April 24, 2016 Boast

Boast

Boasting is not a good habit, most times.  Proverbs 27.1 offers a common-sense reason for not boasting about the future: you just don’t know what will be.  Solomon summarized this clearly in Proverbs 19.21Jude 1.16 warns about boasting about one’s abilities or accomplishments.  The Apostle Paul saw this as silly, too; 2 Corinthians 11.1-33James (4.16-17) agrees!  Solomon said such was a slippery slope in Proverbs 16.18.  Seventeenth century English author and clergyman William Gurnall said: “Least doers are the greatest boasters.”  Jesus told about such persons; Matthew 6.1-6.

But God said we should boast in the right things.  He contrasts these in Jeremiah 9.23-24, especially in verse 24: boast about understanding God!  This is just what Paul states in Galatians 6.14.  This study explores his meaning of “the world has been crucified” through the cross of Jesus Christ.  Then, we will connect this meaning with Galatians 6.2 NASB: “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.”

A. The world has been crucified by the cross of Jesus Christ.

  1. Let me explain this using a timeline.  In your mind or on paper, draw a horizontal straight line about three inches long.  Bisecting the line illustrates the descending of years to the left, called BC, from the ascending of years to the right, called AD.  The ending point of one and beginning of the other is the event of Jesus’ birth.
  2. Jesus’ birth is the first of three pillars on which the Christian faith rests.  His miraculous conception and birth by the virgin Mary was the proof of God’s prophesies through the Isaiah (7.14 and 9.6-7), the declaration of salvation by the angel of the Lord (Matthew 1.21), the confirming statement of John the Baptist (John 1.31-34), and the declarative proclamation of Apostle John (3.16).
  3. Now, at the AD end of the line to the right of this BC and AD intersection, draw two oblique lines at 45-degree angles from the end of the horizontal line, one upward to the right and the other downward to the right.  The point where this fork in the horizontal line occurs represents the atoning death and bodily resurrection of Jesus over sin and death, respectively.
  4. These two events – Jesus’ death for sin and resurrection unto life – are the other two pillars on which the Christian faith rests.  Jesus said He would die for our sins (Matthew 12.40, 16.21, 27.63).  Apostle Peter (1.3.18) affirmed this.  Paul adds understanding in Romans 4.25, 2 Corinthians 5.21, and Hebrews 2.14-15.  Jesus said He would be resurrected, in Matthew 12.40 and Mark 9.31. Angels confirmed this, in Luke 24.7.
  5. Now, about the fork at the end of the AD line, Jesus explained it in John 12.31-32.  We might term this the point of power for Christians!  The line ascending to the upper right is verse 32.  The line descending to the lower right is verse 31.
  6. This descending line is what Paul meant by “the world has been crucified to me” (Galatians 6.14).  “The world” was and still is the system of philosophies controlled by the “god of this world”, as Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.
  7. The satanic world systems of utopian, existential, and traditional philosophies had become “veils” (and still are) over the eyes of those who would not accept God as Sovereign of this world and would not receive His salvation through Jesus Christ.  Dr. Luke includes Paul’s sermon about this in Acts 17. 22-31.  Paul, also, writes about this in Ephesians 6:12, 1 Corinthians 1.22-23, Romans 1. 18-32, 2 Timothy 3.1-7, and Galatians 5.19-21. John (1.4.3-4) summarizes and reminds us why we are victorious. You will need to accept John’s summary in Galatians 6.2.
  8. But, satan was judged and cast out at Jesus’ cross, as He states in John 12.31!  This fulfilled God’s prophesy through Isaiah (14.12-15).  Jesus had finally bound on earth what was bound in Heaven, as He infers in His Model Prayer (Matthew 6.10) and which authority He appropriated to His followers in Matthew 16.19 and Luke 10.19!
  9. Consider other proofs that Jesus judged and cast satan out, as He states in John 12.31. For example, John 16.11, Hebrews 2.14, Ephesians 3.9 (Jesus escorted satan to the Pit of Hades), Colossians 2.14-15, and Acts 17.31 (Jesus was appointed Judge by God long before Paul’s speech). The Angel of Revelation 20.1-3 chained satan when Judge Jesus pronounced judgment in John 12.31!
  10. Paul understood this and enjoyed the benefits, as he says, (2 Corinthians 12.9-10, commenting on Acts 13.44-14.22, as Paul reminds Timothy [2.3.10-11])!
  11. Thus, Paul writes in Galatians 6.14 that “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world!”  He had experienced what it means to be released from the control of the world in living as a Christian.

B. When the world had been crucified to Paul, he could help others.

  1. In Galatians 6.2, Paul implores believers to “Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ” (NASB). Thus ‘bearing’ is determined by the ‘law of Christ’.
  2. What is the “law of Christ”?  Jesus gives this in His answer to the Pharisaical lawyer in Matthew 22.37-40.   Later, Jesus would give a “new commandment” to His disciples, which He states in John 13.34; love, “just as I have loved you”. This is His meaning of ‘teaching’ in Matthew 28.20, as is explained in Mark 16.17-[especially] 20. (How is this like Matthew 10.7-8?) John 17.12 helps to define the ‘love’ Jesus speaks about.
  3. Jesus’ application of “love one another” He explains in John 13.35Acts 11.26 shows this happening. This is what Paul means by “bear one another’s burdens” in Galatians 6.2.
  1. Jesus had given the example throughout His ministry and called for helpers; Matthew 9.35-38. Peter restates as the identifier of Jesus in Acts 10.38. John (1.3.8b) acknowledges, also.
  1. Bearing one another’s burdens had identified Jesus to man (Exodus 34.10 and John 15.24) and was the lifestyle Paul knew Jesus meant for man, as Jesus states in the Lord’s Prayer in John 17.18.  He left us to bear one another’s burdens!  (Compare this with Ecclesiastes 4.12)
  2. This is consistent with what He had taught the Apostles in Matthew 10.7-8: preach the message of salvation and administer it to all who want to receive it!  This is why Paul writes as he does about himself in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5.  He knew what Jesus meant!
  3. After commissioning His Apostles, Jesus sent them out to “bear the burdens” of those who asked for help.  Luke 10.1-19, especially verses 9, 17, and 19, tells their story.  Paul had spoken with them (Galatians 1.18-19).  Believers’ proclamation and proof in Antioch earned for them the title “Christian”; Acts 11.26.  They were “little Christs” to the burdened who asked for relief; see James 5.14-15. The friends letting the paralytic down through the roof to get him in front of Jesus is a picture of what happens during such spiritual events; see Luke 5.19-26. (Note the paralytic’s faith to ‘receive’ healing. Healing must be received!)
  4. The healing of the paralytic at the Temple gate through Peter is an example of ‘bearing another’s burden’, even that of a stranger, but not one to the Holy Spirit.  Read the story in Acts 3.1-10.  Peter and John “gave” the man the name that brought about his abilities to walk and leap, which he had not done since birth!  Peter proclaimed the source of healing in verse 16 and, to the Sanhedrin, in Acts 4.12.

The world and satan still have been crucified to believers.  We have been freed from their deceptions and devices.  We have been given the Name above all names for the working out of our salvation; that is, we must speak the name of  “Jesus” in faith against the demons of this world to be freed personally and to help others wishing to be freed.  Paul clarifies this in Philippians 2.9-13.  The Name has been given to us, and we must focus its power against the evil that binds, while dressed in our armor (Ephesians 6.10-18)!  Lay aside every hindrance (Hebrews 12.1-2) and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6.2). “Jesus” IS the word of our testimony (Revelation 12.11)!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016.  www.sozoclass.com

March 20, 2016 Crucified

Crucified

Harry Blamires writes in The Christian Mind: How Should a Christian Think?: “The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking.  And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action.”  We must reconstruct the frame by which we understand daily events and change the criteria by which we evaluate them.  The Apostle Paul tells us how in Galatians 5.24-25 (AMP throughout): “And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires.  If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.]”  (My underline for emphasis.)

A. The Christian Mind

  1. Paul would write some eight years later, AD 56, that believers must “transform” our minds to think differently; “its new ideals and its new attitude” (Romans 12.2).  What new “ideals” and “attitude” have “transformed” your mind?  Do you judge the world by the Bible or the Bible by the secular world?  In the different contexts of each day?
  2. This is possible because we are “a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away.  Behold, the fresh and new has come” (2 Corinthians 5.17)!  What is “fresh and new” in your perspective of life?  What verses are the sources of this? 1 John 2.15-17? Hebrews 11.6? James 5.16b?
  3. This is possible because “we have the mind of Christ (the Messiah) and do hold the thoughts (feelings and purposes) of His heart” (1 Corinthians 2.16).  This is the potential into which we grow (Ephesians 4.11-13).  As Jesus said in His Lord’s Prayer: “That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us” (John 17.21).  Paul clarifies: “For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17.28).  How do you know? Romans 8.16 & 1 Corinthians 2.11! These validate our close walk with the Holy Spirit.
  4. Therefore, remember Solomon’s imperative: “Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4.23). Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Hebrew Old Testament language defines ‘springs’ as the ‘issues, outgoings’ we think about and which are lived out in our lives.
  5. We must reconstruct the frame by which we understand daily events and change the criteria by which we evaluate them.

B. The Christian Mind Produces Christian Thinking.

  1. Paul adjures believers to “crucify the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires” (Galatians 5.24).
  2. He tells us how to crucify the flesh in 1 Corinthians 5.13 (“Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church”) and Colossians 3.8 (“But now put away and rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, bad feeling toward others, curses and slander, and foulmouthed abuse and shameful utterances from your lips”) and Hebrews 12.1 [“let us strip off and throw aside every encumbrance (unnecessary weight) and that sin which so readily (deftly and cleverly) clings to and entangles us”].  If your friends express “encumbrances”, what should you do? Isaiah 33.14-16.
  3. Peter reminds, too, in 1 Peter 2.1: “BE done with every trace of wickedness (depravity, malignity) and all deceit and insincerity (pretense, hypocrisy) and grudges (envy, jealousy) and slander and evil speaking of every kind.”  Be like David: Psalm 19.14!
  4. Paul encourages, in Philippians 4.8: “whatever is true, whatever is worthy of reverence and is honorable and seemly, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely and lovable, whatever is kind and winsome and gracious, if there is any virtue and excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on and weigh and take account of these things [fix your minds on them].” Psalm 8.3-4, 33.4-5; Proverbs 21.21; Micah 6.8; Jeremiah 9.24-25; 1 Peter 1.2-8!

C. The Christian Mind Produces Christian Thinking Expressed in Christian Action.

  1. Paul contrasts Galatians 5.19-21 with verses 22-23: “But the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit [the work which His presence within accomplishes] is love, joy (gladness), peace, patience (an even temper, forbearance), kindness, goodness (benevolence), faithfulness, gentleness (meekness, humility), self-control (self-restraint, continence). Against such things there is no law [that can bring a charge].”  Nine fruits from one Seed! Seen in you! John 17.21.
  2. Romans 5.3-5: “Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance.  And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation.  Such hope never disappoints or deludes or shames us, for God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us.”  This is what Paul means in 2 Corinthians 2.14, 12.9-10, and Hebrews 5.14
  3. Romans 12.1-2: “I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].”  God described this in Isaiah 58.6-14.
  4. Jesus described this as one of our final test questions in Matthew 25.34-40.  How will you measure?

Blamires: “The Christian mind is the prerequisite of Christian thinking.  And Christian thinking is the prerequisite of Christian action.”  Christian thinking uses the Bible as a lens through which to view the world, as we see in offices, schoolrooms, and homes and on the television and movie screens and in books, magazines, and periodicals.  How must we train our children and grandchildren to do this, too?  (Deuteronomy 6.7; Proverbs 22.6)  When do we simply turn the power off?  How must we train them to walk with the Holy Spirit toward the things of God and away from the deceptions of satan?  This is our responsibility and opportunity! 1 Thessalonians 2.19-20!

Praise God!!!  Copyright by Maurice L. Painter, 2016.  www.sozoclass.com

March 6, 2016 Self-Control

Self-Control

Jesus warned us to expect satan’s nefarious attempts to steal the word of God from us.  His purpose is to destroy our faith so he can, then, kill us.  How has he done this in your life?  Pause and think about this.  In Matthew 13.18-22, Jesus said to expect people to demean us and to criticize our faith, as one ploy.  Also, to expect satan to tempt us with sex and beverage alcohol allurements to sell his deviance; see 1 John 2.15-17.  These are not new tactics, as Galatians 5.16-21 and Revelation 2.1-3.22 discuss.  In fact, these are ways that satan used during Israel’s wilderness journey to the Promised Land.  The ways continue to become increasingly effective today on people who are challenged by self-control.  Proverbs 25.28 NASB: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”  Think about that.

A. Golden Calf

  1. Exodus 32.1-6.
  2. Philosophers persuaded the people to turn from God; Exodus 20.4.
  3. They celebrated with song and dance and “rose up to play”.  The Hebrew word for play includes laughter, mocking, and making sport (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).
  4. Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. wrote in “The Disuniting of America”: “History is to the nation … as memory is to the individual. As an individual deprived of memory becomes disoriented and lost, not knowing where he has been or where he is going, so a nation denied a conception of its past will be disabled in dealing with its present and its future.”

B. Baalam and Peor

  1. Numbers 25.1-18 violated Exodus 20.3, 14, 17.
  2. Sex in the city because Balak followed Baalam’s advice for tripping up the people.  Jesus said the Israelites were engaging in sexual immorality, in Revelation 2.14.  Apostle Paul comments on this in 1 Corinthians 10.8.
  3. How did sex get into the city?  How could the city keep it out?  Which city?

C. Solomon on Adultery

  1. Before he became a participant, he advised his sons against this; Proverbs 5.1-23, especially verse 21.
  2. But, later, he listened to the philosophers (in his bed) and became deceived into their sexual rituals; 1 Kings 11.1-8, especially verse 4.  Do you think he remembered Proverbs 5.21?  How do you think his Israelite staff and subjects responded to his example?
  3. How did sex topple the king?  How could he have prevented this?  You?

D. Galatians, Romans, and Flesh

  1. Galatians 5.13, 19-21: AD 48.  Which of his list relate to sex?  What is Paul’s warning about giving into lust?  How can we follow this?
  2. Why did the Jerusalem Council’s Decree include such a warning to Gentile believers?  Acts 15.19-22.  Notice the broad inclusion of NASB Leviticus 18.6-23 in “fornication”, “sexual immorality” in other translations.  So, satan’s deceptions using sex had not changed during the 1,450 years from Moses to Paul.  Still the same today!
  3. Romans 7.14-24, 8.5-8: AD 55.  How do these verses describe life as a teeter-totter?  What does Paul say controls? What is Paul’s warning about giving into lust?  How can we follow this?
  4. Shouldn’t we be able to see this repetition of satan’s chief weapon by now?  Why don’t we?  Self-control: as an individual, an institution (church, university), a nation?
  5. 5.    The internet has facilitated “an insatiable appetite for sexually explicit content, and the high percentage of those searching are teenagers…6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18…9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18” (Baptist and Reflector, 2016, February 10, Vol. 182, No.3, P. 1).

E. From Ephesus to Laodicea, within 60 years! Fulfillment of Jeremiah 13.10.

  1. Ephesus: Revelation 2.1-7, AD 95: apostolic faith beginning to slip.  Who were the “Nicolaitans”.   “They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce…licentiousness…and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).  Nicholas was a trusted “brother in the Lord”, according to Acts 6.5, which gave him a following.  Ephesian Christians’ faith depended upon holding onto the Scripture (Romans 10.17, Ephesians 4.11-13), which they, apparently, were “abandoning” (NASB; see Jeremiah 13.10).   Nicholas’ followers were taking advantage of this opportunity.  Jesus warned of this in Matthew 24.12.  “Lawlessness” included sexual immorality, the systemic deception of satan; 2 Corinthians 4.3-4
  2. Smyrna: Revelation 2.8-11:  Jesus contrasts the world’s priorities with His in verse nine.  The temptation is always to give in to the pressures of society’s condemnation, as Jesus said in Matthew 13.21.  Believers in Smyrna might be considered “poor” in this world but are “rich” with eternal rewards; see 2 Timothy 4.7-8 and Psalm 1.1-6.  Sex would follow from philosophers in this “synagogue of satan”; see Solomon and Peor, above.
  3. Pergamum: Revelation 2.12-17: The world’s priorities have become embraced by many believers here, as verse 13 indicates: “satan sits enthroned”.  At least one, Antipas, has died for resisting this.  Philosophy has led to “Peor” (feasting with non-Christians has led to sexual immorality), similar to the practices of the Nicholatians; E.1.
  4. Thyatira: Revelation 2.18-29: The next devolvement was satan’s appointing a “prophetess” in this church to teach his “secret knowledge”.  Jesus called her “Jezebel” after King Ahab’s wife, a worshipper of Baal and Asherah (1 Kings 18), who tried to exterminate the prophets of God.  Some believers were adopting her “secrets” (“the depths of satan”; verse 24) and corrupting the Scriptures, including sexual immorality.  Why would the pastor even allow such aberration of the Gospel in the church of his responsibility?
  5. Sardis: Revelation 3.1-6:  Apparently, satan’s teachings had spread within the churches to the point that only a few tenets of God’s truth remained; verse two.  There was little or no evidence of Jesus!  Since sexual immorality had been part of Jezebel’s and Nicholas’ teachings and practices, it is assumed that they were practiced in Sardis, also.
  6. Philadelphia: Revelation 3.7-13: “Little power” in verse eight may indicate that there were just a few believers remaining faithful to God, to whom He reminded about their Heavenly reward, the “door wide open which no one is able to shut.”  Therefore, ignore deceivers’ logic; be faithful!  The title “loving church” is reference to the love that Jesus displayed for the faithful believers, perhaps His miracles of healing and provision, that witnessed to “those of the synagogue of Satan” in verse nine.
  7. Laodicea: Revelation 3.14-22: By this last step of devolution, Jesus could only hope that a single believer might be found to “open the door” for Him to come in (verse 20).  Implied is that the believer and Jesus would resurrect the church at Laodicea from its death by philosophy and sexual immorality. 
  8. Summarizing the devolution: interest in philosophy beginning to displace the Bible (Ephesus) led to sensing greater external pressures of society walking away from God (Smyrna) led to inviting the external pressures of philosophy within the church (Pergamum) led to accepting satan’s teachings (Thyatira) led to disavowing most biblical truth (Sardis) led to the deception of most people within the church (Philadelphia) led to neither truth nor believers remaining, or apostasy (Laodicea).  But, Jesus reminded us that God is merciful for us who “worship in spirit and in truth” (John 4.24; Matthew 24.22).

F. The Problem is Self-Control

  1. Not like Joseph (Genesis 39.9b) or Job (31.1) who practiced Proverbs 4.25.
  2. Led by the Spirit; Galatians 5.22-25.
  3. Why is self-control last of the Fruit of the Spirit?
  4. How is self-control a function of Proverbs 4.23 and Hebrews 5.14?

G. The Real Question

  1. Luke 18.8b.  This is the lesson of the devolution of the Seven Churches of Asia Minor.
  2. How does sexual purity reflect faith?
  3. Likewise, why didn’t Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego) eat the king’s food?  How were they better thereafter?  See Daniel 1.8-17.
  4. How can we protect our ‘faith’?  Psalm 119.9-16, 105.

February 28, 2016 Self Control

Self Control

Jesus warned us to expect satan’s nefarious attempts to steal the word of God from us.  His purpose is to destroy our faith so he can, then, kill us.  How has he done this in your life?  Pause and think about this.  In Matthew 13.18-22, Jesus said to expect people to demean us and to criticize our faith, as one ploy.  Also, to expect satan to tempt us with sex and beverage alcohol allurements to sell his deviance, as everyone remembers.  These are not new tactics, as Galatians 5.16-21 and Revelation 2.1-3.22 discuss.  In fact, these are ways that satan used during Israel’s wilderness journey to the Promised Land.  The ways continue to become increasingly effective today on people who are challenged by self-control.  Proverbs 25.28 NASB: “Like a city that is broken into and without walls is a man who has no control over his spirit.”  Think about that.

A. Golden Calf

  1. Exodus 32.1-6.
  2. Philosophers persuaded the people to turn from God; Exodus 20.4.
  3. They celebrated with song and dance and “rose up to play”.  The Hebrew word for play includes laughter, mocking, and making sport (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance).

B. Baalam and Peor

  1. Numbers 25.1-18 violated Exodus 20.3, 14, 17.
  2. Sex in the city because Balak followed Baalam’s advice for tripping up the people.  Jesus said the Israelites were engaging in sexual immorality, in Revelation 2.14.  Apostle Paul comments on this in 1 Corinthians 10.8.
  3. How did sex get into the city?  How could the city keep it out?  Which city?

C. Solomon on Adultery

  1. Before he became a participant, he advised his sons against this; Proverbs 5.1-23, especially verse 21.
  2. But, later, he listened to the philosophers (in his bed) and became deceived by their sexual rituals; 1 Kings 11.1-8, especially verse 4.  Do you think he remembered Proverbs 5.21?  How do you think his subjects responded to his example?
  3. How did sex topple the king?  How could he have prevented this?  You?

D. Galatians, Romans, and Flesh

  1. Galatians 5.13, 19-21: AD 48.  Which of his list relate to sex?  What is Paul’s warning about giving into lust?  How can we follow this?
  2. Why did the Jerusalem Council’s Decree include such a warning to Gentile believers?  Acts 15.19-22.  Notice the broad inclusion of NASB Leviticus 18.6-23 in “fornication”, “sexual immorality” in other translations.  So, satan’s deceptions using sex had not changed during the 1,450 years from Moses to Paul. 
  3. Romans 7.14-24, 8.5-8: AD 55.  How do these verses describe life as a teeter-totter?  What does Paul say controls? What is Paul’s warning about giving into lust?  How can we follow this?
  4. Shouldn’t we be able to see this repetition of satan’s chief weapon by now?  Why don’t we?  Self-control?
  5. The internet has facilitated “an insatiable appetite for sexually explicit content, and the high percentage of those searching are teenagers…6 out of 10 girls are exposed to pornography before the age of 18…9 out of 10 boys are exposed to pornography before the age of 18” (Baptist and Reflector, 2016, February 10, Vol. 182, No.3, P. 1).

E. From Ephesus to Laodicea

  1. Ephesus: Revelation 2.1-7, AD 95: apostolic faith beginning to slip.  Who were the “Nicolaitans”.   “They were seemingly a class of professing Christians, who sought to introduce…licentiousness…and were probably identical with those who held the doctrine of Baalam” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).  Nicholas was a trusted “brother in the Lord”, according to Acts 6.5, which gave him a following.  Ephesian Christians’ faith depended upon holding onto the Scripture (Romans 10.17, Ephesians 4.11-13), which they, apparently, were “abandoning” (NASB).   Nicholas’ followers were taking advantage of this opportunity.  Jesus warned of this in Matthew 24.12.  “Lawlessness” included sexual immorality, the systemic deception of satan; 2 Corinthians 4.3-4.  Count the number of “sex-assistance” ads you see and hear this week.  Who considers these?  Why?
  2. Smyrna: Revelation 2.8-11: sex would be in the ‘synagogue of satan’.
  3. Pergamum: Revelation 2.12-17: temptation of sex.
  4. Thyatira: Revelation 2.18-29: intrusion of sex.
  5. Sardis: Revelation 3.1-6: adulterous deeds evidencing “death”.
  6. Philadelphia: Revelation 3.7-13: homosexuality?
  7. Laodicea: Revelation 3.14-22: apostasy!  Like Solomon!

F. The Problem is Self-Control

  1. Not like Joseph (Genesis 39.9b) or Job (31.1).
  2. Why and how self-control last of the Fruit of the Spirit?
  3. Led by the Spirit; Galatians 5.22-25.
  4. How is self-control a function of Proverbs 4.23 and Hebrews 5.14?

G. The Real Question

  1. Luke 18.8b.
  2. How does sexual purity reflect faith?
  3. Likewise, why didn’t Daniel, S,M,A eat the king’s food?  How were they better thereafter?
  4. How to protect ‘faith’?

Praise God!!! Copyright by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com

February 14, 2016 Inheritance

Inheritance

Family businesses are interesting.  One owner that I counseled had his son work through all of the functional positions of his company before shipping him off to another state to learn from another company in the industry.  This is not uncommon and is a good way of preserving the best of the corporate culture, while exposing the next leader to innovative changes.  For a while, though, the son is ‘just another employee’ doing the same work as every other employee.  But, one day he will own the company!  Paul uses a similar discussion, in Galatians 4.1-7, to show the lengths to which God went to make us heirs of His kingdom.

1. Chosen

  1. This word does not indicate, as Calvinists believe, that some people are not chosen for salvation.  Jesus’ words state otherwise: Revelation 3.20, John 3.16-18, and John 6.47.
  2.  In Galatians 4.1-3, Paul describes my scenario.  The heir of minor age is no different from the family servant: both must serve within the culture established by the owner/father.  Neither can change it; only the Father can make necessary changes.
  3. Christians were just like any other people before they received the salvation that God had planned, as is discussed in the verses above from John and Revelation.  Paul identifies the source of ‘bondage’ in 2 Corinthians 4.3-4 as the ‘god of this world’.  Jesus discussed satan’s ‘veil’ in Matthew 13.18-22.  Notice how this thief keeps the covering over mankind’s eyes, continuing even today.  Secular-humanism is one ‘elementary’ philosophy by which some are bound.  Socialism is another, a means by which an ‘elite’ government or business extracts control over others to its will and wishes.  Paul criticized these in Colossians 2.8-10.
  4. The Mosaic Law was a good and purposeful ‘bondage’ to keep the exiting Hebrews and their later generations from adopting the aberrant ways of the peoples around them.  The Decalogue, also, revealed the righteous character of God to the people.  Although they were to emulate His character, the Decalogue only convinced them that they never could.  They would have to trust Him by faith for salvation and expectantly await the time when He would come to live among them in person, as His prophets foretold.  He expressed this plan early, in Exodus 25.8 and 29.45-46.

2. Time

  1. Paul gives the only rationale for the time of Jesus’ birth in Galatians 4.4: it was God’s choice!
  2. Why just then?  Perhaps it was time for the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies.  Perhaps it was time for the blood of the sinless One to atone for the sins that separated everyone from God.  Perhaps it was time to reestablish ‘truth’, as Jesus told Governor Pilate at His sentencing, in John 18.37.  Perhaps mankind had reached the limits of God’s tether, which they had exceeded before the Flood.  How close are we today?
  3. Why was it important for Paul to state in Galatians 4.4 that Jesus was ‘born of a woman’?  How does John 1.14 help our understanding?  What about John 10.1 together with John 3.4-7Romans 8.3-4Philippians 2.7-8Hebrews 2.14-15?
  4. How does Jesus’ response to the attorney’s leading question in Matthew 22.37-40 explain why Jesus was ‘born under the law’ in Galatians 4.4?  What is the relationship with ‘truth’?  Why did the attorney need to hear this answer?
  5. Notice the progressive sequence in Galatians 4.4-5: Jesus was born of woman (thereby not a spirit, as some said; see 1 John 4.1-3), born under the Law (thereby chosen by God; see Exodus 19.4-6), to redeem those under the Law (by mediating a superior covenant, that could give life [Galatians 3.21]; see Hebrews 12.18-24), so they/we would be adopted sons/heirs of God.

3. Gift

  1. What gifts does Galatians 4.6-7 state are ours because Jesus did this for us?
  2. Paul elaborates on the transition from slave to son in Ephesians 2.19-22, including what benefits?
  3. Why is the Holy Spirit such a great ‘gift’?  Read in John 14.26 what Jesus said He would do for us.  What more could we need in this life?  How is this El Shaddai to us?  How does this fulfill Jesus’ promise in Mark 10.29-30?
  4. Why is it important that the Holy Spirit cries ‘Abba!  Father!’?  How does Romans 8.26-27 help us to understand?  ‘Abba! Father!’ is only found in Mark 14.36, Romans 8.15, and Galatians 4.6.  ‘Father’ is simply the Greek equivalent of the word ‘Abba’.  “It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary).

4. Action

  1. God has made us His child and joint-heir with Jesus of all that He is and has; Romans 8.17 and 2 Peter 1.2-4.
  2. The Holy Spirit walks with us daily as our ‘very present Help’; John 14.26 and Psalm 46.1-3.
  3. This inheritance is what we were rescued for.  See 160103 Escape at www.sozoclass.com.
  4. Paul’s ministry was a rebuttal of the agendas of those whose philosophies imposed works atop or in place of faith in Jesus alone.  See 160110 Agenda at www.sozoclass.com and 160124 Rebuttal at www.sozoclass.com.
  5. We who accept John 14.6 have a rich inheritance!  Enjoy it now as an appetizer for the main course throughout eternity in Heaven!

Praise God!!!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016.  www.sozoclass.com.

January 24, 2016 Rebuttal

Rebuttal

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?  This rather simple question for Christians was answered with complexity on a recent podcast by a very learned man in a celebrated position.  His crowd had deduced that the chicken came first but was birthed by a different bird.  Huh?  So much for science without God!  However, this apology is somewhat like the confusing philosophy that Apostle Paul addressed in Galatians.

A. The Claim

  1. Paul had faced the issue of Christians being circumcised and following the law before, in Antioch.  He refers to this in Galatians 2.1-10; see Acts 15.1-4, also.  He had traveled with members of the opposition to Jerusalem to meet with James (not the brother of Apostle James, according to Acts 12.2, but half-brother of Jesus and head of the church; Acts 12.17, 15.13, 21.18), Apostle Peter, and Apostle John – the reputed pillars of the Christian ‘way’.  They supported the ‘revelation’ that Paul had from Jesus (Galatians 1.12) and sent Paul out to evangelize the Gentiles.  The Jerusalem Council had ruled that faith alone was sufficient.
  2. Paul, even, dressed down Peter for dissociating with Gentiles in Antioch when Jewish Christians arrived from James.  Paul accused him of being duplicitous in expressing his beliefs; see Galatians 2.11-16.  Perhaps, Peter had not fully accepted the change of behavior needed to ‘walk the talk’.  Is the sufficiency of faith in Jesus alone (John 14.6) fully settled in your mind? How do you know?  Are your works of service a cause (Church of Christ; Mormon Church) for your salvation or a result?  State Galatians 2.16-19 in your own words as an explanation.

B. Essence of the Rebuttal

  1. Does God act because of the Law (Decalogue + Mosaic additions from God) or because of faith?  This is Paul’s question in Galatians 3.5 (NASB): “So then, does He who provides you with the Spirit and works miracles among you, do it by the works of the Law, or by hearing with faith?”
  1. Who provides the Holy Spirit?  John 14.16-17.
  2. Who works miracles?  Genesis 34.10; Mark 16.15-20 (especially verse 20); 1 Corinthians 2.4-5, 12.9.
  3. God honors our ‘hearing with faith’.  Habakkuk 2.4; John 3.16-18; illustration in Numbers 21.8-9, a ‘look’ resulting from faith; but why did some not look?
  4. 4.     So, what place the ‘fleshly’ works of the Law?  Galatians 6.8, 5.16-24.
  5. More importantly, how was God’s promise to Abraham in Genesis 12.1-3 superior to God’s Decalogue to Moses in Exodus 20.1-17?
  6. In Galatians 3.6, Paul emphasized that Abraham’s faith in God’s promise distinguished him.  Thus, your faith makes you a descendant of Abraham, explaining your connection to the benefits of Genesis 17.7.  What does it mean to you that God is God to you?  Reflect upon Genesis 26.2-5; where do you fit in?  Does this explain Paul’s confident statements in Philippians 4.13, 18-19?  Are these your statements?
  7. Paul’s explanation of the relationship of the Law to the Promise reaches a climax in Galatians 3.21-22.  The Law only made people aware of their sin and separation from God, as Paul would later write in Romans 7.7-11.  As Paul emphasized: the Law could not give life!
  8. Paul nailed the point in Galatians 3.24-25: faith in Jesus displaced the Law’s tutoring!  The Law expressed the need for the ‘Seed’ (Galatians 3.16) of the promise to rescue (Galatians 1.4) from death! How do these arguments instruct you about confronting aberrant philosophies?
  1. Galatians 3.17-18 is Paul’s ‘chicken or egg’ comparison.  Who came first, Abraham or Moses? How are they related?

C. How do these arguments instruct you about confronting aberrant philosophies?

  1. Understand your own beliefs convincingly.  See Paul’s rationale in Galatians 2.18-21.  This understanding is his reference in 2 Corinthians 10.3-6 and what he means in Romans 12.2.
  2. Probe to understand the foundations of the opposing philosophies.  Paul did this with the philosophers at Mars Hill; see Acts 17.16-31.  How did he use their arguments as a beginning and emphases for his apology?
  3. Paul illustrated your answers to utopian (future), existential/secular-humanist (present), and traditional (past) philosophers in 1 Corinthians 11.26: “For as often (present) as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death (past) until He comes (future).”  (My parenthetical inserts.)
  4. Engage such discussions only when the Holy Spirit crosses your path with philosophers (Isaiah 55.5) and let Him speak the words they need to hear (Isaiah 30.21).  You are only the medium for sending the message from the Sender to the receiver…He has chosen.  He will make sure you accomplish His task.  Just obey!

Praise God!!!  Matthew 23.39!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016. www.sozoclass.com.

January 10, 2016 Agenda or Distinguishing Good From Evil

Agenda or Distinguishing Good From Evil

Proverbs 4.23 (NASB) calls us to active duty: “Watch over your heart with all diligence (“vigilance” in ESV; “above all else” in HCSB), For from it flow the springs of life.”  ‘Springs’ are the ‘outgoings of life’, according to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of Hebrew and Greek.  Jesus illustrated this when discussing sexual lust, in Matthew 5.27-28.  ‘Heart’ is “also used (figuratively) very widely for the feelings, the will and even the intellect.” (ibid)  King Solomon wrote this imperative amidst his instruction for his sons to walk through life with Godly wisdom.  In Proverbs 2.16-19, he warns against giving in to the adulteress’ seductive words and ways, thereby personalizing the purveyors of philosophies against God.  It is about such purveyors of Judaism that Apostle Paul warns Galatian Christians.  Why had they not been able to stay true to their faith;  John 14.6How can you recognize seducing philosophies?  We should heed his warning in 1 Corinthians 10.12: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall.” (Underscore is my emphasis.)

Galatians 1:5: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a  different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to  distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed.” ‘Distort’: Eve in Genesis 3.1-6.

3:3: “Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?”

4:8-11: “However at that time, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those which by nature are no gods.  But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God,  how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more? You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain.”  Think next new idea, criticism, lusts: Jeremiah 9.23, John 5.44, 1 John 2.15.

Romans 6:16: “Do you not know that when you present yourselves to someone as slaves for obedience, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness?”

Hebrews 5:12-14: “For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”  1 John 4.1-6.

Galatians 5:2, 4: “Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you…You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.”  2 Peter 3.17; Hebrews 12.15-17.

Galatians 1:14: “…I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my contemporaries among my countrymen, being more extremely zealous for my ancestral traditions.” Acts 22.3; Philippians 3.4-6.

Galatians 4:3: “So also we, while we were children, were held in bondage under the elemental things of the world.”  Acts 17.22-27.

Colossians 2:8: “See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.”  This is Paul’s restatement of what God said in Jeremiah 13.10.

Colossians 2:20-23: “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were  still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used —according to human precepts and teachings? These   have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism [think Lent season before Easter] and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” Similarly, Jesus condemned the practices of the Nicolaitans in Revelation 2.14-15.

Matthew 15:3: “And He answered and said to them, “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”  Verse 13-14: “But He answered and said, ‘Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.’”  Or Pit as in Isaiah 14.12-15?

Galatians 2:4: “But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage.”  2 Corinthians 2.11.

Galatians 4:17: “They eagerly seek you, not commendably, but they wish to shut you out so that you will seek them.”  Saul Alinsky’s Rule 12 Rules for Radicals: “Rule 5: ‘Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.’ There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.” “Rule 12: ‘Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.’ Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.”  (Retrieved from Google)

Galatians 6:12-13: “Those who desire to make a good showing in the flesh try to compel you to be circumcised, simply so that they will not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. For those who are   circumcised do not even keep the Law themselves, but they desire to have you circumcised so that they may boast in your flesh.”

Ephesians 4:13-14: “…until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of      God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ. As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind  doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming….”  1 Corinthians 1.22-25.

Matthew 7:15-17: “’Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.’”

Matthew 13:20-21: “’The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away.”  John 5.44.

Hebrews 10:38: “’But MY righteous one shall live by faith; And if he shrinks back, MY soul has no pleasure in him.’”

Galatians 2:18: “For if I rebuild what I have once destroyed, I prove myself to be a transgressor.”

Galatians 4:30: “But what does the Scripture say?  ‘Cast out the bondwoman and her son, For the son of the bondwoman shall not be an heir with the son of the free woman.’”  John 8.31-32. Compare & Contrast!

Galatians 6:9: “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.”

“We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own. Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.”~President Abraham Lincoln, 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation

Praise God!  Matthew 23.39!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2016.   www.sozoclass.com

 

Escape

Galatians was the Apostle Paul’s first book, written after he attended the Council of Jerusalem, about AD 50 (Galatians 2.1-2; Acts 15.1-2).  This Council was convened because of a dispute in Antioch regarding circumcision.  Paul wrote Galatians from Syria near the end of his first missionary journey, AD 45-49, and reflected on this experience as a proof that circumcision was not required for salvation.  Trivia: from Galatians 2.1, we understand that Jewish Saul met Jesus on Damascus Road in AD 35, about two years after Jesus’ resurrection, and was converted and commissioned (Acts 26.16-18).  He, then, took on the Greek name Paul because he was to proclaim the gospel to Gentiles.  Acts 26.18 states Jesus’ commission and theme for Paul’s ministry and much of his writing.  This is clearly seen in Galatians.

A. Escape

  1. 1.    Paul restated Jesus’ commission in his opening comments; thus, setting the theme of Galatians.
  2. Galatians 1.4 NASB: “who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.”  (My underline for emphasis.)
  3. Apostle Peter repeats this emphasis in 2 Peter 1.2-4, giving lust as a cause for the evil.  Apostle John gives the repeats the emphasis, expanding the cause to include pride, in 1 John 2.15-17.
  4. Personally, I believe we are living in the Great Tribulation because of John’s vision in Revelation 7.9 & 14.  I believe that we will be among this throng, having been called away as was John symbolically in Revelation 4.1-2.  Further, I believe 2 Peter 2.7-8 supports my position by commenting on the ‘torment’ of Lot’s soul daily observing Sodom’s homosexuality.
  5. All three apostles explain what Jesus said in John 16.33: Jesus overcomes trouble in this world!
  6. Jesus illustrated our present troubles in His Parable of the Sower in Matthew 13.18-22.  satan is relentless but can and must be overcome (Genesis 4.7, James 4.7, 1 John 5.4-5, Revelation 12.11).   Resist satan with the only testimony you need: Jesus!

B. Trapped

  1. In Acts 26.18, Paul quoted Jesus saying that people are trapped by satan in darkness.
  2. Darkness is the weight that keeps us from running our race of faith, as Paul wrote in Hebrews 12.1-2.
  3. It is un-renewed minds that keep us from offering our bodies as living sacrifices, as Paul wrote in Romans 12.1-2.
  4. It is our preference for fleshly behaviors, as Paul lists in Galatians 5.19-21 in contrast to verses 16-17 and 22-23.
  5. It is Paul’s explanation in Colossians 3.8 of Jesus’ warning in Matthew 6.23Acts 17.22-31.
  6. King Solomon warned his children about darkness in Proverbs 1.8-19.  Paul described similar darkness to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3.1-5.  Have you experienced or heard of such?

C. Liftoff

  1. “The escape velocity is the speed an object must be given to escape from the Earth; it is 11.3 km/sec or 25,300 mph.”  (P. W. Atkins. The Second Law.  New York: Scientific American, 1984: 138.)
  2. If Peter had only kept his eyes on Jesus, he could have escaped; Matthew 14.29!
  3. Galatians 1.3-4: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age….”
  4. Hebrews 3.13: “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today’, so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”  Paul’s greatest concern! Yours?
  5. Praise God!  2 John 1.2-4!  Copyright © Maurice L. Painter, 2016.  www.sozoclass.com

December 20, 2015 We have come to Worship the King!

We have come to Worship the King!

            What is the most important activity of your day?  Let me give you some hints: Psalm 100.1-5; Psalm 95.6-7, Psalm 34.3, Micah 4.2, John 4.24, and Luke 4.8.  And, why is this the most important activity of the day?  For me, the answers are found in 1 Corinthians 6.19-20, John 17.18, Acts 17.28, Jeremiah 1.5, Jeremiah  29.11, John 3.27, Jeremiah 7.23, and Jeremiah 9.24.  This activity leads to the continual presence of the Holy Spirit, which is important because of Romans 8.14 and John 14.26.  Plus, Hebrews 11.6 promises a great reward!

Worship should be a daily activity of drawing close to the Lord Who is our only hope for escaping the corruption that is in this world because of lust (2 Peter 1.4).  He has saved us to a hope that is certain and indestructible (1 Peter 1.23; Romans 8.24-25).

A. Symbols from the first worshippers.

  1. The Hosts of Heaven’s Armies saw Jesus first!  Luke 2.8-14 tells their story.
  2. The shepherds nearby were curious to see the reality of the angels’ story.  Luke 2.15-20 tells their story.  They symbolize the Jews looking for the prophesied Messiah, needing signs as Paul stated in 1 Corinthians 1.22.
  3. The wise men came a far distance to present incomparable gifts to the newborn King (of Kings!): gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  Matthew 2.9-11 tells their story.  They symbolize the Gentiles of Psalm 72.10-11 bringing Jesus the gifts of Isaiah 60.6 and Paul’s Greeks in 1 Corinthians 1.22.
  4. What do you suppose was the reaction of the residents of Bethlehem?
  5. So, we might say that the three general classifications of people came to visit Jesus; truly a King for all of the people…for whom He would shed His blood!  Some are brought by the appeal of the storyline.  Others are searching for answers to thoughtful questions.  Still others are curious about the actions of these.  What brought you to Jesus?

B. What is worship?

  1. Not duty, but desire!  Adoration, not subjugation.  Evidence of understanding God’s Lovingkindness (Jeremiah 9.24; John 1.17, 20.15-17).  Is this your ‘frankincense’ (Psalm 141.2; Malachi 1.11)?
  2. Acknowledgment of a gift!  Appreciation from understanding God’s Righteousness (Jeremiah 9.24; Hosea 14.9; 1 Corinthians 1.24).
  3. Statement of a preference!  Manifestation against satan through understanding God’s Justice (Jeremiah 9.24; John 1.18; Revelation 12.10-11).  Is this your ‘myrrh’ for embalming satan’s oppressions and depressions (John 19.39)?

C. Your proper gift.

  1. What is more priceless than gold?  Consider Proverbs 3.15 and 31.10-31 and Jeremiah 9.23.
  2. But, even if you could give these, are they what God counts in worship?  Consider 1 Samuel 15.22 and Hebrews 12.1-2.  For what were the churches in Macedonia renown?  See 2 Corinthians 8.1-5.
  3. What is your best gift in worship?  Romans 12.1-2.  What more could you ever give?
  4. Romans 11.33!
  5. John 4.24!

Praise God!!!  Matthew 23.39!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2015.  www.sozoclass.com

December 13, 2015 Announcing His Coming

Announcing His Coming

            The King is coming!  Announce that the Kingdom of God is at hand (Matthew 10.7-8)!  The Scriptures below record the pomp and ceremony of the coming of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

But, why would the King of Kings come to Earth?  Apostle Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 6.1-2, quoting Isaiah 49.8: “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”  He would illustrate this in 2 Corinthians 12.2-10, reflecting on his personal experience with the Jews which Luke discusses in Acts 13.13-14.22.  Paul reminds us of two important things in 2 Corinthians 6.1-2: God’s ‘grace’ is not an empty promise (reflect on Exodus 20.7); and God’s grace is defined as His word of promise and His willingness to use His great power to bring the promise you sincerely believe to reality for you!  Let this soak in before studying God’s help in your ‘day of salvation’.

A. Fire on the mountain.

  1. Exodus 19.16-20 tells of God the Father coming to the exiting Hebrews in their day of need.
  2. He had ‘listened’ to their cries and had ‘helped’ deliver them from Egyptian bondage; Exodus 3.7-10.
  3. At Mt. Sinai, the Hebrews needed to understand how God had already identified Himself to Moses, in Exodus 6.3: “I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the Lord I did not make myself known to them.”  Israel continues today to understand what ‘Lord’ means, even as He illustrated in Exodus 14.14 and 2 Chronicles 20.14-24.
  4. So, why did God the Father come to Mt. Sinai with trumpet blast and fire on the mountain?  To declare that He was with them to ‘listen’ and to ‘save’.  He still is LORD!  Philippians 2.9-11!

B. Fire on their heads.

  1. Acts 2.1-4 tells of God the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples and multi-national people in Jerusalem in the day of their need.
  2. God the Holy Spirit came as ‘a sound like a mighty rushing wind’ and, then, as ‘divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.’
  3. Jesus had described the Holy Spirit to Nicodemus in John 3.7-8.  Perhaps, Apostle Philip illustrated Jesus’ words, and those of Paul in Romans 8.14, as in Acts 8.29, 39-40.
  4. So, why did God the Holy Spirit come to Jerusalem’s multi-nationals with great sound and fire on their heads?  John 12.20-23 seems to be the trigger event for the expansion of the Gospel to the Gentiles through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  He would explain this to Apostle Peter in Acts 10.9-28: “’I should not call any person common or unclean.’”

C. Fire in their hearts.

  1. Luke 2.8-16 tells of God the Son coming to the Jews as King and Priest (Hebrews 7.1-3) to fulfill God’s plan for Israel to be a nation of priests (Exodus 19.5-6).  Jesus came to reveal God (John 1.18, 14.8-11).  Jesus came to save mankind (Matthew 1.20-21) from their sin (Romans 3.23) and its effects (Romans 6.23; 1 Corinthians 11.29-30).
  2. Angelic voices trumpeted His arrival; Luke 2.13-14!  The fire of His star focused upon His location; Matthew 2.1-6!
  3. Like Jeremiah (20.9), the fire of God within cannot be held back!
  4. Like Job (32.18-20), the pressure of God within must be released!
  5. Like David in Psalm 39.3, the burning fire within finds its outlet with the tongue!  Mary’s Magnificat in Luke 2.46-55 illustrates this; Elizabeth in Luke 2.41-45; and Miriam in Exodus 15.20-21!
  6. So, God the Son fulfilled the proclamations of God the Father about His coming to visit His people in Isaiah 7.14 and Isaiah 9.6-7Hebrews 2.14-15 narrows this to a personal intimacy for each believer.  We need this assurance!

D. Fire in our ears.

  1. In 1 Thessalonians 4.15-19, Paul wrote that there would be one final trumpet call on Earth. Believers will hear the trumpet and immediately join Jesus in the air!
  2. In 1 Corinthians 15.50-58, Paul wrote that our perishable bodies will instantly become imperishable and the mortality of death will be forever overcome!  All because of the grace of God the Father expressed by God the Son and affirmed by God the Holy Spirit.
  3. God, indeed, came to save His people – as Father in the Old Testament and as Son in the New.  The Holy Spirit continues the same power of salvation in our temporal lives and for eternity.
  4. The transforming fire of this message in believers’ ears must become the transforming fire in believers’ hearts giving voice to the certain judgment of God someday soon, a message similar to that of Paul in Acts 17.22-31.
  5. God has, indeed, fixed a day for men and women to stand before the Judge to report on the living of their lives on Earth for or against the name above all others, Jesus.  See Revelation 20.11-15 and Matthew 25.31-46 and John 6.47 (KJV).
  6. Our message is captured in the lyrics of the old hymn: “What will you do with Jesus?  Neutral you cannot be.  Someday your heart will be asking, ‘what will He do with me?’”  (What Will You Do With Jesus)
  7. Among the certainties is this: God IS a consuming fire!  Consider Deuteronomy 4.24!
  8. ‘This is our story; this is our song; praising our Savior all day long!’  (Lyrics to hymn: Blessed Assurance.)

Why has God shown up so dramatically?  So man could not miss Him; Exodus 34.10 and Romans 1.20!  How do each of these increase your understanding of God, as He pleads in Jeremiah 9.23-24?  How do you see Him exercising lovingkindness (Isaiah 40.11; Genesis 17.7), judgment (Isaiah 40.10; Acts 10.38; 1 John 3.8b), and righteousness (Hosea 14.9; Leviticus 20.26)?  In John 16.8-11, Jesus said this would be the continual work of the Holy Spirit.  Walk with Him; Isaiah 30.21 and Jeremiah 6.16!

As the Apostle Paul explains this in 2 Corinthians 6.1-2, quoting Isaiah 49.8: “In a favorable time I listened to you, and in a day of salvation I have helped you.”  You can count on it!

Praise God!!! Matthew 23.39!  Copyright © by Maurice L. Painter, 2015.  www.sozoclass.com

(All Scripture references are ESV, unless stated otherwise.)