To Pray a Better Way #4

Sunday, March 1, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Returning to 2 Corinthians chapter 12, “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

To say the least, Paul had great difficulties (cf. 1 Corinthians 4:11-13; 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 2 Corinthians 6:4-10; 2 Corinthians 11:22-28). His enemies—unbelieving Jews and Gentiles—constantly plotted his demise. Ridiculed and mocked, he often had inadequate food, clothing, and shelter. He was frequently mercilessly beaten, robbed, slandered, and imprisoned. (Ultimately, beheaded!) Throughout his earthly sojourn, he also tolerated bodily illness or disability that involved reduced vision (cf. Galatians 4:13-15; Galatians 6:11).

A rabbinical scholar, Paul knew the Old Testament. JEHOVAH God overthrew Egypt to free Israel, conquered wicked King Saul to rescue David, and defeated Babylon to liberate Israel. “Why does God not deliver me from my enemies?,” he surely wondered throughout Acts. “I am the LORD that healeth thee” (Exodus 15:26) was certainly on Paul’s mind as he suffered his physical ailment. He understood the Mosaic Law curses of financial loss, disease, and starvation (Leviticus 26:16,17,25,26). Facing his struggles, Paul therefore asked God for relief. The Lord’s reply was stunning to say the least….

Special-edition Bible Q&A #700: “Are we dispensationalists guilty of ‘limiting God?’

To Pray a Better Way #3

Saturday, February 29, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Let us continue reading in Romans chapter 8: “[11] But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. [12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

As saints, sin does not have to master us; the indwelling Holy Spirit can energize us to walk in God’s ways. “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God” refers to the inspired Scriptures reinforcing in our mind the fact that we are part of God’s family. If we are His children (and we are), then it naturally follows that we are His heirs—yea, joint-heirs with Christ. Just as we suffer in this fallen creation, following Christ in His suffering, so we will be glorified with Him. We will inherit governmental authority from our Father as He himself will inherit it from our Father. Until then, though, problems will abound….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who are the ‘vipers’ of the New Testament Scriptures?

To Pray a Better Way #2

Friday, February 28, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Chapter 5 of Romans opens: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us (Romans 5:1-5).

The indwelling Holy Ghost first appears in Paul’s epistles and exits just as quickly. He reemerges in chapter 8—here referenced over a dozen times—as participating in our sanctification. (“Holy Ghost” is His name; “Spirit” infers His role or function.) Read all of Romans chapter 8, at least through to verse 27 (today’s Scripture). If we follow the Holy Spirit leading, we then experience daily the very mentality and conduct of Jesus Christ in our own mind and life.

We read the first four verses: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Let us see what else the Holy Ghost does for us….

To Pray a Better Way #1

Thursday, February 27, 2020

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26,27 KJV).

How does the Holy Spirit “maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God?”

Prayer is everywhere in Christendom. Regardless of the denomination, people have all been taught to pray. Even people who do not like the Bible pray—especially in times of trouble and tragedy! We would expect non-Christians not to know how to pray “effectually” (producing the results God intended). Yet, unfortunately, even genuine Christians are struggling ever so greatly in this realm. “I do not know what to pray for.” “Praying seems to be a waste of time. I am just not ‘getting through.’ No one answers me!”

We would do well to consider the Apostle Paul’s experience with prayer in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10: “[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Is it not strange that even Paul himself had firsthand knowledge in unanswered prayer? Facing major difficulties, bothered by one great affliction in particular, he cried out to the Lord on three occasions, “Please, deliver me!” Notice, it took three times. On that last occasion, Paul finally heard from the Lord. However, it was another unexpected outcome! If he wanted to see results, he needed to pray a better way….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did God ‘forget’ to create Eve?

My Father’s Business #19

Thursday, January 23, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Dear friends, it will help us immensely in Bible study to notice these two profound antithetical concepts. First, Isaiah 60:1-3: “[1] Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. [2] For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. [3] And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.” This is the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3. God’s salvation and blessing to all the world is here coming through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory.

Now, read Romans 11:11-13: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:….” This is not the Abrahamic Covenant of Genesis 12:1-3. God’s salvation and blessing to all the world is here coming through Israel’s fall and temporary setting aside.

Here is one dispensational difference in the Bible that could not be more evident. Provided we are willing to let verses of Scripture speak for themselves, and not try to force a denominational view into them, the Bible will be such a huge blessing rather than a sizable burden. While Father God will indeed cause Israel to rise to kingdom glory one day, He has temporarily interrupted that prophetic program with our mystery program. Here is the introduction of the Apostle Paul’s ministry, the apostleship of Romans 11:13, and the Gospel of the Grace of God of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 (cf. Acts 20:24). Although Father God’s program has changed, His overall purpose, however, remains the same. He will glorify His Son, both on Earth and in Heaven….

My Father’s Business #15

Sunday, January 19, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

Friends, provided we are willing to set aside our preconceived ideas and church traditions (which most refuse to do), Scripture will become ever so clear. Passages commonly seen as “contradictions” and “mistakes” are simply changes in program. Looking at the Bible timeline, Genesis through Revelation, we can easily see how God changes “stewards,” managers, or “house-distributors” (“oikonomous”) because He changes “dispensations,” administrations, or “house rules” (“oikonomia”). What is true today in the “but now” is not necessarily true in “time past” (and vice versa)—both differing from “the ages to come.”

For example, Moses was (!) God’s spokesman to the nation Israel: through Moses, JEHOVAH God gave Israel the Law at Mount Sinai. The Law was issued so Israel would understand God’s purpose and plan for her (see Deuteronomy 4:1-10, for instance). Those were God’s instructions—that was His “business”at the time. Christ’s earthly ministry was designed to bring Israel back to that Word of God from which she had drifted centuries prior. Of course, that is the Dispensation of Law, sitting contradistinction to the Dispensation of Grace given to the Apostle Paul (Ephesians 3:1-11).

It would be wholly inappropriate to say to the master of the house, “But, you used to govern your house this way, and I want to go back to those former administrative rules.” Yet, people today boldly tell this to the God of the Bible when they rebel against dispensational Bible study: “I do not follow Paul, I follow Jesus. I do not follow Paul, I follow Moses.” (Seemingly impressive, utterly meaningless!) They are appealing to house rules that no longer apply!!! Jesus’ earthly ministry, Matthew through John, is not what God is doing today. Moses’ writings, Genesis through Deuteronomy, are not what God is currently doing either. They are Scripture, they are God’s Word, but they are not pertinent to us in this the Dispensation of Grace.

The resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ spoke 13 epistles through the Apostle Paul, Romans through Philemon. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13)….

My Father’s Business #14

Saturday, January 18, 2020

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? (Luke 2:49 KJV).

And, just what is the Lord Jesus’ Father’s “business?”

The master of the house chooses the manner in which it is to be run. He can elect who manages it for him, and that person, being under his authority, is to follow his orders. Furthermore, over the course of time, he can change those rules. Thus, he will not accept what he once tolerated in his house. He can also choose another manager, picking someone else to oversee his affairs so that new manager may conduct his business accordingly. Here is how the God of the Bible administers His work in His creation.

Titus 1:7 says, “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;….” The church leader—sometimes called the “pastor”—is likened to “the steward of God.” In Greek, “steward” is “oikonomon.” Ordinarily, that term would be nonsense to the English reader. However, we should see the connection to “dispensation” (“oikonomia;” “house laws”). The “steward” is “the house-distributor:” he parcels out whatever the master of the house has given him to dispense.

Paul the Apostle thus wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, the first two verses: “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.” He and his ministry companions are said to be “stewards of the mysteries of God.” That word “stewards” loops back to Titus 1:7. Almighty God gave to Paul (firstly) and his ministry coworkers (secondly) a series of “mysteries” or secrets. This body of Divine revelation—called “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:2)—was delivered to Paul that he would then distribute it to us.

With Paul’s ministry arrived a new dispensation, a fresh way the Lord desired His creation to run. Paul is God’s “steward” for today. As the Lord Jesus Christ sees fit, so He runs His “Father’s business,” making that business known through the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon….