"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". (2 Tim. 3:16). "Be not slothful in business;" (Rom. 12:11)
The Lord expects us to run His work in a business-like manner, since He certainly does all things well. The Bible records that God was pleased with His creation, declaring, "It is good". (Gen. 1:31)
Notice: Adam was His final work of creation and although he was a superb and marvellous human being, God was not satisfied. It was not complete until God took a rib from his body (shedding his blood in the surgery) and made a woman to be his wife, companion and mother of his children. Only then did God conclude His work of creation and declared, ‘It is good’!
ADAM'S BLOOD WAS FOR HIS BRIDE!
Adam and Eve are a TYPE of Christ and the church. God opened Adam's side thereby giving his blood for his bride. Similarly, Christ's side was opened by the Roman spear, shedding His blood for the church! Thank God for Jesus' wounded side!
It’s important to note that Almighty God didn’t make another man to be with Adam but a woman so that they could be complete in each other and together by God’s great gift of procreation made offspring in their likeness, as God created Adam in His likeness!
It is not difficult to see that homosexuality is an aberration and perversion of God’s divine plan for the human race! And as such, is a diabolical invention!
God always does a good job!
When Jesus fed the five thousand men as well as women and children with five loaves and two fishes, He ordered His disciples to pick up the fragments that remained - twelve basketfuls. The reason – that nothing be lost! (John 6:12)
When our Lord Jesus multiplied the seven loaves and a few fishes to feed four thousand, the Scripture says that His disciples picked up seven baskets full of fragments. (Mark 8:8)
Our Lord certainly did not squander or waste anything and I am sure that He also expects us to be good stewards for His Kingdom. We must never waste nor squander or waste our time, money or opportunities!
IT DID NOT PROFIT THEM!
Concerning those Jews who were afflicted with unbelief, the apostle stated, "For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the Word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it". (Heb. 4:2)
God preached Christ to them through His prophets and His miracles of provision and protection. Their eyes were blinded and therefore they couldn't see Christ in any of it and failed to give Him glory!
The Word did not benefit them because they did not mix it with faith. Jesus Christ repeatedly declared, "Thy faith hath made thee whole". (Matt. 9:22; Mark 5:34, 10:52; Luke 8:48, 17:19). St. Paul stated, "Without faith it is impossible to please God..." (Heb. 11:6) And our Master said, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth". (Mark 9:23)
The parable of The Unprofitable Servant, was a direct reference to His Kingdom. It is what He expects of us and what happens to servants who do not profit God by their lives.
"Therefore, be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing, Verily I say unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
"But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, MY LORD DELAYETH HIS COMING; And shall begin to smite his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." (Matt. 24:44-51)
CHRIST DESIRES FRUIT!
Our Lord saw a fig tree one day and desired fruit, and He still desires fruit from His servants! The fig tree has always been and still is the symbol of the Nation of Israel, the chosen people of God. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to them desiring fruit, but found none. (John 1:11-12)
In this reference however, Jesus said to it, "...no man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever..." (Mark 11:14) Here is the result, "And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto Him, Master, behold the fig tree which Thou cursedst is withered away". (Matt. 21:19)
He spoke of good, faithful and wise servants who were diligently looking after their lord's business - He also warned of wicked, slothful and unprofitable servants and their ultimate reward! (Matt. 25:26-30; 18:23-35)
St. Paul challenged, "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith;" (2 Cor. 13:5) St. Peter declares, "...make your calling and election sure:" (2 Peter 1:10) We are admonished, "For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged...that we should not be condemned with the world". (1 Cor. 11:31-32)
May we always be good stewards of God! (1 Cor. 4:1-2; 1 Peter 4:10)
I IN CHRIST & CHRIST IN ME!
In A.D. 70 the Jewish nation was decimated, dispersed, and Jerusalem was destroyed. The fig tree had been cut down and withered. All hope was gone, but God brought them back into their own land again in AD 1948, after nearly 2000 years.
Ezekiel 37:11-12 was fulfilled, as well as many other prophetic scriptures. The fact remains that Jesus desires fruit from those who serve Him!
Notice the gravity of disobeying Him in this area. Jesus said, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.
"Now ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me.
"I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in Me, and I in him that same bringeth forth much fruit: For without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered: And men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.
"Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples." (John 15:1-8). Let us never forget that we are workers together with God and although He has promised us His power and blessing, He has also outlined our duties and responsibilities to Him!
Jesus called His disciples friends. (John 15:14) The Scriptures also refer to Jesus Christ as our elder brother. (Rom. 8:29)
The Bible says that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. (Rom. 8:17) God's Word states that we are members of His body, of His flesh and His bones. (Eph. 5:30); “If we suffer with Him (Jesus Christ) we shall also reign with Him! (2 Tim. 2:12)
JESUS said; "Say not ye, there are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
“And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together". (John 4:35-36). "Be not weary in well doing for in due season ye shall reap, if ye faint not". (Gal. 6:9-10)
Jesus said, "Behold I come quickly and My reward is with Me to give unto every man as his work shall be". (Rev. 22:12). The prophet said, "And those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever". (Dan. 12:3) There are many references to the saints ruling with Him: "They shall rule with a rod of iron". (Rev. 2:27; 20:4; Dan. 7:18)
God is no man's debtor and those who labour for Him and with Him, are definitely rewarded. There are degrees of punishment for those who perish and there will be degrees of rewards for those who are saved!
The Bible says; "For unto him who knoweth to do good and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17). They who did not know, will not be held as responsible as those that knew!
Jesus said, "Now that you have heard the truth your sin remaineth". (John 9:41) Again the scripture says, "And the servant which knew his Lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes..." (Luke 12:47-48)
Our Saviour said, "And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward". (Matt. 10:42)
In the parable of the talents, Jesus said to the one who had gained the five talents, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things..." (Matt. 25:23)
To the servant who hid his talent in the earth, he said, "...thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed...Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents". (Matt. 25:26, 28)
LABOURER WORTHY OF HIRE!
St. Paul said, "...the labourer is worthy of his hire". (Luke 10:7) And "...they which preach the gospel should live off the gospel". (1 Cor. 9:14) That is Bible truth! As a matter of fact, St. Paul declared that an elder who ministers in the Word is worthy of double honour.
“Let the elders that rule be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.” (1 Tim. 5:17)
God is certainly not stingy with His servants, and provides for His own! The Bible says, "But my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus". (Phil. 4:19)
St. John emphasized, "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth". (3 John 2)
And St. Paul quoted the Old Testament to support his belief. The Old Testament priests lived off the offerings that came into the Temple, and even the oxen which treaded out the corn were given corn to eat.
They who plant, do so in hope of a harvest and the farmer lives off the crop he gathers. "If we sowed to you spiritual things, we should receive from you some carnal things", philosophizes the great apostle. I couldn't agree more heartily. Praise God!
"Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:1, 4-7, 27, 28)
Just as in the natural world of business, government, finance, education and science, the work of God requires experts in various fields, within the framework of the Church locally, as well as world-wide!
For example, in assessing the value of our military power and ability, we must take into consideration the effectiveness of the various sectors of the Military. The Air Force is only as strong as our Early Warning Radar, together with the supersonic jets, backed up by sophisticated information-gathering spy planes and Earth Orbit Surveillance Satellites. To back up our Air Force, we rely heavily upon the nuclear arsenals of our friendly U.S. allies and their Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles and an army of disciplined, combat ready men.
High morale is as important as having up-to-date technical and military know-how!
Besides that, we need a powerful Navy with battleships, destroyers, submarines, anti-aircraft carriers, well-disciplined Marines and a host of well-trained Navy crewmen and competent officers capable of making decisions and winning a war against any aggressor nation.
Without a large, well disciplined Army, no nation would be ready to launch a major offensive or defense against an invading force!
Although we need to be diversified and seemingly operating independently of each other, we are nonetheless very much a part of what each person is doing in the Name of the Lord.
Remember, God is very great, marvellous and diversified. He cannot be put into a mold of human understanding or made to fit into the structure of our natural senses! Anyone that thinks he is great enough to understand Almighty God and can improve on His Word or Plans, is an idiot and needs to ask Him for His mercy and forgiveness!
GOD’S UNIQUE OPERATION!
1) THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE:
In the natural, people cannot understand His ways of salvation. First, Jesus dying on a cross to save sinners! How unintellectual and primitive! Critics call Christianity, “a Bloody Religion”!
Why didn't God choose to save the world another way? More elaborately, more sophisticated and more elegantly? But He didn't. Plain and simple – He didn't. He used His own way and for His own reasons!
He makes the rules because He is God. That bothers us as, so-called intelligent, intellectual, sophisticated members of Planet Earth!
The first thing we need to do is lose our PRIDE! We must accept the fact that the One who created us and has provided us with life, both natural and spiritual, must know a few more things than we do...since the architect and the builder usually know more about the house than either the house or the ones who occupy it! Hallelujah!
CHRIST - THE STUMBLING BLOCK!
The BIBLE says: "For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." (1 Cor. 1:21-24)
Prophet Isaiah predicted that Christ and His gospel would be repugnant to many people and that He would be rejected, despised and become a stumbling block to His own people. (Isaiah 53:1-5; 8:14; 1 Peter 2:6-8; Ps. 118:22)
People stumble over Christ; His virgin birth, His sinless life, His vicarious death on the cross and His resurrection!
I am glad that I do not understand God for if I could understand Him, either I would be as great as God and wouldn't need Him or He would be as small as I am and He couldn't help me anymore than any other man!
Thank God, I do not need to understand Him - I simply believe Him and trust Him and that is enough!
The Bible says, "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths". (Prov. 3:5-6)
2) SPEAKING IN TONGUES
This is another one of God's ways that galls people - They cannot understand why He would do it! It bothers them! Even religious people and cults like the Jehovah’s Witnesses are abhorred by glossalalia!
This episode in the Bible is an embarrassment to the intellectual modernist who also hates the doctrine of "salvation through faith by the blood of Jesus". Even the cool, calculated, evangelical shivers at the thought of "speaking in tongues".
First of all, why did God use it? What was the purpose and was it really necessary? Of course, a person can always try to explain it away - to say it didn't happen. But then, there's too much evidence in the Bible, in historical writings and encyclopedias.
And what about today? Nearly 100 million born again Christians speaking in tongues, across the world!
Martin Luther, the great reformer, spoke in tongues, as did Iraneus, Turtullion and Augustine! The followers of D.L. Moody and Finney, as well as the early Methodists and multitudes of others spoke in tongues.
And what about St. Paul? Now that's too embarrassing for words. Supposing he lived today and came for revival meetings in our churches or for a teaching seminar, and he began to preach on the subject and introduced the Gift of Tongues as a genuine gift of the Spirit. "...to another divers kinds of tongues..." (1 Cor. 12:10)
GOD PLACED THEM IN THE CHURCH!
I can see the look on his face as he quotes the famous scripture, "For God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues". (1 Cor. 12:28)
I can hear Paul say, "God has placed them in the Church - Don't go against God by trying to remove them". And why would God inspire Isaiah to prophesy about the universal movement of the Holy Spirit and the "speaking in tongues" as his special sign upon His people in the End Time?
"For with stammering lips and another tongue will He speak to this people. To whom He said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing; yet they would not hear. But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little, that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken". (Isaiah 28:11-13)
According to the Bible, it is dangerous to reject the Holy Spirit. The gift of tongues may not fit your theology, but it is "A gift from God" to the Church! If you reject the Gift of the Holy Spirit you will certainly “go, and fall backward, and be broken and snared and taken”, as the prophet pronounced!
May no one be foolish enough to downgrade, ridicule or resist the workings of the blessed Holy Spirit!
John the Baptist stated: "...Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world". (John 1:29) "...I indeed baptize you with water: ...He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire:" (Luke 3:16)
Not only is Jesus a stumbling block as the Lamb of God that takes away our sins, but also as the Baptizer of the Holy Ghost. Many Christians stumble over Christ and His Work of baptizing believers with the Holy Ghost and fire. How sad!
It is true that God has set in the Church, "speaking in tongues" as a unique sign, gift, and ministry and has continued its operation for the past two millennia despite protestations and ungratefulness of so-called followers of Christ, as well as cultists, atheists, agnostics and evil men!
WHAT IF PAUL WERE ALIVE TODAY?
Supposing the great Apostle Paul - whom the Holy Spirit used to give us so much of the Scriptures we revere and preach today - were alive in this decade and came into our homes and churches, witnessing our coldness, indifference and rank unbelief. What would he say? How would he respond and what would we do?
He would come right to the point and correct the situation in our churches. Hear his words, "But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the Kingdom of God is not in word, but in power". (1 Cor. 4:19-20)
Again he declared, "Forbid not to speak in tongues". (1 Cor. 14:39). Desire spiritual gifts." (1 Cor. 14:1) "Despise not prophesyings." (1 Th. 5:20). "I thank my God I speak in tongues more than ye all!" (1 Cor. 14:18). "I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." (1 Cor. 14:15)
Can you see the embarrassment of the great Evangelical churches of our day, if St. Paul came to spend a day or two in their homes and began interceding, praying and singing in the Spirit (other tongues) in his private devotions?
They would either have to change their stubborn, carnal thinking or put the great apostle out of their homes and churches. Can you imagine how displeased our Lord is with such an obstinate, carnal and unscriptural attitude toward the blessed Holy Spirit and His gifts to Christ’s Church?
WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES?
"And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." (1 Cor. 12:28)
The Bible takes a solid, firm stand on the fact that God has set His spiritual gifts in the church! Nowhere is it recorded that God has withdrawn or taken them away. Therefore, they are in the Church today: The gift of miracles, the gift of healings, diversity of tongues, the gift of faith, the word of knowledge, the word of wisdom, the interpretation of tongues, the gift of prophecy and the discerning of spirits!
The Apostle asks the question, "Do all speak with tongues, are all workers of miracles"? The answer is no! All do not! But thanks be unto God that some do! Yes, some do! Hallelujah! Some do prophesy, some do speak with tongues, some do interpret and some are prophets and some do teach!
The Bible says that, "God gives the gifts severally as He wills". (1 Cor. 12:11). Since God has put the members in the body (1 Cor. 12:8) and gives the gifts of the Holy Spirit to whomever He will (1 Cor. 12:11) and because He has placed these gifts in His Church for the entire Church Age, how ignorant and foolhardy for carnal, mortal man to seek their removal!
Someone says, knowledge shall pass away! Yes, that is true. One day, there will be no need to speak in tongues. When Christ returns and raptures the church, our battles will all be over!
But, we must “occupy till He comes”! (Luke 19:13) We must labour, using all the weapons available in the battle against Satan, sin, disease and fear!
We have been given the gifts to use for God's glory, the uplifting of His Name and for the defeating of the enemy. We must continue to use His power and gifts effectively and with discretion, while we still have opportunity!
KNOWLEDGE SHALL PASS AWAY!
When will this happen? At the moment of His Return, when we shall see Him face to face and know Him as He is! The Bible says, "Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
"For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
"For now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known." (1 Cor. 13:8-12)
One day soon, we shall see Jesus face to face and hear Him say, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of the Lord". (Matt. 25:23)
We will then be glorified and will remain in His presence throughout eternity. There will be no need then of any of the armour in Ephesians or the gifts of the Spirit enumerated in Corinthians 12!
Satan will be bound and cast into the bottomless pit and we will no longer need to speak in tongues, fast, pray or battle anymore devils! We will forever reap the rewards of Christ's victory and our faith in Him and His Word! Hallelujah!
- To be continued