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The special privilege God meant as a tool for witness, they [the Israelite’s] were to be a channel and you know what happened don’t you? Instead of them seeing themselves as a witness, instead of them seeing the difference as a way to reach people, instead of them standing up and saying, I’m different and consequently the world is going to say what’s the difference and I can tell them that God has made me different. Instead of that it became an excuse for carnal, selfish, self-glorification and pride.
It can happen with us too. We’re to be different aren’t we? We’re to be completely different than the rest of the world. We’re to walk a different walk, talk a different talk, think a different way. Read later in Ephesians and you’ll find out we are to walk not as the Gentiles walked, not as the heathen walk in the vanity of their mind. We are to walk in love. We are to walk in light. We are to walk in wisdom. We
are to walk in the spirit. Our conversation, our manner of life, our walk is to be totally different than the rest of the world. And that it is to be different because want them to take note of us. First of all, and secondly, God wants to keep us separated so different that we can’t mingle with them. It’s the same two things again. And hopefully the world will see the difference and we’ll say to them it’s Jesus Christ
that made the difference and here’s how He can make a difference in your life. And that’s exactly what Israel should have done. Instead of doing that, Israel became proud, loved the difference, celebrated the difference, became proud about the difference, and elevated themselves as if they were better than everybody else.
And I hate to think about it, but I think it’s even possible that that’s happening in Christianity or could happen. Where Christianity forms some sort of an elite that think they’re better than everybody else. And instead of really being a channel to reach the world, we become an isolated little group of people with our own little lingo and our own little deal and our own little code and our own little bumper stickers and our own little radio stations and TV stations and our own books and our own everything, and it’s us for, no more, shut the door, you know. ~ John McArthur, teaching on Ephesians 2: 11-12
“Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.”
“Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.”
“Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows.”
God has not promised skies always blue,
Flower-strewn pathways all our lives through;
God has not promised, sun without rain,
Joy without sorrow, peace without pain.
God has not promised we shall not know
Toil and temptation, trouble and woe;
He has not told us, we shall not bear
Many a burden, many a care.
God has not promised smooth roads and wide,
Swift, easy travel, needing no guide;
Never a mountain, rocky and steep,
Never a river, turbid and deep.
But God has promised strength for the day,
Rest for the labor, light for the way,
Grace for the trials, help from above,
Unfailing sympathy, undying love!
“God will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever!”
~Annie J. Flint, 1919
HT: Grace Gems
from John MacArthur’s teaching on Ephesians 1: 6-10
There are five Greek words in the New Testament that come from the legal vocabulary. They have to do with legal things in the Roman world, a legal background. Let me share them with you and then I’ll show you how they differ.
The first one is dikaiosis. Now dikaiosis is a word that means acquittal. It means acquittal in the court. When somebody was acquitted of a crime, we translate it in the Bible justification. Justification. Somebody is justified.
All right, there is a second word, aphesis. That word means to cancel a debt, to cancel a debt. Sometimes it would be a lawsuit or something would be wrangling in the court and there would be a judgment that would say you don’t owe that man anything the debt is cancelled, or whatever, retribution has been made, the price is paid, there’s the canceling of the debt. Aphesis in its legal sense means to cancel a debt, we translate it in the Bible, are you ready, forgiveness, forgiveness.
The third word is huiothesia. And that is a word that means in legalese, it means in the Greek world – adoption. Like a family would go to court to adopt a child. Now the Bible really uses it to speak of sonship, sonship. Becoming a son of God.
And then there is the word katallasso which legally means reconciliation. Sometimes people go to court for a divorce and they will be reconciled. Or sometimes two fighting factions will be brought into a suit and there will be reconciliation brought about. Now it means in a courtroom reconciliation and that’s exactly the way we translate it in the Bible. Paul talks about being reconciled to God.
The fifth word is apolutrosis, it means to redeem, to purchase to set free. And it is translated redemption.
Now listen and I’ll show you the distinction of these words.
In justification the sinner stands before God accused but he is declared righteous. In justification he stands before God accused but he is declared righteous.
In forgiveness, the second word, the sinner stands before God as a debtor and receives a cancellation of his debt.
In adoption the sinner stands before God as a stranger but he is made a…what? … son.
In reconciliation the sinner stands before God as an enemy but he is made a friend.
In redemption the sinner stands before God as a slave and he is receiving his freedom, you see.
All of those terms speak of the wondrous miracle of salvation. All of those things; justification,
forgiveness, adoption, reconciliation and redemption are provided because Jesus paid the price.
In this three part series by Dr. Paul M. Elliott, we learn specific details of our new life as adopted sons of God.
Part 1 ~ What does it mean to be adopted by God?
“Adoption is a legal act of God on our behalf, in the same way as justification. Justification is legal language in Scripture. We stand before the judgment bar of God as hopeless sinners, condemned to death, with nothing to offer for our own redemption. But Christ comes and stands before His Father at the judgment bar, and offers His perfect righteousness – His full atonement for our sins and His perfect keeping of God’s law – as our substitute. And so God the Father declares us not guilty. “
Read the full article here.
Part 2 ~ New Privileges, New Relationships, New Responsibilities.
” Because of what Christ has done, God the condemning Judge is now God our loving Father. […] …[B]ecause of adoption we have a new relationship with God the Son. Not only is He our Savior, the One who paid for our justification, but He is now also our Brother. […] The Holy Spirit indwells every believer. He comes and brings us to spiritual life by the work of calling us and regenerating us, and He takes up residence within us.”
Read the full article here.
Part 3 ~ New Citizenship, New Bodies, A Secure Inheritance.
“The father’s property was his by right of adoption. And that is true for us. We have an inheritance. Our inheritance is our Father’s property — all the riches that are in Christ Jesus. The spiritual riches of life in Him now, and the riches of the new heavens and new earth in the life to come. “
Read the full article here.
Dr. Paul M. Elliott is founder and president of Teaching The Word Ministries.
“Make Your way straight before my face.”
Dear Father, this cry is going up to You this morning, from many a tried and perplexed soul, who is fearing to “wander in the wilderness, in a pathless wasteland.” Will You graciously bend down Your ear, and listen to their prayer, and grant the desired direction and guidance?
“Make Your way straight.” Dear Lord, it is not that Your ways are ever crooked or deviating, but that my eyes are bent on seeing pleasant little bypaths, where the road is not so rough, or the walking so toilsome–as on the King’s highway! My way looks so enticing, so easy, so agreeable to the flesh. Your way means self-denial, taking up the cross, and the relinquishment of much that my carnal heart desires.
Now, dear Lord, hear my cry, “Make Your way straight before my face!” Compel me, by the power of Your love and Your example–to go in the narrowroad! “Hedge up my way with thorns”–rather than that I should take a step out of the way which You have laid down for me.
What if, sometimes, there are mists and fogs so thick that I cannot see the path? ‘Tis enough that You hold my hand, and guide me in the darkness; for walking with You in the gloom–is far sweeter and safer than walking alone in the sunlight!
Dear Lord, give me grace to trust You wholly, whatever may befall; yielding myself up to Your leading, and leaning hard on You when “dangers are in the path.” Your way for me has been marked out from all eternity, and it leads directly to Yourself and home! Help me to keep my eyes fixed on the joy that is set before me, and deliver me from the very faintest desire to turn aside, and linger in the flowery meadows which have so often lured the feet of poor pilgrims into danger and distress!
Father, You have said, “My ways are not your ways, neither are My thoughts your thoughts.” True, dear Lord; but then You can uplift my thoughts to Yours, and exalt my ways until they reach the mountain-top of obedience to Your blessed will. Work this miracle for me this day, O Lord; use thatsweet compulsion which will delight my heart, while it directs my steps! Make me to run in the way of Your commandments, and I shall run gladly, with the blessed certainty that I shall reach the goal at last! Have You not given me a monitor within, which strikes a gentle warning note, when my feet turn but an instant from the straight way?
But, best of all, dearest Lord, may You Yourself come with me along life’s road, today and every day! Let the abiding of my soul in You be so real and constant, so true and tender–that I may always be aware of Your sweet presence, and never take a single step, apart from Your supporting and delivering hand!
~Susannah Spurgeon, “Free Grace and Dying Love!”
HT: Grace Gems
Think he’s home schooled?
For the LORD shall rise up as [in] Mount Perazim he shall be wroth as [in] the valley of Gibeon that he may do his work his strange work and bring to pass his act his strange act.
The judgment work of Christ is not an easy work to speak on because, you see, even Isaiah in Isaiah 28:21 calls it God’s quote “strange work,” because to Isaiah it seems to be so contrary to the greatest attribute of God which is His love, the supreme quality of His nature. But you see, God must be a God of judgment because He loves. You see, He loves so much that the day is coming when He’s going to protect those who are the objects of His love from evil forever. And the only way He can do it is to destroy evil, you see? So even that is an act of love…to protect and preserve the full manifestation of His love to His people forever. And so He will come in judgment to destroy sinners and sin. (emphasis added)
The Saga of Two Conquerers, Part 2
(~from the commentary on Zechariah 9:9-17)
“I, the Lord, have spoken! I will bless those who have humble and contrite hearts, who tremble at My Word.”
Alas! how prevalent the sin of sacrilege is–even with some professing Christians! The common use which is sometimes made of sacred words, the light and flippant manner in which holy phrases are employed, the carnal use which is frequently made of the words of Scripture itself, the interlarding of vain conversation with Scripture phraseology, and what are intended to be witticisms–at the expense of God’s holy Word. These are sins of greater prevalence and magnitude than, perhaps, many who are beguiled into their commission are aware!
We can scarcely conceive of anything more grieving to the Holy Spirit–than the manner in which some people deal with His inspired Word. Nor is the low spirituality which this solemn trifling with the Bible betrays, less painful.
A heavenly mind will guard the sacredness and purity of God’s Word with holy jealousy! How can it be otherwise? To the Bible, the instrumentality of God’s truth–the believer is indebted for his quickening, for his sanctification, and for his comfort! To trifle, then, with that holy Word, to quote it flippantly, to speak of it irreverently, to jest with it profanely–would seem a crime from which a mind stored with its precious treasures, and imbued with its hallowed spirit–would recoil with holy dread!
Oh, beware, reader, how you sport with, or trifle with–God’s holy Scriptures! Oh, it is a fearful thing to quote with sportive lip, to touch with unhallowed hands–the holy Word of God!
“My heart stands in awe of Your Word! I rejoice in Your Word like one who discovers a great treasure!”
from Octavius Winslow, “The Officer’s Daughter” 1861
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The Second Coming — In Two Part Harmony
By Jack Kinsella
The Omega Letter
The Bible often appears to address the Second Coming of Jesus Christ as if it were one event, but upon closer examination, it is obvious that it takes place in two separate parts with an interval of time between them.
The Lord returns once for His Church as its Redeemer and then again at the end of the Tribulation Period as its Avenger. The first coming is in secret. It is signless – that is to say – there is nothing that must occur first.
That first, secret coming for His Church could have taken place at any time in history from the 1st century until now, something known to theology as the “doctrine of immanency.”
This secret coming is called the Rapture of the Church.
There will be some who will argue that the Rapture is a made up doctrine and point to the fact the word rapture does not appear in the Bible as ‘evidence’. (It is worth noting at this point that the word ‘Bible’ isn’t in the Bible either.)
The word ‘Rapture’ comes from the Latin word rapios which is itself a translation of the Greek word ‘harpazo’ which means, “to snatch away, grab, or carry off.”
So it’s not a very compelling argument, and its rebuttal is devastating:
The word ‘Rapture’ doesn’t appear in the English Bible for the same reason that there IS an English Bible. Because the Greeks and Romans used different words for everything than we do. Duh.
Whether the word Rapture is in the Bible or not, the picture of the Second Coming taking place in two-part harmony is unmistakable.
- In the first part, He comes as a thief. (Revelation 16:15)
- In the second part, He comes as lightning. (Luke 17:24)
- In the first part, as the Morning Star. (Revelation 22:16)
- In the second part, the Sun of Righteousness (Malachi 4:1-2)
- In the first part, as a bridegroom. (Matthew 25:1-6)
- In the second part, as a King. (Matthew 25:31-34)
- In the first, to the marriage. (Matthew 25:10)
- In the Second, to the Throne of His Glory. (Matthew 25:31)
- In the first, to the virgins. (Matthew 25:1)
- In the second, to the nations. (Matthew 25:32)
- In the first, before the marriage. (Matthew 25:1)
- In the second, after the marriage. (Luke 12:36)
- In the first, for His Bride. (John 14:3)
- In the second, with His Bride. (Colossians 3:4)
- In the first, He meets His Bride in the air. (1st Thessalonians 4:17)
- In the second, He puts His foot down on the Mount of Olives. (Zechariah 14:3-4)
- In the first, He comes to receive His Bride unto Himself. (John 14:3)
- In the second, He comes to be received by repentant Israel. (Zechariah 11:10)
- In the first, He comes to take His bride to the heavenly city. (John 14:1-5, Song of Solomon 4, Ephesians 5:27)
- In the second, He comes to the earthly city of Jerusalem to take up His Throne as King.
- The first part is called, “our gathering together unto Him” (2nd Thessalonians 2:1)
- The second part is called, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ from heaven.” (2nd Thessalonians 1:7)
The Rapture of the Church is clearly not a new doctrine invented by a Scottish schoolgirl, or by C.I. Scofield or by J.N. Darby. For fourteen hundred years, it was a lost doctrine, along with the doctrine of salvation by grace through faith.
Martin Luther didn’t discover a new doctrine when he read Ephesians 2:8-9, he rediscovered what the Vatican had buried during the Dark Ages. (That’s why they were called “the Dark Ages” in the first place).
Luther rediscovered the truth that salvation comes through grace and by faith, not by paying money to a priest for absolution from purgatory.
To the degree one can credit Scofield or Darby or anybody else, it can only be for the rediscovery of a doctrine long buried by the Vatican for the same reason. If the Lord is to come for the living saints, then the Vatican dogma that requires additional purification in Purgatory collapses.
It is beyond question that the Bible presents the Second Coming in two-part harmony – to argue otherwise is to argue that the Bible contradicts itself, rather than harmonizes.
Having established the clear Biblical timeline that proves the Second Coming is in two parts, the next question is whether or not the Rapture takes place before, during or after the Tribulation.
I could fill the page with similar references that confirm that the date of the Rapture will be incalculable, whereas the length of the Tribulation period is precisely outlined and concludes with His visible return, and can therefore be calculated. (Daniel 9:24-27, Daniel 12:7,11-13)
This is the same problem with the Pre-Wrath, Mid-Trib and Post-Trib views – each conflicts with the doctrine of immanency, a doctrine Jesus hammered home many times.
The Rapture of the Church could have happened at any time in history without being early and the Tribulation could still be future without being late. That has always been the spiritual status quo – until this generation.
For this generation, that equation is turned on its head. Instead, the Rapture is like a floodgate on a dam. During the Church age, the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit within believers serves to hold back the onset of unrestricted evil.
When that floodgate is removed, then evil is allowed to flow unrestricted. We are that floodgate – once the Church has been removed, there will be nobody left to stand in the way.
In the meantime, we are all that stands in the enemy’s way.
To everything there is a season,
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to gain, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.