Thursday, December 31, 2015

Acts 9:31 (KJV) The Importance of Church

Acts 9:31 (KJV)
Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.
I am interested in the word “churches”.
Gill writes that the Alexandrian version, as well as those of the same family of versions, read it in the singular. Gill is quick to note that the plural is more accurate as the context reveals, speaking of churches throughout Judea Galilee and Samaria. We ought to be careful not to refer to churches in the Catholic/Protestant vernacular “the Church”. Even in the most innocent usage of the term we are promoting a universal one church ecclesiology.
What interests me is how quickly these churches were founded. In a period that would have been about three years long, the Christians in the church at Jerusalem had scattered and reorganized themselves into churches. It illustrates how essential churches were to these early believers. Though being organized into churches increased the risk of persecution they sought each other out and formed churches.
How important is membership and participation in a local New Testament Baptist Church!

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Acts 9:31 (KJV) The Importance of Church

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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Acts 8:13 (KJV) The Pseudo-Spiritual Heart of Simon

Acts 8:13 (KJV)
Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
Simon the sorcerer is an interesting study in our day of mega ministries claiming super spiritual abilities. A Faith healer who claims to be able a heal and otherwise sway crowds just by hitting them with his suit coat and mega churches that turn a song like “Silent Night” into a flapper dance song  remind me of a “Simon-like” spirit.
Simon’s true interest was influence and power over people. Simon, the Bible says, believed and was baptized but notice where his interests were; he beheld and wondered and the miracles and signs and not the Lord. This, I believe, is the common spirit of modern Christianity. It is performance based. It is focused on some sort of human accomplishment. If it is not a faith healer, it is:
  • A  preacher super star, or 
  • A ministerial super center or 
  • A spirito/politico  movement
in every case, the focus is missing Jesus Christ.
Simon’s true spirit eventually rose to the surface. The Apostle Peter quickly spotted the pseudo-spiritual heart of Simon and sternly rebuked him. Christians ought to be gracious, but passionate about Jesus Christ and honest faith.
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Acts 8:13 (KJV) The Pseudo-Spiritual Heart of Simon

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Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Acts 6:1-2 (KJV) Uneducated and Unlearned

Acts 6:1-2 (KJV)
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.
Stephen was, as far as the elite of Israel was concerned:
  • Uneducated and 
  • Unlearned
He was here in an incredibly stressful situation. And yet he was able to clearly and accurately cover the whole of the Old Testament and drive the point to Christ. There is only one reason this could have happened; Stephen was a student of the Bible. He may not have been learned in the various ideas of modern thought but he did know his Bible.
Far more important than knowing the ideas of man is knowing the Word of God. Fortunately no one needs a formal education for that. Colleges, even Bible colleges, aren’t famous for teaching the Bible. A person learns the Bible best by faithfully reading the Bible and attending the services of his local church.
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Acts 6:1-2 (KJV) Uneducated and Unlearned

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Monday, December 28, 2015

Acts 6:9 (KJV) Common Interest Against Christ

Acts 6:9 (KJV)
Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen.
It is an interesting irony that the men who stirred up the trouble that led to Stephen’s death belonged to the synagogue of the libertines, or “freed men”. These were almost all certainty slaves, whether Jew or Jewish proselytes, who had been set at liberty and had organized a synagogue of their own in Jerusalem.[1] It was slaves set free who could not stand the liberty Stephen had found in Christ.
The world unites itself under many banners:
  • Common nationality
  • Common interests 
  • Common experiences and
  • Etc. 
In this case they also united around a common hatred for the doctrines of Christ.
[1] (Some have estimated that there were four hundred or more organized synagogues in Jerusalem at this time.)
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Acts 6:9 (KJV) Common Interest Against Christ

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Sunday, December 27, 2015

1 Chronicles 17:24 (KJV) God is Even…

1 Chronicles 17:24 (KJV)
Let it even be established, that thy name may be magnified for ever, saying, The LORD of hosts is the God of Israel, even a God to Israel: and let the house of David thy servant be established before thee.
The distinction between the Lord of hosts being “the God of Israel” and “a God to Israel” is worthy of consideration.
The God of IsraelThis is a fact but wouldn’t have to be much more than a mascot type relationship. Israel identified with the Lord of hosts. He was there God as opposed to, say Ra in Egypt or Molech or another of the gods made in the imaginations of men. Israel’s identification with the Lord of hosts is on target. David said He is more than that.
A God to IsraelThis goes beyond identification to action. In the one case we could say that Israel identified with the Lord of hosts. In this case we can say that the Lord of hosts identified with Israel. In the one case we have David’s desire to do something for the Lord of hosts. In this case we have the Lord of hosts designing to do something for the family of David.
It’s one thing to claim Christ. It is quite another to be claimed by Christ.
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1 Chronicles 17:24 (KJV) God is Even…

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Saturday, December 26, 2015

Acts 5:35 (KJV) Seize Your Chance to Witness

Acts 5:35 (KJV)
And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
The counsel of Gamaliel was heeded only a short period.
  • Stephen was stoned not long after. 
  • Saul of Tarsus campaigned for the imprisonment and deaths of Christians. 
  • Peter and James were cast in prison where James was executed.
But for a brief moment attacks on the faith of Christianity was relaxed and the believers seized upon the opportunity. Daily in the temple and in every house they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.
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Acts 5:35 (KJV) Seize Your Chance to Witness

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Friday, December 25, 2015

1 Chronicles 15:13 (KJV) We Have to Do Things Right

1 Chronicles 15:13 (KJV)
For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.
There are three characters at play in this passage:
DavidBy whose authority the ark was carried “not after due order“.
The priestsWho should have carried the ark, but did not. One can only wonder if they had warned David beforehand of his error?
GodWho made the breach upon Israel by striking Uzza down.
A breach is a hole in the defense of a military force. By working hand in hand and side by side, soldiers create a human wall that the enemy cannot penetrate. When a man goes down a hole is created, a weakness the enemy can exploit. The loss of the man opens a door for much greater loss.
The importance then is not that Uzza died, although that is important. The real importance is that, because they did not seek God after due order, a breach was created that could have devastated Israel.
When a congregation turns from the faith and begins seeking God some other way and “not after due order” the danger is not that we have lost that church. The greater danger is that it creates a breach and opens the way for the devastation of all that is the Gospel.
Someone must sound the warning to those stepping out of formation. Their fall has the potential for leading a to a greater fall than any of us can imagine.
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1 Chronicles 15:13 (KJV) We Have to Do Things Right

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

1 Chronicles 14:11 (KJV) They Were Not the Doers

1 Chronicles 14:11 (KJV)
So they came up to Baalperazim; and David smote them there. Then David said, God hath broken in upon mine enemies by mine hand like the breaking forth of waters: therefore they called the name of that place Baalperazim.
Acts 3:12 (KJV)
And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
Peter didn’t quote King David but expressed the same sentiment that, though they were instruments God used, they were not the doers of the blessings.
Here is a difficult balance to keep hold of; God uses men, but the men have themselves done nothing. Perhaps it is why David wrote a lyric about it and Peter so insistently spoke these words. They needed not only to remind the audience (those who, to this day, observe their actions through God’s Word) but also themselves, God did this. Their hands were involved but their result was of God.
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1 Chronicles 14:11 (KJV) They Were Not the Doers

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Acts 2:1-2 (KJV) How to Be Filled with the Holy Ghost

Acts 2:1-2 (KJV)
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
I am convinced by Acts 1:8 that the power received at Pentecost was not the ability to speak in tongues but to be witnesses unto the uttermost part of the world. I notice that this promised gift was received while they were:
All in one placeHere is the value of faithful church attendance. Christians ought to be at church when there is church.
All with one accordNo bickering envying or bitterness among them.
All sittingThere was order in their services. I can just hear a Pentecostal right now saying that this was before they were all filled. That, the Pentecostal would believe, gives permission for their wild dancing and loud, hyperactive services as they would imply these are evidences of their being filled with the Spirit.
I suggest the opposite is true. I suggest that, in order to have the blessing of filling and witnessing power from the Holy Spirit that there has to be:
  • Quiet
  • Orderly and 
  • Purposeful 
worship and understanding of the Bible.
Too much preaching today is nothing but a pep talk in the churches and too little preaching is actual understanding of the Word of God. Therefore too much that is called Christianity is filled with the emotionally charged spirit of man and too little is filled with the Spirit of the Holy Ghost.
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Acts 2:1-2 (KJV) How to Be Filled with the Holy Ghost

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Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Acts 1:5 (KJV) True Baptism is Water Baptism

Acts 1:5 (KJV)
For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. 
Jesus said, “John truly baptized with water“. The adjective is an affirmation of the act of water baptism. Far from setting aside the water baptism, which began with John the Baptist, Jesus affirmed it to be true baptism.
The baptism with the Spirit, which is obviously a reference to the promise of the Father from verse four, is set as a comparison to true baptism; there is true baptism, which is by water from one with authority, and there is the promise of the Father which, like water baptism but not replacing it, immerses the receiver with the Holy Spirit.
Baptism is with water. The filling with the Spirit is a similar event but
  • Separate 
  • Unique and 
  • In no way replacing 
water baptism.
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Acts 1:5 (KJV) True Baptism is Water Baptism

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Monday, December 21, 2015

John 21:22-23 The Cause and Correction of False Doctrine

John 21:22-23 (KJV)
Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?
Jesus said what He said but He didn’t say what they thought. A teaching, not based in truth, spread across the country because someone falsely interpreted the Word of God. John corrected the false teaching simply by repeating what Jesus did, in fact, say.
Every false doctrine taught among the varied denominations springs from the very same problem, someone read into the Word of God something that is not there and others spread the wrong teaching without checking it out.
The correction, in every case of false doctrine, is the same; just repeat the Word of God. Go back to the original source.
  • Search it out. 
  • Study it for yourself.
The Bible is true in every Word.  The interpretations men make of it may not be.

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John 21:22-23 The Cause and Correction of False Doctrine

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

1 Chronicles 12:17 God Will Rebuke It

1 Chronicles 12:17 (KJV)
And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it. 
David had been in flight long enough to be a bit leery of strangers. Though he had a pretty constant stream of devotees, this bunch was different. This bunch included Benjamites, the very tribe King Saul was of. Who could blame David for being skeptical?
What is interesting is how David handled this. I notice that there was no suggestion of animosity or reprisal if they turned out to betray him.
  • If they truly supported him he promised to love them
  • If they turned out to betray him they would be accountable to God
In some sense every relationship we have involves risk. David’s practice would be good for all of us; love those with whom we have to do. If they hurt us, forgive them and leave it in the hands of God.
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1 Chronicles 12:17 God Will Rebuke It

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

John 20:13-16 Entertaining Strangers

John 20:13-16 (KJV)
And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
The passage has some irony doesn’t it? Mary’s great concern was that she didn’t know where Jesus’s body was and the person she expressed that concern to was Jesus. She spoke to Jesus about missing Jesus, not knowing it was Jesus she spoke to.
I am reminded of Hebrews 13:2, Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. How often, I wonder, do we share concerns with hearts broken not realizing that the very ones we share those concerns with are the ones God sent to comfort and answer those concerns?
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John 20:13-16 Entertaining Strangers

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Friday, December 18, 2015

John 19:15 The Only King Who Would Love Them

John 19:15 (KJV)
But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.
The chief priests disavowed Jesus as their king in favor of Caesar. But neither Caesar nor any other leader in history has been kind to the Jews. We hear very little of them in history until near the middle of the twentieth century but what we do hear is always that of hardship and unkindness to them by the world – especially those in authority.
They rejected the only One Scripturally qualified to be their king and the only king in this world who would love them.
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John 19:15 The Only King Who Would Love Them

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Thursday, December 17, 2015

John 18:4 Jesus Was in Complete Control

John 18:4 (KJV)
Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? 
Knowing what was about to happen Jesus stepped out to meet those who would:
  • Capture
  • Condemn and 
  • Kill 
Him.
He was completely in control.
They did not have to search for Him as He went forth to meet them. They were the ones who went backwards and shrunk in His presence. Even when Peter cut off Malchus’ ear, Peter wasn’t attacked or even taken into custody. Everything happened exactly as the Lord willed it.

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John 18:4 Jesus Was in Complete Control

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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

John 17:8 (KJV) True Disciples

John 17:8 (KJV)
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 
Jesus makes three observations about those who are true disciples:
They have received the Word Jesus gave from the FatherThey didn’t just hear Jesus, they took heed. The words that He spoke became meat for their meal. They ate it and it became part of them
They have known surely Jesus came out from the FatherI take this to be in reference to His Person. They were sure that Jesus was the fulfillment of the Old Testament promise.
They have believed that God the Father sent JesusI take this to be in reference to His purpose. He was sent to seek and to save that which was lost.

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John 17:8 (KJV) True Disciples

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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

John 16:32 (KJV) Alone But Not Alone

John 16:32 (KJV)
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. 
Jesus said He would be alone but not alone.
No one likes being isolated. We all enjoy company and friendships.
  • To have someone to bounce ideas off
  • To have someone to point out when we take a wrong step
  • To have someone to pick us up when we fall
Is a treasure indeed.
Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 says,
Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour.For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up.Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
No doubt we like it best when we have help. But the Christ, as was Christ, is not alone even when he is alone. The Christian, as did Christ, always has the companionship of God.

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John 16:32 (KJV) Alone But Not Alone

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