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    Authority

    Thursday, October 15, 2015, 8:24 AM [General]

    We are to respect all authority as though they were established by the Lord.  This does not mean all who exercise authority are anointed by the Lord.  The Lord had told the Jews in the wilderness that He was to be their King and they were not to have an earthly king, though He knew that they would seek one and He permitted it.  Even so, it was God’s will that all should look to Him as the Ruler of all mankind, and all were to live to please Him and there would be peace and prosperity.  Even so, men sought their own kings and their own rulers and God allowed it and told them they were to respect all authorities.  To say that not all authorities are anointed it not to say that their authority is not established by God.  Wicked governments are generally the allowance of a wicked people to succumb to their wicked ways, and God allows wicked rulers to demonstrate their need to open their eyes and submit to their Creator for relief.

    Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.  2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    In the New Testament, Christians were often poor, needy, and mistreated.  Many were jailed, beaten, and even executed.  But in the midst of tribulation and persecution, the Gospel of Christ marched on.  Still nothing in the New Testament suggests that the early Christians rebelled against the established government.  They submitted to the authorities in Christian humility.

    Acts 23:1 And looking intently at the council, Paul said, "Brothers, I have lived my life before God in all good conscience up to this day."  2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.  3 Then Paul said to him, "God is going to strike you, you whitewashed wall!  Are you sitting to judge me according to the law, and yet contrary to the law you order me to be struck?"

    4 Those who stood by said, "Would you revile God's high priest?"  5 And Paul said, "I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest, for it is written, 'You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.'"

    In the passage above, Paul wasn’t before a government authority here, but before the Jewish high priest.  When ordered to be struck, Paul reacted as might normally be expected, without realizing that it was the high priest who gave the order.  Once he realized who it was, then he was immediately apologetic.  The rulers of the people may apply to religious leaders in your religious sect as well as government leaders.

    1st Timothy 2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

    We should always pray for our rulers.  To what extent anyone feels that their rulers, religious or secular, are right are wrong, one must look at the overall state of affairs of the people.  I believe more often than not, you can find that wicked peoples call for harsh rulers, and a truly good people call for a good ruler.  If the ruler isn’t good, then consider the state of the masses of people who answer to that ruler.  Is the nation generally considered to be seeking their Creator or living for its own self interests?

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    Home Here or Home Eternal?

    Wednesday, October 14, 2015, 6:01 AM [General]

    My how people like to accumulate their wealth in this world; now I can relax and enjoy my life, go where I like, and do as I wish.  Some like that sense of being in control and making their own decisions and being able to tell others what they want and expecting it to be delivered.  They don’t like the idea of having someone else deciding for them or making their decisions.  They don’t even like the idea of serving other people or even serving their Creator.

    Some even treat our Creator as someone who is there to serve them.  They ask the Lord to ‘bless’ them, expecting those ‘blessings’ to be full of material and worldly goods.  Then when they have done little or nothing for others, as they accumulate their wealth, they begin to boast about how God has ‘blessed’ them.  Yet they have filled their own storehouses with this world’s material goods, and done little for others who were needy and struggling.  Then they expect the LORD to bless them more as they boast about how much wealth He has (supposedly) given them.  So in that boast they ask others to help themselves by sending money to help the needy and they will use that money to help the needy.  But first they take a big chunk to pay for their mansions (because the Lord wants them to live in a mansion).  Then they have to have a luxurious ride (because the Lord wants them to travel in style).  Then they need a luxury jet (because the Lord wants them to travel in style to visit these poor needy people they are going to help).  Of course while they travel, their Lord wants them to be comfortable, so they need the better hotels and best of foods.  Then after they have spent the great majority of the money that the people sent the needy, they have a very small percentage left to help the needy with.  Then they need more money to pay for all the fuel and travel expenses and to pay television networks so they can go on TV and boast to the world how the Lord has used them to help these needy people and ask more people to send them more money so they can help more.

    Luke 12:16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?'  18 And he said, 'I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.  19 And I will say to my soul, "Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry."'

    20 But God said to him, 'Fool!  This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'  21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God."

    Luke 12:33 Sell your possessions, and give to the needy.  Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.  34 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

    James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.  2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.  You have laid up treasure in the last days.

    Some people pretend they dedicate their lives to serving others, when in reality they are serving themselves.  Many are blinded by false teachers.  Are you expecting rewards in this world, or laying up treasures for an eternal kingdom?  How many will come to the judgment throne and tell Jesus thank you for so many blessings in their earthly life; and can you picture Jesus telling them that He’s glad they enjoyed them, but since they had their home, rewards, and treasures in this life, there is nothing left for them for an eternal home?  Do you seek your treasures in this life, or do you prefer to serve the Lord and have your treasures above?  How many will spend eternity without a home in God’s Kingdom because they chose their rewards in this life?

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    Some Instruction from James

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015, 7:56 AM [General]

    James 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.  2 For we all stumble in many ways.  And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.

    Though everyone should share what Jesus has done for him, he should be careful when presuming to teach God’s Word.  Your teachings will call for stricter judgment because by teaching you indicate that you know.  At the same time, never forget, as James points out, “we all stumble in many ways.”  Don’t suppose that even teachers are perfect, and even they may stumble in teaching.  That is another reason they should be very careful in studying exactly what the Scriptures say before teaching others, lest others be led astray.

    James 5:1 Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you.  2 Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten.  3 Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire.  You have laid up treasure in the last days.

    4 Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts.  5 You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence.  You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.  6 You have condemned and murdered the righteous person.  He does not resist you.

    7 Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.  See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.

    Just as teachers can expect a stricter judgment for being sure they are teaching rightly, the rich need to be extremely careful about how they are stewards of their riches.  First, as indicated above, they will be judged as to how they became rich.  The laborers who mowed the fields are just one example of employment but can be applied to all business.  Owners of business need to be certain that employees are treated fairly, and not treated unjustly.  If employees suffer from their lack of sufficient income while the owners (share-holders, corporate executives, etc.) enjoy an abundance of wealth, then those riches gained will choke them for eternity at the judgment throne.  Those who are wealthy have a moral obligation that comes from God’s law of love to reach out to those in need.

    Luke 11:42 "But woe to you Pharisees!  For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God.  These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.  43 Woe to you Pharisees!  For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces.

    Some people seem to think that by simply tithing ten-percent, they are exempt from using their other material blessings to help others in need.  If they see needy people they say things like, “Oh, I feel sorry for them, but I pay taxes and tithes and the government and the church can take care of them.”  Or, “If they would work, pay taxes, and tithe they would be blessed like I am.”  They will have to answer for an unchristian attitude when they stand before that judgment throne.  Likely, these people aren’t truly Christian, because one hallmark of Christians is caring for one another.  This lack of caring among churches and the rest of society is one of the spots that turn many away from the church.  The true church is to attract people by that love that God has for mankind that sent Jesus to die for our sins.  Even so, where there is love, many people turn away, because love has truth, and many people don’t want the truth.  This is why Jesus said that we could expect this world to treat us as it treated Him.

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    Jesus, Salvation, & Judgment

    Monday, October 12, 2015, 12:36 AM [General]

    Do you believe in Jesus?  Do you know Who Jesus is?  Most people can quote the verse- For God so loved the world …  Okay- He sent His Son.  Who is His Son?  Believing in Him one gains eternal life.  Jesus disciples once asked Him what works they were to do to do the works of God (John 6: 28- 29).  Jesus answered that the works they were to do were to believe on the One that God had sent.  The Father sent the Son, Jesus, to die for our sins.  These works were spoken of later in the New Testament as those who did not obey the works of God, meaning they did not believe on the One God sent.

     

    Now Who is this Jesus?  John 1: 1- In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  2 The same was in the beginning with God.  3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.  4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.  (Further into the chapter-)  14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us …  Jesus is God through Whom all things were created.  Elsewhere in the Scriptures it speaks of all things being created through the Word of God.  The New Testament teaches that Jesus created all things.  When Jesus was baptized, the Father was in Heaven, Jesus (the Word become flesh) was in the water, and the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove.  The Scriptures teach that God must be worshipped in Spirit and in Truth.  His Word is Truth.  God is the Father.  God is the Son.  God is the Holy Spirit.  The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is all God.  To believe in Jesus is to believe in God’s Word.  The best way to get to know Jesus better is to get to know the Word of God better.

    So not believing in Jesus is the disobedience to God in 1st Peter 4: 17- … what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  The Bible teaches that this eternal life that Jesus gives is a gift for those who believe in Him.  Once you have it, it belongs to you.  Some may say that if you are saved, you could lose that salvation.  Then how is it eternal life.  If you lose eternal life, then your eternal life didn’t last very long did it?  I submit that it will not be lost.  You may lose yourself in this world, but remember, if the LORD’s chastening and scourging (from Hebrews- whom the Father loves He chastens and scourges) doesn’t turn you around then (1st Corinthians 5) the LORD may turn your physical earthly body over to Satan to the point of destruction, so that your soul may be saved.

    If you are saved, and you don’t live as you should, then Paul indicated that your works would be tried by fire, and your works (in this earthly body) that were not good would be burned up, but any good works (like gold or silver) would be purified by that fire.  If you had no good works, then there would be nothing left for your rewards after that judgment by fire, but your soul would be saved even though scorched by the fire (1st Corinthians 3: 10- 15).  This judgment is mentioned again in 2nd Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

    Some people have worried about having lost their salvation.  Well, someone who doesn’t believe wouldn’t be worried about it, so if one is worried, it’s not that he’s lost salvation, because believers are saved, and he must believe or he wouldn’t be worried about it.

    Aside from the judgment of the believer’s works, there is that dreadful judgment, dreadful for those who never believed in God’s mercy in salvation through Jesus.

    Matthew 25:31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: 33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

    34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

    41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

    46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

    Observe that there is an everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  Then the ominous separation of the lost souls who will be doomed to that place.  Some say that they will not suffer for eternity, but Jesus very plainly says (verse 46), “… these shall go away into EVERLASTING PUNISHMENT …”  Can you not clearly see the need to tell the world about the Savior.  But don’t expect people to readily listen.  Still people need to be warned.

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    Judgment Begins with God's Household

    Sunday, October 11, 2015, 6:49 PM [General]

    1st Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?  18 And "If the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?"  19 Therefore let those who suffer according to God's will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

    Now many may not be aware that God’s house is to be judged, and since Peter says it begins “with us”, then that means that ‘we, the saved’ are what he is speaking of as God’s house (before someone supposes that he is talking about the angels being referred to).  Paul clearly taught that the Christians works would be judged.  Then he asks about those who “… do not obey the gospel of God”.  Before we ‘assume’ we know what is meant by ‘obey’ we need to look at the word in its original context.  It comes from the Greek word apeitheo (Westcott-Hort Greek NT & Stephanus Textus Receptus Greek NT) which translates into English as ‘to disbelieve’ or ‘not to obey by not believing’.  Now to translate it as ‘disobedience’ we need to understand what they were disobeying.  Peter states here that they ‘did not obey the gospel of God’.

    Next, what is this ‘gospel of God’.  The Greek term for ‘gospel’ is ‘euaggelion’ from which we get the terms evangel and evangelist.  What this means is ‘good news’, and so they did not ‘obey (they disbelieved) the good news of God’.  What was the good news that was not believed- that He loved the world so much that He sent His Only Begotten Son Who died on a cross to pay the debt of our sins that they may gain everlasting life.  So those of the household of God who would be judged first (our works will be judged, but we will be saved by the blood of Jesus) would be those who ‘obeyed by believing God’s good news’.  We are not concerned about the other judgment for those who ‘disobeyed the good news by not believing’, because they have made their own end by refusing to believe.

    Now in considering “… those who suffer according to God’s will …” (verse 19) Paul had discussed previously in this epistle.  It is those who suffer for their own sins (whom the Father loves He chastens and scourges), and those who suffer at the hands of this world because this world is expected to treat Jesus’ followers as they treated Him.

    Now to make this not become so long, I will not continue with the individual word studies.  You need to understand that the way it is translated has to be understood from the perspective in which it was intended, and that is why I felt it necessary to explain how ‘disobedient’ was derived from the Greek meaning ‘non-belief’.  With regards to those referred to as ‘righteous’, either believe me, research it yourself, or don’t believe (which the Greek may call apeithemo and some may translate as ‘disobedient’).  To say the sinners are unsaved is not to say that those who are saved do not sin.  No one, even the saved, is perfect (and some are much less perfect than others).  This does not mean they are not saved- for those who are saved, sins will be dealt with either in this life by the ‘chastening and scourging’ of a loving Heavenly Father, or at that judgment that Paul was referring to where ‘judgment begins at God’s house’ (verse 17 above).  So once a person is saved, he does not lose that salvation, but he will endure the consequences of his sins.  Those who are ‘righteous’ does not mean they are perfect, but it means they are on the ‘right’ road to the Heavenly Kingdom (righteous is an old form of being right).  The ‘unrighteous’ refers to those who have ‘not believed’ (apeithemo) in God’s good news.  They are not on the ‘right’ road, and will not be in God’s Kingdom.

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