Tuesday, May 30, 2017



“But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” 1 Peter 4:7, 8, 10

That may be literally translated, “The many-colored grace of God.” This fisherman, this practical soul, this man who stood in perpetual contrast to the dreamers, said one of the most poetic things about grace. The practical man became a poet. Grace made him a poet. When I read this, the word arrested me, and I thought that I remembered that Peter had used it before. At the beginning of the letter I found it. Many-colored temptations. Over against that, at the close of the letter, he put many-colored grace. Now where are my artist friends? I want them to think that out, and tell us all it means. I have seen some wonderful colors shining in and through it. Many-colored temptations. The yellow temptation of jealousy. The red temptation of passion. Many-colored grace. Heavenly blue shining down upon the yellow. Now, let the artists tell us what happens. When the blue falls upon the yellow we have the green of perfect earthly peace. When the heavenly blue shines on the red of earthly passion, what happens? Then appears the purple of priesthood and of royalty. Many-colored grace falling upon many-colored temptations; transmuting the yellow and the red into the green and the purple by the infinite mystic witchery of heaven’s transfiguring love. Grace is the eternal rainbow of hope across all the arching blackness of the darkest day.

Monday, May 29, 2017



“And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:31

This statement runs counter to most popular human conceptions, and yet is vindicated by persistent human experience. We are constantly in danger of thinking that faith can be compelled by what we describe as the supernatural, and therefore we are forever desirous that something spectacular, weird, out of the common, should happen. We argue that if something transpires which men cannot explain, they will be persuaded to believe. This is what our Lord superlatively denies in these words. He declares that the sacred writings are in themselves as powerful as anything like the delivery of their message by one risen from the dead. The only thing that can inspire faith is truth, and truth is not made more powerful when it is proclaimed in some way which is beyond human explanation. From Him men were always asking signs, which He refused to give, and now you know the reason.
Whereas, stated thus, we may be in doubt as to the correctness of the statement; an appeal to human experience vindicates the truth of the declaration. Under stress of fear or of wonder, produced by such mysterious things, men do experience certain emotions and sensations of the soul which may be mistaken for conviction. But they are transient, and with the passing of the first surprise these things cease and leave no permanent results. It is the Truth which makes free; and the Truth alone is able to inspire living faith.
The purpose of the signs, miracles and wonders were made to the nation of Israel who was awaiting for their Messiah Who was sent to establish the Kingdom of God here on this earth. These signs verified the messenger and his message. The qualifying factor was for the nation as a whole to believe in the Sent One from heaven and one day they shall (Rom. 11:26).
The purpose of a sign is to point. <signs> point Acts 2:43; 2 Cor 12:12; Mark 16:20; Heb. 2:4; John 5:20. Such was the case of all in the Bible. Israel as a whole failed to receive and understand the very apparent signs being performed before their eyes (Rom. 11:8). The blind were made to see, the lame walked, all manner of sicknesses, infirmities and illnesses were eradicated and still the nation sent Him to the cross. In Acts we see the Apostolic age coming to an end with the end of the signs, miracles and wonders. In Acts 5:16 every one of the sick who were brought from various cities to Jerusalem were healed by the apostles. Twenty-five years later we find the greatest of all the apostles being denied his own earnest prayer for a well body (2 Cor. 12:7-9). And as we near the end, we hear him advising Timothy to take a little wine for his often infirmities (1 Tim. 5:23). Still later we learn that he has left another beloved worker sick at Miletim (2 Tim. 4:20).
No witnesses die in early acts. Then Stephen is killed (Acts 7:54-59). A little later James dies by the sword of Herod (Acts 12:1-2).
After Stephen-never again any record of a public miracle in that city called the city of the Great King.
At the beginning and through history of Acts there was special miraculous gifts by which divine revelation was channeled to man; these were named by Paul as knowledge, prophecy, and tongues (1 Cor. 12:8-10); but in the same context he warns that they will cease (1 Cor. 13:8). The permanent things will be faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 12:13).
There are a few people who argue that such miracles are still present in the life of the Christian community. Some of these are sincere, doubtless, in their determination to see what they wish to see; just as there are other people who are blind to the things they do not wish to see. These are problems for psychological rather than historical investigations.

FAITH HEALING is for those who think faith will command healing. Whatever the label on the package, the product inside is the same old satanic ploy: "The answer is within ourselves.” We can "do it" if we only learn the "laws" and "principles" that apply and put them into operation by "faith." The goal is always to reward "self" in some way. This teaching is spreading that we don't ask God but command Him to give us all that is our Divine right to possess and enjoy. And to whatever extent we seek our own will, pander to our self-centered desires, unwilling to wholly surrender to God's will, is the extent we exalt ourselves to the position of God's.
                To make freedom from suffering contingent wholly upon the exercise of faith and to think God would withhold health for no other reason than the frailty of the sufferer's faith is in my mind to come seriously near to blasphemy.
4 Examples against the modern teaching of faith healing. See James 5:13 for the Biblical method and possibility of healing--the anointing with oil. Remember, Paul was denied.
1). Paul prayed 3 times for a healing but was told that grace was available so that he could endure that which would allow him to stay humble from those things which he had seen. He could not afford to be rid of his cross. He discovered that the very cross he wished to escape was of value and he could not afford to be rid of. He did not say that he endured and bore it but that he took pleasure in it. This was a change from complaint and petition to a song of triumph in its midst. This is something well beyond the experience of a man who is thankful because God helped him bear that which he could not. See 2 Cor 12:7-10.
2). Timothy was told to drink wine for his infirmities because Paul could not heal him. See 1 Tim 5:23.
3). Lazarus was dead and could not exert any faith. See John 11:14.
4). Ten lepers were healed but only one had faith. See Luke 17:17.

NOTE: Signs pointing
Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
2 Cor. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.
Mark 16:20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Heb. 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?
John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that Himself does: and He will show him greater works than these, that ye may marvel.

Sunday, May 28, 2017



“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

The promise of healing in this passage applies only to the special case of one whose sins have brought about the Lord’s chastening in the form of sickness. The word “sick” in this verse means “ill.” In James 5:13, on the other hand, the word “afflicted” means “suffering trouble” (same as in James 5:10; also, the same as “endure hardness” in 2 Tim. 2:3; see also 2 Tim. 2:9 and 4:5). In such a case of affliction in a believer’s life, assuming it is not clearly a specific chastising because of sin, the admonition is: “Let him pray.” The Lord in such cases will answer in whatever way best serves His greater purpose (note Paul’s testimony in 2 Cor. 12:9). In cases of divinely imposed illness, however, when the sick person has injured the body of Christ by his sin (as in 1 Cor. 11:18-34, especially verses 30-31), he must first confess his sin to God and to those injured, as represented by the elders of the church, asking them to pray for him—the initiative coming from him rather than the elders.

There is nothing magical in the anointing oil, of course. It could well have been used as merely a soothing ointment to alleviate the suffering (note Isa. 1:6; Mark 6:13; Luke 10:34). The oil was merely a spiritual symbol, representing God’s hoped-for anointing of the sick person by the Holy Spirit, in order to bring him back to active service for the Lord. This symbol recalled how priests and kings had been anointed in ancient Israel, symbolizing their divine call to service.

Saturday, May 27, 2017



“Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.” Heb. 13:20-21

This is the ultimate prayer of the writer of this wonderful letter, on behalf of those for whom he had been setting forth the glories and perfections of God's speech to men through the Son. The verb, to make perfect, here, is not the one employed usually in reference to the perfecting of the saints. It is one that suggests the bestowment of complete equipment, the making fit; and here, as so constantly, the reason for the fitness, the purpose of the equipment, is the doing of His will, which includes "every good thing" as a means of rendering service. It is to that end that God forever speaks to men. In times past He had spoken to the fathers through the prophets, and by His Word they had received the promises; and believing them, they had served their generation by the will of God. Now He speaks through the Son more completely, yea finally, and that still in order that in Him the message may prevail in making those who hear it fit for all life and service. In this connection, therefore, He refers to God as "the God of Peace." He is in Himself the God of Peace. It is only as men hear His word and live by it, that they can know peace. His final word to men came through His Son, Who is the Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd, Who gathers the sheep into the fold and leads them in the way of peace. This He does through the blood of the eternal covenant, and by God's raising of Him from the dead. In Him the God of Peace perfectly equips all believing souls, so that each may confidently say-
I nothing lack if I am His
And He is mine forever.

Notice that the power that is to sanctify me is the power that brought again the Lord Jesus from among the dead. The one impossible thing in all the ages was the resurrection of a man from the dead, but the whole fabric of Christianity rests upon it, and the one stupendous power that brought Him from the dead is the power that is to bring about my sanctification and my perfection. It is dependent not upon my poor miserable attempts, but upon the force of God who brought from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ. If God can resurrect Jesus from the grave then it is here seen to be also able to perfect me and that for doing good works. Mary was taught that God's glory is to resurrect a dead man (her brother Lazarus) making him perfect in health and able to perfect his works and that will be shown again at the resurrection of those who was involved in 7 years of great tribulation.

Friday, May 26, 2017



“And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” Heb. 9:22

Many liberal theologians (and a growing number of evangelicals) argue that references to “the shedding of blood” are merely metaphorical, the essential point being that a sacrificial death has occurred. Thus, they say, it was Christ’s death for our sins that was the redemption price for our salvation, not His blood—which, after all, was just a fluid, no different after being shed than before. The fact is, however, that there are many ways a man (or a sacrificial animal) may die, but mere death is not enough. “The life of the flesh is in the blood” (Lev. 17:11) and “without shedding of blood is no remission.” No other type of death could purchase our salvation. Therefore, “we have redemption through His blood” (Eph. 1:7), He “made peace through the blood” (Col. 1:20), He “washed us from our sins in His own blood” (Rev. 1:5), and we are now justified “through faith in His blood” (Rom. 3:25).
Thus, without the shedding of Christ’s blood, there can be no salvation. It is conceivable that He could have died in other ways, but remission of our sins required not just His death, but death through the shedding of His precious blood (1 Pet. 1:19).

Another way to say is this; redemption is only possible by blood. The writer of the letter to the Hebrews gathered up the whole message of the Levitical economy in the words, "Apart from shedding of blood there is no remission." The shedding of blood is life given up. It is necessary to make this statement emphatically, because it is now sometimes asked whether it is not permissible to say that we are saved by life, rather than by blood, seeing that the old economy declared that "the blood is the life!" While that is perfectly true, it would still be utterly false to say that the teaching of Leviticus is that a man is saved by life. It teaches rather that he can only be saved by life given up, given up through suffering, not by blood, but by blood-shedding. The ancient symbolism was indeed awful and appalling, but the final weight of awe and horror ought to be that of the sin which made such symbolism necessary, in order to teach its real meaning to God. There are those who speak of the doctrine of salvation by the shedding of blood as being objectionable and vulgar. The shedding of blood is objectionable; it is awful, it is dastardly; but it is the ultimate expression of the activity of sin; and the whole meaning of the appalling truth is that sin, in the universe, touches the very life of God with wounding.

Thursday, May 25, 2017



“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Heb. 8:6

The outstanding word here is the word "covenant," for it includes everything which accrues to the believer through the priesthood of Jesus. The writer had employed it once before (Heb. 7:22). Now he turned back to it, and from this point it constantly recurs to the end of the letter. It is important that we should recognize its real value. The Latin Vulgate invariably renders the word testamentum, and our Revisers always marginally suggest testament as an alternative rendering. This is suggestive, and indeed important. When we employ the word covenant, we think of a contract, into which two parties have entered, and which involves obligations and responsibilities on both sides, and all this is true in the use of the word in this connection. But the idea is not that of a covenant made after discussion, or by mutual concession and arrangement. 
A covenant is literally a testament, or disposition made by one, in the making of which the other is not consulted, but the benefits of which that other can only appropriate as he fulfills the terms laid down by the one. Our modern word "will" exactly conveys the idea. The covenant between God and man which Christ Jesus has mediated is the disposition of God on behalf of man, the benefits of which man can only appropriate as he obeys the terms of that testament or disposition. To put the truth somewhat roughly, and perhaps, therefore, all the more forcefully-the better covenant is not one arrived at after bargaining with God. It is all of His grace. There are no "if's" in this covenant. This one is "unconditional."  This covenant allows the priests to do their service under grace instead of under law. This changes everything. We serve under His authority, His priests, with His Spirit within us, with His promise of security in the holies of holies.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017



“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” Heb. 4:14

With these words the writer began his more careful consideration of Jesus as the High Priest of our confession and as he did so, he employed the word "great." To the Hebrew mind the phrase "High Priest" in itself expressed the highest form of priestly service; it was the ultimate word. This phrase is still further strengthened by the word "great." Jesus is not merely a priest; He is the High Priest, and in that He is great, His priestly work and position are characterized by the utmost finality. This greatness is here described in one way. He has "passed through the heavens." The statement is far stronger than it would be if it read "passed into the heavens." It helps us to think of Him as entering into the place of closest nearness to God in His priestly position. No lower heaven, however exalted is the place of His work. Through all heavens He passed to that which in some sense is beyond the heavens, to the very place and being of God Himself. Moreover, the phrase is inclusive of His coming to us as well as to His going to God, He passed through the heavens to come to man, into closest identification; and having accomplished His purposes there He passed through the heavens to go to God, into closest identification. The same thought is found in Paul's letter to the Eph. 4:9-10: "Now this, He ascended, what it is but that He also descended into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended far . . . that He might fill all things."
And so our prayers reach the listening ears of the Father Who is closest identification with His Son. Listen to Solomon in the OT as he attempted to consider the greatness of God in 2 Chron. 6:20

“That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.” Solomon in this great prayer of dedication, revealed his true understanding of the greatness of God, as he said: "Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built?" Realizing the inadequacy of any houses built by man to contain God he uttered this suggestive and beautiful petition that the watching eyes of God might ever rest upon the house he had built. It was the place where God had said He would put His name. It was the place to which the people would go to offer their petitions, in the regular exercises of worship, in special seasons of need through sin, in battle, in drought, in famine. The vision of the king created his prayer. He saw the Temple perpetually watched by the eyes of God, so that whatever worshipers approached they were seen by the God Whose help they sought. That this might be so, he prayed. It was a figure of speech but one full of suggestive beauty. For us, the great ideal has found perfect fulfillment through "Jesus the Son of God," Who has "passed through the heaven"; "now to appear before the face of God for us." We "draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace," (Heb 4:13-16) and we do so in Him, the Beloved. The eyes of God are always upon Him in satisfaction and delight; and so in our approach we are always seen, but we are seen in Him, and so accepted.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017



“{For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.” Heb. 3:4

By the universal scientific law of cause and effect, it is obvious that a house must have been “caused” by a builder of the house. But that builder must have been “caused” by his parents and his education, etc. And so on. Every effect must have a cause. But ultimately there must either be an infinite string of secondary causes (and what caused that?) or an uncaused First Cause. The latter is far more reasonable. Thus, the “Builder” of “all things is God!”

 built all things. From Heb. 3:3, it is evident that Christ is the builder of the cosmic house; from this verse, therefore, it follows that Christ is God. He is the one who created and made all things (Col. 1:16; John 1:3).

Monday, May 22, 2017



“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren.” Rom. 8:29

An initial thing of the Christian experience. Take that simple little passage out of the great paragraph, a paragraph full of mystery and yet full of revelation, a paragraph in which the apostle is showing the "original thought and intention of God in the work of His Son", a passage in which occur the words that still fill us with fear as we attempt interpretation of them, the words “foreordained” and “elect.” The fore ordination is not to salvation but to character, “foreordained to be conformed to the image of His Son.” That is the will of God. A great deal has been lost in our own Christian thinking and in our own Christian life by treating the initial things of Christian experience as though they were the final things, by not getting far enough back in our endeavor to understand the real purpose of God in the mission of Jesus and the work of Christ. Therefore not the cause but the intention. Men do not think that way.

“For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.” Heb. 2:11

His original intent and not the cause as Rom. 1:29 states. It was pre-eminently the life of a Son of God and not only of a righteous man; of a Son ever rejoicing before the Father, His whole being filled with filial love and obedience, peace and joy. In ways God ward and man ward, in self-denial and in full surrender to His Father's will, in hatred of sin and in grace to sinners, in purity of heart and forgiveness of injuries, in gentleness and all condescension, in restful yet ceaseless service, in unity of purpose and faultless obedience-in a word, in all excellencies and graces, in all virtues and beauties of the Spirit, in light and in love, the Lord Jesus set forth, the mold and substance of the life spiritual, divine, eternal.

Sunday, May 21, 2017



“THOU HAST PUT ALL THINGS IN SUBJECTION UNDER HIS FEET." For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.” Heb. 2:8

Without sealing with the full purpose or intention of the writer's argument, it is evident that he intends to declare, that while man as he is today has failed to realize the Divine intention, this Man was an exception to the general failure, in that He perfectly realized it. To Him all things were in subjection. He was Master of the fish of the sea, and knew where to find them, when the disciples had been baffled in their all-night fishing. He understood the habits of the birds of the heavens, and drew some of His sweetest lessons from them. The very beasts of the field recognized His Lordship. Of this there is a glimpse in the account of the temptation as chronicled by Mark, "He was with the wild beasts;" (Mark 1:13) the preposition used indicating close contact, and therefore also suggesting that He was unharmed by them. He was indeed God's perfect Man, having dominion over the things of His Father's creation.
Man has not yet mastered the earth and creation that he has been given dominion over in Gen 1:26-27. He can tame it, and he can slay it, but he cannot rule it. Man is mastered by creation, struggling with it. And why has the earth not been subjected? Because man has lost his power to rule, because man has lost his sonship, because man has lost his sense of the absolute sovereignty of God. Man might be in the image of God yet but he has lost the likeness. Why has he lost the resemblance? Because he has lost the relationship. Man today is not kingly. His lusts prove it. What are lusts? Panting, passionate desire. Lust is the panting, passionate cry for something that never comes. That is not kingly. Wars do not demonstrate kingliness, they demonstrate man's inability to be kingly. Man try to grab scepters by war. Why did Pilate come asking Jesus concerning His kingship? And why did Peter cut off the ear of the soldier? Why did Christ tell Peter to put away the sword and heal the ear of the soldier? Man is weak because he is living wholly within the realm of the material. He has lost his vision, his sense of God. Man is enslaved and an uncrowned king. We see not yet all things subjected to him. But we see Jesus! Seas, He could walk on them! Bread, He could make a whole crowd be fed from a few loaves and fishes. The fruit of the vine, He could supply enough for a wedding feast! Forty days in the wilderness and He comes out pure and undefiled with the beasts!
But here is the mystery! For He was crowned with glory and honor in order that He might die!

But wise men submit to both His words that by grace He speaks to men and His rule which leads to life eternal John 13:13.

Saturday, May 20, 2017



“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” Heb. 1:1-2

From the introductory sentences of this great writing, we have taken out the principal words. They need, of course, all the qualifying words by which they are surrounded in order to the full understanding of their meaning but in themselves they reveal the fundamental truths with which the writing deals. The first fact is God. Without definition, or argument, or apology of any kind, the writer names God. The fact that the writing was for Hebrews shows that he accepted the Hebrew conception of God. All that had been revealed by the names and titles, the Law, the Prophets, and the history, was included. The second fact is that God does reveal Himself. He speaks to men; He makes known His will. These are the foundation truths of our religion. If we are not sure of these, we are sure of nothing. In the process of His dealings with men, He has proved Himself, by revealing Himself; and the nature of the revelation has proved it to be of God. Then the statement shows us the interrelationship between the past and the present. He did speak in the past, particularly, progressively, in divers portions and manners, as men were prepared to receive. He has now spoken fully, finally, in His Son; and men will progressively apprehend the meaning of this final speech, but they will never exhaust it. Moreover, the interrelation is part of one whole. Having spoken as He did in the past, it was necessary and possible for Him to speak in His Son. It was necessary, for all that He had said was incomplete. It was possible, and apart from the first partial messages, the full and final message would have been incomprehensible. Thus we see the wisdom and perfection of the Divine Revelation.

Friday, May 19, 2017



“……..showing all good faith that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect.”  Titus 2:10

Here are two ideas which flash with a surprising brilliance. The first is that the doctrine of God our Savior can be adorned; and the second is that those who are spoken of as able to do it are slaves. Perhaps we shall understand the first better, if we begin with the second. The word servants here are distinctly the word for slaves, and it may better be conceived that the conditions of slaves in Crete, where Titus was laboring, were of the worst. Paul had already said that the testimony of one of their own prophets was true that the Cretans were liars, evil beasts, and gluttons. Slavery in a society of such must have been a terrible thing. Among these slaves there were some who were saints, and these were declared able in the very life of slavery, to "adorn the doctrine." Moreover, the Apostle had declared how they would do it. It would be done by subjection to their masters; by seeking to be well-pleasing by not gainsaying; by honesty, by faithfulness; in short, by such action in difficult circumstances as to win from their very masters a recognition of their goodness. Thus we see how "the doctrine of God our Savior" may "be adorned." It is adorned when its effects on life and character are expressed in conduct. To be true and gentle and faithful in circumstances that are hard and unfair, and even unjust, is only possible in the power of some great spiritual conviction, and the value of such spiritual conviction is revealed in such conduct.

Thursday, May 18, 2017



“To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.” Titus 1:15

These words closely follow a reference to "Jewish fables, and commandments of men," and this fact helps us to understand them. The whole system of living by tradition was unutterably evil, and our Lord Himself and His Apostles protested against it. Such traditions constantly led men to a burdensome life in that they made actions to be sins which were not sins, and left the truly sinful things of the inner life untouched. It is so even today. Manmade regulations as to what men may do or not do are the greatest enemies to real spiritual life that it is possible to conceive. These words, then, touch the true deep note about life. The "all things" refers to everything which is non-moral; such as appetite and food, desire and marriage, exchange and commerce, weariness and recreation, and so on through all the varied realm of life. To the pure all these things are pure, and they will be maintained in purity. To the impure, every one of them may be made the vehicle and occasion of impurity. No traditions, no commandments of men, no rules and regulations, can save the ordinary things of human life from positive obscenity, if the man handling them is himself as impure man. On the other hand, the man who is pure may enter into them all, and not only will he not be defiled by them, but will not defile them; he will hold them in pureness. To all of which the words of Jesus testify, that not what goeth into a man defileth, but that which cometh out of him. Their words reveal their condition and only those that follow Truth Himself see and hear the obvious.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017



“But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” 2 Tim. 4:5

That was the very last word of Paul in the nature of a charge to Timothy concerning his responsibilities as a minister of Christ. He emphasized it by some great words concerning his own ministry. Afterwards, he gave him certain charges of a personal nature, but on that high note he ended so far as Timothy's responsibilities io his Lord concerning the Truth and the Church were concerned. It was a call to make full proof of his service, that is, so to discharge it that there could be no question as to its authenticity. It is a great word, and all those called to serve Christ, in whatever capacity, do well to take heed of it. How often our service is unequal! Sometimes it begins well, and then it wilts, it slackens, it evaporates. Sometimes it is characterized by irregularities occasioned by yielding to the insidious forces that are forever the enemies of constant and consistent endeavor. Paul dared to refer to his own example. He was nearing the end, but looking back he could say, "I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course, I have kept the faith." What a glorious ending to a life of service. Well may we earnestly desire so to finish. But the finishing depends upon the way of the going. In words immediately preceding this final injunction, the Apostle had revealed the secrets of obedience: "Be tbou sober in all things; suffer hardship; do the work of an evangelist." These words need no interpretation, but they demand careful thought. The last charge: "Do the work of an evangelist," may not be for us all, but the former two: "Be sober in all things," and "Suffer hardship," are for everyone.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017



“For this reason I endure all things for the sake of those who are chosen, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus and with it eternal glory.” 2 Tim. 2:10

The Scriptures in a very natural way combine the doctrines of divine election and human responsibility, apparently not concerned with the problem this would later seem to pose to generations of theologians. Paul was willing to suffer countless difficulties and persecutions so that the elect might hear and believe and receive the salvation for which they already had been chosen by God before the world began. The apparent paradox is only resolved in terms of the infinite mind and ability of the Creator. We may not be able to understand how both can be true, just as we cannot see both sides of a coin at the same time. However, both sides are real, and both doctrines are true. We can believe and rejoice in both truths, even though we don’t yet comprehend how each supports the other.
His pre-determined choice of Israel. "For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” Deut. 7:6

Here the choices are seen to be for the effects produced after the choices were made by God. So it is always for the effect caused and not the cause itself. We don’t see pre-determination as God does. Therefore He says our ways and thoughts are not His ways and thoughts. How true, even as in our thinking.

Monday, May 15, 2017



"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! "For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, 'BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD!'" Matt. 27:37-39

The King's Final Lament over Jerusalem
                In this brief and moving lament our Lord presents in summary the entire history of Israel, past and future, in relation to the Mediatorial Kingdom of God on earth. It is, in fact, a philosophy of all human history. The God of history is here, the eternal and incarnate Son, whose hand is always present in the affairs of men: "How often would I," He identifies Himself. The grand purpose of history is here: to gather sinners beneath the wings of God. The tragedy of history is here in the words: "Ye would not." By reason of the precious but perilous gift of freedom, man is able to say "No" to God. But the triumph of history is also here: for the nation which killed the Prince of life will someday greet Him as the Blessed One who comes "in the name of the Lord." But now, viewing the words of Christ in their more specific and immediate reference to Israel, we shall consider several things.
                First, it is no longer only the Pharisees and scribes, but "Jerusalem" and her "children," which are the objects of His concern. This hallowed name not only pointed to the center of the ancient Theocratic Kingdom in the highest flower of its historic glory, but was a symbol of the total nation; for, as Lange observes, "All Israelites were children of Jerusalem." This city which should have been a blessing to all. nations is now designated as the habitual murderess of the prophets and the stoner of the messengers of God (Matt 23:37). And she was about to climax the long history of iniquity with the murder of her own divine King.
                Second, in the words, "How often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings", Christ reveals Himself as the God of Israel who, through the centuries of Old Testament history and to that present hour, had striven for the good of the nation, and through Israel for the ultimate good of all mankind. Alford agrees that "our Lord's words embrace the whole time comprised in the historic survey of Matt. 23:35."
                The beautiful figure of the sheltering wings is often used in the Old Testament of Jehovah's care: "He shall cover thee with his feathers and under his wings shalt thou trust" (Psa. 91:4). And the idea may have been associated with the cherubim of the tabernacle that covered "the mercy seat with their wings" (Exod. 25:20). It was there that God as the Protector of Israel was manifested in His Glory and communed with His people. The ancient Rabbins often used the figure of a bird's wings to picture the shelter of the Shekinah-Glory. Christ's use of the figure may, therefore, be intended to remind Israel that He had come to offer once more in His own Person the protecting divine Glory that had departed from the temple and city when the Theocratic Kingdom ended with the Babylonian captivity. Lange speaks of the figure as something that "signifies that He would have taken Jerusalem under the protection of His Messianic glory, if it had turned to Him in time."
                Third, the words "Ye would not" bear clear witness to the moral freedom and responsibility of the nation. What they did, in rejecting the King, they were free and bound morally not to do. Commenting on the clause, the learned Philip Schaff has said that these words "are important for the doctrine of the freedom and responsibility of man which must not be sacrificed to, but combined with, the opposite, though by no means contradictory doctrine of the absolute sovereignty and eternal decrees of God." And he further quotes with approval the comment of Alford: "The tears of our Lord over the perverseness of Jerusalem are witnesses of the freedom of man's will to resist the grace of God." This means, if words mean anything, that if Israel's rejection of the King was morally genuine, so also must the offer have been. And we must not overlook the tense chosen by our Lord in referring to Israel's decision: it is an aorist, showing that the act was regarded as past and done.
                Fourth, the judgment of Matt 23:38, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate," must refer primarily to the temple, for the lament of Matt. 23:37-39 is followed immediately by the statement, "And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple" (Matt. 24:1). But we must not exclude the city and the nation itself (Acts 15:16; Isa 18:2, 7; James 1:1; 1 Pet 1:1); for the temple was the center of the theocratic nation. In the historical kingdom the visible presence of Jehovah had been manifested in the temple. And from the precincts of the temple the Shekinah-Glory had gone forth in token of the end of that kingdom (Ezek. 9:3; Ezek. 11:23). Now once again for a brief season, the Glory of God in the Person of the Messianic King had been present in the temple (Luke 19:47; John 12:41). But the nation had rejected Him; and as He leaves this temple, it is no longer named "my house" (Matt. 21:13) but "your house" (Matt. 23:38). Ichabod. And by reason of His rejection and withdrawal, Israel's house is left "desolate." With a proper feeling for the historical importance of our Lord's word and action, Lange remarks, "The word marks the moment at which Jesus leaves the temple, and leaves it for a sign that it was abandoned by the Spirit of the theocracy." A. T. Robertson speaks of it as "a tragic moment." The desolation, thus inaugurated by our Lord's judicial departure, will reach its dreadful climax in something named by Him "the abomination of desolation" (Matt. 24:15), when the Jewish temple will once more have a regal occupant this time, Satan's own great pretender and usurper whose presence there will loose upon the nation its most terrible "time of trouble" (Matt. 24:21-22; 2 Thess. 2:3-4).
                Fifth, the light of divine hope mercifully relieves the darkness of judgment in our Lord's lament. For the nation that is left "desolate" will some day acclaim the same rejected King with joyous cry, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Matt. 23:39). These words cannot refer to any other future time except the Second Advent of Christ and the conversion of Israel. In this final and "exquisite" utterance of our Lord, therefore, we have the inspired refutation of the modern and popular theory that God is done with the nation of Israel. Covenant Theology. For the day will come when Israel shall it no more be termed "Forsaken," and her land shall no more "be termed Desolate" (Isa. 62:4).
                But between the Lord's historic abandonment of Israel's "house" and the glad day of His return, there will be an interval of time. Two conditions will characterize this interval: first, the Messianic King will be absent - "Ye shall not see me"; and, second, the desolations of Israel will continue without relief - "your house is left unto you desolate." The interval will end with the second advent of Messiah and the conversion of the nation - "till ye shall say, Blessed is be that cometh." In the guarded language of divine inspiration, however, the length of the interval is left wholly indeterminate. But there is no intimation that the end might not come within the lifetime of the generation to which He spoke: "Ye shall not see me ... till ye shall say. . . ." (Matt. 23:38-39).

Sunday, May 14, 2017



“Who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.” 1 Tim. 6:16

unapproachable light The UNSEARCHABLENESS of God includes His understanding (Isa. 40:28), His wisdom and knowledge, truth must be taught by Him, and judgments and ways (Rom. 11:33), and His deeds (Job 5:9). He dwells in light to which no man can approach (1 Tim. 6:16), for no man hath seen God at any time (John 1:18). He had to bring light to us.

immortality Jesus Christ is God and, therefore, is the only one who has intrinsic immortality. However, He assumed human flesh, in order to die as man’s substitute for sin. “I am He that liveth, and was dead;” He says; “and, behold I am alive for evermore” (Rev. 1:18). Since this is Jehovah Who accomplished this feat the witness for Jehovah needs to answer the question "When did Jehovah die?" The answer is hard for them to swallow. Now He “hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:10). Now we can say, with Him: “This mortal must put on immortality” (1 Cor. 15:53).
No man can see God in His essential glory and live (Exod. 33:20; John 1:18). But we shall see Jesus Christ, the Man, in the glory, and live forever (Rev. 21:23; 22:4-5), and that by grace.

light Light is that which penetrates and dispels darkness. The concept of "light" appears numerous times in both the Old and New Testaments. God created light (Gen. 1:3). However, a careful reading of the Scriptures reveals that the physical entity that we call "light" is actually only the second form of light in the universe, since everywhere the Bible declares that God Himself is light. Psalm 27:1 says, "The Lord is my light." In Psalm 104:2, the psalmist testified of the Lord who "covered himself" in light. In John 8:12 Jesus, the God-man, said, "I am the light of the world." Such expressions make at least two things abundantly clear. First, the origin of light rests with God. Second, in some sense God Himself is the very essence of light. Such statements do not suppose that God is light and nothing more, but they do stress that God is the ultimate source of all knowing and understanding. To this end Psalm 119:105 informs us that God's Word is a "light" to one's path. Here the emphasis lies upon perception and understanding gained when darkness is dispelled and light revealed.
    This last concept becomes even clearer in John 3:19; people love darkness better than light, because their deeds are evil. Such statements reveal that the character of light is to reveal and to provide understanding and purity, while the opposite of light or darkness is designed to obscure, to deceive, and to harbor impurity. We see this played out in the political parties around the world.
    A small problem confronts the interpreter who discovers that Jesus said to His disciples in Matt. 5:14, "Ye are the light of the world." Yet in John 8:12, Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." What appears to be a contradiction is not one at all. The moon provides light for the earth just as the sun does. Yet, the actual source of light for both the sun and the moon is the sun. The moon only reflects the light of the sun. By the same token, Jesus, the God-man, is the source of all light. His disciples become reflectors in a darkened world, transmitting through their lives the true light of the eternal Son of God

"Ye are the light of the world." That refers to a spiritual revelation which is to radiate from these subjects of the Kingdom. We are the light of the cosmos, of all the order, not merely of the earth, but of the universe. You minister to the heavenly order also in Ephesians. We remember another occasion when the Master said, "I am the Light of the world." Linking this up with that great full word concerning Himself, we understand when we are yielded to Him, subjects of His Kingdom, obeying Him, then we too become the light of the world, we become His reflectors. The quality of light is not that it desires to be looked at! Light enables other things to be seen by its shining. The sun is in the heaven, not to be looked at, but the sunshine enables us to see other things clearly. "Ye are the light of the world." Let your light so shine that men may glorify your Father. The light of the Christian shining in the world illuminates all the worldly order, so that men see the true way. In this connection two figures are employed by our Lord, "a city set on a hill," and "a lamp . . . on the stand." The city set on a hill is for the illumination of vast distances. No Christian can fulfill that ideal alone. That demands fellowship, a corporate relationship. That demands the whole Church. Every church should be a city set on a hill, illuminating the far expanses of life. Then He came from the figure of the city on a hill into a house, and there took the figure of a lamp stand, illuminating the home, and the near. Inevitably the mind goes back to a word of the psalmist in the Old Testament, (Psa. 119:105) "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, And light unto my path." Keep the figures separate. The light shines from some eminence, indicating the road, the pathway. The light shines on the way to be trodden, so that the way may be found along the illuminated path by the lamp. Thy word, says the psalmist, is a lamp. Each Christian man and woman has to fulfill a double function in the world. The whole Church in its corporate relationship, in the bonds of love, friendship, and service, is to illuminate the distances; and then in the home, with the shut door, the lamp is to illuminate everything there. Christ said here the lamp is not put under a bushel but on a stand. Many years ago a prince of expositors, Dr. Maclaren said this illuminating thing: "No man lights a lamp and puts it under a bushel. If he did, what would happen? Either the bushel would put out the light, or the light would set the bushel on fire!" We can apply that.

Saturday, May 13, 2017



“Which He will bring about at the proper time-- He who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords.” 1 Tim. 6:15

The solitariness of the God of the Bible is awe-inspiring. As a solitary figure He stands alone, no other even remotely like Him. Few there are who are sufficiently familiar with the Bible to bring to the forefront of consciousness the splendors of divine perfections. Yet the Bible is replete with reference to His glory, majesty, power, and lovingkindness, all of which sets Him aside in a class all by Himself. This is the One "who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords; who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light; whom no man has seen or can see" (1 Tim. 6:15-16 NASB).

This One existed in solitary splendor in that period before creation came into being. In the beginning God already existed. "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God" (Psa. 90:2). He was as much God then as now or ever shall be. Even though there was no heaven where God could be localized and His glory manifested, even though there was no earth to serve as His footstool, even though there were no angelic hosts to sound His praises, even though there was no universe to be upheld by the word of His power, even though there were no hosts of humanity upon which to bestow His grace, He was in every sense God.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017



“However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual….As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.” 1 Cor. 15:46, 48

Now the Bible divides all human existence into two stages or kinds: With respect to their nature the one is called "natural," the other “spiritual" (1 Cor. 15:46). As to their context the first is called "earthy," the second "heavenly" (1 Cor. 15:48). As to their duration the first is called "temporal," the second "eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). “while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” As to their time relationship the one is described as "the life that now is," and the other as "that which is to come" (1 Tim. 4:8). “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.”

Monday, May 8, 2017



“And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord.” Eph. 5:18-19

The 1st outcome after being filled with the Spirit in vs. 18 is that of the exercise of praise, which glorifies God. Many churches make the mistake of the “drunk with wine” reaction of the congregation with a music ministry that attempts to incite excitement through a performance instead of bringing out worship from a heart that has already been prepared by the Lord and Master of their life. God has prepared their life to respond in a worshipful service and not a music performance. The Spirit who is their Comforter for their lives and who lives within them will bring out the melody already in their hearts to the Lord.
   “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Col. 3:16
The only additional thought here is, that their psalms and hymns were to be regarded as a method of "teaching" and "admonishing;" that is, they were to be imbued with truth, and to be such as to elevate the mind, and withdraw it from error and sin. Dr. Johnson once said, that if he were allowed to make the ballads of a nation, he cared not who made the laws. It is true, in a more important sense, that he who is permitted to make the hymns of a church and the method of song presentation need care little who preaches, or who makes the creed. He will more effectually mould the sentiments of a church than they who preach or make creeds and confessions. Hence, it is indispensable, in order to the preservation of the truth, that the sacred songs of a church should be imbued with sound evangelical sentiment. Song presentation is not to be a performance but a worship experience. Here again Jesus is to be the Teacher and Lord of His church John 13:13.
The Bible mentions many instruments in the many verses that speak of music and the singers as well as the instruments used. And churches make the mistake of limiting the ability for the singer to actually worship with the music by the limitation of the style the music and the method of the presentation. Too many sit or stand without the wanting to join in the music as it is presented for them to join. See 1 Chron 25 to see that David was extremely careful to ensure that all might join in the singing in the sacred service of praise in the House of God. The Christian church sings. It is not a choral society. Its singing is not a concert. But from inner, material necessity it sings. Singing is the highest form of human expression. Too many churches have went to concert style presentation which leaves part of the congregation silent instead of joining. The pastor needs to pay attention to witness if many or any in his flock are not participating in that which is necessary for their hearts to express worship to their Lord and Master. The congregation is always the primary choir. The role of professional or volunteer choirs and musicians is to aid the whole people of God in their worship. While anthems or vocal and instrumental solos may be offered, they do not have to be. Congregational singing, however, is essential. While it is possible to be actively engaged in worship and in prayer while listening to an anthem or solo, a diet of worship which does not regularly include ample opportunity for all the members of the congregation to join in song will be impoverished worship, and the life of the church and the faith of its people will suffer. Bands that are performing are not the choice of a thriving church.
Psalm 95:1
Ephesians 5:19
Hebrew 2:12
Psalm 71:23
Exodus 15:1
Psalm 105:2
Psalm 49:4
Psalm 101:1
Psalm 150:1-5
Colossians 3:16
Psalm 98:1-7
Revelation 14:3-4
Psalm 135:3
Amos 6:5
Psalm 57:7
2 Chronicles 5:13
Psalm 40:3

1 Chronicles 25

Sunday, May 7, 2017



“He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first-born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything.” Col. 1:18

Christ is the Head of the church - His Church. In several ways the Bible makes it clear that Christ Himself is the administrative Head, the One responsible for the building, growth, program, governing, and evaluating of the Church. From Matt. 16:18, "I will build My church," through Paul's epistles, 1 Cor. 12 (the Church is His body), Eph.1:22, 4:15, Col. 1:18, 2:19 (Christ is the Head of that body), and climaxing in the dramatic picture of Rev. 1 (Christ standing in the midst of the lamp stands representing the churches, examining their works, issuing admonitions and orders along with praises and promises), this portrayal of His authority and control is beyond question. Christ is running His Church. He states He is in no need of leaders in Matt. 23:10, for in His estimation there is only One, only servants which He calls His friends in John 15:15. How does He lead His church? When He was here on earth with those who were to become the church, His leadership and administration were direct. He personally gave the orders and made the decisions. Now that He is no longer present in the flesh, by what means or mechanism does He run His church? The specific aspect of this question we want to explore in this article may be seen by stating the problem a bit differently. Does Christ accomplish His rule over the church by means of specially authorized human agents (i.e., by elders)? Or does He direct His church by means of a democratic congregational organization of all the members of the body – congregational rule? The answer is congregational rule through His gifted friends.
HOW HE GIFTS -  When the disciples began to realize that they were going to be left alone without the immediate presence of Christ to guide, their response was fear and uncertainty. Jesus knew their anxiety, and He spent much of the time in those last days encouraging and instructing them. He knew what they needed to know (much better than they did) and He taught them what they should know to face the changed conditions which were coming. So looking at what He taught them ought to help us to understand what He considered important about the changed situation. What did Jesus talk about with His disciples that last night in the upper room?
  He said, "I am going away, but I am not abandoning you." John 14:1-3, 18-20, 23; 16:16-22. In many of these words He seems to be promising them the spiritual presence of Himself and of the Father during the interval when they do not see Him in physical presence.
  Especially, He said, "When I go away I will send Another (One who will be your comforter, helper, advocate as I have been)" John 14:16-17, 25-26; 15:26; 16:7-11, 13-15. The indwelling Holy Spirit will be the presence of Christ in the believers. After His resurrection He renewed the promise (John 20:22), and instructed His followers (Luke 24:46-49) to wait in Jerusalem for its fulfillment at Pentecost. Then in the great commission He reassured them, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (Matt. 28:20).
  This promise that Christ would send Another to take His place while He was absent is most significant to the problem we are looking at. How will Christ run the church when He is not Himself physically present? He will do it through the agency of His Counterpart, the Holy Spirit. "He will take the things of Mine (including My running the church) and reveal them unto you." With His presence and ministry, it is if I were still here.
Many Scriptures emphasize the close relation between the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the church. Repeatedly we are told that Christ would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 11:16). That promise was fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 1:5, 8; 2:4, 16-17, 33,  38) and this marked the beginning, the birthday of the church. Paul tells us that "we all were baptized into one body with one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13, literal translation; en pneumati: in, with, by means of; not by, in the sense that the Spirit is the agent doing the baptizing; Christ always is the baptizer in Spirit baptism -- look at the subject when the verb is active). Spirit baptism, the act by which Christ introduces us into His body, the church, is the reception of the Holy Spirit, Who enters to indwell the believer and new life is introduced (Rom. 6:3-4). “….we also should walk in newness of life.”
  The implication of this teaching for our present discussion is that now Christ rules and directs His church through the instrumentality of the Spirit who indwells us. But, how does the Spirit direct? Is it by elders, or some other officials, who especially are led by the Spirit? Or does He lead by directing the whole body of believers? Do the Scriptures give us any lead as to His method? I believe they do, quite clearly.
  First, there is nothing said in the Scriptures about the elders which indicates that they have any special relationship with the Spirit. Of the 18 references to church elders in the NT, only one (Acts 20:17, cf. v. 28) even has a mention of the Spirit in the context, and that is a reference to how they became elders, not at all to a special provision for their functioning in that capacity.
  Second, it is never said in the NT that an elder is "filled with the Spirit" for his work. The expression "filled with the Spirit" occurs at least 12 times in the NT, usually of some individual (John the Baptist, Zachariah, Elizabeth, Jesus, Peter, Paul), sometimes groups (the seven deacons, the believers in Acts 7:31 and 13:52), "all" (at Pentecost). The significance seems to be a special enabling for the spiritual task at hand. That is precisely the need of the elder if he is to rule or direct the church, but it is never found. (The expression in Eph. 5:18 is an entirely different one from all the rest of these, and are not dealt with in this discussion.)
  Third, the aspect of the Spirit's work when it is related to the church is always His indwelling and therefore is the common experience of every believer, not a work in a special class. The primary passage is 1 Cor. 12. It begins with all believers being baptized into the body by receiving the Spirit, vs.12-13. It continues by showing that many members make up the body, and that the Spirit gives to each of them His own enabling gift. Then it shows that all of those members with their gifts are necessary to the body. There is not a hint that some gifts are of a higher rank, or that some members are more capable of knowing the Spirit's guidance than others.
  Fourth, the Scriptures make it plain that all believers are taught of the Spirit and "know" the truth (1 Cor. 2:9-10, 12, 13, 14-16; keep in mind that the "spiritual man" is not some super-spiritual leader; he is one who has the Spirit, every believer. cf. vs. 12.) Cf. also, 1 John 2:20, 27. These passages of course do not teach that the believer is omniscient, but they do mean that every believer is teachable by the Spirit. There is nothing in Scripture which suggests that there is a select group of spiritual persons who are alone capable of knowing the guidance of the Spirit. The clergy-laity distinction in the church is post Biblical. And 2 Pet. 1:20 does not mean that only priestly or professional people are qualified to interpret Scripture; that was one of the errors of Catholicism.
  Fifth, the epistles of the NT are almost all addressed to churches, and never to a pastor or elder of a specific church. This would be strange if the elder were the administrative head of the church, responsible for making the decisions. It is true that some (Timothy, Titus, 2 and 3 John) are addressed to individuals, and conceivably some of these may have been in fact elders. But they are addressed as individuals, not as officials of local congregations.
  Sixth, the seven letters in Rev. 2 and 3 were addressed to "the angels" of the churches. Opinions disagree whether these angels were "messengers" or elders of the churches, or, more in keeping with the rest of the book, they are to be thought of as literal angels (perhaps guardian angels). The point to be noted, however, is that the messages contained in those letters were not addressed to the angels. The commendations and the criticisms were not about the elder's activities, but rather the characteristics of the whole church. Each of the seven ends with the words "... what the Spirit saith to the churches." Again, this seems strange if the elder is supposed to be the spiritual decision-maker of the church.

  Seventh, an analogy may be seen in the way the Holy Spirit directs in the spiritual life and growth of the individual believer. Does the Spirit guide our individual decisions by telling us to go to some "spiritual leader" and follow His instruction? Or does He guide by leading our thoughts to the Word of God and showing us there what His will is? Of course, the pastor or elder has a part to play; he has the responsibility to teach and influence our decisions by spiritual guidance. But making decisions is our personal responsibility.

Saturday, May 6, 2017



“And through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.” Col. 1:20

Jesus said: “Blessed are the peacemakers” (Matt. 5:9). He did not say: “Blessed are the pacifists,” those who give in to evil just to avoid fighting for the right. But how does one make peace? God “made peace through the blood of His [i.e., Christ’s] cross.” Man has utterly alienated himself from His Maker by his rebellion against Him, even denying His existence, some living as if He was distant and non-caring, and it took nothing less than His own Son’s atoning blood to reconcile sinful man to a holy God. Because of His shed blood, God in Christ can forgive sins and save sinners. Thus, Christ is the great Peacemaker between man and God. Before peace can truly prevail between man and man, there must be peace between man and God. But although God has now been reconciled to man, man still needs to be reconciled to God. Therefore, the best way Christians can be peacemakers on earth is to beseech men to be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20). Cf. 2 Kings 9:22. Peace is not peace which is merely a cessation of hostilities on the basis of compromise with evil, going to church on Sunday and still persisting in their sin.

 Christ’s death on the cross not only paid the price for man’s redemption, but also for that of the whole universe. Because of sin, the creation is under the great curse, as it “groaneth and travaileth in pain together” (Rom. 8:22), so it also must be reconciled to God. Again, note the past, present and future aspects of the work of Christ with respect to the entire universe. First, by Him all things were created. Note that creation was a completed work of the past (Gen. 2:1-3); He is not now creating anything, as theistic evolutionists would suppose. Whenever the Bible mentions the creation of the heaven and the earth, it is always in the past tense. Secondly, He is now conserving what He created. No need for mankind to attempt to save the earth. Psa. 24:1; Col. 1:17. Much of the emphasis of the modern conservation movement is strongly evolutionary and pantheistic, worshiping the creature rather than the Creator (Rom. 1). 
Finally, He will reconcile everything back to God; creation, conservation, consummation: that is the cosmic scope of the work of Christ seen completed in 1 Cor. 15:24-28.

Friday, May 5, 2017



” And He is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Col. 1:15-17

The climax in the unfolding of God's plan to make full revelation of Himself to men was to bring this image within the grasp of men. This is alluded to in the statement which follows in Col. 1:15. Christ is not only "the image of the invisible God," but He is also "the firstborn of every creature." By incarnation He was joined to the creation of which He is the Creator. He became man. He did not cease to be all that He was as God, namely, "the image of the invisible God," but in addition He has now taken on human flesh, and is in every respect also a true man. But His relationship to creation stands in a class all by itself. He is the "firstborn." While this word carried an original significance of priority in time, its very usage has changed and it has come to mean priority in position (2 Chron. 26:10; Psa. 89:27). Though united to creation by incarnation, yet He is higher in position than any creation, and the two verses which follow support this explanation (Col. 1:17, 19) where all fullness dwells. This means that the image of the invisible God is now within the grasp of men, and yet at the same time retains every element and value as a revelation of God. This term does not mean first in order of time, but more probably last in order of time. The firstborn is not one who is at the beginning but the ultimate flower and fruit-age of creation.

Thursday, May 4, 2017



“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities-- all things have been created by Him and for Him.” Col. 1:16

A vision of the SELF-EXISTENCE of God teaches men that the supreme and all-consuming purpose of God in creating is to bring glory to Himself. God exists by Himself and all creation comes out of Him. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Col. 1:16). In the consummation of the age, this purpose will be achieved and all intelligence's will acknowledge that, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created" (Rev. 4:11). Alva McClain in his book, “The Greatness of the Kingdom" stated that "The all-consuming purpose of God in creation was to establish a Kingdom on the earth, in which He could display His glory in the Person of His Son. This display of His glory was to be made to creatures made in His image, and therefore, capable of apprehending, appreciating, and applauding His glory. The unfolding drama of the Bible depicts the movements of God in the accomplishment of that purpose."