Friday, October 24, 2014

Victory Has Been Won

The Victory has been won!

    “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.  And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."  Revelation 12:10-12


Living Water

    “On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”  John 7:37-39  [John 12:16,23]

    “A water ceremony was held each day during the Festival of Shelters, with prayer for God to send rain in the late autumn. The final day, called "the great day," was the climax of the festival, when the ceremony was repeated seven times. Water was poured over the altar as Levites sang Isa 12:3 (see Zech 14:8; see also Mishnah Sukkah ch 4). • Anyone who is thirsty may come to me!  Jesus fulfilled an essential element in the Festival of Shelters. He himself is the source of living water, available to anyone who believes.”—NLT Study Bible

    “The first and second chapters of the Book of Acts is the best comment upon this passage. When Jesus ascended to the right hand of the Father and was glorified, he sent forth the Spirit upon his apostles on the day of Pentecost, and the apostles in turn promised the gift of the Spirit to all who would believe, repent, and be baptized.”—Four-Fold Gospel, McGarvey

    The Holy Spirit is the "seal" of Light, with which God has placed Heaven in the Christian’s hand. Often, however, some Christians avoid this light in preference of a life spent in the shadows, or worse still, in a false light, that sparkles with hypocrisy. 

“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness,

goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.”

This is the fruit of The Holy Spirit.

And this is our pathway to Heaven.

It is our road, so that Heaven may begin here.

Because we now have this Christian identity,

we have been sealed by the Holy Spirit.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace

to be watchful with this seal we now have,

with this our new Christian identity,

which is not only a promise, no, for

we have it already in our hand,

we have a down payment (earnest KJV).

[Romans 8:10-17]



Strength in weakness.

    Mr. Christmas Evans now made a solemn promise to God, made, as he says, "under a deep sense of the evil of his heart, and in dependence upon the infinite grace and merit of the Redeemer." Some of this renewed determination can be seen in the following.  [I have revised his language.]

    1. "I give my soul and body to You, Jesus, true God and Eternal Life.  Deliver me from sin, and from eternal death, and bring me into Life Everlasting. Amen."

    2. "I call on the day, the sun, the earth, the trees, the stones, the bed, the table, and the books, to witness that I come to You, the Redeemer of sinners, that I may obtain rest for my soul from the thunders of guilt and the dread of eternity.  Amen."

    3. "I do, through confidence in Your power, ask You to give me a circumcised heart of love for You, and create in me a right spirit, that I may seek Your glory.  Grant me that strength which You will confess in the day of judgment, that I may hear You speak my name. Grant me this, for the sake of Your Most Precious Blood. Amen."

    4. "I plead with You, Jesus, Son of God, in Your power, grant me, by Your agonizing death, a covenant-interest in Your blood, which cleanses; in Your righteousness, which justifies; and in Your redemption, which delivers. As You have tasted death for all men, grant me Eternal Life.  Amen." 





            In the New Testament the blood of Christ is an Old Testament way of speaking of the sacrificial, atoning death of Jesus Christ by which reconciliation between God and His creation was achieved.  Further, the wine at the Last Supper, the night before Jesus' crucifixion, points to the shed blood of Jesus, by which a new covenant was sealed."  [Compact Bible Dictionary]  The new covenant is between God and Christ [Hebrews 10:5,10,12,16-20,38]

            Greek thinking viewed every act of man as having irrevocable consequences.  The deed was done, and to all eternity it could never be undone.  The Christian idea of repentance, forgiveness, and redemption are utterly foreign to this Greek way of thinking about man's future.  Hence the Greek philosophers regarded Christianity as foolish, because it did not fit their understanding of the future.  Compare 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:6-16.

            Even those who have never heard of "Calvinism" have been deeply influenced by it.  Will only a tiny remnant of "elect" be saved???  Is retribution the dominant word???  Does God simply hand us a Bible and say, "Save yourselves - if you can"???

            Christianity affirms that every human being is capable of being redeemed.  The doctrine  of The Resurrection means that the whole of human life - body, soul, spirit [1 Thessalonians 5:23] - is capable of being redeemed because of Jesus Christ.  Christian truth about history affirms both the Cross and the Resurrection.  The Cross is, therefore, not the final word about history.  Resurrection is the final word.  Sin is defeated and death is destroyed!  There is a LIVING HOPE because God All Powerful is at work in His world.  Christianity claims the JESUS "who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption" [1 Corinthians 1:30]

            In Campbell's time, three major theories of atonement were hotly debated.  Campbell, Stone, and Scott each favored a different 'theory.'  John Mark Hicks, H.G.S.R, deals with these in "DISCIPLIANA," Winter, 1996.  Campbell championed the Penal Theory.  Stone championed the Moral Influence Theory stressing God's amazing love.  Scott championed the Governmental Theory.

            There is no formal theory of atonement in the New Testament.  J. F. Bethune-Baker [1906] writes: "Here too it must be noticed that the idea of propitiating God (as one who is angry with a personal feeling against the offender) is foreign to the New Testament.  Propitiation takes place in the matter of sin and of the sinner, altering the character of that which causes alienation from God."  [Hebrews 8:12; John 15:14-17; note Luke 15:20; Matt. 9:36].                     

            Atonement means: PUT RIGHT WITH GOD.  Atonement is an Old Testament word.  In the New Testament it appears only in Romans 5:11 in KJV.  [The KJV NT translates katallassein reconcile/ reconciliation in seven other places].  Under the Law the sacrificial victim died violently.  Atonement for sin and pollution was gained by the death of the victim and the pouring out of blood.  In the New Testament, the "blood of Christ" is an Old Testament way of speaking of the sacrificial and atoning death of Jesus by which peace was brought about between God's Creation and Himself.  [Romans 5:1-5,10-11].   Jesus Christ has made us God's friends!

            It is certain that the apostles understood the whole life of Jesus put into effect this Plan of God for the human race.  The WORD becoming flesh is vital to the whole process of Atonement.  So our knowledge of Jesus and His teachings certainly help us to be redeemed.  Yet His death in itself was one of the instruments by which the whole work of Christ became effective.  The New Testament writers accept this fact and emphasize the results which flow from it.  The work of Christ's putting  us right with God is described in various images and pictures by the sacred writers.

            1. Reconciliation.  When the prodigal son brings himself back, he is reconciled to his father - who runs to meet him!  The father does not need reconciliation.  He has been waiting and hoping for the prodigal to return.  We who were once enemies and aliens are said to be reconciled to God by the death of His Son; and to have won peace  and union with God as the result.  [Romans 5:10-11; 11:15; 2 Cor. 5:18-20].

            2. Redemption.  Man is held in bondage to sin, and has to be purchased or bought with a price out of the slavery in which we are held.  So a ransom has to be paid to secure our freedom for us.  [1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23; Gal. 4:5; Hebrews 9:12,15].

            3. Satisfaction.  Sin is a debt that must be paid.  Death is the wages of sin.  We are debtors to keep the whole law.  We offend in part and are guilty of all.  When Christ is described as being made sin for us, He bore our sins on the tree.  We look to the perfect obedience of His life, death and resurrection.  In Paul's understanding of the Gospel, God set us free when He sent His own Son to be like us sinners and to be a sacrifice for our sin.  God used Christ's body of flesh to condemn sin.  [Romans 6:23; Gal. 5:3; 3:10-14; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24; Hebrews 5:8; 10:9]. 

            4. Sacrifice for sin.  We can see the comparison taught us by the sacrifices of the Law.  Defilement was removed by the offerings of animals of old.  Christ is the Sacrifice: His life and death, pure and free from blemish, as a sacrifice and propitiation which cleanses from sin.  And so propitiation is made.  Thus righteousness is imputed (credited) to the one who believes.  [Phil. 3:9; Hebrews 2:17; 9:19-28; 10:5,10,12,14,26; 1 John 1:7; 2:2; 4:10].

            5. A Covering.  In the Parable of the Wedding Feast, Jesus bring out the idea of the Wedding Garment - a covering which all must have.  This garment is supplied free (grace) and is the identifying factor for every Christian.  We are clothed with the life of Christ (Gal. 3:27).  We let the Lord Jesus Christ take control of us (Romans 13:14)  Compare Psalm 17:8; Isaiah 6:6-7.

            All these must be considered together to understand what Jesus is teaching.  Certainly there are depths that we shall never understand in this world.  Note 1 Cor. 2:13-16.  Perhaps it is enough that we believe Christ, we claim Christ, we act and obey.  We praise God for His great love!!!

            PS: Churches of Christ teach that all who die in infancy before the age of accountability are safe.  If "original sin" was ever a true doctrine, we believe it was canceled in the Incarnation.  Jesus truly came as a human being!  [John 1:14; 1 John 4:1-4]

            This being true, what about those babies who were aborted?  If life begins at the moment of conception [unique DNA exists from that moment] every fetus is in fact a child, a unique human being.

            Children who were passed through the fire to Moloch were burned as living sacrifices in the worship of this heathen idol. This is clearly infanticide and likely even those who advocate abortion would be horrified by such human sacrifice. According as we believe, all such who were killed in infancy were saved (safe).  Since also a high percentage of children die before ever reaching accountability, they too were saved (safe).


Saturday, October 11, 2014


 A Church without holy joy is unthinkable

    Satan tries to steal our holy joy and make religion an unpleasant chore.  Jesus warned against the “leaven of the Pharisees.”  Matt. 16:6

    1. Yes, Jesus was a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief.  (There is a time for sorrows.  Isaiah 53.)  But that is not the full gospel.  Jesus came for the joy of redeeming the world.  “...who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” Heb 12:2 (NKJV)

    In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, "I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight.” Luke 10:21 (NKJV)

    These things are the mysteries of the Kingdom manifested through the words and works of Jesus.  They are received by babes, people of simple and open hearts, rather than by the scribes and Pharisees, the wise and prudent.”  Wallerstedt

    We always think of Jesus when He preaches, when He heals, when He travels, walks along the street, even during the Last Supper. . . But we aren’t used to thinking about Jesus smiling, joyful. Jesus was full of joy, full of holy joy. In that intimacy with His Father: ‘In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and praised the Father.’ It is precisely the internal mystery of Jesus, that relationship with the Father in the Holy Spirit. It is His internal joy, the interior joy that He gives to us.”  

    2. The Church must always be joyful like Christ.

    The Church is called to transmit the joy of the Lord to her children—a holy joy that gives true peace.

     And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: 18 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; 19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." Luke 4:17-19; Isaiah 61:1-2

    a) Peace and joy. In this reading from the book of Isaiah, we see the desire for peace that we all have. It is the peace, says Isaiah, that the Messiah/Christ brings to us. In the Gospels, on the other hand, “we are able to see a little into the soul of Jesus, the heart of Jesus: a joyful heart.”
    And this joy is true peace: not a static peace, quiet, tranquil - no, Christian peace is a joyful peace, because our Lord is joyful. And, too, He is joyful when He speaks about the Father: He loves the Father so much that He can’t talk about Him without joy. Our God, is joyful. And Jesus has willed that His bride, the Church, should also be joyful.

    b) Reaching out with the Joy of Christ.
    You can’t imagine a Church without joy; and the joy of the Church lies precisely in this: to proclaim the name of Jesus. To say: ‘He is the Lord. He is God. He saves us, He walks with us.’ And that is the joy of the Church, that in this joy of being a bride becomes a mother.  The joy of the Church is precisely to evangelize, to go forth and to speak about her Lord. And also to transmit that joy to the children that she bears, that she raises.
    Let us consider that the peace of which Isaiah speaks “is a peace that is so moving, it is a peace of joy, a peace of praise,” it is a peace that we could say is “noisy, in praise, a peace that bears fruit in begetting new children.” It is a peace that comes in the joy of praise for the Trinity, and of evangelization, of going to the people to tell them who Jesus is.  Peace and joy. “You decided to reveal Yourself not to the wise, but to the little ones.”   

    c) Peace that passes understanding.
    You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.”  1 Peter 1:8 (NLT)
    Even in so many serious things, Jesus is joyful. The Church is joyful. She must be joyful.  The Church is like the wife who waits for her spouse to come back—the Church is joyful in hope. The Lord gives this joy to all of us, this joy of Jesus, praising the Father in the Spirit.
He who is the faithful witness to all these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon!” Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!  May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s holy people. Rev 22:20-21 (NLT)

    “This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it. Save now, I pray, O Lord; O Lord, I pray, send now prosperity.”  Psalms 118:24-25

Tuesday, October 7, 2014



    1. Searching the Scriptures

    “Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ." 4 And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas.”  Acts 17:1-4

    Luke regularly draws attention to women who joined the Christian movement.  Jesus had women disciples [Luke 8:1-3].  Jesus came to be the Savior of all, both men and women.

    “But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.”  Acts 8:12

    Certain Jews opposed Paul preaching to Gentiles.  He was forced to flee to Berea.  He continued to preach Christ crucified and risen from the dead.              

    “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed, and also not a few of the Greeks, prominent women as well as men.” Acts 17:11-12

    “Let’s think for a moment about the historical situation. They are Diaspora Jews [1 Peter 1:1], doubtless Greek-speaking, etc. Paul shows up and begins teaching Christ. To do so, he has to introduce them to this new (even radical) reading of the Old Testament. He’s telling them something completely new about the meaning of the Passover Lamb. He’s telling them that this Messiah is actually God in the flesh, etc. He is introducing them into the whole Christian way of reading and understanding the Scriptures (he is like Christ on the Road to Emmaus). So how do they react? Well they can’t go “look up” what he’s said, because what he’s said is an interpretation. So what do they do? They search throughout the Scriptures, seeing if the “pattern” of teaching (as described by Irenaeus) holds up. I’ll bet the fur was flying in their arguments. And the result? They were “fair minded” and “many of them believed.”  Stephen Freeman

    2. The fullness of God.

    “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.”
2 Cor 13:14

    Campbell wrote: “...the Christian faith - One Jehovah in three personalities, and one Mediator in three offices constitute the true faith and the true religion of the Christian Church, or the Reign of Heaven.”   (Millennial Harbinger [July 1854] 367).

    Paul closes his letter with a prayer and blessing. He invokes the three personalities of God [Trinity], with the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ (see 2 Cor 8:9) coming first. This is because we are always relying on Christ's sacrificial love, which reconciles us to God the Father (2 Cor 5:18-21) and unites us through the fellowship of the Holy Spirit with all our fellow believers. • The love of God provides for our needs and graciously restores us to his family. • The fellowship of the Holy Spirit means our fellowship with the Spirit, who joins Christians together into a unity (Eph 4:3; Phil 2:1).

    “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”  2 Cor 8:9

    “Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.”  2 Cor 5:18-19

    “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”  Phil 2:1-2

    “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free--and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.”  1 Cor 12:13

    “Then He said to them, "O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?"  And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27