PRAYERS

Welcome to this site. My prayer is that you take a look at the site and as you do, let the Holy Spirit speak to your heart and reveal what God wants you to discover. (in Jesus' name)

God tells us that if we see a brother (or sister) in need we should do that which is within our means to help. Prayer is always within our means but we never know what doors Father may open through them. Should you desire prayer for anything (healing, direction, etc.) or if you want supportive prayer along with your own please feel free to e-mail that request to sharbu3@gmail.com and be assured that there are others who will be praying with or for you.


In this blog, I share what the Lord shares with me. I reference scripture a lot in support of what is being said. I realize that what is in each entry is NOT a complete 'word' on what is being said, but is rather enough information to stimulate our spirits to dig deeper (remember the Bereans Acts 17:10-11) thereby gaining a fuller understanding for ourselves.

At the end of each post are the options to share, forward or make a comment. Click 'comment' to respond. Let us know if you like, don't like or are helped by what you read. Comments can be made or read by anyone. All you have to do is select the "comment" at he end of the entry.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

I’m saved!  Now What?

 

Quick refresher on what love is 

Let’s take a quick refresher of the different, basic types of love.

The dictionary defines love as affection based on admiration or benevolence, warm attachment or devotion, unselfish concern that accepts others seeking their good, attraction based on sexual desire (eros).  It can be to hold dear or express devotion to, have tenderness or devotion for another, like or desire, thrive in or take pleasure in doing. 

Here are some of the Greek and Hebrew words used for love, in the scriptures. Phileo (Gr 5368) or Reya (Heb 7453) is the type of love as having affection for or being a friend or having a personal attachment to. 

Agape (Gr 26) or dowd (Heb 1730) love is having affection or benevolence towards another.

Philoteknos (Gr 5388) is the type of love we have for our children, eg. “motherly love”.

Philandros (Gr 5362) or ahab (Heb 157) is the type of love a husband and wife share

Philadelphia (Gr 5360) is a brotherly love.

Why review what love is?  Because God is love (1 John 4:8)!  The many aspects of His love is expressed to us in the bible.  You want examples?  Read from Genesis through Revelation.  God so loved he world that He gave His only begotten Son that we might have eternal life through Him (John 3:16).  God always seeks what is best for us (Rom. 8:28).  All He wants is for us to love Him in return.  So how do we express our love for Him.  By living for Him and He even helps us with that by giving us he Holy Ghost to dwell within our hearts (Acts 1:8) so we can know His fullness in our lives (Eph. 3:13-19).

So just how can we love God? 

God give us a subtle suggestion in the Ten Commandments “I am the Lord God … You shall have no other Gods before me and you shall not make any graven images of anything in heaven or earth …” (Exod. 20:3-4).  To emphasize this, Jesus tells the Jews that the greatest commandment is to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves (Matt. 22:36-49).  So if we want to express our love for God, we keep His commandments (John 14:15). 

In order to do this we must believe that God is (Dan. 2:28, Heb. 11:6, 1 John 2:1-3) and that He will do all that He says that He will (Num. 23:19).  His word will not come back void (Isa. 55:11).  So, God tells us to live in faith as exampled in Hebrews chapter eleven.

In part, that means to accept Him as a little child (Matt. 18:1-6).  The nature of a little child is to accept whatever mom and dad tell him, knowing that it will come to pass.  Do not discount the little children for they can be an example as to how we can live in the Kingdom of God (Matt. 19:14). 

As we love our children, we correct them to keep them on the right path.  God does the same (Rev. 3:19) to keep us on the right path (Psalm 48:19).  He also will teach us and remind us of what we have learned (John 14:26). 

As we grow in Christ, we realize that God does want us to grow closer to Him.  He came down, looking for Adam and Eve.  Apparently He was accustomed to fellowshipping with them in the garden in Eden (Gen. 3:8).  He desires to fellowship with us (1 Corinth. 1:9, 1 John1:3).   

As well as sons and daughters (2 Corinth. 6:18), God also wants a friend.  Abraham was called the ‘friend of God’ (James 2:23).  Because they obeyed Him, Jesus called His disciples (and us) friends because He shared His heart with us (John 15:14-15).

He wants a relationship with us.  Look at how John felt about Jesus at the “Last Supper” (John 13:23, 14:23).  He laid his head upon Jesus’ chest.  He will come into our lives and dine with us, when we ask (Rev. 3:20). 

Jesus loves us so much, that when He died on the cross, the veil separating the holy place from the Holy of Holies was torn in two (Mark 15:37-38).  Remember, behind that curtain was where only the high priest entered in, once a year to go before God (Heb. 9:6-7).  So, now, through Jesus, we also have access to Father (Heb. 10:19-20).

We love God, through Jesus Christ because while we were yet sinners, He gave His life for us that because we accept Him through faith He will draw us even closer to Himself (Rom. 5:1-8).  Have we confessed our Lord Jesus and believed in our heart that Father raised Him from the dead?  If so, we have salvation and because we love Him, we have confirmation in our own heart that we will be with Him, eternally (1 John 5:13).  And we now that nothing can separate us from the love of God (Rom. 8:35-39). 

Living in God’s love

We see why we love God, so just how do we do that?

We continue striving to walk in the Spirit even though we’re in this world, we live in this body of flesh.  We endeavor to submit every thought into the obedience of Christ as we shed carnal things in our life.  God gives us the strength to cast down imaginations and thoughts that exalt themselves (2 Corinth. 10:3-5) and then we bring our bodies into subjection through our own spirit (1 Corinth. 9:7).

Through the Holy Ghost, God gives us power to live this life and to be a witness for Him in this world (Acts 1:7-8).  We begin by seeking the kingdom of God first, for He will give us what we need (Matt. 6:25-34, foc v 33 & Luke 6:20-38).  Then we keep His commandments which are to love God above all else and our neighbor as ourselves (1 Kings 6:11-13, Mark 12:30-31, John 14:15-18) and God will do what He has said.

As we read these passages, we need to also keep in mind a few other things.  Blaspheme is saying it wasn’t God who did all those wonderful works in the bible.  God created all things by sending His Word (God said) out via the Holy Ghost (Gen. 1:1-3) so we don’t blaspheme the Holy Ghost (Mark 3:28-29).  If we ‘step out of line’, God will chasten those whom He loves (us)(Heb. 12:5-11).  Refuse things that we know have been offered to idols (for our brothers sake) things strangled, fornication and from blood (the life of things)(Acts 15:20).  Abstain even from the appearance of evil (1 Thess. 5:22) and fleshly lusts (1 Peter 2:11).  Remember how sin is conceived.  We are tempted, then drawn by the lust still in our own heart, which results in sin, which results in death (James 1:13-15).  And, eventually,  that is both physical and eternal.     

In living for Jesus, we need to consider the sower.  He sowed his seed.  Some fell by the wayside, some on stony ground, some among the thorns and some on good ground.  We need to be ‘on the good ground’ (Luke 81-15).  After all, we are becoming a new creature in Christ Jesus as He has reconciled us to Himself (2 Corinth. 5:17-19).  So we should be continually be renewing the spirit of our mind, our thinking, to line up with Jesus (Eph. 4:17-23, Rom. 12:2).  As our outward man perishes (ages), our inward man should be continually renewing (in Christ Jesus) because we are no longer focusing on temporary things, but eternal (2 Corinth. 4:15-18).  We don’t walk in the “letter of the Law” (10 Commandments – Exod. 20:1-17) but we do walk in the Spirit because we have set aside our old ways and are joint heirs, in God (the Father) with Jesus (Rom. 1:17-32, 8:1-17, Gal. 5:16-26).   

Jesus is the true vine and we are branches grafted into that vine so we can continue in His love (John 15:1-9).  We havd bdcome one with Him.  His love strengthens us so we can endure the troubles which come our way because we know the God-inspired holy scriptures and we move in faith and righteousness to complete the works God has given us (2 Tim. 3:10-17).  Because we fight against powers and principalities and wickedness in high places, we put on the armor of God to withstand the attacks of our enemy (Eph. 6:10-18). 

As we grow in Christ, we need to be aware of the phonies who creep into our lives.  They sneak in as ravening wolves which look like sheep, yet we can recognize them as we watch their lives.  Their true fruit will eventually show (Matt. 7:15-23).

John explained to the people that he baptized with water for repentance, but one comes after him who will baptize with fire and the Holy Ghost (Matt. 3:11).  We also need to bear in mind the twelve men Paul encountered on the road to Ephesus.  As they talked, Paul realized that these men had not received the baptism of the Holy Ghost yet.  Effectively, the men said “Er, what’s a Holy Ghost?” Paul then baptized them in the name of Jesus, laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-7).  Also, keep in mind that as Peter preached to Cornelius and his household, Peter asked “How can we forbid water for these who have already received the baptism of the Holy Ghost as we?” (Acts 10:1-47, foc v44-47), before water baptism.  Compare with when the disciples received the Holy Ghost in the upper room (Acts 2:1-15).

So, being equipped with all that God has for us, think on these things, that which is true, honest, just, pure lovely, of good report, having virtue and praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8-9). 

Read the passages referenced here to get the full impact of what we have been talking about.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves

Because we truly love one another, the world can see that we are disciples of Christ (John 13:35).

How do we treat those around us?  Abraham provided hospitality to three ‘men’ who visited him.  He treated them as guests and fed them (Gen. 18:1-8).  Lot did the same and added protection of his home (Gen.19:1-22).  Of course, these ‘men’ were angels and the men were on their way to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Humans have a tendency to be very judgmental concerning those of a different economic class.  Yet, we need to self-examine ourselves, before we judge others (Matt.7:1-5).  Jesus tells us that no matter how others may treat us, we treat them with dignity, respect and love.  God does give back to us according as to how we treat others – good or bad (Luke6:27-38).  Consider the good Samaritan.  He found a man on the wayside, beaten and robbed.  The Samaritan not only helped the man but took him and paid for lodging until the man recovered.  How many of us would have even stopped to help, much less paid his expenses until he recovered (Luke 10:29-37)?  We learn in the book of James that having faith is a good thing, but how do people know we have faith if we don’t do something with it (James 2:14-26, foc v18)?  Along with our good works, yes, we also pray for others so that God will meet their needs (2 Thess. 1:11).  Peter and John encountered the lame man at the pool of Shiloam.  Peter took the man’s man’s hand, helping him up (Acts 3:1-10).  Doing for others and praying for them are good, but when we really want to see something accomplished, we also need to add fasting and follow the lead of the Holy Ghost (Acts 13:1-4).

We know that God is love.  We know that Jesus is the physical (in this world) representation of that love.  And we’ve read where the prophets and the Law are based in love (Matt. 37-40).  Love fulfills the Law (Rom. 13:8), so we fulfill the Law as we live and operate in God’s love.  In case we have still missed the concept, we should love our neighbor as ourselves (Gal. 5:14).

As we grow in our love, we need to remember to fellowship with others who follow Jesus Christ.  We encourage each other to grow in Christ, especially as the signs of the end times approaches (Heb. 10:25).

Quick summary:  live in God’s love and be loving towards not only our brothers and sisters in the Lord, but to all whom we encounter.  Let God’s love abide in us and through us as we abide in the love of Jesus Christ!    

Prayer

The dictionary defines prayer as to entreat, implore or ask humbly or earnestly, confess or give thanksgiving, address God with adoration.

I found five Hebrew words meaning ‘pray’.  They all implied asking or making supplication.  Anna (annah) (H577), na (H4994) and  palal (H6419) are very basic which is to pray, entreat or beseech,  but challah (H2470) carries the idea of a deeply felt request.  Athar (H6279) goes a little deeper and brings in to burn incense, intercede or listen to.

I saw six Greek words for prayer.  Again, request, beseech and pray are common to all.  Yet  deomai G1189) adds in petition.  Eroao (G2065) desire (as in interrogate).  Ekuchomai (G2172) and Proseuchomai (G4336) specifically add in pray “to God”.  Parakaleo (G3870) give some direction by exhorting, invoking or desiring comfort.  Poseuche (G4335) brings in ‘with intent’ that is earnestly or worshipfully.

Jesus’ disciples thought enough of prayer to do it in one accord (agreement) (Acts 1:14).

So why do we need to pray?  It is communication with God, All Mighty, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.  God came down to the garden of Eden to be with Adam and Eve.  To talk with them (Gen. 3:8-10).  Having given the apostle John instructions for writing seven letters, Jesus says that He stands at the door and knocks and He will come in and be with anyone who lets Him in  (Rev. 3:20).  The same John, tells us in his letter that we should have confidence that He (Jesus) hears us and will give us our request (1 John 5:14-15).  Jesus tells us to pray so that we don’t enter into temptation (Luke22:40) and that God’s will be done in our lives (Luke 22:42).

God’s power, in this world, are expressed through our lives and are accomplished through our prayers and actions(Matt.17:20-21, Acts 1:8, James 2:14-18).  We need to meditate on His Word, the book of Psalm is a good place to start to learn how to do this.  The church prayed, without ceasing for Peter and saw their prayers answered (Acts 12:5-11).  Paul tells the Thessalonians to pray without ceasing (1 Thess. 5:17).  So are we to stay on our knees 24/7365?  Of course not!  But we should always maintain an attitude of prayer every day.  That is ask God for direction when a choice is not obvious or thank Him for even the little things He does for us – daily.  We need to pray for our enemies.  As Jesus hung on the cross, what was one of the prayers He offered up?  “Father, forgive them for they don’t know what they do” (Luke 23:34).  Understand, the people who sent Him to the cross were His enemies, yet He prayed for them.  We don’t seek vengeance because God is our avenger (Romans 12:18-21).

We pray so that we don’t enter into temptation (Matt. 26:41).  Our enemy is subtle and we need all the help we can get to stay out of his clutches.

Don’t refuse prayer to those who may be young in the Lord, for the kingdom of God is like a little child (Matt. 19:13-15).  Through faith and prayer, people might receive healing as the woman with the issue of blood or Jairius’ daughter (Mark 5:23-43).

Prayer makes me feel good so do I make a big ‘show’ about my prayer life?  NO!  Jesus says that when we pray, we should enter our prayer ‘closet (a quiet place with no distractions) and there God knows our heart, man to God (Matt. 6:5-6).  And there, we can focus on Him.

Jesus gives us an example of how we can pray.  Things we need to include:

Lord’s Prayer (Matt. 6:9-13)

v09      to acknowledge. God for who He is, His greatness, His love

v10      to acknowledge that you understand the extent of God’s authority (over all that is)

v11      For our physical needs (health, direction, financial)

v12      that He forgives our sins (we need to bring those unconfessed sins)

v12      for others (immediate or extended family, friends, neighbors, etc.)

v13      we should ask for direction/protection (specific requests for specific answers)

v13      now, let’s close by Glorifying God for who He is

Let’s look at our attitude as we are in prayer.

We should ask God that our words and meditations be acceptable (Psalms 19:14).

As I pray, I need to believe that God will deliver (Matt.21:21-22).

Little children accept, without a doubt, what mom and dad say.  We come to God as a little child (Luke 18:15-17).

We bring our prayer before God with thanksgiving (Phil. 4:6).

If the gentile, Cornelius always prayed to God, should we do any less (Acts 10:1-2)?

Because the fervent prayer of a righteous man brings results (James 5:15-16).

Remember that Husbands and wives should be in agreement when they fast and should pray together as often as possible  (1Corint. 7:2-5).

We should pray earnestly before God, in the Spirit (Matt. 6:6, Eph. 6:18).  For the Spirit intercedes for us and knows how to bring our supplications before the Lord (Rom. 8:26)(1 Corinth 14:14-19).

Suggestion - we do need that alone time – just God and me.  We need to pray with our spouse for true prayer strengthens the marriage – no secrets.  Families need to pray together so children have a mentoring effect on prayer in their lives – they won’t forget.  And lest I forget, we should pray for and in the church - a praying church begins with the family whether we have a position of responsibility or not.

Daniel prayed three times a day (Dan. 6:10).  This habit is what got him tossed into the lion’s den.  The high priest of the Jews went into the Holy of Holies once a year to offer sacrifice (prayer) for the people’s sin (Heb. 9;1-7).  Today, Christians usually attend church once a week on the Sabbath.  “Good” Christians may go at least once more during the week (or more, depending on denominational practices).  Paul tells the Hebrews (us) not to forsake getting together (Heb. 10:25).  I strongly recommend, for the individual, daily time with the Lord and then gathering with other Christians once a week (anyway).  I would also suggest once a week for family time with the Lord and as often as needed with your spouse.  The bottom line is that you need to ask God what will work best for you and your family – remember, being in agreement.

So, do I have to go to the church to pray to God?  Only if you plan on living there.  Obviously, individual and family time should be in the home.  Remember, God created the heavens and the EARTH.  God is everywhere!  Individual and family prayer should not be neglected just because we are on vacation.  Look at the significance when Jesus spoke with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:5-25, note v29).  Samarians worshipped in the mountain and Jew worshipped in Jerusalem.  I’m not saying to forsake fellowshipping.  Prayer is talking with God - just as you would with your parents, children or friends. We can pray anywhere, anytime, formal or informal, indoors our outside, even walking down the sidewalk.  As long as our heart is right with the Lord, God honors honest and fervent prayers.

Tithes and Offerings

The dictionary says a tithe is giving or paying a tenth part.  There are basically two Hebrew words meaning tithe.  the first has three forms: maaser, maasar & maasarah (H4643) which is translated as tenth.  Asar (H6237) is translated as giving a true tenth.

The Greek words are similar but carry a slightly different context:  apodekatoo (G586) tithe (as a debtor), dekate (G1181) is a tenth (as a percentage) and dekatoo (G1183) is to give or receive a tenth

God gave Moses a command for us to tithe for it is holy unto Him (Lev. 27:30-34).  Jacob asks God to be with him and vows to give a tenth of all God gives him (this is even before God gave Moses the commandments) (Gen. 28:20-22).  For delivering his nephew, Lot, safely, Abraham gives a tenth of all that he had to Melchizedek, the ‘high priest of God’ (Gen. 14:18-20, Heb. 7:1-3).  God tells Israel that our tithe should be from our increase, what we’ve gained since the last time we tithed (Deut. 14:22). 

So why do we tithe?  As God told Moses, a part of the tithe goes to support the Levites (the church) because they had no part in Israel’s inheritance (Num. 35:1-8).  They were also told to take care of the widows and orphans (Deut. 24:19, James 1:27).

So, where does the tithe go?  God tells us to tithe (a 10th) because it belongs to Him and to take care of those who need it.  Amen? 

Will a man rob God?  Yes, in tithes and offerings (Mal. 3:8-12).!

What is an offering?

The dictionary defines offering as an act of one giving, something given, or a course of study (aka class in college).  It also include something sacrificed ceremoniously offered to God.  An offering is not the tithe, but it is something beyond our tithe.

The Hebrew gives us a number of words translated as ‘offering’: asham (H817) sin offering,  minchah (H4503) gift, present, bloodless sacrifice (freely given), alah (H5927) lift up, raise, recover, restore, aleh (H5930) (go u- with) burnt offering,  asah (H6213) accomplish, bestow, bring forth, qurban (qorban) (H7133)    bring to the altar, present, ruwmah (H8641) heave offering (spec. shoulder of sacrifice).  The gist is something freely given, possibly as a ‘thank You’ (to God) for something He has done for us.

Two Greek words for offering are  prospero (G4374) present, bring to and  prosphera (G4376) bloodless sacrifice.  Again, to bring something but, as prosphera suggests, we don’t have to sacrifice an animal to do this.

Among our offerings are what the bible calls our ‘first fruit.  First fruits are the first and the best of whatever we have to bring.  Cain slew Abel because of this concept (Gen. 4:1-8, Heb. 11:4, 1 John 3:12).  The implication is that Cain did not give his best as his brother Abel had.  

God tells us to bring our first fruit (Exod. 23:19) because, in part, this is how we honor Him (Prov. 3:9).

Israel brought tithes and offerings to the Lord (2Chron. 31:12).  Whose example do we follow, Cain or Abel?

Why tithes and offerings

As e already mentioned that tithes and offerings support the work of the church (Num. 18:21, Ezek. 44:30).  God requires it (Heb. 7:15).  God will bless us more than we give (Prov. 3:9-10, Mal. 3:9-12, 2 Corinth. 9:6-8).  We need to remember that as we give, we give not for our own benefit but for the glory of God.  Also remember that no matter what we do, we do as if we are doing it for God (Col. 3Z:23).  As Jesus said “as you have done to the least of my brothers, you have done unto Me (Matt. 25:40).

In a nut shell, a ltithe can be money, talents/skills, time …  think of all the good God has brought into our lives.  He gives liberally to us.  Can we do any less for Him?

Summary

I’m saved!  I have my ticket to heaven so now what do I have to do?

Learn to show our love for God by putting Him first in everything in our lives.  This means learning how to live in His love, which is to respect, appreciate and abide in His rules, which includes loving others as ourselves.  Giving others the same respect and attention we desire.  We learn to communicate with our Lord.  Not just asking for our needs, but listening to what He has to say (you may be amazed!).  And we show our love for Him by supporting His work in this world.  His body (all believers) need our support and we need theirs to operate in unity and communion with our Savior.

This is the sixth element in coming to the understanding that creation didn’t “just happen’, but a loving, intelligent being formed it millennia ago.  He created something He could love and hoped his creation would love Him in return.  That’s why He gave us free will, to choose whether to love Him or not.  He has formed all that is and He has set into motion both natural and spiritual laws as to how things should operate.  He will help us to live for Him through blessings and instruction and when we choose to do things His way, He will bless us (in so many different ways) that we can’t even begin to imagine.

There are four more components to this work, but these six are of utmost importance.  God loves us and our need to learn to operate within the parameters of that love. 

Yes, this has been another long one and there is so much more that can be said about this and each of the other areas.  We can (and will) spend a lifetime learning all that God has for us but, by His grace, my prayer is that what we have presented here has whetted your appetites to draw closer into a living relationship with an eternal, loving God.

This is the foundation for  LIVING IN Christ Jesus!  God almighty, came into this world over 2000 years ago, to help us come back into His fold (kingdom).

Let’s live for Him!

Amen

 

Saturday, November 19, 2022

11-19-2022  WHAT IS ETERNITY?

                                                                        The choice is ours

OK, just what is eternity?

The dictionary defines eternity as the quality or state of being eternal, an infinite amount of time, state after death (immortality).  I love definitions where a different form of the word is used to describe the word itself (eternity is eternal).  So, ‘eternal’ reads as indefinite duration, continuing without intermission or timeless.

One Hebrew word is used for eternity, ad (H5703) and it means perpetual, everlasting, world without end.  Two words are used for eternal.  One word is used with two spellings and they are  owlam or olam  (H5769) and they mean always, evermore, continuance, everlasting, perpetual, world without end.  And the other word is actually two words with the same definition which are quedem or quedmah, (H6924) everlasting, with context of ‘being from before until after’ (always been and will never end).

Interesting that there are no Greek words used for eternity (New Testament), but words used for eternal are aidios (G126) everlasting (forward or backward); aion (G165) perpetual, everlasting world began but no end; aionios (G166) perpetual, for ever, everlasting, indicating past or future.

So eternity or eternal can be from ‘before, ‘during’ and continuing until ‘after’ (whatever).  Always existing but clearly having no end and, possibly, no beginning.  Get the picture?

Paul tells the Thessalonians that in the end times, the Lord, Himself, shall descend from heaven, with a shout, the voice of the archangel, with the trump (G4536) of God (that is echoing as with a trumpet).  Then, those who gave their hearts to the Lord and are no longer on this earth, shall rise first.  Then, those who are yet alive, on the earth, shall be caught up into the clouds, with them, to be with the Lord forever (1 Thess. 4:16-17).  That is eternally.  Jesus says that all who believe on Him will have everlasting life and He will raise us up on that last day (John 6:39-40) - to be with Him forever.

The book of Deuteronomy says that God is above all things.  He is the eternal God, who is our refuge and we will dwell safely in His presence (Deut. 33:26-29), forever.  Peter tells us, however, that day will come as a thief in the night so we don’t know (exactly) when His return will occur.  Yet we continually await the new heavens and the new earth so we can dwell in absolute righteousness in the Lord (2Peter 3:10-13).  Jesus says that if we know Him, we will hear His voice and follow Him, because we dwell in Him.  No one will be able to pluck us out of His hand because He and the Father are one (John 10:27-30).  AND He desires us to be one with Him (John 17:17-21).

Paul reminds the Thessalonians not to be concerned about those who have already passed from this life, but because of their faith in Jesus (and ours), we all will rise on that day.  We won’t prohibit those who have already passed from this life (1Thess. 4:13-15).  We will meet Him, together, those who have been and those who are.  After all, death and the grave could not hold our Lord Jesus (Acts 2:24, 1 Corinth. 15:4, Psalm 16:9-11), right?  So death will not have an impact on us – eternally.

Paul explains to the Corinthians that there are two bodies to be considered, one natural and the other spiritual.  The natural body is after Adam and is weak and has a limited existence.  The Spiritual body is raised in the power of Jesus Christ and is eternal.  The natural body cannot inherit heaven.  So, on that last day, in the twinkling of an eye, we all shall be changed and sin and death will no longer have dominion over us (1 Corinth. 15:39-58).  I don’t know exactly what our new body will look like but here’s what Jesus told His disciples after His resurrection:   As Jesus stood in their midst “ Peace be to you.  Why are you troubled?  Why do questions arise in your hearts?  Behold my hands and my feet.  It is Me!  A spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have (Luke 24:39).  (‘nuff said?)

Jesus relates signs of the end times (as what we know) in Matthew chapter 24.  In part, He tells us that the Son of man (Jesus) shall come in the clouds with great power and glory and He will send His angels to gather the elect (saved) from the ends of the earth (Matt. 24:30-31).  So we need to always be ready, watching, for the Son of man comes when we least expect it.  We should be wise and faithful servants, doing as God expects (Matt. 24:43-47).  Note in the parable of the ten virgins.  Ten awaited the bridegroom (Jesus).  Five (in Jesus) had enough oil to last (were prepared) and five (who didn’t stay with Jesus)  ran out of oil (were not prepared).  Five went with the bridegroom, when He came (while the others were out looking for their oil).  Note that the five, who were left behind, knew where the bridegroom lived and went and knocked on His door, but the bridegroom declared that He didn’t know them (Matt. 25:1-12).  They were left out (in the cold) because their love for the Lord had grown cold.

Do only Christians exist in eternity?

The book of Revelation, chapters 21 & 22, give us a pretty good idea of what life will be like after this one is over.  At least some of what we can expect.

Understand, we were originally created to be eternal beings (Gen, 3:22).  In eternity, we will exist either in the presence of God’s love or apart from that love. 

We read about a great white throne where the dead shall stand before God, both those who were ‘great’ as well as those of ‘lesser reputation’ (in man’s eyes).  The books will be opened and then another book shall be opened – the book of life.  No matter how they died or where they died, death and hell will deliver up the dead and they will be judged according to their works.  And all those whose names were not found in the book of life were cast into the lake of fire.  This is the second death.  In other words, eternal separation from God (Rev. 20:11-15).

Then we see God creating a new heaven and a new earth where there is neither sorrow, nor death, nor crying nor pain.  Then, God will give us a holy new Jerusalem, coming down from the clouds where the glory of God will provide the light.  It is made of precious stones and will be clear as crystal.  There will be no temple for the presence of God (Himself) is the temple.  The streets will be gold, like transparent glass.  There will be a pure river of the water of life, crystal clear, coming forth from the throne of God and the Lamb.  It flows In the midst of the street and on either side of the river is the tree of life with all manner of fruit and which leaves are for healing and therein we shall know the Lord is our God (Rev. 21:1-22:5), and with Him, we live forever. (Glory to God!)

Existing without God (the lake of fire)

We’ve already read about the lake of fire and brimstone being the final end of Satan, the devils and those who followed them (Rev. 19:20, Rev. 20:9-15).  So just who does inherit hell?

The Psalmist tells us that the wicked and the nations that forgot God will be turned to hell (Psalm 9:17) and John reminds us that doubters, unbelievers and those who do evil works will have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone (aka the 2nd death) (Rev. 21:8).  Peter tells us that this is where the fallen angels are awaiting that final day (2 Pete 2:4). 

Jesus compares the last day as God separating the sheep from the goats.  The sheep lived in the love of God and were welcomed into eternity (v46) but the goats, because they could not show God’s love by having compassion for anyone, were sent away, into the everlasting fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels (v41 & v46)(Matt. 25:31-46).   And then there are those who looked like they were doing the things of Jesus but never took time to get to know Him (Matt. 7:21-23, Matt. 13:25-28).  Sort of like the sons of Sceva, who tried to cast out a demon in Jesus’ name, whom Paul preached.  The devil said to them “ Jesus I know and Paul I know, but whooo are youuu?”, and the devil sent seven brothers running, beaten and  naked.  They didn’t know Jesus (Acts 19:11-20).  Jesus also recognized where many of the scribes and Pharisees came from.  They knew what to say and relished all the pomp and circumstance surrounding their position, but they did not live what they said (Matt. 23:1-7)!  Consider, also, Jesus talked about the wheat and the tares.  Remember, Jesus knows the heart of man (Luke 16:15).  He knows that both good and bad abide in the church.  So He will separate them on the last day and the ‘wheat’ shall be welcomed into His kingdom and the ‘tares’ shall be burned (Matt. 13:18-30).  And those who have not obeyed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ will be punished with everlasting destruction aw;ay from the presence of our Lord (2 Thess. 1:7-9).

Those separated from God will experience suffering, pain, anguish, wailing and gnashing of teeth (Matt. 13:41-42, Luke 13:28, Rom. 2:8-9).  We also learn from the parable of Lazarus and the rich man that in that dark place may also be loneliness.  The rich man asks that Lazarus go back and warn his brothers.  He seems to have no clue as to who is there with him or, perhaps, even time passage (Luke 16:19-31).  The book of Revelation tells us that this torment will be for always and forever (Rev. 20:10-15).  Hell, the eternal lake of fire and brimstone, will be a spiritually dark place where there is pain, suffering, torment and loneliness.  And there will be no end.  It will be eternal 

Existing with God (heaven) 

John tells us that the heavens and the earth as we know it today, will become new.  There will be a new Jerusalem (Rev. 21:10-27).  There will be no more death, sorrow, crying or pain.  We will be able to freely drink of the waters of life and because we stood fast with God, we become His sons (and daughters) (Rev. 21:1-7).    

As we continually seek to honor and glorify God in what we do and hold to the hope (promise) of eternal salvation, all who enter into the kingdom of God will find honor and peace and He will reward us for our obedience (Rom. 2:1-7).  Jesus promises us a beautiful place to live when we are with Him (John14:1-3).   

In the parable of the talents, Jesus said to the two who invested their talents and earned more “Well, done good and faithful servant.  Because you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you a ruler over many.  Enter into the joy of your Lord.” (Matt. 25:14-25 foc v21 & 23).  Also note that the works we do in this life are tried by fire.  God considers our good works are precious like refined gold and silver, we shall be rewarded.  But take heart, even though some may not have done the ‘works’, our soul shall still be saved (1 Corinth. 3:11-15).  Remember, though we are rewarded for our works, our salvation is based in our faith in Jesus Christ (Rom. 10:9).  We don’t work to ‘get saved’, rather we do good works because we are saved.  Some may enter by in the ‘skin of their teeth’ and some may not have time to do much (ieg. A soldier who receives the Lord as he dies on battlefield).

As you read through today’s entry and the referenced passages, you can get a fuller picture of what eternity will be like.

And best of all.  Most of all.  Remember that our joy might be full, in the knowledge that we will have fellowship with the Father, through His Son (Jesus) (John 1:1-4, 1 Corinth. 1:9).

No, we won’t be just siting around on clouds, strumming our harps.  I am persuaded that God will have ‘things’ for us to do.  I’m not sure exactly what, but ... 

Yet I am assured that living in heaven is eternal.  It has no end.  There will be no sickness, sorrow, pain nor need to shed [sad] tears.  Tears of joy?  Yes!  I, personally, will be so thankful that Father has brought me into His eternal fellowship, I just might shed some joyful  tears because He has been so longsuffering with and good to me, that He loved one such as I.  That even in this life, knowing that He is my Lord and Savior, creator of ALL things, I can also call Him ‘my friend’! (respecting, of course,  who He is)

Amen?

 

Saturday, November 5, 2022

11-5-2022        SALVATION

         The mission                              He is with us                                   'Til and thru the end

Do we really need ‘Salvation’?  How do we attain it? 

Man has ‘sinned’ (what is sin?)

First of all, we need to understand our need for salvation.  Salvation is what delivers us from our sin which is disobedience to God’s Word and brings us back into right standing with God, our Creator.

The dictionary defines sin as transgression of God’s law or a polluted or an ineffective state of human nature.

Ten Hebrew words are used for sin in the Old Testament all of which are translated as sin while their depth varies.  Here are some: asham (H817) guilt, trespass; ashmah (H819) offend; chata (H2398) bear, blame (also opp.); chet (H2399) fault, offense; avown (H5771) fault, iniquity, punishment; pesha (H6588) rebellion; shagah (H7686) stray, deceive, error.  Get the idea?

Three Greek words are translated with similar definitions (as the Hebrew) with slight differences.  Along with ‘sin’ and they are harmartano (G264) miss the mark, offend, trespass, hamartema (G265) sin and hamartia (G266) offence.

Note that all these words do relate to some variation of sin.

So why are we concerned about sin?  Thank you Adam and Eve, for they were the first ones to go against ‘one, simple thing’ God asked them not to do, that is eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:1-24 foc v 11).  This act of disobedience polluted their nature for all time and because all of man descends from Adam and Eve, we inherit their nature by birth ((Psalm 51:5, Rom. 3:10, Rom. 5:12, Rom. 5:19).  Soman is sinful, by nature, from birth.  Yet, don’t get too down for little children are sanctified by at least one believing parent (1 Corinth. 7:14-15.  We adults are sanctified (G37 – purified, made holy) through our faith in Jesus Christ.  That is God looks at us through Jesus so our sin is covered because of our faith.  God sees our children through us, through Jesus – until they can make their own decision for Christ, for themselves.

We see sin (our disobedience to God) compounding through Cain’s murder of his brother Abel (jealousy, Gen. 4:1-15, foc v 8 & 10) and as we read the Old Testament, we see sin growing and compounding more and more.  How many times have man and Israel come to God and then strayed from God?  The farther man gets from God, the fewer restraints encouraging us to keep God’s commandments.  Not to cite all Ten Commandments here but the first two say it all “You shall have no other gods before Me” and “You shall not take the Lord’s name in vain’.  God, and respect for Him, come first, then everything else follows.  As we read through the other eight commandments, God explains how His love works for us.  a couple of ‘do’s’ and a lot of ‘don’ts’, but they are for our own good (Exod. 20:1-7).

Paul tells the Romans that we (all of man) have sinned (Rom. 3:23).  James goes on to tell us that because we are drawn away by the lusts of our own heart, we ‘mess up’ (James 1:12-15).  When the Jews actually performed (the ‘act of) a commandment, they were guilty, but Jesus comes back and tells us that once we have determined to do something, in our heart) we are guilty!  And Paul tells the Romans it goes even a bit farther.  Everything we that we do ‘not in faith’ becomes sin (Rom. 14:22-23).  So we believe that God will do what He says as long as we ask in His will (1 John 5:14).To help clarify the situation, Paul gives the Corinthians a list of those who will not see heaven (read it – 1 Corinth. 6:9-10).

So, sin, basically is not abiding in Gods’ will.

Consequences of sin

So why do I even care about trying not to sin?

Physical Death

The wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23)!

The dictionary defines death as cessation of all vital functions or a loss of life,

The Hebrew words translated as death give us an idea of the ‘how’, and they are:  muwth (H4191) destroy, die, kill; maveth (H4194) violent death, ruin; tsalmaveth (H6757) shadow of death;  muhthah (H8546) as in execution.

The Greek words used for death are: anairesis (G336) act of killing; anaireo (G337) abolish, murder, kill, slay; apago (G520) put to death, take away, lead away; apoasthnesko (G599) dead, slain, dying; apokteino (G615) kill, destroy, slay, put to death; epithanatios (G1935) doomed, appointed for death; eschatos (G2079) point of death; thanatos (G2288) death, dead; thanatoo (G2289) kill, mortify [destroy strength, deaden]; teleute (G5054) decease, die.

Again, these words do mean ‘death’ but they also imply ‘how’ and the condition of.

One may say “But Adam & Eve didn’t die as soon as they ate the forbidden fruit.”  Correct!  Adam lived for 930 years (Gen. 5:5) presumably after being kicked out of the garden.  But God also prevented them from accessing the ‘tree of life’ (Gen. 3:23-24), which gave man access to in eternity (Rev. 2:7, Rev. 22:1-2).  God declares that he gives man 120 years (Gen. 6:3), so man’s time is limited, in this world.

Man does not, necessarily, immediately die a physical death because of sin.  Yet Paul tells the Corinthians that the wages (payment) of sin is death (Rom. 6:20-23).  Moses was 120 years old when he died (Deut. 34:1-7).  We read in the bible where the angel of death came through Egypt slaying the first born of those not covered by the blood (Exod. 12:1-29, foc. V12).  Even those who had professed Jesus were ‘taken out’ because their hearts were not right such as Ananias and his wife Sapphira, as they lied to the Holy Ghost and suffered the consequences (Acts 5:1-11).             

Separation from God (Spiritual Death)

But ‘death’ initially meant(s) separation from God as Adam & Eve were expelled from the Garden, the presence of the Almighty God.  So just what is separation?

The dictionary defines ‘separation’ as alone, apart, a division, sever, existing by oneself, dissimilar in nature or being.

The Hebrew words used for separation are niddah (H5079) set apart [as unclean]; and nezer (H5145) as in removing a crown or hair; taking consecration [calling].

I found no Greek words listed as meaning ‘separation.  (??? – interesting)

So separation means being alone or being set apart from something else (God).  Interesting the definitions include the parting from a consecration or a calling – in other words, what has God intended for us can be taken away.

Nonetheless, separation means that we are set apart from God’s love and mercies.  He is no longer with us!    

Back to Adam & Eve.  Adam and Eve were expelled from the garden (Gen. 4:23-24) meaning that God would no longer come into the garden and spend time with them, as He apparently had been in the habit of doing (Gen.3:8-11).  The Lord tells Isaiah that sin has separated man from Him (Isa.59:1-2, also note Room. 3:21-23).  Peter helps us understanding sin and punishment by citing a list of sins (2 Peter 2:1-22).  Paul reminds the Romans that, if we insist, He will give us over to our sins (v24) and, a bigger issue, that even when we know the result of our sin, we still may take pleasure in doing them (Rom. 1:21-32).

So death means exiting life from this world but also involves a separation from God.  And being separated from God means while we are yet here on the earth or forever (Rev.20:11-15).

Danger of eternal Hell

What does separation from God involve?  Heaven is living eternally in God’s presence. There is only one alternative and the opposite of heaven is hell (Matt. 7:21-23).

The dictionary defines hell as a nether world where dead continue to exist and/or it is a place or state of torment,

The Hebrews had one word used for hell, sheol (H7585) hades, world of the dead, subterranean ‘retreat’.  A subterranean retreat?(lol).

The Greeks used several words to describe this final destination: hades (G86) place of separated souls, grave; geenna (G1067) place of everlasting punishment and tartaroo (G5020) eternal torment, cast down to …  The Greeks realized that this was not a place to have a springtime picnic enjoying fun and games.

Those not found in God’s Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:11-15) (eternal death). 

So just who is hell reserved for?

The angels who rebelled against God and the beast and false prophet of Revelation (2 Peter 2:4, Jude 1:6-8, Rev. 20:10).  Those who have rejected God as the rich man, who treated Lazarus badly (Luke 16:191-331).  Simon the sorcerer who thought he could purchase the ability to give others the Holy Ghost (Acts 8:9-24).  And, of course, all those who had to stand the ‘Great White Throne’ judgment (again Rev. 20:11-15).

Hell is reserved for all those who have rejected God!  Man and angels!

Salvation

Okay, so let’s turn the page now.

Exactly what is salvation?

The dictionary defines salvation as: saving a man from the power and defects of sin; liberation from clinging to the phenomenal world of appearance or final union with ultimate reality; preservation from failure or destruction; agent, means or discourse of spiritual experience determining the soul’s redemption; something that saves from danger or difficulty.

Hebrew words representing salvation:  yeshuwah (H3444) welfare, something saved; yasha (H3467) preserve, rescue; yesha (H3468) liberty, deliverance, prosperity; mowshaah (H4190) deliverance; teshuwah (H8668) help, safety, rescue, deliverance

The Greek words are: soteria (G4991) save, rescue, deliver; soterion (G4992) defender

Salvation and redemption go hand in hand.  When we are saved, we are redeemed and when we are redeemed, we are saved. Take not of the  name of God, “Yahweh” or Jesus “Yeshua”.

Let’s take a look at redemption

The dictionary definition for redemption is an act of redeeming, buy back, liberate, change for the better, restore, free from, atone.

The Hebrew words: gaal (H1350) purchase, buy back, redeem, revenger; geullah (H1353) also right to redeem; padah (H6299) rescue; peduth  (H6304) as deliverance; pidyown, pidyon (H6306) redemption.

Greek words: apolutrosis (G629) deliverance, redemption;  exagorazo (G1805) rescue from; iutroo (G3084) redeem; iutrosis (G3085) redemption 

So, salvation and redemption carry the connotation of being delivered, saved, rescued or brought to safety or to bought back, purchased or rescued (in a nut shell).

That is both salvation and redemption from sin is being rescued and/or bought back by a loving God who has forgiven us.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever should believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16-18).

Salvation/redemption is the greatest expression of God’s love as Jesus gave His life for us (John 15:1-15).  Jesus tells us that to receive this gift of salvation, we must come humbly, as a little child (Matt. 18:1-6).  Consider that a child accepts what mom and dad say without question, without doubt.  God is our heavenly – what? – Father!  Do we trust Him completely? 

We believe that we are redeemed (saved) through the blood of Christ (Col. 1:12-15, foc v 14).  Jesus is an advocate for us and a propitiation (stand-in) for our sins (1 John 2:1-2).  As Jesus has forgiven us, we should also forgive our brothers (Matt. 6:14-15) and should we have something against a brother, we should reconcile that issue (Matt. 5:23-24).

Jesus says that if we love Him, we need to keep His commandments (John 14:15).  Am I talking about the “Ten Commandments”?  No, but yes.  The Ten Commandments are a very basic explanation of how Father expects us to express our love for Him.  And just what are the most important “love” commandments?  Love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and then love our brothers as ourselves” (Mark 12:29-31).  Matthew adds the “why”, for the Law and the prophets all rely on these two commandments Matt. 22:40).  Everything we believe.

Learning how to live in God’s love is paramount to our Christian walk and we’ll talk about that in another session.  However, remember, our salvation is imperative in keeping our names in the “Book of Life” (Rev. 3:5).  

Psalms 51:1-19 is a magnificent prayer for salvation and our commitment to God.  Read it!

Confession

Salvation begins with our confession of faith in Jesus Christ.  We must confess Jesus as Lord (Phil. 2:9-11) and Savior (Acts 4:10-12) and believe in our heart that God has indeed raised Him from the dead (Rom. 10:9). 

Life and death is in the tongue (Prov. 18:21) so we need to speak out loud our confession of faith, whether there is anybody else around or not.

Hebrew words meaning confession are yadah (H3034) and towdah (H8426), both which carry the same idea to be thankful, praise or cast away.

The Greek words are exomologeo (G1843) acknowledge, agree, profess; homologeo (G3670) acknowledge, promise, give thanks; homologia (G3671) acknowledge or profess.

Note that the meanings are consistent with ‘speaking out’ because we acknowledge what we have done and then are giving God thanks for pulling us out of the former ‘mess’.

God tells us that we need to confess our sin before Him (Psalms 32:5).  Jesus tells us that we access Father through Him (Eph. 2:13-16).  In confession we know that God will forgive us our sin (1 John 1:9).  As we confess our sin, God remembers the covenant (of life) He has with man (Lev. 26:40-42).  We always sin against God (Psalm 51:4) but at times, we sin against others so we also need to confess those sins to that person and we all need to pray for one another so we all might be healed (James 5:16).

So, once we’ve handled our end, what does God do?  He sets our sin behind His back (Isa. 38:17) and our sins are cast into the depths of the sea (Micah 7:19).

Repentance

Now that we have confessed our sin and asked/given forgiveness (as necessary) we need to repent those sins.  So, just what is repentance?

The dictionary defines repentance as to turn from sin and amend one’s life or feel regret or contrition.

Hebrew words for repentance are: nacham (H5162) breathe heavy, comfort oneself, avenge oneself; nocham (H5164) rueful (very sorry), stop; shuwb (H7725) turn away from, return to starting point, convert, recover, refresh.

Greek words are: metamellonai (3338) regret; metaneo (G3340) reconsider, feel guilt or remorse; metanoia (G3341) reverse decision.      

Should we let out a heavy sigh because of what we have done?  Surely, we need to be truly sorry for what we have done and make the decision, the determination, not to do it anymore. 

God asks us to repent our sin and come back to Him with all our heart (1 Kings 8:46-50).

When we have experienced a deep-felt (Godly) sorrow, that will re-secure our right standing with God (2 Corinth. 7:10).  When we truly repent, our sins are blotted out (Acts 3:19, see above).  When we have repented what we have done, we do a 180 degree turn and do what Father has called us to do (from the beginning) (Acts 26:20).  And now that we are back on the right track, we continue pressing forward, living for God (Rom 11:6-24, foc v22) as e continually renew our minds in His word (Rom. 12:2).

Acceptance of forgivenes

Once we’ve asked God and/or others for forgiveness, one of the hardest things for people to do is receive that forgiveness for themselves. 

The dictionary defines acceptance as: concluding a contract, receive with consent, respond to favorably, approve, endure without protest,

Hebrew words for acceptance are: yatab (H3190) amend, rightfully use, make better, trim; laqach (H3947) bring, buy, draw, get, receive; naphal (H5307) acceptance; nacah (H5375) to lift up, raise up, pardon; ruwach (H7306) breathe, enjoy, help understand;  ratsah (H7521) be pleased with, satisfy, approve, reconcile self; ratsown (H7522) acceptable, delight, pleasure.

The Greek words: apodechomai (G588), welcome, receive gladly (G1184); dechomai (1209) accept, receive, take; euarestos (G2101) acceptable, wellpleasing; euprosdektos (G2144) well received; charitoo (G5487) highly favored.

So accepting forgiveness is actually receiving it for ourselves.

The dictionary defines forgive as a pardon.

kaphar (H3722) cleanse, atone, forgive, mercy, purge away; nacah (H5375) fetch, pardon, raise take away; calach (H5545) forgive, pardon, spare; celilychah (H5547) forgiveness, pardon.

apoluo (G630) divorce from, release, set at liberty; aphiemi (G863) lay aside, relieve, put away; give, charizomai (5483)  grant as a favor.

So forgiveness is being released (or releasing another) from something.  It is purged, pardoned or put away – for good.

Upon confession, God forgives us our sin(s) and forgets it (them) and restarts us with a clean slate (Rom. 12:1-2).  Likewise we should forgive others and they should do the same.  Finally we need to forgive ourselves (Satan WILL try to keep us down).

But our eyes should be opened to turn from darkness to see God’s light because we have tuned from the powers of Satan towards God.  We are now sanctified, by faith, in Christ Jesus (Acts 26:18).  God gives us the power (Acts 1:8) to, at least, live this life.  AND, as we have also seen, we need to renew our thinking processes.

Renunciation (Determine not to repeat sin)

Part of confession and repentance is determining not to do, whatever our sin was, again – from our heart.  The key here is sincerity.  God knows our heart (1 Kings 8:39, Rom. 8:27).

The dictionary defines renunciation as to give-up, refuse, resign by formal declaration, refuse to follow

Interesting, I could find no Hebrew words to define renunciation.

However, the Greek word used is epeipomen (G550) disown.

Sounds a bit like forgiveness, doesn’t?

Jesus healed the lame man by the pool of Bethesda.  Questions ensued how could Jesus heal on the Sabbath.  At the end of the scenario Jesus tells the healed man “You ae made whole.  Sin no more unless something worse comes upon you (John 5:1-14).  A woman is taken in the act of adultery.  Jesus stops the stoning and draws in the sand.  After all her accusers have gone, Jesus says ”Neither do I accuse you. Go and sin no more.” (John 8:3-11, foc v 10-11).  Paul tells the Romans that Christ died for us while we were yet sinners.  For whom would a man die?  God reconciled us through the death of Jesus so how much more are we saved through His life?  We have received atonement for our sins through Jesus (Rom. 6:1-7, foc v 7). We should live, like we understand this!  Our commitment for change is evidenced in our prayers.  The effectual fervent prayers of a righteous man means a lot to God (James 5:16).  Those prayers effect what we do so ew implement them into  our own lives.

Our life-style changes when we decide to turn completely away from our old way of living.  And our determination is ‘not to go back’!                                                                  

Reparation (recompense)

When we’ve sinned against another, we might just have to make some reparation (repairs) as necessary.

The dictionary defines reparation as to repair or make amends, to keep in repair, payment for damages, satisfy.

The Hebrew word for reparation is shalam (H7999) render, make restitution, restore.

Greek words for reparation are: antapodidomi (G467) repay, render; apodidomai (G591) repay, render, restore, yield; apotino (G661) repay (in full)

According to the Law, Exodus cites offence and repayment.  Read the list (Ex. 21:1-22:9).  God tells Moses that there is reparation for offences (Num. 5:5-7).  This is exemplified even though a thief steals out of need, he still needs to repay (Prov. 6:30-31).  Zaccheus, a tax collector, vows to repay all, and even more, because of his dishonesty (Luke 19:1-10, foc v 8).  There may be ‘payback’.  That is, we may have to make restitution.

So, just what does our salvation mean to us?  Jesus says that if we love Him, keep His commandments (John 14:15).  His commandments are to love Him and others as He has loved us (John 15:12).

When we love, we endeavor not to sin and we find that salvation brings us deeper into God’s realm of love.  We discover that violation of God’s law of love is sin.  We have seen that when we sin there are consequences and the ultimate consequence of sin is physical and spiritual death.  And that means eternal hell.

We’ve seen that salvation is being saved from the consequences of sin - eternal destruction.  But for us – eternal life!  To obtain salvation, we need to confess our sins, be truly sorry we committed them, determine not to do them again and make any reparation, as necessary to those affected.

Our biggest gain is existence with our eternal Father through Jesus Christ our Lord. And this is where get our biggest reward and that reward is the indwelling of the Holy Ghost (John 14:16-17, Acts 1:8, Acts 2:1-4) to help us in this life and of course, eternal fellowship with the Father through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

What is salvation?  You tell me!

 

Saturday, October 22, 2022

 10-22-2022        Jesus, the Fullness of the Godhead

                         

Who IS Jesus?  As Christians, we call Him Lord as well as Savior.  As we grow in the Lord, we come to know that He had a life, (in this world) before His ministry began which lead to our ‘salvation’.  We come to learn that He (as He walked this earth) was not just a man, but the fullness of the Godhead – all that represents God, the Father.  We also come to learn that He (in the flesh) is our brother, but did you know that when the day of judgment comes, He will be on the judges seat (He IS God). 

1 The infant Jesus

Concerning the hope of Israel, Isaiah prophesied that a child would be born and the government (misrah H4951 or power) will be upon His shoulder (shekem H7926 or burden) and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  There shall be no end to the increase of His power and no end to His peace as He sits upon the throne of David and upon His kingdom.  He will set things in order and establish them with His judgment and justice forever.  The zeal of the Lord of Hosts will do this (Isa. 9:6-7).

Paul also reminds the Galatians that Jesus redeems us from the law by becoming the law for us in that He was crucified upon the cross (He became one of us to redeem us).  Because this promise (through faith) is for all the world and not just the Jews, Paul was made the apostle to the Gentiles (Acts 9:1-18, foc v13, Rom. 11:13).    

In order to become one of us, Jesus had to have a natural childbirth into this world.  The gospels of Matthew and Luke give us some of the details concerning the natural birth of Jesus, in the Manger.  They tell us that a young virgin, Mary, who was engaged to man, named Joseph, was to be the mother.  At the time of Jesus’ birth, his mother Mary was still a virgin as Joseph did not ‘biblically’ know (that means no marital relationship) her until after the birth of her first born son [Jesus] (Matt. 1:25).  One can read the full accounts in Matthew 1:18-25, 2:1-12 and Luke 2:1-20.  Isaiah’s prophecy fulfilled!   

According to the law, Jesus was circumcised (Lev. 12:1-3) as Luke verifies (Luke 2:21-24).  A foundation so Jesus could say that He didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (Mart. 5:17) Jesus was born under the law and subject to the law so He could redeem us from the law (Ga. 4:4-5).

2 Coming of age

We know that when Jesus was about two years old, the wise men came from the east bearing the gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  Herod ordered all children under two years of age to be killed, but Joseph, Mary and Jesus had already fled into Egypt (Matt. 2:1-18).  After Herod’s death the family returned to Israel and settled in Galilee, in the town of Nazareth (Matt. 2:22-23).

When Jesus was twelve year old, the family went to Jerusalem for the feast.  After the feast was over, they returned home with family and friends.  However, after a day’s journey home, they realized Jesus was not amongst the group as they had supposed.  They went back to Jerusalem looking for Him.  After three days, they found Him in the temple talking with the rabbis (teachers of the law).  Mary spoke with Jesus and asked why had he dealt with them like this.  They were worried sick!  Jesus responded “Why were you looking for me?  Didn’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?” (Luke 2:40-52).

In the bible, we don’t see anything else about Jesus until He begins His ministry.   

3 The silent years

We see that the child Jesus grew strong in spirit and wisdom and God’s grace was upon Him (Luke2:40).  And we know that Jesus continued to grow in wisdom and stature maintaining favor with both God and man (Luke 2:52).

We know that Joseph, Jesus’ ‘supposed’ father, was a carpenter and sons usually followed in the father’s trade (Matt. 13:54-56).  Take note that at this stage, Jesus was preparing to follow in His true Father’s footsteps.

We know that Jesus apparently had brothers and sisters (Matt. 12:46-47).  But, understand that the term ‘brother’ could involve half brothers and sisters or step-brothers and step-sisters. 

4 Baptism

AS part of fulfilling the Law, Jesus had to be baptized with water (by John – Matt. 3:15), but consider what happened when He was baptized.

All four gospels give an account of Jesus’ baptism by John.  John was preaching repentance and baptizing people in the Jordan.  He declared that though he baptized in water for the remission of sin, the Messiah, who was coming after him, would baptize with the Holy Ghost and fire (Matt. 3:11).  And then Jesus came.  John baptized Jesus and as He came up out of the water and the Holy Ghost descended upon Him like a dove.  (Matt. 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, Luke 3:15-17, 21-22), & John 1:15-18 & 28-33).

Take note that John was filled with the Holy Ghost in the womb (Luke 1:5-15) and Jesus received the Holy Ghost at His water baptism (Matt. 3:13-17).  Each needed the Holy Ghost in order to complete their given tasks.  And also consider the fact that John, himself, said that He (Jesus) must increase and I (John) must decrease (John 3:27-30).  For yourself, consider what this implies.

A quick reminder:  John baptized with water for he remission of sin (Matt. 3:11); Jesus baptized with the Holy Ghost for power (Acts 1:8, 2:1-5).  Also bear in mind that Jesus baptized no one with water, but His disciples did (John 4:1-2).

Today, we are baptized in water to signify our union with Jesus and that our sins are forgiven.  Yet, water baptism and baptism in the Holy Ghost don’t necessarily happen at the same time.  The people in Samaria received water baptism after Philip had preached to them yet Peter and John were called up from Jerusalem that these folks might receive the Holy Ghost (Acts:8:14-17).  There were twelve men Paul encountered on the road to Ephesus who had only received John’s baptism.  Paul then re-baptized them, laid hands on them and then they received the Holy Ghost (Acts 19:1-7).  Yet, Cornelius and his family received the baptism of the Holy Ghost before they were baptized in water (Acts 10:44-48). 

Take note that both water baptism and baptism in the Holy Ghost come after we believe and have received Jesus into our heart.

The Godhead

In our first paragraph we declared that Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead.  So just what does that mean?

Webster’s defines godhead as divine nature or essence or nature of God existing as three persons. 

3 Greek are words translated as godhead: theios (G2304), theiotes (G2305) & theotes (G2320) and ‘theios’ adds divinity.  All are Greek words which are derived from the root word  theos (G2316) or Supreme Being.  Note that theios is an adjective where the others are nouns.  Yet, they all refer to the fullness of the Godhead.

Paul cautions the Colossians not to be persuaded by philosophies, tradition or just plain deceit for the fullness of the Godhead dwells fully in the body of Jesus (Col. 2:8-10).

So, how do we know this?

The Father

The disciples asked Jesus to show them the Father and Jesus replied “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father!” (John 14:8-11).  Jesus forgives the sins of the man with palsy.  The Jews became indignant saying “Who does this guy think He is.  Only God can forgive sins!” (Mark 2:1-2) (paraphrase).  Jesus asks the Father that believers be one in Him as He is in the Father (John 17:1-26), indicating the unity of Father and Son.  Paul declares that Jesus considered Himself equal with God (Phil. 2”5-11).  Father declares Himself first and the last, the beginning and the end (Isa. 44:6, Isa. 48:12).  Jesus declares “I am Alpha and Omega” ( Rev. 1:8).  Alpha (G1) is first or beginning.  Omega (G5598) last letter of the Greek alphabet or the end.

When we get to “Jesus, the Word” we’ll see yet another connection to the unity of the Father and Son.

The Son

Of course, Jesus IS the Son o God`.  Is this not our whole basis for salvation? 

What did the angel Gabriel say to Mary?  “… He shall be great and be called the Son of the Highest …” (Luke1:26-33 foc v32).  Using Luke, we follow Jesus’ lineage ‘as the son of …’ through David, through Jacob, Isaac and Abraham, Enos, Seth, who was the son of Adam who was the son of God (Luke 3:23-38).  John the Baptist declares Jesus the Son of God (John 1:28-34). Peter declares Jesus the Son of God (Acts 3:11-13).  Paul declares Jesus the Son of God (Rom. 1:1-4).  The Centurion and those with him at the cross declare Jesus the Son of God (Matt. 27:46-54).  Even devils declared Jesus the Son of God (Mark 5:1-7).  Some vagabond Jews tried to cast a devil out of man and what did the devil say?  “Jesus I know and Paul I know, but whoooo are yoooou?” (Acts 19:13-16).

I love this account.  It reminds me of the Cheshire cat in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ sitting in a tree just sneering down.  My granddaughter played the Queen of Hearts (a great job) but one of her girlfriends who played the cat, in the tree – for me, stole the show!

And don’t forget with all these declaring the Sonship of Jesus, we can’t leave the Father out, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased!” (Matt. 3:16-17).  Any arguments on Jesus being the Son?    

TheHoly Spirit’

We’ve shown where Jesus and the Father are one, now we have to add the Holy Ghost into the mix.  We know that the Holy Ghost lit upon Jesus as a dove when John baptized Him (Luke 3:21-22, John 1:32).  Evidence of the Holy Ghost operating in Jesus is manifested in miracles, healings and casting out of devils.  But to get the ball rolling Jesus turns the water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana (John 2:1-11).  He feeds the 4000 (Mark 8:1-9) then later the 5000 (Matt. 14:15-21).  Now, for rthesemeals, the count is only the men present, but there were also women and children present.  Jesus showed He had power even over natural elements.  They were aboard a ship when a storm came up.  The disciples were afraid and Jesus was asleep below deck.  He rises and rebukes the wind and the sea, and the sea calmed (Matt.8:23-27). 

Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, at the well all, about her life and she believed He was indeed, the Christ (John 4:4-29).  The Holy Ghost reveals things to us (John 16:13, Luke 12:12)

Of course, Jesus healed.  Jesus went with Peter to his house where his mother-in-law lay sick of a fever.  Jesus touched her and she was healed (Matt. 8:14-17).  Jesus heals a leper and tells him to go and offer what the law requires for the healing (Mark 1:40-45).  Jesus heals the centurion’s servant.  As Jesus approached the centurion house, the centurion sent a messenger saying that his house was not worthy of Jesus.  But, being a centurion, he understood authority al all Jesus had to do was speak the word and his servant would be healed.  And it was so. Jesus commented that He had not seen such great faith in all of Israel (Luke 7:1-10).    

“Lazarus, come forth!”  Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead as He identifies Himself as the resurrection (John 11:25) (John 11:1-44, foc v40-44).  All these healings, and more are examples of the Holy Ghost operating through Jesus.

Jesus promises us, believers the Holy Ghost as well (John14:15-18).  And let’s back up two verses, Jesus says “He who believes on me shall do the same works I do and greater, because I go to the Father.”  But we had to wait for Jesus to be glorified (John 7:37-39).

Word

Genesis chapter one starts off with “In the beginning God …” and throughout the chapter God said …”.  God created by speaking.  God said “Let there be. . .” , and it was so! (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 11, 14, 20, 24 & 26).  “Let there be” are words so God spoke words.  The gospel of John start out with “In the beginning was the Word … was with God … was God” (John 1:1).  Then John goes on to explain that the Word is the Light of the world and was made flesh … and is the glory as the only begotten of the Father … (John 1:2-14).  Jesus is the only begotten of the Father (John 3:16).  Jesus lived on this planet for approximately 33 ½ years and He is the Word of God, ergo, He is the “living Word of God!  (Yes?) And we cannot separate Them.

Life and death are in the tongue (Prov. 18:21) and Jesus brings life (John 14:16) and God’s Word will not return void (Isa. 55:11).  So it brings life.  Unfortunately, not all will accept Jesus, but many will.  Yet we remember two things about the Word.  It is quick, powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword and it is capable of completely separating soul and spirit and the joints and marrow exposing even the thoughts and intents of the heart (Heb. 4:12).  Hey!  With God, all things are possible (Matt. 19:25-26).

Several of the apostles approached Jesus about the end times so Jesus tells them the signs. He also tells them that no man, nor angels nor the Son know when these things will happen, only the Father (Mark 13:1-37, foc v32).  Say What?  Jesus IS the Word of God!  How can He not know?  Jesus IS the Word of God.  In the beginning everything was created through Him when “God ‘said’” -  however, God never spoke when the end times would come, that is day, month year.  Even though He did give us some indications.

6 Savior/Holy One/Anointed One/Messiah

Jesus is our Savior.  If this weren’t true we’d be in trouble.

God promises Eve a savior will arise (Gen. 4:14-15).  Isaiah speaks of the origin, nature and calling of the one who will bear the sins of many (Isa. 52:13 – 53:12).

God expressed His love towards us through Jesus as our Savior (1 John 4:10-16, John 3:16) and frees us from the bondage of the law (Gal.4:4-7).  However, remember, freedom does not mean ‘no obligation’ but does transfer the law from our actions to our intents (Heb. 10:16, James 1:13-15).  Don’t forget that Jesus didn’t come to destroy the law, but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17-18).

Consider the unity of God.  Father declares Himself Savior (Isa. 41:1-3).  And then there are witnesses to Jesus as Savior.  The angel speaks to the shepherds in the field “…born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:9-12).  Peter, after being freed from prison by an angel, was brought again before the high council and confirmed His belief that Jesus was indeed Savior (Acts5:27-32).

Jesus declares His position in the synagogue “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me … (Isa.61:1-3).  And in Luke 4:17, Jesus restates His mission “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me …” (Luke 4:17-21).  Jesus tells the woman at the well that He is the Messiah (John 4:1-29, foc v25-26).  Shortly before He raises Lazarus from the dead, Jesus tells Martha “I am the resurrection and the life …” (John 11:19-25).  He is the Messiah, the hope and promise of eternal life! 

The Cross

Jesus prophesied His own death on the cross (Matt. 20:18-19).  He fulfilled Isaiah’s prophecy that He would be numbered among the transgressors as He was crucified between two malefactors (Isa. 53:12, Matt. 27:33-38).  Jesus became accursed for our sake for any who hang on a tree (punishment) is accursed (Deut. 21:22-23, Gal. 3:13).  Want the full picture of the cross?  Matt. 27:33-50, Mark 15:22-37, Luke 23:33-46, John 19:17-30.  Interested?  See what scripture says about between His death and burial: Matt. 27:51-60, Mark 15:38-47, Luke 23:47-53, John 31-42 

They knew Jesus had died because the legs of those who didn’t die in ‘short order’ had their legs broken.  He looked dead, but the soldier pierced the side of Jesus, as death produces blood and water (John 19:32-37).  There are two sacs around the heart and when the area between the sacs fill with fluid it puts pressure on the heart causing disruption of function and death.  Jesus was already dead, they didn’t have to break his legs to cause death by suffocation.

The Resurrection

Jesus died to save us but His resurrection is our promise of eternal life.  When Jesus raised Lazarus from the grave, because he had been there four days, Martha indicated that his body should have already begun decaying (John 11:39).  Psalm prophesied that the Holy One would not see corruption (Psalm 16:9-11).  Mary and the other women and Peter and John all attested to the empty grave on that day after the Sabbath (Matt. 1-7, Mark 16:1-7, Luke 24:1-12, John 20:3-9).

To assure that He had risen Jesus showed Himself to the eleven (Mark 16:1-8).  He met the eleven on the appointed mountain (Matt. 28:16), and the two men on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-31).  Also, before the apostles, as they fished and they all sat down and had a meal (John 21:4-14).  Jesus showed Himself to the disciples for forty days after the resurrection (Acts 1:2-3).

The Ascension

And of course, Jesus showed Himself just before His ascension.  His ascension is prophesied by the Psalmist (Psalm 68:18) and comes to pass as recorded in the book of Acts.  Right after He commands the disciples to stay in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Ghost, Jesus was taken up in a cloud and out of their sight (Acts 1:9-11). As further testimony, as they stoned him, Stephen testified that he saw Jesus at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-60).  Testifying that Jesus was back with the Father.

Jesus reminds us to keep in mind that He is preparing a place for us in eternity so we CAN be with Him – forever (John 14:1-4).

7 Brother

Realize it or not, Jesus is our ‘big brother’!  He is the first born into the New Covenant, of those who conform to His image (Rom. 8:28-29).

Let’s take a look at what this means.

Jesus had been speaking with the ‘multitude’ and as He spoke Mary (His mother) and brothers were outside the crowd trying to get His attention.  Someone told Jesus that His mother and brothers were looking for Him and Jesus asked “Who is my mother?  Or My brothers?”  He looked around the crowd standing around Him and said, as He motioned His hand, “Behold, my mother and my brothers.  Whoever does the will of God is my brother, sister and mother.” (Mark 3:31-35).

Jesus, later, tells His disciples that if we love Him, we will keep His commandment (John 14:15).  As we abide in agape love, the love of Jesus Christ, we are His brothers and sisters.  Agape love is selfless, all-caring love for the best for others. It doesn’t mean we neglect ourselves, but when it comes to the edification of our brothers and sisters, we choose to do what is right and best for them (1 Thess. 5:11, 1 Corinth. 14:26).

Because Jesus is the image of the invisible God, He is not only the first-born of the New Covenant, but of all things, therefore all things are by Him (He is he Word of God) and all that God is (as Jesus walked this earth) dwelled in Him (1 Col. 3:12-19).  Death came by Adam and Eve but life comes through Jesus Christ that Jesus is the first fruit (1 Corinth. 15:22-23).  As with the tithe where we give God the best of our first of the harvest or before we do anything else with our money, Father has given us Jesus, as the first fruit of redemption. 

Jesus says that He will never leave us nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5).  He will ‘do’ for us.  Whatsoever we ask in His name, He will give us (John 14:13).  Growing up, two brothers lived across the street.  When anybody ‘jumped’ on one, he had two do deal with, the older brother always picked up for he younger.  Jesus IS our older brother!

8 Judge

We’ve talked about Jesus as being the fullness of the Godhead.  Obviously, He is the Son of God but we also learned that all that the Father is and the Spirit of God all dwelled in Jesus’ person as He walked this earth.  I don’t think anyone has a problem understanding that Jesus is our Messiah, our Savior as He shed His blood on Calvary cleansing us from our sin.  We saw that Father raised Him from the grave on the third day and returning to the Father giving us the promise for life after this life.  We also saw that in being the first raised from the dead in the New Covenant, Jesus is oldest to many brothers and sisters who would/will follow.

How many of us, though, are familiar with the ‘great white throne’ judgement in the book of revelation (Rev. 20:11-15)?  The Father has given all judgment to the Son (John 5:22-27). 

A quick refresher: As prophesied, Jesus (Savior, Messiah) was born of a virgin (Is. 7:14, Luke. 1:26-33).  He came to fulfill the law (Matt. 5:17).  He shall redeem us from the law (Gal.3:13-14).  He was crucified and died on the cross (Matt. 27:33-50).  He rose from the grave on the third day (Mat. 28:1-9) and ascended back into heaven (Acts 1:9-11).

He explained that God’s law is love (Matt. 22:36-40) and there is no greater love than to give oneself for his brother (John 15:13).  So Jesus humbled Himself by going to the cross (Phil. 2:5-11) thereby reconciling all things unto Himself (Col. 1:20).

In the first covenant, the Jews had to shed the blood of sacrificed animals to be cleansed from their sin.  Jesus became the final blood sacrifice for sin by becoming our propitiation (1 John 2:1-2 – atonement, stand in our place) for sin (Heb. 9:11-28).  Because Jesus washed our sin away, we don’t have to face the second death, the lake of fire which we see in Revelation.

Now, though those who have received Jesus don’t have to worry about the ‘great white throne’ judgment, we will face Jesus at what is called the ‘judgment seat of Christ’ (2 Corinth. 5:10).  Here, we will be judged and rewarded for the works we’ve done, in our lifetime, for the Lord (1 Corinth. 3:9-16).  Not to worry, we are already in the eternal kingdom so our ‘salvation’ is not jeopardized, only the level of reward which we may receive.

So we add ‘judge’ at the end of our list.

Remember, this is just to help one get started on their journey.  We spend a lifetime learning about our Lord.  So we need to read the scriptures, ask the Holy Ghost to guide us in our reading giving us understanding, communing with God, learning His voice and then doing what Father tells us to do – live in agape love!

Father, Son and Holy Ghost (the Godhead) are one.

Amen