Saturday, February 24, 2018

Ambassadorship for Jesus

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary.
In 2nd Corinthians 5:18-21 the apostle Paul said, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him." What a beautiful passage of scripture. The word "wit," means know. To wit or know that the Spirit of the Almighty God, "...was in Christ," for the expressed purpose of reconciling us to Himself is almost incomprehensible. What a wonder! There seems little doubt in my mind that the apostles and early church considered the Lord Jesus as God in the flesh. This is witnessed by 1st Timothy 3:16 where Paul said that there was no controversy about this fact. "... God was manifest in the flesh...) 

Jesus said in days of His earthly ministry in 
John 14:12"Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father." Greater works than Jesus Christ? What could be greater than Jesus healing the sick or raising the dead? I was privileged to teach the adult class in Missoula recently and I asked what greater works could be done than that which the Lord Jesus did? I told them that the greater works were that sinful ungodly men and women were allowed of God to teach and preach the gospel of Christ! Even to heal the sick and raise the dead. Yes the Lord Jesus did many marvelous works but it was left up to sinful men to spread the message of salvation to the lost. So are we then ambassadors for Christ?

An ambassador, by definition, is one who represents his or her government to others. The Merriam-Webster dictionary says the definition of an ambassador is, " official envoy; especially : a diplomatic agent of the highest rank accredited to a foreign government or sovereign as the resident representative of his or her own government or sovereign or appointed for a special and often temporary diplomatic assignment"

Are we then to be a representative of our Sovereign, the Lord of lords and King of kings? If so, just saying "in Jesus name," is not enough. Rather we ought to act in Christ's stead, healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, etc. One of the proofs of Jesus' Messiahship was the works that He did! When we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ's Kingdom on earth, we will represent our Sovereign Lord in all things He has sent us to do. Do we truly act as the ambassadors of the Lord Jesus? Apostle Paul did when he said in the above text, "
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." The greatest thing to a true Christian is to be given "... the ministry of reconciliation..." To tell the sinner " Christ's stead," that Jesus Christ came to save them from condemnation. Not all will hear our message but we are to tell it anyway. I want to be an ambassador for Jesus Christ. Do you?

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Without Excuse

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.

The Bible says in Romans 1:20"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse..." The Apostle Paul said more than this. In Romans 1:18-20 he told the Romans about the revelation of the wrath of God, "...against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them." Have you or I ever held the truth in unrighteousness? I hope not. In my Bible reading I came across a passage of scripture that seemed to jump out at me. It is found in Isaiah 33:14. It says, "The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" Let us look at that verse more closely.

When Isaiah wrote this passage he wasn't writing to the Gentiles, he was writing to the Jews. Zion in this passage is specifically speaking about Jerusalem and Judah, and in a more general sense, Israel. But I am not Jewish so I don't have to worry about that, right? Wrong! It is the same LORD or JHVH that spoke through Isaiah to the Jewish nation that speaks to the church in general and to the individual specifically. Jesus said in 
Matthew 10:28"And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." The New Testament had not been written yet but Jesus' words to the Jews in His earthly days ought to be taken seriously by us too. We are to fear the LORD because He does have power over both death and the final destiny of mankind. Any who takes God for granted is not wise.

As I reread 
Isaiah 33 I looked at the full context of the scripture. The thought really starts in Isaiah 33:13 and goes through verse 16.  Verse 13 says, "Hear, ye that are far off, what I have done; and, ye that are near, acknowledge my might." God in His mercy is trying to get our attention. Who is going to not be afraid of the, "...devouring fire..." and of the "...everlasting burnings?" The Bible says in verse 15"He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil..." It is him that will be able to, "...dwell with the devouring fire? who ...shall dwell with everlasting burnings."

I certainly don't claim to have the last word on these scriptures but when I read about the devouring fire and everlasting burnings, my mind immediately went to the three Hebrew Children of the 
Book of Daniel and the burning fiery furnace they were thrown into. The Bible says that king Nebuchadnezzar saw four men walking in the flame and the fourth was like the Son of God. (See Daniel 3:24-25) Is it possible that the fire that destroyed Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10:1-2, is the same fire that kept the Hebrew Children from harm as they walked with that fourth man? I for one don't want to be a hypocrite and be surprised at judgment. If I will pay heed to the Word of God as Isaiah 33:17 says, I shall, "...see the king in his beauty..." I don't want to wake up and find that I am without excuse. I feel in the Lord Jesus to warn you, whoever you are, that judgment day is coming. Don't wait too long to get right with God.

Friday, February 16, 2018

I Am Not Ashamed

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
The Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:16, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.Truly the gospel of Christ is, "...the power of God unto salvation..." Jesus Christ is the only one who can save us today. Not Hinduism,  nor Buddhism, not Islamism, not atheism, not anything or anyone but Jesus Christ alone can save. It is no wonder then that Paul the apostle said he was not ashamed. Even Judaism cannot save, only the Lord Jesus. The Bible says in Acts 4:12,  "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." I don't think the apostles then, nor any true Christian since has believed otherwise.

Jesus said in Mark 8:38"Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels." If we, like the Apostle Paul,  are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, why do we oftentimes hang back from declaring it? I know I have. Have you? Yet I too am not ashamed of the Lord Jesus and what He did for me that day.  The Lord had said to me that day in tones of the most unutterable love imaginable, "make Me your choice, I am the only reasonable choice you have."  I replied, "Lord Jesus if you will help me I will serve you from this day to the day I die," Immediately He cleansed my mind and said, "read My word and start in Matthew." He changed my life completely in June of 1965. In a moment of time He delivered me from being a foul mouthed person who only wanted to have his own way to a clean hearted individual who only wanted God's way. To this day, almost 53 years later, He has helped me and I am thankful.

I don't know why I am so reticent in declaring what the Lord Jesus has done for me. But this one thing I do, I am still as determined as I was on that day to serve the Lord Jesus, "from this day to the day I die," with Him helping me.  There are numerous questions I have about God's so great salvation that I am not able to answer, but until the Lord comes for me or until I go to be with Him, I will continue to serve the Lord Jesus. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is God's power to save me.

Friday, February 9, 2018

What I Believe and Why I Believe It

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God! This is nothing more than every self proclaimed Bible believing Christian subscribes to whether Pentecostal or not. However I am a believer in the only name that can save which is Jesus Christ. The reason I believe in the name of the Lord Jesus to be the only name that can save me is because I read in the book of the Acts of the Apostles in Acts 4:12 where it plainly declares that there is no salvation in any other, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."  That having been said, I believe in water baptism in Jesus name. Mainly because the Bible says in Acts 2:38, "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost." Although this does conflict somewhat with the Roman Catholic doctrine of baptism found in Matthew 28:19 which says, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Matthew 28:19 does not conflict the doctrine of baptism in Jesus name according to Acts 2:38.

The reason is that in Matthew 28:19 no one was ever baptized. It is a command to the apostles to, "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name..." When they went into the (then known) world they baptized in the only name that could and can save which is the Lord Jesus Christ. Have you been baptized in the only name that can save you? Some folks say that it really doesn't make any difference how you are baptized anyway. I beg to differ with them. Peter said in 1st Peter 3:21,  "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ..." Then does water save us, e.g., baptismal regeneration? No, not by a long shot. Baptism does save us though when we are able to, in good conscience to God, acknowledge the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. So if you do so acknowledge the Lord's resurrection but reject being baptized in Jesus name, the question I would ask is why? I wonder at judgment what question God would ask. There are many other things in the Bible which I believe. Some of those things are hard for me to explain.  Suffice it to say baptism in Jesus name is not one of them. If it's in the Bible I believe it. Do you?

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Has Christ Been Formed in You

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
The apostle Paul said in Galatians 4:18-20"But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you." Paul was speaking to the Galatian church. I like what the late Bro. Lee J. Muncy told our church in Tigard, Oregon. He said that he would put himself in the place of the one who was being spoken to. For instance when God would command Israel to do something it would be as though God were commanding Bro. Muncy.  Jesus Christ was apparently not  formed in the Galatian church.

The Bible says in Jeremiah 17:7, "Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is." And the Bible says in Romans 8:24-25"For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it."  I remember my first pastor, the Late Bro. Edmund Werner, saying that he did not have a wish so, a maybe so or a think so salvation but he had a know so salvation. In looking back I don't think he was disputing the above passage. He was saying that there are those who wish or think maybe that someday the Lord will save them whatever they do. Somewhere, in the distant future, they will be saved because the Lord Jesus will understand. I'm with Bro. Werner. I want to know I am saved.

Why would the apostle stand in doubt of the Galatians? The Bible says in Isaiah 55:7-9  "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." Maybe the apostle saw that the Galatian church was doing their own thing instead of God's. Or more likely the reason is found in Galatians 1:6-9 where Paul said,  "I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Another gospel? Accursed? That's pretty strong language.

I like the chorus we used to sing in church called, "He's My Lord and My God." It goes like this;
     He's my Lord and my God, 
     He's not just a stranger to me.
     When I looked past the veil it was easy to see,
     He's my Lord and My God!
Make no mistake, the Trinity doctrine also teaches that Jesus is God. However that doctrine also makes Him the second person of the Godhead. As I understand it this was an attempt to acknowledge Jesus as God and to acknowledge the Father as God also. Of course one wouldn't want to leave out the Holy Ghost either, so in  the  second century the church fathers came up with the doctrine of the Trinity. So the Trinitarian can claim to believe in monotheism. My wife and I heard one Trinitarian preacher refer to God as a community. I don't think that the early church thought of God as a community of persons in the Godhead.

To my way of thinking, such a doctrine dilutes the concept of Jesus being Lord and God. Apostle Thomas, eight days after the resurrection said when he saw the risen Lord called Him, "My Lord and my God." (See John 20:27-28) The chorus says, "when I looked past the veil it was easy to see, He's my Lord and my God." The Lord Jesus almost invariably referred to Himself as, "the Son of man." (Starting in Matthew 8:20 and many times thereafter) This was the veil of His flesh. This is in perfect accord with the prophesy in Deuteronomy 18:15-19 where both Moses and God said the Messiah would be taken from among the brethren of Israel. This is an important prophesy for apostle Peter made reference to it when he said in Acts 3:22-23"For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people."

Has Christ been formed in you yet? You may call yourself a Christian and yet believe that the Lord Jesus is a second person in a Trinity. I think that this is what apostle Paul had in mind when he referred in Galatians 1:6-7 to the Christ of another gospel, which indeed is not another but is a perversion of, "the gospel of Christ." 
There are many perversions of the gospel. Not the least of which is the Roman Catholic doctrine of baptism. As I understand it they baptize all their converts in the titles, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (See Matthew 28:19) But this was never meant to be used as the mode of baptism. It was a command of the Lord, according to Matthew's gospel to go and baptize. (See also Mark 16:15-18, Luke 24:45-49, and John 20:21-23) When they went and baptized, they always did so in the singular name of Jesus. (See Acts 2:38, Acts 8:16, Acts 10:48, and Acts 19:4-5) Have you been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus to have your sins forgiven? If not you need to be, for the Bible says in Acts 4:12, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." Find someone today who will baptize you in Jesus name. If you will do so, God has promised you the gift of His Spirit that you will receive as they did on the Day of Pentecost. (See Acts 2:39 and Acts 2:1-4)

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Some Are Called, Some Are Sent...

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew-Greek Dictionary.
Some just packed their bags and went. Have you ever heard that comment? I have said that many times, always with my tongue in my cheek. The apostle Paul gave the qualifications of a pastor in 1st Timothy 3:1-7"This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil." I must say that throughout my walk with God I have desired, "...the office of a bishop..." It is a good work!

I have always understood that a bishop was the same as a pastor. According to Strong's Hebrew-Greek dictionary the meaning of a bishop in verse 1 is, "episkopē (pronounced) ep-is-kop-ay' From G1980; inspection (for relief); by implication superintendence; specifically the Christian “episcopate”: - the office of a “bishop”, bishoprick, visitation." In verse 2 a slightly different word for bishop is used, "episkopos (pronounced) ep-is'-kop-os From G1909 and G4649 (in the sense of G1983); a superintendent, that is, Christian officer in general charge of a (or the) church (literally or figuratively): - bishop, overseer." They are very close in meaning. Verse 1 seems more formal than verse 2 however. Either way I have never felt worthy to be a pastor of folks because of the fact that I just packed my bags and went. 

The word pastor is not found in the New Testament. The word pastors is and has the meaning, "poimēn (pronounced) poy-mane' Of uncertain affinity; a shepherd (literally or figuratively): - shepherd, pastor."  Jesus is invariably referred to in the New Testament as the good shepherd, the great shepherd, etc. in most of the references to the word shepherd, whether speaking of the Lord Jesus or not, all use the word, "poimēn," with the exception of 1st  Peter 5:4 which says, "And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." Here the word for chief Shepherd is, "archipoimēn (pronounced) ar-khee-poy'-mane From G746 and G4166; a head shepherd: - chief shepherd." The Lord Jesus is the chief Shepherd!

I said all of this to say, "some are called, some are sent. Some just packed their bags and went."

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Don't Look Back!

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. 
You've all probably heard the story of Lot's deliverance from Sodom. It started when Abraham gave his nephew the choice of the land. In Genesis 13:12b the Bible says that Lot chose the well watered plains and, "...dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom." God and two angels appeared in the form of men to Abraham in "...the plains of Mamre..." (See Genesis 18:1)   In Genesis 18:22-33 the Bible says, "And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom: but Abraham stood yet before the LORD. And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? Peradventure there be fifty righteous within the city: wilt thou also destroy and not spare the place for the fifty righteous that are therein? ... And the LORD said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes." Abraham interceded for Sodom and Gomorrah and stopped at 10. He probably thought Lot was  safe. Why did Abraham stop at 10? No one knows. It is guess work, but the Bible says in Genesis, that Lot had a wife and two unmarried daughters. He also had  at least two married daughters who may have children of there own. If each of those daughters had a child, that would make 10. (See Genesis 19:14)

The Bible says in 2nd Peter 2:6-8 that Lot was a just and righteous man. He perhaps moved to Sodom thinking he could influence them for good. He no doubt brought his children up to fear the Lord. At least two of his daughters married with the probable desire to raise a family. Lot and Mrs. Lot were perhaps grandparents. I don't know because the Bible doesn't tell us more. We do know that Lot's sons in law thought their father in law, "...seemed as one that mocked..." when he warned them of the upcoming judgment. I am a grandfather and my wife a grandmother. In fact we have great grandchildren. We love our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren very much. To me it is understandable why the angels had to compel Lot and his wife and unmarried daughters to leave. They were told to not look back. But the Bible says in Genesis 19:26"his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt." The Lord Jesus said in Luke 17:32"Remember Lot's wife."

The title of this posting is "Don't Look Back." Whatever happens, however many loved ones you may have in this world, we are admonished to, "Remember Lot's wife." She probably heard the destruction of all she held dear and looked back. There is a lesson here. The Lord Jesus said in Matthew 10:37"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me." We must not let anyone or anything stand in our way in serving God. There is an old song we used to sing, called "When I See The Blood." One verse goes as follows;
    1. Judgment is coming, all will be there,
      Each one receiving justly his due;
      Hide in the saving sin-cleansing blood,
      And I will pass, will pass over you.

Friend if you have never known how to be saved but have always wanted to, put your trust in Jesus Christ. It is in His name alone that salvation can be yours. (See Acts 2:38 and Acts 4:12)