Thursday, December 24, 2015


PASSING ON THE VISION                      1-17-2000
        "Churches are short on Christian love, forgiveness, and vision for the future."  Do you believe this statement is true?  Jesus said: “But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.' For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance."  Matt 9:13 (NKJV)
        David prayed: “Have mercy upon me, O God, According to Your lovingkindness; According to the multitude of Your tender mercies, Blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, And cleanse me from my sin.  For I acknowledge my transgressions, And my sin is always before me.  Against You, You only, have I sinned, And done this evil in Your sight-- That You may be found just when You speak, And blameless when You judge.”  Psalms 51:1-4 (NKJV)
        God responds to Jacob's prayer.  Notice what Jacob did in Genesis 30:37-43.  "Then he set up these peeled branches by the watering trough so Laban's flocks would see them...all of their offspring were streaked, speckled and spotted." 
        A visionary church stays on course, clearly knowing and communicating the vision God has for the whole Body for the long term.  The vision goes beyond the present leaders to a visionary people!
        Petersen expands Eph. 4:11-16.  “He handed out gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, and pastor-teacher to train Christians in skilled servant work, working within Christ's body, the church, until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ. No prolonged infancies among us, please. We'll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors.  God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do.  He keeps us in step with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love.”  Eph 4:11-17 (MSG)
      Involve others in this work.
        "It is better to get ten men to work - than to try to do the work of ten men."  Have the vision, but it will take others to fulfill this vision.  A vision shared stirs others and gives them something to believe God for.  Leaders equip others to operate within the vision.  But, not all the vision comes from the leaders.  People are drawn to the local church by the Holy Spirit - either to be saved (obey the gospel) or to help fulfill the vision of the local church.  We want to see others saved and made followers of Jesus Christ [Matt. 28:18-20].
        Peterson expands this:  “God authorized and commanded me to commission you:  Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I'll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age."  Matt 28:18-20 (MSG)
        When members share about a visionary church to others, they are sharing about a movement that will outlast a man or a woman.  Note 2 Timothy 1:5; 2:1-2; 3:14-15.  “I thank God, whom I serve with a pure conscience, as my forefathers did, as without ceasing I remember you in my prayers night and day, greatly desiring to see you, being mindful of your tears, that I may be filled with joy, when I call to remembrance the genuine faith that is in you, which dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am persuaded is in you also. Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands.  For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Tim 1:3-7 (NKJV)
        1) A visionary church moves ahead.  People are not attracted to sterile and lifeless forms, but to that which is life-giving and relational.  Where there is relationship and spiritual life, there will be a natural numerical growth.  The old proverb: "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" is still true.  The honey is the Doing & Dying & Rising Again of Jesus Christ. 
        “The voice out of Heaven spoke to me again: "Go, take the book held open in the hand of the Angel astride sea and earth."  I went up to the Angel and said, "Give me the little book." He said, "Take it, then eat it. It will taste sweet like honey, but turn sour in your stomach."  I took the little book from the Angel's hand and it was sweet honey in my mouth, but when I swallowed, my stomach curdled.  Then I was told, "You must go back and prophesy again over many peoples and nations and languages and kings."  Rev 10:8-11 (MSG)
        2) A visionary church grows leaders.  Nehemiah went for a ride one evening to inspect the walls of Jerusalem [Nehemiah 2:12].  The following day he recruited priests, goldsmiths, rulers, merchants, families and farmers.  It wasn't about numbers or a perfect wall.  It was about instilling vision and working together in relationship for a common goal.
        3) A visionary church is kingdom-minded.  We believe the kingdom did come on Pentecost (Acts 2) and spread to cover the world (note PDaniel 2:44).  A visionary church is concerned beyond the local community to a vision of the World conquered for Jesus!  People are not a means to an end - but they are God's greatest love!  "God so loved the world..."
        4) A visionary church is authentic.  "New cars smell new for only a short time, and then the newness wears off."  Promotion attracts the latest church-hoppers, but prayer breeds close-knit relationships that experience spiritual vitality and a church of substance.  People are attracted to God's love manifested through relationships with people.  God's love is authentic!  Note Romans 5:5; 1 John 2:7-8.
        Older is not always better.   “And no one, having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says, 'The old is better.' "  Luke 5:39 (NKJV)  The "new wine" of the Gospel must always be our first priority.  If the "old wine" of the past is not working for you, perhaps you need to "reload" the original program of the Book of Acts and drink deeply from the springs of living water.  The reality of the Holy Spirit in people's lives was evident.  Acts 2:42-47 describe the process of relationship in a church with vision.  "Praising God and enjoying the good will of all the people."  You must decide where you fit according to your own spiritual values and build accordingly.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Salvation of God will ultimately prevail

The Salvation of God Will Ultimately Prevail
    “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, Even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed.”  Luke 1:1-5 (KJV)
    Luke wrote to tell the life story of Jesus the Son of God.  He wanted to make available the full history of Christ Jesus.  Jesus Himself said: “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”  Luke 24:44-45 (KJV)
    John wrote to tell that the Eternal Word came as a human-being to shine the Light of God into our world.  Matthew wrote to show that Jesus is the promised Jewish Messiah who came to save the world.  Mark wrote to show Jesus as the Power of God who did amazing things.
    1. An angel announces God’s Act to shepherds.
    “And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  Luke 2:13-14 (KJV)
    Glory to God in highest heaven: This short hymn is known as the Gloria in excelsis Deo first line of the Latin translation. The Messiah's coming brings glory to God in the heavens and peace to humans on earth. • peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased: Peace indicates total well-being, not just the absence of hostility. The traditional translation, "on earth peace, good will toward men" (kjv), is based on the reading of some late manuscripts.  Peace comes to those who receive and accept God's grace.  Mary kept all these things in her heart: Perhaps Mary thought about what all these events meant and wondered about Jesus' destiny. It is also possible that Luke says this because Mary was his source of information on these events.
    2. Blessed art thou among women.
    “And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord.” Luke 1:41-45 (KJV)
    3. Blessed is she who believed.
    “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour.  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.  For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name.”  Luke 1:46-49 (KJV)
    Mary's song is the first of three songs of praise in the birth narrative. It is called the Magnificat ("magnifies"), from the first word in the Latin translation. The song has many parallels to Hannah's prayer in 1 Sam 2:1-10. The fact that God cares for the oppressed and reverses their fortunes is a common theme throughout Luke's Gospel. The coming of God's Kingdom brings salvation to rejected and outcast people.
    All generations will call me blessed: In Middle Eastern culture, honor and shame were extremely important, and one's legacy to future generations was highly cherished.  As a Jewish teenager Mary deserves great honor as the human mother through whom the Son of God came into our world.
    “My Saviour. Mary, by this word, reckons herself among that which was lost. She obtained salvation, not from herself, but from Jesus.—Bengel.”  Call me blessed. Pronounce me highly favored, or happy in being the mother of the Messiah. Abraham was blessed in being the father of the faithful; Paul in being the apostle to the Gentiles; Peter in first preaching the gospel to them; but who would think of worshiping or praying to Abraham, Paul, or Peter?” —People's New Testament [Johnson’s Notes]
    4. The Lamb of God came to conquer death.
    “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:  I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.”  Rev 1:17-19 (KJV)
    God has placed us in a world of Time.  Death is real – but Jesus conquered death.  He has authority even over death and Hades [the world of the dead].  He will raise everyone from death at His Coming!  Write. John is to preserve this vision so that all may share its message.  Now. Current events, dating from the First Coming of Christ.   Afterward. Those things which had not yet happened. The curtain of both the present and the future is lifted in the Book of Revelation [when properly understood].

    “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”  John 5:28-29 (KJV)


The Jerusalem Church in the Book of Acts   12.9.2015
    Imagine a church which meets in rented facilities, where people come an hour or two early just to get a seat.  A church which had 3,120 members for the first service held.  A church where the service is translated simultaneously into several languages for the racially mixed congregation. A church filled with Holy Joy and Christian Love.  A church where the members meet in small groups from house to house, and then assemble together for a joyous time of worship and praise.  A church baptizing thousands.  It can’t be scriptural, you say?  But it was the Jerusalem church.  The Jerusalem church was filled with God-the-Holy-Spirit, guided by the apostles and prophets, united in the amazing new life found in Christ Jesus!
    The open door created by Pentecost, and the Jerusalem Church stand as milestones in God's Great Plan for our human race.  Jerusalem had the first "local church," and was the first mega-church.  When Jesus died and rose again, the whole Jewish nation was gathered in to the Jerusalem area for Passover. With the power of His Resurrection, and the outpouring of The Holy Spirit, God's great saving work began among the Jews at Jerusalem on that Pentecost.  Peter said: "This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God: That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; ...And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'" [NKJV]
    God made His Plan for we humans long before the Creation (Ephesians 1:4).  The astonishing events of Pentecost were rooted in FAITH which reached back to Abraham and God's Promise to him. But also, to before Time and Creation.  Jesus said God would save the world by using the Jews (John 4:22).  James quoted Amos (Acts 15) to show that God seriously intended to save the Gentiles - the rest of mankind - who were included in God's call to salvation.  David's tabernacle would be rebuilt by the Gentiles coming to God.  In Christ the "wall of hatred" between Jew and Gentile was broken down and destroyed.  ALL who believe are united as One Body in Christ Jesus.  An alternate version of 1 Corinthians 12:13 states: "God's Spirit is inside each of us, and all around us as well.  So it doesn't matter that some of us are Jews and others are Gentiles and that some are slaves and others are free.  Together we are one body." [CEV footnote]
    [* The Jerusalem church was not an American church.  God had prepared the pattern of worship in the synagogue.  They sang [chanted] the Psalms.  They never saw a KJV Bible - which came 17 centuries later.  They read the Scriptures in Hebrew and Greek.  They were an extreme mixture of cultures.  But they were One in Jesus Christ!]
    1. They met every day in the temple.
    “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”  Acts 2:46-47 (NKJV)
  They assembled together every day as a Christian congregation of the Family of God.  They lifted one voice in praise and devotion (compare Acts 4:24).
  2. They were a mixed group speaking at least 15 languages (Acts 2:8-11).  Yet they all heard in their own language.  Perhaps those speaking were led by the Spirit to speak in these other languages.  Or perhaps the Spirit translated for each hearer so they could hear in words of the language spoken at home.  The Lord spoke Hebrew to Saul of Tarsus to impress him deeply with the message that Jesus is Lord (Acts 26:14).
    3. They were filled with holy joy and Christian love (Acts 2:47).  Compare 1 Thessalonians 1:5-6.  “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.  And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.”
    4. They met from house to house in small groups (Acts 2:46).  They were so excited over this new covenant which suddenly had been made known to them!  They just had to share with each other in praising God, praying to Him, and searching the Scriptures to confirm this great hope!  [fellowship = koinonia = close companionship.]  They continued this (Acts 5:42). 
    5. 3000 were baptized that first Sunday (Pentecost).  Then there were 5000 men (Acts 4:4).  Then multitudes of both men and women (Acts 5:14).  Many of the Jewish priests converted to Christ (Acts 6:7).  They continued to meet as one group in the Temple.  They probably numbered 100,000 people when persecution struck and scattered them (Acts 8:1-4).
    6. They turned the city of Jerusalem upside down by preaching Christ Jesus - Crucified, Risen, Coming Again.  They preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead (Acts 4:1-2).  They spoke with power to the Jewish priests and leaders (Acts 4:8-12,33).  They spoke with holy boldness (Acts 5:29-32). 
    7. They solved their unity problem by appointing men to serve the congregation (Acts 6:1-6).  Some were Jews (speaking Hebrew-Aramaic), and some were Grecian (Jews from Greek speaking areas, speaking a variety of languages).  Note the Hebrew widows were already being taken care of.  It was the Grecian (Hellenist) widows who were being neglected.  The one church at Jerusalem contained all these diverse elements who were one in Christ (compare Gal. 3:26-29).
    8. They went everywhere preaching the Gospel.  “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.  And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.  And there was great joy in that city.”  Acts 8:4-8 (NKJV)
    The Apostles and first leaders of the Christian Movement were Jews.  Every city of any size had a Jewish population and synagogue.  Jews already believed in Jehovah God and the Old Testament Scriptures.  The general use of the Koine Greek Language and the Septuagint Old Testament in Greek helped open the Bible to the world population.  Jews knew the prophecies about Jesus and they could see God's Great Plan at work in Jesus - His Doing & Dying & Rising Again.  Synagogues also attracted numbers of interested Gentiles, and these readily converted to Jesus Christ. 
    Not what is the church, but who is the church.  “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.  For in fact the body is not one member but many.”  1 Cor 12:13-14 (NKJV)
    But would there be One Body?  Jews had been exclusivist for centuries.  There was a "middle wall of partition" between them.  Paul's arrest and transport to Rome and his execution there had important effects.  He witnessed to Christ and the Gospel at each stage of travel - to kings, judges, civil servants and a host of curious hangers-on who doubtless were intrigued by the message of God's Act In Christ.  The Christian Community rallied around Paul, and concern for him helped weld the Church into a Unity.  Christians - both Jews and Gentiles - shared a great concern for Paul The Apostle.  The execution of both Paul and Peter at Rome, plus the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD, brought about the final melding.  But in our day, the Jews need to be grafted back in (Romans 11).

Friday, November 13, 2015


Living the Lord’s Prayer
    [”For samples of vain repetitions, see I Kings 18:26; Acts 19:34.” McGarvey]
    For many people the “Lord’s Prayer” represents the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  Jesus gave it as a pattern of how people may approach GOD in prayer.  We pray as God’s children!
    “Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may Your Name be kept holy.  May Your Kingdom come soon. May Your Will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.  For Yours is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever.  Amen.”  Matt 6:9-13 (NLT)
    [Some add: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.  Matt. 28:19-20.  New people are being born every day and need to be added to the Kingdom.]
    a) Our Father.
    “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.' “ Acts 17:26-29
    b) May Your Name be kept holy.
    “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”  Lev 11:44-45; 1 Peter 1:15-16
    c) May Your Will be done.
     “Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that."  But now you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.”  James 4:15-17
    d) Give us this day the food we need.
    “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matt 6:32-34
    e) And forgive us our sins.
    "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”  Matt 6:14-15
    f) Don’t let us yield to temptation.
    “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”  1 Cor 10:11-13
    g) Rescue us from the evil one.
    “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.  Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”  Eph 6:10-12
    h) Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, the Glory, Forever!
       “Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice: "Worthy is the Lamb who was slain To receive power and riches and wisdom, And strength and honor and glory and blessing!"  And every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, I heard saying: "Blessing and honor and glory and power Be to Him who sits on the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever!"  Then the four living creatures said, "Amen!" And the twenty-four elders fell down and worshiped Him who lives forever and ever.”  Rev 5:11-14
      The angels of heaven join the Created and the Redeemed to praise Jesus for His act of death which sets men free from the results of sin. Christ demonstrated that He is “worthy” by His heroic sacrifice (Eph 3:8-11).  Every being joins in the chorus of praise to God and the Lamb. It is God’s act in Jesus the Lamb, which allows God to give the verdict of “not guilty” in regard to those who were “paid for” by the death of Christ. The total Universe shares in the benefits of this act.  (Romans 8:19-22).


     The Old Testament is part of the Bible because it is still important.  Paul writes: “Such things were written in the Scriptures long ago to teach us. And the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.” Romans 15:4 (NLT)
     The wisdom of Solomon and the Psalms will speak to our human existence as long as the world stands.  Life is a never- ending cycle as we experience and learn.  We repeat the past, and the future will bring more of the same.  But God does love us, and He knows what He is doing.  So we confidently come to Him and praise Him for His blessings.
     SOLOMON SAYS: “These are the words of the Teacher, King David’s son, who ruled in Jerusalem2 “Everything is meaningless,” says the Teacher, “completely meaningless!”3 What do people get for all their hard work under the sun?4 Generations come and generations go, but the earth never changes.5 The sun rises and the sun sets, then hurries around to rise again.6 The wind blows south, and then turns north. Around and around it goes, blowing in circles.7 Rivers run into the sea, but the sea is never full. Then the water returns again to the rivers and flows out again to the sea.8 Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.”  Eccl 1:1-8 (NLT)
     “Everything’s so totally boring, mind-numbingly dull. But you keep looking, listening as if something new’s going to happen. What’s gone down will go down again; what’s been done will be done again: there’s nothing new, original – it’s all repeats.”  Lacey [Word On The Street]
     “I communed with my heart, saying, "Look, I have attained greatness, and have gained more wisdom than all who were before me in Jerusalem. My heart has understood great wisdom and knowledge."  And I set my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is grasping for the wind.”  Eccl 1:16-17 (NKJV)
     “Where’s the pay-off? What’s the point? All this back-breaking, brain-aching work that people do day in day out – why? God’s set seasons for everything – at the right time everything can work. But he’s also programmed us with the huge questions of ‘life, the universe and everything’ echoing round our brains. But we can’t know! How can we? It’s way too deep, like trying to get to the bottom of the ocean when all we’ve been given is a plastic snorkel and flippers.” Lacey
     “The Teacher begins by observing that each natural and historical activity is accentuated by its circular repetitive rhythm of coming and going, being and not being. This can lead to the despairing cry that everything is meaningless. The Teacher moves rapidly from subject to subject and finishes this section with the topic he started with, using a literary pattern that mirrors the circularity he describes in nature and in human history.”—NLT Study Bible
     “I buried myself in work, took on worthy projects. Built houses, set up businesses, made gardens and parks, planted every fruit tree you can think of.”  Lacey
     “Then I mulled over the word wisdom for a while, grappled with insanity and stupidity, trying to make some sense of it all. What’s the next king going to do that I’ve not already done? I made some progress: wisdom outguns stupidity, like light overpowers darkness. Wise people use the eyes in their heads, while the stupid grope around in the dark. Some progress. But then – they both die in the end, so what’s the point?”  Lacey
     “To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  
A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;  
A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;  
A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;  
A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;  
A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;  
A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.
Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 (NKJV)
     “Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young, before the silver cord of life snaps and the golden bowl is broken. Don’t wait until the water jar is smashed at the spring and the pulley is broken at the well.  For then the dust will return to the earth, and the spirit will return to God who gave it.”  Eccl 12:6-7 (NLT)
     “The words of the wise are like cattle prods—painful but helpful. Their collected sayings are like a nail-studded stick with which a shepherd drives the sheep.12 But, my child, let me give you some further advice: Be careful, for writing books is endless, and much study wears you out.13 That’s the whole story. Here now is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is everyone’s duty.14 God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”  Eccl 12:11-14 (NLT)

     “Remember the God who made you, while you’re still young, before the hassles of adult life kick in and you too end up saying, “Where’s the fun gone?”  Now it’s out in the open; now I’ve had my moan. Here’s my conclusion: respect God and live his way – this is our role, our responsibility. For God’ll judge everything we do, secret or known, good or evil.”  Lacey

Tuesday, November 3, 2015


    The Real Scandal Is A Fear of Love.  The Church is a Church of the poor in spirit and of sinners seeking forgiveness, not simply of the righteous and the holy, but rather of those who are righteous and holy precisely when they feel themselves poor sinners.  The Gospel continues to be a vital source of eternal newness, against all those who would “indoctrinate” it into dead stones to be hurled at others.

    “Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”  Luke 12:32 (KJV)
    “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  1 Cor 13:13 (KJV)
    “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.  We love him, because he first loved us.”  1 John 4:17-19 (KJV)
    17. The purpose. “Love is an official heavenly visitor who stays with us and claims our loyalty.  He has been ‘made perfect in us’ when we are facsimiles of Jesus - His visible portrait!” Compare Matt. 5:16; Gal. 2:20; 2 Cor. 3:18.
    18. No fear in love.  Note that John uses (worldly) fear as the opposite of love. One type of person lost eternally is the coward (fearful), as we see in Rev. 21:8. [We fear God in the sense of  our reverence and respect to Him.]  Fear of punishment never goes along with love; but perfect love to God and man drives out all fear of punishment from our mind! One who truly loves God and man will know that he has left death and come over into life (1 John 3:14), and will have no reason to fear punishment!”
    Love has not been made perfect. “The one who fears the Judgment has not been made perfect in love to God and man! For this he has no excuse!” Bengel says there are four possible conditions of a human soul: (1) without either fear or love: (2) with fear, without love; (3) with fear and love: (4) with love, without fear. This verse shows that only the forth describes the true and mature Christian.  "Without worldly fear, with Christian love."  19. Because God. God’s unique love for us in Christ, fills us with love for Him and for our fellowman.
    What is love?
    “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”  1 John 3:16 (KJV)
    “What is love anyway? Not the tripe you’ve been force-fed! No, love gives people space and time; it does people good. It’s not jealous, loud-mouthed or big-headed. It’s not vulgar; it doesn’t look after No. 1. It’s not got a short fuse – it forgives and forgets. Love doesn’t smile when dark stuff goes on, but throws a party when the truth gets out. It protects more than a blockbuster hero; it trusts more than a toddler. It’s always positive; it always hangs in there. Love doesn’t let you down.”  Lacey on 1 Cor. 13.
    “For Paul, love is more important than any of the spiritual gifts and the most important virtue. Love "binds us all together in perfect harmony" (Col 3:14). Without love, ministry has limited value (13:1-3). Paul summed up the whole of the Christian ethics as "faith expressing itself in love" (Gal 5:6). Love is the central ethical expression of Christian faith, the primary fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22), and one of the most important motivations for ministry. The most important thing for believers to value and seek is to become a faithfully loving person.—NLT Study Bible
    “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”  1 John 5:20 (KJV)
      20. We know. Not came, but has come and has given us. The Eternal Logos (Word) has come as a human being. The world can never be the same, because this fact stands in history and nothing can take it away.  God spoke to us through His Son (Heb. 1:2 and note), and this understanding will never be removed from the human scene.  The true God. Jesus revealed the true God! Contrast this with the false god of the false teachers (1 John 2:9). See Introduction to Acts. Our lives. Again the emphasis that we are in the true God by being in His Son Jesus Christ. See 1 John 2:23 and note. This is the true God. In Christ the true God is revealed to us and in Christ we have eternal life. [Some think this says that Jesus Christ is the true God. A monotheistic-trinitarian can say this is true (see note on Rom. 16:27).  [A monotheistic-trinitarian – one who believes in Jehovah the Father, Jehovah the Son, Jehovah the Holy Spirit.]

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

God's Church Lives On

    On the News.  “Christianity is dead in Europe.  Islam is the new reality.”  [But God may have other plans.  “Horses & chariots of fire.”  2 Kings 6:16-17.]
    John wrote to suffering Christians to strengthen their faith at a time they were being destroyed.  The God of Heaven is in control even when He seems not to be.  The “gates of hell” cannot prevail against Christ and His church.  Paul wrote:  “A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”  Eph 6:10-12 (NLT)
    Christianity may seem to be dying.  John wrote in Revelation. 
“When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.  And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”  Rev 11:7-8 (NKJV)
    1. The gates of hell cannot prevail against the one Spiritual Kingdom.  Satan is allowed to oppose the church through the antichristian world.  He seems to defeat the church, and the dead bodies lie on the street.  But God the Holy Spirit sends a life-giving breath and Christianity is reborn – again and again!
    a) Righteousness comes from God.
    “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.  And the Lord said to Satan, "The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?"  Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.  Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, "Take away the filthy garments from him." And to him He said, "See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes."  And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.”  Zech 3:1-5 (NKJV)
    b) Come Up Here!
    “Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them.  And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.  In the same hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. In the earthquake seven thousand people were killed, and the rest were afraid and gave glory to the God of heaven.”  Rev 11:11-13 (NKJV)
    “The death of the two witnesses is not the end of their ministry. God was not defeated in the death of Jesus and he will not be defeated in the slaughter of his witnesses. The God of the resurrection breathed life into the dead so that they stood up (see Ezek 37:3-5,10), leaving no doubt about God's power. • Terror struck: It is a fearful experience for sinful humans to face the power of the living God (see Heb 10:31).  they rose to heaven in a cloud: The event is reminiscent of the ascent of Jesus (see Acts 1:9) and others (see 2 Kgs 2:11-12; 1 Thess 4:17).”  —NLT Study Bible
    c) Central idea.  Evil cannot permanently conquer good.  God is the Power and the Glory.  Rev 11:7-13 shows a continuing cycle of events.  Satan himself fights against the church of Christ [through the antichristian world] and seems to destroy it.  But after 3½ days, God sends a life-giving breath into it.  The church seems to die and is reborn again and again.  The one spiritual church does not terminate.  It is taken up to God and continues to be with Him forever, in the eternal Wedding Feast of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-9).  God’s eternal purpose in the first Coming of Jesus Christ is stated in John 3:16-17.  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”  John 3:16-17 (NKJV)
    “The truth that God loved the world is basic to Christian understanding (1 Jn 4:9-10). God's love extends beyond the limits of race and nation, even to those who oppose him (see "The World" at John 17:5-26, p. 1807). • The Son came to save—not condemn (John 3:17)—men and women who habitually embrace the darkness (John 3:19-21).  As light penetrates and exposes the world's darkness, God's judgment on the world has already begun. Those who see this light and recognize the tragedy of their own situation have the responsibility of believing in God's... Son.”  —NLT Study Bible

Monday, October 19, 2015

We Preach Christ

        Gospel Meetings used to be called Protracted Meetings in the 1940s, and were called Revivals by many.  These are times of evangelistic outreach, lifting up and honoring Christ Jesus and letting His Light of Truth shine. “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”  John 1:9-10 (KJV)
        “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.”  Isaiah 9:6-7 (KJV)
        “For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?  And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.”  Heb 1:5-6 (KJV)
        “According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon.  But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.  For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. “  1 Cor 3:10-11 (KJV)
      In the year of 1794, on August 4th, Rice Haggard stood in the meeting at Old Lebanon Church, Surry County, Virginia, with a New Testament in his hand, and said: "Brethren, this [New Testament] is a sufficient rule of faith and practice.  And by it we are told that the disciples were called Christians. And I move that henceforth and forever the followers of Christ be known as Christians simply."  This proved to be the beginning of the "Stone-Campbell Movement" in America.  [The Lord's Church dates from Pentecost.]
        Salvation unites the believer with Christ.  Said Stone: "We urged upon the sinner to believe now, and receive salvation...No previous qualification was required, or necessary, in order to believe in Jesus, and come to Him - that if they were sinners, this was their divine warrant to believe in Him and to come to Him for salvation...When we first began to preach these things, the people appeared as just awakened from the sleep of ages - they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed [for salvation] was a damning sin.”
        Walter Scott, who came to be thought of as The Evangelist  used the "five-finger exercise" to help people remember: Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Remission of sins, Gift of the Holy Spirit."  These were man's response to God's offer of salvation.  Christ is preached: His Death and Resurrection. Sinners are to believe in Christ, repent of sins, and be baptized into Christ for remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit [Acts 2:38].  With this message, Scott led thousands each year [in the 1800's] to "obey the gospel." 
        Unity  is a command of Christ
      “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;  That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:  I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”  John 17:20-23 (KJV)
        In 1832, Stone and Campbell joined the right hand of fellowship. Stone wrote in 1833: "How vain are all human attempts to unite a bundle of twigs together, so as to make them grow together and bear fruit.  They must first be united with the living stock, and receive its sap and spirit, before they can ever be united with one another.  The members of the body cannot live unless by union with its head - nor can members of the church live united, unless first united with Christ The Living Head.  His Spirit is the bond of union.  Men have devised many plans to unite Christians - all in vain.  There is but one effectual plan, which is, that all be united with Christ and walk in Him."
        We "stand on the shoulders" of those who have gone before us.  Their work of faith is very important to us.  Read Paul's teaching in 1 Cor. 15:1-8; Titus 2:11-14; 3:3-8; Col. 2:11-14.         

Tuesday, October 6, 2015


     If it’s true the redemptive drama being played out here hinges on the quality of the church’s leadership, then each congregation must pay close attention to what makes for a good church leader. A fresh look at 1 Timothy 3:1-7 is needed.
     In that hope, I’ve tried to summarize Paul’s description of the ideal spiritual leader in a list of 10 questions a congregation could ask of potential elders. Keep your Bible open to the text as you read through the following descriptions. As you seek those men who will lead your church, perhaps these questions will serve as a helpful test:
     1. Is this man respected in the community? The first quality listed is above reproach, literally meaning “not able to be held.” In other words, if charges were leveled against this man, he wouldn’t even be held for questioning because his reputation is so solid. He’s Teflon, not Velcro. His integrity is such that accusations just won’t stick.
     By the way, in verse 7 Paul bookends this list with another call for a good reputation with outsiders. Why this emphasis on how well others think of a man? Simply this: the reputation of Christ is tied to that of the church, and the reputation of the church is tied to that of its leaders.
     2. Is this man committed to his wife? A husband of but one wife literally reads “a one-woman man.” It describes a man completely devoted to his wife not only in body, but also in mind and heart. Why is this important? A strong marriage helps protect an elder from moral failure, provides needed support when he faces draining church challenges, and offers a powerful example to younger believers (1 Peter 5:3).
     3. Has this man shown wisdom in decision-making? Temperate means “clear-headed,” and self-controlled could actually be translated “prudent or thoughtful.” These words picture a man who has his head on straight. Why? Because an elder must often think his way through thorny relational, financial, and doctrinal questions—all of which can have eternal consequences. (Perhaps this is why spiritual leaders are called “elders,” suggesting a certain amount of life experience. Wisdom doesn’t always come with age, but it rarely comes without it.)  Look for evidence that a man is mature enough to avoid shoot-from-hip, impulsive, or careless decisions.
Whether you call it common sense, horse sense, or “coon dog sense,” you want your spiritual leaders to demonstrate wise decision-making.
     4. Has this man shown the ability to keep his temper in check? Paul describes an elder as a man who is not violent, but gentle and not quarrelsome. Church leaders will face volatile situations in which a soft word will turn away anger, but a harsh word will stir up wrath (Proverbs 15:1). If a man is known to have either an explosive anger (“losing it”) or a slow, simmering anger (“carrying a grudge”), the church will suffer. When conflict and criticism arise, the man who will make a good elder will have a tough skin, a tender heart, a short memory, and a long fuse.
     5. Is this man willing to be inconvenienced for others? When we hear the word hospitable, we picture inviting someone over for an evening of lasagna dinner and conversation. In the ancient world, where inns were notoriously filthy and even dangerous, the word pictured someone opening his home for guests to stay days or even weeks on end. Hospitality involved sacrifice and cost a great deal in time, space, money and effort. In other words, Paul’s question is: will this man think of others before himself?  After all, an elder is to shepherd the flock of God, and having raised sheep, I can tell you these frustrating animals need constant care. Their problems always seem to come at inconvenient times—I’ve spent a late night or two in the sheep barn. Plus, they smell baaaaad. (Sorry.) In other words, sheep require unconditional love.  A good elder recognizes, however, that these frustrating folk are beloved of God and are “bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
     6. Is this man capable of teaching Scripture to others? An elder must be able to teach. Why? Biblically, the primary strategy for personal and corporate transformation is not excellent programming or even quality relationships, but rather the patient teaching of Scripture (2 Timothy 4:2). Is Paul telling Timothy to look for effective public speakers? Not necessarily. While delivery matters, the first requirement of a good teacher is not presentation skills, but mastery of content. Has this man given himself to study of Scripture and to filling himself with the Word of God?  You’re not simply looking for a man who knows how to say something, but rather a man who has something to say—something from God
     7. Has this man established wise personal habits? The word respectable pictures a man who is self-disciplined and orderly in his behavior. It describes the ancient church father who once prayed, “Father, help me be master of my self that I may be servant of others.” To serve the church, an elder certainly must not be given to drunkenness, but he must also avoid other habits that can damage reputation and distract focus—workaholism, gambling, smoking, overeating, or even watching too much television.  Ask of a potential leader: Do his habits reveal a man who is able to supervise his own life well? Self-control is not only the fruit of the Spirit, but also the mark of a good elder.
     8. Does this man have a strong sense of stewardship? Phrased differently, he is not a lover of money. Phrased positively, he is a lover of God with his money. Paul is describing a leader whose life will be marked by generosity and simple contentment. (See 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19.)   Why? A man who lives under the love of money might let in the door of his life such sins as embezzling, extravagance, or even hoarding, and I’ve seen spiritual leaders who then let these sins in the door of the church. On the other hand, a man who lives under the love of God will steward his own money and the church’s finances with God’s glory and the church’s mission always in mind.
     9. Does this man have a track record of discipling leadership? Has this man shown the ability to lead others to greater maturity in Christ? To answer that question, look at his family first. When Paul says an elder must manage his own family well, he means a man’s family is his first little congregation, and “whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much” (Luke 16:10). But if three of his four children have no use for the church, what does this say of his spiritual leadership?
     10. Has this man been a Christian long enough to maintain humility? Paul says he must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited. The chief occupational hazard of spiritual leadership is pride, and too much visibility too soon in a man’s Christian pilgrimage can inflate his ego.  You’re looking for a man who won’t believe his own church newsletter press clippings and instead has the humility that comes when you’ve walked a ways with Jesus.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Christ Transformed In A Resurection Body

Christ Transformed In A Resurrection Body
    In His Resurrection Jesus had a real immortal and imperishable body.  Luke 24:40.  So will we.
    1. Death is defeated.
    "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last.  I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Rev 1:17-18     
     He has authority even over death and Hades [the world of the dead].  He will raise eveyone from death at His Coming!  See John 5:27-29.
    “Although He eternally existed as the Son of God, Jesus' resurrection demonstrated Him to be God's Son, revealing Him in all His power and glory. —NLT Study Bible
    “O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory?  Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the Angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, has become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.”  Chrysostom
    “Only in the resurrection do we have the message that God has given us the provision of His life in order that we might be man as God intended man to be; in order that the resurrection life of the risen Lord Jesus might become the essence of spiritual life in the Christian; in order that we might live by His life and the expression of His character. The resurrection is the positive provision of life in Christ Jesus, around which all other theological topics must be oriented.”  J.A.Fowler
    2. Resurrection events.
    “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.  She went and told those who had been with Him, as they mourned and wept.  And when they heard that He was alive and had been seen by her, they did not believe.  After that, He appeared in another form to two of them as they walked and went into the country.  And they went and told it to the rest, but they did not believe them either.”  Mark 16:9-13
    “Mary thought that with the resurrection, Jesus would resume normal relations with His disciples. She was trying to cling to the joy she discovered in Her resurrected Lord. But His fellowship with her would come in a new form (John 20:22). Jesus had not yet ascended to complete His return to the Father, but the process was underway. Before His final departure, He would give the Holy Spirit (John 20:22; see John 14:15-21, 26; 15:26-27; 16:5-15).—NLT Study Bible
    He shewed unto them his hands and his side.  The Lord showed his wounds to convince them beyond a doubt that it was not a fantasy or an apparition. A week later he shows his wounds to Thomas. The resurrected body still bore these proofs of his suffering and love. Sixty years later, when John, at Patmos, saw the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, he beheld “a Lamb as it had been slain.” Perhaps our Lord in glory continues to bear the marks of the cross. Perhaps these will forever, as we gaze in glory, remind us of the story of our redemption.”—People's New Testament, Johnson’s Notes
    “It was fitting for Christ’s soul at His Resurrection to resume the body with its scars. In the first place, for Christ’s own glory. For Bede says on Luke 24:40 that He kept His scars not from inability to heal them, “but to wear them as an everlasting trophy of His victory.”  Aquinus
    3. We shall be raised!
    “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.”  Romans 8:11
    Though the body be doomed to death “because of sin,” it shall be “quickened” for those who have God's Spirit dwelling in them. Even our mortal bodies shall be raised, not in corruption, but in incorruption.
    “Behold, I tell 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 trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.”
1 Cor 15:51-52
    “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,  who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.”  Phil 3:20-21 
     "Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know-- Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.”  Acts 2:22-24

    “For early Christians, resurrection was seen to consist of passing death and out the other side into a new sort of bodily life. As Romans 8 shows, Paul clearly believed that God would give new life to the mortal bodies of Christians and indeed to the entire created world: “If the Spirit of the God who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised the Messiah Jesus from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit who lives in you” (Romans 8:11). This is a radical mutation from within Jewish belief.  Resurrection hope (as one would expect from its Jewish roots) turned those who believed it into a counter-empire, an alternative society that knew the worst that tyrants could do and knew that the true God had the answer. But the Christians had an extra reason for this hope, a reason which, they would have said, explained their otherwise extraordinary focus on, and sharpening of, this particular Jewish belief. For the Christians believed that the Messiah had already been raised from the dead. Passages such as Job 19:25-27, which in the King James Version seems to predict bodily resurrection more solidly than the Hebrew warrants, may have gained this meaning when read in the Septuagint.”  N.T Wright

Friday, August 21, 2015

Book of Revelation

The Book of Revelation
    “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave Him to show His servants--things which must shortly take place. And He sent and signified it by His angel to His servant John, who bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, to all things that he saw.  Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.”  Rev 1:1-3 (NKJV)
    It is 96 A.D., the church is in what seems to be a “death-struggle” with the forces of evil, and the Christians seem to be losing! But things are not always what they seem to be outwardly. “Write, then, the things you see, both the things that are now, and the things that will happen afterward” (Rev. 1:19).
    To understand this book, we must first begin at the fact that it was intended for the believers in John’s day and age (Rev. 2:1-3). It is God‘s answer to the prayers and tears of severely persecuted Christians who were scattered through the cities of Asia Minor. It must be studied in the light of the conditions that existed in the last ten years of the First Century A.D. It shows Jesus as the expediter (one who puts into effect an order or decree in the shortest possible time) of God’s Plan (Rev. 5). The Trumpets of chapter 9 answer the question: “How can a loving God allow pain and suffering?” To the Christian who suffers pain, this is a Seal (compare Rev. 7:2-3 note); but to the unbeliever, this pain and suffering is a Trumpet of warning! The theme of this book is stated very well in the words of Rev. 17:14.  “They will fight against the Lamb: but the Lamb, and his called, chosen, and faithful followers with him, will defeat them, for he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
    The LORD shall reign forever.
    “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"  And the twenty-four elders who sat before God on their thrones fell on their faces and worshiped God,  saying: "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, The One who is and who was and who is to come, Because You have taken Your great power and reigned.  The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth."  Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple. And there were lightnings, noises, thunderings, an earthquake, and great hail.”  Rev 11:15-19 (NKJV)
    Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet. This introduces the End of the World and the Final Judgment, but does not describe it. The loud voices in heaven announce: “The power to rule over the world belongs now to our Lord and his Messiah, and he will rule forever and ever.” Compare I Cor. 15:24-28. It may seem as if Satan is the supreme ruler, and that all the power is on the side of the forces of evil. Revelation shows us that God is in control NOW! Judgment will reveal God’s mighty Power as it
actually is.  Then the twenty-four elders. Symbolic of the Redeemed. They respond to what the loud voices announced by falling down and worshiping [see note on Rev. 5:14].  And have begun to rule! God has been ruling all along, but not in ways clearly seen. As Judgment begins, all opposition is crushed forever.  Because it is the time. It has not been the right time, up till now.  To reward your servants. God keeps his promises. Compare Rev. 22:12.  It is the time to destroy those who destroy the earth! Sin pays its wage. The wicked earn the punishment they will receive. Compare Rev. 18:6. God’s temple in heaven was opened. This symbolic picture shows the beauty of God’s love to his children. The temple is wide open so all can see the ark holding the covenant. That ark symbolizes the real and perfect union [fellowship of 1 John 1:7 given real meaning] of God and his people. Flashes of lightning. The same ark holding the covenant is symbolic of God’s wrath to those who have rejected him. The lightning, sounds, thunder, earthquake, and hail symbolize God’s mighty power brought in wrath against the ungodly (compare Jude 15).
    “Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints,  to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him." Jude 1:14-15
    The Mystery of Faith Revealed.
    “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, To God our Savior, Who alone is wise, Be glory and majesty, Dominion and power, Both now and forever. Amen.”

Jude 1:24-25; Romans 16:25-27  


Godhead – The Holy Spirit   adapted from Phil Sanders - SearchTV
     “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”
1 John 5:7 (KJV)   “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.” Luke 23:46 (KJV)   “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”  Eph 4:30 (KJV)
   "The historic reason for employing the language of “Holy Ghost” is that the Douay-Rheims Bible (used by traditional Catholics) and the King James Version (used by Anglicans and Fundamentalists) employ the term “Holy Ghost” for the Third Person of Holy Trinity over 90% of the time. “Holy Ghost” is not used exclusively, however.  Both versions also employs “Holy Spirit.” For example, the Douay Rheims uses “Holy Ghost” 95 times, and “Holy Spirit” 8 times.  The 15th, 16th and 17th century English translators used “ghost” to translate the Latin “spiritus,” which in turn was a translation of the Greek “pneuma” (like pneumatic tools and catching pneumonia).  Ghost derives from the Old English word gast which refers to personal immaterial being – a soul, an angel, or even a demon. It is directly related the German geist. Today, “ghost” conjures up images of haunted houses. It is a shame that this is the case. Is it, however, a reason to abandon the term “Holy Ghost”?”  Taylor Marshall
     “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now.  Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.  He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
John 16:7-15 (KJV)
     “For this reason the apostle Paul could say, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13). Every word written in Scripture is there by the power of the Holy Spirit. Second Peter 1:20-21 says, “But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation (that is, they didn’t make it up), for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” The human authors did not write whatever they pleased to write in Scripture; the Holy Spirit moved them to write the things that they did.”
     “The scriptures not only describe the Holy Spirit but attribute to Him a Divine personality. More than one hundred times, He is called the “Holy Spirit,” which is a clear reference to His deity. In Hebrews 9:14 He is called the eternal Spirit. “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?”
Heb 9:14 (KJV)  The apostle Paul taught in 1 Corinthians 2:10-11 that the Holy Spirit is omniscient; that is, He knows all things. Paul said, “For to us God revealed them through the Spirit (that is, the things in scripture); for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God.”
     “When God raised Jesus from the dead, the Holy Spirit was very much involved. Romans 8:11 says, “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.”  Romans 8:11 (KJV)  When Jesus comes again, the Holy Spirit will raise our bodies from the dead. Only a divine being can do this. Likewise, a prophet named Agabus made a prediction, “And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar.
Acts 11:28 (KJV)  Only God can know the future. The Holy Spirit is divine!”
     “When Jesus and the apostles began working miracles, they acted in the power of the Holy Spirit. Peter recalled, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”  Acts 10:38 (KJV)  In every miracle of Jesus, the Father and the Spirit were very much involved. Likewise, God was confirming His message through the miracles that the apostles and others performed by the Holy Spirit. Hebrews 2:3-4 says about our salvation that “For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward;  How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; 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?”  Heb 2:2-4 (KJV)
The Holy Spirit was behind and involved in every single miracle.
     “When the Lord Jesus was conceived, the Holy Spirit was involved. The angel told Mary, “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.”  Luke 1:35 (KJV)  Later an angel of the Lord told Joseph, “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.”
Matt 1:20 (KJV)

     “David said that the Spirit was present everywhere; this is another sign of being Divine. He said, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.  If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”  Psalms 139:7-10 (KJV)