The Spirit of God and the Word of God #5

Saturday, March 23, 2013

“Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13 KJV).

As today’s Scripture demonstrates, the Spirit of God never operates apart from the Word of God.

In the Old Testament, King David said, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2).

The Apostle Peter wrote of the Old Testament prophets: “Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:10,11).

Peter elaborates in 2 Peter 1:20,21: “Knowing this first, that no scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

In Bible days, there were both preaching prophets and writing prophets. Some would speak forth God’s Word (Elijah, Elisha, et al.), others wrote it (David, Joel, et al.), and some prophets spoke it and wrote it (Daniel, Jeremiah, et cetera). Regardless of their ministry, it was the same Holy Spirit working in all of God’s prophets. This is true in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures.

When speaking of the spiritual gifts, 1 Corinthians 12:4,8,9,11 say: “Now there are many diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit…. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit;… But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally [individually] as he will.”

The Holy Spirit gave believers spiritual gifts to further God’s Word before it was written down. Let us see how the Holy Ghost works today in light of the written, completed Holy Bible….

Let the LORD’s Saints Bless Him

Monday, March 18, 2013

“All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee” (Psalm 145:10 KJV).

Saints, bless the LORD!

Today’s Scripture is an excerpt from King David’s “psalm of praise.” The LORD had certainly been good to David: He had brought him countless military victories, He had appointed him as king over Israel, and He had guaranteed him that his royal bloodline would last forever (through Jesus Christ).

David certainly witnessed countless miraculous demonstrations of JEHOVAH. A poor, lowly shepherd boy from Bethlehem, turned out to be the most famous king of Israel, and one of the most well-known Bible characters—a miracle of the LORD in and of itself!

We members of the Church the Body of Christ can relate to David and the other ancient Jewish believers. We can join them in “blessing” (praising) the LORD. Just as God did wonderful things for them, He has done equally magnificent things for us. In fact, we are one of those magnificent works of the LORD!

Firstly, God Almighty has given us breath, for without it, we would not have physical life: “[He] neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things (Acts 17:25). Secondly, when we trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, God Almighty made us “new creatures in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17): He has also given us spiritual life! That life is to produce fruit: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).

Dear saints, remember, praising our Lord does not merely involve our lips, but our lifestyles too! When we walk by faith in the sound Pauline doctrine found in God’s Word, we are worshipping Jesus Christ, for that doctrine is His life. The Holy Spirit uses that doctrine to manifest that life in and through us. Let us praise the Lord that He would even let us—His former enemies—participate in accomplishing His marvelous will. Let us bless the Lord, not only with our lips, but with our lives! 🙂

Bethlehem of Judaea

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting” (Micah 5:2 KJV).

Today’s Scripture, written about 700 B.C., prophesies the exact birthplace of Israel’s Messiah.

Notice the Bible is very specific: “Bethlehem Ephratah pinpoints the Bethlehem in southern Israel (there was another Bethlehem, in Galilee, northern Israel). Bethlehem of Judaea, as today’s Scripture teaches, is “little among the thousands of Judah” (a little-known village).

The Bible tells us that Bethlehem Ephratah was the birthplace of King David (1 Samuel 16:1-18). John 7:42 reads: “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?” Jesus Christ will inherit His father David’s throne, and David is a type/preview/shadow of Christ (Isaiah 9:6,7; Luke 1:31-33). Thus, they share Bethlehem Ephratah as their birthplace (cf. Luke 2:4).

“Bethlehem” is an interesting term. Jesus Christ likened Himself to the manna of the Old Testament. He claimed, “For the bread of God is he which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world…. I am that bread of life: I am the bread which came down from heaven…. I am that bread of life” (John 6:33,35,41,48). Jesus was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1,5,6): “Bethlehem” is Hebrew for “house of bread.” Thus, the “Bread of Life,” Jesus Christ, was born in the “House of Bread,” Bethlehem. Fascinating!

Furthermore, Joseph (Jesus’ legal father) lived in Nazareth. When Roman emperor Caesar Augustus sent out a decree for taxing the people of the empire (conducting a census), Joseph had to leave Nazareth and go to Bethlehem of Judaea, taking pregnant Mary with him (Luke 2:1-5). Christ was born there in Bethlehem. Some 700 years beforehand, the Bible knew Joseph and Mary would not be in Nazareth for Christ’s birth, but in Bethlehem, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of today’s Scripture. Amazing!

These are evidences that the Bible is a supernatural Book—indeed, it is God’s Book.

Perfect Timing

Sunday, December 16, 2012

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

As we travel up through the Scriptures, we note how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman has now become the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. Now the seed of the woman and the seed of Abraham is the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Can God Really Use Me? (Yes!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

“For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called” (1 Corinthians 1:26 KJV).

Today’s Scripture affirms that God will oftentimes use for His purposes those people we would never expect Him to utilize.

The LORD appears to Moses and informs him that He will use him to deliver Israel from Egyptian bondage. Moses replies, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue” (Exodus 4:10).

Centuries later, the Midianites are persecuting Israel, so God informs Gideon that He will use him to deliver Israel. Gideon argues, “Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house” (Judges 6:15).

Centuries later, the Philistine giant Goliath is taunting Israel, but her armies are no match for him. Little David, a lowly shepherd boy, nevertheless has faith that the LORD will give him the strength to slay Goliath, which he does using one rock and a sling (1 Samuel 17:50).

Centuries later, God sends the prophet Jeremiah to warn apostate Israel, but Jeremiah refutes, “Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child” (1:6).

When the Lord Jesus Christ needed apostles to convert Israel, He chose four fisherman, brothers Simon Peter and Andrew, and brothers James and John (Mark 1:16-20). Peter and John are later referred to as “unlearned and ignorant men” (Acts 4:13).

The Apostle Paul carried out his ministry with infirmities/sicknesses/weaknesses (2 Corinthians 12:7-10; Galatians 4:13).

If you, dear Christian, doubt that the Lord can use you because of your disabilities, social status, weaknesses, age, or education, just remember Moses’ speech impediment, Gideon’s poverty, David and Jeremiah’s juvenility, Peter and John’s ignorance, and Paul’s infirmities. God used them—people who did not seem like much—for His glory. What made the difference was not their strengths, but the Almighty God who worked in and through them. “That no flesh should glory in [God’s] presence” (1 Corinthians 1:29). 🙂

My Kingdom is Not of This World? #2

Monday, September 24, 2012

“Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (John 18:36 KJV).

What did Jesus mean when He spoke today’s Scripture?

Today’s Scripture is often misconstrued to deny a literal, physical, visible reign of Christ on earth. Because Jesus Christ is not literally, physically, and visibly ruling on earth today, it is assumed the kingdom spoken of in the Old Testament and Four Gospels was an invisible, spiritual kingdom. This belief is without merit.

The apostles inquired in Acts 1:6: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” What type of kingdom did Israel have? A literal, physical, visible kingdom! The apostles are asking if Christ at that time would restore again Israel to her glorious kingdom days, especially those of Kings David and Solomon. They were obviously speaking of a literal, physical, visible kingdom.

In the book of the Revelation, which is still unfulfilled, we read of voices in heaven saying: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (11:15). (Here is when Luke 1:33 will be fulfilled.) What kingdoms exist in the world? Invisible, spiritual kingdoms? No, they are literal, physical, visible kingdoms, and, at His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will reign over them all. “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one” (Zechariah 14:9).

When Jesus Christ, in today’s Scripture, admitted His kingdom was “not of this world,” He was not implying that it was spiritual and/or invisible. Actually, He meant that His kingdom is separate and distinct from the system upon which the world’s governments of Pilate’s time (and even those of today) are built. It will be a kingdom that God Himself, not some mortal man, will establish and administrate, a glorious monarchy in which God’s will shall always be accomplished on earth.