#241 – What in the World is Happening in Prophecy

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WHAT IN THE WORLD IS HAPPENING IN PROPHECY?

2 Tim. 3:1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”

The first thing we will look at in this passage is to,

IDENTIFYING PERILOUS TIMES

The word  “know” is the translation of a word that means to come to know. It is a present imperative verb. Paul is saying that one needs to come to know right now. The imperative mood is a command  expressing  urgency. We can know something of the times in which we live because God has revealed them to us.

Frankly, what modern man sees as perilous, does not harmonize with Scripture. Paul identifies perilous times. He says when “men shall be lovers of their own selves,” times will be perilous.  There are all kinds of self-help books designed to make man think more of himself. The fact is Christianity sees man as an utter failure. The Christian answer to man’s utter failure is Christ. Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

The secret is the life which I now live is “Christ living in me.” It is not just Christ in me, but what is He doing in me. Is He in control? Have I lost control? No, I have simply learned that I am wrong and He is right and I voluntarily relinquish all to His lordship.

The word “covetous” means a very strong craving for money and possessions. How would we apply this definition to people in the USA? I am afraid the word covetous is probably the most descriptive word in the English language. We can’t get enough. The more we get the more we want. How many people do you know that are completely satisfied with what they have? I’m not saying that all are covetous, but if we really face the facts, more are than we want to admit. It  comes so close to us that speaking on the subject  makes us a little uncomfortable.

The word “boasters” means “an empty pretender.” The word “proud” means “showing one’s self above others, outdoing others, conspicuous above others, pre eminent.” This is an ego wrapped in skin. This is seen many times in Christian movements. There is  a struggle for power. Next Paul says, “disobedient to parents.” How many times have I seen children who were disobedient to their parents and were offended that their parents did not give them everything they desired. Then there are those who become violent when a godly parents make rules and enforce them in an attempt to get their children to live a good moral life. The children are violently opposed to any attempt of the parents to correct their prodigal life-style.

The word “blasphemers” means, “speaking evil, slanderous, reproachful, railing, abusive.”  The word blasphemy describes a person who degrades others  without respect for those of whom they speak.  One hears God’s name used  continually by man as a by-word. Man has no respect for God. Then the world is ready to attack those who have a true belief in God. Paul says when we see these things perilous times have arrived.

Then Paul includes the word “unthankful.” This is a person who has no appreciation for things done for him. Then he adds “unholy.” The word unholy means, “wicked, impious.” This person cannot be reasoned with by the use of Scriptures. An unholy person is not open to holiness. Holiness comes about through a submission to the Scriptures. Holiness is a development in the life of one who recognizes the authority of the Bible.

Next, “ Without natural affection.” This is a reference to an affection that even unsaved members of the human race would normally have. An illustration of this is the many babies who have been discarded in garbage dumps because the mother’s do not want them. We must also point out the fact that the USA is financing the killing of the unborn. This is a blatant disregard for human life. This is not natural. Natural affections are set aside.

Then there are “trucebreakers.”  This is a person who cannot be trusted to keep his promises. You would not want to get involved with this person in money matters. He will not keep his word. You may get his name on the line but that line makes no difference to him. When it hurts, he quits. He thinks nothing of breaking his word.

The words “false accusers” means, “one who is prone to slander, slanderous, accusing falsely.” Gill comments: “False accusers; or devils, being like Satan, the accuser of the brethren, charging all that depart from their communion with schism and heresy.”

The word “ incontinent” means without self control or intemperate.” An incontinent person would be one who would be a sex killer. He gets what he wants and then kills the victim in an attempt to do away with the evidence. An incontinent person would be a slave to pornography. A incontinent person would probably be one that would never be true to his marriage vows. Paul is saying this sin would characterize the populace at the end of the age.

The word fierce describes a person who, at the least provocation, is ready to fight or destroy anyone he considers an opponent. The fierce person is not controlled by reason. He is out of control and ready to rule by force and fear.

Next Paul says, “despisers of those that are good.”   Paul says we are living in perilous times when men despise the good. They do not want good. They are evil. We have heard our President use the word evil in describing the terrorist. He is right. We are living in dangerous times when men have no use for the good. They feed off evil and rejoice in wickedness.

The word “Traitors” refers to an untrustworthy person. You can’t trust them. They will stab you in the back.

The word “heady” is the classic egocentric person. His head is blown up on pride. He is an air-head. This person is reckless.

The word “highminded” means to raise a smoke, to wrap in a mist.”  These words are close in defining. Paul is anticipating the whole scene and stopping every leak.

Then he really hits where it hurts when he says, “lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” What Paul is writing is by inspiration of God. God knows the end from the beginning. This is the reason Paul writes from a standpoint of acute accuracy. This is a verb. It is a perfect passive participle. The perfect tense is completed action in the pass, that completed action having present results. The passive voice is where the subject is acted upon. In this case pleasure makes a play for man’s affection and wins out.

Then Paul speaks of “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” The idea is a powerless Christianity. They have the form but are without the fire. There is an awesome absence of power in the life of present Christianity. Paul says to separate ourselves from those who are described in this manner.

A GREAT MOTIVATION TO SOUL WINNING

We have to ask ourselves, what are we to do in the midst of all this? It is very obvious that Paul is describing a condition that will exist prior to the coming of Christ in the rapture.

One might say, “it is hopeless. These are too far gone to be saved.” God’s grace is greater that all sin. Romans 5:20 21 says, “Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:  That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Sometimes we forget where we were when God found us. We forget how patient and longsuffering God has been to us. God still loves the world. The gospel is still to be preached in all nations. Paul says in Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”

As believers, if we take a fatalistic view towards the lost, we will lose our power to win them to Christ. Then the issue is not that the sinner has gone too far, but the saint has lost his power through unbelief.

We can look up for our redemption draws nigh. Let’s not wait in unbelief, believing the sinners of our day are too hard for God to save, but wait with expectant faith and preach the gospel with the same confidence that Paul had.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#240 – The Unction and Anointing of the Holy Spirit

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THE UNCTION AND THE ANOINTING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

1 John 2:20, 27 “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things . . . But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

A lot will be left unsaid about this subject because of the nature of the meditations. I would like to look at these statements contextually, expositorily, and then make a brief application.

FIRST LET’S LOOK AT THESE WORDS CONTEXTUALLY

John is combating error as he writes to believers (2:12-14; 5:13). The particular error that John was dealing with in this epistle was Gnosticism. Without going into it historically we know they denied that Jesus literally came in the flesh. They did not believe in the virgin birth, i.e., that Jesus is literally God manifest in the flesh (2 Cor. 5:19). John was concerned that these believers not be carried off with this error. In fact, he teaches that those who bought in to this lie, were never true disciples to begin with. This is what he is teaching in chapter 2 verse 19: “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.” This is a strong statement. But it is exactly what the Holy Spirit taught John to write for our benefit.

What this is not teaching. This verse is not teaching that a person is unsaved when they disagree with a pastor over some issue that has nothing to do with the gospel, and leave and join another church where the gospel is also being preached. I am not indorsing a person leaving a church, where God has placed them, over minor issues. That should not happen.

What then is this verse teaching? It is teaching that when a person is truly saved it is because he has believed the true gospel. The true gospel is faith in who the Bible says Jesus is which includes His virgin birth, i.e., the incarnation. It is faith in His substitutionary atonement, i.e., that God accepted His death in our place and counts it as our payment of the penalty of sin. It is faith in His literal resurrection and ascension into heaven. The Gnostics denied this. When those of whom John speaks followed these Gnostics who were denying the very sum and substance of the gospel they claimed to believe, John said, “They went out from us, but they were not of us.” John says they were never saved to start with.

How would this apply today? It applies when a cult that does not believe that Jesus is God incarnate in the flesh, died a substitutionary death for us, was raise gloriously from the dead and is now the One Mediator between God and man (1 Tim 2:5), solicits a person who CLAIMS TO BELIEVE the true gospel, and he withdraws from an assembly that preaches that truth, to follow the cult that denies that truth. John says if you are saved, you will not do that, that it would be an indication that you were never saved to begin with.

LET’S LOOK AT THE WORDS EXPOSITORILY

John says, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.” The word “But” is a conjunction connecting his statement with those remaining with the assembly that believed that “Jesus is come in the flesh.” (2:22-23; 4:2-3). The words “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and know all things” is given as a reason that the ones remaining did not follow the Gnostics and their teachings. The word “ye” is in the Greek text and emphasizes the plural “you.” Normally the personal pronouns are attached to the verb as endings as it is in this case. But when a special emphasis is being made on the personal pronoun, it is added. It is added here and has the effect of showing the difference between those remaining and those who left. The verb “have” translates “echo” and means, “to have, i.e. to hold, to have (hold) in the hand, in the sense of wearing.” It is present tense and means that they continually have in the present “an unction.” The word “unction” translates “chrisma” and means, “anything smeared on, unguent, ointment, usually prepared by the Hebrews from oil and aromatic herbs. Anointing was the inaugural ceremony for priests.” This unction is clearly meant to mean that all believers have it and that it is received from the “Holy One.” This could apply to any one of the trinity. The result of receiving the anointing from the Holy One is stated in the words, “and ye know all things.” “Ye know” translates “eido” and mean, “to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses.” It is a perfect active indicative verb. The perfect tense is completed action in the past that completed action having present results. This means John is saying that the KNOWING of which he speaks has been learned by them in the past and they continue to know it in the present. The words “all things” have to be limited to the immediate truths and the related truths of which he speaks. He is not saying that one does not need to be taught by God called and ordained preachers and teachers of the Word or else he would not be writing the present epistle at the time.

Then verse 27 says, “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”

The word “anointing” translates “chrisma” the same word with the same definition as the word “unction” in verse 20. The pronoun “ye” is emphasized making a difference between the true believers in the Bible Jesus and ones, who do not allow for Jesus being God incarnate in the flesh. The  words “have received” translates “lambano” meaning, “to take with the hand, lay hold of.” It is an aorist active indicative verb and refers to a once-for-all act at a point of time in the past, i.e., when they were saved. The words “of him” identify the source from which the anointing came. The word “abideth” translates “meno” and means, “to remain, to abide.” The same word is translated “remaining” in John 1:33: “And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and REMAINING on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.” (Caps mine for emphasis). The anointing is the Holy Spirit that indwells every believer (Rom. 8:9; Eph. 4:30) and will until the day of redemption, i.e, the rapture or resurrection.

The words “and ye need not that any man teach you” is to be applied to the immediate context or else there would be no need for the Bible and those God-called men and women who teach it. What he is saying is that the reason that the true believers in that assembly have not fallen for the false teachings of the Gnostics is because the anointing that abides in them has caused them to see the heresy of the teaching and has convicted them not to receive it. They had the truth that they had received when they saved, and the Holy Spirit that he sealed their salvation, to compare to the heresy of the Gnostics. The Anointing helped them make a right analysis of the heresy in the light of what they had believed to be saved.

He goes on to say that the “anointing” continues to teach you “all things” with reference to Jesus, who He is, and what He came to do. This Anointing “is truth” and therefore what He teaches is truth. God the Holy Spirit is not capable of lying. John is simply helping them to understand what the Holy Spirit is doing in them in revealing heresy when it is being taught. The words “ye shall abide in him” is an exhortation to stay with the truth that they had been taught and continue to be taught as the “anointing” confirms the truth of Jesus, that He did come in the flesh, that He did die and was raised again, and is our one and only Advocate (2:1) with the Father.

THE APPLICATION TO US

Every true believer (because there are those who claim to believe but deny the very truth of the gospel), has the SAME anointing of which John speaks. It is received when we are saved (Eph. 1:13-14). The “Anointing” will teach us not to follow those of our day who explain away the virgin birth, the sinless life, the substitutionary atonement, the literal resurrection, and His present session. We must recognize that these “are not of us.” They never have been. They are not true believers gone wrong. They depart from the “faith” which was “once (once-for-all) delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3) because they have never believed the true gospel of Christ.

We need to do what Paul says to the Church at Corinth in 2 Cor. 13:5: “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” The words “Jesus Christ is in you” are the same as the “Unction” and the “Anointing” of our text. See Rom. 8:9. What if one does not have the “Unction,” the “Anointing,” “Christ in you?” Paul says he is a “reprobate.” The word “reprobate” translates “adokimos” and means, “not standing the test, not approved.” Paul is saying that Christ in you is the test of true salvation. If you want to know if you are saved, “Examine yourselves.” What are you looking for in this examination? You look within for Christ. If He is there, you are saved. If He is not, you are not saved, i.e., reprobates not standing the test, and the test is Christ within. You say, “Preacher, if I look within, how do I recognize Him? How will I know that it is really Jesus?” You’ll know (Rom. 8:16).

These two verses of our text are especially helpful in this day of apostasy when those who once supported churches that believe the gospel are departing and going into cults that do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. I mean, if the Jesus you believe in was not virgin born, you do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. I mean, if the Jesus you believe in IS NOT GOD MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH, you do not believe in the BIBLE JESUS. You can say you believe in Jesus all you want to, but if you do not accept what the BIBLE says about Him, you have created another Jesus to believe in. It is not the BIBLE JESUS. The BIBLE JESUS was raised on the third day literally, and proved it by showing the scars of the nails in his hands and the scar in His side (Read John 20:24-29). If the Jesus you believe in did not have a literal resurrection, you have created a Jesus to believe in that is very different than the One presented in Scripture, and your Jesus can’t save. The BIBLE JESUS is the ONE AND ONLY SAVIOUR, THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE (John 14:6; Acts 4:12).

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#239 – Filled With The Spirit

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FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT

John 7:37 39 “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)”

There is no doctrine that is more sorely misused that the doctrine of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  Then I must go on to say that there is no truth more sought after than the filling.  Then looking a little further, there is no truth more abused than the truth of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  There have been in recent days the profession of revival where the Holy Spirit invades a congregation and He is recognized by speaking languages that no one understands, being slain in the spirit, and crawling around on the floor barking like a dog.  Then there are those who have what they call a laughing revival.  They just begin to laugh and the whole congregation are laughing uncontrollably.  This is not of God you can be sure.  Let me make a few remarks that will help us understand the real work of the Holy Spirit.

ONE WHO IS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT IS FULL OF FAITH

Because of this the unsaved will be convicted just by being around the one filled with the Spirit.  Jesus said when speaking of the Holy Spirit in John 16:7 11, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  Of sin, because they believe not on me;  Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.”

I tell missionaries when you go to some far off field in order to preach the gospel, you will find that the Holy Spirit beat you there.  I understand that it is not enough for one to be saved to be convicted by the Holy Spirit, but without this work of the Spirit, the gospel preached will fall on heathen ears and be outright rejected.  Jesus said, “No man can come to me except the Father that sent me draw him.” One who is filled with the Spirit will be full of faith.  He knows he is sent and He knows God is with him in the preaching of the Word.  Being full of faith is a must.

ONE WHO IS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT WILL BE FULL OF THE TRUTH IN TESTIMONY

After Pentecost what was the subject matter of the Apostles preaching?  It was a clearly defined message of the gospel.  On the day of Pentecost Peter preached the Word and 3,000 souls were saved and baptized into the fellowship of the Church.  The way Luke puts it Acts 2:41, “Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

One of the first indications that a person has been truly saved is that he wants his family and friends to hear the gospel and be saved.

ONE WHO IS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT IS FULL OF POWER

“I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me; and I say to this man, ‘Go,’ and he goeth, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he cometh.’” The reason why the centurion had power to command the soldiers under him, was, that he was under the power of Rome, and hence he had all its power at his back.  If he failed to recognize his position and his responsibility to Rome, those under him would not recognize him.  Thus, as we are under the authority of Heaven, we have authority, and we have no power, save as we recognize the power of God.

“Paul’s might lay, not in enticing words of man’s wisdom but in “demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor.  2:4).  Many pray earnestly for power, in, and with their work, and receive it not, because they do not accept the only position in which the power can work.  We want to get possession of the Power, and use it.  God wants the power to get possession of us, and use us.  If we give up ourselves to the Power to rule in us, the Power will give itself to us to rule through us.” — F.E. Marsh

ONE WHO IS FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT WILL CONTINUALLY FEEL THE NEED OF THE SPIRIT

We continually need the Holy Spirit, to have fellowship with the Lord, by His Word, in service.  It is only as we meditate on the Word that we are healthy in life, wealthy in experience, and helpful to others.  I have heard it said many times, “I just want to be a blessing.” The fact is we cannot be a blessing to others.  For others to be blessed we must be blessed of the Lord.  Therefore we do not study that others will know, we study that we may know.  And as we come into the Lord’s presence, and are filled with His Spirit, others will be blessed.  So we recognize a need to be continually filled with the Spirit.

“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” This is personal revival.  We are not the water that refreshes, we are the channel through which the water comes to refresh others.  We only bless others by being blessed.  It is God who furnishes an unending stream through His Spirit filled child to give others what they need.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#238 – A Dying Christian’s Testimony

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A DYING CHRISTIAN’S TESTIMONY

2 Timothy 4:6 8 “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.”

Paul gives a great testimony as he waited martyrdom.  Paul is the one that said, “To depart and be with Christ is far better.” The saints of God today can trust this testimony and assure their hearts at the time of death.

THE READINESS OF THE CHRISTIAN FOR DEATH

Paul is quite clear on this.  Most of us will say, “I’m not ready.” It is almost like one wants to die.  Notice the words, “I am now ready to be offered.” The “now” is a faithful testimony that the New Birth and obedience to the faith has assured him.

Jesus said in  John 11:25 26, “Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:  And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?”

There was a Christian Science teacher speaking at the funeral of one of their congregation’s members.  He explained that this man was not dead.  He just thinks he is dead.  One old farm boy punched his friend and said, “He may not be dead, but I looked at him before the service, and I just about as soon to be dead as be in his shape!

The death of the body is certain.  Jesus is not saying that death will not come to the physical body.  What He does say is that the believer will never die.  We are not our bodies.  The inner man of the Christian has eternal life and is not subject to death.

Paul was ready and gave testimony to that fact.

THE READINESS CAME AS A RESULT OF FAITHFULNESS

1.    He had been a good soldier; He says in verse 7, “I have fought a good fight.” The Christian life is a fight.  But the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds” (2 Cor.  10:4).

2.    As a runner in the games he says, “I have finished my course.” Everyone  of us has a course to run.  It will be great if we are able to say with Paul, “I have finished my course.”

3.    Next he says, “I have kept the faith.” He never departed from preaching the gospel.  He warned in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” The heretics did not warm up to Paul.  He would take them on and reveal their heresy on the spot.  Paul’s readiness came as a result of faithfulness.

THE READINESS CAME AS A RESULT OF INWARD PEACE

1.    Paul’s testimony did not have in it a whining spirit.  He did not accuse his accusers.  He knew what he was facing.  It would not be long until his head would roll.  Did that bother him?  He said, “I am now ready to be offered.” His martyrdom was an offering to the Lord.  He knew that death was not the end but a blessed beginning with the Lord never to be separated again.

2.    Our readiness does not consist in the amount of good works we may have done, or the number of years we have lived, but in that “quietness and confidence” in Jesus Christ which brings the strength of His prevailing peace into the heart, and that calmly whispers: “Father, not my will, but Thine be done.  Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord.  Into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

3.    A Scotsman lay dying in a country home, while a snow storm was on.  His daughter said: “Father I will read to you.” He answered: “Na, my lassie, don’t trouble.  I thatched my house in calm weather.”

THE READINESS TO ENTER A BLISSFUL FUTURE

Verse 8 says, “Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord will give me.” The crown of righteousness is the reward that those will get who have lived faithfully and waited patiently for the Lord’s return.

2 Corinthians 5:1 2, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:”

2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#237 – Four Scriptural Guidelines for Living

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FOUR SCRIPTURAL GUIDELINES FOR LIVING

Col.  3:15-17 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

Paul calls attention to four important guideline to use in our walk with the Lord.

THE PEACE OF GOD ACTING AS UMPIRE

Colossians 3:15 says, “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

The word translated peace is “eirene” and when used of Christianity it refers to  the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is.”

The words “let rule” translate “brabeuo” and means, “to be an umpire.” It is a present tense verb and refers to present action, it is active voice which means they are to do this of their own volition and the imperative mood is a command expressing urgency.

Serving the Lord is the Christians primary purpose in this life.  If, when we go about our duties as believers, we begin to feel uneasy, it is time to examine what we are doing.  Peace within is the umpire calling the moves.  When we let the peace of God rule, we take immediate action, and yield to the Holy Spirit Who brings the peace of God back into our daily lives.  Next,

THE WORD OF GOD DWELLING AND CONTROLLING THE LIFE

Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

The words, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom,” is another imperative command.  It is urgent that the Christian not act outside the guidelines that we find here.  The “word of Christ” refers to the Scriptures.  He speaks to us through His Word.  The word “richly” means “abundantly.” The believer is not to work on his own.  Paul gives specific guidance in this verse.  The words, “in all wisdom,” are referring to the proper use of the Scriptures.  It is not uncommon for one to be in a service where a text is read by the speaker and what follows is a message totally removed from the text.  That is frustrating and a very little good is accomplished as far as the spiritual use of the Scriptures.

The intimate acquaintance with the Scriptures is necessary.  We can memorize the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit can reach into our memory-bank and pull out what we need.  Christians who seldom read their Bibles are left in a state of confusion because of their neglect.  Next,

PRAISE IS T0 BE THE CONSTANT EXPERIENCE OF HIS LIFE WITHIN

Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” When we live from the inside out, it will not be difficult for us to praise Him in all things. Religion goes from the outside in.  Christianity is lived from the inside out.  Praise is a great river flowing from the depths of one’s soul and is a ministry not only to the one doing it but also to others.  The Word of Christ, and the ministry of song, is something the regenerated life feeds on.  It is able to bring us out of depression and crown us with the gladness of God.  Next,

EVERY WORD AND ACT IS TO BE DONE IN THE NAME OF JESUS

Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

We are sent into all the world with the saving gospel of Christ.  It is not our invention.  “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” The reason for this is found in the words of the next verse, “For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

If we cannot sign the name of Jesus to the end of our words or actions we fail to be the conduit from our Saviour to the unsaved.

May the Lord bless our hearts with these words.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#236 – We Learn from the Wise Men

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WE LEARN FROM THE WISE MEN

Matt. 2:1-2 “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”

Matthew begins to describe what happened after the birth of Jesus. He was not welcomed by Israel as a nation. Herod, when he heard of the birth of Christ, killed all the children that might qualify to be the One born King. Herod would not tolerate anyone or anything that might eventually be a threat to his position as king. He is a good type of the flesh that struggles against the Spirit and will do anything to prevent the reign of the Spirit in the believer’s life.

If the nation of Israel will not welcome Christ, God will bring wise men from another country to do so. The word “wise” translates “magos” and means, according to Strong: “a magus, the name given by the Babylonians (Chaldeans), Medes, Persians, and others, to the wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, seers, interpreters of dreams, augers, soothsayers, sorcerers etc.” These men were called wise men because the fact that they fit into the general category of people who were identified by this name. These men were either Jews who were carried away in the dispersion by Nebuchadnezzar, the children of those who were taken into captivity, or, converted to the Jewish faith through the influence of those taken captive. They were not “soothsayers” of demonic origin. These men came to “see for themselves” and to “worship him.” How did this all come about?

First, they had the Scriptures. The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament shows His handiwork. But the stars do not tell you when Christ is going to be born. These men were students of the Scriptures that were available to them at that time. Numbers 24:17 says, “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.” These wise men were wise in Scripture. God had given them insight into the truth of this prophecy.

They did not only have the Scriptures, they had the star. The wise men’s explanation of how they came to come to the Land of Israel at this time is, “ . . . we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” They were not trying to keep secrets. They boldly declared “we have seen his star in the east.” They confessed “we were looking for HIS star.” There is no other way these wise men could have known except Numbers 24:17. This was not a normal star. It amazes me how those who claim to believe the Bible fall for this idea that this was a star up in the heavens located over Bethlehem. Have you ever noticed how that you can look up into the heavens and see a star right above you and then drive down the road one hundred miles and get out and look up and it is still right above you? This star came low enough to guide them to the very door of the house where Jesus was. Was there no one in the Land who knew this prophecy? Probably not anyone who would worship Him. So God brought these wise men to worship Him. They had the Scriptures and the star.

They also had satisfaction. They found the Christ. Born in a stable, He is now in a house. Verse 11 says, “And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother . . .” These were men of faith. They would have never taken this long journey unless they had believed the Scripture and had seen HIS STAR in the east, i.e., the star appeared to them in the east where ever that was. These men were satisfied that they had found the fulfillment of the prophecy they were studying when they looked upon Jesus. They worshiped Him.

I believe that God’s revelations are found in the Scripture. This is where He begins with us. Then He illuminates and shows us what the revelation means and how it is applied. This “word of knowledge” business does not come out of the air, it comes off the PAGE! And what you hear from the Holy Spirit about the meaning, will NEVER contradict that passage or any other passage in the Bible. God does not contradict Himself.

There are some reasons the wise men rejoiced: verse 10 says, “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” The word “rejoiced” translates a word that means “to rejoice exceedingly.” But the word “exceeding” is also there and it means “exceedingly” and has the word “violence” in the definition. They “rejoiced violently” doesn’t sound quite right. But I want you to see they were not acting like they were in a funeral home! The word “great” translates the word “megas” from which we get our word “megaphone, or megaton”. This word is used to describe the expanse of space. Do you see how the Father in heaven provided a welcome for His Son that it would surpass any greeting that a victorious army would receive at their homecoming.

Now lets look at the reasons for their joy. First, they rejoiced that the Scriptures were authenticated. There is nothing that authenticates the Scriptures more than fulfilled prophecy. There are literally thousands of prophecies that have already been fulfilled. Isaiah 34:16 says, “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.” Many are yet to be fulfilled. We can be sure that all prophecy will be fulfilled exactly as written. These wise men believed the Scriptures and rejoiced when they saw an ancient prophecy fulfilled before their eyes.

Second, they rejoiced that they were being guided. Have you ever been guided by the Lord in a matter, and the length of the journey, and the difficulties thereof, made you wonder if you missed it? These men were every bit as human as any of us. They had to struggle against their own human rationalism. They had not come to Bethlehem from the air port. They had been walking and riding camels for months.  Faith had been sorely tried. But their faith stood the test. They were in it to the end. Now, here they are, starring down upon Jesus, the seed of the woman, the Christ of God and Matthew tells us “they worshiped Him.” Hallelujah! They rejoice that they were being guided by the unseen hand of God.

Third, they rejoiced that they had found the promised One. They asked “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” The wise men believed correctly that this Child was one with a destiny. He was born with a destiny. None born in the natural way could have this particular destiny. He came through the womb not from the womb. God is stepping down from eternity into time. It is such an awesome step. Only the Infinite One could do this. When the wise men looked down upon the face of this “young child” (vs 9), they rejoiced that God had visited man and they rejoiced that they had found Him.

Fourth, they rejoiced in their worship. Worship should be a joy. It should be a release. It should be a time of private and collective praise. We need to learn to worship in private. Privacy shuts you up to God. That is good. Then we need to worship collectively. Jesus began the church as a place where collective worship could take place. “Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” (Eph. 3:21). Unless Jesus is worshiped in the church, he is not glorified. The church is the place where we come together to worship and glorify Him. We need to learn from the wise men.

May the Lord bless this to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#235 – A Great Deliverance

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A GREAT DELIVERANCE

Psa. 18:16-20 “He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me. The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.”

This is one of David’s victory songs written after a battle had been won. He credits God as the Deliverer in verse 2. I want to look at the points he made concerning this deliverance.

THE DELIVERANCE WAS DIVINE

David could have gloried in his skill and the skill of those who fought with him. But he didn’t do that. He gave glory to God. David knew that there were invisible armies who fought with him and gave the victory.

David said, “He sent from above.” God was involved in the battle with the armies of Israel. He identified with His people.

The believer can sing this song and apply it to himself. The Lord is with us. He never leaves us or forsakes us. He is invisible but faith can make His invisible presence known. Too many act like God is a million miles away. They depend solely on their skills to accomplish God’s work. They miss the opportunity of “laboring together with God.” When we do not operate in the Spirit by faith, what we do, we do without His help. Next—

THE DELIVERANCE WAS PERSONAL

David said, “He took me.” He knew that God’s invisible hand had delivered him. That is also true of us. The Lord Jesus must become one’s personal Saviour. You can’t go to heaven on the coat tail of another. Salvation is a personal matter. Repentance is personal. It is true that man inherits his sin nature from his father. It is traced all the way back to Adam. But it is not just what we are by nature, it is what we do personally. Paul says in Romans 3:10 12, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:  There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.  They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” So deliverance is personal. Next—

DELIVERANCE IS COMPLETE

David said, “He drew me out.” There was no part of him left in hands of the enemy. Our salvation is complete. Ephesians 1:13 14, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,  Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The believer is sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. You will notice it is not BY the Holy Spirit of promise, it is WITH the Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Spirit Himself becomes the Seal. The Seal is the identification of the product. God owns the one sealed.

The Seal is the Lord’s way of saying that He is committed to finishing the deliverance. This is brought out in the words, “Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.”

DELIVERANCE IS NEEDED

David said in Psalms 18:17, “He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.”

David’s enemies were vicious and strong. He said they are too strong for me. The world, the flesh and the Devil are too strong for us. We are dominated by Satan and sin. Man is trapped in a world that will not turn him loose.

The good news is that Jesus became a man in the virgin birth that He might deliver us. He came to where we are to execute deliverance. He was not born with an old sin nature because Joseph had nothing to do with His birth. He lived a perfect life and then paid the price that God required of the sinner. What Jesus did on the cross can only deliver when a sinner comes in repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

THE DELIVERED ON IS BLESSED

David said, “He brought me into a large place.” The idea is that David was brought by the Lord into a place of abundance and safety.

This happens to the sinner when he believes in Christ as a personal Saviour. Ephesians 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#234 – Some of the Rich Blessings of God in Ephesians

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SOME OF THE RICH BLESSINGS OF GOD IN EPHESIANS

Ephesians 1:6 “To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

Each of these gold mines of blessing are connected with the Greek preposition “in.” The first that we will look at is,

OUR ACCEPTANCE

“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

“The uttermost and chiefest final cause is the glory of God the Father, who saves us freely in his Son. That as his bountiful goodness deserves all praise, so also it should be set forth and proclaimed. Another final cause more near is our justification, in that he freely accounted us as being righteous in his Son. — Geneva Bible Footnotes.

This acceptance is, “To the praise of the glory of His grace,” because He determined to save men this way.  The only testimony of salvation must bow to the truth of grace because it is only by grace that we are saved.  So our praise of salvation looks to Him alone and accepts by faith His diagnosis of us.  When we see ourselves as He sees us, we are then ready to receive with thankful hearts that “He hath made us accepted in the beloved.”

OUR BLESSINGS

Ephesians 1:3 says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

Paul opens the door to the heavenly market place and this truth extends to all of God’s children.  Isaiah 55:1 3, “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.”

The Lord has left nothing out that is good for us when He says, with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:”

WE ARE CHOSEN

Ephesians 1:4 says, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

The only way one can be holy in the sense that Paul is speaking of here is to understand the truth of “in Him.” Jesus has in Him all the saints and Satan would have to go through Him to get to us. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We are new creatures operating as pilgrims in this sinful world with a message that will give the most wicked sinner an opportunity to change sides.  When we are saved we go from Satan’s side to God’s side.  God extracts us from the kingdom of darkness and places us in God’s dear son.  We are the chosen and if God has chosen us, Satan would have to be more powerful than God to re-obtain us.

WE ARE INHABITED BY THE LORD JESUS

Ephesians 3:17 says, “That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,”

Our body is His temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19 20, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

Paul calls attention to God’s ownership of us which ought to calm our fears and give us that adrenalin flow that will cause shouts of praise.

WE HAVE HIS ENDUEMENT

Ephesians 6:10 says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”

We have that heavenly enduement to withstand Satan and to accomplish the work God has called us to do. 1 John 4:4 says, “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”

WE HAVE BEEN SEALED WITH THE SEAL OF HIS OWNERSHIP

Ephesians 1:13, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,” These are just a few of the rich blessing of the Lord given to His people.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#233 – The Servant

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THE SERVANT

Mark 10:44 “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

I think many Christians want an elevated position in the Lord’s spiritual kingdom in this life.  Jesus made it clear that the servant is not one who gets recognition in this life. Jesus says in Mark 10:44, “And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all.”

This meditation will look at some qualifying statements that will identify a servant.

THE LOVE OF CHRIST SHOULD BE THE SERVANTS MOTIVE

Paul gives the motivation of the servant in 2 Corinthians 5:14, “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:”

The word “constraineth” translates “sunecho” and means, “to hold together lest it fall to pieces.” The love of God will not let the servant stray from the right path in this life.  The love of Christ proceeds in its service against all opposition.  A list of things that love does is found in 1 Corinthians 13:4 6, “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,  Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;  Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;”

1 John 3:16, “Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” We know that He loves us because He laid down His life for us.  We know that our love is genuine when we lay down our lives for the brethren.  The love of Christ constrains us to love our brethren.

LIKENESS TO CHRIST SHOULD BE OUR MORAL STRENGTH IN SERVICE

1 Peter 1:15, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;” 1 John 2:6, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” While it is impossible for the believer to be without sin, it is possible for the believer to live a holy life empowered by the Holy Spirit dwelling within.

The disciples were called Christians first in Antioch because of the likeness to Christ they were exhibiting in their daily walk. Acts 11:26, “And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

TO PLEASE CHRIST SHOULD BE THE HIGHEST DELIGHT IN SERVICE

2 Corinthians 5:9, “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” The word “accepted” translates, “euarestos” and means, “well pleasing.”

I have heard many say, “I could never please my father.  I would have done anything to have pleased him.” That is a sad statement but it is true in all too many cases.  But it is not so with God.  Those who labor for Him in His service will find the Lord is well pleased.  Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:6 8, “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.”

THE CONSULTING CHRIST SHOULD ALWAYS BE THE PRELUDE TO SERVICE

Acts 13:1 3, “Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.  As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.  And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”

We have here a world wide missionary ministry beginning.  It is strongly implied that the prayer meeting of the first two verses was about supplying laborers for world missions.  The Lord answered their prayers on the spot.  The Lord told the leaders of the Church there to, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”

THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST SHOULD BE OUR POWER IN SERVICE

Colossians 1:29, “Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily. Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” Acts 4:29, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,”

The Holy Spirit is the Guide, Illuminator, Power, and the Authenticator of the Word that was preached.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#232 – Quietness Before God

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QUIETNESS BEFORE GOD

Psalms 37:1-7 “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the LORD, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.”

Someone has said that quietness before God is one of the most difficult of all Christian graces. Some do not even believe that quietness before the Lord is a form of prayer.

Madam Guyon calls a state of quietness before God as one of the higher degrees of prayer.

David seems to recognize this in these seven verses.

FIRST OF ALL HE SAYS, “FRET NOT.”

The whole statement is, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers.” It is easy for the believer to fall into a negative posture as he sees the evildoers prospering in their sins. It seem that they are making it better than the righteous. So what do you do when things are going bad for you and your prayers do not seem to be answered. You fret!!!

It is almost like we question the goodness of God when this happens. We have been serving the Lord and the bottom fell out. Everything seems to be going wrong. The wicked mock us and say that it does not pay to serve God. Satan gets involved in his accusations against us and puts it in our minds that God has let us down.

All of these things and much more happen and we pick up our Bible and it falls open to Psalm 37:1 and we are smitten in the heart as we read, “Fret not.” If we have been fretting, there is only one thing for the Christian to do and that is to repent and ask forgiveness. The believer is on God’s side no matter how silent the heavens are. God will come through in His time. Next—

SECOND OF ALL HE SAYS, “TRUST.”

Psalms 37:3, “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.”  We are called believers because we TRUST in the Lord. He is worthy of our trust. We are loved by Him. He has made us His own through the sacrifice of His Only Begotten Son on the cross.

There are some attachments to the word TRUST. He says “Trust in the LORD, and do good.” God wants His people to do good no matter how evil the wicked are around us. They do bad, we do good. We do not do good because those to whom we do the good deserve it. They do not deserve it. They may even make fun of the good we do for them. But we do good in obedience to the LORD’S command. You are never more like Jesus than when you do good to those who speak evil of you. We are reminded of His prayer on the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” We are to trust in the Lord to make things right with those who do wrong.  And He will in His time. Next—

THIRD, HE SAYS, “DELIGHT THYSELF IN THE LORD.”

Psalms 37:4, “Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

The word “delight” means to be excited and happy about one’s thoughts of the LORD. It means to rejoice in the LORD and to be thrilled that we are under His care. Then there is a promise to those who do this. David says, “and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”

Probably the most accepted application of this promise is that the LORD will give us what we want. There is another way to interpret this. If we delight ourselves in the LORD He will work in us to desire what He wants for us. In other words our desires will be God given. I like that. I want what He wants for me. We are constantly seeking God’s will for us. It is good to know that if we delight ourselves in Him we will know His will because He will plant the desire in our hearts. Next—

FOURTH, HE SAYS, “COMMIT THY WAY UNTO THE LORD.”

The word “commit” means “to roll your way on the Lord.”  When we commit our way to the Lord, it means that we let Him get in the drivers seat. And we don’t back-seat-drive. It means that we never take God for granted. We pray about everything. If we can’t get peace about it, we do not act. His way is our way. We will never go wrong if His way is our way. Next—

FIFTH, WE ARE TO REST IN THE LORD

The word “rest” literally means “be silent.”  There are times when silence is a virtue. David says this is how to act before the LORD. So, silence is a legitimate form of prayer. There are times when we are at a loss for words. When this happens the Holy Spirit will make intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#231 – The Work of the Holy Spirit in the Saints

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THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE SAINTS

Romans 8:9 “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”

Man by his human nature was so damaged by the fall that it is impossible for him to please God by what he does.  This leaves him helplessly lost and without the slightest chance of being saved by what he does. Hebrews 9:14 says, “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

God has made a marvelous attempt to save mankind, by the gift of His Son both by living the life we couldn’t, and suffering vicariously on the Cross for our sins.  Man could never survive the payment for his sins.  Only Christ could do that and He is willing to save all that come to God by Him.  Let’s notice first,

THE INTERPENETRATION OF THE SPIRIT

The Lord wants the Holy Spirit to penetrate every part of our nature.  John suggest this in John 7:37 39, “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.  He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.  (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified)”

The saved partake of the divine nature. 2 Peter 1:3 4, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

THE INSTRUMENT OF THE SPIRIT

The believer in Christ is the instrument which the Spirit of God uses in His service.  All God’s servants are sons, and as such, the Lord says to each, “Son, go to work today in my vineyard.”  But as sons they are not to act apart from the Lord, not even as agents, for the true position of every child is that of an instrument to be used by the Lord.

On the day of Pentecost the disciples spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:4, “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” When the people who were present, when this happened, began to question what was happening, Peter stood up and denied any personal power, and referred them to the prophecy of Joel (Acts 2:16-17).

THE INTERCESSION OF THE SPIRIT

Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

Nothing could possibly encourage the saint of God more than to know that the Holy Spirit is his constant companion supplying his needs as he fulfill the task the Lord had given him to do.

THE ILLUMINATION OF THE SPIRIT

1 Corinthians 2:13, “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”

How many times have I had trouble understanding a verse of Scripture and I would drop to my knees and as I meditated in prayer the verse became clear.  This is the illumination.  The illumination of the Spirit gives insights into the word that we do not have when we are not filled with the Spirit.  The written Word of God was given by the Holy Spirit and it is completely logical that when He is sought for help He will give it to our complete satisfaction.

Someone has said, the eyes of the heart must be opened by the Holy Spirit before the things of God can be seen.

THE INSPIRATION OF THE SPIRIT

The doctrine of the Holy Spirit is brought out in 2 Timothy 3:16, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:” The word “inspiration” translates a word that means “God breathed.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#230 – A Fourfold Fellowship

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A FOURFOLD FELLOWSHIP

The little book of Philemon is packed with great truths. Philemon was a resident of Colossae. This is a prison epistle. Onesimus was  a runaway slave and had robbed his master in his departure. He wound up in prison with Paul. Paul won Onesimus to the Lord and sent him back to Philemon to make things right. Let’s look at the fourfold fellowship that is evident in this short epistle.

THE FELLOW BELIEVER TRUSTING

Philemon 1:6, “That the communication of thy faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

Paul is going to ask Philemon to receive Onesimus back and reinstate him. This is Christian forgiveness. When Paul said, “That the communion of thy faith may become effectual.” The word “communion” means “fellowship, association.” The idea here is to receive him without punishment. Paul knew that salvation had completely changed Onesimus and he could go back to work and make a profitable servant.

If the salvation that you profess does not give you a willingness to forgive another who has done you wrong, there is a  question about the reality of your experience. Next let’s look at—

THE FELLOW SOLDIER FIGHTING

Philemon 1:2, “And to our beloved Apphia, and Archippus our fellowsoldier, and to the church in thy house:”

Fighting follows trusting. After one trusts the Lord many times he runs into stiff opposition from within his own family. It is a struggle.

2 Corinthians 7:5, “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.”  The word “fightings” means “combat.” It also means “disputing, striving, quarreling.” Paul was challenged on every hand. He had to publicly debate the truth of the gospel. He did this with the religious leaders in Israel. They made his outward life miserable.

Christians are in a fight for the truth of the gospel. Those who believe in and preach out of the modern perversions of the Bible are self deceived and are deceiving those who listen to them. There is not a grander text anywhere than the King James Bible. People who use the perverted texts don’t like to be identified with the apostasy. The first thing Satan did when he deceived Eve in the Garden was to change the Word of God. Next let’s look at—

THE FELLOW LABORER WORKING

Philemon 1:1, “Paul, a prisoner of Jesus Christ, and Timothy our brother, unto Philemon our dearly beloved, and fellowlabourer,”

Paul was in prison for the gospel he preached. He would finally die a martyrs death because of his preaching of the gospel. He is now in prison with no charge against him but preaching the gospel. So, he calls himself “a prisoner of Jesus Christ.” He addresses Philemon as a dearly beloved brother. Paul then adds, “and fellowlabourer.”

Fellow laborer means working together for the kingdom of God. Amos asked, “Can two walk together except they be agreed?” The answer is obviously no. One of the major problems in Christianity, and it has been since the early days of the church, is believers can’t get along. We split hairs when there are no hairs to split. Next let’s look at—

THE FELLOW PRISONER SUFFERING

Hebrews 13:1 3, “Let brotherly love continue.  Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.  Remember them that are in bonds, as bound with them; and them which suffer adversity, as being yourselves also in the body.”

Back when our brothers and sisters were in prison in Russia for preaching the gospel, I bought a chain and put it by my bed so that I would not go to sleep without being reminded to pray for our brother’s and sister’s in chains.

There continues to be persecution of Christians around the world. We should suffer with them. May the Lord help us not to forget the persecuted saints.

Matthew Henry said, “We ought not to make any conditions of our brethren’s acceptance with us but such as God has made the conditions of their acceptance with Him.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#229 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 4

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THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST – Part 4

Matt. 3:13-17 “Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

We are told by Mark specifically where Jesus came from to be baptized of John. Mark 1:9 says, “And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.” This was probably two or three days journey for Jesus. Why did Jesus come and ask John to baptize Him? It certainly was not because He needed to repent or have sins washed away. He did come to John and ask him for baptism.

John’s first response is brought out in the words. “But John forbad, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” The word “forbad” translates “diakoluo” and means “ to hinder, to prevent.” It is a imperfect active indicative verb. This is a continuous action verb and means that John kept on resisting the idea of baptizing Jesus. It does not imply an argument. John baptized repentant sinners. It was evident to John that Jesus needed no repentance. What a testimony to the purity and holiness of Christ! John refuse to baptize the Pharisees and Sadducees on the grounds of hypocrisy. Here John is resisting on the grounds of our Lord’s holiness and office.

Jesus is manifest to Israel at His baptism. From this point on, He will begin His public ministry. It is my belief that John’s baptism was a picture of the death, burial and resurrection and not different from Christian baptism. John was the last of the Old Testament prophets. He did not understand what would happen in the setting aside of the nation of Israel and the birth of the Church. This was a hidden mystery to Old Testament saints. John probably did not understand the truth of the “Suffering Messiah” and therefore, would not have seen the picture in baptism of the death, burial and resurrection. This is MY OPINION. And if you have different beliefs about this, it is YOUR OPINION. It is not wrong to have an opinion. It is wrong to teach our opinions as INFALLIBLE. God does not explain some things and leaves us to trust Him with those things He doesn’t explain.

John said, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” The verb “I have” is a present tense. John says, “I continually have, I am in a state of constant need.” John was a holy man. But when Jesus came on the scene, all of a sudden John saw himself. Jesus has a way about doing that to us. Isaiah was in good shape until he saw the “Lord high and lifted up.” Then Isaiah said, “Woe is me! for I am undone . . .” The presence of God will make the holiest man fall on his face and see the need of grace. This is the reason John said, “I have need to be baptized of thee.” Those who walk the closest to the Lord, see themselves as sinners in need of grace. You can go to the bank with this: any arrogant cocky Christian is not even in the vicinity of the Lord. He will have to impress you with his knowledge or something else; it will not be with his walk with the Lord. Now I’m not setting myself up as a judge. What I’m saying is Bible: Isaiah 57:15 says, “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.”

Jesus responds to John’s reluctance with the words, “Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness . . .” The word “suffer” translates “aphiemi” and is defined by Strong: “to send away; to bid to go away or depart; of a husband divorcing his wife.” Jesus says “divorce yourself from this idea.” Isn’t that good? There are some ideas we have to permanently divorce. We are not going to marry new ideas until the old ones go. Jesus is telling John that His baptism has nothing to do with worthiness, it has to do with obedience. John was the forerunner. The Messiah is on the scene and needs an introduction. He has ceased to be an IDEA and has become a REAL LIVE PERSON.  Jesus is saying “John do your job and I’ll do mine and in doing it we will fulfil all righteousness.” We are not here after we are saved to make a personal point. We are here to fulfil God’s will and purpose in our lives. Every man is a plan of God. We may not understand everything about what God is doing with us. John didn’t. But we can continue to act in obedience to Him as long as we live and we will be received with His “well done” as we enter into the fulness of the life we now possess. Glory to God and the Lamb forever!!! Someone hold my mules!

Jesus was not baptized in order to become the Son of God. He was baptized to manifest that He was the Son of God. And when Jesus, as the Eternal Son, submitted in obedience to the will of the Father, the Father gave testimony concerning His Son to those who were present.

This is brought out in the words,  “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” The words “went up” translate “anabaino” and means “ascend, to go up, to rise, mount, be borne up, spring up.” All these words are resurrection words. Baptism pictures the resurrection. Jesus declares the purpose of His coming at the service where He is introduced into His public ministry. Don’t make the mistake of saying John’s baptism was different from ours today. We are not baptized to become Children of God. We are baptized to manifest that fact. If a person is not saved before his baptism, he is lying when he is baptized. This is the reason the so-called baptism of babies is Unscriptural. I’m not being negative here. Our children are not Christians because they are born to us as Christian parents. They must be born again when they reach the age of responsibility. And that age is not given is Scripture. Jesus said, “Forbid not little children to come to me.” But they do need to be old enough to recognize who Jesus is and make the decision to come.

Matthew says when this took place, “ . . . Lo, the heavens were opened unto him . . .” I do not know what this means. It could be that the heavens became something like a visual display of heaven with the throne of God and the angels on display. The Old Testament saints could have been in the scene to witness the introduction of the ONE on whom they waited with joyful expectancy. This was what happened to Isaiah in chapter six of his book. This was heaven’s testimony to the authenticity of John’s baptism and our Lord’s introduction into His public ministry by means of that baptism. Then the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lit on Jesus. This was a visual confirmation to John of the Messiahship of Jesus. John 1:32-34 says, “And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”

Then there was the voice: “And lo, a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” After approximately 29 years on this earth, God the Father could still say that He was well pleased with His Son. I praise the Lord for this. Because His acceptance is mine. First John 4:17 says, “ . . . as he is so are we in this world.” Jesus as the Son of God became as the Son of man all  that God in all His holiness demanded that man should be. And God could say about Him, “I am well pleased.”

May God bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#228 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 3

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THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST – Part 3

Matt. 3:11-12 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”

Matthew quotes John the Baptist in this passage of Scripture. You will notice that John uses the personal pronoun “I.”

John says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance . . .” John says, “I want to say something further about my ministry.” In the Greek pronouns are attached to the verb. In other words, you do not have to use a personal pronoun separate from the verb unless you want to emphasize it. The “I” here is the translation of “ego” and is a personal pronoun that is placed there for emphasis. John is going to contrast his ministry with that of Jesus. The word “baptize” translates “baptizo” and means “ to immerse, to submerge (of vessels sunk), to overwhelm.” Sometimes a word is illustrated by its use in the Bible. This is true of the word “baptize.” Paul says in Romans 6:4:  “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  The word buried” translates “sunthapto” and means, “to bury together with.” He says this burial is by “baptism” which translates “baptisma” and means “immersion.” It is not the purpose of this meditation to straighten anyone out on the subject of baptism. It is simply my desire to aid you in your understanding of what the Bible actually says. What you do with the truth after I help you to understand it, is strictly between you and your Lord. Baptism has never been and is not now a condition to salvation.

The word “baptize” is also a verb and is in the present tense. This means, “I indeed keep on baptizing you with water unto repentance.” The words “keep on” is an explanation of the present tense which is a continuous action verb. John is talking about his present practice, i.e., the present tense referring to the time he spoke these words. I baptize you with water, not in vegetable beef soup! Water was used to cleanse the priests and vessels in the Temple. The people to whom John spoke knew what the water represented. So water is the proper element. The word “unto” is the preposition “eis” and means “with reference to.” The word “repentance” is the translation of “metanoia” and means “a change of mind.” Have you ever been wrong about something and someone or something changed your mind?  And when you changed your mind, your change of mind became evident in your talk on that subject and your actions with regard to that subject. God sent John to preach and baptize those who believed the message. as an expression of their identification with him and his message, they were baptized.

Next John says, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” The words “but he that cometh after me” means “he who follows after me.” John was a forerunner. He came to “prepare the way” for the Lord. John knew what his job was. He did not allow visions of greatness to deter him. He did not try to “develop his full potential!” He came (was sent; Jn. 1:6) to do a job and did it. That was what success was to John. I thank God for the day I learned that it was not up to me to be great. What ever God wants to make of me is His business. I ceased to listen to the voices a long time ago who tried to tell me what God wanted me to accomplish for Him. Have you ever heard the, “I’m doing it and you can also” routine? Or, “Come and hear me and I’ll tell you how to do it.” Now I’m not saying you can’t get help from another. I am saying that you need to know what God has gifted you to do and begin to let Him work in and through you to accomplish that service (Phil. 1:12-13). I will tell you this. He has not called us to be great! He has called us to walk in humility before Him and exalt Jesus in our words and works.

John says that the One who comes after me is “mightier than I” and I am not worthy to “bear” His “shoes.” I believe John knew that in the eyes of a lot of his followers that he was the greatest thing since buttons on a shirt. John tells them that he is baptizing with water but the Messiah will baptize with the “Holy Ghost, and with fire.” He says that there is nothing supernatural about my baptism but there is His. I believe John is saying, “You can reject me and there is no real consequences ( what if you are not baptized. Big deal!), but what you do with Him will be the difference between heaven and hell.”

John says, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” The Holy Spirit baptism happens when we are Saved and Jesus is the Baptizer. This is John’s theology and I’m going with it. This is also Paul’s theology. Paul says in Ephesians 1:13-14: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” This is a definitive statement about when the Holy Spirit comes into the life of the believer.  We do not pray Him in, He comes in when we believe the gospel and stays for the duration, i.e., the redemption of the body. If we do not have the Holy Spirit we are not saved (Rom. 8:9). It is as simple as that.

What does “and with fire” mean? This is explained in the next verse. Verse 12 says, “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.” Fire in the Bible speaks of judgment. There is no question about what it means in this passage. When you come to Jesus you either get saved or you will suffer the judgment of eternal fire as a result of your rejection of Him. John says, “Your reject me and there is no eternal consequences. You reject Jesus and there is eternal consequences.”

John also brings out the greatness of Jesus with the words “Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”  Those who are interested in sermons or lessons, there are four things to look at in this verse: “His hand” His floor” “His wheat” and “He will burn up the chaff  (His judgment).” John says His greatness is brought out in the fact that He is the Savior and Judge. What you do with Him determines where you spend eternity. The “garner” is heaven. Jesus takes His own to a specially prepared place (John 14:1-3). He puts the “chaff” into a place prepared for the devil and his angels (Matt. 25:41). It is a place of “unquenchable fire.” The word “unquenchable” translates “asbestos” from which we get our word asbestos. Asbestos is something that resists fire and remains. The idea here is that the fire is irresistible. There is nothing that will quench it. Those cast into hell will not be able to resist it. It is an eternal judgment upon those who reject Jesus as a personal Savior. It is true, man has a choice to either accept or reject the gospel of Christ. But he has absolutely no choice over the consequences of his choice.

John says, “I am just a voice. But Jesus is the One who can either save you or reject you forever as your eternal Judge.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ
Bro. White

#227 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 2

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THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST – Part 2

Matt. 3:3 “For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.”

John’s ministry was a part of God’s unfolding plan. John was a very humble man. He only claimed to be a voice. We are told how he dressed in verse 4. John would hardly be welcomed in any church today dressed like that. It is kind of amusing how preachers think in terms of presenting themselves on the platform today. They want glass pulpits and the most expensive suits to present themselves. The idea is that one does not need to hide behind a wooden pulpit. You know “We have to sell ourselves” in order to “sell our message.” Someone needs to tell them that the Christian Message is not for sale. We have the glorious privilege of giving the greatest gift that can be imagined “without money and without price” (Isa. 55:1). I really don’t think it will be long before we will see preachers with earrings to appeal to those with earrings (I’m talking about male preachers!). I think it would be a little distracting to dress like John in one of todays pulpits. God gave John his popularity and he was drawing good crowds.

Verses 5-6 say, “Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan, And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.” The popularity of John’s message and the number of converts was disturbing the leaders of the religious groups. Numbers were being baptized which was done in association with a confession of sin. Baptism was and is a picture of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. John came to introduce the One who would take away sin by His own death on the cross. Baptism was a profession of belief in that message. It is still a profession of faith in that message. Baptism didn’t save then or now. But anyone who professes to believe the gospel should be baptized as an outward declaration of faith in that message i.e., the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

John had a Spirit of discernment. This is brought out in verse 7:  “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” He called them a “generation of vipers.” He had not read Dale Carnegie’s book on How To Win Friends and Influence People. He was not standing behind a glass pulpit with a pinkie ring on his finger when he said this. A viper was a snake and this word was used to “address cunning, malignant, and wicked men” (Strong). Now we need to realize that these men were the “respected” leaders of the day. You had the fundamentalists (Pharisees) and the liberals (Sadducees) both represented when John said this. He divided the crowd right there. But it is amazing how common enemies will get together to do away with a common enemy! I do not have the Spirit of discernment. I have had many church members saved over the years and most of the time it was someone of whom I had no suspicions. John knew. And it was not just a natural intuition. God told John on them!

These “vipers,” as John called them, came for baptism! I thank the Lord we are told what John said. He told them to “Bring forth fruits meet for repentance.” I think I know some Baptist preachers that would have taken them in! They may have run them off later, but, they would have baptized them for the count! John’s message was one of repentance. The word “repentance” translates “metanoio” and means “a change of mind.” It goes something like this: “I used to believe that if you kept the outward law and the tradition of the elders, that you were right with God. But I see now that that can be a sham. You can be a hypocrite and do all that. I see now that you must have an inward change first. There must be the cleansing of the heart that issues in a change of actions” (The Pharisee would have said something like that if he had repented). John knew they had not repented. So he takes it a step further. He says in verse 8, “Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:” The word “meet” translates “axios” and means “equal to or corresponding to a thing.” In other words John says, “You claim to have repented. Let me observe your change before I baptize you.”

There are people who profess faith in Jesus Christ and never make any kind of a change. Their talk is the same. Their pleasures are the same. Their life style is the same. The only difference is that they go to church … if something they like to do doesn’t interfere. If it does, they just miss that service. Some preachers cancel the services when a ball game is going on at the same time. The great reduction in church attendance is just too depressing to face.  This lack of repentance also comes out when the preacher preaches against something they are doing. It is like the old lady who said amen to the preacher when he preached against smoking. She didn’t smoke. But when he got on snuff dippin’, she told him he had gone too far!

Then John goes to the root of the problem. He says in verses 9-10, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” John knew them. He knew what they would think as a result of the last demand that he had made. He knew they would claim superiority because of their lineage from Abraham. This made them the elite. John told them that they had made a claim that was less than nothing. He said, “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” Ouch! That hurt, John. John is taking the position that they thought God owed them something because the were the seed of Abraham. John says, “All God has to do to make someone to take your place is to speak to the rocks under your feet.” John just cut them down and turned them into quadriplegics!  John is not helping their PRIDE at all.

Do you know a fundamentalist who thinks he is elite because he graduated from a certain school? I mean there are a lot of schools that think they turn out elite preachers. Some schools just kind of build that into their graduates. Now this is going to hurt. But don’t look too close. There is someone passing you on the wrong side of the road (he is not doing it in the normal manner) with a message people are flocking to hear and he doesn’t even have a degree! Amen! He doesn’t even have a degree but people drive right by your church on the way to his. Is it ok with you, if God raises up a rock and makes it into a fundamentalist, that no one but God can take credit for?

Now watch what you “say.” John said, “Think not within yourselves . . .” We always try to answer things we object to in a way that lets us off the hook. Have you noticed how we always win in our imaginary life? John did not accept excuses or objections to his message. He told them the truth and at that point the ball was in their possession. We can do what we want to with the ball, but we have no control whatsoever with the result over what we do with that ball.

In Christ

Bro. White

#226 – The Ministry of John the Baptist – Part 1

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THE MINISTRY OF JOHN THE BAPTIST – Part 1

Matt. 3:1 “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

John Gill says in his introduction to this chapter: “The Evangelist having given an account of the genealogy and birth of Christ; of the coming of the wise men from the east to him; of his preservation from Herod’s bloody design against him, when all the infants at Bethlehem were slain; of the flight of Joseph with Mary and Jesus into Egypt, and of their return from thence, and settlement in Nazareth, where Christ continued till near the time of his baptism, and entrance on his public ministry; proceeds to give a brief relation of John, the harbinger and forerunner of Christ, and the administrator of baptism to him: and he describes him by his name John, in Hebrew ‘Jochanan’, which signifies ‘gracious’, or ‘the grace of the Lord’, or ‘the Lord has given grace’; which agrees with him, both as a good man, on whom the Lord had bestowed much grace, and as a preacher, whose business it was to publish the grace of God in Christ, Luke 16:16. This name was given him by an angel before his conception, and by his parents at his birth, contrary to the mind of their relations and neighbors, Luke 1:13-60,63. He is called by some of the Jewish writers,  John the ‘high priest’; his father Zacharias was a priest of the course of Abia, and he might succeed him therein, and be the head of that course, and for that reason be called a ‘high’ or ‘chief priest’; as we find such were called, who were the principal among the priests, as were those who were chosen into the sanhedrim, or were the heads of these courses; and therefore we read of many chief priests, Matt. 2:4. From his being the first administrator of the ordinance of baptism, he is called John the Baptist; and this was a well known title and character of him. Josephus calls him ‘John’, who is surnamed, ‘the Baptist’; and Ben Gorion having spoken of him, says, this is that John who, ‘made’, instituted, or practiced ‘baptism’; and which, by the way, shows that this was not in use among the Jews before, but that John was the first practiser this way. He is described by his work and office as a preacher, he ‘came’ or ‘was preaching’ the doctrines of repentance and baptism; he published and declared that the kingdom of the Messiah was at hand, that he would quickly be revealed; and exhorted the people to believe on him, which should come after him. The place where he preached is mentioned, in the wilderness of Judea; not that he preached to trees and to the wild beasts of the desert; for the wilderness of Judea was an habitable place, and had in it many cities, towns, and villages, in which we must suppose John came preaching, at least to persons which came out from thence. There were in Joshua’s time six cities in this wilderness, namely Betharabah, Middin, and Secacah, and Nibshan, and the city of Salt, and Engedi, Joshua 15:61,62. Mention is made in the Talmud of this wilderness of Judea, as distinct from the land of Israel, when the doctors say, that ‘they do not bring up small cattle in the land of Israel, but they bring them up, ‘in the wilderness which is in Judea.’”

John is not only mentioned in the Bible but secular writers and Jewish commentators as well. They knew of John and made reference to him. He was the son of a high priest. He evidently had no intentions of succeeding his father in the priesthood. He took up residence in the wilderness and was thus identified.

He was a man sent from God (John 1:6), was named by the Lord before his birth (Luke 1:5-13), and was filled with the Holy Ghost from his mother’s womb (Luke 1:15). We are told what he wore and that he ate locust and wild honey (Mark 1:6). All of this means that he was anything but normal. He was a prophet and this is the first time Israel had had a prophet sent by God in over four hundred years. This would definitely make him an attention getter. He defied the powers that be, exposed the sin of adultery in Herod and Herodias  (Mark 6:14-29), and was martyred because of it.

Our text says, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea.” John was his name. He is called a “Baptist” because he immersed his converts. This was new to Israel in those days. John Gill, along with secular writers, tells us that John instituted baptism. It had not been practiced before. I have read many writers who suggested that baptism was already being practiced when John came on the scene. Well it wasn’t. If one makes the “sprinkling” and “pouring” that is associated with the Old Testament sacrifices as a forerunner of John’s baptism, it is done without one shred of Scriptural evidence. (Incidentally, I am not studying from the standpoint of a Baptist. All I’m interested in is what the Bible says).

The theme of John’s ministry is brought out in the words in verse 2: “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” There are two things in this statement that are important. First the doctrine of repentance. The word “repent” is the translation of “metanoeo” which means “to change one’s mind.” The Jews had gone away from the right path and John is a prophet sent by God to call them back. John tells them they must change their mind. They are wrong and without a change of mind they will not be open to listening to the WORD that will bring them back. John was sent to get them to admit they were wrong, so that Jesus could tell them where, and get them to accept the right. Jesus is the Door and The Way, The Truth and The Life and therefore, the RIGHT.

Second, this verse emphasizes the urgency of repentance, i.e., “The kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The Jews were looking for a King and a kingdom on this earth. They were expecting the Messiah, who would bring the Jews back to being a world power, in which the Messiah would reign on this earth from David’s throne in Jerusalem. John was the forerunner of the Messiah and he is introducing the kingdom of heaven as “at hand.” The words “at hand” translate “eggizo” and means “to bring near.” John is saying we are at the threshold of the promised kingdom. If John preached a kingdom that was at the very threshold, why has it been two thousand years and it has not taken place yet? That is a good question and volumes have been written trying to answer this question. All I can say is that God had the Church age in mind which was a hidden mystery to the Old Testament. It is certainly not hidden to us because we are here after the fact. But, had you been a student of the Scriptures in that day, you would not have understood why the kingdom did not start immediately with the coming of the Messiah.

Paul writes on this. I will let him explain it: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them. For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead? For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches. And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee. Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be grafted in. Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Rom. 11:13-21).

We Gentiles are just a graft! And John knew nothing of the graft. This is one of the reasons that after he was imprisoned, he sent some of his disciples to ask Jesus, “ . . . Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” (Matt. 11:3). John was a little confused because, as an Old Testament prophet, he had the Old Testament idea of the Messiah. But it didn’t take much to satisfy John and he was willing to live by faith without understanding.

I will continue this thought in the next meditation.

God bless each of you and may He bless our hearts with these truths.

In Christ

Bro. White

#225 – Pauls Prayer and Desire for the Phillippians

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PAUL’S PRAYER-DESIRE FOR THE PHILIPPIANS

Phil. 1:9-11 “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

We come now to the seventh item in Paul’s prayer list for the Philippians: Verse 11 says, “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Paul is saying two things in the words, “unto the glory and praise of God.” First, he is saying that what is done through Christ is to the glory and praise of God. The second thing he is saying, is that all that we do should be to the glory and praise of God. So we have both an EXPLANATION and an EXHORTATION.

The words “unto the glory” translate two words. “Unto” translates “eis” and is a preposition. This word is translated 1773 times in the New Testament. It is translated with 26 different words, and is not translated at all from the Greek text 99 times. It is translated 573 times by “into” and 281 times by “to” and 207 times by “unto” and 140 times by “for” and 138 times by “in,” then drops off drastically in the number of times that it is translated by other words. I think it might be interesting to quote from “Little Kittel” on the meaning of this preposition. He says, “More common in the NT is the use in which an action is performed with a view to some end.” I believe that is the correct use of the word here. “Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, Unto (with a view to the end) the glory and praise of God. The glory and praise of God should be the end to which every believer lives his life. This is in contrast to man’s own work for his own selfish purposes.

The word “glory” translates “doxa” and means, according to Strong, “an opinion, a judgment, a view.” He says, “in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory.” The word “glory is not an easy word to define. I am sure you have discovered this if you have searched the definitions. I have come up with my own definition that I will share with you for whatever it is worth. It is “that in anything that solicits our admiration and praise.” Matthew 9:8 says, “But when the multitudes saw it, they marveled, and glorified God, which had given such power unto men.” They had just brought a man sick of the palsy, unable to walk, to Jesus and He had healed him instantly. This caused the multitudes to “marvel.” This word translates “thaumazo” which comes over into English in our word “trauma.” They were “traumatized” by this act of our Lord. This word describes the effect this miracle had on them. Then it says, “and they glorified God” because of what Jesus had done. This means they gave God the glory, believing that He was the Author of the miracle, through Jesus as the human instrument (vs. 8). The end result in this case was that God got the credit and praise for what was done.

Then in Luke 7:16 the Bible says, “And there came a fear on all: and they glorified God, saying, That a great prophet is risen up among us; and, That God hath visited his people.” This was the result of Jesus raising the widows son from the dead. The effect that this miracle had on the people who saw this it is described here.

So Paul is saying that the believer’s life is to have an effect on the lives of people who see Him at work in us. We are not to draw attention to ourselves. We cannot help it if people credit us with what is going on in our lives. But we can refuse in our hearts to receive the honor bestowed upon us. Let me illustrate. I often feel the power of His presence when I am teaching and preaching. After the service someone comes by and highly compliments the message and me for its delivery. I thank the person. I do genuinely appreciate what the person is saying. In my heart I know that this person has been helped by God and I am simply the human instrument. Now I’m not going to stand there and give a lengthy discourse and tell them that this compliment may be wrongly directed. That is stupid and expresses ingratitude to a person who is trying to say they were blessed by something that God is doing in my life. I simply thank them and in my heart I refuse to accept the credit. Our service is to be for the glory of God alone.

He does not only say “glory” but also “praise” of God. The word “praise” translates “epainos” which means “approbation, commendation, praise.” It is found 11 times in the N. T. and is translated by the word “praise” every time. The word “praise” is from a root word that means, “to praise, extol, to sing praises in honour to God.” When people see the fruits of righteousness produced in us by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, it should cause them to sing praises to God.

Isn’t this basically where our songs originate? John Newton wrote the song Amazing Grace. Its words go: “Amazing grace! How sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found, Was blind, but now I see.” You can appreciate that song more when you know the story of his conversion.

“John Newton who ran away to sea, and then to Africa was sold at last to a Black woman. He sank so low that he lived only on crumbs from her table and on wild yams dug at night. His clothing was reduced to a single shirt which he washed in the ocean.”

“When he finally escaped, he went to the natives, accepting their base life. It does not seem possible for a civilized man to have sunk so low, but the power of God laid hold on him through a missionary. He became a sea captain then later became a minister. He wrote many hymns sung the world around: ‘Safely through Another Week,’ ‘Come, My Soul,’ ‘Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken,’ ‘How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds,’ ‘One There Is Above All Others.’”

“In the church of London of which he was the pastor, there is still an epitaph which John Newton wrote for himself. It reads: ‘Sacred to the memory of John Newton, once a libertine and blasphemer and a slave of slaves in Africa, but renewed, purified, pardoned, and appointed to preach that Gospel which he had labored to destroy.” Encyclopedia of 7700 Illustrations.

To John Newton, grace was amazing. And all of us who faced our real condition before salvation can sing with him the words of this great song and mean them from our hearts. One who does not think grace is truly amazing, has probably never repented which is a necessary condition for salvation.

Paul Prays for the Philippians and gives them the prayer list that will help them to understand what he considers important in their lives: “And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.”

I believe, what Paul prayed for the Philippians, Jesus is praying for us today. He is our Intercessor. Lets cooperate with what the Holy Spirit is doing in our lives to glorify God.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#224 – Sin

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SIN

1 John 3:4 “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

IT’S CHARACTER

Sin is sin because God says it is sin. Sin originated with Satan. The description of what happened is found in Ezekiel 28:13 15, “Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created. Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.”

Sin is against God. It is departing from the purpose for which one is created. The above verses tell us that a perfect angel was created of God. God did not create the Devil. He created a perfect angel who by his own choice sinned against God and became Satan.

Sin always challenges God’s authority. We see that every where we look. Our text says it is the transgression of the law. The law is the declared will of God. Sin says, “I am not walking by God’s rules.  I am making my own rules.” Sin assumes that it can go its own way and will never have to give an account. But the fact is that every man will stand before God in the Judgement. Every man will be judged by God’s law. The sinner cannot force his  self-righteousness upon God. One will either walk by God’s law or he will be judged by it.

Sin is ruthless. Man possessed by his old sin nature and prodded along by Satan can kill, and maim, and rape, and dare God to do anything about it. Sin is bold. Ecclesiastes 11:9, “Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.”

IT’S COURSE

The course of sin is the course of this world. Ephesians 2:2, “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

1.    Paul is speaking to Christians about their past life before salvation. He said they walked according to the course of this world.

2.    The prince of the power of the air has this course planned and prods the unsaved along to eternal judgment.

3.    The Satan and his demons are the ones working in the children of disobedience. The children of disobedience are all the unsaved of the world. All of them are controlled by the spirit of the Evil One.

The course of sin leads to hell. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  The death spoken of here is not physical death but the Second Death. Revelation 20:14 15, “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.  And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”

The Second Death is eternal. Once a man is cast into the lake of fire there will be no way out. The only hope of the sinner is to repent of sin and trust Jesus today. Next:

ITS CURSE

Sin has a curse. Jesus took our place on the cross and Paul says in Galatians 3:13, “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree:”

Matthew 25:41, “Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:”

The curse of sin is everlasting. Revelation 14:11, “And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

ITS CURE

Man has not found a cure for sin. There is no cure available. Man has tried to keep God’s law and has utterly failed. If man could begin now and successfully keep God’s law, what would he do about the time before he kept the law. Man has no way out. Jeremiah 13:23, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.” What this means is that man cannot change what he is by nature.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The cure for sin is God’s offer of grace through the Lord Jesus Christ. Colossians 1:14, “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

God is not willing that any should perish. 2 Peter 3:9, “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

But it is necessary for one to come in repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ to obtain the forgiveness that comes through Christ. Acts 20:20 21, “And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro. White

#223 – Prayer and Prayer Requests

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PRAYER AND PRAYER REQUESTS

Col.  4:2-4 “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;  Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:  That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.”

There are several things I want us to look at in these verses about prayer.

THE INTENSITY OF PRAYER

We see in Paul’s exhortation to the Colossians a vital key to answered prayer.  The word “Continue” means, “to adhere to one, be his adherent, to be devoted or constant to one; to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing.” This verb is a present active imperative.  The present tense represents a continuous action in the present tense.  The active voice is where the subject does the acting.  In this case I believe Paul is referring to the entire body of believers in Colossae.  The imperative mood is a command that expresses urgency.  Putting this verb in the imperative mood will have the effect of urgency on the believers there.

John Gill comments: “This is not said particularly to masters, as in the foregoing verse, but to all the members of the church in general; for the apostle having taken notice of some special duties relating to persons in different stations of life, returns to such as were common to them all; as this of prayer to God is, for such prayer is intended; for though the object is not expressed here, he is in the following verse, and the Mediator Christ is supposed, and also the Holy Spirit, whose assistance is necessary to it.”

We should pray fervently. James 5:16 says, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

We have an example of this kind of praying in Colossians 4:12, “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.”

THE ALERTNESS IN PRAYER

This is brought out in the words, of verse 4, “…and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” The word “watch” means “to give strict attention to.” It is easy for the Christian to see the need for prayer but difficult for him to believe that prayer really changes things.

The man who prays fervently will stay at it until the answer comes.  I cannot pass judgment upon those who do not practice in the Christian lives the thing taught by Paul in this verse.  It is not for us to pass Judgement.  Even Christ did not come to pass judgment. John 3:17, “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Our lack of convictions concerning the outcome of prayer is measured by the lack of testimony to answered prayer.  Next,

THANKSGIVING IN PRAYER

Colossians 4:2, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;” Is thanksgiving to be offered in gratitude for past answers to prayer, or, is thanksgiving to be offered in faith that what we are praying for is already on the way.

One of the things that is absolutely necessary in our relationship to God is thanksgiving. Luke 17:12 18, “And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off:  And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us.  And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed.  And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,  And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan.  And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?  There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger.” Jesus commented on the Samaritans attitude of gratitude.  We take so many things for granted.  Next,

PERSONAL REQUESTS IN PRAYER

Paul requested that they pray for him that God would grant him an open door of utterance to speak the Mystery of Christ.  If Paul did not strongly believe that prayer makes a difference, you can be sure he would not have requested prayer.  So this makes prayer a vital part of preaching.  If God grants utterance the message will be effective.  If He does not, then there will be an absence of power and an absence of Scriptural results.

Paul requested in Colossians 4:4, “That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.” To make it manifest there must be simplicity of speech.  There must be skill and wisdom in the presentation of the message if they are to believe.  Paul did not have the pride of an outstanding orator.  He was a sinner saved by grace, and no amount of public speaking skills, sinners will be left in their unsaved state if he is not given utterance.

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White

#222 – We Heard of Your Faith

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WE HEARD OF YOUR FAITH

Colossians 1:1-4 “Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timotheus our brother,  To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.  We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you,  Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”

IT WAS A SAVING FAITH THAT PAUL HAD HEARD ABOUT

The Pulpit Commentary has this to say: “If so be that ye continue in the faith.” To have so much done for us as is implied in our fitness for presentation to God, we must persevere, and persevere in the right way. Our position is to be toward Christ. Within ourselves we have not the elements of strength. We are powerless to form character. We are not only to come into the position of faith, but we are to rest in it. However our outward position may be altered, our inward position is to remain unaltered. Result. “Grounded.”“My soul hath found the steadfast ground.” We try other foundations, only to find them insufficient. When we have gotten past our own doings and the services of the Church down to Christ, then we feel that we have found the immovable Foundation, the steadfast ground for our being. “And steadfast.” A building even by its own weight gets steadied when it is up on a secure foundation. So by faith are we to get steadied upon the Foundation. We are to become like the Foundation. The immovableness that is in Christ is to come up into us.”

Their faith in Christ had literally turned them around.  They were new people in the Lord and they were manifesting it in their daily lives.  Saving faith cannot be abandoned.  Someone might say, “I know a person who was at one time a great Christian, but they now deny the Bible, God, and Jesus His Son.  I would have to say that they never got it right to start with.  I have been one who slipped away.  I can tell you the Holy Spirit grieved over me daily.  He finally brought me back and I have been there ever since. It was this kind of saving faith that Paul had heard about.  Next,

IT WAS FAITH IN THE RIGHT PLACE

Acts 4:12, “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

It was faith in the One person who could save them.  You may try all the religions of the world but the search will end without satisfaction.  Jesus is not just a good way to be saved, He is the only way to be saved.  The poor Moslem dies in a holy war and has been told that he will have a special place in heaven surrounded with a harem of wives and that will be his lot forever and ever.  What a disappointment when he blows up a bus load of Jews and before the smoke is cleared he is screaming in the lake of fire and discovers that his Moslem friends have deceived him and it is too late to do anything about it.

IT WAS A TALKED ABOUT FAITH

Colossians 1:4, “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”

The word “Since” is a time word.  There was a time when Paul heard of their faith in Christ and from that time forward his joy over their salvation had only increased.

Jesus expects His children to be vocal about their faith in Him. Matthew 10:32 33, “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.  But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”

The Christian faith can’t keep its mouth shut.  What we have in Him is so wonderful the truth of the gospel has to be told.  Peter denied he knew the Lord when he was in a hostile crowd who were determined to crucify Jesus.  But it wasn’t any time until he went and wept bitter tears of repentance over his denial.

Matthew 10:27, “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops.” Next,

IT WAS A FAITH MOTIVATED BY LOVE

Colossians 1:4, “Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints,”

There is no salvation apart from “the love of the brethren.” 1 John 3:14, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.” Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” This is the one great identifying mark of the Christian.  There are other things that mark the Christian but Jesus said, “By this we know that we have passed from death unto life, because love the brethren.”

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ

Bro.  White