Issuu on Google+


© 2013 Jasper Life Publications Inc.

SERIES:

Our Attitude Towards the Truths Title of this volume: Renewed by Practicing the Word Translated with permission of Editora Árvore da Vida Published by Editora Árvore da Vida in Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, French, Italian and German. All rights reserved by Jasper Life Publications Inc. 725 Viscount Road London, ON, Canada N6J 4G9 Phone: (519) 472-0350 http://jasperlife.com ISSN 1920-8510

Bible Quotations All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version® is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000.

Other versions of scripture are indicated as follows:


ENJOY! Individually 1. Meet with the Lord early in the morning. 2. As soon as you rise, before doing anything else, take a breath of life, deeply calling on the name of the Lord, “Oh Lord Jesus”. When doing this, drop all your cares, fears, sadness and sin, and receive the Lord Jesus as life, joy, peace and encouragement. Call “Lord Jesus” several times throughout the day. 3. Read the verses given each day in order to have a complete idea of the subject to be covered. Remember that the Bible explains the Bible; because of this, you will find quotations from many other books of the Bible aside from the one which we are presenting in this Daily Food. 4. Prayerfully read the verse suggested each day. To do this, each word ought to be repeated, emphasized and proclaimed without haste, as if one were chewing. Do not read the verse too fast, but spend time on each word. In this exercise, do not worry about understanding the verse, but “eat” it, taking it by faith as spiritual food. 5. Underline and highlight the phrases and words in the explanatory text that most impress you. Pay special attention to the Key Point. This point will function as a key to unlock the spiritual significance of the text. “Digest” it during the day, repeating it to yourself. In this manner, the text that you read in the morning will be your spiritual food all day long. 6. Share what you gain with those you are related to at home, at school, at work, etc. They need the life that you receive through the word.

3


4

ENJOY! In Small Groups 1. Daily Food is an excellent tool for small groups meeting to study the Bible. These small groups may be informal and be characterized by mutual care among the members. 2. A small group meeting can be formed of household members, relatives and neighbors, friends who live nearby, classmates, or work colleagues. 3. Try to meet regularly with members of your small group meeting in order to read Daily Food together. 4. When together, read the suggested passages for each day and prayerfully read the verse of the day. 5. Try to apply the Key Point to your daily life and its difficulties, and to your personal and professional life. Make the word of God applicable to your living. In this way everyone can actively participate and be mutually edified. 6. Take the opportunity to pray together for individual needs or problems. 7. Whenever possible, bring guests to your small group meeting. Then more people can be supplied by God’s word.

May you all receive life abundantly!

The editors

PS: Don’t forget to look at the Complementary Reading suggested at the end of each week. It is very helpful.


CONTENTS Week 1 – Message 01 Introduction (Matt. 24:14)

The Kingdom is Near......................................................................... 7 Tools to Bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to People......................... 9 The Church Life Helps Us Grow in the Divine Life........................ 11 Serving the Lord, yet Not According to Our Own Concepts.......... 13 The Battle of Armageddon and the Gospel of the Kingdom........... 15 Using Our Homes for the Sake of the Gospel of the Kingdom........ 17 The Gospel of the Kingdom is for the Entire Earth......................... 19

Week 2 – Message 02 The Greatest of Truths (Acts 2:15-21)

Calling on the Lord’s Name Fills with Life and Transforms Us....... 21 The Propagation of the Practice of Calling on the Lord’s Name..... 23 Losing the Soul-Life Today to Reign with the Lord in the Coming Age....................................................................... 25 The Source of Peter’s Boldness on the Day of Pentecost................. 27 The Spirit, the Word, and the Name............................................... 29 Identified by Calling......................................................................... 31 A Chosen Vessel to Bear the Lord’s Name...................................... 33

Week 3 – Message 03 The Lord Introduces the Ministry of Paul (Acts 9:3-6, 10-16; 22:12-16)

Calling on the Lord’s Name ............................................................ 35 The Background of Paul’s Calling.................................................... 37 The Preparation of the Apostle Paul to Exercise His Ministry........ 39 The Epistles of Paul.......................................................................... 41 The Truth in the Writings of the Apostles Peter and John.............. 44 The Truths in Paul’s Epistles............................................................ 47 A Firm Foundation That Remains .................................................. 49

Week 4 – Message 04 Paul’s Epistolary Ministry (Gal. 3:14; 5:25; Eph. 1:3; Col. 1:18; Phil. 3:14; Philemon 11)

Paul is Called and Equipped by God to be a Minister to the Gentiles.. 51 The Beginning of Paul’s Service...............................................................54 Being Forbearing with One Another and Following the Spirit’s Direction............................................................................ 56 Saved from a Religious Environment and Preserved to Write His Epistles............................................................ 58 Our Attitude: Transmitting the Divine Life Contained in the Truths...60 God’s Economy in the Books of Galatians, Colossians, and Ephesians.63 Once Unprofitable, but Now Profitable.................................................. 65

5


6

Week 5 – Message 05 The Faith (1 Tim. 1:3-4) Promoting God’s Dispensing in Faith............................................... 67 Feeding God’s Children.................................................................... 69 Stewards........................................................................................... 71 The Objective Faith and the Subjective Faith................................. 73 The Dispensing of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit............ 77 From “Rubbish” to the Kingdom...................................................... 80 The Content of the Faith in 2 Peter................................................. 83 Week 6 – Message 06 The Perfecting of the Saints unto the Work of the Ministry (1 Cor. 12:4-6; Eph. 4:11-12)

Exercising the Spirit to Extract the Life from the Word.................. 85 The Perfecting of the Saint unto the Work of the Ministry............. 88 The Two Aspects of Perfecting......................................................... 90 Doing Business with Our Minas until the Lord’s Return................ 92 The Continuous Exercise of the Gifts Produces Ministries............. 94 The Present Way of Practicing the Truths (1)................................. 96 The Present Way of Practicing the Truths (2)................................. 98

Week 7 – Message 07 Walking in Grace and in Truth (Eph. 4:1, 7, 17, 21)

The Balance between Vision and Practice..................................... 100 Grace and the Exercise of the Gifts............................................... 102 The Men-Gifts and the Perfecting of the Saints............................ 105 Walking in Truth versus Walking in the Vanity of the Mind......... 108 Caring for the Rear Guard – Our Families..................................... 111 Caring for the Rear Guard – Being Intimate with the Lord.......... 114 The Purpose of the Church Life – Preparing Us for the Kingdom.117

Week 8 – Message 08 Walking in Love, in Light, and in Spirit (Eph. 5:1-2, 8, 18-21; 1 John 1:5-7; 4:7-9, 16)

Walking in Love and in Light......................................................... 120 Walking in Grace out of Love, and in Truth out of Light.............. 122 Walking in Spirit............................................................................ 124 The Spirit and the Holy Anointing Oil......................................... 127 Empowered by the Spirit................................................................ 130 Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord................................................ 132 Walking in Spirit and Practicing the Word Changes People.......... 134


Week

1 – MONDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 3:2, 11a; 4:17; 10:1-4, 7; Mark 3:13-14; Luke 6:12-13; Acts 1:3, 8 Read with prayer:

From that time Jesus began to preach and to say, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matt. 4:17).

The subject of this series of the Daily Food is Our Attitude toward the Truths. While the truths contained in the Bible, God’s Word, may be appreciated, studied, and interpreted in a number of ways, we must focus on practicing them. As the forerunner of the Lord Jesus, John the Baptist came as a voice in the wilderness preaching, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matt. 3:2). At that time, men needed a change of mind to convert and receive the King of the kingdom of the heavens. Every old concept and tradition was to be discarded and left behind (v. 6). The Lord Jesus initiated His ministry in Galilee saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (4:17). Because people were only concerned with the things of this world, the focal point of the Lord’s words was in repenting for the sake of the kingdom of the heavens. While walking along the Galilean Sea, Jesus was seeking out men to cooperate with Him (vv. 18-22). After praying all night, Jesus chose twelve disciples from the multitudes that followed Him to send them for the gospel (10:1-4; Mark 3:13-14; Luke 6:12-13). The Lord also spoke to them concerning the living of those who desire to reign with Him in the coming age (Matt. 5–7). He sent them out, saying, “And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand’” (10:7).

Introduction

THE KINGDOM IS NEAR

7


Renewed by Practicing the Word

8

After His death and resurrection, the Lord appeared to His disciples for forty days and spoke to them of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3). His intention was to empower those uncultured and sometimes timid disciples that they might preach the gospel of the kingdom. Besides the Jews, the Lord also wanted His gospel to reach the Gentiles, beginning in Jerusalem, the largest city in Judea (Matt. 24:14; Acts 1:8). During that period of forty days, the disciples heard of God’s salvation, and of how to introduce others into His kingdom. Having the knowledge, however, was not enough; the disciples still needed something more, which they attained by being in one accord in prayer. They most likely did not feel able to carry out God’s will, and had to fully depend on Him to do so (vv. 13-14). After praying for ten days in Jerusalem, the Spirit came upon the disciples, clothing them with authority and power to boldly preach the gospel of the kingdom on the day of Pentecost; on that same day, nearly three thousand people heard their words and were led to repent (2:38). Key point: We must pray, repent, and practice God’s Word. My key point: Question: What must our attitude toward the truths be?


Week

1 – TUESDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:11 Read with prayer:

Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him (Acts 28:30-31). TOOLS TO BRING THE GOSPEL

In order to make the gospel of the kingdom available to the largest possible number of God’s children, the Lord has given us two useful tools: the BooKafé and the colportage. Although the expression BooKafé is not in the Bible, it refers to books that lead to faith. The BooKafé which is especially set up to receive all sorts of people is a place where they can be led to believe in the Lord, calling on His name and being helped by the healthy spiritual books available inside. Our meeting halls which in the past were only opened for a few hours during the weekends have now become BooKafés, opened for most of the day every day of the week. This way, more people can hear the full gospel, and be led to the Faith through healthy spiritual literature. Like the one hundred twenty disciples who prayed in one accord to be empowered for the gospel, those who desire to open a BooKafé for the sake of the gospel of the kingdom must do the same. Hence, the Lord will guide in all things and send in the necessary resources and people. The second tool is the colportage, which is the practice of preaching the gospel of the kingdom by means of books. At the GPPC (Gospel Preaching Perfecting Center), the colporters

Introduction

OF THE KINGDOM TO PEOPLE

9


Renewed by Practicing the Word

10

are taught to contact people and take care of them. They are apostles sent by God to bring His presence to them, and like high priests, they also bring the revelation of God’s Word to them by books that explain the will of God in the Bible. Through these tools, God’s Word, which is the seed of the kingdom (Matt. 13:19; Luke 8:11), can be sown into the hearts of people that they may receive the divine life, grow in this life, and bear much fruit. Key point: Bringing the word of the kingdom to the largest possible number of people. My key point: Question: What must be the first attitude of someone who desires to open a BooKafé?


Week

1 – WEDNESDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 16:18; John 3:3-5; Gal. 4:1-2; Eph. 4:11-16 Read with prayer:

And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all (Eph. 1:22-23). THE CHURCH LIFE HELPS US

Being born again, that is, being born of the Spirit, is the first step for those who desire to enter God’s kingdom (John 3:3-5); after that, every son of God must grow in order to inherit the kingdom. The church is the best place to foster such growth for in it the Lord provides us with shepherds, teachers, and stewards to help us grow (Gal. 4:1-2; Eph. 4:11b). These brethren who are more advanced spiritually are used by God to care for, teach, and feed His other children that they may mature and be ready to govern the coming world. Unfortunately, many people have an erroneous concept of what the church is. Matthew 16:18 reads, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.” The word church here is ekklesia in Greek, meaning the assembly of the called out ones. As opposed to the concept of many people, the church is neither a physical temple nor a human organization; rather, it is the assembly of those who have been called out of the world. Moreover, the meaning of the word ekklesia refers to something that is dynamic and not stagnant. When the Lord spoke of the church, He was referring to the living of those who were born again and called by God to be one.

Introduction

GROW IN THE DIVINE LIFE

11


Renewed by Practicing the Word

12

The fact that the church (ekklesia) is the Body of Christ is further evidence it is neither a physical place, nor a human organization (Eph. 1:22-23). The Body of Christ is living and moving according to the will of the Head, Christ. As members of His Body, we have received the divine life in order to carry out His will. Hence, after being saved, we must grow and cooperate according to the measure of our part to build up the Body of Christ in love. In other words, we must help one another until we all arrive at the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (4:12-16), at which point we will be ready to reign with Christ in the coming world. Key point: Every son of God must grow in the divine life to inherit the kingdom. My key point: Question: What does the word church, ekklesia in Greek, mean?


Week

1 – THURSDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 16:23-24; 21:13; 24:1-2; John 2:13-22; 1 Cor. 3:1-2 Read with prayer:

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one (1 Cor. 2:14-15). SERVING THE LORD, YET NOT

Soon after we are saved, it is common for our soul-life to manifest itself in the form of the opinions of our old man (Matt. 16:24; cf. 1 Cor. 2:13-14; 3:1-2). Though we may not realize it, those opinions are a hindrance to God (Matt. 16:23). We must allow God’s life to govern everything in our lives; otherwise, we may even devise our own way of serving God with our fallen concepts, traditions, and religiousness. In John 2:13-17, we see that the Jews devised their own peculiar way of serving God. Some of them, seeing that transporting sacrificial animals was both difficult and costly, decided to sell them right in the temple. This practice resulted in the need for money changers, as people coming from different regions held different currencies. Consequently, the temple, which was to be a house of prayer, was overwhelmed by trading and business, and turned into a den of thieves (Matt. 21:13). After that, the Jews asked Jesus, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” (John 2:18). He answered, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (v. 19). The old concepts which the people lived by prevented them from understanding what the Lord meant; He was, in

Introduction

ACCORDING TO OUR OWN CONCEPTS

13


Renewed by Practicing the Word

14

fact, referring to the death of His physical body (the true sanctuary of God) and to His resurrection on the third day. On another occasion, the disciples approached the Lord and showed Him the temple and its beautiful architecture (Matt. 24:1; Mc 13:1; Luke 21:5). At that moment, the Lord said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down” (Matt. 24:2). These words concerned the physical temple in Jerusalem which the Roman general, Titus, would destroy. When asked by the disciples concerning the signs of his coming and the consummation of the age, the Lord spoke of wars, famines, earthquakes, and false prophets, that is, the beginning of birth pangs. He continued, “See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet” (v. 6). Every global calamity and conflict between nations is caused by Satan, the ruler of this world (John 12:31; 14:30). In order for the end to come, that is, for the Lord to return, we must preach the gospel of the kingdom throughout the inhabited earth for a testimony to the nations (Matt. 24:14). Only then will the Lord return and establish His kingdom. That is our hope and motivation to call on the Lord’s name, deny our soul-life, and overcome. Though we are waiting for the Lord, we realize by seeing these prophecies that He is the one waiting for us. Hence, we must exercise the commission God has given us and preach the gospel of grace and the gospel of the kingdom, so that more of His children can grow in the divine life and reign with Him in the coming world. Key point: Carrying out our commission to bring the Lord back! My key point: Question: What is our great hope today? How can it be realized?


Week

1 – FRIDAY

Scripture reading:

Heb. 2:5; Rev. 5:10; 14:18-20; 16:13-16 Read with prayer:

The nations were angry, and Your wrath has come, And the time of the dead, that they should be judged, And that You should reward Your servants the prophets and the saints, And those who fear Your name, small and great, And should destroy those who destroy the earth (Rev. 11:18). THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON

Introduction

AND THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

If we truly desire the Lord to return, we must preach the gospel of the kingdom. This gospel conveys the need for the growth and maturity of God’s children. As sons of God, the more we all seek to grow in the divine life, the more of us will reign in the coming world. By looking at the number of countries in the world and their respective authorities, we can tell that God will need many of His sons to mature and govern the nations in the coming world (Rev. 5:10). The Bible reveals that, after the battle of Armageddon, all the governments of this world will cease. In that battle, all leaders will be gathered at the winepress of God’s wrath (16:1316). As they did not repent before being seduced by the evil spirits that came out of the mouth of the dragon, the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet, they shall be destroyed by the Lord, trampled by Him as in a great winepress. The flow of the blood out of the winepress was up to a horse’s bridle (14:18-20). As mentioned above, in order to rule in the coming world, we need to lay hold of the most effective means to spread the gospel of the kingdom, so more of God’s children can be reached

15


Renewed by Practicing the Word

16

and given the opportunity to grow, mature, and rule over the nations in the millennium with Him. The BooKafé is one of these tools. Inside, God’s children have a pleasant place to have fellowship and be awakened concerning the need to grow and mature, while being helped by healthy spiritual books and by living a normal church life. In addition, the BooKafés scattered throughout our city can be used as a meeting place, not only for ourselves, but a place where we can have fellowship with all of God’s children. Another effective tool to supplying life to God’s children is the colportage. We can get into groups of four colporters and go out to preach the gospel of the kingdom throughout our neighborhoods. After contacting new people, we can also invite them to the BooKafé. Many pastors have brought their church meetings to the BooKafé. Since it is not a “church” in the traditional sense, these servants of God feel comfortable to fellowship with us and even to acquire the spiritual books available inside. This way, we can practice the truth we have received, building up one another in the church life. Let us pray for a BooKafé in every city! Key point: An open heart and a pleasant place to fellowship with all of God’s children. My key point: Question: What is the relationship between Armageddon and the furtherance of the gospel of the kingdom?


Week

1 –SATURDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 9:35 Read with prayer:

Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him (Luke 8:1). USING OUR HOMES FOR THE SAKE

The BooKafé is a pleasant place available to all children of God. In larger cities, there may be several BooKafés that are more equipped and able to supply various Christian groups; however, in smaller cities or towns, there may be simpler types of BooKafés. When I was in Porto Velho, capital of the state of Rondonia, I heard the testimony of some brothers who were in a boat for about four days in the Madeira River to reach the city of Manaus, capital of the state of Amazonas. Right now, the highway BR-319, which connects the two capitals, is being paved and will be ready soon, over 550 miles of highway. This will provide an easier way to travel between the two states, so the gospel of the kingdom can be sown in the cities of the region (Matt. 9:35). Then I thought, “We can even have BooKafés along this road!” It does not have to be a refined BooKafé, but something simpler or homemade, which can be done, for instance, in a garage, on a porch, or even in the room of the houses, with little cost. Perhaps a simple neon sign to draw people’s attention: “Here’s BooKafé.” There, we can pray for people, introduce them to spiritual literature, and perhaps offer a cup of coffee or tea. The most important thing is that this space

Introduction

OF THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

17


Renewed by Practicing the Word

18

offers people an environment that fosters the preaching of the gospel of the kingdom. These days, the Lord is speaking to us about our attitude toward the truth. He is waiting for a reaction from us that we may enter into His burden. The mere knowledge of truths is not enough to carry out God’s will. Like the disciples before the day of Pentecost, we must go before the Lord and seek how to apply the truths, praying to understand and practice the will of God. The BooKafé and the colportage are two simple and effective tools to preach the gospel of the kingdom. Through them, we can contact a large number of people and supply them with words of life through spiritual literature so that they may see the need to grow spiritually. After being born again and obtaining the forgiveness of sins, many of God’s children become stagnant in their spiritual lives. We need to help them grow, call on the Lord’s name, and deny themselves to become mature heirs who can cooperate with the Lord in establishing His kingdom on earth. Key point: Responding to the Lord’s Word in a practical way. My key point: Question: How can your home be used by God for the sake of the gospel of the kingdom?


Week

1 –SUNDAY

Scripture reading:

Matt. 24:45-47; John 13:17; 1 John 1:1-3 Read with prayer:

And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come (Matt. 24:14). THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM

Introduction

IS FOR THE ENTIRE EARTH

Praise the Lord! He has shown us throughout the Scriptures what our attitude toward the truth must be. The truth is meant to be practiced (John 13:17). The first one is that we must repent for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. Due to the kingdom’s imminence, we must turn to the Lord, turning our minds to the spirit and leaving our concepts and religiosity behind that we may feed our fellow servants with words of life, and be useful to Him (1 John 1:1-3) . In order to spread the gospel of the kingdom throughout all the inhabited earth, the Lord has provided two tools: the BooKafé and the colportage. The effectiveness of these tools lies in their ability to introduce people into a realm that is conducive to the growth of the divine life in us. The first tool is an environment where we can care for and receive the people; the second, coupled with the first, uses books as the main means to help people understand God’s will and Word: the growth and maturity of His children that they might be ready to rule the coming world with Christ. Much prayer is needed to establish a BooKafé. We must be like the one hundred and twenty Galileans who depended on the Lord in prayer to preach the gospel. If we are to preach the

19


Renewed by Practicing the Word

20

gospel of the kingdom, we must take the same path, so He will show us the way. We also saw that the church revealed by the Lord in Matthew 16 suggests something dynamic, a living, as the original Greek word ekklesia means assembly of the called out ones (v. 18). If we do not see the revelation of what the church entails, we risk placing more value on the “temple”, the “structure”, than on what it truly is: a living. In order to avoid this mistaken understanding, the Lord even allowed the temple in Jerusalem (the symbol of the center of worship in the Old Testament) to be destroyed, as opposed to His Body, the church (God’s dwelling in the spirit), which was built up. We thank the Lord for in the church life we have spiritually mature brothers who look after God’s children as guardians and stewards to their fellow servants, so that all may mature in life and become grown heirs ( Gal. 4:1-2 ; Matt . 24:45-47 ) . According to the location and financial means of each place, let us seek to open BooKafés and welcome God’s children in large cities and small ones. In smaller cities, we can have a homemade BooKafé, so no one will miss the opportunity of being reached by the gospel of the kingdom. The kingdom is near! May the Lord fill us with grace to practice the truth! This way, the gospel of the kingdom will reach all the earth, helping many of God’s children grow and enter the kingdom to rule over the nations along with Christ! Amen! Key point: Leaving our concepts and religiosity behind in order to be useful to the Lord. My key point: Question: Why has the Lord placed guardians and stewards in the church? Complementary Reading: “Learning from the Apostles” – chap. 1 – Dong Yu Lan.


Our Attitiude Towards the Truths