Wednesday, June 25, 2014

2Thessalonians 1:11-12 comments: that His name may be glorified

11 ¶  Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:
12  That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.


Paul’s declaration that he prays always for the Thessalonians is in keeping with his sentiments elsewhere. Examples include;


Romans 1:9  For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers;


Ephesians 1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;


Among those we should be praying regularly for are those people who we have prayed for salvation with and those believers whom we help disciple in Bible study. In fact, along with our church, our pastor, our family, our nation, and the world around us we should be praying for those over whom we have had some influence for the gospel.


The Thessalonians, like Paul himself, had been called to persecution and tribulation (see verses 4-10 and comments).


1Thessalonians 3:3  That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.


One of the undercurrents of the letters to the Thessalonians and, indeed, of all of Paul’s letters is that Christians will suffer for Christ. In this letter to the Thessalonians it is said to be part of God’s judgment on those doing the persecuting as their actions will justify their punishment. Paul is praying that the Thessalonians will be counted worthy by God for this calling.


It was that goodness of God that led us to repent of our natural state of being a sinner and of our sins.


Romans 2:4  Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?


God’s goodness toward us does not always make us feel good. Christians experience some things for their own spiritual growth such as persecution or a physical ailment that forces you to reflect on your relationship with God or brings you to your knees or your face in prayer, even the death of a loved one.


Romans 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.


God’s goodness leads us to minister to others who are suffering what we have suffered.


2Corinthians 1:3 ¶  Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4  Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.


It is only our own selfishness and carnal focus on this life coupled with our ungrateful heart that prevents us from seeing what God is doing in our lives and with our lives when it is not pleasant.


God is the author of our faith. True faith is not generated from within us. As Ephesians 2:8,9 shows that it came from God. Jesus told the Jews what the work of God was.


John 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.


This work of faith with power allows the Christian to overcome the world.


1John 5:4  For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 5  Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?


There are some powerful promises made with that idea of overcoming by holding on to your faith until the end.


Revelation 2:7  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.


Revelation 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.


Revelation 2:17  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.


Revelation 2:26  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:


Revelation 3:5  He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.


Revelation 3:12  Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.


Revelation 3:21  To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.


Revelation 21:7  He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.


The work of faith with power will keep the Christian proclaiming who Christ is no matter what he or she endures as a result. It keeps a Sudanese Christian from renouncing Christ in the face of his Muslim torturers as it kept a Thessalonian Christian from renouncing Christ in the face of his or her suffering. It can keep an American Bible believer standing firm in the face of the false and political Christianity that surrounds him. No matter how infuriated you are at the behavior of the enemies of Christ or how enraged you are at the public behavior and proclamations of the so-called Christian in America this work of faith with power keeps you from turning your back on the one who bought you with His own blood.


The purpose of this is so that the name of Christ is glorified in us and we in Him. This is all made possible by God’s grace toward us.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

2Thessalonians 1:1-10 comments: Christ's triumphant return

1 ¶  Paul, and Silvanus, and Timotheus, unto the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 2  Grace unto you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 3  We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth;


Paul sends this second letter to the Thessalonians from Athens also, as tradition would have it. The same three persons’ greetings are sent as in the first letter. Again he prays for grace and peace from God. He is pleased that their faith and their active, tangible love, or charity for each other is growing impressively. Charity toward brothers and sisters is the garment by which faith is clothed. Faith is the bones, organs, and sinews while charity is the skin.


James 2:14 ¶  What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? 15  If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, 16  And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? 17  Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.


4  So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: 5 Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer:


The Thessalonian Christians must have been facing terrible persecution early in the first century. The Roman historian, Suetonius, mentions briefly imperial persecution against Christians during this time, but, in all likelihood, this was local persecution. I’ve already discussed some differences in the Greek and Roman world regarding religious and civil duties in the comments on the first letter to the Thessalonians. Suffice it to say, in matters of legal treatment, employment, and social acceptance Christians in first century Thessalonica would have been under some pretty extreme pressure to conform.


Paul says that their willingness to endure gives them a testimony as being worthy of the kingdom of God. We can’t regard this statement, “that ye may be counted worthy,” as indicating that their salvation was based on their willingness to suffer persecution as that would be inconsistent with other statements Paul made under the Holy Spirit’s inspiration that indicate that saving an individual and keeping that individual saved is an act of God, not of the person saved.


2Corinthians 1:21  Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 22  Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.


Ephesians 1:13  In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,


Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.


Also, in this passage is evidence that persecution against Christians is a sign of God’s judgment on those doing the deed, as will be seen in the next set of verses.


6  Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; 7  And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: 9  Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10  When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.



A disturbing thought for most of us carnal minded Christians is that we have to wait for justice regarding persecution. We may never see any action against our persecutors in this life. Of course, we would do well to make sure that the tribulation we suffer is not because of our rebellious attitude as we use God as an excuse for our own lawlessness.


1 Peter 4:14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. 17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?


Important to understand is that judgment from God on someone begins with permitting them to perform the evil in the way of maliciousness and violence that is in their heart and then raining evil in the way of calamity and catastrophe down on them.

Christ is returning from heaven with His mighty angels who, by cross-referencing, are shown to be…

1Thessalonians 3:13  To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.

1Thessalonians 4:14  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

Christ’s “raptured” or Biblically speaking, “translated” saints.

Revelation 19:11 ¶  And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. 12  His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. 13  And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God. 14  And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.

This is the translated church, the bride of Christ, which follows Him from heaven.

Revelation 19:5 ¶  And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great. 6  And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7  Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8  And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9  And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. 10  And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.

Some commentators reference this Old Testament verse and say it is a foretelling of that great day when Christ physically returns with His church.

Zechariah 14:4  And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Some commentators say this is a reference to the destruction that is coming with God’s wrath.

Joel 2:1 ¶  Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand; 2  A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong; there hath not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations. 3  A fire devoureth before them; and behind them a flame burneth: the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them. 4  The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run. 5  Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devoureth the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array. 6  Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness. 7  They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks: 8  Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded. 9  They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief. 10  The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining: 11  And the LORD shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great: for he is strong that executeth his word: for the day of the LORD is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?

The final judgment of a wicked world will come after a thousand year reign of Jesus Christ from Jerusalem, but that study is for another day. In the letters to the Thessalonians we have the translation or rapture of the church consisting of called-out and saved persons who trust in Christ’s righteousness alone and not their own and then Christ’s return with them to defeat and conquer a world of wickedness. These are the promises made by Paul to the Thessalonians given in trust to him, we believe, by God and with inspiration, which is wisdom and understanding, from God. If you don’t believe these promises you might as well just stay home on Sunday morning and watch FOX News Sunday or some other fictional television. Christ is not reigning now over the world of men including the U.S. government under either political party. Satan is the god of this fallen world and has been ever since your first ancestor turned it over to him.

2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

But, things are going to change. So, put away your banners, your dollar-store-political-slogans, your invitations to turn-America-back-to-God rallies, etc. etc. Trying to deny or prevent what the Bible says is going to happen is fruitless and a pointless waste of time.

Revelation 11:15  And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Friday, June 20, 2014

1Thessalonians 5:24-28 comments: read the letter aloud

24  Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 25  Brethren, pray for us.

26  Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. 27  I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. 28  The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen. « The first epistle to the Thessalonians was written from Athens. »


Here is a great definition of the word, “faithful.” Someone who is faithful will do what they have promised to do.


For instance, stewards of the mysteries of God, such as pastors and teachers, should be faithful to God’s word.


1Corinthians 4:1 ¶  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.


God has made promises to us, many of which are laid out in this letter to the Thessalonians. Others include, as example from 1Corinthians, a promise to offer us a way out of any temptation we face to sin.


1Corinthians 10:13  There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.


And so, in keeping with the last verse discussed where Paul prayed that the Christians be preserved blameless in their soul, their spirit, and their bodies, we have that proof of the promise from God, who also promises to be faithful to do that very thing.


1Corinthians 1:4  I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5  That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6  Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7  So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: 8  Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9  God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.


Again, in verse 25, the exhortation is repeated to pray. Paul asks that these Christians in Thessalonica pray for him and his group of ministers. How often do we pray for our pastors and our teachers and other ministers to be guided by the Holy Spirit, to be blessed in their personal lives, to be kept from sin, to be drawn closer to the Lord?


Verse 26 presents a problem for those people who take literal statements in the Bible to an extreme, denying that there are specific instructions for a historical reason given to a specific church, cultural customs, or personal opinions involved that do not necessarily apply to them. For those of you who insist that a woman must have long hair, for instance, when was the last time you gave someone in your church, “a holy kiss”? Do you even know what a holy kiss is? Are you out of God’s will because you don’t follow Paul’s admonition to give a holy kiss? I certainly don’t want any of you giving me a holy kiss or anything resembling one. I don’t want you washing my feet either and I’m not likely to offer to wash your feet. Am I wrong?


Romans 16:16  Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.


1Corinthians 16:20  All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss.


2Corinthians 13:12  Greet one another with an holy kiss.


Here is a mention by Paul of washing feet.


1Timothy 5:10  Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work.


Foot washing here is listed as an example of a “good work.” So, why don’t we do it today? Are we wrong?


The issue here is one of cultural custom. There is no specific wedding ceremony in the Bible so Christians are required to come up with their own or follow the cultural customs of the land in which they live. When you read the Bible pay close attention to who is being spoken to and why. It really is a matter of common sense. Adultery is a sin from the beginning to the end of the Bible, as is murder. How you celebrate a landmark event like a wedding, a graduation, or a birthday is something you have to figure out as long as it doesn’t involve idolatry or sin against God. For instance, a drunken wedding celebration goes against what a Christian is taught about what God wants from their life but the wedding celebration in itself is not by necessity sinful.


There are congregations of Christians who believe in foot-washing, who have their own wedding ceremony, and, for all I know, who give each other a holy kiss. If they are all under that conviction then so be it. We often stand or fall under our convictions.


Paul charges that this letter be read to the church. The Bible is not only meant to be read but to be read aloud.


Colossians 4:16  And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea.


According to early church leader, Tertullian, Paul’s original letters still existed in these churches as late as around 200AD after the Old Latin Bible, the first complete Bible, a direct copy of Greek original letters and the Hebrew Old Testament, had already been circulating from about the middle of the second century. (The King James translators, by the way, did not use the Septuagint, a complete Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament miraculously translated because, in their Letter to the Reader, they said it wasn’t reliable. And truthfully, the oldest nearly complete copies of that version that exist are from the third or fourth century and the only evidence that it existed before Christ is a letter thought to be a fraud by many. There is the church scholar, Origen’s, belief in the authenticity of a Septuagint along with some fragments of Hebrew books translated into Greek from before Christ. Origen included what he claimed were earlier versions of it in his Hexapla.  I think, logic can safely question the complete Septuagint’s existence in the middle of the Second Century for the translation of the Old Testament into Latin from Greek from Hebrew, although it remains a possibility.)



Paul finishes his first letter to the Thessalonians with a prayer and wish for God’s grace upon them. The traditional postscript of this letter reports that it was written from Athens, Greece, although this is not considered to be part of the text given by inspiration and is not found in many modern editions of our King James Bible.


Paul begins and ends several of his letters with a prayer for grace for the readers. Bible commentators call “grace,” unmerited favor. In other words, you get mercy and kindness even though you didn’t deserve it. The Bible defines grace as favor.


Esther 2:17  And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.


It is linked with glory God will give to His own.


Psalm 84:11  For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.


Proverbs 4:9  She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.


When the grace of God is on someone, as it was on Jesus, there are other attributes that rise in them.


Luke 2:40  And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him.


It is why we are justified.


Romans 3:24  Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:


It is why we are saved.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

God’s grace is upon us through no reason of our own will but of His. No Christian has anything that would commend them to God. It is all His own work.

Romans 5:8  But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Whether it be Paul or the person next to you God’s grace was extended to them because of who God is, not because of anything the believer has done.

Paul will write a second letter to the Thessalonians in which he will feel compelled to correct some misunderstandings as the Thessalonians began to look for Christ to return immediately. Who could blame them? Every Christian worthy to be called one is looking for Christ’s return to remove His church from this present darkness from an earth that suffers from the ravages of mankind’s sin.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

1Thessalonians 5:23 comments: spirit and soul and body

23 ¶  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Here is one of the great doctrinal statements of the Bible and essential to theology, showing clearly how far off the rails Christianity went from the pagan Greek philosophy influenced  Council of Nicea in the early fourth century and beyond. It shows how heretical conventional Trinitarian theology actually is. Let’s dig into this verse.


You and I are composed of three parts. There is a spirit, which is how we know God and how He examines us.


Proverbs 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.


It is also the channel by which God gave the original writers of the Bible and also future copyists and translators inspiration which is not necessarily dictation but always understanding and wisdom.


Job 32:8  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.


2Peter 3:15  And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;


2Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:


The higher animals have a spirit, as well, but they exist in God’s will, do not have our understanding and wisdom, and are not in rebellion to Him but innocently suffering as a result of our sin so its purpose is only within the timeframe of their physical lives.


Ecclesiastes 3:21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?


You have a soul, the seat of self-identity and will. This is eternal but was created when God breathed life into the first man.


Isaiah 57:16  For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.


Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.


In the Old Testament the body composed of flesh and the soul were linked and the soul suffered what the body suffered as a consequence of sin. This is also the state of the unregenerate now. The body dies and perishes and the soul suffers in Hell and then the Lake of Fire in eternity.


Leviticus 4:2  Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, If a soul shall sin through ignorance against any of the commandments of the LORD concerning things which ought not to be done, and shall do against any of them:


But, under grace in the New Testament our soul is cut from our flesh and no matter what the sins of the one who truly belongs to Christ, his soul cannot suffer the judgment common to all men, by virtue of what Christ has done. We are trusting in Christ’s righteousness, not our own, to have eternal life.


Colossians 2:11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:


Our own self-awareness of our consciousness is one way we know that our soul exists. I am convinced that one day neuroscientists will learn that consciousness and self-awareness in particular are not functions of the body and brain but use the body and brain as a vehicle by which to operate in the world. Some neuroscientists, if you read the literature and watch the videos they put out, are already stating something like this due to the fact that people who die on the operating table and then are brought back to life report seeing things from above the operating room that they could not have seen in their condition but which are accurate. Others, who are blind and have that experience, also report seeing things that are accurate but which they physically could not have seen. Some of the scientists I have read and watched simply say they don’t know what consciousness is or what it is for. I wish they would consider what the Creator of consciousness has said about it.




The higher animals also have a soul, the seat of will and self-identity.


Numbers 31:28  And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:


Job 12:10  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.


And, of course, we have our flesh. The spirit is the vehicle through which we experience God and God sees our innermost workings. The soul is the seat of our self-identity and of our emotions and reason by which we make our decisions and live our lives and how we know ourselves as distinct from others. Both are eternal but having been created at a point in the past. Our flesh is how we know the world around us. It is fallen because of Adam’s sin and our inheritance of that sin.


It is the spirit that is made alive when God comes to dwell in us and the soul is saved from eternal loss. The flesh is redeemed at Christ’s return and we are given a new body, identifiable with our old but complete and perfect, which is the doctrine of Adoption. See Romans 8:23.


God, as well, is one God with three parts, but being God, His parts can act independently, while ours cannot. If our spirit or soul leaves the vehicle of our body we die. He has a spirit, the Holy Spirit, by which He interacts with His creation.


Genesis 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.


God has a soul, the seat of self-identity and God’s will, we know as God the Father.


Psalm 11:5  The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.


God has a physical image, a body, whom we know as the WORD incarnate or the Lord Jesus Christ, after whom we are patterned.


Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.


James 3:9  Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.


Similitude and likeness are references to appearance.


Deuteronomy 4:16  Lest ye corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female,


After Adam’s sin mankind’s deteriorating condition, particularly genetically, as with every cell division information is lost until we grow old and die, caused him to be made after the fallen image of Adam.


Genesis 5:3  And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth:


In regard to God, the Lord Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the visible image of God.


Hebrews 1:3  Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;


2Corinthians 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.


Colossians 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:


John 14:9  Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?


So, God has three distinct parts, Spirit, soul, and body, as we do, however His can act independently of each other. This Bible doctrine from a literal perspective goes against the Nicene Creed and Trinitarian Theology. God is not three distinct persons with one essence. He is one person composed of three parts, because the Bible says so not because of how we perceive Him.


Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:


John 10:30  I and my Father are one.


1 John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.


This is not the heresy of modalism or Sabellianism. It doesn’t matter how we perceive God as our perception is a vital part of that heretical belief. God simply is what He is and the pattern with which He created living things. This is a literal interpretation of what the Bible says not some Greek pagan influenced creed that corrupted what became the state church of Rome, the Greek Orthodox, and the Protestants. Jesus Christ was not eternally begotten of the Father before the earth was formed. Jesus as the only begotten Son is a clear reference that, unlike Alexander, Augustus Caesar, and others’ claims of being God in the flesh or the Son of God, which means the same thing, God only became a human being once, in the form of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ as fully man and fully God was born in a specific place and time in history and only once, the only begotten Son.


Psalm 2:7  I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.


In the following verse it is clear that no man has seen God the Father at any time. Every incidence of seeing God, or seeing an angel or appearance of God, has been that of the Lord Jesus Christ, the image of God.


John 1:18  No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.


Hebrews 1:5  For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son?


When people saw God before the incarnation or after the resurrection they saw an appearance or angel of God, an angel being fully named, “the angel of his presence,” which was the Lord Jesus Christ (Isaiah 63:9). Adam and Eve, Gideon, and Manoah and his wife all saw the pre-incarnate Christ. Notice Manoah’s cry.


Judges 13:21  But the angel of the LORD did no more appear to Manoah and to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was an angel of the LORD. 22  And Manoah said unto his wife, We shall surely die, because we have seen God.


Paul spoke with Christ as the angel or appearance of God after the Resurrection.


Acts 27:23  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,


And using the figure of speech called a Hendiadys even said that Jesus Christ was the angel or appearance of God.


Galatians 4:14  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.


Powerful Christian personages of the Roman Empire arguing about whether or not the Son proceeded from the Father or whether the Spirit proceeded from the Father and the Son, etc. etc. are ludicrous and unnecessary to understand what the Bible literally says in its entirety.


Jesus is the WORD, the Logos of Greek belief like modern evolutionists who believe in self-organizing properties of matter, the creative power of the universe, who was not a force or blind power like the pagans believed and still do, but a person, which was made flesh in the Lord Jesus Christ.


John 1:14  And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.


Lastly, Paul here expresses his wish that God would set the Thessalonians apart for His purpose and that each person in his entirety as a human being will be preserved blameless, a promise we have from God that Christ performed by His offering of Himself for our sins on the cross.

Ephesians 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Monday, June 16, 2014

1Thessalonians 5:16-22 comments: Paul's instruction to Christians

16 ¶  Rejoice evermore. 17  Pray without ceasing. 18  In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19  Quench not the Spirit. 20  Despise not prophesyings. 21  Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22  Abstain from all appearance of evil.


The Christians in Thessalonica are told to rejoice. There is a lot to rejoice about in this letter to them, isn’t there? This has come up in other contexts for us to consider.


2Corinthians 6: 9  As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; 10  As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.


Philippians 4:4  Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.


Jesus said in Matthew 5: 11  Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.12  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.


Jesus, again, in Luke 10:20  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.


Back to Paul in Romans 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;


If you believe in the promises offered in this letter for Christians there is no reason why in whatever circumstance you find yourself that you should not rejoice in the hope you have.


Praying, talking directly to God, is vital to the exercise of faith. Paul exhorts the Christian to pray always and constantly to be in a prayerful mind to God.


Romans 12:12  Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;


Ephesians 6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;


Colossians 4:2 ¶  Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;


In the Old Testament it was promised;


Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.


Being thankful is the basis of all Christian worship. Being ungrateful is the root cause of many sins.


Ephesians 5:20  Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;


Philippians 4:6  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.


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


When we are thankful we are in God’s will. When we are ungrateful and unthankful we are estranged from God’s blessings.


We are warned not to quench the Holy Spirit. Quench carries with it the idea of throwing water on a fire. In the following verse we see the Bible define “quench,” as “drown.”


Song  of Solomon 8:7  Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.


Remember before the Holy Spirit of God came to live inside of man, in the days where the Law of Moses ruled the Hebrew’s life.


Psalm 66:18  If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:


Isa 63:10  But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.


But now, under the dispensation of the church, we should still remember the principle that our willful sin diminishes our relationship with Christ and inhibits the leading of the Holy Spirit. If you are engaged in a sin now that is consuming you without your repentance, have unconfessed sin in your life, will not speak to God in sincere and genuine prayer, or permit God to speak to your spiritual heart through His Book then you are throwing water on the fire that is that Spirit inside of the Christian. The same can be said if you ignore meeting with other believers regularly in worship and prayer and service (just remember, in the context of church discipline, Matthew 18: 20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.)


We must always remember to whom we belong and to not deliberately or carelessly do things that prevent the blessings that He wishes to give to us. We are sealed and cannot lose our salvation but how ungrateful it is to ignore God’s pleadings through the Spirit.


Christian men and women will live together with no intention of sealing a commitment for life in front of their church and family. They will commit adultery in their hearts, produce children out of wedlock having united physically with sometime to whom they have not committed their lives. They’ll be careless with money, flirt with sin, and see just how close they can get to the edge without embarrassing themselves, and live in such a way as if they thought God didn’t even exist until they need something. These are not lifestyles and attitudes that bring someone closer to God on favorable terms, but usually result in a cry for mercy and help when everything falls apart, if that person is truly saved.


Ephesians 4:30  And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.


Prophesying is preaching. It is what prophets did in the Old Testament, either telling what was going to happen or expressing what God wanted.


Nehemiah 6:7  And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem….


Christians are to prophesy although we have a completed Bible and no call to predict something other than what is already predicted. We are to tell forth what God has laid on our hearts through His word in His Book.


Romans 12:6  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;


We should not be contemptuous of preaching. Many Christians go against this admonition of Paul. They are too thin skinned to be preached at and can’t handle any kind of rebuke because they are too proud. I know Christians who will not sit under hard preaching because it contradicts the wonderful opinion they have of themselves. It wouldn’t hurt any of you to have some skin preached off your back to keep you from wallowing in your wicked sins.


One difference between preaching and the giving of advice is that the preacher need not have “arrived,” or have done it right himself. He is preaching from God’s word and it is God’s opinion he is supposed to manifest so he is likely just as much preaching at himself as he is you. Don’t be so proud that you can’t be humbled.


On that note, in verse 21, we are to “prove” or test or compare all things up against the words of God in His Bible. Notice the context, right after mention of prophesying.


Be like the Bereans.


Acts 17:10 ¶  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.


We are to prove or test and compare against the Scriptures all things we are told and then to hold fast to those things which are good. If a preacher told you to do something that was literally and clearly against God’s word you can only prove it by going to the Scriptures. If you wanted to do something but wanted to know if it was something God would bless you can only know that by going to the Scriptures.


Then Paul says to abstain from all appearance of evil. Let’s look at that word, “evil,” for a moment.


Evil is not just sinful iniquity. Evil is often maliciousness, malice, an intent to do harm, and calamity and catastrophe.


God says;


Isaiah 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.


You aren’t accusing God of creating sin, are you?


Jesus said,


Matthew 6:34  Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.


You don’t think Jesus is saying, “well, you’ve had enough sin for one day,” do you?


Paul said,


1Timothy 6:10  For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.


Do you honestly believe that your coveting someone else’s wife or husband is based on your love of money?


Moses reported,


Genesis 37:20  Come now therefore, and let us slay him, and cast him into some pit, and we will say, Some evil beast hath devoured him: and we shall see what will become of his dreams.


Was this imagined evil beast intent on violence or some sin? Are animals capable of sin? Of course not.


Finally, Jonah reported,


Jonah 3:8  But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands.


Would it not make more sense to say that the beasts were to be turned from violence rather than simply equating evil with sin? It is important to look at the context for the meaning of words. And yes, evil can also be sin.


But, my point is that there are two things present here. We should abstain from all appearance of sin, yes. A pastor should never counsel a woman alone, as an example. But, we are to abstain from all appearance of malice, as well. We are to give no one the idea that we are bent on harm.


Romans 12:18  If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.


Ephesians 4:31  Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:32  And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.


In other words, don’t do anything to anyone that could be construed as meaning to get revenge or to do them harm. In the context of Paul’s writing here we are talking about the gossips, disputes, assumptions made, and hostility that can occur within a church body. Don’t even let someone think you hold anything against them. Abstain from all appearance of either sin or malice.