part 2

III. The Ministries of the Holy Spirit

Creation of Light, by Gustave Doré. The engrav...

A. Concerning Creation – Genesis 1:1-2 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Job 26:13 “By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.” Job 33:4 “The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”

B. Concerning the Bible – 2 Peter 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Samuel 23:2 ” The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.” Isaiah 59:21 ” As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.” John 14:26 “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” 2 Timothy 3:15 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

C. Concerning the Nation of Israel

1. The Spirit came upon its leaders. Notice what was said of Joseph: Genesis 41:38 “And Pharaoh said unto his servants, Can we find such a one as this is, a man in whom the Spirit of God is?” Similar statements are made of Moses, Joshua, Othniel, Gideon, Jephthah, Samson, Saul, David, Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Micah, Azariah, Zechariah, and more.

2. The Spirit came upon its elders – Numbers 11:25 “And the LORD came down in a cloud, and spake unto him, and took of the spirit that was upon him, and gave it unto the seventy elders: and it came to pass, that, when the spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.”

3. The Spirit came upon those who worked on the Tabernacle – Exodus 31:2-3 “See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship,”

4. The Spirit helped Israel through the desert – Nehemiah 9:20 “Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them, and withheldest not thy manna from their mouth, and gavest them water for their thirst.”

5. The Spirit will come upon Israel during the Tribulation – Joel 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:”

6. The Spirit will come upon Israel during the Millennium – Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.”

D. Concerning the devil  – Isaiah 59:19 “So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” The Holy Spirit is currently acting as a Divine Dam, holding back and limiting the full power of satan and of sin. 2 Thessalonians 2:7-14 describes what will happen when the Spirit is taken away from this earth, and the devil is given free reign:

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

English: child Jesus with the virgin Mary, wit...

E. Concerning the Saviour

1. The Saviour was begotten of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 1:18-20 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Luke 1:35 “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

2. The Saviour was anointed by the Holy Spirit – Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,” See also Matthew 3:16 and Acts 10:38.

3. The Saviour was led by the Holy Spirit – Matthew 4:1 “Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.”

4. The Saviour was empowered by the Holy Spirit – Matthew 12:28 “But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.”

5. The Saviour was filled by the Holy Spirit – Luke 4:1 “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness.” John 3:34 “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.”

6. The Saviour offered Himself at Calvary through the Holy Spirit – Hebrews 9:14 “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?”

7. The Saviour was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit – Romans 8:11 “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” See also Romans 1:4 and 1 Peter 3:18.

8. The Saviour gave commandments by the Holy Spirit – Acts 1:2 “Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:”English: The chancel arch, St. Michael and All...

 

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

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 7

the gates of hell

the gates of hell (Photo credit: mararie)

XI. What happens when New Testament Sinners Die? Jesus continued to propound the doctrine of hell throughout His public ministry. He strongly warned people to repent, to be sure they did not go there. Matthew 5:22 – “But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”

Matthew 5:29-30 – “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

Matthew 18:8-9 “Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire. And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.”

Matthew 23:33 “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”

I could list many other verses here. These are just a handful from Matthew. Those who die today without Christ, join those of old who died without faith in the Lord. They are suffering in hell, which is located in the lower parts of the earth. I recently saw a news clip on the television of some protestors where and a man was dressed like a cartoon satan – all red with horns, etc. He held a sign saying something like, I can’t wait to party with satan in hell. How very sad that some are so horribly deceived by God’s enemy.

XII. What happens when New Testament saints die? First, our bodies go into the grave awaiting the resurrection. Note the differences between our current bodies and our resurrected bodies: “But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” (1 Corinthians 15:35-49)

Heaven

This new glorified body will be created anew at the instant of the rapture. 1 Corinthians 15:51-52 –  “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”

One of my very favorite passages of Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 – ” But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

Philippians 3:20-21 – “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, 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.”

Second, Saved Saints’ spirits and souls go upward to be with God in Heaven immediately upon our death. There is no soul sleeping or waiting. Remember, when Jesus died, His spirit went immediately up to the Father in Heaven. Jesus never ceased to exist. His physical body died. His soul and spirit did not. His soul went into hell – Acts 2:27, 31 – “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption;” “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” His spirit went up to the Father – Luke 23:46 – “And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.” Likewise, our spirits and souls go upward to be with God immediately upon our death.

Ecclesiastes 3:21 – “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” Ecclesiastes 12:7 – “Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.” Philippians 1:21-23 – “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” 2 Corinthians 5:6-9 – “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.”

Old Testament saints sent into Hades (Abraham’s Bosom) for a time of rest. We covered this under Point IX. New Testament saints go directly to heaven upon their death – Luke 23:42-43 – “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” John 14:3 – “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. Jesus’ words in John 17:24 – “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” 2 Peter 1:11 – “For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.”

Just a thought: If the Old Testament saints were emptied out of Hades and taken to Heaven, and the New Testament saints go directly to Heaven, then seances (the practice of bringing up saints or departed loved ones) are a farce. I believe it is highly likely that those so-called spirits they are calling up are demons.

XIII. Conclusion of The Doctrine of Death – What is the Second Death? The second death is mentioned in three texts of the Book of Revelation:

Revelation 2:11 – “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”

Revelation 20:6 – “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

Revelation 20:11-15 – “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The first death is a physical death, when the spirit leaves the body. The second death is an eternal death; a spiritual death, being banished forever from the presence of God in an eternal lake of fire. Hell will be cast into the lake of fire. Hence, hell is like a holding center. Then the guilty go to judgment, are sentenced, and go to the lake of fire which is like a prison; a permanent abode. Some religions teach that we ought to pray our loved ones into Heaven after they die and go to the “waiting area.” According to God’s Word, getting someone out of hell is beyond our control. They are there to stay because they chose to reject Jesus Christ as Saviour.

2 Thessalonians 1:6-9 – “Seeing it is 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;”

This is a very fearful thing, and it is repulsive to our human nature. No one of us comes close to understanding how unutterably holy God is, and how great His hatred is toward sin and rebellion. We should make an effort to understand this: 2 Corinthians 5:11 – “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.”

When we begin to understand how holy and perfect God is, it makes us wonder how He could let any of us into Heaven! 1 Peter 4:17-18 – “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”

PRAISE THE LORD FOR JESUS CHRIST OUR SAVIOUR! We who are saved need not fear the second death. Again: “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” (Revelation 20:6)

Michael defeats Satan 07

Michael defeats Satan 07 (Photo credit: Waiting For The Word)

For whomever may be reading this: If you have not yet made your calling to Christ sure, I beg you with all of my heart to please repent and turn to Christ. Do not be deceived! PLEASE CLICK ON THE TAB, “THE ONLY WAY” AT THE TOP OF THIS BLOG AND FOLLOW GOD’S PATH TO SALVATION. DO IT TODAY, FOR JESUS’ RETURN IS SO VERY NEAR, EVEN AT THE DOOR! You do not have to be cast into hell which was made for satan and his minions.

The next Doctrinal Series study will be on “The Doctrine of the Holy Spirit.”

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 6

Gutenberg Bible - detail from the Old Testament

Gutenberg Bible – detail from the Old Testament (Photo credit: National Library of Scotland)

IX. What happened when Old Testament Saints died? There is an interesting statement found on 11 occasions in the Old Testament. It speaks of one dead as being “gathered to his people.” This phrase is never used in the New Testament. Here are a few examples: “Then Abraham gave up the ghost, and died in a good old age, an old man, and full of years; and was gathered to his people.” (Genesis 25:8) “And these are the years of the life of Ishmael, an hundred and thirty and seven years: and he gave up the ghost and died; and was gathered unto his people.” (Genesis 25:17) “And die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people; as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered unto his people:” (Deuteronomy 32:50)

That statement has perplexed Bible students for years. Some believe it just means that the dead body becomes the possession of the living relatives to bury where they want. Others believe the statement refers to an afterlife reunion with loved ones.

Some of the newer “per-versions” of the Bible do not tackle the subject at all – they just delete these words without any explanation. Matthew Henry in his commentary explains it this way, “His body was gathered to the congregation of the dead, and his soul to the congregation of the blessed.” Where was this gathering of Old Testament saints? It was to the place referred to by Christ in Luke 16:19-31. As you read it, notice the 6 references to Abraham:

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

Christian views on Hell

Christian views on Hell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This word hell comes from “Hades” which means “the place of departed souls.” It appears to be in 2 compartments within eyesight of each other. One for the damned, a place of torment. The other for the blessed, a place of comfort. The Old Testament saints were considered “captives” of that place within the heart of the earth until Jesus came and led them out at His Resurrection. Jesus’ soul went into hell (Hades) when He died: “Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” (Acts 2:27) “He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.” (Acts 2:31) “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40)

This intriguing story of Samuel shows us how he was brought up from the lower parts of the earth by the request of King Saul with the help of the witch of Endor. “Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do.” (1 Samuel 28:11-15) Samuel said he was “disquieted” when he was brought up. He appeared to have been in quiet comfort, resting. This would reconcile Christ’s teaching about Hades with Abraham, who was comforted.

X. What happened when Old Testament sinners died? People in the Old Testament days were either converted or unconverted – Psalm 51:13 “Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” The truths that we saw under the last point also apply here. These departed souls also go into Hades (hell), but into the place of torment where the Rich Man was – see Luke 16:19-31 again. The Old Testament saints were resurrected when Jesus rose from the grave. They ascended into Heaven. Those that were sinners remained in the same place. There is no reference to them ever coming out.

 
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Posted by on April 20, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 4

V. Why do some bad believers die young?

A. Overmuch Wickedness – Ecclesiastes 7:17 – “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” Solomon sufficiently warns us here that a person who is overmuch wicked can die before his time. There is a divinely appointed time for each of us to die: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27) An unrepentant believer can move up that date on God’s calendar. Remember that “Christians” are still sinners, but sinners saved by Grace. A Christian has the capacity to commit just as horrendous sin as a lost person, especially when we are not walking closely with the Lord by staying in His Word and growing according to His plan. God’s merciful nature is to give people “space to repent” (Revelation 2:21) If one of His children persists in disobedience, He will remove that person so they cannot sin anymore. Any good parent “pulls their children in” when they are being bad. We call it being “grounded.”

English: The barren fig tree. French School. I...B. No Fruit – If a tree in an orchard does not bear fruit, it is removed and another tree is put in its place. Bearing fruit can save your life. Consider the parable of the barren fig tree: “He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” (Luke 13:6-9)

God demands results. If we do not produce, He will replace us with someone who will. Jesus said, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: …” (John 15:16)

C. Chastisement – The ultimate chastisement of a believer is death. ” For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.” (1 Corinthians 11:30-32) In the Bible, the word “sleep” is often used synonymously with death. Here, chastisement refers to a father’s correction of his children. This is why some believers are weak, some are sickly, and some sleep (die prematurely).

The Lord chastens His children, but thankfully He does not condemn them. This is referring to the sleep of the body, not the sleep of the soul or spirit. As we have already seen, the spirit and soul never sleep. They go immediately upward to God or downward to hell. The body “sleeps” in the grave until the resurrection: “Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed.” (1 Corinthians 15:51)

” But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-15)

D. Defiling the Temple of God – 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” The word “defile” means “to ruin by immoral influence, to deprave.” The body is holy. It is the temple of God. It is not to be defiled. The believer needs to stay away from all vices: alcohol, illegal drugs, junk food, gluttony, sexual sins, cigarettes, etc. What could be more clear?

E. Sin Unto Death – 1 John 5:16-17 “If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” Some sins are greater than others – John 19:11 “Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.” Our position in Christ is eternally secure, but a great sin can lead to a person’s premature physical death. There are sins unto death. There are sins not unto death.

Some examples of sins unto death:

1. For Achan, it was covetousness – Joshua 7:20-21, 25-26 “And Achan answered Joshua, and said, Indeed I have sinned against the LORD God of Israel, and thus and thus have I done: When I saw among the spoils a goodly Babylonish garment, and two hundred shekels of silver, and a wedge of gold of fifty shekels weight, then I coveted them, and took them; and, behold, they are hid in the earth in the midst of my tent, and the silver under it. And Joshua said, Why hast thou troubled us? the LORD shall trouble thee this day. And all Israel stoned him with stones, and burned them with fire, after they had stoned them with stones. And they raised over him a great heap of stones unto this day. So the LORD turned from the fierceness of his anger. Wherefore the name of that place was called, The valley of Achor, unto this day.”

2. For Korah, it was the sin of rebellion against those in authority – “Now Korah, the son of Izhar, the son of Kohath, the son of Levi, and Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab, and On, the son of Peleth, sons of Reuben, took men: And they rose up before Moses, with certain of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown. And it came to pass, as he had made an end of speaking all these words, that the ground clave asunder that was under them: And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods.” (Numbers 16:1-2, 31-32)

3. For Ananias and Sapphira, it was lying to the Holy Spirit – “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession, And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things… And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.” (Acts 5:1-5, 7-10)

There are other examples in Scripture where people came under immediate judgment from God because of a sin unto death. I believe what is presented here is sufficient to make God’s point from His Word.

Death of Ananias

Death of Ananias (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on April 7, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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While We Were Yet Sinners!

Yes, God loves us while we are sinners and He does not ask us to “clean ourselves up” before coming to Him for forgiveness and salvation. Romans 5:8 “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” I am much comforted to know God’s unconditional love more each time I think on this verse. I love Easter more with each passing year, as I reflect on how great a love my Lord has for me and all of mankind.

I am humbled every day of my life by the fact that Jesus was tortured, mocked, spit upon, and murdered for my sins, but I see no need to repeatedly crucify Him. To me the miracle of His resurrection is most important to stand firm on as my hope for my place in eternity in His presence.

I enjoy reading each of the apostles’ account of Jesus’ Resurrection, but the one that speaks most to my heart and soul is John’s (the disciple whom Jesus loved). I do not believe that Jesus loved John more than the others, but I do believe it highly possible that John loved Jesus more than the others did.

AN EMPTY TOMB!

John 20: “1   The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2   Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the LORD out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3   Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4   So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5   And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6   Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7   And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8   Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9   For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10   Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11   But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12   And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13   And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him.
14   And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15   Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16   Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17   Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
18   Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
19   Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.
20   And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the LORD.
21   Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
22   And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
23   Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained.
24   But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came.
25   The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the LORD. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.
26   And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you.
27   Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.
28   And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God.
29   Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.
30   And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:
31   But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

English: Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene

English: Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2013 in God's Love

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 3

IV. Why Do Some Good Christians Die Young?

Like the Bible promises, the average life-span in America today is about 70 or 80 years of age. The Bible says: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” (Psalms 90:10)

Cover of "To Every Thing There Is A Seaso...There is a time to be born and a time to die: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2) Yet it seems that some times a good Christian dies well before the normal life expectancy. Why might this be?

A. Martyrdom – Millions of God’s people have been killed for the faith. Men and women, adults and children. Here are some examples:

1. Abel – “And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.” (Genesis 4:8)

2. Zechariah – ” And the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, which stood above the people, and said unto them, Thus saith God, Why transgress ye the commandments of the LORD, that ye cannot prosper? because ye have forsaken the LORD, he hath also forsaken you. And they conspired against him, and stoned him with stones at the commandment of the king in the court of the house of the LORD.” (2 Chronicles 24:20-21); “From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.” (Luke 11:51)

3. John the Baptist – “And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison,” (Mark 6:27)

4. Stephen – “Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. (Acts 7:57-58)

5. James – ” And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.” (Acts 12:2)

Also remember – God watched His own Son die at the age of 33.

B. To save them from them evil to come – “The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.” (Isaiah 57:1-2) God knows the future. We do not. Some times, to save someone fro something evil, God – in His love – relocated them to Heaven. This great act of love on God’s part is often hard to understand for humans looking at the situation from this side. I have seen instances where innocent babies were born to sick, addicted, abusive parents and were murdered by them or taken by SIDS. I believe that God rescues those babies from a horrendous life of pain and heartache, that He knew they would not be strong enough to endure.

C. To be closer to God – “And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.” (Genesis 5:22-24). It appears that the birth of his son, Methuselah, caused Enoch to draw close to God. The birth of a child often “jolts” an adults from lethargy into reality. Enoch was about 65 years old when his son was born. This caused Enoch to grow close to God and walk with Him for the next 300 years.

“By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:5-6) Enoch had a testimony! He pleased God and God took him. Enoch did not die, but he is an example to us that God sometimes takes younger people to Himself. Death is not a penalty for the one walking righteously. It is a reward!

English: Jesus ascending to heaven

“For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Philippians 1:21); “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:” (Philippians 1:23) “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:8); “Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.” (Psalms 116:15)

Most people in Enoch’s day lived to be 900 years old. Enoch was translated to Heaven at the age of 365. He only lived about 40% of his life. That would be like a man today living to the age of 30. Missionary David Brainerd only lived to be 29, but his life still influences missionaries today, 200 years later. The closer to God on earth, the closer to God in Heaven. Sometimes God loves fellowship with someone so much that the only way it can be closer is for God to take that person to Heaven. Such is the example of Enoch.

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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Doctrine of Death – Part 2

III. Who Has the Power of Death?

Rubens Last Judgment (detail) 1617

A. God has the power to put to death – “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matthew 10:28); God has appointed that every person die and be judges someday. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:” (Hebrews 9:27); “Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:31)

B. The devil has the power of death – “Forasmuch 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;” (Hebrews 2:14)

When the Lord puts someone to death, it is because of His righteous judgment and the guilt of their sin: “Righteous art thou, O LORD, and upright are they judgments.” (Psalms 119:137); “And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.” (Revelation 16:7); “For true and righteous are his judgments: …” (Revelation 19:2a)

When the devil kills, it is because he is a heartless murderer. One of his greatest lusts is to kill. “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, …” (John 8:44a)

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

Satan is the tempter behind wars, drunk driving deaths, abortions, murders, intentional starvation, genocide, homicide, ethnic cleansing, etc.

C. Man (appointed government) has the power of death – Though no man should be a murderer, mankind – in the sense of government ordained by God – must execute capital punishment upon the guilty. “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:6) Dare I say, it there was more capital punishment, perhaps there would be less murder.

“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.” (Romans 13:1-5)

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.:” (1 Peter 2:13-14)

Even Jesus submitted to the Roman government in regards to capital punishment though He was an innocent man. John 19:10-11 “Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.”

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2013 in God's Truth

 

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