By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-02-27
"Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
"Teach all nations". The word translated teach (μαθητεύω mathēteuō) means to "make pupils", i.e disciples. It was John Wesley who said, "The church changes the world not by making converts but by making disciples." The mission of the disciple is to make disciples, not coverts to a cause. This is done by taking up the Cross and following Jesus. Jesus' destination was Calvary. It is the work of the disciple to lead others to the Jesus of Calvary. If we don't lead people there we will lead them astray.
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-02-14
Some thoughts on II Chronicles 29, in particular verses 15-18
And they gathered their brethren, and sanctified themselves, and came, according to the commandment of the king, by the words of the LORD, to cleanse the house of the LORD.
And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron.
Now they began on the first day of the first month to sanctify, and on the eighth day of the month came they to the porch of the LORD: so they sanctified the house of the LORD in eight days; and in the sixteenth day of the first month they made an end.
Then they went in to Hezekiah the king, and said, We have cleansed all the house of the LORD, and the altar of burnt offering, with all the vessels thereof, and the shewbread table, with all the vessels thereof.
The house of the Lord, indeed the whole nation had been defiled by the disobedience and idolatry of previous kings who ruled Judah and Israel. Under King Hezekiah the worship of God was restored. The most crucial of all was the cleansing of the temple (built and dedicated to the Name of the Lord God, during the reign of King Solomon, David’s son).
Let us observe the words - “to cleanse the house of the Lord”. In doing so, let us also consider the statement by the Apostle Paul -“Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” I Corinthians 3:16, (see also: I Corinthians 6:19, II Corinthians 6:16). As glorious and as wonderful as the temple was that Solomon constructed, and the magnificent manner in which it was restored by King Hezekiah, that temple was but a shadow and type of God’s true temple - man. Jesus Himself is the ultimate example of the temple of God “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up... He spake of the temple of His body.” John 2:19&21. Jesus, being God incarnate, was a perfect man, and the full embodiment of God. He was the temple of God on earth. “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth”. John 1:14. We sing “Oh to be like Thee… not in a measure, but in God’s fulness”, and other aspiring words. That is the desire and will of God for all men - “to be like Jesus”.
When a person is born from above - born of the Spirit - the Spirit begins to work in them to sanctity them wholly, to the end that their “whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”. I Thessalonians 5:23. As the temple of God we have within us an “inner part” “And the priests went into the inner part of the house of the LORD, to cleanse it, and brought out all the uncleanness that they found in the temple of the LORD into the court of the house of the LORD. And the Levites took it, to carry it out abroad into the brook Kidron”. II Chronicles 29:16. The “inner part” of each of us needs cleansing, the “uncleanliness” needs to be “brought out” of “the temple of the Lord.” This is the sanctifying work of the priests, in our case the work of our High Priest.
The “inner part” of the temple was the Holy of Holies, where the presence of God resided; where the Ark of the Covenant rested, upon which was the Mercy Seat. For God to reside in our “inner part” He must first cleanse it of its uncleanness; thereby making it the holy dwelling place of God. God could not enter into our "inner place" until Christ was crucified, rose again, ascended into heaven and received from the Father the gift of the Holy Spirit. God desires to take up residence in our "inner part". He has made that possible though the baptism in the Holy Spirit. It is the HOLY Spirit that makes us holy by cleansing the “inner part”.
God wants us to be holy, within and without, because we are the house of God, His residence, His dwelling place. "Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end." Hebrew 3:6. Not only so, God dwells with those who are humble and contrite - "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." Isaiah 57:15. "Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest? For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word." Isaiah 66:1-2. If we are to be the dwelling place of God we must humble ourselves. “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart" Matthew 11:29.
"Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Ephesians 2:5-8.
Out of the Heart
"That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." Mark 7:20-23.
There is that within us which is hidden to others, but not to God. “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man”. Ephesians 3:16. “…the hidden man of the heart, in the incorruptible thing of the meek and quiet spirit, which is, before God, of great price”. I Peter 3:4. It is this “inner part”, the "heart of a man", where the Lord desires to dwell. It is the uncleanliness of heart that “defiles the man”, and therefore it is the “heart of the matter”. That uncleanliness in the “inner part” needs to be brought out and cast away.
The uncleanliness that remained in the “inner part” of the temple in Hezekiah‘s day was the idols that had been brought in; idols that usurped the place of the Ark of the Covenant with it’s Mercy Seat, for which Holy of Holies had been specifically created. But that is a type of you and of me, a type of the man that God has created.
A New Heart and New Spirit
In Ezekiel 36 (23-33), the Lord said, "I shall be sanctified in you", "a new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, ...and I will put my Spirit within you". This promise is fulfilled through Jesus Christ, in the New Covenant. It is an inward work of God.
“…sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” I Peter 3:15.
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-02-07
The Spirit of wisdom and revelation.
“Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints, Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” Ephesians 1:15-23
“…give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the [full] knowledge of him…”
The Apostle Paul’s great longing and desire for the believers in Ephesus was for God to give them “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation”, in which alone is “the full knowledge“ of Jesus Christ. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Even) the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” John 14:16-17
None but the Spirit can reveal Jesus Christ unto us - whom He reveals in us, in our spirit. “…the things of God knows no one, but the Spirit of God.” I Cor. 2:11 Read as we will the Book of God, and be we fully versed in it, in it’s Hebrew and Greek, in it’s grammar - it’s tenses, prepositions, it’s verbs, it’s nouns, and all syntax; if God has not given us His Spirit, the Book of itself can reveal nothing. “Flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you…”
We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom.
“We speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ. I Corinthians 2:7-16
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-02-06
The Israél of God (Galatians 6:16) Explained.
Israél is... “The Church of God - Which consists of all those, and those only, of every nation and kindred, who walk by this rule”. John Wesley.
Israél is... “When we have been created anew in Christ’s likeness and are walking by that rule, we find ourselves at once introduced into a family of kindred spirits, who have passed through the same radical change and are united beneath the gracious canopy of mercy and peace. Such are God’s Israel”. F.B. Meyer.
Israél is... “The true church of God; all who are his true worshippers”. Albert Barnes.
Israél is... “The true Christians, called here the Israel of God, to distinguish them from Israel according to the flesh”. Adam Clarke.
Israél is... “…all sincere Christians, whether Jews or Gentiles”. Matthew Henry.
Israél is... “The spiritual Israel, as distinct from Israel according to the flesh. The "Israel of God". John Gill.
“I am quite convinced that all the promises made to Israel are found, are finding and will find their perfect fulfillment in the church... the new and spiritual Israel." G. Campbell Morgan.
Israél is... ”The antithesis of Israel after the flesh (I Cor. 10:18). Compare Rom. 9:6. Php. 1:3”
& “The whole body of Christians, Jewish and Gentile. In other words, they who walk according to this rule form the true Israel of God”. Vincent’s Word Studies.
Israél is... “Not the Israel after the flesh, among whom those teachers wish to enroll you; but the spiritual seed of Abraham by faith (Gal 3:9, Gal 3:29; Rom 2:28-29; Php 3:3)”. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown.
The Commonwealth of Israél.
In Ephesians chapter 2, the Apostle Paul refers to the “Commonwealth of Israél“, in which both believing Jews and believing Gentiles are “citizens”, having been made one in Christ. These are the “citizens“ of the “Israél of God“; which is founded on the Apostles and prophets. “Jesus Christ Himself” being the “Chief cornerstone”. In whom believers are being built together as a “habitation of God through the Spirit”. However, to the disobedient and unbelieving, the Chief cornerstone is a rock of offence, and a stumbling stone. But to believers in Christ - “God’s own people” and “holy nation” - “He is precious” (lit. the preciousness). (I Peter 2:4).
Gentile Christians are “fellowcitizens” of Israél. The testimony of the Apostle Paul.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:10-22
Christians “are now the people of God.” The testimony of the Apostle Peter.
“To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” I Peter 2:4-10
“The Israél of God”. Galatians 6:16 Some modern renderings:
“May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God. (New Living Testament)
“All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God - his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!” (The Message)
“And all who will walk by this rule, peace be upon them, and mercy, yes, upon the Israel of God! (Cymraeg. Eng. Lit. Trans.)
“When he bringeth in the firstbegotten (firstborn) into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6)
“Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, my firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22)
“When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” (Hosea 11:1) and…
“When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” (Matt. 2:14-15).
The Church of the Firstborn
“…ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” (Hebrews 12:22-24)
“Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.” (Galatians 4:30)
“This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.” (Galatians 5:8-9)
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-01-31
In writing to the Hebrews the Apostle says… “let us go on unto perfection (6:1). Here we find the Greek word τελείωσις teleiōsis, meaning completeness, perfectness.
“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” (Matt. 21:18-19). That fig tree had not come to perfection, hence it had no fruit. God is looking for fruit from us, and whilst God is in need of nothing, all sufficient in Himself and self-sustaining, He desires fruit from us.
If we are born of the Spirit then we are “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified”.
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.“ (John 15:16)
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-01-29
From the beginning
Imagine, if you will, drawing a perspective on a piece of paper. This particular perspective is looking backward, not forward. We are looking back to the beginning. The Greek word used in the New Testament for beginning is: ἀρχή (narchē), meaning “beginning” or “origin”. There is nothing beyond the “beginning”. Those who are in Christ are “from the beginning”. We have our origin in God, God who was in the beginning. I am not speaking of natural things such as physical birth, family, history in this world, but I refer to that which is spiritual and eternal - a birth from above (John 3:3-10).
“…we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”. (II Thessalonians 2:13-14)
“…when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father - the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning”. (John 15:26-27)
The Apostle John used the phrase “from the beginning” eleven times in his Epistles - John was a man of “the beginning”.
I John 1:1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life...
Obviously this sentence mirrors John's opening verses in his gospel - "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God". The disciples of Christ saw and touched "that which from the beginning".
I John 2:7 Brethren, I write no new commandment unto you, but an old commandment which ye had from the beginning. The old commandment is the word which ye have heard from the beginning.
John here is speaking of the "commandment" which you had "from the beginning" - "the word which ye have heard from the beginning".
I John 2:13-14 I write unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men, because ye have overcome the wicked one. I write unto you, little children, because ye have known the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. "...ye have know him that is from the beginning".
I John 2:24 Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father.
"Heard from the beginning". Viz. the spoken word of God: ἀκούω (akouō) to hear.
I John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
I John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
The message is from the beginning. It is the original message.
II John 1:5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
The phrase is also used in the Revelation where Jesus (God the Son) refers to Himself.
Rev. 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.
Rev. 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;
Rev. 21:6 And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.
Rev. 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.
By Pastor’s Blog, 2024-01-17