When Israel was a child, I loved him Hos.11:1 Issue 22 June 2013
Living Word Magazine
Going Deeper into Godâ€™s Word
F r e e B i b l e St u d i e s f r o m W i l l i a m F . P . B u r t o n , Pe t e r Sc o t h e r n , D a n i e l K o l e n d a , E d wi n & Li l l i a n H a r ve y, K e n Le gg & m a n y m o r e !
Bible Studies Online International
www.biblestudiesonline.org.uk YOU MUST LOVE HER JUST AS I STILL LOVE THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL (HOSEA 3:1) ©Photos above Marafilm CoverDanilo Ascione photo Back cover Peter Saharov
In this month’s issue: 2.
Break my Primitive Tower
Does God Have a Plan for My Life (5)?
Prophet of the Broken Heart (6)
Book Review: The Power of Four
Faith-builders: Matthew Bible study
Truth for Today – Revelation 2
Mathew Bartlett (UK)
In Depth Study – 1 Corinthians 4
Mathew Bartlett (UK)
Bible Teachings: God
Gospel Tract: It is Finished
Ken Legg (Australia) Edwin & Lillian Harvey (USA) Daniel Kolenda (CfaN) Isaac Mwagi (Kenya) Mathew Bartlett (UK) by Eduard Olaguer (USA) Derek Williams (UK)
William F. P. Burton (Congo) Peter Scothern (UK)
©Photos above © Photoquest. Cover: © Alena Root Left © from top: Blaze 86, Pidiyath100,Godfer, Sebastian Grecu, and Littlemacproductions. Back Cover: Rorem
Living Word Magazine is published in the United Kingdom by Sharon Full Gospel Church, 1 8LP Editor: Mathew Bartlett 7 Park View, Freeholdland Road, Pontnewynydd, Pontypool, NP4
IN THIS ISSUE
Think Position by Ken Legg One of the best pieces of advice concerning the Christian life I ever received was, “Think position!” In other words, learn to view your life as God sees it, i.e. as you are in Christ. The term, ‘in Christ’, or its equivalent, is found over 150 times in the New Testament, so it’s obviously vital to our understanding of the Christian walk. Jesus was the first to teach that the relationship He would have with His people would be based upon their position in Him. He said, “In that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you” (Jn.14:20 – emphasis mine). Every human being is either in Adam or in Christ. And it is that which determines what is true about us. We began our journey ‘in Adam’. In Adam we were sinners and in Adam we die. But when we came to faith in Christ we were incorporated into Him. This means that we died to our old identity in Adam, we were buried with Christ, we were raised with Him to newness of life, and we are now seated with Him in the heavenly places. This is our position. “As He is, so are we in this world” (1 John 4:17).
Are You An Externalist, Or An Internalist? Every Christian is either an externalist or an internalist. An externalist constantly views himself on the basis of his condition. Our condition is comprised of the things we experience, i.e. the external things
of life such as our works, our performance, our achievements, our behaviour, the opinions and judgments of others, things that have happened to us in the past, etc. An externalist looks to these things to evaluate himself. An internalist, however, focuses upon position. Our position is the truth about us based upon our new creation identity in Christ. One of my favourite sayings is, “It’s not your condition that determines your position, but knowing your position that will determine your condition.” In other words, it’s not what you do that determines who you are, but knowing who you are, that will determine what you will do. That’s why we need to renew our minds daily by choosing to think position, not condition.
they are having, they might reply, “Oh, I’m working on it.” That’s their problem. Paul says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure” (Phil.2:12&13). Don’t work on your salvation. Work out your salvation. We work out what God has worked in. When God saved us He made us righteous in the deepest part of us, our spirit. Dear friend don’t work on becoming righteous; you are righteous. Know who you are, believe who you are and you will become who you are. Think position!
For example, every Christian sins. And yet, in the New Testament epistles we are never referred to as sinners. Not once! We are saints; saints who sometimes sin, yet saints even when we do sin. Most Christians are externalists. Visit many Christian bookshops today and you will find they are full of self-help books. “Ten ways to be a better husband.” “Six steps to controlling your anger.” “How to break free from addiction.” “Keys to overcoming fear,” etc. The message is to go to work on some aspect of your condition. This is change via behaviour modification.
Excerpt from Grace Roots by Ken Legg
Becoming Who You Are Let me ask you a question, “Are you working on your salvation, or working out your salvation?” When you ask some Christians how they are going with a particular struggle 2
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Break My Primitive Tower An extract from “Royal Insignia” by Edwin & Lillian Harvey
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BLIND, Scottish minister, George Matheson, composed that beautiful hymn, “O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.”
desire. Christian prayer itself is a moderation of desire. It is a refusal any longer to say of everything, ‘It is mine.’ It is the refusal to ask that which will lift me above other people. It is the cry to have my garments parted among the multitude. It is the impulse, the determination, the instinct, to share.
If he had penned no other gem than this, he would have left posterity enriched; nevertheless, he also wrote numerous inspirational books which reveal the fact that he saw more deeply into the Scriptures than did many of his contemporaries. The truths which Madam Guyon and George Bowen have just shared with us, he has endorsed in his own unusual style. Commenting on the building of the tower of Babel, he shows how universal is man’s ambition to climb:
“Lord, break my primitive tower! It is built with a child’s arrogance, not with a man’s humility; break my primitive tower! My feeblest moments are my most grasping moments—I am never such an egotist as in the cradle; break my primitive tower! Like the sparks I have been born to fly upwards, and to leave my brother behind. I need a second birth—a power to fly downwards. I need more weight on the wings; every weight will be to me ‘a weight of glory. . . .’
“This world is a place where human beings are taught to climb, but it is to climb down. It is quite natural for us to go up. The writer of the Book of Job says, ‘Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward.’ I think he must have meant, ‘Man is born to fly upward like the sparks, and therefore he is troubled.’ At all events, that is true.
“Lord, Thou hast arrested me on my Damascus journey. Thou hast transformed self-consciousness into humility. I set out on the road with boundless belief in myself; I felt no obstacle; I experienced no difficulty. Suddenly, at the turning of the way, my soul grew paralyzed. The confidence faded. The world no longer stretched before me as a pleasureground. There came a mist over the scene, and I could not find my way. It all happened in the meeting with one Man—a Man from Nazareth. Before I met Him, my pride of self was unbounded; I said in my heart, ‘I shall carve my own destiny.’ But one glance at the Man of Nazareth laid me low.
Let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven (Gen. 11:4).
“Our early dangers come from our early daringness—not from our early feebleness. Young Adam always begins with the biggest tree and always gets a fall. God’s education of the earth is a series of lessons in ‘how to descend’ in the moderation of
My fancied glory became ashes; my imagined strength became weakness; I beat upon my breast and cried, ‘Unclean!’ “Shall I repine because I met that Man? Shall I weep because a flash of light at a street corner threw all my greatness into shade? No, my Father, for the shade is the reflex of the sheen. It is because I have seen Thy beauty that humanity has grown dim. It is enlargement that has made me humble. I have gazed for a moment on a perfect ideal, and its brightness has eclipsed my candle. It is not night, but day, that blinds me to my own possessions. It is light that makes me loathe myself.” —Thoughts from Life’s Journey.
Half feeling our own weakness, we place our hands in Thine. Knowing but half our darkness, we ask for light divine. Then, when Thy strong arm holds us, Our weakness most we feel, And Thy love and light around us our darkness must reveal. —Unknown.
Does God Really Have a Plan for My Life? Part 5 A Bible Study by Daniel Kolenda (CfaN) Photo: © Sebastian Grecu
Is it Hard to Know God’s Will? All four Gospels tell of the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and an interesting fact is mentioned. The Bible says the people "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord” (John 12:13). Have you ever wondered why they waved palm branches and cried, "Hosanna?" It’s not what many people think. Political zealots had used the palm branch as a symbol for quite some time. At one point the palm was used on coins minted during an insurrectionary rebellion, and they conjured images of Maccabean resistance. The palm branches seem to be an indication of the nationalistic and political expectations the people had for Jesus. This is further confirmed by the word Hosanna itself, which means "save, please" in Aramaic. But Jesus was a great disappointment to the people of Israel, and a few days after waving their branches and crying "Hosanna," they turned on Him and cried, "Crucify Him!"
The nation of Israel, as a whole, rejected their Messiah because He did not fit into their preconceived expectations. They were looking for a political deliverer, a man of war and conquest. They were looking for a king who would overthrow the oppressive Roman government and return the nation to its former glory. Instead they found a man of peace, meek and humble, riding on a lowly donkey rather than a warrior’s stallion. To this day Jews around the world are praying for the arrival of their longawaited Messiah, but He came two thousand years ago, and many still do not recognize Him because He is not what they are looking for. Preconceptions produce misconceptions that can blind us to what is obvious, and this happens to many people as they seek God’s will for their lives. God already has a purpose for you that has been in existence since before you were born! In fact, God may have already revealed His will to you, and you might be looking right at it, but misconceptions might be keeping you from recognizing it. Over the next few Bible studies, I want to unmask three common misconceptions about God’s will. 4
Misconception #1 God's will is Hard to Figure Out A scientist took a group of young researchers on an expedition into the desert to study various types of cacti. But their mission was cut short when their vehicle broke down in the middle of the vast barren wilderness. The scientist who was heading the expedition was very familiar with the territory and was confident they could make it back to civilization. But to his great dismay, after two days of walking it became obvious that they were hopelessly lost. The last canteen yielded its final drop of water, and desperation began to set in as the sunburned and dehydrated group realised they would most likely die in this desert. Suddenly one of the researchers shouted to the rest of the group, “There, in the distance —it’s an oasis!” Cheers and cries of excitement rang out from the haggard team, but the lead scientist bowed his head dejectedly. “I’m sorry to tell you this,” he said as he collapsed into the sand, “but what you are seeing is only a mirage.” The young researchers simply refused to believe it. They took their canteens
and ran toward the shimmering reflection in the distance, hoping upon hope that what they were seeing was real. After a few minutes they came close enough to see clearly. Sturdy palm trees huddled cozily around a sparkling, spring-fed pool of refreshing water, and they jumped in with both feet. They splashed and drank as their strength returned, and after refilling their canteens, they headed back to take the wonderful report to the lead scientist. But their joy was turned to sorrow when they found his body, limp and lifeless, lying in the spot where he had collapsed. God’s will is often like that oasis in the desert; it is a life-giving source of purpose and reason for being. In most cases God’s will is not a faraway mystery, but something within view and something accessible. Yet what is right in front of our face is often the easiest thing to dismiss, and God’s will may be so obvious that we overlook it thinking that it must be more difficult. Have you ever noticed that when a person first becomes a believer he seems to easily hear God’s voice and sense His leading? Often the more mature we become and the more we learn, the more complicated and confusing things become. The scientist in my story died because he had already decided that the oasis in the distance was too good to be true. He was educated and experienced. He knew mirages were common phenomena in the desert. But his knowledge and experience prevented him from recognizing what was right in front of him. Have you heard sermons about God’s will that left you feeling discouraged and more confused
than ever? Have you been led to believe that you need to be a prophet to know what God is saying? Does it seem as if the more you search the less you find? Perhaps the most valuable thing you can learn is that you need to unlearn a lot of the things you have learned. Those things that bring confusion and over analysis need to be dropped. Start with simple, childlike faith. Trust that God has a plan He is trying to reveal to you. Believe that He wants you to discover it more than you want to discover it! Rest in the assurance that He’s not trying to trick or puzzle you. Remember that He is not the author of confusion (1 Cor. 14:33), and He does not create mirages to deceive you. Discovering God’s will for your life is not difficult. Let’s simplify!
Reproduced with kind permission Christ for all Nations.
Fear Not! By Isaac Mwagi (Kenya) When we cry and call upon the name of the Lord our God we are bound for a great reward and victory. My experience in my days of salvation is that there come some days when we are in anguish. We daily face the fights of the devil. This can be directly to us or our loved ones. At times it leaves a lot of questions in us as we minister to many who are then cured but we struggle to overcome some challenges in our life. We have great assurance that God is with us and we should not fear. The Israelite at some stage when they had sinned before God which eventually caused them to be smitten by the enemies but when they called upon God this is what God told them in Judges 6.And I believe today the Lord is telling you the same as we serve God who never changes.
And I said unto you, I
am the LORD your God; fear not the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye
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dwell: but ye have not obeyed my voice. 11
And there came an angel of the LORD,
and sat under an oak which was in Ophrah, that pertained unto Joash the Abiezrite: and his son Gideon threshed
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wheat by the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites.
And the angel of the
LORD appeared unto him, and said unto him, The LORD is with thee, thou mighty man of valour.
Prophet of the Broken Heart: The Cry of Hosea
Extract from our new book: not yet released! Chapter 6 Ensnaring the Nation A Song of Repentance 6:1-3 "Come on! Let's return to the LORD! He himself has torn us to pieces, but he will heal us! He has injured us, but he will bandage our wounds! He will restore us in a very short time; he will heal us in a little while, so that we may live in his presence. So let us acknowledge him! Let us seek to acknowledge the LORD! He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn, as certainly as the winter rain comes, as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land." These few verses are in fact the words of a penitential Psalm, which most probably was sung by the prophet as an exhortation to God’s people. The song offers genuine hope to those who were prepared to humble themselves and turn from their sin. In the words of this song, we notice the following: When the people sinned, it was God who brought affliction on
them as chastisement. The origin of the trouble Israel faced was not bad luck, or the devil, but God, who was chastising them in order to bring them back to himself. This is an important lesson for all Christians to learn. A loving father will correct his children when they do wrong; even so, when God’s children go astray, he brings trouble on them, with the intention of bringing them back into the right way. It is important not to ignore or rebel against God’s chastisement (Heb. 12:5,6). When the chastisement had achieved its desired effect, the people were prepared to take steps to return to God. Then (like in the parable of the prodigal son), they would be welcomed by the arms of their ever loving Father. In Jesus’ parable, the prodigal’s fellowship with his father was restored as soon as he returned home. His acceptance was immediate. The words “two… three days” were commonly used to imply that something would happen soon. Restoration to fellowship with God would be swift for the repentant, just as it is for any penitent sinner who comes to Jesus and receives him as Saviour. Immediately someone receives Christ as Saviour their sins are forgiven and they enter into a new and living relationship with God. The father of the prodigal son said “My son was dead and is alive again.” Hosea says the same thing, that when God’s people return to him he will “raise them up” that they might live in his sight. This teaching is made even clearer by the New Testament. Those outside of Christ are dead in their trespasses and sins; spiritually dead. They need to be raised to life by receiving the spiritual life that God’s son Jesus Christ gives. Whenever a person receives Christ as their Saviour they are spiritually raised from death to life (Eph. 2:1). They are born again and have the life of God living within 6
them. Only Jesus can give life in place of death (John 5:21). Having received this new life, we are raised to a new position, being seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). When the prodigal son returned home, he offered to become his father's slave, saying “I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” Instead of taking up his son’s offer, the father immediately took him back as his son again. All those who believe and receive Jesus Christ as saviour become sons of God (Gal. 3:26; John 1:12). We do not have to prove ourselves; trying to become holy before God will accept us, for when we come trusting in Jesus, we are by grace “accepted in the beloved” (Eph. 1:6). The basis of our acceptance with God is that Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead. Matthew Henry believes that verse 2 may be a reference to the resurrection of Christ after three days. Whether this is so or not, it is certainly because of Jesus’ death and resurrection that we can die to sin and live for God (Rom. 6:4). So, to come back to the context of the passage, Hosea’s song gives genuine hope to God’s people: just as there is chastisement when we sin, so there is forgiveness and healing when we return to God. But Hosea’s song also made clear that repentance must result in renewed consecration to God. True repentance will always result in a changed heart and life. It would be wrong to preach “come to Jesus today, believe in him and you’ll be saved, then go back to your old way of life and do exactly what you want to do as you did before.” That was not Christ’s teaching at all! When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour we are surrendering our hearts, lives and will entirely to him; no longer to live for ourselves but
for him who died and rose again (Rom. 14:9; 2 Cor. 5:15). The result of our salvation is a complete change of life as we are made “new creations” in Christ (2 Cor. 5:7). As we desire to know God’s will for our lives we will begin to live in a way that pleases him. Hosea describes this as a “following on to know the Lord” (AV). Jesus never called his disciples just to believe in him, then go home and forget him. He said “follow me”. Like the children of Israel in Hosea’s day, we must learn that genuine repentance must lead to following Christ day by day. The promises given those who do so are tremendous. Hosea sings that “his going forth is sure as the morning: and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter rain that water the earth” (RV). Because of the Lord’s constant love and mercy “his mercies are new every morning” (Lam. 3:22-23). God would refresh, renew and revive his repentant people spiritually; just as the winter and spring rains soften the ground and make it fruitful. What Hosea is saying is that God’s purpose in blessing his people is to make them fruitful (Acts 3:19). For ultimately, only fruitfulness is pleasing to God; in this context “fruitfulness” has to do with holiness of living and Christ likeness of character and is nothing whatever to do with evangelism (Rom. 6:22).
Superficial or True Devotion? 6:4-6 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim? What am I going to do with you, O Judah? For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; it disappears as quickly as dawn's dew! Therefore, I will certainly cut you into pieces at the hands of the prophets; I will certainly kill you in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment; for my judgment will come
forth like the light of the dawn. For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice; I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings God’s complaint is that in spite of all his goodness to Israel, her devotion was nothing more than an early morning mist, which the morning sun soon dried up as if it had never been there. It came - and went as quickly as it came. As Christians we must beware of this in our lives. We might be full of God when taking part in public meetings, or when we are excited about how God is using us; but what are we like when other Christians are not around to see us? Are we full of God and faithful to him all the time? A Christian should be a Christian whether in the company of believers or unbelievers; during good times and hard times. Unfortunately, Jesus said that some would only choose to be his followers when it suited them (Matt. 13:20-21). Because of Israel's unfaithfulness, God had sent his prophets to speak to them, to make them change their ways, rather like a quarry man uses hammer and chisel to fashion stones in a way that is useful to him. But since the stones would not take shape they had to be rejected. The word of God became to them a savor of death unto death, for they heard God’s word, but did not obey it. So they were rejected by God because they first rejected God. The last part gives the result of their rejection: “Suddenly, without warning, my judgment will strike you as surely as day follows night” (LIVING) In chapter 5, we discussed the people’s superficial drawing near to God. This had involved sacrifice, but sacrifice was not what God wanted 7
from them. Instead, he desired piety, which is heartfelt love and devotion for God born out of contrition for sin and a gratitude to the God who forgives sin. This was absent in the Israel of Hosea’s day. It was absent from the scribes and Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They offered sacrifices and did many other “religious” things - yet these meaningless rituals did not please God, and only brought them a stinging rebuke from Christ. Christ taught that heartfelt love and devotion for God, resulting in a love for people was what mattered (Matt. 9:13). Knowledge of God’s person and will, resulting in heartfelt obedience to him were far more important than burnt sacrifice. A scribe in Jesus day understood this (Mark 12:33); King Saul did not (1 Sam. 15:22).
Wickedness in the Land 6:7 At Adam they broke the covenant; Oh how they were unfaithful to me! God laments that although the people were told what to do, they did not do it. Instead, they were unfaithful to him and broke his laws continually; just as the first man Adam had done, in breaking God’s command (Gen 3.17) and as we have all done ever since (Rom. 3:23). 6:8-9 Gilead is a city full of evildoers; its streets are stained with bloody footprints! The company of priests is like a gang of robbers, lying in ambush to pounce on a victim. They commit murder on the road to Shechem; they have done heinous crimes! Two wicked cities come in for special mention. Gilead was a place where lawless bandits and murderers had made their home. It was not safe to travel there, nor was it safe to go to Shechem, where gangs of murderous
bandits lay in wait for innocent passers-by.
BOOK REVIEW : THE POWER OF FOUR Keys to the Hidden Treasures of the Gospels by Eduardo P. Olaguer, Jr.
Among these men were priests of the Baalim cult. Tatford says that “this depraved troop murdered raped and outraged at will. The word translated [heinous crimes], referred particularly to… rape.” 6:10 I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel: there Ephraim practices temple prostitution and Judah defiles itself. Yet if Gilead and Shechem were representative of the evil in the land, God had seen something even more deplorable. Literally “something that would make your hair stand on end.” Not only in isolated towns, but throughout the whole nation, Israel had turned from the God who had brought her out of Egypt and given her the land in which she now lived. Immorality had become commonplace; but in God’s eyes the most abhorrent thing was Israel’s wilful rejection of the Living God. Today, many say that they live respectable lives. Many say they have never been in trouble with the law, or done anyone any harm. Nevertheless, such a person will go to hell if they do not receive Christ as Lord and Saviour (John 3.18). Rejection of Christ is the worst of all crimes. So, says Hosea, a day of harvest, a reaping for the nation had been determined, a time when the nation would reap the fruit of its evil doing. It would be a day of judgment when Israel would be taken into captivity. Not only Israel but Judah too, who had not kept herself free of the pollution's of her neighbour would suffer punishment. When she saw what happened to Israel because of her sin, she did not repent, but became worse than Israel. For this reason God would send Judah into exile to Babylon.
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Eduardo P. Olaguer, an MIT-trained physical scientist with a keen interest in Scripture endeavors to assist the reader to see a 'bigger picture' when reading the four gospels. I commend the author’s fresh approach to familiar territory, and was intrigued his insights into apparent correlations between Old and New Testament narratives. His idea of using four keys to understanding the overall theme of the gospels is a little unusual, perhaps unorthodox, but very useful. The reader ought not to expect a verse by verse commentary in this volume, but an original overview and introduction which uses these four "keys". Indeed, here is where the book's value lies: the fresh insights make it a useful tool for preachers and sermon writers. Olaguer's use of Biblical numerology is entirely orthodox, and this again can be a helpful tool for the Bible student. Here is an abstract from pp. 26-27: The Man and the Lion St. Matthew’s Gospel begins with a genealogy, summarized by the declaration that Jesus Christ is “the son of David, the son of Abraham (Mt 1:1).” To Abraham God had pledged, “I will make nations of you, and kings shall come forth from you (Gen 17:6),”while to David he promised, “I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body . . . and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever (2 Sam 7:12–13).” The covenants with David and Abraham had in common two divine guarantees: (1) an enduring line of descent, and (2) royalty and kingship (Gen 17:1–14; 2 Sam 7:1–29, 23:5). The image of the man traditionally assigned to the Gospel of Matthew rep-resents the fruit of the ﬁrst promise, while that of the lion the fulﬁllment of the second. Genealogies occupy a prominent place in the Bible because they establish the truth of God’s covenant. Matthew’s genealogy of Jesus is particularly important because his Gospel was addressed to the Jews, who, as monotheists, and in contrast to the Greeks and Romans, had difﬁculty accepting Jesus’ divine origin. By emphasizing his human descent from David and Abraham, Matthew presents Jesus as the Son of the Covenant, the embodiment of all the Jews held dear, most especially the covenant of Mount Sinai (Ex 19:1–6, 24:1–18). It was at Sinai that God swore to Israel, You shall be my own possession among all peoples [the people of the Man]…and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation [the kingdom of the Lion] (Ex 19:5–6).” The kingdom that God promised Israel was ultimately a spiritual one, whose mysterious nature Jesus explained to his disciples through parables, saying, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13:11).” On the negative side, Olaguer's notes on textual structure are a little too sparse to be of much value. The exposition itself is also a little disjointed at times, but nevertheless, none of Olaguer's scriptural insights are without merit.
New Bible Study Resource Out Now! The ‘Faith-builders Bible study series’ has been developed a useful resource for today’s students of God’s Word and their busy lifestyles. Pastors, home or study group leaders and indeed for anyone wishing to study the Bible for themselves will benefit from using Faith-builders studies. Each volume is the result of many years of group Bible study, and has been revised again and again to be relevant, challenging and faith building whilst remaining clear and easy to understand. Each chapter had thought provoking questions to aid study and sample answers are provided. Below are the discussion questions and sample answers for chapter 1.
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Matthew Chapter 1 By Derek Williams & Mathew Bartlett (UK) Image © Rorem Here is a brief extract: The Genealogy of Christ 1:1 This is the record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham. Matthew's purpose in writing his gospel is clear from the very beginning: he intends to reveal Jesus as the Christ, the long awaited anointed one promised by God. He demonstrates this fact by showing how all the promises of Scripture relating to the coming of Christ are fulfilled in him. The titles "Son of David" and "son of Abraham" describe Christ in this way, for God both to Abraham and to David that one of their descendants would be the Christ. To David, God said "I will set one of your seed upon your throne" (1 Chron. 17:11; Psa. 132:11). To Abraham, God said "Through your seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 22:18). The apostle Paul explained the meaning of this promise in Galatians, that "seed" is singular, referring to one of Abraham's offspring, not all of them (Gal. 3:16). Matthew's aim throughout his gospel is to reveal Jesus as the one God had promised. The word “genealogy” means the line of natural descent. Although Jesus Christ is the eternal Son of God (who preexisted his manifestation in the flesh), yet he became part of Abraham's family by his incarnation, and was born as a Jew (2 Tim. 2:8). Christ's genealogy reveals how Christ truly became one of us by entering the human family and the Jewish family in particular. Of this family's history much could be said, which would be superfluous to our understanding of this gospel. But since the inspired writer particularly highlights several features of this genealogy, so we shall consider them in greater detail. 9
Discussion Questions for Matthew Chapter 1 1. vv. 1-17. Why do you think the genealogy of Jesus is important? ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________
2. vv. 18-25. What was unique about Jesus’ birth? ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________
3. vv. 18-25. What impresses you most about the attitude of Mary and Joseph? ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________
4. How do the genealogy of Christ and the account of his birth reveal God’s sovereignty in history? ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________
5. What does this chapter say to you about the kind of God whom we worship? ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________ ____________________________
Sample Answers for Chapter 1 1. The genealogy of Jesus demonstrates that as well as being God, he is also a human being, with his family history rooted in the history of Israel; showing Jesus as part of God’s own “salvation history”. It demonstrates also: His royal lineage (a descendent of King David) and his role as someone under the law (Gal. 4), who had come to redeem those under the law. Matthew’s record of the genealogy also highlights the role of Gentiles in Jesus’ family history – pointing to the fact that he is a Saviour 10
for the whole world and not only for Jews. 2. The birth of Jesus was unlike that of any other man. Mary was a virgin, and the child Jesus was conceived within her by the Holy Spirit, without a human father. God was breaking into time; the God-man was being born. 3. Events like these had never happened before, they were incredible, and yet both Mary and Joseph respond with total faith and obedience to the message of God given to them by the angel. 4. In the genealogy of Christ we see many whose life story (recorded in various parts of the Old Testament) was far from perfect. Yet God used even these people in fulfilling his plans and purposes for Christ to enter the world. Moreover, other than that they were devout, obedient and faithful, there was nothing remarkable about either Mary or Joseph in these accounts. Only God could accomplish such tremendous things with such ordinary people. 5. The God whom we worship is forgiving – we read in the Old Testament of some of the failings of men like David who are in Jesus’ family tree. He is the God who loves all the world, as we may see from the inclusion of Gentiles in the genealogy. He is the God who acts under his own initiative to save sinners. No one was asking God to do this – He did so of his own accord for the good of mankind
Revelation 2: The Messages to the Seven Churches: Ephesus
say “Who is this? Who has the right to tell me what to so?” For Christ has that right.
Introduction Following his vision of the exalted Christ, John receives instructions to acts as amanuensis for Christ, sending his own personal messages to each of the seven churches in Asia Minor. Each message is addressed to the overseers of each church, and convey the true spiritual condition of each church, commending the praiseworthy points and confronting the problems. In each there is a message of hope and of reward for the faithful. The ones in error are not debarred from reward, but graciously invited to repent and receive all of God’s blessings. If we are challenged this morning, it is not that we might be condemned, but corrected, that we might love and live for Christ as we ought.
Truth for Today A brief extract from another of our forthcoming books. By Mathew Bartlett
Photo: © Pidiyath100
Each message follows the same pattern. Christ introduces himself by revealing some aspect of his character before commending the right and correcting the wrong. For even when Christ had to confront spiritual problems in the churches, it is not all bad, except in Laodicea where you will notice he does not have a good word to say about them, and in fact in Sardis he can only commend a few people. Each gracious message ends with a promise for those who heed and obey his words- those who overcome.
Part One - Ephesus The Worldly Church By way of introduction Christ reveals himself as the head of the church, immediately asserting his absolute authority over every aspect of church life and of the believers’ life. For each believer has been saved from sin and bought with his own blood. We cannot 11
As the Lord Jesus surveyed the church in Ephesus he found much to commend: their hard work for him (in spreading gospel) in the face of difficulty, without fainting or being wearied by it so as to give up. It was still a joy. They did not abandon faith when everything seemed against them. They were true to his word, not tolerating false teachers (including Nicolataines) or allowing their teaching to be heard in the church. It would almost seem to be a a model church. In fact the church at Ephesus is known to have been a very spiritual one. But Christ says I have one thing against you. Only one, but Oh how serious a thing! You have deserted ME, your first love. How is it that in such a spiritual church, such an exemplary church their love for Christ had grown cold? The fact that they had deserted one love means that they had been drawn to another love. It was the love of other things - Mk 4.19 we could call it worldliness. For we cannot love God and the world, by which I mean the things which the world has to offer us. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life--is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1Jo 2:15-17)
Lust of the Flesh The craving for sensual gratification of any kind is the opposite of spirituality. We crave sex, food, music, TV; in fact anything that pleases the flesh but does not benefit the soul or involve the worship of God. Lust of the Eyes The greedy longings of our hearts and minds are the opposite of contentment. Some people are never satisfied with what they have - it seems everything they want is everything they see. The world is not enough to satisfy their greed for more. This church had begun to long for more, but not more of Christ - more things. You cannot serve God and mammon. The Pride of Life The pride of life can mean to be selfassured of one’s own ability, which is the opposite of humility. But it can also indicate a misplaced assurance in the stability of earthly things. This is the opposite of readiness for Christ’s coming - for if we believe that Christ is coming then we must believe that this world will not last, and so we will not live for it and its passing pleasures. We will be ready to leave them behind. Anyone who tells me they are ready and waiting for the coming of the Lord but is taken up with the things of this world is fooling themselves, like the man who built bigger barns for his crops but who never lived to enjoy the harvest. He was a self-sufficient man but he couldn’t keep his life. When Christians allow the spirit of the world around them to influence their hearts, lives and thinking, they are letting their love for God slowly leak away. I must ask you some very personal questions. Are you worldly? Try this simple test. Who do you put
first in your life? If there is a church meeting through which you may be built up spiritually, but there is also something else to do, where do you go? Who are your friends? Who do you listen to, if you need advice? Whose example do you follow? Do you spend as much time in prayer as you do watching TV? An honest answer to each of these questions will give you a very good idea of where your heart is with God this evening. The Bible lists three attributes of worldliness. for you are still carnal (worldly). For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1Co 3:3) At Corinth there was envy - indeed there was a kind of competitive spirit in the church to see who was the best and the church split into little groups, which said “I follow Paul” or ”I follow Peter”. This led to strife and arguments people not getting along with each other in the church. These in turn caused greater divisions, with people stupidly prepared to take sides in the argument. This is always the result of leaving Christ out of our thinking. So many things try to distract us from the Lord Jesus Christ, but if we allow ourselves to be distracted, we are not in love with him as we once were. This is a terrible situation. But there is a remedy. The Remedy Remember the spiritual height from which you have fallen and repent. They were backslidden in heart. They had known what it was to be right with God, on fire for God. Christ’s message is return to it. Others in this church have never known what it 12
means to be on fire for God - you never have been. It’s your own fault. You must repent to know it for the first time. V7 All the blessings of eternal life are to be enjoyed by the one who overcomes and obeys Christ’s words. Do you lack blessing? Do you long for restoration to be what you once were in God, to have what you once enjoyed in God? His promise is to restore you if you will repent. He will refresh your spiritual life for the fruits of the tree are for the healing of the nations. There is spiritual eternal healing in what Christ offers you. Completeness is God’s will. The Repercussions If you do not, I will close your church. Each one would be scattered. How many churches have been scattered in recent years? The one who took backslidden Judah into captivity in Babylon, who scattered apostate Israel to the four winds, will scatter us until each one of us is left on his own, unless we repent. History records that within 100 years of this letter being written, there was no more church in Ephesus. It in some way signifies a removal of his gracious provision for their souls, a giving them over to leanness and spiritual famine. Conclusion The church at Ephesus had left their first love and were called by Christ to remember and repent. If you have left your first love for Christ will you repent, too? Will you rededicate your life and love to the one who should be the centre of your attention and affection? Then pray “Lord, I love you. It’s you first Lord, no one else, nothing else. Help me to tear myself away from all other loves, to worship only you.” Amen.
Our In Depth Study. 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 By Mathew Bartlett Photo © Godfer Scripture taken from the NET Bible®.
Chapter 4 God's Stewards 4:1 One should think about us this way -- as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. The church should consider men like Paul, Apollos and the other apostles to be the servants of Jesus Christ, (the word servant here meaning ‘an assistant to someone in an official position’). Paul’s point is that although they were servants with regard to Christ, in relation to the church Paul and his companions held positions of trust as stewards of the Word of God. The steward was a well-known figure in Roman society. A wealthy man had no need to supervise his own business or even his domestic affairs, because he had numerous servants to do this for him. Instead he would choose a trustworthy slave to superintend all the others and put him in charge of all his interests. Thus this slave became the master’s steward and would be responsible even for his owner's children and their education. So with regard to the household a steward was a manager, with no mean authority, yet in relationship to his master he was still merely a slave. The steward’s authority was derived directly from the master and was used only in the discharge of those duties which promoted the master’s interests. In the same way the Christian preacher is a slave to Christ but an overseer to the church, with particular responsibility to declare the
revealed mind and will of God to His people through His Word. 4:2-3 Now what is sought in stewards is that one be found faithful. So for me, it is a minor matter that I am judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. Since the steward had charge of the whole household and its finance, it was crucial that he be honest and dependable. If the master wished to have no cause for anxiety about his estate then he needed to be fully assured that it was in safe hands. The competence and reliability of a steward was not the concern of the other slaves. Since the master had given him a trust he would answer to his master alone for his work. The criticism which Paul and his fellow ministers had been subjected to at Corinth (about who was the best preacher and so on) was of no concern to Paul. Man’s verdict did not matter; Paul was accountable to God alone for his actions. He did not even trust his own judgment, for this was imperfect, since he did not have the advantage of omniscience. Morris says, “It is tremendously difficult to come to an accurate assessment of one's own achievement. And in any case it does not matter. Many think that they know their spiritual state and what their service for God has effected... it is not our task to pass 13
such judgments... but to get on with the job of serving the Lord.” 4:4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted because of this. The one who judges me is the Lord. Even though Paul was not aware of any serious mistake he had made in his service for Christ, this was inadequate justification for his supposing that he had done well. Christ's estimation and not his would be of ultimate importance. In saying this he reprimands the Corinthians for passing judgment on their ministers. 4:5 So then, do not judge anything before the time. Wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the motives of hearts. Then each will receive recognition from God. It is time to stop appraising and criticizing each other, says Paul. We know that our Lord Jesus will come again and it is at that time that He shall pass judgment. Only He knows the hidden things of darkness and the motives of hearts. The motives and desires of our hearts are of greater interest to Christ than the outcome of our ministry, and in the last analysis, His is the only verdict that really counts. The person who is praised in that day will have the praise of God and that is the only praise that matters. Well done,
good and faithful servant are the words of approval which all Christ's servants long to hear. Christ’s appraisal of a person's work will be final and there shall be no need of appeal, since His appraisal is faultless and unquestionable. 4:6 I have applied these things to myself and Apollos because of you, brothers and sisters, so that through us you may learn "not to go beyond what is written," so that none of you will be puffed up in favour of the one against the other. Paul had written concerning himself and Apollos only to make a general point. He wanted the Corinthians discard their unscriptural views of their teachers and stop putting them on pedestals (Ps. 8:4; 146:3). Their adulation of mere men revealed the sin of pride to be in the hearts of the young Corinthian church. Paul did not want them to be swollen with self-importance about their association with certain ministers. When they favoured one, they were inevitably in opposition to another. In order to exalt one they had to put another down, an attitude quite contrary to Christ’s exhortation for you have one teacher (the Christ) and you are all brothers (Matt. 23:8-10).
Reigning in Christ 4:7 For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? TM (NKJV ) Paul here addresses three questions to every individual in the church at Corinth: Firstly, who makes you differ from another? The answer is obvious: God made you and so any
way in which you differ from another is His doing, not yours. Secondly, what do you have that you did not receive? No one has anything which they did not first receive from God. After all, in the beginning, the first man received his very existence from God; the life we have is an impartation of the divine (Gen. 2:7) - there is nothing intrinsic about man. Paul's third question now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you had not received it? emphasizes how absurd it is for a person to boast in what has been given to them as a gift. For someone to be what God has made them to be is no great achievement on their part. Every individual possess no more than what God has endowed him or her with. In particular, the spiritual life which has been given to us by Jesus Christ was bestowed upon us by God’s grace and not obtained by our own ability or effort (Titus 3:5). 4:8 Already you are satisfied! Already you are rich! You have become kings without us! I wish you had become kings so that we could reign with you! The Corinthian Christians were suffering from the same spiritual complaint as the Laodicean church, of which Jesus said in Revelation 3:17, For you say, 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Prior says, ‘They thought they had arrived’, whereas Paul knew that he had not yet ‘arrived’ (Phil. 3:12). Jesus had previously said blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (Matt. 5:6). But the Corinthians had ceased hungering and thirsting when they became smug and self-satisfied. They hungered no more because 14
thought they had everything they needed; they believed themselves to be the kings of Christianity, the real pick of the bunch. This explains Paul’s apparent sarcasm. He wants the Corinthians to accept the fact that in reality they still had a long way to go before they were mature. The second part of the verse, you have become kings without us, may mean either ‘without our help’ or ‘without our company’. In other words the Corinthians were laying claim to a position which neither Paul nor the apostles claimed; and they maintained that they had achieved it without the apostles' help. None of us brought ourselves to Christ and none of us taught ourselves the things of God. We were all instructed in the faith by others, just as the apostles had taught the Corinthians. When we begin to appreciate our interdependence we will find no further occasion for conceited independence. Paul hopes that the Corinthians truly might come to reign; that is, reign in spiritual victory through Jesus Christ. In the conclusion of the chapter he explains the way in which he and the other apostles were reigning in life by one Jesus Christ (Rom. 5:17). Paul knew that if the Corinthians were to share his experience in the spiritual life, then they must also share his afflictions for Christ's sake; for none of us can mature in the Christian life without facing trouble. 4:9 For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people. Paul likens the apostles to gladiators who were put on show in
front of vast audiences and forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of others. Even if a gladiator won his contest, his life was still not secure - for he lived or died at the whim of the Caesar. We are led out by God onto the world’s stage, says Paul, so that men and angels may take note that we are chosen to suffer and die for Christ's sake. We continually devote our lives to Him and are willing to lose our lives for Him. Paul realised that in the arena of life, our afflictions are blessings given to us by God; our suffering or death is not for the amusement of others, but for God’s glory. It brings glory to God that He is seen to have so won the hearts of his followers that they are willing to endure death for His sake. Such a God as men die for must be worth knowing; especially when His servants consider death to be no more than a doorway to eternal life. With the modern rise in fundamentalist religious groups (Christian, Moslem, or any other); and with the most hideous crimes committed supposedly from a motive of devotion to God, it becomes necessary to emphasise that whereas Paul would gladly give up his life for Jesus Christ’s sake, he is at no time willing to inflict harm on others. Christ’s command is to love and forgive our enemies. God can never be glorified through the ungodly and un-Christ-like actions of those who profess to be his servants, but who in reality are prepared to participate in violence contrary to the teaching of Christ. And violence is always contrary to the teaching of Christ (Matt. 5:39). 4:10 We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ! We are weak, but
you are strong! You are distinguished, we are dishonoured! The apostles were regarded as foolish by the world, whereas the Corinthians supposed themselves to be wise. Similarly, the Corinthians thought themselves strong and noble, whilst Paul knew himself to be weak and despised. The word ‘dishonoured’ (or despised) was used in Roman times to describe those who had been deprived of citizenship. Paul knew that the world was no longer his home and so the world - quite rightly regarded him as an outcast. Jesus said, If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you (John TM 15:19 NKJV ) Let these verses stand as a warning to anyone who thinks that the church must work for the approval and admiration of the world outside. We may earn the respect of unbelievers, but we will never receive their praise; if we do, something is clearly wrong with our testimony. Jesus said woe to you when all men speak well of you (Luke 6:26). Standing for the truth will never make us friends of the world and preaching the gospel will never make us popular. 4:11 To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads. As outcasts, the apostles were (at the time of writing) going without sufficient food, drink and clothing. They were treated violently and beaten with fists as Christ was in Matthew 26:67. They were vagrants, having no fixed dwelling place.
4:12 And we labour, working with our own hands. Being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we endure. TM (NKJV ) In his epistles, Paul often remarked on the fact that he earned his living by manual labour (1 Thess. 2:9). The ancient Greeks despised physical work, and this same arrogance is apparent today in countries where immigrants are hired to do the menial jobs which the indigenous population consider beneath them. The word Paul uses for labour means to work extremely hard, to the point of fatigue. The apostles were cursed, as Christ was (Matt. 26:68); yet as Christ did, they blessed, loved and forgave their antagonists. 4:13 When we are slandered, we answer kindly. We have become the scum of the earth, the garbage of the world—right up to this moment. TM (NKJV ) The apostles held back from becoming angry when maligned and insulted, answering kindly. Yet they were still considered to be the most despicable of men. When the pagans offered human sacrifices to their gods, they would offer those who were thought worthless, who could be easily spared. This is how the world regarded Paul and the apostles; to them they were ‘the rubbish of the world’. The Living Bible reads, We have worked wearily with our hands to earn our living. We have blessed those who cursed us. We have been patient with those who injured us. We have replied quietly when evil things have been said about us. Yet right up to the present moment we are like dirt underfoot, like garbage (1 Cor. 4:12-13 The Living Bible).
We can imagine what was in Paul’s heart as he wrote these exhortations. He may have thought, ‘Oh that the proud Corinthians might learn to live humbly, working with their hands and patiently forgiving those who do not regard them with honour, then they would truly reign as kings with God in this world!’ Living in the same spirit as Jesus Christ in this world, experiencing the same rejection which He faced, and yet responding to it in the same way that He did, is beyond doubt what it means to reign in life by one Jesus Christ.
A Paternal Admonition 4:14-15 I am not writing these things to shame you, but to correct you as my dear children. For though you may have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, because I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel. In Greek and Roman times there were no state-sponsored schools, but wealthy parents employed numerous of slaves to teach their children and prepare them for adulthood. In the case of an eldest son, this training would be given in order that he might take over the estate after his father. The boy might have had numerous teachers and obeyed them all, but he was still his father's son and the father still had ultimate responsibility for him. Since Paul had founded the church at Corinth, he considered the believers to be his own spiritual sons and although things had moved on, and the church now had a great many teachers, Paul still felt an intense affection and sense of responsibility for them. If they gave obedience to their teachers, should they give even more attention to
their spiritual father? Paul had not written of his hardships in order to make them feel sorry for him and ashamed of their unchristian conduct towards him. Instead he wanted to warn them against taking the path of ease and selfsatisfaction. 4:16 I encourage you, then, be imitators of me. As a son learns from his father, Paul meant the Corinthian believers to learn from his example. Paul was not demanding their personal allegiance; for such a command would cut completely across the teaching of his letter so far. Rather, Paul wants his young converts to emulate his Christian way of life, the pattern which Christ had left for all to follow. Paul found setting an example to be the very best method of teaching, and recommends it to Timothy (1 Tim. 4:12). All fathers should set good examples for their children, and if they fail to do so they should not be surprised when their children go astray. If we desire to see men and women saved and growing in their relationship with God, then we too must follow Christ's example so that they might see the benefits which the gospel brings. Paul, like Christ, was unselfish in this respect, offering his life every day to set an example for others to follow (Rom. 15:2-3). 4:17 For this reason, I have sent Timothy to you, who is my dear and faithful son in the Lord. He will remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church. Paul had been unable to come to Corinth at that point in time due to his ministry obligations at Ephesus, but he had sent Timothy who had already learned (from Paul's 16
example) how to follow Christ. Timothy would teach them the word of God and live among them as Paul had done. The eminent British evangelist Robert Cox once said to me regarding Timothy, ‘he was a carbon copy of Paul’. Neither Paul nor Timothy taught anything which was exclusively for the Corinthians, since their teaching was always the same in every place. It was not hypocritical, for it agreed fully with their way of life in every church. 4:18 Some have become arrogant, as if I were not coming to you. Those opposed to Paul had become his adversaries through their own sense of self-importance. In order to strengthen their own position in the church by saying that Paul would not return to Corinth, that he was too afraid to confront them, that he was not interested in the church, that his motives were not genuine and so on. Paul understood that the fact that Timothy was coming on his own might add fuel to this argument. 4:19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord is willing, and I will find out not only the talk of these arrogant people, but also their power. Paul says, if it is the Lord's will, I will come to you as soon as I can. Paul was not delayed by any negligence on his part, but by the will of God. Most probably this letter was written during Paul's second and prolonged stay at Ephesus, when he says a door of great opportunity stands wide open for me (1 Cor. 16:9; Acts 19:8-12). It was the importance of this evangelistic ministry which kept Paul from Corinth and nothing else. Paul was experiencing a powerful time of blessing at Ephesus and was
certainly in a position to challenge his proud opponents. ‘Anyone can rattle on eloquently’ (my paraphrase of Calvin), but can they demonstrate that the power of Christ in their lives? 4:20 For the kingdom of God is demonstrated not in idle talk but with power. The reality of the kingdom of God is not revealed to men’s hearts by worthless talk but by God's power. This power was exhibited in Christ's ministry of healing of the sick and casting out of devils; the very signs which now accompanied Paul's ministry. This same power was evidenced (albeit in a different way), by the meek and gentle manners of the apostles. Would the self-important believers at Corinth be able to display a similar power at work in their lives? 4:21 What do you want? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline or with love and a spirit of gentleness? By the time Paul returned he wanted to see a completely different attitude among the believers; the proof of spiritual growth. So he gives them a severe warning. He possessed the authority to deal with their pride by censure and discipline; but if they repented before he came he would be far happier to deal with them in gentleness and love. The choice was theirs, but if they refused to humble themselves then they would be humbled by God, and Paul would rather reluctantly be the instrument of their abasement (2 Cor. 12:20). The Pentecostal Bible Commentary: 1 Corinthians by Mathew Bartlett (paperback £7.60) Buy now for Kindle! Just £1.90!
TEACHINGS FROM THE WORD OF GOD by William F. P. Burton (Congo) - GOD
He who says there is no God is a fool. (Ps. 14:1). There are many things of God that we do not understand. (1 Cor. 13:12; Ps. 145:3; Rom. 11:33). We discern God in His Creation. (Rom. 1:20; Ps. 19:1). We know Him in Christ. (John. 14:9; Heb. 1:3; 1 Tim. 3:16). We know Him through His Word. (2 Cor. 3:18). God is threefold, a trinity. (Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Ps. 2:7; John. 14:16; Acts, 1:26; 3:22; Isa. 7:14). One though plural as in Matt. 19:6; Gal. 3:28; Deut. 6:4; Isa. 44:6; 48:16. The Father is God. (Rom. 1:7), and He is Holy. (John 17:11). The Son is God (Heb. 1:8), and He is Holy (Acts 3:14). The Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4) and He is Holy (Eph. 4:30). God is a spirit (John 4:24). A spirit is invisible (Col.1:15) without bones or body (Luke 24:39), though a spirit can make himself visible (John 1:32). God is King over all (Ps. 24:10; 1 Tim. 1:17). He is Lord of Life (Acts 14:15; 1 Thess. 1:9; Ps. 94:9-11; Jer. 10:10). One must approach Him with reverence (Heb. 12:28). God does not change (Jas. 1:17; Ps. 102:26-27; Mal. 3:6). The Father sent the Son (John 17:18). And the Son sent the Spirit (John 16:7). God is Love (Ps. 86:5, 15; 2:4, 5; Rom. 5:8; John 16:27; 3:16; Ps. 6:4; 21:7; Phil. 2:27; 1 John 4:8). God is righteous (Ps. 145:17; 114:7; 2 Tim. 4:8; John 17:25; Jas.1:17), to reward (Heb. 6:10); to judge (Ps. 11:4-7); to forgive (1 John 1:9; Rom. 3:26). He is the personification of truth (Deut. 32:4; John 17:3). God is eternal (Ps. 90:2; 102:24-27; Rev. 1:8). God is holy (1 Pet. 1:16; 1 John. 1:5). He is everywhere (Acts 17:24-28; Matt. 28:20; Ps. 139:7-12; Jer. 23:2324). He knows everything (1 John 20; Ps. 147:4-5; 139:2-3). He is omnipotent (Matt. 19:26). He is the source of all good (Jas. 1:17). It is God who turns us to Himself (John 6:44; 12:32). It is He who gives us faith (Eph. 2:8; Heb. 12:2). It is He who inclines us to love Him and to want his will (Phil. 2:13). But it is for us to obey Him (Rom. 6:13; 12:1-2; Jas. 4:7). He is the Originator of everything (John 1:1-3). He is the Sustainer of all (Col. 1:1 5-17; 2:9; Heb. 1:3; Ps. 104:27-30; Ps. 75:6-7; 145:15-16). _____________________________________________
In 1915 William F.P. Burton, with colleague James Salter, founded the Pentecostal Mission in the Belgian Congo. Printed copies of his booklet are still available from the mission. We commend ‘Central African Missions’ as being worthy of your fervent prayers and gifts in Jesus name. www.CAMAFRICA.org
These were his dying words. To some onlookers it sounded like the end of Jesus from Nazareth. As He was dying on a rugged wooden cross between two criminals, Jesus cried out “It is finished!” A closer consideration of these words reveals their true meaning. Jesus did not cry “I am finished” but “It is finished”. This was a cry of triumph because he had successfully completed His mission on earth. What was this mission? Jesus came to deal with humanity’s sin problem along with its devastating consequences - death and separation from God forever. Every person has sinned. Pride, jealousy, hatred, lust, greed, anger and despair all tell us that sin is still present in the world. The problem of sin crosses all boundaries and all ages. Death is the inevitable consequence of sin, and the enemy of the whole human race. The Bible says: “The soul that sins shall die.” But at the cross Jesus took our sin and its consequences in His own body. He willingly bore death and separation from God on our behalf. By the words “It is finished”, Jesus meant that he had successfully provided a way for sin to be forgiven. Three days after his death, Jesus proved his victory over sin and death by rising from the dead. So why do sin and death continue to afflict humanity? Although Jesus Christ has died for everyone, the benefits of what he has done are only experienced by those who believe (that is, trust him). Jesus said, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life, but whoever does not believe the Son shall not see life, for the wrath of God remains on him.” Have you trusted that Jesus died and rose again for you? Have you confessed you are a sinner and asked him to forgive you? If not, put your trust in Jesus today. This Gospel message by Peter Scothern can be obtained as a printed tract from: www.biblestudiesonline.org.uk
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of charge. Print copies also available at cost price from: www.biblestudiesoline.org.uk 19
The Christian Bible study magazine that is always free.