April 22, 2018 How Much is Enough?

How Much is Enough?

        Three days had passed since he had asked the question and received the answer. Lots of time to think about what he had heard and to decide how he would proceed to acquire a deeper knowledge and understanding. But would he ever be satisfied with the depth of his expanding knowledge and understanding leading to a closer relationship with Jesus?

        The man was Saul of Tarsus; Paul of the New Testament. Jonathan Cahn writes that his names reflect the scenario above (The Book of Mysteries, Day 105, The Man Born to Pause and Ask). For, Paul is from the root word pauo and means to pause, and Saul is from the Hebrew root shoel meaning to ask. So, Paul/Saul was paused in his journey by the great Heavenly light and forced to ask, “‘Who are you, Lord?’” (Acts 9.5).

        Let us pause and ask why Saul would need to ask this question. For consider that he describes himself as “‘educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers’” (Acts 22.3). Gamaliel was a Pharisee, “grandson of the famous rabbi Hillel”, and “was noted for his learning” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary). “Paul was one of his disciples” (ibid). Yet, he asked, “‘Who are you, Lord?’” (Acts 22.8).

        Saul was satisfied with his head-knowledge about God, the God of the Old Testament/Torah; even of the curious prophesies of Deuteronomy 18.18 and Isaiah 7.14 & 9.6-7. But, like other Pharisees, his understanding had not made the connection with the works of Jesus identifying Himself as Messiah; John 15.24 (John 10.32, 37-38) revealing Deuteronomy 18.15 & 18 revealing Exodus 34.10 (Matthew 9.33).

        What is the similarity of Gamaliel and other rabbis “defining God” for Saul and “Pastor (fill in this blank)” settling our head-knowledge of God? While it is not wrong to trust “Pastor (FITB)”, should that be enough for us? Perhaps “Pastor (FITB)” had become satisfied with the limits he had imposed. What made the Bereans different? See Acts 17.11-12. (It is this writer’s prayerful intent that readers of his materials do the same with these studies, which is his reason for including sufficient ‘proof texts’.)

        We read many observers of society today advocating ‘life-long learning’ as the requirement for our future employable knowledge. Why do so few Christians apply this to their knowledge of God and of His Scripture? What was Jesus stating about the priority and sequence of our ‘being’ and ‘doing’ in Matthew 6.33 and Jeremiah 9.23-24? Could He be revealing the secret to our growing understanding of the epistemologies of our workdays? After all, Jesus is the Source of all human knowledge (Ronald H. Nash, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, p. 67 commenting on John 1.9).

        How can we be satisfied with our present understandings of God’s attributes of Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence? Does Jeremiah 32.27 no longer excite us? Why do we stop exploring the limits of Matthew 19.26c or Jeremiah 33.3? Why is our God ‘big enough’? We should be constantly exclaiming Jeremiah 32.17!

        Paul’s never ending search for the answer to his question, “Who are you, Lord”, was continually rewarded. He implies this in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5 (2 Corinthians 4.7 & 12.9; written AD 56) and Ephesians 3.20-21 (AD 60). He was evermore confident in the power of God which he continually discovered in the name ‘Jesus’ (Philippians 2.9-11) and encouraged that discovery for each of us.

        But, how much is enough for you?

 How Much is Enough? 180421
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

April 8, 2018 God Speaks The Future He Wants

God Speaks The Future He Wants

The Apostle Paul quotes Isaiah 45.23 to alert his readers in Romans 14.11 of a future certainty: “‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,
and every tongue shall confess [i.e., “swear allegiance”] to God.’” Paul would later reveal this eternal certainty as an ever-present reality in Philippians 2.9-11, adding in verses 12-13 his encouragement to personally apply the name “Jesus” to your circumstance [with the assistance of the Holy Spirit (John 16.11 and Mark 16.20 concerning Spiritual warfare)]. Both eternal and temporal salvation are God’s desired reality for man; see, respectively, John 3.16 and Acts 4.12 (in the context of faith in “Jesus” for healing in Acts 3.1-16).

Speaking the future He wants is the habit of God seen in Scripture

  1. To make the Earth a habitable environment for the earth-suit clothing His image 
in man (Genesis 1.26-28 & 7), God fashioned (refashioned?) the “void” by speaking into existence (Hebrews 11.3) light, water, vegetables, trees, fruits, fish, fowl, and cattle (Genesis 1.1-25 & 29-31).
  2. God spoke the future release of the Hebrews to Moses through a burning bush at Horeb, “the mountain of God” (Exodus 3.1). “Horeb” is “a general name for the whole mountain range of which Sinai was one of the summits (Ex 3:1 17:6; Ex 3:1 Ps 106:19)…a huge mountain block, about 2 miles long by about 1 in breadth, with a very spacious plain at its north-east end…in which the Israelites encamped for nearly a whole year” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).
  3. God trained the wandering Hebrews to prepare them to drive out the nations that were polluting His land (Genesis 15.16 & Leviticus 18.24-25 & Exodus 33.2 & Deuteronomy 7.1). What is the comparison with the polluted nations of today? Through Spiritual warfare, Christians are to drive the deceiving demons out and “occupy til I come” (Luke 19.13, KJV).
  4. God did this because “all things are Your servants” (Psalm 119.91; illustrated in Joshua 24.27, Exodus 17.6, Leviticus 25.55, Philippians 2.7.)

God repeats Jeremiah 1.5 and John 3.27, even, today. He commissions 
each servant He calls to let Him lead through them to complete the task He assigns to each. So, what task has God assigned to you?

God Speaks The Future He Wants 180408
Praise God!!!

Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

March 18, 2018 The Power of the Spoken Word

The Power of the Spoken Word

I have sometimes stopped to realize that Earth is a word planet. Hebrews 11.3 tells us the materials and methodology God used in Creation. In Genesis 1.1, God creates the Heavens and the Earth. In Genesis 1.2, God redeems Earth from the “darkness” that had enveloped it (Revelation 12.7-12; Isaiah 14.12-15; John 12.31; implied in 2 Corinthians 4.4-6). That is, God took back the Earth and fashioned it through words to support His image in created mankind (Genesis 1.1-2.8) whom He posted on Earth for His purposes (Ephesians 2.10). We continue, today, to follow God’s example of talking with Adam and Eve (Genesis 3.8-9) to communicate information (Genesis 2.15-17), affirmation (Genesis 2.19-20), and disappointment (Genesis 3.10-11).

Solomon seems to understand that God uses words strategically, as he writes in Ecclesiastes 5.2: “let your words be few”. Perhaps, he was remembering his father, David’s words in Psalm 64.3 about people “who aim bitter words like arrows”. Solomon, also, was remembering that God spoke each intention in Creation only once. Jesus affirms this in Matthew 12.36-37 that everyone will be called to account for every word spoken: “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.

In Moses’ case, he became accountable for the words which he did not speak. Numbers 20.2-13 tells the story about God’s temporal salvation for the thirsty Hebrews in the desert. He would satisfy them with water from a rock! Moses was to “tell the rock before their eyes to yield its water” (verse 8). Speaking to the rock would, said God, “‘uphold me as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel’”; that is, teach the people to take God at His word (verse 12). How would telling the rock uphold the holiness of God? Wouldn’t just giving water be sufficient? John MacArthur writes that Moses “failed to take God at his word and thus to treat him as holy to the people” (MacArthur Study Bible Notes; my emphasis and is this part of the definition of “holy”?). Hence, the adage, as revised, becomes: God said it; that settles it; I believe it and will act upon it. If God says to speak, speak! Our responsibility is to carry out to the “jot and tittle” (Matthew 5.18) what God says. This is God’s “grace”, defined as His word and His willingness to use His mighty power to bring it to reality. This honors Him as “holy”. (To illustrate, sometimes Jesus, our example, healed the blind with mud, as in John 9.1-7, and sometimes with spit, as in Mark 7.31-35, but always in the way God instructed Him, as He says in John 5.19-20 {Luke 9.16-17} & 12.49. Jesus used words in each of these, sometimes only words, as in Matthew 12.9-13).

Further, God had told the Hebrew people that He brought them out of Egypt to be God to them (Exodus 6.6-7 fulfilling Genesis 17.7). Consequently, He is worthy of holiness; i.e., let Him fulfill His intentions in His ways. Speaking to the rock would evidence God’s salvation, God’s way. How do 1 Peter 2.9 and Ephesians 2.10 connect our words and deeds to God’s holiness? How is Moses’ story like Luke 10.17 & 19?

MacArthur goes on to explain that “Moses here failed in the same way as Israel had at Kadesh 38 years previously (14:11)” (ibid; the Hebrews had not believed God could take them into the Promised Land; so, God waited 40 years for the disbelieving adults to die; Numbers 32.6-15). And, Moses’ sentence was the same as the grumbling Hebrews: “you shall not bring this assembly into the land that I have given them” (Numbers 20.12). Perhaps, in the heat of the moment, Moses had remembered and, thus, only repeated God’s previous instruction to give the Hebrews water by striking a rock (Exodus 17.6). At that time, striking the rock must have upheld God ‘”as holy in the eyes of the people of Israel’” (Numbers 20.12). Remember that God decides the better protocol for every situation. We must listen carefully and obey diligently. [Another illustration of God choosing an alternative approach the second time is King David fighting against the Philistines (2 Samuel 5.17-25; first, front; second, rear).] We will be accountable for following God as He requires in each unique context. Remember Jesus’ example in John 5.19-20 & 12.49.

Would Moses’ words to the rock have brought water, even though Moses had no earlier experience like that? Of course, for why would God so instruct him? This is just like God’s assurance of our capacity to “understand” Him in Jeremiah 9.23-24. How do we understand God better through His “gift” of our work (Ecclesiastes 5.19-20)? This was Moses’ opportunity. Likewise, it is implied that Cain was to “rule over
[sin]” (Genesis 4.7) by speaking words binding on earth whatever shall have been bound in Heaven” (Matthew 16.19 & 18.18 NASB) because God has given man the command to rule in the earth (Genesis 1.28).

Similarly, was Jesus speaking as God or as man in John 6.63: “‘The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life’”? I believe He was speaking as a man because of His use of “spirit” instead of “Spirit”. This “spirit” was breathed into Adam (Genesis 2.7) and passed from generation to generation by man (Proverbs 23.22a) through woman (Proverbs 23.25b). This is, also, the witness of Elihu in Job 32.8. The Apostle Paul gives some understanding of Jesus’ words being “spirit and life” in Romans 10.9-10, where he writes that our words profess unto salvation what our minds have accepted as truth [John 1.12 and Hebrews 11.1: “Faith gives substance to our hopes, and makes us certain of realities we do not see” (New English Bible, 1961); Proverbs 23.7a & 4.23 & 10.19].

So, our words are powerful! They can bring water from rock and, even, move mountains (Mark 11.22-24)! Therefore, speak what you want (Matthew 7.7, James 4.7 & 5.14-15). Choose each word wisely, expressing a promise from the Bible. We will be accountable for every word spoken!

Additional points to discuss:

  1. How are Jesus’ words in John 6.63 like God’s in Numbers 6.22-27?
  2. We have the same problem as Moses, as James (1-12) reminds us. What 
powers does James identify in the tongue?
  3. How does he describe a “perfect” person? Why is that act necessary to 
fulfill Paul’s description of a “mature” believer in Ephesians 4.13?
  4. How should Matthew 5.48 and Numbers 23.19 add to our understanding 
of “perfect”?
  5. What from Psalm 103.20 and Hebrews 1.14 makes this important?
  6. Of what caution regarding our speech does Solomon remind us of in
Proverbs 6.16-19? How does this emphasize Jesus’ words in Matthew 12.36-37?
  7. How do Proverbs 13.25 & 20-21 summarize this study?

The Power of the Spoken Word 180318

Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

March 4, 2018 LORD!

LORD!

What have we learned about God from Genesis 1.28 and 4.7? He created man to rule on the Earth! Why? Because of darkness (Genesis 1.2), and God wants there to be Life and Light in His creation (John 1.4). Also, because God is Omnipotent, and people made in His image should rule as His servants performing His assignments (Exodus 19.6; Leviticus 25.42, 55; Psalm 119.91, 125; Philippians 2.7; 1 Peter 2.9). We might say we were created to be warriors… against satan’s darkness and his harm to people and the earth (John 10.10). We are not to fight with human weapons (2 Corinthians 10.3) but under God’s direction and with Word (i.e., Jesus) of His authority (Luke 10.17; Psalm 8.2 & Matthew 21.15-16; Revelation 12.11). His goal is that we win, as He says in Luke 10.19 & 19.13 (Revelation 2.7, 11, 17, 26, 3.5, 12, 21), and said about Him in Mark 16.20. So, we should not be surprised by His revelation to Moses that He is LORD!

Small word, LORD, but with a focused and penetrating meaning. It is part of God’s identification of Himself to Moses at the burning bush as “I AM WHO I WILL BE” (Exodus 3.14 ESV; my paraphrase of the meaning confirmed in commentaries). God seems to pick up this conversation about identity in Exodus 6.3, after Pharaoh has predictably rejected Moses’ demand to let the Hebrews leave Egypt to worship God. In this verse, God reveals two of his titles: God Almighty (Hebrew El Shaddai) and LORD; the first experienced by the Hebrews beginning with Abraham (resourcing the assignment He had given him); the second to be revealed to those enslaved through various plagues on their masters. Then, continuing this thread of conversation into Exodus 12.12, God explains ‘LORD’ with exclamation by telling Moses about His pending completion of the subjugation of Egypt’s gods through one final plague. So, should we understand ‘LORD’ as God’s title for ruling over satan’s kingdom and its manifestation in the minds, bodies, and circumstances of mankind since Exodus 6.3? Is this Jesus’ meaning in John 10.10 and Matthew 16.18?

The ten (biblical numerology for fullness of quantity) plagues and the demons they represented are as follows. The context for these is Pharaoh’s response to Moses’ demand on behalf of God: “‘Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice and let Israel go? I do not know the Lord’” (Exodus 5.2). You should note the progression of God’s answer through the following plagues, from least (#1) to most personal (#10). Exodus 7.14-12.32.

  1. Hapi: god of the Nile; water bearer. Aaron turned the Nile into blood for seven days.  Pharaoh was unimpressed because Egyptian magicians partially duplicated this miracle. This was an inconvenience for the people.
  2. Heket: goddess of fertility; water, renewal. A plague of frogs because her head appears like that of a frog. The magicians also brought frogs into Egypt, but only Moses could make them leave. This brought discomfort to the people’s contexts.
  3. Geb: god over the dust of the earth. A plague of gnats made from dust. Because the magicians could not duplicate the gnats, they told Pharaoh this was ‘the finger of God’ (‘finger’ as in “grasping with” {Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance h0676; Exodus 8.19). The constant swatting was a frustration to the people.
  4. Khepri: god of creation, movement of the Sun, rebirth. A plague of flies because his head appears like that of a fly. This moved the plagues to a new level, adding destruction (‘land was ruined’, Exodus 8.24)—as well as inconvenience, discomfort, and frustration—as a consequence of Pharaoh’s decision. Now, he tries to bargain with Moses to remove the flies but so as to preserve his power and authority over God by dictating the terms and conditions. However, there were no flies upon the Hebrews. This is the first mention of God differentiating the environment of the Hebrews.
  5. Hathor: goddess of love and protection. A plague of disease and pestilence on cattle and livestock because her head appears like that of a cow. This plague was so severe that all of the livestock died. This devastation increased the
“ruin” (Exodus 8.24) to the Egyptian economy because it, comprehensively, affected their food, transportation, military supplies, farming, and economic goods produced by livestock. However, the Hebrews’ cattle and livestock were not harmed.
  6. Isis: goddess of medicine and peace. This is the first direct attack upon people was through boils upon everyone but the Hebrews. Not even the magicians could stand before Pharaoh; only Moses and Aaron.
  7. Nut: goddess of the sky. Hail that became fires rained down upon man and beast, killing all servants and animals that remained in the fields (Exodus 9.19, 24-25). It, also, destroyed the crops of flax and barley (Exodus 9.25, 31-32), which were not used for food but for clothing and in drink offerings to their gods. Through Exodus 9.16, God reminds Pharaoh that the Lord could have destroyed him and Egypt at any moment but had “raised you up to show you my power” as a direct answer you Pharaoh’s question, “Who is the Lord?” (Exodus 5.2). Exodus 10.1-2 states that the reason for showing the Lord’s power was to communicate to the Hebrews that God is above all that claim deity. He still is!
  8. Seth: god of storms and disorder. The locusts devoured whatever plants that survived the plague of hail (Exodus 10.4-6). Thus, God makes clear that He could, potentially, destroy their food supply. Pharaoh’s servants remind him that “Egypt is ruined” even before the locusts (Exodus 10.7).
  9. Ra: Sun god. The Sun was worshipped by the Egyptians. So, there was profound psychological and religious impact during three days of a “darkness to be felt” (Exodus 10.21), because darkness connoted death, judgments, and hopelessness to the Egyptians. By contrast, the Hebrews had light from God! Light for God’s followers; darkness remains upon those who disdain Him (Romans 1.21)! [It is, also, interesting that the number three stands for the Trinity in biblical numerology. Perhaps this signaled agreement among the Trinity and prophesied Jesus’ three days in the tomb.] So, to this point, the Egyptians have experienced their natural resources becoming unusable, physical discomfort from pests and boils, their economic livelihood destroyed, and, now, God plays with their minds (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). But, Pharaoh holds firm!
  10. Pharaoh: thought to be the son of Ra manifested in the flesh (false incarnation of the Son of God?); thus, the ultimate power in Egypt. But, the death of only Egyptian firstborn children—the next generation of leaders—would show that, even, Pharaoh was impotent. The blood on the doorposts of the Hebrew homes foreshowes our forgiveness through the true Son of the Only God, Jesus’ blood and John’s Revelation 12.11.

[Source: http://www.stat.rice.edu/~dobelman/Dinotech/ 10_Egyptian_gods_10_Plagues.pdf.]

Thus, God showed Himself LORD over all the philosophies of mental health, present and future wealth, generational progeny, and daily protection symbolized by gods of the Egyptians. Finally, in an ultimate act of LORDship, God defeats Egypt’s army in the Red Sea, at “Pi-Hahiroth … the mouth of water which faces Mt. Tiran, which is Baal-Zephon” (a Canaanite god; Google; Exodus 14.1). Additionally, read what God says about Babylon (representing satan), centuries after the plagues, in Jeremiah 51.53. This is a reflection on an event centuries before the plagues, in Genesis 11.1-9.

Likewise, the LORD shows His Omnipotence against satan’s demons through Jesus in the New Testament. This should be expected from Apostle John’s statement in John 1.18. Jesus’ manifesting God included God Almighty and LORD! God Almighty is seen when Jesus turned the water into wine at the wedding feast (John 2.1-11), when He feed the hungry people with bread and fish (Matthew 14.13-21; 15.32-39), and when He taught righteous living, like in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7).

Jesus shows He is LORD through confronting religious leaders controlled by satan in John 8.44-45 and in reprimanding Peter for his words to prevent Jesus’ pending death and resurrection (Matthew 16.23). Matthew 4.23-24 and Acts 10.38 provide a summary of specific events, like healing the paralytic (because of his faith; Luke 5.18-26), straightening a deformed hand before unmerciful clergy (Matthew 12.10-13), casting out demons (Matthew 8.31-32; Mark 9.25-27), and raising from the dead a young girl (Mark 5.39-42) and His friend Lazarus (meaning “man whom God helps” {Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance, g2976, form of Eleazar}; John 11.39-44). John (1.3.8b ESV) declares Jesus as LORD in his strong declaration: “The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.” Amen! Praise God! [And, finally casting satan into the Pit of Hades (John 12.31), apparently condemned when satan was cast out of Heaven (Isaiah 14.12-15; Revelation 12:9-11)! Perhaps projecting this, Jesus’ Model Prayer states we should pray that God will “deliver us from the evil one” (Matthew 6.13b, NKJV)! Done!!!]

Are demons at work in our world today? Jesus’ Model Prayer states that they are: “deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13, ESV). Do you see evidence of the following? Paul said to watch out for them, in 1 Timothy 4.1, 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 & 11.14-15 (ex., Moroni’s visit with John Smith, Father of Mormonism), 1 Corinthians 10.19-20.

  • Astrology: “One of the oldest forms of the occult still practiced today is astrology. Contemporary astrology is a combination of what astrological cults practiced in Babylon, Egypt, and Canaan. In Canaan, astrology centered around the bull. The worship of the golden calf, child sacrifices to Molech, and Baal worship were all part of Canaanite astrology… In Egypt, God challenged the astrological gods of Egypt in sending ten plagues which directly attacked the authority of those gods” (biblesprout.com; Demons in the Bible – Different Types and How they Attack; google.com).
  • Witchcraft: “Around the world today, there exists a growing number of those who call themselves witches” (ibid). Robert Kamau writes concerning “belief is mystical spirits” in Africa: “Magic, demons possession, sorcery and witchcraft are among the mystical powers that should be counteracted and overcome… It is not surprising that the traditional African who joyfully receives the Gospel relapses to traditional beliefs when life gets difficult as they search for power to alleviate suffering… Spiritualistic activities are performed to the ancestral spirits to seek their favor and blessings for the power to live the good life that is full of wealth, prestige, status, honor and authority” (The Church and Culture; African Transformation Leadership, 1015, Oracle House Publishers, Ltd., Nakuru, Kenya, pp. 2-5).
  • Magic and Sorcery: “Those who practice magic [formulas and incantations] are under certain limits as to what they can accomplish (Dan. 4:7)… Closely related to magic is sorcery. Magic usually relates to accomplishing specific acts-such as rods becoming serpents-whereas sorcery relates more closely with calling upon demons to create situations around people. Thus the enchanter or sorcerer is one who uses incantations or omens. Their practices may have also included the use of mood-changing or mind altering drugs” (biblesprout.com, Demons…).
  • Necromancy: “’Necromancy’ is an effort to communicate with and interrogate the dead. As the Bible teaches the dead are unable to communicate with the living (Luke 15:27-31), it only stands to reason that those who claim to have this ability are lying or are themselves deceived” (ibid).
  • Divination: “Often this practice included the killing of a chicken or some small animal, and on occasions to observe its liver to determine the state of affairs and direction of the immediate future (Ezek. 21:21). Divination is an illegitimate means of determining the will of God” (ibid).
  • Secret Societies: You might Google for listings and descriptions of these. Generally, these are any group of persons following their imaginations that have been deceived by demons (Jeremiah 12.10).
  • What about theories of evolution, climate change, etc.?

The Holy Spirit continues identifying the LORD through Peter and John (Acts 3.4-8 & 9.40-41) and Paul (Acts 14.8-10 & 20.9-12). The LORD continues the instruction of Jesus in Matthew 10.7-8 even today. So, how are you following the LORD by carrying out Matthew 16.19 NASB and Luke 10.19 and Mark 16.20? How is this like Numbers 6.22-27 and Matthew 6.13?

The LORD still defeats the demons that deceive our imaginations from light into darkness (Jeremiah 13.10; 2 Corinthians 11.13-15; Matthew 6.22-23). So, storm the gates of satan’s strongholds with the Name ‘Jesus’ (Luke 10.17) and knowledge possessed by Jesus and with His faith (Ephesians 4.13 & 6.10-18a)! satan cannot defeat you (Luke 10.19; 2 Corinthians 2.14)! Philippians 2.9-11 is perpetually true!

Reflect upon Psalmist David’s contemplation of ‘LORD’ in Psalm 24.7-10:

Lift up your heads, O gates!
And be lifted up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord, strong and mighty,
the Lord, mighty in battle!
Lift up your heads, O gates!
And lift them up, O ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
he is the King of glory! Selah

LORD 180218/25
Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com.

February 11, 2018 The Essence of Spiritual Warfare

The Essence of Spiritual Warfare

        In our previous study (The Breath of Life and Light), we considered Elihu’s declaration that “the breath of the Almighty…makes” mankind understand (Job 32.8, ESV). Further, he declares that this “breath” is “the spirit in man” (author’s emphasis; Job 34.14-15; James 2.26). So, the spirit within man explains the knowledge we acquire from teachers and through our senses (Exodus 28.3). This is why children can demonstrate physics and calculus before they learn the rudiments, as in throwing a ball between them and steering their bicycles around objects. [Elihu’s use of “spirit” was that of man (Proverbs 20.27, Ecclesiastes 12.7, 1 Corinthians 2.11, 1 Thessalonians 5.23) as distinguished from the Spirit of God or Holy Spirit, Who was given by God to men individually in the Old Testament (Exodus 31.3) and is reserved for followers of Christ Jesus in the New Testament (John 3.6-7 & 14.26, Ephesians 1.13-14, Romans 8.14).]

        Is this true in spiritual warfare, that the spirit in man is capable of engaging demons before we ever learn the principles of James 4.7 and Ephesians 6.10-18? Consider that Cain apparently understood what God meant in His instruction in Genesis 4.7, ESV: “‘[S]in is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it’” (author’s emphasis). Cain understood “sin” and the picture of its pending attack. But, how was he to “rule over it”, as a human being? Ruling over it would occur in his spirit and be expressed by his words. Note that God expected Cain’s actions to be successful, seen in His use of the conjunction “but”.

        Cain’s success would need to be directed by his spirit, of which he may have been aware. Perhaps, his verbal or intuitive conversation with God (Genesis 4.3-7) was a warning not to give in to the spirit of jealousy (Numbers 5.14, co-conspirator with a spirit of harlotry – Hosea 5.4) crouching at the door of Cain’s heart (contrast Revelation 3.20) that drove him to kill his brother, Abel (Genesis 4.8-10). The spirit of murder was too great for Cain to rule in his flesh. Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 7.21-8.8. Be strengthened by 1 John 4.4!

        How was Cain’s spirit to rule over the sin of jealousy? This is the same question that might be asked of the instruction in James 4.7: “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” Paul answers for us in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 and Romans 10.8-10. So does Apostle John in Revelation 12.11, illustrated by Jesus’ disciples in Luke 10.17 (see Philippians 2.9-11, too).
We are (author’s emphasis; Genesis 2.7) meant to rule over satan and sin by the words we speak!

        So, God placed in Adam the capability to identify sin and to rule over the spirits promoting it. This may be latent within you. So, study 2 Timothy 1.6-7 for encouragement.

The Essence of Spiritual Warfare, 180211

Praise God!!!            Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

January 28, 2018

The Breath of Life and Light

         What distinguishes justified belief from opinion? The investigation of this question is the dictionary definition of epistemology, the theory of knowledge, and one of the four components of the Nature of Reality (+ metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethics). The contrast of justified belief from opinion can be understood by the difference in the questions asked of Archangel Gabriel by Zachariah (Luke 1.18; opinion) and Mary (Luke 1.34; justified belief). The contrast can also be understood through God’s explanation of Israel’s problem (and ours) in Jeremiah 13.10 & 1 Samuel 8.6-7: God’s absolute words (justified belief) can become disdained by man’s imagination when it is devolved by relative philosophers (opinion). Jesus’ Parable of the Sower illustrates; Matthew 13.18-22.

         Let me focus this study further with the question: how much of what we call knowledge did God “breathe” into Adam (Genesis 2.7) filing his brain and given to him to be passed down to and discovered by the succeeding generations of his progeny? This knowledge includes the general knowledge about God that Paul writes about in Romans 1.19-20. This knowledge, also, includes the specific knowledge from God that taught Bezalel, for example, “to devise artistic designs, to work in gold, silver, and bronze, in cutting stones for setting, and in carving wood, to work in every craft” that would become part of the Tabernacle, which pattern God gave to Moses (Exodus 31.4-5, 25.40). Might such general and specific knowledge be what Jesus attributes as an important purpose of the Holy Spirit, in John 14.26?

         The Gospel writer, John, writes in John 1.1-5 that the Word was the “life” that was “breathed” into Adam (Genesis 2.7; see also John 5.26, 11.25-26 & 1 John 1.2, 5.11). Was this what Solomon wrote about in Ecclesiastes 3.11: God “has put eternity into man’s heart [mind], yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end”? Job and his friends seem to know lots about God, and even eternity, before we have His revelation from Genesis 12 through Revelation 22. Specifically in Job 4.18# & 15.15# (2 Peter 2.4; Juke 1.6), 10.11-12< (Jeremiah 1.5; Psalm 139.13-14; 1 Thessalonians 5.23), 11.7-8^, 16.19^ (1 Timothy 2.5; 1 John 2.1), 19.25-27^* (Revelation 22.12), 26.7-10>*, 27.3#< & 32.8<*^, 27.8#< (John 3.18; Revelation 20.11-15), 28.5> & 23-28>^, 31.1-4#^ & 26-28#, 38.1-3^ & 40.3-5^ (before this, Cain had heard God, Genesis 4.7; so had Noah, Genesis 6-9). [Legend: Blue and # about Heaven and Hell; Purple and ^ about God and Jesus; Red and < about human body, mind, and spirit; Green and > about cosmology and science.] These are ‘justified beliefs’ and not ‘opinions’, as we verify throughout Scripture.

         “Light” was given him in the same breath (see John 1.4, then 8.12, 9.5, 12.46); light that cannot be extinguished by the darkness of satan’s kingdom. This “light”, too, was the general knowledge about God (Romans 1.19-20) and the potential of specific knowledge that would be given to individuals throughout the ages for the benefit of others. Dr. Ronald H. Nash writes, regarding John 1.9, that this “epistemological logos” of the Word is “the source of all human knowledge” (The Will of God and the Mind of Man, 1982, P&R Publishing, Phillipsburg, NJ, p. 67). Like Balezel, we receive from God knowledge and understanding to carry out the purposes He assigns to us (Ecclesiastes 5.19-20).. The Holy Spirit within us takes from the Word (= Jesus) and gives to us the “knowledge” we must use [John 14.26, 16.14-15, Proverbs 20.24 & 27 (where ‘spirit’ is the Hebrew ‘breath’ and ‘parts’ include our thoughts)]. Thus, could Paul be encouraging our greater use than the estimated 10% of our brain power when he writes that we should grow our “maturity” into the complete (implied) knowledge possessed by Jesus (see Ephesians 4.13)? Should other teachers (ex. reading, writing, arithmetic, quantum physics, micro-biology, music performance, salesmanship, etc.) be added to Paul’s list of educators in verses eleven and twelve?

         Even Elihu knew that God breathed into us through Adam knowledge and understanding, which he states in Job 32.8: “‘it is the spirit in man, the breath of the Almighty, that makes him understand.’” But, how did he know otherwise, for the record is incomplete about mankind knowing God after Genesis 4.26? [The book of Job is chronologically placed after chapter eleven of Genesis.] Elihu states that knowledge came through God’s breath. Therefore, we can understand John 3.27 and that it explains Jeremiah 1.5 as evidence of the servanthood of man in Philippians 2.7 that is illustrated by Bazalel, in Exodus 31.4-5; and by Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Peter, John, and Paul.

         God chooses specific ones of us for His specific purposes (could this be an understanding of Ephesians 2.10?). Some become teachers, some lawyers, some doctors and engineers. Others become shepherds of people or animals, nurturing even the smallest into God-sized tasks. But, it is the breath of God that has instructed mankind generally about Himself and specifically about their individual assignments. He, even, walks alongside us training and perfecting our service. How did Elihu know? Do you?

Praise God!!! Copyright © 2018 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

January 7, 2018 The Certainty of God’s Word

The Certainty of God’s Word

Isaiah 40.6-8  From time to time, Jesus will end my quiet time with Him with Isaiah 37.32: “The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” I am, thus, assured that the matter we discussed, according to His word, will be accomplished in His time. The context for this verse is the realization by King Hezekiah that his army could not resist the pending attack by the King of Assyria and that only God could save the nation. God, even, gives Hezekiah an indicator of the certainty of His word by slaying 185,000 Assyrian troops in their sleep! Thus, God showed His zeal! King David had concluded the same certainty of God’s word and expresses this in Psalm 138.2: “For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.” The magnitude of his statement is seen in what God said about protecting His name; Ezekiel 20.5-10 & Numbers 23.19. Neither emphasis has changed — protecting His name and magnifying His word, for both are one (Matthew 5.17 & Isaiah 40.6-8)! What does this mean as we study Isaiah 9.6-7?

A.Prophesy about a powerful baby.

  1. Jesus was not just any baby, as Paul informed the philosophers on Mars Hill; Acts 17.31. Paul repeats this in Romans 2.16, and Peter states this in Acts 10.42. Jesus IS God’s Judge for mankind: John 3.18-19. This word is certain!
  2. Consequently, Jesus has been fulfilling Isaiah 9.7 since His ministry began, “to order [His kingdom] and establish it with judgement and justice from that time forward, even forever.” He has been separating “sheep” from “goats”, as He terms those of John 3.18 in Matthew 25.31-46.
  3. Jesus states and demonstrates Matthew 10.7-8 for the same “judgment and justice”, even encouraging His disciples to assault “the gates of Hades” and “bind on earth [“whatever”] shall have been bound in heaven” (Matthew 16.19 NASB; illustrated in Luke 10.1-19).
  4. The epitome of Jesus’ power and “authority” (Matthew 28.18) is demonstrated when He captured “death” at Calvary (Hebrews 2.14-15; John 14.19; 1 Corinthians 15.53-57) and escorted satan to the Pit of Hades (John 12.31 fulfilling Isaiah 14.12-15)!
  5. These are examples of the zeal of God in the New Testament to fulfill the certainty of His word to Isaiah (9.6-7).

B. The power remains because His “government and peace [will never] end” (Isaiah 9.7).

  1. Totalitarian governments—i.e., social democracy leading to socialism leading to communism—are satan’s agents to oppress the peace from people made in God’s image (Genesis 1.26). Democracies and republics are biblical forms of governments that can include and encourage image-bearers toward His likeness and provide His peace.
  2. “The American Dream is not that every man must be level with every other man. The American Dream is that every man must be free to become whatever God intends he should become.” Ronald Reagan, 40th President
  3. “The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.” –John Adams wrote this on June 28, 1813, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson.

(kirkcameron.com/U.S.ConstitutionandBiblicalPrinciples).

  1. “George Mason was one of the Founding Fathers that insisted on the Bill of Rights, or the first ten amendments, to be added to the Constitution, saying regarding his decision that, ‘The laws of nature are the laws of God, whose authority can be superseded by no power on earth.’” (ibid)
  1. However, Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
  2. We must remember Jeremiah 13.10 and Romans 6.16 which only reflect but do not displace Isaiah 9.7: “of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”
  3. People and their governments must, and will absolutely someday, align with Jesus’ government. This word is certain! Revelation 20.11-15 and 12 express the contrasting ends, respectively, for persons identified in John 3.18.

C. The personal nature of zeal.

a.  John 1.12 reduces the distinction of persons in John 3.18 to the word “receive”.   Eternal life is the subject there, as Jesus says in John 3.16.

b. “Receive” is just as important to salvation in this temporal life, as Peter states in Acts 3.16 regarding the events of Acts 3.1-10 and would restate to the Sanhedrin in the context of healing in Acts 4.12.

c. Zeal is personal and requires the evidence of faith to receive the word of God that is already ‘certain’ because God spoke it. It is the ‘hope’ in Hebrews 11.1. “Now faith” (without a comma) means receiving at the point of need.

d. God states His personal commitment to Hezekiah and pledges His “jealousy” (Strong’s Dictionary h7068; Easton’s Bible Dictionary for ‘zeal’ illustrates God’s jealousy in Ezekiel 5.13). The result was salvation for the nation.

e. Jesus spoke words with certainty, as He states in John 12.49-50. Note the everlasting nature of the words He spoke because of the everlasting Author. The same Author spoke Isaiah 9.6-7!

f. Jesus describes the Centurion’s faith as “great” because he knew the certainty of the word spoken by faith (Matthew 8.5-13). He ‘received’ the reality that Jesus spoke!

g. Paul describes the tenacity of perseverance required to receive ‘hope’ in Romans 5.1-5. Note, too, that ‘character’ is evidenced by perseverance grasping for hope!

D. Zeal in the certainty of God’s word.

h. God proclaims His certain word in Isaiah 9.6-7 of a future reality that began when Jesus was born. He states that His zeal will bring the reality in His time.

13. What ‘certain word’ has He spoken that you are willing to ‘receive’ in His time?

Praise God!!! Copyright © 2017 by Maurice L. Painter. www.sozoclass.com

December 3, 2017 Rapture to New Earth

Revelation 4.1 to 22.12: Rapture to New Earth

            The time of our departure may soon be at hand. Apostle Paul spoke similar words to Timothy (2.4.6) at the end of Paul’s final letter (Second Imprisonment, AD 66-67). The Lord Jesus has given Ezekiel 12.25 & 28 during my quiet time contemplations of Him more often during the last two years. In these verses, God declares that his words will no longer be postponed. My contemplations have regarded the end of times on Earth. He brought these to my attention just before I am writing this study. The coincidence is interesting, since this study is a summary of my understandings of what happens when the “church age” ends (understood to be Revelation 3.22: “ ‘ “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” ’ ” The next sequence of events is depicted on the attached design (with a similar title) and explained below

Revelation from the Rapture to joining Jesus on the New Earth: Revelation 4.1 to 22.12.

CLICK HERE FOR DIAGRAM >>>> http://sozoclass.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Rapture-to-New-Earth-1.pdfRapture to New Earth

A. Suitcases packed and ready for the voyage aboard spaceship “New Jerusalem”.

  1. As God encourages in Ezekiel 12,25 & 28, the ‘calling away’ (Revelation 4.1) or Rapture could happen at any moment.
  2. Jesus tells Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4.15-18 that His followers already in Paradise, with the thief on the cross (Luke 23.43), will enter the spaceship first. “Then, we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
  3. Paul describes these events in greater detail in 1 Corinthians 15.42-57. He writes that Jesus’ order of departure will happen ‘in the twinkling of an eye”. Our ‘earth suits’ will be removed (James 2.26) and replaced with “spiritual bodies”.
  4. My understanding of our voyage aboard spaceship “New Jerusalem” came from my question to the Lord: what do we do for the 1,000+ years before we, His bride, receive gifts from Him on the New Earth (Revelation 22.12)? We are “in the air” with Him and not on Earth, as will be explained below. We will enjoy galaxies and learn about the birth of stars and what is in the ‘black holes’ of the universe.

B. Meanwhile on old Earth, war and peace and war followed by judgment.

  1. Revelation 18.1-24 discusses the collapse of the world’s economic system. This may be the ‘prophet’ of satan’s kingdom that has enslaved the “bodies and souls of men”. Remember that mankind bears the image of God (Genesis 1.26). [Perhaps the governments of man are satan’s beast.]
  2. The armies of the affected nations rise up against Israel in Revelation 19.11-21. This is the Battle of Armageddon; the jeep on the design. Jesus, the “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS”, defeats satan’s armies. “Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations.”
  3. The ‘beast’ and his ‘prophet’ are cast into the Lake of Fire “burning with brimstone” prepared for the devil and his angels (Matthew 25.41).
  4. Revelation 20.1-3 record events that I believe happened earlier. For, Jesus says in John 12.31 that “the ruler of this world will be cast out” by Jesus’ crucifixion. This was to fulfill God’s instruction in Isaiah 14.12-15 discussing satan’s rebellion.
  5. Jesus, the figure of the man on the line in the design, rules a thousand years of peace and prosperity on Earth (Revelation 20.6; we reign through Christ because of John 17.20-23. In a sense, we are there with Jesus.).   Revelation 20.4 specifically identifies believers who were martyred as being with Jesus during the thousand years, perhaps in response to their inquiry in Revelation 6.9-10.
  6. satan is released, then, and, again, deceives the nations (perhaps over seven years) to attack Jerusalem, the temple in the design (Revelation 20.9). Perhaps the two witnesses (Revelation 11.1-13) are on Earth during the last three and one-half years of this time before the judgment.
  7. Revelation 20.11-15 presents the Great White Throne Judgment of God (the balance in the design) where Judge Jesus (Acts 17.31) condemns satan and people who had joined satan’s last deception and those from the Pit of Hades and casts them, along with satan, into the Lake of Fire.

C. Bride with Groom!

  1. Spaceship “New Jerusalem” descends from the sky in Revelation 21.2 to land on a New Earth (verse one). This spaceship, transporting the “bride”, is described in Revelation 21.10-27.
  2. We off-board and are greeted by Jesus with gifts (Revelation 22.12).
  3. And, so, we live forever with Jesus, enjoying responsibilities of leadership (11-19) in His government (Isaiah 9.6-7). It is conjectured that we will appear about age 30. Do you remember how you looked then?

So, as Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 4.18: “comfort one another with these words”.

Praise God!!! Copyright (C) by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

November 25, 2017 The Power of Faith in Jesus

The Power of Faith in Jesus

         Dr. Clay Stauffer writes, quoting author Charles Taylor: “‘Belief in God is no longer axiomatic. There are alternatives. This will also likely mean that at least in certain milieux, it may be hard to sustain one’s faith’” (The future of Christianity is unclear, Faith and Values Opinion, The Tennessean, 171028, p. 19 A; A Secular Age). One of the chief purposes of the Scriptures is to “sustain one’s faith”, as Jesus discusses in His Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13.18-23) and Apostle Paul in his letter, Colossians (2.8-10). The ‘mindfulness’ rage is a current attack on Christian “faith”; an existential philosophy being taught in school rooms and board rooms. Mindfulness and yoga are ways of worshiping Hindu or Buddhist gods. These philosophies, and Islam, are rushing into the American cultural void left by Christians who have reduced Christianity to a “form of godliness” but “[denied] the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3.5); i.e., behaviors rather than mindset We have watered-down the power of faith in the Name above all names (Philippians 2.9-11). How can we recapture this power from within the Name ‘Jesus’? The healing of the paralytic at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple illustrates the following ways; Acts 3.1-10.

A. By understanding Whose Name is ‘Jesus’

  1. Apostle Paul clearly states that Jesus is the name of the God-head, in Philippians 2.9-11; all in Heaven bow to it. See, also, Hebrews 13.8 and Ephesians 1.21.
  2. Apostle John writes that the “Word”,i.e., ‘Jesus’, literally took upon Himself flesh like His created mankind (John 1.14; Hebrews 2.14-15).
  3. The Apostles rejoiced that they were criticized by the Sanhedrin because of their teaching of the ‘Name” (Acts 4.12 & 41). The context was healing. Peter and John knew the power of the name Jesus they spoke; Acts 3.16. See James 5.14-15, also.
  4. Jesus, Himself, said we are to baptize new disciples “into” the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matthew 28.19). Paul discusses the power of this in Romans 5.1-5 and gives an example of Matthew 10.7-8 in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.
  5. Jesus, also, said that His was His Father’s name, in John 17.6,11, & 12 (NASB).
  6. God wrote that His name must be spoken in faith (Exodus 20.7), and Jesus said it must be ‘hallowed’ (Matthew 6.9); i.e., the Christian mindset. This is because of the power within His name that is only released by faith, illustrated in Hebrews 3.16-4.2. This is how Paul measures maturity in Ephesians 4.13.

B. By understanding that temporal and eternal salvation are contained within the Name ‘Jesus’

  1. God makes this clear in Isaiah 45.22: “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” What is the implied clause that should begin this verse? Perhaps, ‘In every way, everyday, look to Me and be saved.’ God is Spirit; John 4.24.
  2. What do John 3.16 and Acts 4.12 have in common? How does Matthew 9.4-7 explain the connection?
  3. When the wandering Hebrews were bitten by snakes in the desert, God instructed that a figure of a snake should be lifted on a pole for the bitten to look upon and be healed (Numbers 21.8-9). Faith healing in action, but only for those who received God’s salvation by looking.
  4. Jesus replaced the snake at Calvary for the eternal salvation of mankind (John 12.32; Hebrews 9.12-14). Remember that He is the “Word that became flesh” (John 1.14). ‘Nehushtan’ symbolized Jesus; 2 Kings 18.4.
  5. Jesus demonstrated that the power to heal is in the Name ‘Jesus’ by healing all who had faith to receive healing from His Name (John 1.12; Matthew 9.22 & 29; Luke 8.46-48; Mark 9.25). His offer without acceptance leaves a person sick.
  6. The Holy Spirit knew that the paralytic in Acts 3 was ready to receive healing through the name Jesus. He identified him among all beggars. Similarly for Paul in Acts 14.9.
  7. Paul acknowledges that every need is satisfied by the Name ‘Jesus’, in Philippians 4.19; also, that the anointed Name ‘Jesus’ gave Paul the ability to do anything (13). This sounds like Jesus’ description of the Holy Spirit’s work on our behalf, in John 14.26. Also Mark 16.20.
  8. Jesus demonstrates satisfying all needs by “feeding thousands from meager rations, healing untold numbers beset by satan’s sicknesses and diseases, and raising named persons from the dead” (Painter, Continuing Jesus’ Service, sozoclass.com, 171030); Matthew 10.7-8 and Acts 10.38 {the God-head in action}.
  9. Further, Paul states that Jesus is our holy hope for escape from this dying planet, in Galatians 1.4.

C. By following Jesus’ instructions for the use of His name

  1. Jesus states this as an expectation of us in Matthew 18.19 & 22, Mark 11.24, and John 14.13-14 & 16.23-24.
  2. Jesus has given us the right to use His authority through using His name, as is illustrated in Luke 10.1-11, 17-19.
  3. How are Luke 10.17 and Acts 16.18 like Mark 9.25? Do you have faith to do this? Why is this included in Genesis 1.26?
  4. Peter moved the mountain holding down the paralytic and released him to enjoy the good health God had created.
  5. James reminds us that doubt is a spade for digging up what we plant by faith; see James 1.5-8.
  6. God created mankind with the expectation that they would use the ‘tools’ He would give them to carry out His prime directive: exercise rule and dominion over the Earth (Genesis 1.26). You were created to rule using Jesus’ name!
  7. Apostle John states that God has given us what we need: forgiveness and adoption, with the right to use His Name ‘Jesus’; see Revelation 12.11.
  8. John explains this further in 1 John 5.4-5. See this in 1 John 4.4, also.
  9. What does “manifest Myself to him” mean in John 14.21? Is “him” you and me? Jesus manifests Himself through the power of His name. Paul confirms this in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5. Is this the same purpose as John (1.18) states? See Jesus’ Lord’s Prayer in John 17.20-23. This is like Mark 16.20 to fulfill 15-18. Consequently, is this how Jesus wants to ‘manifest’ Himself to the world?
  10. Remember from John 1.18, that the name Jesus took on flesh (verse 14) so that He could manifest God. From John 17.23, we are made perfect through manifesting the name Jesus to the world. This is being “One” with the Father and Son, Jesus.
  11. Similarly, in John 15.5 we cannot do anything without the name Jesus, which brings Him on the scene (verse 7). John 15.8 points back to the power of Jesus’ name. See Mark 16.20.
  12. Therefore, Paul writes that we must do all things in the anointed name ‘Jesus’, in Colossians 3.17! The name is the power we need!
  13. In John 16.24, Jesus commands that we ask in the name Jesus, so that our joy of receiving may be full from seeing the power of the name in our lives personally.
  14. John 16.33: the name Jesus overcomes the world! If only Jesus the Person overcame the world, the world would have been reconquered by satan after Jesus left. But, it is Jesus’ name that continues to overcome, when Christians recapture the power of the name ‘Jesus’! Is the power of the name Jesus that we display what Paul gives in 2 Thessalonians 2.6-7 as the ‘Restraint’ of satan’s lawlessness? Consider John MacArthur’s commentary about verse six: “The power that holds back Satan from bringing the final apostasy and unveiling of his Satan-possessed false Christ must be divinely supernatural. It must be God’s power in operation that holds back Satan, so that the man of sin, the son of destruction, won’t be able to come until God permits it by removing the restraining power” (MacArthur Study Bible Notes).

D. But, following through is up to you and me.

  1. Peter and John stood on their faith in the name Jesus before those who did not believe. See Acts 4.1-20, especially verses 12, 19, & 20.
  2. Jesus told the Parable of the Persistent Widow to encourage persistent faith, in Luke 18.1-8. He describes satan (2-5) and challenges us to faith (6-7).
  3. Then, Jesus asks the crucial question (8): “Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”
  4. Will your faith stand in the contemporary milieux?

Stauffer continues: “There is still a deep spiritual hunger in our age that I believe is directly tied to our ongoing search for God…If Christians today can show the same courage as Martin Luther in getting this message to a hurting world, then Christianity will always have a future and a purpose.” [Luther nailed his ‘Ninety-Five Theses’ to the door of Wittenberg Castle Church on October 31, 1517].

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com

October 29, 2017 Continuing Jesus’ Service

Continuing Jesus’ Service

         I was reading Dr. Michael Youssef’s book, The Leadership Style of Jesus: how to make a lasting impact (2013), this week and was stopped by the Holy Spirit on Dr. Youssef’s inclusion of Matthew 20.20-28 in his Chapter 10, Power, page 102. The chapter contrasts the power advocated by Niccolo Machiavelli with that expressed by Jesus; that is, “amorality, deception, power, ego, and personal advantage” versus “morality, truthfulness, servanthood, humility, and meeting the needs of others”, respectively (p. 100). We see this contrast in leaders today. Verses 25-27.

What caught my attention was the conjunction, “and”, in verse 28. The verse reads in the English Standard Version: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, AND to give his life as a ransom for many” (my emphasis). From this, we understand that Jesus came for two distinct reasons. Hebrews 10.1-10 clearly explains “to give his life as a ransom for many” (see also John 1.29 & Revelation 5.9).

Jesus’ behaviors of feeding thousands from meager rations, healing untold numbers beset by satan’s sicknesses and diseases, and raising named persons from the dead express His thinking developed by the mindset He advocates in Matthew 6.9, “hallow” the Name of Father God, ‘Jesus’. His “kingdom come” guided Jesus’ thinking, and His “will be done” found expression in binding and loosing “whatever…shall have been bound [or loosed] in heaven” (Matthew 6.10 & 16.19, NASB). Thus, Jesus “served” mankind and encourages us to do the same (John 17.18, Matthew 28.20).

But, Jesus also “served” in another, most important way. The “Cosmological Logos” showed God to mankind (Dr. Ronald Nash, The Word of God and The Mind of Man, 1982, p. 67)! This is John’s deduction in John 1.18. The Metaphysical became Physical, as Apostle Thomas declares in John 20.27-28. Jesus is the fulfillment of Isaiah 7.14, evidencing such Himself in John 14.7-11 & 15.24 (by others in John 3.2, 7.31, 9.32 & Matthew 9.33) fulfilling Exodus 34.10.

So, the Holy Spirit continues to “make [God] known” through us daily, as Paul writes in Romans 8.14, Colossians 3.17 & 23, and 1 Corinthians 10.31. May our mindset be Matthew 6.9, our thinking Matthew 6.10a, and our behaviors Matthew 6.10b. Otherwise, we will wind up in prideful imagination, like Zebedee’s wife and the jealous disciples in Matthew 20.20-27, ending like James 3.16. Which of these two pictures reveals the Father God? In which picture are you?

Praise God!!! Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2017. www.sozoclass.com