Genesis 25:5

Genesis 25:5 Now Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac;

As Abraham gave all that he had to his only begotten son Isaac, so God the Father gave all that He had to His only begotten Son.

Therefore, let us honor the Son with the Father’s glory.  That is, let us honor the Son as we would honor the Father (John 5:22-23).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Genesis 24:58

Genesis 24:58 Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.”

What a vulnerable, poignant…and powerful moment!  As Rebekah was willing to “leave and cleave” so we who love Jesus have embraced Him for a whole new way of life.  We are leaving behind the futile way of life inherited from our earthly families (1 Peter 1:18) to embrace the altogether spiritual life that He offers us.

Let us go to him with the hope and the willingness and the vulnerability with which Rebekah went to Isaac.  Jesus will not disappoint us.  On the contrary, He will be “even more than we could ask or think” (Ephesians 3:20).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Deuteronomy 14:1 – We Are Sons of the Lord

Deuteronomy 14:1 “You are the sons of the LORD your God…

Who is the Lord?  Jesus.

How did He become God?  He was God before His incarnation, and He returned to that place when He was raised from the dead, taken to heaven, and installed as the king of the kingdom of God.

Is He then our Father?  Yes.

Do the Scriptures support this?  Yes.  Isaiah, for example, says that the Son will be called “Eternal Father.”

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

And, as we’ve seen above, Moses writes that the children of Israel are the sons of the Lord.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

He Answered Their Prayers Because They Trusted in Him

1 Chronicles 5:20 They were helped against them, and the Hagrites and all who were with them were given into their hand; for they cried out to God in the battle, and He answered their prayers because they trusted in Him.

What a felicitous promise for prayer!

How simple a construct!

Let us aspire to so live that these words be spoken of us before we leave this earth.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 64:8

Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.

Christians confess that Jesus is Lord.  Why then are they not willing to call Him “Father” as well, as this prophecy of Isaiah does?

Jesus was not revealed as the Father in the New Testament and that is why He is not revealed in those terms there.  Isaiah, however, prophesied that the Messiah would be “the Eternal Father”:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us,
a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.

It all happened in due time.  Specifically, Jesus became the Father once again at the coming of the kingdom (see Whatever Became of Jesus Christ?).  If we’re willing to call Him the “Prince of Peace” should we not also be willing to call Him “Eternal Father”?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Numbers 20:16

Numbers 20:16 ‘But when we cried out to the LORD, He heard our voice and sent an angel and brought us out from Egypt…

This verse foreshadows the deliverance God gave us through Jesus Christ.  That is, He sent His messenger Jesus before us.  This Jesus died for our sins and then was raised from the dead to the right hand of God.  From there He brought all humanity to Himself.  As Paul wrote, quoting the 68th psalm:

Ephesians 4:8 Therefore it says,
“WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES…

Or as the prophet Micah put it:

Micah 2:13 “The breaker goes up before them;
They break out, pass through the gate and go out by it.
So their king goes on before them,
And the LORD at their head.”

Of course, the messenger God “sent” was God Himself, becoming a man and then becoming a resurrected man – that is, an angel (see Matthew 22:30; Mark 12:25; and Luke 20:36).  If God could become a man, it should not seem strange that He could also become an angel – especially on the way to His being restored to His place as God.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Deuteronomy 31:14

Deuteronomy 31:14 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, the time for you to die is near; call Joshua, and present yourselves at the tent of meeting, that I may commission him.” So Moses and Joshua went and presented themselves at the tent of meeting.

As with Deuteronomy 31:3, this verse foreshadows Jesus Christ.

It parallels the vision of Daniel 7:13-14 wherein the Son of Man comes up to the Ancient of Days to receive a kingdom.

All this foreshadows the handing over of the kingdom from Father to Son, as referenced by Jesus in many places including Matthew 11:27 and John 5:22-23.

Of course, we know that this Father became the Son so that He might become the Father once again (Isaiah 9:6), just as a tree gives a seed so that the seed may become a tree:

John 12:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

As it is for us, so it was with God.  Blessed be His glorious name!

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Inheritance Jesus Left Us

Consider these two verses from Acts which speak of the inheritance made available for those who belong to Jesus Christ:

Acts 20:32 “And now I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

Untold riches reside in the inheritance left us by Jesus Christ.  These are the treasures of wisdom and knowledge and understanding.  They include the precious promises of God which make provision for all things required in a godly life.

Why are people buying lottery tickets for a prize that they probably won’t win, and which, even if they did win it, would only provide material goods, when they could be reaching into an inheritance that is surely theirs and provides for all things necessary for this life and the next?

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

From the Branch Come the Branches

One of the well-known references to Messiah in Old Testament prophecy regards “the Branch.”  For example,

Jeremiah 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the LORD,
“When I will raise up for David a righteous Branch;
And He will reign as king and act wisely
And do justice and righteousness in the land.

And Jeremiah is not the only prophet to use this term:

Zechariah 6:12 “Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD.

Isaiah chimes in as well:

Isaiah 4:2 In that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth will be the pride and the adornment of the survivors of Israel.

Nor are these the only occasions where these three prophets used this messianic title.

Therefore, when Jesus comes along in John 15 describing how His disciples are branches, it would have been a mind-stretching moment for that room full of Jews.  All their lives they had heard about the coming of God’s Branch.  And here before them, the one they have been following for three years, the one they had come to believe was, in fact, that Branch, was telling them that through Him they would all be branches!  It surely must have staggered their imaginations – but then there were so many things Christ did and said that staggered their imaginations.  No wonder He said to them that night:

John 16:12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now.

Should we be surprised that the Branch begets branches?  Not if we know that in this creation, everything reproduces after its own kind – just as it says in Genesis.  And even the apostle Paul said that Christ was “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Isaiah 63:16

Isaiah 63:16 For You are our Father, though Abraham does not know us
And Israel does not recognize us.
You, O LORD, are our Father,
Our Redeemer from of old is Your name.

The Lord Jesus is our Father.  Isaiah was prophesying that  this would be the case.  Earlier, Isaiah had  prophesied that He would be the “eternal Father” in this passage:

Isaiah 9:6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us;
And the government will rest on His shoulders;
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

Thus, our Lord is our Father.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Chronicles 6:8-9

2 Chronicles 6:8 “But the LORD said to my father David, ‘Because it was in your heart to build a house for My name, you did well that it was in your heart.
2 Chronicles 6:9 ‘Nevertheless you shall not build the house, but your son who will be born to you, he shall build the house for My name.’

It was not God the Father who built the eternal house for the name of God, for He was a God of bloodshed, but it was God the Son who built the everlasting house of the name of God that we call the kingdom of God.  The Son was of peace and shed no blood.

There was no evil in the Father just as there was no evil in the Son.  They are the same, for the Father became the Son.  But the Father was forced to worked through the hardness of men’s hearts in  the evil age ruled by Satan.  In the new age, Satan has been cut out of the loop – and for this reason Jesus never had to take up the sword as David did.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

1 Chronicles 23:1

1 Chronicles 23:1 Now when David reached old age, he made his son Solomon king over Israel.

And when God the Father became the Ancient of Days He turned over the kingdom to the Son of Man:

Daniel 7:13 “I kept looking in the night visions,
And behold, with the clouds of heaven
One like a Son of Man was coming,
And He came up to the Ancient of Days
And was presented before Him.
Daniel 7:14 “And to Him was given dominion,
Glory and a kingdom,
That all the peoples, nations and men of every language
Might serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion
Which will not pass away;
And His kingdom is one
Which will not be destroyed.

Know therefore that the transition from David to Solomon foreshadows the transition from God to Son.  For this reason the Son is called “the heir of all things” in Hebrews 1:2.  If He is heir of “all things” then there is no thing for which He is not heir.  All that had been the Father’s became the Son’s at the coming of the kingdom.

All devotion that we would give God should be directed to the Son.  This is what God asks.  This is what He has commanded.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

1 Chronicles 22:17

1 Chronicles 22:17 David also commanded all the leaders of Israel to help his son Solomon…

This verse foreshadows the direction God the Father gave his servants to follow Jesus:

Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”

For just as all things were handed from the Father to Jesus, so all things had been handed over to Solomon by his father David:

Matthew 11:27 “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…

Thus in 1 Chronicles 22:17, David is a type of God the Father and Solomon is a type of the Son of God.  Thus Solomon’s name means “peace” and Jesus “is our peace” (Ephesians 2:14).

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

1 Samuel 20:4

1 Samuel 20:4 Then Jonathan said to David, “Whatever you say, I will do for you.”

This is the kind of covenant we ought to have with our Lord Jesus, where we are as Jonathan and He is as David.  Then, whatever He says, we will do for Him.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

I’m Not Going to Call God by a Name That the Prophets and Apostles Don’t Use

If the prophets and the apostles don’t call God “trinity,” why should we?

The prophets and apostles called God by many names.  Many names.  Are there not enough of these names that we have to add our own?

We are warned against adding to, or taking away from, the word of God (Deuteronomy 4:2; 12:32; Proverbs 30:5, 6; Revelation 22:18, 19).  Why then do some so boldly add “trinity” to the list of names by which God has called Himself through His servants, the apostles and prophets through whom we have the Scriptures?

We ought to stand in fear of a holy God and use only the names for Him that He has given us.

Exodus 5:1 – Let His People Go!

Exodus 5:1 And afterward Moses and Aaron came and said to Pharaoh, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Let My people go that they may celebrate a feast to Me in the wilderness.'”

Here’s a call to all pastors, popes, and spiritual overseers of every kind:  Let the people of God go that they may worship Him without your involvement!

These are God’s people – not yours!

These are the people for whom Christ died, and who seek sincerely to serve Him.  Only you have co-opted their service for you and your organizations.  Let Christ’s people go to Him!  In fact, let them go that you might join them in worshiping and serving the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Abandon man-made institutions and serve the living and omnipresent God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

We Are, Like Isaac, Children of Promise

The apostle Paul wrote:

Galatians 4:28 And you brethren, like Isaac, are children of promise.

Isaac was born as the result of God fulfilling His promise of a son to Abraham.  Ishmael did not count in this regard because he was not born of Abraham’s faith but rather of Abraham’s doubt.  Isaac, however, was a true child of faith.

As the child of faith in God’s promise, Isaac inherited the promises God had made to Abraham – for God had said to Abraham, “…and to your descendants…” as part of the promises.

Jesus was due children as a result of being a descendant of Abraham.  He was denied those children in the days of his flesh, but he is receiving them forever through the spirit.

Therefore, let us experience life as Isaac did – heirs to the very promise that created us.  That is, let us teach the faith to those in our sphere of influence, that our children in the faith might pass it on to their children in the faith and so on.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The People of God Should Be As Devout As the Man of God

When we are reading the Bible and come across the phrase “the man of God” we generally associate that phrase with someone upright and godly – someone who is tuned to God’s will and does it.  When it comes to the expression “the people of God,” however, we are not so conditioned.  We are prepared for much more variation in behavior, because the people of God are depicted in the Scriptures as wayward more often than they are depicted as walking righteously.

That historical reality aside, God expects His people to be righteous just as He expects a man of God to be righteous.  For what are the people of God except the aggregation of all the men of God.  (I am, obviously, using the term “man” in its non-gender-specific sense.)

Christ came to purify a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14).  Thus in the kingdom of God, the same holy standard applies to qualifying as “the people of God” as applies to qualifying as “a man of God.”  Therefore, if you aspire to be among the true people of God you must aspire to be a true man of God.

For more, see: How to Be in the One True Church

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Double-mindedness Supports Trinitarianism

God takes a dim view of our being double-minded.  See Psalm 119:113; James 1:8 and 4:8.

Double-mindedness is obviously a confused state of thinking.  It results from an unwillingness to take a stand.  There’s a classic case of it revealed in Matthew 21:23-27 when the Pharisees refuse to take a stand on whether or not John the Baptist was sent from God.

The Pharisees wanted to have it both ways.  They wanted to be able to affirm John the Baptist before the crowds who revered him, while they simultaneously condemned him in private for giving his approval to Jesus.

That sort of contradictory thinking would allow a person to tolerate and even promote a concept like the Trinity – which is obviously a self-contradictory concept.  If you’re used to being double-minded, however, contradiction doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

I’m not suggesting that the Pharisees came up with the idea of God being a trinity – just that their way of thinking did.

By contrast, God desires that we be single-mindedly devoted to Christ.  See 2 Corinthians 11:3 and 2 John 1:9.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 106:47 – Blessed be the Lord Who Has Saved Us and Gathered Us to Himself

Psalm 106:47 Save us, O LORD our God,
And gather us from among the nations,
To give thanks to Your holy name
And glory in Your praise.

Who is “the Lord” who saves us but Jesus Christ our Lord.

We seek Him to “gather us from among the nations.”  That is, we seek Him to manifest Himself to us that we might look to Him, come to Him, imitate Him, and glorify Him.

We “give thanks” to His name, which is above all names.

And we glory not in the praise of men, but in the praise He gives when we do His will (Romans 2:28-29).

Blessed be Your name O Lord!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Psalm 107:1-3 – The Lord Himself Has Gathered Us to Himself

Psalm 107:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for He is good,
For His lovingkindness is everlasting.
Psalm 107:2 Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
Whom He has redeemed from the hand of the adversary
Psalm 107:3 And gathered from the lands,
From the east and from the west,
From the north and from the south.

Look at what the Lord has done for us!  He has redeemed us and gathered us to Himself.

We are not gathered to any earthly father.  We are not gathered to each other.  Rather, we are gathered to Him who is Lord.  We are gathered by our faith.

We know that without faith it is impossible to please Him.  We believe in His ministry to us because it is what we ought to do.

This passage is a picture of the one true church in the earth today.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

How Shall Jesus Have a Name Above Every Name Unless He Is the Father?

Philippians 2:9-11 says that Jesus has been granted a name that is above every name.  This was only fully accomplished when Jesus was revealed as the Father in the new age – that is, the age in which we live.

For if “the Father” is a name above Jesus, how can it be said that Jesus has the highest name?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Jesus Came in the Glory of His Father

In Matthew 16:27, Jesus promised that He would “come in the glory of His Father.”  This, of course, is exactly what He did.

Why did so many people miss it?  After all, that sounds like a lot of glory – how then could folks miss it?  For the same reason that they missed the glory when the Father had it.

Stated another way, why do people expect Jesus to come in earthly glory when He specifically said He was coming in the glory of His Father?  The Father’s glory, of course, transcends the physical creation.  By that glory, the physical creation is sustained.  Therefore, the glory in which Jesus came was no different from the glory that surrounded the Father through all the ages before Jesus came.  It is a spiritual glory, seen with spiritual eyes.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

“The Glory of His Inheritance in the Saints”

Ephesians 1:18 mentions “the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”  The Messiah inherited the saints from the Father.  They were a pledge (or down payment or early installment, if you prefer) of the inheritance that the Father was giving the Son.  (Regarding this inheritance, see yesterday’s post.)

“Saints” means “holy ones” – those set apart for God.  Prior to the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth, God had known those Israelites whose hearts were truly His.  However, only with the ministry of the Nazarene were those holy ones revealed to others.  That is, people like John the Baptist, Peter, James, John, and others had been true Jews at heart.  That’s why they were drawn to the carpenter from Galilee.  These holy ones were drawn to the light of Christ according to John 3:19-21.  That is, they were people who were unafraid of the light because they sought to live their lives for the approval of God and not the approval of men.

The Messiah was a polarizer of people.  A more precise way of seeing this, however, is to recognize that it is fundamentally God who polarizes people and the Messiah merely brought that polarization to light (Luke 2:34-35).  That is, the people who loved God loved the one sent by God.  Those who rejected God rejected the one sent by God.

Therefore, those Jews who loved Jesus loved God before they loved Jesus.  You can also say that they loved Jesus because they loved God.  For this reason, God’s saints were passed to Jesus.  Jesus inherited those saints…and it was a glorious thing that He did.  This is just one aspect of “the glory of His inheritance in the saints.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Everything That Was the Father’s Is Now the Son’s

Everything that was the Father’s is now the Son’s.

Remember that in Matthew 11:27 and Luke 10:22, Jesus said, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father.”  Remember also that in John 5:22, Jesus said that the Father “has given all judgment to the Son.”  And then there is, of course, Hebrews 1:2 which says that the Son had been “appointed heir of all things.” [emphasis added]

Thus through Christ – the Son of God – was the following prophecy of Isaiah fulfilled:

 Isaiah 22:24 “So they will hang on him all the glory of his father’s house…

Therefore, all that was due the Father – that is, worship, reverence, awe, fear, respect, honor, obedience, devotion, trust, praise, glory, faithfulness, and more – is now owed to the Son.

The Trinity concept misses the point.  It misrepresents God and obscures the inheritance that passed from father to son.  The Son inherited all from the Father.  Therefore, let us regard the Son as the Father.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Honor the Son Even as Our Ancestors Honored the Father

John 5:22 “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son,
John 5:23 so that all will honor the Son even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.

These words of Jesus indicate that as He was to receive all judgment from the Father, so that the faithful would come to honor the Son as they honored the Father.  Therefore, as Abraham and Isaac and Jacob honored the Father – with faith, obedience, and worship – so we should honor the Son – with faith, obedience, and worship.

Note that Jesus does not say we should honor a trinity as we honored the Father.  Rather, He says we should honor the Son as we honored the Father.  Thus trinitarianism is a departure from Scripture and it is a distraction from Christ.  It is anti-Christ in effect, and a departure from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ that the apostles counseled (2 Corinthians 11:3).

Whatever honor was given the Father is now due to Christ.  Let us therefore be fully devoted to Christ as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were fully devoted to God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

If Jesus Is God…

If Jesus is God, what is going on at His baptism and the Mount of Transfiguration?

First, let’s recognize that the Old Testament is Jesus’ biography – written in advance.  In Acts 2:23, after forty days of instruction from Jesus (Luke 24:27, 44), the apostle Peter reported to the Jewish crowds assembled in Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost that the crucifixion of Jesus by the hands of godless men had been part “the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God.”  In other words, evil men had not spoiled the plan of God – they had participated in it.  God’s Messiah had not be thwarted.  On the contrary, He used the sins of men to overcome the sins of men.  The life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth had been planned.  In the light of this understanding, let’s take a look back at Jesus’ baptism and transfiguration.

Both at His baptism (Matthew 3:17; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22) and at His transfiguration (Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; Luke 9:35), the texts say that “a voice” came from above.  I don’t think that God is so shorthanded that He has to do His own announcements.  Like any great king, He has servants to carry out His wishes and make His words known.  Thus I take it that an angel of some kind was proclaiming the words.  It doesn’t seem too hard to imagine that as part of “the predetermined plan of God” that these announcements were planned to be made at certain time and/or when certain conditions were met.

Before leaving heaven for His transformation into a human being through conception in Mary’s womb, God made all the necessary arrangements associated with His plan for the redemption of creation – including the use of generations of prophets beginning with Moses to document the plan (in what we call the Old Testament)…so that it could be read to Him once He became a human being – eventually even being able to read it Himself (Luke 4:16, 17).  Thus God arranged for the messages from heaven long before they took place.  In short, God had left Himself these messages for when He would be Jesus.  This is true not just of these voices but of the entirety of the Old Testament.

 

John 10:16

John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

This scripture was fulfilled when Jesus came again.

It was prophesied by Peter when he wrote:

1 Peter 5:4 And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.

Thus there is only one flock of God today, and Jesus is its shepherd.  You do not know where they are?  Fear not, the Lord does:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,”…

This flock is sanctified by the eyes of the spirit, not the eyes of the flesh.

Make this your cry:  The Lord Is Our Pastor

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Who Gets Called a Christian?

The term “Christian” appears a grand total of three times in the Bible (Acts 11:26; 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16).

By contrast, the word “Christ” appears in the Bible over 500 times.

Let that be our guide as to which the Bible considers more important.

The reason that the disciples were called Christians in Acts 11:26 was that they were so often talking about Christ.  That is, they were not talking about themselves – they were talking about Him.

Let people call you a Christian because you talk so much about Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Problem Isn’t That There Aren’t Enough Christians in the World; Rather, There Are Too Many

Approximately one out of every three people on the earth today calls himself a Christian.  Is that too many…or too few?

Consider what Mahatma Ghandi said:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

That being the case, it’s doubtful that going from one out of three to two out of three is going to convince the remaining third to join in.

The qualifications for being counted as a Christian have become very watered down from what they were in biblical times.  Today, all one has to do is to say “I’m a Christian” and that ends all debate on the subject.  There may be good Christians, bad Christians, and awful Christians, but a person’s own self-description seems to be the sole and deciding criterion as to whether he is or isn’t a Christian.

The spiritual reality is that the world needs the kind of Christians that could do the reputation of Christianity some good.  Otherwise, we might as well count Christians as being pretty much like everyone else.  As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.

What we need instead are Christians who act like Christ:

1 John 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.

What we don’t need Christians who act like the devil:

Matthew 23:15 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites, because you travel around on sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.

If you think that only Christians go to heaven, then you want the number of Christians to be high.  However, believing that everyone is going to heaven gives you a different perspective.  Specifically, in terms of helping the world, it’s not the number of Christians that matter – it’s their power.  For as Jonathan the son of Saul said:

1 Samuel 14:6 …the LORD is not restrained to save by many or by few.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

God Has Been Purifying a People for Himself All Along

God chose Abraham for the purpose of creating a people for Himself.

God gave Abraham many descendants so that He might have many people for Himself.  However, not all the descendants would be God’s people.  First of all, it was only the descendants of Isaac; Abraham’s descendants through Ishmael were excluded.  Then it was only the descendants of Jacob; the descendants of Esau were excluded.  This was a winnowing process, not unlike that which involved Gideon:

Judges 7:2 The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

Fast forward to New Testament times and we see that God was purifying a people for Himself by choosing from among Jews and Gentiles (Romans 9:24; Acts 15:14) those who would willingly (i.e., voluntarily) submit themselves to God’s rule (Psalm 110:3).

Therefore, looking across both testaments we can see that God was purifying for Himself a people for His own possession:

Titus 2:14 [Christ Jesus] gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

Therefore, today the people of God are known in their entirety by Him alone (2 Timothy 2:19).  No human shepherd stands over them for they will only follow the voice of the one true Shepherd (John 10:5).  This is the continuation and consummation of a process God began long, long ago.  All along, He has been “purifying a people for His own possession.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The God-fearing Gentiles

The apostle Paul is known for having been commissioned by Jesus to reach the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7).  However, we mustn’t think that  this meant Paul indiscriminately sought any and every Gentile he could find.  Rather, the Scripture describes Paul’s efforts as being focused on “God-fearers among the Gentiles” (Acts 17:17).  Even when Paul said to the Jews in Corinth, “From now on I shall go to the Gentiles,” (Acts 18:6), he only went next door (Acts 18:7).  And in the very next city he entered, which was Ephesus, and started at the synagogue once again (Acts 18:19) reasoning with Jews.

Does this mean that Paul was vacillating?  Hardly.  It simply indicates that Paul focused his attention on the Gentiles where he had the greatest chance of success – that is, those Gentiles who were already convinced that there was but one God, that He was righteous, and that the Jews spoke for Him.  This is what made them “God-fearers” in the eye of the Jews.  And they hung around synagogues – not around the red-light district of town.

Among both Jews and Gentiles of that age, there were those who feared God and those who didn’t.  The preaching of the gospel polarized each of these two populations, drawing those whose hearts were tender toward God to Him – hardening and repelling the rest.

The true people of God could not be determined by whether or not they were Jew or Gentile, but by whether or not they loved righteousness (Hebrews 1:9).  This is still true today.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

New Testament Elder Functions Were Limited and Temporary

Church leaders today want to claim biblical authority over you.  However, the Bible gives them none.

The term elder as used in the New Testament is synonymous with “overseer,” “bishop,” “shepherd,” and “pastor.”  (See this post for more explanation.)  These were leaders appointed by the apostles, and by subordinates of the apostles (e.g. Timothy and Titus).

1 Timothy 3:1ff and Titus 1:5ff are the two New Testament passages which give the most extensive lists of qualifications and responsibilities of church elders.  Nowhere in those lists are elders themselves authorized to appoint elders.  That is, these church elders were given no means of providing for their own succession.  This is quite understandable since the return of the Lord was expected in their lifetimes (and return He did: Jesus Christ Has Already Come Again).  Elders were being appointed because there weren’t enough apostles to keep up with the growth of disciples.  (To distinguish apostles from disciples, see this post.)  However, if the church ran low on elders, only the apostles were authorized to appoint more in order to replenish those ranks.

Elders therefore had 1) less authority than the apostles, and 2) like the apostles, had authority that was expected to soon expire (i.e. with the coming of the Lord).  For this reason, Peter included himself with the elders in anticipation of the Lord’s arrival to assume personal responsibility for His flock (1 Peter 5:1-4), and thereby relieve the apostles and elders of their respective authority (1 Corinthians 15:24 – the abolishment of all prior authority).

With such limited and temporary biblical authority for elders, it is surprising that church leaders today say that their authority over anyone is based on the Bible.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

John 4:21-24

John 4:21 Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father.
John 4:22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.
John 4:23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers.
John 4:24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

How is it that Jesus said almost 2,000 years ago that “an hour is coming and now is” that physical location would cease to be an issue for true worship of God and yet some today say that He wants people to go to a certain place and gather with certain others in order to properly worship?  I’m talking, of course, about those who say that God wants His followers to belong to a local church.

We are not sanctified by our location in a specific place or by our inclusion with a certain group, but rather by the Spirit (Romans 15:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2).  That is, “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19) and there’s no need for your name to be on some earthly attendance list.

If you want to belong to the house of the Lord, then belong to the Lord…and you will be of His house.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Jeremiah 3:16 – The Ark of the Covenant

Jeremiah 3:16 “It shall be in those days when you are multiplied and increased in the land,” declares the LORD, “they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor will they miss it, nor will it be made again.

This scripture was fulfilled in Jesus Christ.  He Himself became the ark of the covenant.  That is, the covenant was contained in Him.

Let us imitate Him.  That is, let the covenant of the Lord be secured in our hearts.  Let us be vessels for honor, carrying the truth the Lord written upon our hearts.  As Paul put it to the Corinthians:

2 Corinthians 3:2 You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;
2 Corinthians 3:3 being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
2 Corinthians 3:4 Such confidence we have through Christ toward God.
2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God,
2 Corinthians 3:6 who also made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Bible Is a Love Story

The Bible is a love story about God and His people.

He loves His people.  They reciprocate His love.

Who are the people of God?  [Emphasis added.]

2 Chronicles 16:9 “For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His

For more on how the Scripture labels the people whom God loves, see: Scriptural Names for the People of God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zephaniah 3:13 – The Remnant

Zephaniah 3:13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong
And tell no lies,
Nor will a deceitful tongue
Be found in their mouths;
For they will feed and lie down
With no one to make them tremble.”

Recall also:

Romans 9:27 Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “THOUGH THE NUMBER OF THE SONS OF ISRAEL BE LIKE THE SAND OF THE SEA, IT IS THE REMNANT THAT WILL BE SAVED;

Thus, if you would be numbered among the people of God – that is, the “remnant” – then “do no wrong and tell no lies.”  As Zephaniah’s fellow prophet Zechariah put it, “Speak the truth” (Zechariah 8:16).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Zephaniah 3:11

Zephaniah 3:11 “In that day you will feel no shame
Because of all your deeds
By which you have rebelled against Me;
For then I will remove from your midst
Your proud, exulting ones,
And you will never again be haughty
On My holy mountain.

These words from the prophet Zephaniah spoke of a work God was going to do, whereby He was going to purify the people of God.  Jesus spoke of this same work when He said to the chief priests and elders of Israel:

Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

Thus Jesus also said;

John 10:16 “I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.

To purify Israel meant to remove those Jews who did not belong and add those Gentiles who did.  That is, the true people of God are those who live His way – be they Jew or Gentile according to the flesh.

2 Timothy 2:19 …”The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

Those among the people of God who harbor wickedness are not harbored themselves.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zephaniah 3:10

Zephaniah 3:10 “From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia
My worshipers, My dispersed ones,
Will bring My offerings.

See how Zephaniah’s words were fulfilled in the New Testament church according to Peter’s first letter regarding God’s “dispersed ones” [emphasis added]:

1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia…

Note also how Peter said they were “bringing offerings”:

1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
1 Peter 2:5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Thus the apostles continually reported how the prophets words were being fulfilled through Jesus Christ.  As Paul said, the apostles were:

Acts 26:22 “…testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;

The words of Zephaniah 3:10 were thus being fulfilled in New Testament times.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible.

For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zephaniah 3:9

Zephaniah 3:9 “For then I will give to the peoples purified lips,
That all of them may call on the name of the LORD,
To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

Through Jesus Christ, God gave purified lips to those who love Him.  With Christ as the sacrifice, the worshipers of God were cleansed.

As the apostle John wrote:

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Thus the people of God – Jew and Gentile – called upon the name of the Lord – Jesus – with purified lips.

As the prophet Isaiah had written:

Isaiah 6:5 Then I said,
“Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips;
For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”
Isaiah 6:6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a burning coal in his hand, which he had taken from the altar with tongs.
Isaiah 6:7 He touched my mouth with it and said, “Behold, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.”

The Lord wants those who call upon His name to do so with pure lips…and He Himself is willing to do the purifying necessary to allow that.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible.

For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom. Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Our Salvation Is in the Midst of Their Wrath

Paul wrote:

1 Thessalonians 5:9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

These two destinies of “wrath” and “salvation” take place side by side, for God is able to distinguish between the righteous and the wicked (Malachi 3:18).  For this reason, Paul could write in his second letter to these Thessalonians:

2 Thessalonians 1:6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
2 Thessalonians 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
2 Thessalonians 1:8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
2 Thessalonians 1:9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
2 Thessalonians 1:10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed…

Thus while the disobedient suffer, the obedient are delivered.  For this reason, the righteous experience life as a Passover in the midst of the destruction that is taking place all around them.

It becomes easier to see how our salvation can be experienced in the midst of their wrath when we realize that our salvation is of the soul, just as it suggests in Romans 2:9, 10.  This is why Christ could tell Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you” (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego in the fiery furnace.  We do not have to suffer as evildoers.  We only have to be willing to suffer for Christ (2 Timothy 3:12).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Galatians 6:16

Galatians 6:16 And those who will walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

This verse comes at the end of Paul’s letter to the churches of Galatia, which is largely a definition of who constitutes “the Israel of God.”

The point of Paul’s letter is that whether one is Jewish or Gentile in the flesh is of little consequence.  What matters is being a Jew “in heart.”  As he wrote in his letter to the Roman believers:

Romans 2:28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Thus “the Israel of God” that receives peace are those who have set their minds on the spirit:

Romans 8:6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace,

Or as Paul said earlier in Galatians:

Galatians 3:29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants…

Belonging to Christ makes you true Israel.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Life Is a Passover for the People of God

Christ is the Passover lamb, and thus He is the nourishment for the people of God as they weather the storms of life.

We who seek to live for God in this world do not seek a life of pleasure:

Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,

And we know that the judgment of God begins with us:

1 Peter 4:17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Therefore, it is not a life of ease we are expecting.  It’s just that our lot will be better than that of those who forsake the Lord:

1 Peter 4:18 AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?  [quoting Proverbs 11:31]

Thus earthly life is to us a Passover.  With difficulty all around us, we take refuge in our Lord who protects us and sustains us.  For this reason the prophet said:

Jeremiah 45:5 ‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'”

Therefore, let us live life as our Passover, feasting on the lamb provided by God Himself.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

“Anointing” Is an Apt Metaphor for the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is said to be our anointing.  And this word “anointing,” of course, refers to the ancient practice of anointing with oil.

What a wonderful metaphor for the Holy Spirit!  Even in our age, we understand how anointing works because we so often apply various kinds of lotion or oils to our faces.  Oil blends in.  Oil permeates and becomes a part of the person. Oil makes the person’s face glisten.  Once applied, it is not easily removed.  It must be replenished, but that is only a problem if you have a limited amount of oil.  God is able to give the Spirit without measure:

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

*****

John 3:34 “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Even Messiah Was Not Meant to Be Alone

Genesis 2:18 Then the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable for him.”

All Scripture speaks of Messiah.  Thus, we see that Jesus was not left alone, but rather was anointed with the Holy Spirit as His helper:

Acts 10:38 “You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power, and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.

This is the helper of which Jesus spoke:

John 14:26 “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.

We are to be conformed to the image of Messiah. Thus we are to have the Holy Spirit as our helper, too.  Because of this, it becomes possible for us to say as Jesus did:

John 8:29 “And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 45:16 – The Son Comes to Take the Place of the Father

Psalm 45:16 In place of your fathers will be your sons…

Thus, in place of God the Father…is God the Son.

For this reason, the voice from heaven said:

Mark 9:7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!”

Why then aren’t we listening to the Son?

If this idea is not clear to you, see this post: There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Nehemiah 2:10

Nehemiah 2:10 When Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard about it, it was very displeasing to them that someone had come to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.

It is always displeasing to the enemies of God when someone comes to seek the welfare of the sons of Israel.  And when you consider this truth, be sure to remember that:

Romans 2:28 …he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh.
Romans 2:29 But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.

Thus the sons of Israel are those who live to please God.  As Jesus said when He encountered Nathanael:

John 1:47 KJV …”Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile!”

These are the ones who qualify for the beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-16) that Jesus pronounced at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount. These true sons of Israel are the true light of the world.  The spiritual forces of darkness (Ephesians 6:12) become rattled whenever someone seeks to strengthen these sons of light.

Have you come to strengthen those who live for God?  I hope so.  They lead the many to righteousness (Daniel 12:3).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

Through Jesus Christ we have been granted the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.  As Paul wrote:

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

And again:

Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,
Philippians 2:2 make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.

To be in fellowship with the Holy Spirit is to be at one with the purposes of God.  There is a flow to the Spirit, and we enter into that flow when we walk with Him.

As the prophet said:

Amos 3:3 KJV Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

It is through the Holy Spirit that Christ dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:16-17).  Thus fellowship with the Holy Spirit is fellowship with Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Strike Down the Shepherd and the Sheep Will Be Scattered

You may recognize the title of this post as coming from Zechariah 13:7.  It was quoted by Jesus the night before He died as a reference to Himself (Matthew 26:31; Mark 14:27).

As this prophecy spoke that night of Jesus in the flesh, so it speaks for all time since of Jesus in the spirit.  That is, the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17).  Jesus leads us and rules us by His Spirit in this age.  Thus the way to thwart the advance of Jesus and His kingdom in our day is to deny, ignore, resist, or otherwise nullify the Holy Spirit.  This is why blasphemy against the Spirit is such a serious issue:

Luke 12:10 “And everyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him.

If you would give Jesus free reign in your heart, give the Holy Spirit free reign in your heart – for this is how Jesus moves and reveals Himself today.  To be led by Jesus Christ is to be led by the Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:18).

The “great Shepherd of the sheep” (Hebrews 13:20) did once walk the earth in the flesh (Hebrews 5:7), but we know Him according to the flesh no longer (2 Corinthians 5:16).  Rather, “now the Lord is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Let not this Shepherd be struck down.  Otherwise, we will be scattered.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 7:13 – Seeing Jesus as the Builder of the House for God’s Name

2 Samuel 7:13 “He shall build a house for My name…”

These words were spoken by God through the prophet Nathan to King David.  These words describe the descendant (or “seed”) God was promising David.  That is, at some time in the distant future (2 Samuel 7:19), a descendant of David would be born.  This descendant would build a house for the name of God.  These words were spoken to David around 1,000 B.C.  That distant future was reached a thousand years later when Jesus of Nazareth arrived in the 1st Century A.D.

This Jesus reiterated the promise above when He Himself said:

Matthew 16:18 “…I will build My church…”

The person to whom He directed these words (i.e. the apostle Peter) would later write to contemporaries who shared his faith in the one who spoke those words:

1 Peter 2:5 you…are being built up as a spiritual house…

Thus the promise of God was fulfilled as the seed of David was building a house for the name of God.

Let everyone who would be a part of that house abstain from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19; James 1:21).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Daniel 7:18 – The Saints of the Highest One

Daniel 7:18 ‘But the saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.’

Who are “the saints” of the Highest One?  Those individuals who are set apart to Jesus Christ.

Can you name them all?  No, but the Lord can, for “the Lord knows those who are His” (2 Timothy 2:19).  These are the ones who abstain from wickedness (2 Timothy 2:19).  He has taught them His ways, for they are His disciples (John 8:31).

Do you want to be among their number?  Then “submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution” and “use your freedom as bondslaves of God” (1 Peter 2:13-16).

Join with the saints of the Highest One who say, “Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to Your name give glory!”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

As It Was for the Prophets, So It Is for the Saints

Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

If you follow Christ, your lot in life is persecution – just as it was for the prophets.

Thus the apostle Paul would write:

2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

Do not, however, ever stop living godly.  It is the way of God, the way of Christ.  Do not forsake it.

How can He call you one of His if you are not walking holy?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Least in the Kingdom of God Is More Than a Prophet

Jesus said that John the Baptist was “a prophet and more than a prophet.”  Jesus went on to say that of all those born of women, John the Baptist was the greatest…yet he who was least in the kingdom of God was greater than John.  (See Matthew 11:7-11.)

For this reason, we can know that he who is least in the kingdom of God is a prophet and more than a prophet.

The blessing of being in the kingdom of God is great, but so also is the responsibility.  This is not something that can be achieved with part-time effort.  A true disciple of Christ must count the cost…and pay it (Luke 14:25-35).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

 

Revelation 19:10 – The Testimony of Jesus Is the Spirit of Prophecy

Revelation 19:10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

The New Testament disciples walked in the path  of the prophets before them.  Jesus had walked that path, and His disciples were following Him.  That put them all on the same path.

The “testimony of Jesus” was “the word of the Lord come to them.”  Thus, the disciples followed Jesus just as the prophets had followed God.

Thus Numbers 11:29 was fulfilled, that “all God’s people were prophets” for “all had His Spirit upon them.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

1 Samuel 19:20 – The New Testament Disciples Were a Company of Prophets

[Emphasis added in the following verse:]

1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied.

The disciples about whom we read in the New Testament gathered in assemblies where all of them could prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, 5, 31).  The “word of the Lord had come to them” (John 1:1, 11-12) and they were all prophesying.

The word “company” in 1 Samuel 19:20 in the Septuagint is the same word translated as “church” in the New Testament.  No wonder.  (In this regard, consider also Numbers 11:29.)

The people of God walk the path of the prophets.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

2 Samuel 5:2 (1 Chronicles 11:2) – Christ or the Trinity?

2 Samuel 5:2 “Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.'”

(1 Chronicles 11:2 says practically the same thing.)

Even those Trinitarians who seek godliness know that the Son is the One who takes the lead and gets things done.  Thus, even though Trinitarians proclaim the Father, it is the Son who the faithful ones follow.  No one knows the Father except through the Son anyway (Matthew 11:27).  Devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) has always been what has advanced the kingdom of God.

The organized church has always had within its shadow those who truly sought the kingdom of God.  These souls brought down the blessings of heaven upon us not because they were part of the organized church, but rather in spite of the fact that they were part of the organized church.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zechariah 12:10 – The Spirit of Grace We Do Not Want to Insult

[Emphasis is added in the following verses to show their connection.  I’m wanting you to see clearly that the New Testament verse (i.e., Hebrews 10:29) is quoting an expression from the Old Testament (i.e., Zechariah 12:10).]

Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

*****

Hebrews 10:29 How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?

The New Testament writers relied completely on the Old Testament Scriptures as enlightened by the Holy Spirit.  The writer of Hebrews is here evoking the spirit and words of the prophet Zechariah.  This “Spirit of grace” permeated the New Testament church (John 1:14, 16, 17), but was in danger of being taken for granted.  For this reason the letter of Hebrews was written:  to exhort believers to stir themselves to pay much closer attention to what they had heard (Hebrews 2:1; 13:22).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 149:1 – A Prophecy of Christ and the New Testament Church

Psalm 149:1 Praise the LORD!
Sing to the LORD a new song,
And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones.

When Jesus was raised from the dead, the Psalms became a new book – filled with new songs.

Psalm 2 was no longer a song for Israel’s king – it was now a song for Israel’s resurrected king, reigning supreme in heaven over all creation!

Psalm 16 was no longer a song to celebrate how God keeps death at bay – it was now a song about how God brings about new and greater life through death and in spite of it!

Psalm 22 was no longer a song of praise to a God who helps with difficult -it was now a song about how God had overcome the greatest difficulty of all, which was death.

And on you could go through the book of Psalms.

The New Testament churches were singing these psalms in a way they had never been sung before – it was a new way!  And it was the way through death – the most formidable enemy mankind had ever encountered.  Thus the praise of Christ was sung throughout “the congregation of the godly ones,” which was, of course, the gatherings we call the New Testament church.

The meaning of “congregation” in this verse and of “church” in the New Testament is the same.  Therefore, this verse prophesied the New Testament church.  Our New Testaments bear ample witness to the fulfillment of this prophecy!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

If Messiah Is Not a Father, Why Does Scripture Speak of His Sons?

Psalm 89:27 makes reference to the Messiah as “the firstborn” and “the highest of the kings of the earth.”  As this psalm continues to describe this great one, Psalm 89:30 says, “If his sons forsake My law…”  Thus Messiah must have sons.  This should not be considered strange for how could the seed of Abraham miss out on the blessing of fatherhood?

If the blessing of Abraham, which was rightly inherited by Messiah, didn’t include fatherhood,  wouldn’t that blessing be missing its most emblematic element?

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The King of the Spiritual Jews

Spiritual Jews have a king.  His name is Jesus.

This is a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9-10).  It is the kingdom of God (Revelation 1:6; 5:10).  Their monarch is blameless (John 8:46), and He is their example (1 Corinthians 11:1).

When this king was scourged and crucified, he was mocked by the title “King of the Jews.”  And yet, this is a name he wears with honor.  For He is proud of His people who love Him and lay down their lives for Him.

Would you be true to your king?  Then be a true citizen of true Israel.

A true Jew wants to be.  No one should be – or even can be – coerced into being true.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zephaniah 3:13 – Describing the People of Jesus Christ

Zephaniah 3:13 “The remnant of Israel will do no wrong
And tell no lies,
Nor will a deceitful tongue
Be found in their mouths;
For they will feed and lie down
With no one to make them tremble.”

These are the people who act like Jesus (1 John 2:6).  They are recognized as having been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).  It can be seen that God is with them (Zechariah 8:23).

This is so because Jesus cleanses them from their sin (Matthew 1:21).  He works in them His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21).  He has purified them so that they are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2:14).

They have clean hands and pure hearts (Psalm 24:4; James 4:8).  They follow in the footsteps of their Lord (1 Peter 2:21).  They are being conformed to His image (Romans 8:29).

Their perfected love drives out all fear (1 John 4:18).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Esther 1:19 and Matthew 21:43

The first verse below would have been found in the Bible Jesus read while living on the earth.  The second verse came later.  Notice the similarity in the two:

Esther 1:19 “If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she.

#####

Matthew 21:43 “Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.

If you think Jesus learned the plan of salvation through the Hebrew Scriptures, you’d be right.  Of course, He was relying on the Holy Spirit for understanding of those Scriptures…but through Him you and I can come to understand the things He did.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Formerly God Spoke Loudly; Now He Speaks Quietly

1 Kings 19:12 After the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of a gentle blowing.

*****

1 Kings 19:12 (King James Version) And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.

In Biblical times it was as if God spoke in loud ways (e.g. earthquakes, fires, etc.), but in the days of the kingdom of God He speaks by His Holy Spirit in “a gentle blowing” or “a still small voice.”

As Zephaniah prophesied, He is “quiet in His love” toward us:

Zephaniah 3:17 “The LORD your God is in your midst,
A victorious warrior.
He will exult over you with joy,
He will be quiet in His love,
He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

Listen for the God who speaks in quietness.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Before His Resurrection, Jesus Spoke as a Man; Afterwards, He Spoke Through the Holy Spirit

We know that God became flesh and lived as a human being – Jesus of Nazareth.  The disciples of Jesus could talk with Him face to face about any issue they desired to discuss.  Once Jesus ascended into heaven, however, He inherited the Holy Spirit who became His instrument for speaking to His disciples from that point forward.

Even today, Jesus speaks through the Holy Spirit.  “For the kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:17).

Thus the letter to the Hebrews reads:

Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking.

The writer was referring to the utterances of the Spirit which were the essence of New Testament church services (see 1 Corinthians 12-14).

Hence he who does not welcome the Holy Spirit does not welcome the utterances of Jesus.  Let us therefore receive the Holy Spirit  at all times and in all places.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Isaiah 44:4 – The Poplars Springing Up by Streams of Water

Isaiah 44:4 And they will spring up among the grass
Like poplars by streams of water.’

Who are these who will spring up “like poplars by streams of water” but those who follow in the steps of their Lord Jesus (1 Peter 2:21).  For He is the righteous man of Psalm 1, and His followers are conformed to His image (Romans 8:29) through  process of perfecting orchestrated by God Himself (Philippians 1:6).

As for the streams of water:

John 7:37 Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink.
John 7:38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.'”
John 7:39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

This effect of the Holy Spirit is spoken of as well in the verse just before Isaiah 44:4.  He works like the rains from above and like the springs from beneath:

Isaiah 44:3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;

Jeremiah 17:5-8 supplies similar imagery.  It will reinforce and amplify the insight.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

When You Say to Jesus in the Morning, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven” You Are Staking Out a Path for the Day

As Jesus took up His cross, so you take up your cross daily and follow Him.

Luke 9:23 And He was saying to them all, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me.

Jesus also said:

Matthew 6:34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Thus, a one-day-at-a-time approach to following Jesus is best.

Trinitarians get no direction at all from praying “Our Father who art in heaven” because the Father of Jesus is someone that have never seen and can therefore never imitate.  Jesus Himself said:

John 5:19 …the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

How can a son imitate a father he has never seen doing anything?

Trinitarians actually can receive direction from God, but they receive in spite of the trinitarian concept – not because of it.  Trinitarianism put a believer in a confused mental state before God.  God is not a God of confusion.

As Jesus was perfected through what He suffered (Hebrews 2:10), so we are perfected through the sufferings we endure for His sake (Romans 8:17).

Thus it is through the path of the cross, cut for us by Jesus Himself, that we can reach heavenly glory.  Without Him as our Father in heaven, we have no vision of how to live this earthly life.  And “without a vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18 King James Version).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

When You Say, “Our Father Who Art in Heaven” You Are Addressing Jesus

Jesus is our father – our progenitor, the one from whom we come (spiritually speaking).  He died and has been raised to heaven.  Thus He is “our father who is in heaven.”

If you keep this in mind whenever you pray or call to heaven, you will be filling your mind with true and helpful thoughts…like these:

You will be remembering that your father walked your path before you.  Your father is therefore your forerunner (Hebrews 6:20) that you may run with endurance the race set before you (Hebrews 12:1-2).

You will be remembering that you, too, have a destination before you.  One day you will be in heaven where you will give an account of the decisions you made here.  And you will be giving this account to Jesus – the one who made human decisions here before you were born.

You will be remembering that you share Jesus as father with others, for it is “our” father whom you address.

You will be remembering the resurrection which is so utterly essential to the faith bequeathed to us (1 Corinthians 15:12-19).

There is something blessed about filling your mind with thoughts of your resurrected Lord whenever you think or say “Our Father who art in heaven.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

The Holy Spirit Is the Blessing of God Par Excellence

Isaiah 44:3 ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land
And streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring
And My blessing on your descendants;

By the parallelism that is inherent in Hebrew poetry, we see in this verse the connection Isaiah is drawing between God’s Holy Spirit and the blessing of God.

The greatest blessing in this life is the Spirit of the Lord in our hearts.  For then, God is with us (“Immanuel”).  No other blessing Christ could bestow on us measures up to the value of having His Spirit dwell in us.  Thus the Holy Spirit is the blessing of God par excellence.

When Paul was struggling with the Galatians to get them back on spiritual track, he asked, “Where then is that sense of blessing you had?” in Galatians 4:15.  He went on to say that he was “again in labor until Christ was formed” in  them.  If they lacked the blessing, it could only mean that they had lost the formation of Christ in their hearts.  To have the Spirit of Christ formed in us is to have the blessing of God upon us.

David knew value of the Holy Spirit, which is why, when caught in his sin, he pleaded that the Holy Spirit remain with him (Psalm 51:11).  By contrast, when King Saul was reprimanded for sin, he sought to retain the earthly honor of his office (1 Samuel 15:30).  Saul, though older than David, was not as wise as David.  Saul did not value the presence of the Holy Spirit…just as Esau did not value his birthright (Hebrews 12:15-16).

Knowing the value of the Holy Spirit, David prays to the Lord:

Psalm 3:8 Salvation belongs to the LORD;
Your blessing be upon Your people!

Surely David was recalling Moses’ words:

Numbers 11:29 ..Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

The people of God should not be without the blessing of God.  If they find themselves in such a state, they should repent.  If they do, these words will be fulfilled:

Proverbs 1:23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

How Can We Do Things Through Christ?

Paul says:

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.  (KJV)

And how does this strengthening take place?  Paul himself answers in another of his letters:

Ephesians 3:16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man,

Therefore, we seek from Him His Holy Spirit to strengthen our inner man that we might do all things through Him.  Then comes about the saying:

Zechariah 4:6 …”Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,” says the LORD of hosts.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Zephaniah 3:12 – Taking Refuge in the Name of the Lord

Zephaniah 3:12 “But I will leave among you
A humble and lowly people,
And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.

The Lord’s people today do not take refuge in each other.  Still less do they take refuge in denominations or buildings.  They take refuge in the name of the Lord:  Jesus Christ.

The name of the Lord is sufficient for them because:

Acts 4:12 “..there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

This salvation is of the soul, and not of circumstance.  This is because His grace is sufficient for them (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Therefore they call upon His name and no other.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Seeing Jesus in Judges 5:31

Judges 5:31 “Thus let all Your enemies perish, O LORD;
But let those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”…

Who showed more love for God than Jesus?  (Asked another way, who did a better job of obeying the greatest commandment?)

And who of His enemies did not perish?  (Was not Jerusalem itself destroyed in 70 AD?)

And who rose like the sun in its might?  (Is He not called “the Sun of Righteousness” who rose?)

Jesus our Lord is the one who loved God with all His heart and soul and mind and strength, and who rose, and whose enemies have perished.

As He loved the Lord His God, let us love Him – the Lord our God.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Psalm 68:5

Psalm 68:5 A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

How is Jesus “a father of the fatherless?”  Did He not promise:

John 14:18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.

And how is He “a judge for the widows?”  Was it not said:

Acts 10:42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.

And thus James could remind in his letter about the needs of orphans and widows (1:27) and later warn about the coming of the Judge who would deliver them:

James 5:9 Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.

Truly the Lord Jesus is “a father to the fatherless and a judge for the widows.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

The Trinity Is an Idol; John Warned Us to Guard Ourselves Against Idols

1 John 5:21 warns its readers to guard themselves against idols.

One such idol, which had not appeared on the scene when John wrote the letter, is the concept of God as a “trinity” (or as being “triune”).  This is a false conception of God, intellectually contrived in a period of time when people did not believe the Lord had kept His promise to come in His kingdom during the lifetime of His disciples (Matthew 10:23; 16:28; 24:34).

Idols falsely represent God, and are usually contrived in periods of doubt and unbelief when our hearts faint from waiting on the Lord and are drawn back to the things of earth.

God consistently spoke against idols throughout Old Testament times.  The Old Testament age was a polytheistic age and the New Testament age is a monotheistic age.  Therefore, idolatry manifests itself differently in this age.  Idols are still distractions to worship of the true God, but can be more subtle.

The Trinity is an intellectual idol.  It imports philosophical vocabulary with a religious veneer, but it is altogether foreign to biblical truth.  Its one virtue is that it affirms the deity of Christ, but it is not necessary to embrace an idol in order to embrace the deity of Christ.

Idols rob God of attention and glory.  Put away the idol of trinity so that you might worship, follow, and obey Jesus Christ our Lord.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Revelation 2:4 – Have You Left Your First Love?

Revelation 2:4 ‘But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”

Have you left your first love?

Many people have had an encounter with Jesus.  They can remember a time in their lives, maybe even a specific moment, when the grace of Jesus Christ became real to them in a way that it had not been before.  Some of these people will happily describe this experience as having been “born again,” or as the time they were “saved.”  However they describe it, it is memorable to them and precious to them.

When we’ve wandered from that first love, it’s time for us to be called back.  Competing affections have blocked the single-minded devotion to Jesus which began our journey with Him.  Idols came in and clouded our view (1 John 5:21).

One of the most common impediments to single-minded devotion to Christ is the intellectual idol called “the Trinity,” or the idea of “the triune God.”  The very words are spoken in solemn tones as if the person talking knew what he was talking about.  In such cases, these words of Paul become relevant:

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.

The Trinity is not the Jesus who was preached to you and which captured your heart.  It came later, along with other religious and theological baggage which seemed scriptural but really wasn’t.  These encumbrances (Hebrews 12:1-2) have weighed you down and sapped your love for Jesus, diverting it in other directions.

Return to your first love.  As the prophet says:

Isaiah 31:6 Return to Him from whom you have deeply defected…

Let your first love be your last love.  Do not let your love for Christ grow cold (Matthew 24:12), nor let it be parceled out to many lovers (Jeremiah 3:1).

Keep Jesus as the apple of your eye and you will do well (1 John 5:11-13; 2 John 1:9).

For more on keeping Christ as the apple of your eye, see:

There Is No Trinity; There Is Christ

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

The Apostle Paul Proclaimed in the Synagogues of Damascus That Jesus Was “the Son of God”

The story of Paul’s conversion from being a persecutor of Christians to being a proclaimer of Christ is told in Acts 9.  Following that conversion, here is what happened next:

Acts 9:19 …Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus,
Acts 9:20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.”

That’s the equivalent of Paul saying, “Jesus is the Christ,” or “Jesus is the Messiah.”  It’s clear Paul was not teaching trinitarian theology to his fellow Jews in Damascus.  He was using a term they would all understand.  Scriptures like 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2 had primed Jews to expect a descendant of David to appear one day and take command.  They called him “messiah,” “king,” or “son of God.”  That this son of God had been raised from the dead and ascended to heaven was a turn of events “exceeding abundantly beyond anything they had asked or thought.”

As soon as Jesus was raised from the dead, and had the chance to explain scriptures like Psalm 110 to the disciples, they realized that Messiah would have a far more exalted status than anyone had anticipated.  Yet it would only become clear with time and God’s revelation that Messiah was God Himself.  Those who formulated the trinity doctrine never fully appreciated this.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

What Does the Term “Son of God” Mean to You?

When a 21st-century Christian hears the term “Son of God,” the Trinity will usually be one of the thoughts that comes to mind.

When, however, a 1st-century Christian heard the term “Son of God,” he immediately thought “Messiah.”  This is because “Son of God” was a term associated with David’s promised seed who would one day be Israel’s great king (2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2).  The 1st-century Christian never thought “Trinity” because that term did not exist in the 1st-century and they did not think of God in that way.  If, therefore, Jude could write in the 1st Century that he and his contemporaries should defend “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3), how could the Trinity be part of it?  And if the Trinity is not part of “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” what gives us the right to add it?

The Scripture is pretty negative about anyone adding to the word of God (Revelation 22:18; Matthew 15:3, 6; 16:6, 11-12).  Let us take heed.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

Elijah and Elisha Show Us How Jesus Became Our Heavenly Father

In 2 Kings 2 we read of Elijah’s departure from Elisha.

When Elijah “went up by a whirlwind to heaven” (verse 11) it typified the upheaval of crucifixion and resurrection that would one day take Jesus to heaven.

Elisha looked up and cried to Elijah, “My father, my father…” (verse 12).  This cry typifies our appropriate reaction to Jesus’ ascension, which allowed Him to become our father in heaven (i.e. heavenly father).

Elisha was devoted to Elijah and sought to imitate him in every way.  Elisha had said that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit (verse 9).  Elijah said the granting of this request would be contingent on Elisha’s “seeing” Elijah when Elijah was taken from him (verses 10).  Of course, we today “see” Jesus in heaven by faith (2 Corinthians 5:7; Hebrews 12:2).  The stronger our faith, the stronger Christ’s power through us; conversely, the weaker our faith, the wearker His power through us (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Every Biblical Reference to “Heavenly Father” Is an Allusion to the Resurrection of Jesus

“Your Father who is in heaven”

“Your heavenly Father”

If you think about it, these expressions are generic – almost fill-in-the-blank descriptions.  They are like placeholders.  No name – just a job title and a location.

They aren’t any more specific than to locate this father in heaven.

What was going to happen to Jesus when He died?  He was going to be resurrected from the dead.

Where was His resurrection to lead Him?  To heaven.

Thus, Jesus would become the father of all the righteous, having left them an example to imitate.

John 5:19 Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner.

Can you see Jesus’ Father doing anything?  No.  Can you see Jesus doing anything?  Sure; that’s what the gospels are for.  Who then is your father?  Jesus.  Where is He?  Heaven.  What does that make Him?  Your heavenly Father.

Thus every mention of “father in heaven” is an allusion to the resurrected Christ, for as Christ looked to His Father so we are to look to Christ.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

He Has Given Us Jesus That We Might Better Recognize His Spirit

Of Jesus Christ, Colossians 1:15 says “He is the image of the invisible God.”  Thus to see Jesus is to see what God is like.

The Holy Spirit is called by various names in the Scripture, including “the Spirit of Christ” and “the Spirit of Jesus.”  But even without names so directly attached to Jesus, we would know that the Spirit must be like Him – for He is the Spirit of God and Jesus is the image of God.

We no longer have Jesus according to the flesh, nor have we had Him according to the flesh for almost two thousand years.  We do have, however, the Holy Spirit.  We recognize His work by the resemblance to Jesus.  We recognize His ways by their resemblance to the ways of Jesus.  We recognize His wisdom by its similarity to the wisdom of Jesus.

We would have a much harder time recognizing the moving of the Holy Spirit in this world if we didn’t know about Jesus.

He who has seen Jesus has seen the Holy Spirit, for the Holy Spirit comes from Jesus.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Zechariah 4:10

Zechariah 4:10 “For who has despised the day of small things?

From a worldly standpoint, Jesus’ beginnings were insignificant.

Even raised from the dead, people have wondered how he could save the world.

Like the tiny mustard seed, he grew to be the greatest of all the trees.

Why then do we think lightly of the small beginnings of Christ in our lives?  Let us take them seriously.  Let us take Him and the workings of His Spirit seriously.  For if we do, great thing will come.  Greater than we can imagine.

Ephesians 3:20 Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us,

That “power that works within us” is the power of His Holy Spirit.  Indeed, “despise not the day of small things!”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Esau Did Not Value the Things of God

David took seriously the things of God.  By contrast, Esau did not.  Since Esau lived before David, it is likely that David learned from his mistake.  That is, it is likely that, hearing the words of Moses from Genesis about the failings of Esau, David took those lessons to heart.  Here is the way a New Testament writer sums up the lesson to be learned from the life of Esau:

Hebrews 12:15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
Hebrews 12:16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.

Esau did not take seriously what it meant to be heir to the promises God made to Abraham.  He squandered his inheritance.

We make Esau’s mistake when we don’t take seriously God’s promise that we would be heirs to Christ’s anointing – the Holy Spirit.

We who seek the kingdom of God cannot find it or abide in it without the Spirit of God:

Romans 14:17 …the kingdom of God is…righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

No Holy Spirit, no kingdom of God.  Therefore, seek the Spirit from your heavenly father Jesus Christ:

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

David Valued the Things of God…and We Can, Too

When David faced the giant Goliath in 1 Samuel 17, he saw some things others didn’t see.  For one thing, David appreciated the fact that he and his fellow combatants were descendants of Abraham – a man who had received promises from God signified by circumcision, to which they were all heirs.  Thus David could ask incredulously:

1 Samuel 17:26 …[W]ho is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should taunt the armies of the living God?”

Since this defiant Philistine was not an heir to the covenant of circumcision, how would his size help him against those who were?

Further, David had experience in leaning on God for help in things that would otherwise be more than he could handle.  Like any pious Jewish boy, he had been taught through the Ten Commandments that Moses gave to honor his father and mother.  Thus he was most zealous to protect the flock of his father’s sheep which had been entrusted to him.  David could recall that experience when Saul asked him how he proposed to win against an opponent who was so much larger:

1 Samuel 17:34 …David said to Saul, “Your servant was tending his father’s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and took a lamb from the flock,
1 Samuel 17:35 I went out after him and attacked him, and rescued it from his mouth; and when he rose up against me, I seized him by his beard and struck him and killed him.
1 Samuel 17:36 “Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; and this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, since he has taunted the armies of the living God.”

David also knew from his upbringing as an Israelite, hearing the stories of Scripture, that Israel had previously faced giants in this very land when they first sought entrance (Numbers 13-14).  Twelve Israelite spies had been sent to scout the promised land.  Ten of them came back too frightened to enter it because of its “men of great size” (Numbers 13:32).  God was so disappointed in this response that he sentenced Israel to forty years of circling the wilderness before they could enter the promised land of Canaan.  David didn’t want Israel to similarly disappoint God on this occasion.

Thus David took seriously what he had been taught about God – the promises to Abraham, the help in obeying the commandments of God, and the history of Israel.  All these things David learned from hearing the Scriptures and taking them seriously.  We can do the same.

We have been promised the Holy Spirit in this age to live the life of Jesus.  We should take this promise seriously.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Law of the Lord Versus Lawlessness

If we practice the law of the Lord, we cannot be practicing lawlessness.

The Lord does not abide with us if we practice lawlessness:

Matthew 7:23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

(This is a statement of Jesus from the Sermon on the Mount, and the capital letters are His quotation of Psalm 6:8.)

The apostle John’s words apply as well:

1 John 3:4 Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.

Let us not live without law.  Let us meditate and practice the law of the Lord:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

(In these capital letters, Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4,5 and Leviticus 19:18.)

If your days are taken up with thinking about how to practice these words, you are doing well.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

The Holy Oil

God’s promise to David for a glorious descendant (that we call the Messiah) was retold in Psalm 89.  In verse 20, God says:

Psalm 89:20 …with My holy oil I have anointed him.

The word “messiah” means, of course, “anointed.”  And “oil” was the agent of anointing in ancient Israel.  Living on this side of the New Testament, we know that Jesus was not anointed on the head with symbolic oil to be king over all but with the actual Holy Spirit whom the oil had been symbolizing.  Therefore, the Spirit of God is the “true oil.”  Thus God was promising in this verse to anoint Jesus with the Holy Spirit.  And Jesus anoints us with that same Holy Spirit.

Consider now Psalm 45 (which is quoted in Hebrews 1:9) in this light:

Psalm 45:7 You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.

What else can this “oil of joy” be but “the joy of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 1:6).

Let us therefore seek “the holy oil” that only Christ can give.  That is, only the Anointed can give us “the anointing” (1 John 2:20, 27).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Anointed with Understanding

We know that Jesus was anointed with power through the Holy Spirit who was present in Him and through Him (Acts 10;38).  But the Holy Spirit brought much more than just power.  As the prophet Isaiah said:

Isaiah 11:2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.

In this prophecy of the work of the Holy Spirit in the Messiah, we see a number of blessings brought by the Spirit.  Let us focus on just one of them: understanding.

Jesus had understanding of God’s ways, God’s will, God’s purpose.  Thus the power of the Holy Spirit was channeled through Him properly.  Without godly understanding, the power of God would not have been properly directed.

Give thought now to something that the apostle Paul said to his co-worker Timothy:

2 Timothy 2:7 Consider what I say, for the Lord will give you understanding in everything.

Paul is saying that the way to get understanding is to consider his words.  Of course, he didn’t mean there was power in his own words.  Rather, he was talking about the word of the Lord through him.  As he says in another of his letters:

1 Thessalonians 2:13 For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.

So, what does this have to do with the Spirit of God?

Proverbs 1:23 “Turn to my reproof,
Behold, I will pour out my spirit on you;
I will make my words known to you.

The Spirit of God is poured out on us and we receive knowledge and understanding (note that knowledge was listed along with wisdom in Isaiah 11:2 above) of what God has said when we turn to God’s reproof.

Note also that:

Psalm 111:10 …A good understanding have all those who do His commandments… [emphasis added]

He who would receive the fullness of the Holy Spirit though Jesus – that is, he who would be anointed with understanding as Jesus was – must be about doing these things.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Promises of God Are All in the Old Testament; Only the Promises of Christ Are in the New Testament

About all that God says in the New Testament is that people should listen to the Son.  Thus the letter to the Hebrews begins:

Hebrews 1:1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways,
Hebrews 1:2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.

Thus, we should do as the book of Hebrews later says:

Hebrews 12:25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking…

The Old Testament is about God making promises.  The New Testament is about God keeping them.

The prophets wrote what God promised.  The apostles wrote how God fulfilled what He promised.

Thus all the promises of God are fulfilled in Christ that, going forward from Christ, we might listen only to Christ.  He is indeed, as it says above in Hebrews 1:2, “the heir of all things.”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Acts 5:40-42

What a remarkable change had come over Peter.  Not too many weeks before this, he had been afraid to admit that he was an associate of Jesus (Mark 14:28-31; 66-72).  Now he and the other apostles are considering it an honor that they have been flogged and humiliated and thus considered “worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

Can anything other than the actual resurrection of Christ account for such a dramatic change?

For the importance of the resurrection of Christ, see 1 Corinthians 15:12-19.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

The Royal Law Is the Law of Christ

James 2:8 If, however, you are fulfilling the royal law according to the Scripture, “YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF,” you are doing well.

James tells here what is “the royal law.”  The NASB marginal note says that those words could also be translated as “the law of our King.” Who is “our King” but the Christ?

Compare this with something Paul says:

Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Isn’t Paul speaking about the same King and the same law?

Thus “the royal law” and “the law of Christ” are the same thing.  James and Paul agree.  Since this gives us a more sure word, let us therefore be all the more determined to live our lives according to it.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  (In the NASB, New Testament quotations of Old Testament verses are rendered in all capital letters.)

Loving the Things of God

If we would love God, should we not be loving the things of God?

Strong relationships are based on shared interests.  Therefore, let our thoughts, words, and deeds be about the things that matter most to God.

Here are some verses to help you identify those things that God would have us love.  I cite the chapter and verse, and then follow with a brief summary.  I have not tried to eliminate repetition, nor have I tried to identify synonyms (e.g. “law” and “commandments”).

Psalm 33:5  (Let us love righteousness and justice.)

Psalm 45:7  (Let us love righteousness and hate wickedness.)

Psalm 119:47, 48, 127  (Let us love His commandments.)

Psalm 119:97, 165  (Let us love His law.)

Micah 6:8  (Let us love kindness.)

John 3:19-21  (Let us love light and not darkness.)

John 12:43  (Let us love the approval of God and not the approval of men.)

2 Corinthians 9:7  (Let us love to give cheerfully.)

2 Thessalonians 2:19  (Let us love the truth.)

2 Timothy 3:4  (Let us love God instead of loving pleasure.)

2 Timothy 4:8  (Let us love His having appeared.)

Hebrews 1:9  (Let us love righteousness and hate lawlessness.)

Hebrews 6:10  (Let us love His name.)

 

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Numbers 11:29

Numbers 11:29 “…Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”

In this verse the day of Pentecost described in Acts 2 is foretold.  For then God indeed poured out His Spirit on all flesh.

Alas, much of that movement became institutionalized and calcified, yet it remains true that God delights to give His Holy Spirit to whoever will ask:

Luke 11:13 “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him?”

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

The Costly Cornerstone

The prophet said that this cornerstone we know to be Christ would be costly:

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD,
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone,
A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed.
He who believes in it will not be disturbed.

David tells us the importance of paying the price for a gift:

1 Chronicles 21:24 But King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price; for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, or offer a burnt offering which costs me nothing.”

(Perhaps the moral of Nathan’s tale in 2 Samuel 12 was still smoldering in David’s conscience.)

In any case, we can go to Jesus to find out how true cost is measured:

Mark 12:41 And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums.
Mark 12:42 A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent.
Mark 12:43 Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury;
Mark 12:44 for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”

Thus it’s not how much you pay, but how much you have left after you pay, that counts.  When God gave us Christ, there was nothing left…for He had given us His all.

When you understand this, you will come to see that Christ is the costliest cornerstone there could possibly have been or ever be!

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who  read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.  

Shall We Rush to Teach?

[This post springs from a comment on this post.]

Just because  spiritual maturity means showing others the way, does this mean we should rush to teach?  God forbid!

James warned:

James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.

A six-year-old child may realize that he will one day drive a car, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to go looking for the keys.

EVERYTHING IN ITS TIME

James’ admonition must also be read in context and compared with other verses speaking to the same subject.  For example:

Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

and

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;

Thus James is warning against premature teaching.  There is a sequence to be followed in our growth:  we must practice what we preach and we should practice before we preach.  Note this sequence in the example of Ezra:

Ezra 7:10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Teaching was the last step for Ezra – and by no means the first.

ALL TEACHING IS NOT THE SAME

There are another kind of verse that must be considered as well.  For example:

1 John 2:27 As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him.

and

Jeremiah 31:34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

and

Matthew 23:8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Such verses suggest that we have no warrant or need to ever teach at all.  We must remember that Jesus is the Teacher of His people.  Therefore, He does not need us to be teachers of them.  However, we can – and should – be “teachers” of a sort when it comes to showing others the way to the Teacher.

Let’s say you struggle with your golf game.  I tell you about my golf teacher.  It’s my golf teacher who is going to help you with your golf game.  He is the one doing the actual teaching.  Yet I have in a sense taught you in the very act of telling you about the golf teacher.  Once I get you connected with Him, however, my teaching is done.

WE ARE ALL “TEACHING” WHETHER WE INTEND TO OR NOT

Another aspect of this subject is the silent teaching in which we’re all engaged.  That is, teaching by deed occurs long before teaching by word.  For example:

Daniel 12:3 “Those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.

That is, we who seek to follow Jesus are already “teaching” others by our example.  It may be a good example or it may be – God forbid –  bad one.  Yet we can’t help but “teach” with our lives, even if we never utter a word.  For this reason Paul warns:

Romans 2:23 You who boast in the Law, through your breaking the Law, do you dishonor God?
Romans 2:24 For “THE NAME OF GOD IS BLASPHEMED AMONG THE GENTILES BECAUSE OF YOU,” just as it is written.

And he warns:

2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.”

How are we going to “lead the many to righteousness” if we are living lives of unrighteousness?  Before we ever utter a word on Christ’s behalf, we should amend our ways (Jeremiah 7) so as not to bring dishonor to Him.

Fortunately, God can impress those who observe us through our progress long before we ever approach perfection.  As Paul told Timothy, “Let your progress be evident to all” – not your perfection.

1 Timothy 4:15 Take pains with these things; be absorbed in them, so that your progress will be evident to all.

When people see us turn from our wicked ways, they will take notice.  As Peter wrote:

1 Peter 2:12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

and

1 Peter 3:16 and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

and

1 Peter 4:4 In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you;

If you read this words of Peter in context, you’ll see that this sort of “teaching” is not always humbly received by those for whose sake it is being given.  And this speaks of yet another dimension to this subject.

ALL TEACHING DOES NOT INVOLVE A LECTERN AND A MICROPHONE

Even when the time comes to move beyond teaching by example to teaching by word, it does not at all mean that we should set up shop as teachers of God’s people because it can distract from the Lord’s teaching ministry (as mentioned above) and because it is not necessary to accomplish the goal.  Much, if not most, of our “teaching” – even in our most mature state – will simply be confessing His name and His presence to those around us.  This confessing is not – and this is a direct application of James’ admonition (James 3:1) – something we should do right away.  Some people say that a person accepting Christ should immediately begin to witness to others, but I think this contradicts James.  Yes, we see some new believers doing this in Acts.  However, we must remember that such people were pious and lifelong Jews, steeped in the Scriptures.  The knowledge of Messiah’s resurrection was the missing puzzle piece for which they had been looking.  They were well-prepared to confess this Christ to others.  For many of us, however, our lives are in much more disarray when we first hear of Christ.  We are just beginning to put the puzzle together.  Christ is our first piece rather than our last piece.  Therefore, we should be slower to speak (which is yet another admonition from James – see James 1:19).  For this reason: Don’t Tell Anyone You’re a Christian Right Away.

SUMMING UP

Walking with Christ is a learning process.  Eventually, that process involves speaking of Him to others…but we should not rush that process.  Neither, however, should we shrink in fear from that which He Himself will – in due time – make us able to do.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Our learning eventually leads to teaching

This post is part of a series about learning as a key aspect of life with God.  

As we learn from Christ, we mature in Him.  If that maturation process continues long enough and is successful enough, we will become teachers.  That is, we may not say much about Christ in the beginning, when we are trying to make sure that we ourselves become properly grounded in the faith.  However, once that grounding successfully takes place we are on our way to sharing the knowledge of Him with others.  Consider how these verses speak to that point:

Matthew 5:19 “Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Full maturity would lead to greatness in the kingdom of God.  How then could we ever reach that state without sharing what we have learned with others?

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Matthew 23:8 “But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers.

Whatever teaching we do should never be to displace Him.  On the contrary, our teaching should consist in pointing others to THE Teacher – the one and only necessary teacher.  We teach the Teacher!

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Luke 6:40 “A pupil is not above his teacher; but everyone, after he has been fully trained, will be like his teacher.

A disciple like his teacher will be, of course, a teacher.

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Hebrews 5:12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.

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The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

How Our Place in the World Is Related to His Place in the World

This post is related to the previous post Scriptures on the Place of the People of God in This World.

The place we have in the world is a function of His place in the world.  As He is despised, so we are despised.  We must love those who hate us, and pray for those who persecute us.

Psalm 69:9 For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.

This verse is quoted in Romans 15:3 (see below).

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Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

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John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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Romans 8:16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,
Romans 8:17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.

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Romans 15:3 For even Christ did not please Himself; but as it is written, “THE REPROACHES OF THOSE WHO REPROACHED YOU FELL ON ME.”

This verse quotes Psalm 9:9 (see above).  When we side with God, His enemies turn against us.

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Hebrews 13:12 Therefore Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people through His own blood, suffered outside the gate.
Hebrews 13:13 So, let us go out to Him outside the camp, bearing His reproach.
Hebrews 13:14 For here we do not have a lasting city, but we are seeking the city which is to come.

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1 John 3:1 See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we would be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

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1 John 4:17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.

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Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

2 Corinthians 11:3

2 Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.

Be simply and purely devoted to Christ.  What could be more simple?  What could be more pure?

To follow trinitarian teaching is to be “led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”

The trinity concept is neither simple nor pure.  It is complicated – hard to understand and hard to follow.

Be devoted to Christ.  Love Him. Imitate Him.  Honor Him.  Christ was God in the flesh.  He is now God in the spirit.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

2 John 1:9

2 John 1:9 Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son.

The teaching of Trinity is going too far and not abiding in the teaching of Christ.  Trinitarian doctrine is foreign to Scripture.  To think of God as a trinity is to impose Gentile thinking on Jewish Scripture, to impose philosophical speculations on scriptural truth.

Abide in the teaching of Christ and you will know the truth.  Love Christ, serve Christ, live for Christ, die for Christ.

God became Christ that we might know Him.

If you abide in Christ, you will will find both the Father and the Son.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

1 John 4:14

1 John 4:14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.

The Son is the Savior of the world.  The Son is Jesus Christ.  Thus Jesus the Christ is the Savior of the world.  Who is the Savior of the world?  The Christ.

To whom, therefore, should we look for help?  The Son.  He is the Savior.

Let us meditate on the Son.

Let us meditate on the Savior of the world.

He makes all things right.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Purifying a People

God is purifying for Himself a people for His own possession (Titus 2:14).  And He has been doing this for a long time.

Ancient Israel was comprised of the descendants of Abraham, but God purified the nation through Jesus Christ and produced the New Testament church.

Then through the kingdom of God, He continues to purify for Himself a people for His own possession.

Who is doing the purifying?  He who sits as a smelter and purifier of precious stones (Malachie 3:2-3).

This is a “nation” who will truly produce the fruit of God (Matthew 21:43).

This “nation” includes Jews and Gentiles and truly stands for His name (Acts 15:11).

These people of God pray for the welfare of the city wherein that have been sent in exile (2 Chronicle 7:13-14; Jeremiah 29:7; 45:5).

Truly, these people are led by the Spirit of God and they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14).

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Scriptures on the Place of the People of God in This World

There is an antipathy – a hostility – between the world and those who follow Christ.  The world cannot abide us, but we can abide them because we love them as He taught us to love them.  Though we love them, there is a tension between us and them.  Though we are favored in His sight, we are despised in theirs.  Our place in the world is low and not high.  Our place in this world is not with the high and mighty, for they hate the things we treasure and we hate the things they treasure – yet we love them.  We bear the world’s reproach, for as they reproached Christ so they reproach those who walk in His steps and honor His name.

There is another post – Scriptures on the World – that focuses just on the world.  This list of verses, however, does not limit itself to explicit references to the “world.”  Neither is its focus the world per se.  Rather, its focus in the tension between people who love God and the world in which they live.

Here then are verses which speak of this dynamic [emphasis and comments added]:

Jeremiah 45:5 ‘But you, are you seeking great things for yourself? Do not seek them; for behold, I am going to bring disaster on all flesh,’ declares the LORD, ‘but I will give your life to you as booty in all the places where you may go.'”

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Matthew 5:10 “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:11 “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.
Matthew 5:12 “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

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Matthew 8:20 Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

The people of God have “no lasting place” in this world (see Hebrews 13:14 below).  For this reason we “hate our lives in this world” (see John 12:25 below), and are “tormented by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men” (see 2 Peter 2:7-8 below).

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Matthew 10:25 “It is enough for the disciple that he become like his teacher, and the slave like his master. If they have called the head of the house Beelzebul, how much more will they malign the members of his household!

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Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.

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Mark 8:36 “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

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Luke 6:22 “Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.

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John 9:22 His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews; for the Jews had already agreed that if anyone confessed Him to be Christ, he was to be put out of the synagogue.

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John 12:25 “He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal.

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John 12:42 Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue;

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John 15:18 “If the world hates you, you know that it has hated Me before it hated you.
John 15:19 “If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.
John 15:20 “Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word, they will keep yours also.

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John 16:2 “They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

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John 16:33 “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

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Romans 12:1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

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1 Corinthians 1:18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.
1 Corinthians 1:19 For it is written,
“I WILL DESTROY THE WISDOM OF THE WISE,
AND THE CLEVERNESS OF THE CLEVER I WILL SET ASIDE.”
1 Corinthians 1:20 Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?
1 Corinthians 1:21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.
1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
1 Corinthians 1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
1 Corinthians 1:24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
1 Corinthians 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
1 Corinthians 1:26 For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
1 Corinthians 1:27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
1 Corinthians 1:28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
1 Corinthians 1:29 so that no man may boast before God.
1 Corinthians 1:30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
1 Corinthians 1:31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

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1 Corinthians 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to death; because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to men.
1 Corinthians 4:10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are prudent in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are distinguished, but we are without honor.
1 Corinthians 4:11 To this present hour we are both hungry and thirsty, and are poorly clothed, and are roughly treated, and are homeless;
1 Corinthians 4:12 and we toil, working with our own hands; when we are reviled, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure;
1 Corinthians 4:13 when we are slandered, we try to conciliate; we have become as the scum of the world, the dregs of all things, even until now.

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2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

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Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

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Hebrews 11:24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter,
Hebrews 11:25 choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Hebrews 11:26 considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.

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Hebrews 11:35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection;
Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
Hebrews 11:37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated
Hebrews 11:38 (men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.
Hebrews 11:39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised,
Hebrews 11:40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

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Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12:2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:3 For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

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James 4:4 You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

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1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen

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1 Peter 2:4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,

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1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

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2 Peter 2:7 and if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men
2 Peter 2:8 (for by what he saw and heard that righteous man, while living among them, felt his righteous soul tormented day after day by their lawless deeds),

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1 John 2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
1 John 2:17 The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.

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1 John 4:4 You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.
1 John 4:5 They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them.
1 John 4:6 We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

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Further to the point of this post, see How Our Place in the World Is Related to His Place in the World.

As mentioned above, see also Scriptures on the World.

See as well Scriptures on Christ’s Victory over the World.

Series of Posts on Aspects of the World in Which We Find Ourselves

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Strangers, Exiles, and Aliens

The following verses of Scripture give identity in this world to those who love Christ and want to follow Him:

Hebrews 11:13 All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

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1 Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen

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1 Peter 2:11 Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.

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Thus we who serve Christ in His kingdom are in this world strangers, exiles, aliens.