Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Moving on… let’s take a look at Ephesians 1. 2-8a

We will observe this text two times. On your first observation underline every occurrence of the words … you, us, we and our. On your second observation mark with a wavy underline every occurrence of the phrases: in Him, in Christ, in the Beloved . Mark with an *asterisk every occurrence of the phrase: *according to. This is a lesson in observation.
Ephesians 1.2-8a
2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, *according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. 7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, *according to the riches of His grace 8 which He lavished on us.

A couple Important words we need to look at here are:

V5 Predestined = comes from 2 words in the Greek combined meaning “to limit in advance”. The figurative meaning denotes “to predetermine”. We need to know who has been predestined… to what, by who.

V7 redemption = refers to “releasing upon payment of a ransom”. The ransom that released Christians from their sin was the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Let’s see what we can learn from marking we and us and our Lets’ do this verse by verse. Ephesians 1.2-8a

V2: grace and peace are from God to you.

We observe that God our Father is the source of both grace and peace.

V3: As the source of grace and peace, God is the blesser and is to be blessed or praised. Us refers to believers or saints are the blessed ones. Do not miss the three-fold work of the Trinity in this verse. Father, Son and Spirit.

In V3 we see “God has” referring to the fact of an action past tense, blessed us with “every spiritual blessing” informing us Christians have received from God every spiritual blessing and these blessings are ours in Christ.

Alford and Vincent concur in the teaching that the word “spiritual” describes the blessings, not as spiritual as contrasted to physical, but to blessings produced and given us by the Holy Spirit. K Wuest

Question: Here’s something humbling. What are we, you and I doing or going to do with every spiritual blessing God has blessed you with?

V3= In heavenly places is location of blessings the entire supernatural realm of God.

The meaning is that spiritual blessings are found in heaven and brought thence to us.” K Wuest

Ephesians 2.6 “Paul speaks of God having already “raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.

Christians have a two-tier level existence, dual citizenship might be another way to say this. While we remain on earth, we are citizens of earth. However, in Christ we are citizens of heaven. Christ is our King, our Lord, we are citizens of His realm, the heavenly places. We are members of God’s domain.

(Thoughts from Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Paul says in Philippines 3.20: For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ;

Question: These blessings are from God and ours how? In Christ, meaning in our union with Him as our Lord and Savior. They are ours by God’s Grace through faith in Christ.

V4: just as God chose us, in Him, in Christ. In Christ, answers, who did what in whom. It also answers the question. How did you come to “be” a Christian?

Chosen by God in Christ informs us that the chosen are objects of election. Us being those who have identified with Christ by faith. Eph 1.1 saints who are the faithful in Christ.

The word chose here implies and denotes God’s totally independent choice and signifies that God not only chose by Himself but for Himself. John MacArthur

John 6.37: “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. This verse implies God’s choosing and man’s receiving, because God made the choice possible.

John 6:44a No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him;

John 6.64-65 64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus knew From the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that  would betray Him. 5 And He was saying, “For this reason I have said to you, that no one can come  to Me unless it has been granted him from the Father.” 

In each of these scriptures what we need to see salvation is of God.

NOTE: God chose… In this text the word chose is the same usage as God choosing out Israel from among all nations to be the channel through which He will bring salvation to all those in other nations who will receive it. This choosing out of Israel from among the nations does not imply that those nations not chosen are rejected or refused salvation. Indeed, the salvation of Israel was for the purpose of making salvation possible to the other nations. The same usage applies in the case of individual sinners selected out from among mankind. These are selected for the purpose of being channels through which the knowledge of salvation might be brought to the rest of mankind, so that those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus as Savior might be saved. This precludes the idea that those not selected are rejected or refused salvation; -K Wuest

Before the foundation of the world = answers when… this is of course a reference to time, eternity past, before creation, before mankind existed.

That we would “be” this is one of the big little words meaning “be becoming”. Often it implies God’s purpose and intention becoming reality.

be = be becoming / sanctification, this would be you fulfilling the purpose for which you were by God created and by God called.

Holy and blameless= our position before God in Christ. This is how God sees us before Himself in Christ. If you’ve ever wondered how God sees you, here you have it.

Holy meaning separated to God, set apart by God for God. What we are from God’s perspective. Blameless, without blame.

In God’s plan Christ was crucified for us/ the chosen/elect before the foundation of the world.

This is our position before God separated unto God by God for worship and service to God and others, not the world, not evil, not sin. This is God seeing us as His Children as He sees Christ.

And This… is the walk we are to walk. This is the life we have by God been called and chosen to live. This is the people we have been called to “be”. And, we have by God been equipped perfectly to live it.

But… *if you do not know, you cannot do, you cannot be. *John MacArthur

Here in these verses of scripture we see our possessions and position before God, W. Wiersbe and God’s purpose for our lives in Christ. Some call this our identity in Christ.

Concerning whether “in love” is the end of verse 4 referring to holy and blameless or it is the beginning of v 5 and refers to being predestined to adoption as sons. We land on a great TRUTH. God ‘s motivation is love! And should be ours as well. I see both sides of the argument. My perspective is the end of verse 4 is really the beginning of 5. This is a transliteration issue. Moving on.

In love, here we see the motive for WHY God did what He did. Just as He chose Israel. Love here is agape’ the disposition of the heart that seeks the welfare and meets the needs of others. John 15.13 this is the love of God… the Love that God “is”.

V5: In love God predestined us meaning He foreordained to determine or decree beforehand. We see here How and WHAT God did… for WHO? Deut. 7.8 God chose Israel in love. From our verses we looked at from John 6 and likewise again here we see those who are of faith in Christ are His chosen. Yes, salvation begins with God, not man. Chosen by God for God. Set apart by God for God.

“To” adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself resulting is sonship having the rights and privileges of a full son are… ours In Christ. We become children of God… KIDS of the very nature of our Father God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

*According to the kind intention of His will. This is a very revealing thought concerning the heart and mind of God. Once again, we see God’s motive. This is a look back moment. Look back at v 2 “grace to you”, v3 “Who has blessed us”, V 5, In love. These denote and imply the kind intention of God’s will.

V6: to the praise of the glory of God’s grace. Which God freely bestowed on us, in the Beloved. Here we see the ultimate reason and purpose of why God did what He did. Therefore we can say, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Cor. 10.31, The goal is God’s Glory! That God be glorified.

V7: In Him, in the Beloved, in Christ we have redemption, this is, What we have in whom.

We have, which is present tense, continuing redemption.

The Beloved” is described as the One “in whom we “have” redemption.” The verb is present in tense, and durative in action, thus, “in whom we are having redemption.” The redemption is an abiding fact from the past, through the present, and into the future. K. Wuest

Through His blood, the means of Christ atoning sacrifice. Christ through His death and shed blood on the cross paid the price to set us free from our sins and slavery to sin and death.

The forgiveness of our trespasses, that would be our transgressions meaning the times we step over the boundary established.

What we have just looked at is the accomplished results of the shed blood of the Beloved, that being the forgiveness of our sins and we see this is “According to the riches of His grace”.

V 8 which God lavished or made to abound toward us. Here we see the purpose and intention of God’s love towards us realized in and through the Person and Work of Christ on the cross.

What we have in His Blood meaning His death on the Cross, we have redemption.

Resulting in forgiveness. Reason is found in John 3.16-21

What do you think about what you have just observed?

It is imperative that believers know, understand and comprehend their position, and possessions W. Wiersbe and their purpose as a child of God. This is the foundational focus of the book of Ephesians. This is the WHO, WHAT and HOW of WHAT God has called us to and to do and to be.

If you do not know, you cannot do, you cannot be. John MacArthur

You might want to write that down.

Knowing with certainty that the things we just observed are true of us is foundational in our discipleship journey. Dale Brand

“This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven” Matthew 16:17

“This was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in Heaven” Matthew 16:17
So then how do we know what we claim to know? That is, how do we gain and accumulate knowledge about anything? There are two ways for man to possess knowledge. One is by ordinary natural observation, which includes experience.
The other is by extraordinary or supernatural revelation. By natural observation we know many true facts about our universe. By supernatural revelation we know the truth about the meaning of our existence, itself being one of those facts, in the universe.
By supernatural revelation we can know that Jesus the Christ was not simply a Jewish man who was a prophet and was put to death for his viewpoint about life. By supernatural revelation we can know that Jesus the Christ was
Himself divine. We only need the history of others natural observation to know he was a man of history. But we need supernatural revelation to know that Jesus is the Son of God and Son of Man just as the gospels present Him.
By supernatural revelation we understand the true message of the Bible, The Word of God, was written by the Holy Spirit, through men who were yielded to His spiritual unction. By supernatural revelation we know the difference
between self- righteous religion and true moral righteousness, which only comes from God. What was hidden to the natural mind has been made known by revelation. God the Spirit has come into the world and revealed the Father God, Jesus Christ, and Himself.
God knows we have difficulty with the Truth. God knows we will make up the- oretical and speculative explanations to answer the question of our existence. And God knows that the faith required to receive His revelation is not
naturally resident in man. When God reveals Himself He gives the accompanying grace, or gift of faith, that enables us to ‘catch’ the truth.
When we make our scientifically enhanced observations about the true facts of the universe, we find many more questions to be begged, for the things learned. So then no matter how sophisticated man becomes, he cannot discover
by natural means the answer to his ‘first’ questions [Who am I? From where do I get my existence? What is the meaning of my life? What is the value of my life? Where am I going after death? What is death? Why do I ask question without an answer?] We fail in this quest because we are one of the facts.
We cannot see outside in, rather with the rest of the created world we see inside out. We are a particular in the whole, which we cannot measure or comprehend. All attempts to explain the meaning of life and existence, apart
from divine revelation, are doomed to fail. They are but a ‘leap’ of faith against logic and reason.
True faith is not a leap out of reason. It is the proper response to spiritual revelation. When science believes what it speculates about meaning, as fact, it stops being science. That which cannot be scientifically proven
and explained today is no different than the limits of science two thousand years ago, where man seeks to understand the meaning of life and death!
Even the scientist is left to speculate where the brute facts of the universe remain silent on this point. For a scientist believe what he will without scientific proof is no less a logical leap of faith as what skeptics have
claimed about followers of Christ. What happens to the verification that is the cornerstone discipline of the scientific method? No, when science speculates we are left with philosophy and theology.
And according to the gospel of Jesus Christ we cannot know the Truth unless it is revealed to us. But the Truth is hard to take. To know that Jesus is the Christ is to turn all the human centered world systems on their ears.
To know that Jesus the Christ is God is to know that all human based knowledge and practice are subject to review by a higher authority.
To know that Jesus the Christ is God is to know that all of man’s glory is a perverse dance; a prelude to final death. But to know Jesus the Christ is God is to be spiritually raised from that death now and gain the gift of
eternal life. How do we know that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God? God who is Spirit, and would be worshipped in Spirit and Truth, reveals Himself and the Son to us by His Spirit. If you know this you have already been raised from the dead!
From Any Questions by Don Forss D.Div.

Monday, April 27, 2020

     I have to venture out every so often for milk or bread or some item we think we can't do without and I am being as careful as I can be. I wear a mask and I wash my hands frequently. One part of this social experiment I have noticed is that when people are wearing a mask, we have to read their eyes.
I see smiling eyes, curious eyes, frustrated eyes and even tired eyes darting back and forth above the masks they wear. Having been raised by southern parents, I say hello to folks in my proximity and especially to those with whom I make eye contact. I know immediately how I have been received by the eyes I meet. I have noticed it is very difficult to lie with the eyes. If someone receives me pleasantly I know immediately and if someone feels awkward at being addressed by a stranger I see that anxiety at once.

    I have received a message or two from a five-foot tall older lady that she'd like something on the top shelf at Walmart that she's pretty sure I could reach for her. She doesn't even have to ask me, I see her eyes and I say, "May I get something down for you?" Her eyes immediately show gratitude at my having read her message correctly and offering the help she needed. Our eyes are telling windows to our emotions, and a betrayer of secrets. They also are the gateway to all kinds of information and gateways need to be guarded.

     Matthew 6:22-23 says,  "The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, 23  but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!"  Jesus is teaching that those eyes are keys to walking and getting by for most of us. They tell us where to step and what to avoid. They help us judge the beautiful from the ugly, the fresh from the rotten, and the profitable from unprofitable. The truth of Jesus' statement goes deeper still.
     The word habituation, one of the few words I remember from all the psychology I've taken, refers to the diminishing response we have to psychological or emotional response to some frequent stimulation. The definition is that we habituate when something we see often begins to shock us less, effect us less and move us to action less over time. When I was a young man, one of the many jobs I had was working in a warehouse. When I first arrived, I was blown away by the terrible language the guys used all the time. It was a terrible environment. Over the course of the next year, there came a point where I didn't even notice it, and even used that language at work. After the Lord saved me, that habituation drained away and I had no desire to hear or say those words again. The point is, that the constant exposure dulled my appropriate response. The Scriptures encourage us (and even command us) to refrain from these behaviors. We are to keep our eyes on Jesus and measure the stimuli against his holiness to judge its worthiness for our attention. With all this extra time on our hands what have we given our attention to that we should turn away from? How much time do we allow our children to have on their devices because we are too busy to supervise? How full of light is this time we have?

    As we walk, we keep our eyes on Jesus. Albert Barnes, theologian and biblical commentator provides this example of Jesus's message: "A man crossing a stream on a log, if he will look across at some object steadily, will be in little danger. If he looks down on the dashing and rolling waters, he will become dizzy, and fall. So Jesus says, in order that the conduct may be right, it is important to fix the affections on heaven."

   Barnes' advice is good in a time when we have so many distractions. Add to these the anxieties that the pandemic puts before us everyday. As the media commentators focus on life and publish mortality statistics as one would football scores, we are called to focus on life and that more abundant. We put that which is out of our control (and I would argue little is in our control) in God's hands and seek to do and understand His will. Peter writes:"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, 7  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 8  Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour." 1 Pet. 5:76-8

    Even when we feel we are up to our eyeballs in trouble, we can still see our way clear through the Word of God and the encouragement of His people. Our eyes were made to seek righteousness, to see God's opportunity and to judge the correct path. We can know that our way is clear when we focus on what Jesus has in store for his people.                                                                            -Greg Mosley


Friday, April 24, 2020

 Welcome Back! Now that we have, I hope gained a better perspective individually of how a Christian should walk or live concerning our interactions and relationships with our spouses and family and others, and yes even our enemies. Now that we have considered what a Christian’s standard should be and their morals. Let’s not forget a Christians relationship to God’s Word, the Bible and to Christ as Lord. Then there’s the question of the hurdle of what keeps people from “being” the people God has called us to “be”.

   Before we begin observing Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. I want to share a little about Bible study. When you read the Word of God you need to train yourself to slow down long enough so that you really understand what God is saying. The Bible is the very Word of God and it was written and as Kay Arthur says, “so that we might know Truth and live by it” .Bible study should help you develop and sharpen your study skills and motivate you towards “Destination Discipleship”.

    Observation is the first step in the process of observation, interpretation and application… we need to learn to skillfully observe scripture in order to correctly interpret and then apply.

We need to learn to interrogate the text by asking… what we call the 5 W’s and an H, that is by asking: Who, what, when, where, why and How.

     Everything that happens in scripture… happens within a context, observation skills help us establish context. “Context rules in scripture… Context is King” (Arthur).

Our goal is to establish the context and know the Truth that is being revealed from God’s Word in the context of “then”. Once we know the Truth of God’s Word in its proper context of “then”…It becomes applicable in the same present-day context. This is an aspect of the eternality of God’s Word.

     If you are new to Bible study or perhaps have studied for some time, please bear with me and give yourself over to the process that follows. Why? Because if you’re truly interested in learning “how” to discover what God’s Word says and means in context so that you can live accordingly and then share the Truth with others, which is my passion in life. You’ll see there is no better way to study.
Paul exhorts Timothy in 2 Timothy 2.15 “Be” diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

     For those of you wondering who I am to say that. First, this is not about me. I am a saved born-again Christian. Saved by God’s grace through faith when I was 40 years old! I was blessed to have a man willing to come alongside me when I was a new believer who encouraged me to use the spiritual gifts God had blessed me with to teach others. It’s been 22 years since God intervened in my life and called me to Himself. In fact, Easter is my Spiritual Birthday! Jesus Christ is the Lord of my life. I am an exegetical Bible teacher and instructor trained by Precept Ministries International. I have been teaching exegetical “Precept Upon Precept” studies for 16 years at Emmanuel Church and, I am an elder. And, I am “all about discipleship”.

    Concerning observation. It’s all about looking with the intention and purpose of seeing and paying attention to detail. If I were to say to you, “Look” and then point. I would hope you would respond to me and ask, “At what?” This is where the 5W’s and an H come in. Let’s give this a try…. This is an exercise in observation. Ephesians 1.1 Please observe this text and then we will interrogate the text:
     I Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,To the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Now let’s interrogate the text and ask the 5 W’s and an H. Who is writing? Paul is our author. Now we know who the author is. Who or What is Paul? The text informs us Paul is an apostle a “sent one of” Christ. How is it that Paul is an apostle? By the will of God. Let’s put together who or What Paul is and how Paul is an apostle.

Paul is an apostle “ofChrist “by” the will of God. Little words like “of” and “by” are very important words. Another “big” little word in scripture is “be”.

      The New Testament is written in Greek. Apostle in the Greek means “to send one off on a commission to do something as one’s personal representative, with credentials furnished.” (Wuest)

John MacArthur’s writes: “Paul wrote with the authority of an apostle. Apostolos means “sent one” and in the New Testament is used as an official title of the men God uniquely chose to be the foundation layers of the church. Apostles were the receivers, teachers, and writers of God’s final revelation the New Testament. Paul was an ambassador if you will of Christ, empowered by Christ to speak on Christ behalf by the will of God. A proof text for this would be Ephesians 2.20: The context here is speaking of the Church v 20 “having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone,”

     To whom is Paul writing, who are the recipients? Paul’s epistle which means letter, is written to the saints, faithful in Christ Jesus. This informs us Paul is writing to Christians/those of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our text informs us where they are, at Ephesus, this refers to geographical location.

What are they called? Saints, which refers to God’s perspective of them as set apart by God / holy ones. Sanctified ones… set apart by God for God.

How are they described? As faithful in Christ Jesus. This is man’s perspective of those who have trusted in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior made evident by the life they live.

Note: In case you might be asking… Are the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus the same people? Which is a reasonable question. Here is some information from a commentary.

     “The same persons are referred to by both designations, as the Greek proves: “to those who are saints, and faithful in Christ Jesus.” The sanctification by God is here put before man’s faith. The twofold aspect of salvation is thus presented, God’s grace in the first instance sanctifying us, (that is, setting us apart in His eternal purposes as holy unto Himself); and our faith, by God’s gift, laying hold of salvation” (2 Th 2:13; 1 Pe 1:2). (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

     What we just did in Ephesians 1.1 was simply to ask questions of the text, 5 W’s and an H and some simple exegetical work like defining what Greek words mean and just look at how much more you can learn beyond just reading. I truly hope you see the great contrast between reading scripture and observing scripture. Learning to observe scripture is an important skill to develop.

   Our goal in Bible study is to come to the place of understanding who said what to who when, where and why and ask, how can I apply that to my life now. What is lacking at times in study is establishing the context in which what we are reading took place.

   The context of establishing that Paul is writing and writing to people in Ephesus who are Christians is important, likewise he is writing to them as an apostle with authority to speak on Christ’s behalf by the will of God. As we move forward in this text knowing this is huge!

Now that we know who is writing, to who and where they are. Now we need to ask ourselves why? Why is he writing, what is he writing about? What is his purpose and intention for Paul writing this letter?

The truth of the matter is you will get out of Bible study what you give to it. What do I need to give to Bible study? Yourself!
I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “You will get out of that what you put into it”. This is God’s Word and we didn’t put anything into it. What we need to do is give ourselves over wholly and completely without any reservation to study God’s Word and come to know and understand God according to His Word and live accordingly.

Paul in his first letter to Timothy instructed him in this way.

     "Until I come, give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" 1 Timothy 4.13. Looking deeper at what Paul said. The phrase “give attention to” in Greek implies and denotes the giving of self wholly and completely without any reservation.

How many of God’s people give themselves over completely to God and His call on their life and to know God according to His Word? In Paul’s second letter we see the same aspect of exhortation.
2 Timothy 2.15:

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

These are exhortations and instructions from a spiritual father to his son in the faith and you need to know that “Be diligent” is an English transliteration of the original word, spoudaz┼Ź which in the Greek means “study”. It’s meaning “to make haste, to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence.” (Wuest).

     What Paul is exhorting Timothy to do is to “be” diligent to study. Why? In order to present or show yourself approved. Approved meaning to put to the test with the purpose of approving. A workman approved is one who has been put to the test and has found approval. And the approval is from God! We should all be so given over to the study of God’s Word.

These are the first two letters in the Bible I ever read. And this is what I have given myself over to do and have done for the last 22 years. We each need God’s Word at work in us if we are to walk worthy of what God has called us to. It’s what the Holy Spirit uses in us to lead and guide us in Truth. “But if you don’t know, you can’t do, let alone be.” Par -Phase John MacArthur How can we share anything with anyone we don’t ourselves first possess?

I truly hope this inspires you as much as it has me in my life to give ourselves over to the “study” of God’s Word. “Walk the Worthy Walk”.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Last week I left you with nine questions from “How Do “you” Walk the Walk you Talk” By Kay Arthur, the goal being to get “your” perspective on a few things prior to studying some key passages from Ephesians.

Below are my initial responses to these questions.

Q#1: Do you know people who talk about their Christianity and yet they really don’t walk it – Or at least not the way you think they ought to walk it? What causes you to wonder or doubt?

Yes, They don’t live any different than people who don’t believe Or is it that they “say” and don’t “do”. This was my initial thought.

James 1.22 “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.”

What I see, doesn’t line up with what they say/profess. Rom 12.1-2 Christians are supposed to be transformed by the renewing of their mind so they might prove/ show forth that which is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. Right?

     People judge by their own experience, their own expectations…their own knowledge.
The problem with this is, Scripture should be our guide.

Ps. 119.11 Your word I have treasured in my heart, That I may not sin against You.

Ps. 119.105 Your word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

Q#2: How do you think Christians should walk in respect to …
Their relationship to God?

They should live to please God, in communion with God, in allegiance to God, dependent on God. Live by faith with courage because we have a hope that’s in God according to His Word.

Ps. 119.12-16 Blessed are You, O LORD; Teach me Your statutes. 13 With my lips I have told of, All the ordinances of Your mouth. 14 I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, As much as in all riches. 15 I will meditate on Your precepts, And regard Your ways. 16 I shall delight in Your statutes; I shall not forget Your word.

Their relationship to their spouse, mate or family?
The love God has shown them should be their guide in how they love. Christ loved the Church and gave Himself up for her. Selfless love (love in spite of, not because of). Love that does what’s in the best interest of the one loved (this is agape love. It’s the love of God. It’s the love that God is, and the love God demonstrates).

Eph 4.32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Eph. 5.2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Romans 5.8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Their relationship to others?
Be a light upon their path, God called Christians to “be” disciples, to “be” witnesses of how God has shown us love, mercy, grace, with a testimony of Christ’s saving grace.

Eph 5.8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.

Their relationship to their enemies?

Overcome evil with good, it was the love of God that drew us to redemption, we love God because He first loved us.

1 John 4.19 We love, because He first loved us.
Romans 12.17-21 Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. 19 Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20 “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Eph 5.1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; 2 and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

Q#3: What do you think their standards ought to be?

Ps 119 gives some really good insight into this. God’s standards, according to scripture, should be the standards that ought to be.

What about their morals?
Character is evident in conduct. What people believe they think and act on. Morals defined are a person's standards of behavior or beliefs concerning what is and is not acceptable for them to do. God’s Word should be a light unto my path and I should live yielded to Jesus Christ as Lord and in submission to the leading of Holy Spirit and the Truth of God’s Word in context.

   What should a Christians perspective on the Word of God be? What about their relationship to the Bible? We believe that the Bible, the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament, is the very Word of God. Each word is accurate and without error in the original text. The Bible is the final authority on any subject to which it speaks and is sufficient in determining what we believe and how we should live. Emmanuel Church Statement of Faith

2 Timothy 3:16-17; Also Hebrews 1:1-2; 2 Peter 1:19-21, Psalm 19: 7-11

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

"Here we have a very important point. Do you really believe that God intends for His Word to be the completer and Perfecter of His people? Because that’s what 2 Timothy 3.16-17 is saying. What things keep people from being what they ought to be? From believing what the Word of God says about them? If you don’t know you can’t do, therefore you cannot “be”.- John MacArthur
It’s God’s Word at work in you who believe,

1 Thess. 2. 12 -13  so that you would walk in a manner worthy of the God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 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.

Paul is saying…In order to walk worthy of God who called you, we need God’s Word at work in us.

Something to think About
     "It’s imperative that believers know, understand and comprehend their position, and possessions and their purpose as a child of God. This is the foundational focus of the book of Ephesians." - John MacArthur

"If you do not know, you cannot do, you cannot be." John MacArthur Write that down.

I mean just think about that. How can you do anything you don’t know, let alone be what you have no understanding or comprehension of? Now take that though and apply it to sharing “your” faith. How can anyone share what they don’t first possess themselves?

Next week we will begin some study from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Until then… Walk the Worthy Walk.

Virtual Choir Sings "In Christ Alone"!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Walk the Worthy Walk Part 1

I have a question for each of you today. How Do “YOU” Walk The Walk You Talk?
Ever heard the old expression: Talk is cheap, show me? Have you ever considered that what God’s desires to see is a demonstration of you as a reflector of His nature and character to others in how you live?

By Dale Brand
In the next few weeks… I’d like us all to take an inductive and exegetical look, at a few key passages from the book of Ephesians. This needs to be done without any presupposed ideas. This is something we need to see for ourselves. We need to answer the questions “How would God have us live our lives? What does God desire to see in our lives?

    I mentioned the word inductive meaning that rather than simply listening to what others say about the subject, you are going to discover for yourself, what God says about the walk of a true believer in Jesus Christ.

    Below are nine questions. Each of these questions is from the book How Do You Walk The Walk You Talk  Precept Ministries by Kay Arthur
The goal here is to get “your” perspective. Please answer each question and write down your answers.

  • Do you know people who talk about their Christianity and yet they really don’t walk it – or at least not the way you think they ought to walk it? What causes you to wonder or doubt?
  • How do you think Christians should walk in respect toTheir relationship to God? Their relationship to their spouse/mate/ family? Their relationship to others? Their relationship to their enemies?
  • What do you think their standards ought to be? What about their morals? What should a Christian's perspective on the Word of God be? What about their relationship to the Bible?What things keep people from being what they ought to be? From believing what the Word of God says about them?

     I’ll be back next week with some Biblical insights concerning these questions. Until then, Walk the Worthy Walk.                                                                                                            -Dale Brand

God's strength for hard times

By Jim Shrum
9 b …for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me,
10 declaring the end from the beginning
and from ancient times things not yet done,
saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
and I will accomplish all my purpose,’ Isaiah 46:9b-10

     It was July 2008; I had been working in the automotive industry for almost 30 years. I had started as a young man working as an hourly worker. Through the years I had gone to school and advanced to Senior Engineer. I had ten years with the company I was working for and had seen many get laid off. This time, I was laid off. I figured I would quickly be back to work; little did I know that the layoff would run 18 months.

    It is one thing to learn that God is all knowing and in control of everything, it is quite another to know that God is all-knowing and in control. As the finances go down, you go on interviews (worse yet some of my former co-workers were not even getting interviews) and no job offers come through, you rely on the Scripture that God is all-knowing, that he knows the end from the beginning.

     Knowing that He knew the outcome, changed my prayers from, “Lord get me out of this” to “Lord, give me the strength to endure through the trial. Keep me in the trial with the lesson you will have me learn but don’t leave me in the lesson any longer that needed."

At the end of 18 months the Lord provided a contract job. The job lasted eight months and I was once again out of work. I thought “Not again”. About three months later the Lord again provided, this time we were moving again, this time to Bloomington, Indiana.

     There was another period of unemployment in 2019, again an uncertain future, this time the Lord kept us in Bloomington. We all have periods of uncertainty in our lives, perhaps none greater than the one we currently face with the coronavirus. Rest assured, God knows “end from the beginning”, He is in control. It is at times such as these that we learn to trust in Him. God brings times of crises to drive us to our knees, to show us how temporary our world is, to drive our thoughts to what is eternal.
Now is the time to place our trust in the God who is control of the universe and our lives.


Monday, April 6, 2020

You must be born again John 3:7

John 3:7  Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.' 

     Jesus never introduced mankind to a religious proposition. He introduced to us a spiritual way and a natural impossibility. But the naturally impossible is divinely or spiritually possible. Indeed with God all things are possible. Jesus introduced us to that which only God’s power could do, signaling the end of all vain self-righteous religion. The only possible way to live a spiritual life in truth, that is, true worship of God, is to have that life given to us by God in the first place. It must granted to us as a gift.

     Here all human speculation of spirit and truth fall before God. True believers, true worshipers of the living God are born of the Spirit of God. Discipleship is submitting to the urge and the process of learning those counter intuitive principles that are natural to the spiritual Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus taught us to pray for the Father’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven! Discipleship or sanctification follows upon that which has been accomplished by God in the believer through new Spirit birth or salvation. Religion teaches that pious behavior wrought by discipline is that necessary duty performed in order to attain what God has for us. (Or at least, to avoid the worse of what God has for us.)

     But one cannot be a true believer unless faith is a gift that has been given by God. Man naturally believes in himself, not God. All false gods are a reflection of man's self- worship. But true worshipers of God are of God. His Spirit gives the Kingdom of Heaven quality of life. It is a life where God is not hidden, but in substantial and effective view.

     To be filled with the life of God, or eternal life, is to have both Spirit and Truth meet in unity. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To be without this Divine intervention is to live temporally in spirit death for only as long as that death takes to destroy our bodies. During our natural lifespan without Divine revelation we can only follow the lie of self-worship.

     There are many forms of self-worship. The most sophisticated use bits and parts of what God has revealed so as to keep us self-centered rather than divinely centered. So the world presents a picture of many competing religions. Some compete by accepting everything as true. Some compete by rejecting everything as false. But none have to do with God unless the claim to truth is from the Spirit of God.

     The Spirit of God reveals the Father and the Son. To live the life of the Spirit is to live the life of the Son. Participating in the life of the Son is worship in Spirit and Truth. Living the life of the Son is the consequence of having been filled with the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God has come into the world. He has revealed the Son to us. One day as a result of this miracle, we were enabled to make a statement we could have not otherwise made with confidence.

     We say that Jesus Christ is God. We believe in the hearts of our beings that He was raised from the dead. We understand that we have been raised with Him unto eternal life. We understand that such life is ours now. We pray to Father God. We sing to Father God. We read the living Word of Father God, and receive it! All this occurs because we are filled with the Spirit of Life. We are born again by Divine Spirit birth!

     We cannot explain these phenomena by any human means. There is no corroborating evidence we can offer the world beyond the feedback loop of our testimony. What has happened to us is testified to in the Word of God. The Word of God is the Word of the Father, Son and Spirit. The Word of God is the Word of Revelation and is testified to by others who have shared the experience present and past. The inner witness of the Spirit brings an inward confidence that something about has been truly changed. We know it is true. We are not trying to believe. We do believe, in spite of any questions that still swirl around in our heads. It is so strange. It is disorienting at first. Yes it is true, we are born again! Born of the Spirit of God!                                                                                       
                                        From the book
Any Questions by Don Forss, D.Div, XLibris 2016, p. 9-16

Jesus to Nathanael; 'You ain't seen nothin' yet'

  It is the beginning of the New Testament story that would rock the world when a few motley fishermen, would become close friends and disciples with the one-and-only Jesus of Nazareth. The first introductions to Jesus as more that just the carpenter's son, would begin with an eye-opening introduction from John the Baptist, Jesus' earthly cousin and fulfiller of the prophetic writings of Isaiah.

      "The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36  and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" 37  The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus."   John 1:35-37

  The excitement begins to build when one of the disciples, Andrew who had followed Jesus stayed with him the whole day. He couldn't wait to find his brother Simon and announce "We have found the Messiah!" Simon, being a curious guy goes with Andrew to meet Jesus who greets him with a nickname Cephas which means Peter, which translated means "a small stone." Jesus goes on to call Phillip and Nathaniel. When Jesus meets Nathanael they have an interesting exchange.

     "Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, 'Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!' 48  Nathanael said to him,'How do you know me?' Jesus answered him, 'Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.' 49  Nathanael answered him,  'Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!' 50  Jesus answered him, 'Because I said to you, "I saw you under the fig tree," do you believe? You will see greater things than these.'  John 1:47-50

     Put aside the fact that Nathanael has been declared an honest man by none other that the King of Kings, and honor on par with God singling out Job as a model believer, and look at what Jesus says to him; "Nathanael, if you were amazed by that, just wait for what comes next. Friend, you ain't seen nothin' yet."

     Jesus would continue to astound and amaze His disciples and others by healing the extremely sick, raising the dead and forgiving sin, not to mention his culinary miracles such as feeding the dinner rush with one child's lunch and creating a fine vintage in an eye blink. He would preach the fulfillment of prophecy in the temple and be run up to the edge of a cliff. He would be the  target of plots and intrigue, and he would warm the hearts of the lost and forsaken parts of the culture, up until then shunned by the righteous elite. He would even be accused of using the power of Satan to cast out demons. No, Jesus had far better in store for His people. They indeed had not seen anything close to the full power of His purpose. What they would witness would be the completion of God's plan for a generation doomed to an eternity of loss.

    A lost and dying generation turned away from God and as such had no hope of ever being with Him in a heaven built and lighted with his perfection. Jesus had already begun the earthly portion of His greatest work long before Jesus was named Jesus.

   When a favored young girl was visited by an angel and informed that she would give birth as a virgin, she had seen only a spark of the flames that would burn down everything everyone thought they knew about the Messiah.

    When Jesus waded out into the Jordan and John proclaimed Him to be God's lamb and God Himself proclaim
ed Him his beloved son, they still had not seen the greatest He would do.

   When Jesus called Lazarus forth from the gloomy death of his tomb, all all who heard Jesus pray watched in wonder as their dead friend came out, still wrapped in grave clothes. They could not even conceive that pulling one brother back from death would not match the salvation of a generation who would be saved from an eternal second death because of His work at the cross.

   The story goes on and as John wrote, "Now there are also many other things that Jesus did. Were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" John 21:25. Relax and trust God. We know that Jesus has done more than any of us can imagine, but God's plan will reveal itself soon enough and we will see much greater than we have already seen or can imagine. Until then,

   "The LORD bless you and keep you; 25  the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; 26  the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace." Num. 6:24-26
                                                                                                                                         -Greg Mosley