Preach The Word!

The Apostle Paul to Timothy.

I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.  For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

II Timothy 4:1-8

…let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…

What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part II

2.  Biblical Leadership

A bishop then must be blameless (nothing to be laid hold of), the husband of one wife (a one woman man), vigilant (watchful), sober (self-controlled), of good behaviour (orderly), given to hospitality (loving strangers), apt to teach (skilled in teaching); Not given to wine (clear minded), no striker (peaceable), not greedy of filthy lucre (gain); but patient, not a brawler (contentious), not covetous (a lover of money);

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?  

Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil (Satan is the accuser of the brethren).  Moreover he must have a good report of them which are                     without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.                          I Timothy 3:2-7

  Definitions are from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, copyright 1984, 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc., Nashville, TN

What Constitutes a New Testament Church? Part I

                                            1.  Regenerate Membership

A New Testament Church is made up of Christians.  A Christian is an individual who has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit upon believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:5-7

The Greek word translated washing in Titus 3:5 is the word loutron which means bath or laver.  This word loutron is the same word used in Ephesians 5:26 by the apostle Paul when he states: that he (God) might sanctify and cleanse it (the church) with the washing of water by the word.  Loutron is used metaphorically of the Word of God, as the instrument of spiritual cleansing.*

The apostle Peter affirms this by declaring we are born again (to beget or bring forth again; to regenerate), not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.   I Peter 1:23

Palingenesia is the Greek word for regeneration in Titus 3:5.  This word is made up of two Greek words: palin which means again and genesis which means birth.*  Does born again sound familiar?

Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born?  Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water (i.e. by the word, Ephesians 5:26/I Peter 1:23) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.  John 3:3-5

Are you regenerate?  Have you been born again?

Note: The writer of Hebrews describes the Word of God as quick which means it is living.

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

Further Note: What is the meaning of the word church?  

Ekklesia is the Greek word for church; ek meaning out of and klesis meaning to call.  In the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the OT,  this word was used to designate a gathering  of Israel for any definite purpose.  In Christian usage ekklesia refers to either the whole company of the redeemed or to a local assembly of believers.  Simply put, the word for church means the assembly of called out ones.* 

The church is made up of those who have been washed by God from their sins.  As such, the church is unable to wash anyone else since it is made up of those who needed washing themselves.  Only God can wash or regenerate through His Word and by His Spirit. 

The candidate for washing is one who is capable of believing in God’s provision for his sin through the substitutionary death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and who is capable of realizing his own need of forgiveness.

*W.E. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words

….let the word of Christ dwell in you richly….

 

 

 

Christ Jesus – Man of Sorrows

C. H. Spurgeon writes: How completely it takes the bitterness out of grief to know that it once was suffered by Him.

The Macedonian soldiers, it is said, made long forced marches which seemed to be beyond the power of mortal endurance, but the reason for their untiring energy lay in Alexander’s (The Great) presence.  He was accustomed to walk with them, and bear the like fatigue.  If the king himself had been carried like a Persian monarch in a palanquin*, in the midst of easy, luxurious state, the soldiers would soon have grown tired; but, when they looked upon the king of men himself, hungering when they hungered, thirsting when they thirsted, often putting aside the cup of water offered to him, and passing it to a fellow-soldier who looked more faint than himself, they could not dream of repining. Why, every Macedonian felt that he could endure any fatigue if Alexander could.

This day, assuredly, we can bear poverty, slander, contempt, or bodily pain, or death itself, because Jesus Christ our Lord has borne it.  By his humiliation it shall become pleasure to be abased for His sake, by the spittle that distilled on his cheeks it shall become a fair thing to be made a mockery for him.  By the buffeting and the blindfolding it shall become an honor to be disgraced.  And by the cross it shall become life itself to surrender life for the sake of such a cause and so precious a Master!

May the man of sorrows now appear to us, and enable us to bear our sorrows cheerfully.  If there be consolation anywhere, surely it is to be found in the delightful presence of the Crucified… 

Taken from a sermon preached by Charles Haddon Spurgeon in March 1873.  From the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, 63 vols.  London: (Passmore & Alabaster, 1873), 19:121-32.

*Palanquin – An east Asian covered litter carried on poles on the shoulders  of two or four men.  American Heritage Dictionary, copyright 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975 by American Heritage Publishing Co.

He Lifted Me

In loving-kindness Jesus came,
My soul in mercy to reclaim,
And from the depths of sin and shame
Through grace He lifted me.

Refrain:
From sinking sand He lifted me,
With tender hand He lifted me;
From shades of night to plains of light,
Oh, praise His Name, He lifted me!

He called me long before I heard,
Before my sinful heart was stirred,
But when I took Him at His word,
Forgiv’n, He lifted me.  [Refrain]

His brow was pierced with many a thorn,
His hands by cruel nails were torn,
When from my guilt and grief, forlorn,
In love He lifted me.  [Refrain]

Now on a higher plane I dwell,
And with my soul I know ’tis well;
Yet how or why, I cannot tell,
He should have lifted me.  [Refrain]

Charles H. Gabriel, Pub.1905

For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.  But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  Titus 3:3-7

Have You Been Born Again?

He who is born once, dies twice.

He who is born twice, dies once.

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.                        Revelation 20:6

Jesus answered and said unto him (Nicodemus), Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.  John 3:3

The Life of the Heart

My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: Proverbs 3:1

O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and with their children forever! Deuteronomy 5:29

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23

Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee. Psalm 119:11

……...let the word of Christ dwell in you richly……..

Speaking in Tongues – Part III or Love and the Gifts

In Part I & II of my blog article entitled Speaking in Tongues we established from the Scriptures some important teachings about speaking in tongues.  Let’s review them before we continue. 

The sign gift of tongues is introduced in the book of Acts.  This gift  is presented as the ability to speak another language without ever having learned it.  We learned from the apostle Paul that whenever the gift of tongues was exercised, unbelieving Jews were present.  We learned from Paul’s quote in Isaiah 28, that the gift of tongues was a sign of coming judgment to the unbelieving Jew.  We learned through Paul’s teachings that not all (some) received the gift of tongues, but that all Christians are baptized into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit upon believing.  Therefore, tongues cannot be the manifestation of the baptism of the Holy Spirit as established church practice.  We also mentioned the relatively small number of times the gift of tongues is referred to in Scripture.  The majority of those references consist of Paul’s instructions to the Corinthians who were abusing the gift.

As we consider the people to whom Paul was writing we need to remind ourselves that the Corinthians were Christians.  They had all the gifts, but the Corinthians were spiritually immature.  Their immaturity is reflected in their self-centeredness.  These gifts were not being used to edify others but rather to edify themselves.

The Corinthians had many problems which manifested their spiritual immaturity:  jealousy and pride concerning each other’s spiritual gifts; misuse of their spiritual gifts; disunity in the body and sexual immorality; a lack of church discipline; gluttony and drunkeness at the Lord’s table; going to court against one another; and doctrinal issues.

The Apostle Paul inserted the love chapter into his teaching on the gifts between I Corinthians chapters 12 and 14.  Paul inserted the instructions on love because biblical love is what makes it all work.    Biblical love is the remedy for self-centeredness.  

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.  And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not love, it profiteth me nothing.

Love suffereth long, and is kind; love envieth not; love vaunteth not itself,  love is not puffed up, love doth not behave itself unseemly, love seeketh not its own, love is not easily provoked, love thinketh no evil;

Love rejoiceth not in iniquity, but love rejoiceth in the truth; love beareth all things, love believeth all things, love hopeth all things, love endureth all things.

Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Follow after love,……..I Corinthians 13:1 – 14:1a

  • Love is a choice, not a feeling.
  • Biblical love is about right relationships.  Our vertical relationship with God first and then our horizontal relationships with one another.  
  • Biblical love is not toleration of sin.  Scripture says that if a parent does not discipline his/her child then the parent does not love his/her child.  The same can be said of the church concerning discipline of members of the body of Christ according to Matthew 18.  No discipline equals no love.  For whom the LORD loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth.  Proverbs 3:12  (We must remind ourselves that the goal of discipline is restoration.)
  • While unbelievers cannot be expected to behave as believers, it is not considered unloving to stand up for what is right and to uphold as a society the clear commands of Scripture (not necessarily one’s personal convictions*), as the highest moral standard so long as it is done with a right spirit.
  • By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35
  • By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments. I John 5:2  
  • Biblical love does not have to like someone in order to love them.   We are to love our enemies.                    
  • The goal of biblical love is to attain the highest good for the object of its affection.  
  • Biblical love focuses on what is best for others, not on self.
  • God is love.

  *It is important to distinguish between clear commands of Scripture and personal convictions.  Personal convictions are standards that we acquire to ourselves based on implied teachings or what we individually consider to be biblical principle.  These often vary from believer to believer and therefore should be used to judge ourselves and not one another.

Progress in the Christian Life

Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him. Without meaning to do it we have written our serious fault into our book titles and gospel songs.  A little talk with Jesus, we sing, and call our books God’s Minute, or something else as revealing. The Christian who is satisfied to give God His minute and to have a little talk with Jesus is the same one who shows up at the evangelistic service weeping over his retarded spiritual growth and begging the evangelist to show him the way out of his difficulty.

A.W. Tozer