Saturday, August 15, 2015

Five Words

Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. (1 Cor. 14:19)
The gift of tongues was for a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Cor. 1:22; 14:21-22) during the transition period (from Israel to the Body of Christ) recorded in the book of Acts. After the transition period, and the completion of the word of God, the sign gifts CEASED for this present age (1 Cor. 13:8-13). In 1 Cor. 14 (written during the transition period) the apostle Paul taught that it was pointless to speak in an unknown tongue (a language that the speaker and hearers did not know) in the church if there was nobody present with the gift of interpretation. The purpose of speaking in the local church is to TEACH others in a way they can understand for their edification, exhortation, and comfort (v.3). He said it is better to speak FIVE WORDS that can be understood than 10,000 words in an unknown tongue. What could be taught with just five words? Let’s consider some key doctrines given in biblical statements of just five words. God has an amazing way of saying much with few words. Sadly, in the typical Charismatic church you will hear much "vain and profane babblings" (2 Tim. 2:16) but you will not hear these key doctrines being taught.
In the Beginning God Created (Gen. 1:1)
This plain opening statement of the scripture is foundational to everything else. If it is wrong, how can we trust the rest of the Bible? No wonder Satan has always attacked the doctrine of creation! We did not get here by chance and some kind of evolutionary process. Man was created by God and has a purpose. Jesus Christ was a creationist (Mk. 10:6; 13:19) and He knows the truth about the beginning because He was there. He is the Creator! He created the world about 6,000 years ago in six literal days. When He looked at everything He made He said it was very good. Well, there is a lot in this world now that is very bad! What happened?
By One Man Sin Entered (Rom. 5:12)
Adam was given dominion on the earth. Satan coveted that dominion and so he appeared as a beautiful serpent in the garden in order to tempt the woman and bring about the fall of man. The woman was deceived but Adam knowingly and willingly disobeyed the clear commandment of God concerning the tree of the knowledge of good an evil. Adam was the representative head of the human race and so when he fell he brought sin and death into the world. He was created in the image of God but all that are born into this world are born in the image of fallen Adam (Gen. 5:3). We are all sinners (Rom. 3:10, 23). The penalty for sin is death and eternal damnation (Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14). How can a sinner be saved?
Ye Must Be Born Again (Jn. 3:7)
The Lord Jesus said these words to Nicodemus, a very religious man who was a ruler of the Jews. No man can be saved by the works of his flesh. The Bible teaches that the flesh is corrupt (Eph. 4:22), unprofitable (Jn. 6:63), and that in it dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18). The carnal mind is enmity with God and cannot please Him (Rom. 8:7-8). Therefore salvation is not by religious reformation but by spiritual regeneration (Titus 3:5). It is not the old man made better but rather a new life from God (Jn. 1:11-13). How is it that a holy and righteous God can put His Spirit in unrighteous sinners and make us new creatures? What is the basis? Sinners MUST be born again and therefore Christ said that He MUST be lifted up on the cross (Jn. 3:14-15).
Christ Died for Our Sins (1 Cor. 15:3)
In this passage the apostle Paul defines the gospel that he received by revelation of Jesus Christ (vs.1-4). The gospel of the grace of God is that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. The three letter middle word in “Christ died for our sins” is very important! We must know that we are sinners and that Christ died on the cross but most importantly we must believe in our heart that He died FOR our sins! He had no sin but was made to be sin for us (2 Cor. 5:21) that He might die in our place and pay the penalty for our sins!
By Grace Ye are Saved (Eph. 2:5)
Saving Grace is the unmerited favor and kindness of God toward sinners by Jesus Christ. Salvation is a free gift because it was purchased in full by the finished work of Christ. In this age of grace, salvation is “no more of works” (Rom. 11:6), “not of works” (Eph. 2:9), and “not by works” (Titus 3:5). The one condition to receiving the gift of salvation is to believe in your heart (Eph. 1:12-13). To try and add one work, no matter what it may be, is to pervert the gospel of Christ!
Ye are Complete in Him (Col. 2:10)
The very instant we believe on Christ as our personal Savior the Holy Spirit baptizes us into Christ (1 Cor. 12:13) and we become one with Him. Through this spiritual baptism we are identified with Christ in His death, burial, resurrection (Rom. 6:3-4), and we are seated with Him in heavenly places (Eph. 2:6). His work of salvation for us is complete. Nothing can be added to it. Spiritual growth is the process of learning who we are in Christ and how to live it out in our daily walk. We will be instantly and permanently glorified with Christ when He raptures us to heaven to be with Him (1 Cor. 51-52; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; Phil. 3:20-21).
Looking for That Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13)
Christ could come at any moment to catch away His church (the word “rapture” comes from a Latin word that means to catch away by force). We shall see Him, be like Him, and be with Him forevermore. This is the consummation of our salvation. It is a done deal (Rom. 8:30), but we are waiting on its fulfillment. In the Bible, hope is not a doubtful thing at all. It is a certain anticipation and expectation of what has been promised. Until death or the rapture we still have the flesh to deal with. How do we walk in victory over the flesh?
I am Crucified with Christ (Gal. 2:20)
We do not have to strive for victory over our flesh. Christ defeated the flesh for us when He died in our place. The old man being crucified, I am now free to walk in newness of life (Rom. 6-8). The Christian life is about Christ living His life through me!
These simple but powerful five word statements will change your life forever if you truly believe them!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Living Reality or Empty Dogma?

From time to time on this blog I may share a small excerpt from a book I'm reading that I find to be spiritually edifying. Many of the books in my library are out of print and cannot be found in the average "Christian bookstore." The following quote is from C.H. Mackintosh (1820-1896).
"We are passing through a world of misery, of sin and death and sorrow. We are surrounded by broken hearts and crushed spirits, if we would only look them out. 
Yes; this is the point; if we would only look them out. It is easy for us to close our eyes to such things, to turn away from, to "forget" that there are such things always within reach of us. We can sit in our easy chair, and speculate about truth, doctrines, and the letter of scripture; we can discuss the theories of Christianity, and split hairs about prophecy and dispensational truth, and, all the while, be shamefully failing in the discharge of our grand responsibilities as Christians. We are in imminent danger of forgetting that Christianity is a living reality. It is not a set of dogmas, a number of principles strung together on a thread of systematized divinity, which unconverted people can have at their fingers' ends. Neither is it a set of ordinances to be gone through, in dreary formality, by lifeless, heartless professors. No; it is life—life eternal—life implanted by the Holy Ghost, and expressing itself in those two lovely forms on which we have been dwelling, namely, praise to God and doing good to man.
Such was the life of Jesus when He trod this earth of ours. He lived in the atmosphere of praise; and He went about doing good.
And He is our life, and He is our model on which the life is to be formed. The Christian should be the living expression of Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost. It is not a mere question of leading what is called a religious life, which very often resolves itself into a tiresome round of duties which neither yield "praise" to God nor one atom of " good" to man. There must be life, or it is all perfectly worthless. "The kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men." Rom. 14:17-18
Beloved christian reader, let us earnestly apply our hearts to the consideration of these great practical truths. Let us seek to be Christians not merely in name but in reality. Let us not be distinguished as the mere vendors of peculiar "views." Oh! how worthless are views! How utterly profitless is discussion! How wearisome are theological hair-splittings! Let us have life, light, and love. These are heavenly, eternal, divine. All else is vanity. How we do long for reality in this world of sham—for deep thinkers and earnest workers in this day of shallow talkers!" 

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