Category Archives: Bible Study

Let Them Eat Meat

1 Timothy 4:3-5

3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
5 For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

There are some who believe the clergy and those in spiritual authority should not marry. In fact, they make it their doctrine. They use the verse where Paul says those who remain unmarried care for the things of the Lord, while those who are married care for things that are of the world, how they may please their wife (1 Corinthians 7:32-33). Paul says this because he sees from his own lens, where he is unmarried and is able to put the gospel first in all things. Earlier in 1 Corinthians, Paul says he wishes all men were unmarried like him (1 Corinthians 7:7). I’m sure even Paul knows how ludicrous a statement that is if taken literally. If it were, there would be no children! Another thing we see in 1 Corinthians 7 is that Paul goes back and forth between writing what he says the Lord commands and what he believes is right and profitable. Verses 32-33 come in a section which carries Paul’s thoughts and not necessarily the Lords.

God instituted marriage for several reasons. First, man needed a helpmate. He needed someone alongside to help him through life. A wise pastor I once had told me God gave a wife to man so that she could help him see his faults. It took me years to discover this truth. My wife is very good at seeing when pride is rising up within me and she is quick to point it out. Until I learned that she was there to help me in this area, I ignored her. In fact I argued with her that I was not prideful at all (one of the surest signs that I was!). Jealousy, anger, sorrow, fear – all of these can be seen by a woman much easier than a man will see them, or acknowledge them. She is my helper to make me into the man God wants me to be.

God gave a woman to man so that he would not be alone. Man needed companionship and God knew that. After all, He created man. If God gave woman to man, why would He ever say they should not marry and be together? God did not see a problem with man getting married. He did not think this would take man’s mind off of His creator. If God had thought that., He would have come up with a different plan! After all, God still came to the garden to fellowship with man after the fall, and woman was with him then.

Marriage was also instituted so mankind would continue. This is an obvious one. Without the two, none of us would be here. God told man to leave his father and mother can cleave to his wife, and they would be one flesh. They become one in spirit and soul when they are married, and all kinds of hurt and trouble come about when divorce comes up, which was only agreed upon by God because man’s heart was hard (Matthew 19:8). God intends us to stay together. Marriage was given by God and is a blessing to Him. Any who say man should abstain from marriage should go back and study this out. They are not following God’s true calling for man. I agree that some are called to chastity. If that is their calling then they should by all means fulfill it. But I do not believe the scripture condones dictating chastity.

Abstaining from meat has become very popular in our culture today. Many will tell you that meat is dangerous to your health and you should eliminate it altogether, replacing it with other proteins like nuts and beans. Others warn against eating too much meat or that we should only eat lean meat. Their reasons vary, from the fact that it will increase green house gases to the possibility there will not be enough to go around in 30 years. Whatever the reason, science has turned to a platform of little or no meat as the dietary norm. Too bad God disagrees.

The truth is that God said “It was good” from the moment He made it. He said all the animals, plants, insects, fish, birds and anything else on this earth was good for mankind to use as he sees fit. We have dominion over all of it. Should we treat animals with respect? Of course, but not to the point that we forbid to eat them. Should we be humane? Certainly. People who do not treat animals with respect or proper care should face consequences.

But when we start to put the animals before the humans, we turn God’s word upside down. When we start to think that we know better than God, we become fools in His eyes. The problem is that the world has fallen into the devilish doctrine of evolution. This doctrine says that we should praise the creature more than the creator, or His creation. Evolution says that man is no more important than a spotted owl or a lowly lizard. God says we are made a little lower than the angels. Evolution discounts God’s hand in anything. Evolution says the word of God is wrong and man is right. What a foolish thought that is!

Everything God has put on this earth was put here for the express purpose of providing for mankind. Why do you think the water came before the plants? So the plants could be provided for! Then the sun and moon came so the plants could grow and reproduce. Then the animals were created, and they were sustained by the plants. Finally mankind came and they were sustained by it all. All of this was created by His Word for the profitability of the only creatures He molded with His hands, Adam and Eve. Nothing else in all of creation was made by God’s hands except Adam and Eve. Mankind must be very special indeed!

The last note Paul makes about this is the importance of blessing our food. He says it must be received with thanksgiving, and that it is sanctified by prayer. This cannot be stressed enough. We should raise our voices and our hearts to our wonderful creator for giving us all these blessings. We should not neglect blessing our food and asking it to bring nourishment to our bodies. We should always be grateful for what the Lord has provided from the beginning of time. He is Jehovah Jireh, our provider and His grace is sufficient for me!

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A Faithful Saying

1 Timothy 1:15-16

15 This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.
16 Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to lifeverlasting.

A faithful saying is one that will never fail, never be proven wrong and will never change. You can depend on it from dusk to dawn, from Monday until Sunday, from January 1st until December 31st for every single year you are alive. The saying is faithful for your children, your grandchildren and all future generations. It is true for your aunts and uncles, your friends, your enemies, your coworkers and even the clerks in Walmart. A faithful saying applies to everyone, every day at any time.

Another faithful saying is that the sun will rise, and it will set. Or the stars will shine tonight, even though we may not see them because of the clouds. It is a faithful saying to say that winter, spring, summer and fall will come about this year. It is a faithful saying that we will all grow older and eventually die. There are very few faithful sayings that are of this world. But if God said it, it is a faithful saying. It will happen, or it is true, or it did happen. There is no might, maybe, probably or perhaps about it. He is the author of truth and He is faithful and His word is faithful.

This saying is faithful to the rich, poor, fat, skinny, old, young, white, black, yellow, red. It is faithful in the morning, afternoon, evening or night. It is faithful in wind, cold, warm, hot, rain, snow, hail, sleet, cloudy or clear. It is faithful in your home, at work, in your car, in your church, at play and when alone. This saying is faithful when you are tired, angry, sorrowful, impatient, lonely, happy, peaceful, sick, well, or miserable. In any situation, at any time, in any mood or trial, it is faithful. It can be trusted to do what it is intended to do.

This saying is worthy of all acceptance. You can accept it wherever you are, whenever you want and whoever you are. It is acceptable to the deaf, the dumb, the blind, the lame and the leper. It’s worthy of acceptance if you are sick, have cancer, downs syndrome, AIDS, lymphoma, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or any other disease. It is acceptable to all in the North, South, East or West. No matter what your situation, where you have been or where you are now, this saying is worth accepting.

What is this saying that applies in every and all situations in Life? This saying that never fails and always applies? This saying that is faithful to the end and above repute?
This saying is that Christ Jesus came into this world to save sinners! There is no saying that anyone can say that is more true than that. This is why Jesus came. He did not come to be made a King, or a healer, or a deliverer, or a raiser of the dead or a great teacher. He did all of those things, but that is not the main reason He came. He came to save sinners.

He came to earth from heaven’s glory and was born in a manger, meek and mild. He was raised by a carpenter and learned the value of hard work. He knew at a young age that there was something special about Him as He questioned the very teachers in the temple when He was twelve (Luke 2:41-52). But that did not go to His head because he knew why He had come. He submitted to John the Baptist even though John knew he was the greater of the two (Matthew 3:14). When the heaven’s opened and His heavenly Father said “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:17) Jesus did not let it go to His head and declare Himself something special because He knew why He came. When people started to be healed and follow Him, He did not get dreams of being great because He knew why He came.

He came to be cursed and beaten. He came be whipped with a Roman cat-o-nine tails. He came to receive a crown of thorns. He came to be rejected by the people. He came
to be judged by Pilate and Herod. He came to be condemned by His own followers. He came to have His disciples run away. He came to carry a cross down an old rocky street. He came to have nails put in His hands and feet. He came to drink vinegar and have a spear pushed into His side. He came to have His Father turn aside when all of our sins were laid on Him. He took all this for your sins.

He was the sinless sacrifice given by God for all of our sins. The required Lamb that was perfect. All of our scars, all of our pain, all of our hurt was laid on Him on that cross. For the first time in all of eternity He was alone. Alone, hurting with pain He had never felt before and with blood gushing out from several parts of His body All the emotion and all the suffering He went through was why He came. The sacrifice of the spotless Lamb was necessary for the remission of sins, for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Leviticus 17:11, Hebrews 9:22). His blood was shed in place of yours and mine.

On that cross, in all that pain and suffering, alone and worn, He spoke. He spoke words that come down through the annals of time and touch every single person on this earth. He spoke words that are faithful and worthy of acceptance. He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). He said that about those standing around the cross looking at Him, about the soldiers that were standing guard and about those who were gambling for His garment. He also said it about you and me. Oh what grace! Oh what mercy! That He would speak out and forgive me from that cross.

Then He said “It is finished” (John 19:30). The reason He came was complete. There was no more to do for our salvation. It was done right then and there. We cannot buy it, earn it, work for it or borrow it. It is ours when we accept it. It does not just magically save you from your sin without your acceptance. It is worthy of your acceptance and must be accepted by you in order to cover your sin.

This sacrifice that He gave covers every person, no matter what they did. The murderer, the rapist, the sex offender, the violent, the thief, the deceiver, the mocker, the unbeliever. It is faithful and acceptable for all. No matter how bad, as Paul says he was the chief of sinners. He had killed Christians. He had taken them captive and delivered them to judgment. He terrorized the church. Yet it was faithful for him. It was acceptable for him. It is for you as well.

We most likely will not suffer like Paul suffered for Christ. Shipwrecks, stoning, beatings, near death experiences, mocking, rejection and many other things followed Paul everywhere he went. The pattern of suffering he went through was to let us know this walk with God will not be a bed of roses. It is not all on the mountaintop. We often go into the valley where it is much more difficult and we don’t see the mountaintop clearly. The valley can be a time of sickness or pain or depression or loneliness. The valley is a tough place to be.

The valley is also the place where life is. It is the place where waters flow and birds sing. It is the place where flowers bloom and trees sway in the breeze. The mountaintop is barren and cold. It is lifeless. When we are in the valley, it is a time of growth. It is where God is working on us whether we see it or not. It is a place where He walks with us and talks with us. The valley is a wonderful place to be.

Have you accepted the faithful saying? Have you acknowledged that Jesus Christ died for your sins? Have you accepted Him as your Lord and Savior? If you have, I am grateful and thrilled for you. You have entered into the life that God has prepared for you and it will be a magnificent journey. There will be mountains and valleys but you will trust in God and come through every trial with joy and peace. You know He is in control and you just have to put Him in the driver’s seat and enjoy the ride. It’s a good ride!

If you have not, why not ask Him today. Simply pray and acknowledge that you are a sinner. Ask Jesus to forgive your sins. Ask Him to come into your life. Ask Him to be Lord of your life. It’s that simple. After you pray that get out your Bible, or borrow one, and read John in the New Testament. Then go back and start with Matthew and read through the New Testament. Find a good church and some Christians to fellowship with. You have just entered into new life! Enjoy it!

Don’t Serve

1 Timothy 1:6-7

6 From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;
7 Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

That word “swerved” really catches my eye in these two verses. This is the only use of that particular word in the Bible. The Greek word is astacheo, and it is only used in one other place in the Bible. 2 Timothy 2:18, this word is translated “err.” The Greek word means to miss the mark or go astray. The first thing that comes to my mind is a car swerving to miss a deer, or a pothole or even another car. The driver sees danger ahead and turns the wheel to avert the danger. I have done this many times and I’m sure you have as well. It’s a word that we commonly use today describing someone who has to go out of their way to accomplish a task. Another use also comes from driving, and that is the drunkard or drug-filled person who swerves all over the road because they have lost control of their perceptions. They become a danger to themselves and to others but are unaware of it because they are under the influence. Both of these examples show us the meaning of the word swerved.

The second interesting word in the KJV is jangling. This is the Greek word mataiologia, and it means vain speaking or noise. This is the only place in the Bible that this word is used. I immediately think of a large ring with keys on it, attached to the belt of a janitor or landlord. They keys clank together, or jangle, when the person walks or when they go to use one of the keys. It is a metallic sound that is non-sensical. The other reference that Webster’s dictionary gives us for jangling is that it “set on edge” which our nerves might be if certain things happen to make us skeptical or afraid.

The fact that Paul uses these two words exclusively in writing to Timothy is no small thing. Paul is obviously trying to make a strong point to Timothy and uses vivid words to get that point across. He could easily have just said “turned aside to foolish teaching” but he chose not to. We can learn a lot about what Paul is warning Timothy of because he used these two specific words only in writing to Timothy. It is a warning that still resonates today in our world.

The first point is that these teachers who Paul is talking about did not just slip into some teaching that was in error. They went their purposely. They swerved, like we do to miss something. The swerved so that they could bring forth a teaching that no one else would duplicate because they fabricated it. It was not a Holy Spirit inspired teaching. It was not based solidly on scripture. It did not line up with the hole volume of scripture, but may have chosen one verse out of all of them and then was taken out of context. I think of those who worship today by taking up snakes because Paul took up snakes. I think of those who worship by smoking marijuana because God said all of creation was good. I think of the movie that is coming out this year called “Corpus Christie” in which Jesus and the disciples are portrayed as gay men.

These things and many more are just dead wrong. The people who practice them and preach them have swerved from the truth. They try to tell us that these things are not against the law of God and they show their ignorance of the word of God. They somehow miss the scriptures that speak out against these things and only listen to that deceptive little voice in their heads saying “It’s OK. It’s OK.” They swerve into their own path and their own teaching so they can stand out as someone who knows a little more than the next person. But they too are deceived. They think their little foray into an obscure idea of what God is saying is a new revelation God has given specifically to them. The problem is that God will always confirm His word with two or three witnesses (Deuteronomy 19:15), and He will always inform His prophets of what He is going to do (Amos 3:7).

The second point is about those who get intoxicated by the world and start to think that God is all about giving them material wealth if they ask. They think they should be able to come up to God and demand things because this verse or that verse says a particular thing. They take the scripture out of context and apply it as law. “If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it” (John 14:14) is their rallying cry, They are swerving in and out of the truth. They find themselves wanting more and more and thinking that others should be able to gain wealth the same way they did. They think your lack of wealth is a lack of faith. This cannot be farther from the truth. Has God made everyone a rich man? Has God made everyone with the same capabilities? Has He made everyone with the same health?

We are not all the same When these deceptive teaching come along we must be very careful to examine the whole body of what they are saying through the lens of scripture. The whole body of scripture must be taken into account, not just a few verses. These teachers think they are wise and they think they are teaching the law but failing to back up what they say.

The New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement is a great example of this verse. I am not going to get into all the things this church movement is swerving toward because I want this blog to focus on Christian aspects that will help us grow. The NAR is sweeping through churches across the country and bringing in new doctrine filled with vain jangling and false teaching. I suggest you study up on it so you will be aware if it does start to creep into your church. You can learn a little about this by clicking HERE

Solomon said “There is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9) and that statement is just as true now as it was in his day. In everything we do, we need to do our best to remain true to scripture and it’s context. We need to stay away from those who are just talking with no purpose, or standing on one scripture and miss the mark even on that one. Seek the truth, the whole truth. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into all truth. Don’t swerve off the path!

Laying on our Hands to Pray

Note: This is something I am adding to my book. It will be in the chapter that talks about How to Pray. Fortunately God brought this to my attention before the book was published. He’s so good to us!

One of the ways we can further strengthen our prayer lives is by utilizing the practice of laying on of hands. This practice actually goes back to the Old Testament and is used in two different ways. The first is as a sign of association for the sacrifice that was being offered. The Levites put their hands on the sacrifice and blessed it for the use that it was intended for. This could be for the trespass offering  the sin offering, the burnt offering or the meat offering. In all these cases the Levites, who were the spiritual leaders, placed their hands on the sacrifice and blessed it.  This can be found in Leviticus 1:4, 3:2, 4:15 and 16:21 and several other verses.

The second way that the laying on of hands was used in the Old Testament was to anoint an individual for service. This is especially true of the Priests and Levites, but also for Kings and leaders with authority.

Numbers 8:10-15

10 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the Lord: and the children of Israel shall put their hands upon the Levites:

11 And Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord for an offering of the children of Israel, that they may execute the service of the Lord.

12 And the Levites shall lay their hands upon the heads of the bullocks: and thou shalt offer the one for a sin offering, and the other for a burnt offering, unto the Lord, to make an atonement for the Levites.

13 And thou shalt set the Levites before Aaron, and before his sons, and offer them for an offering unto the Lord.

14 Thus shalt thou separate the Levites from among the children of Israel: and the Levites shall be mine.

15 And after that shall the Levites go in to do the service of the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt cleanse them, and offer them for an offering.

 

These  verses in Numbers show us both of the ways laying on of hands was part of the ceremony in the Old Testament.  First, the people laid their hands on the Levites to consecrate them for the Lord’s service.  Then the Levites put their hands on the sacrifice, consecrating it and identifying themselves as the priests of Israel.  They were then appointed to do the work of sacrificing the animals brought by the Israelites.

Deuteronomy 34:9 King James Version (KJV)

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

This is a scripture which shows the transference of the spirit of wisdom from Joshua to Moses.  Since Moses was not going into the promised land with the people he had been leading for 40 years, he needed a replacement filled with the same wisdom God had endowed Moses with.  Joshua was chosen the next leader.  He was one of only 3 men to survive those 40 years (Caleb  and Moses being the other two).  This laying on of hands was done in front of the whole nation to let them know God had appointed Joshua their new leader.

In the New Testament, there are different uses for the laying on of hands as well.  This practice was used by Jesus and His disciples as well as Paul.  If they all thought it was important, we should take heed to its usage and practice our prayer in the same way.

Mark 10:16

16 And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.

The children had come to Jesus because they loved Him and wanted to be near Him.  As they came near, Jesus stretched out His hand, placed it on each one’s head, and gave them a blessing.  We see this same thing in the Old testament when Jacob blessed his sons.  The laying on of hands is a way to show your favor on someone and bless them.  If given by someone in authority, it can signify separating them for service, much as the story above with Joshua.  This  can be a very powerful and meaningful time when entered into with the proper spiritual attitude of worship.

Luke 4:40

40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

This verse tells us that everyone who was sick and diseased was brought to Jesus.  When He laid His hands on them all of them were healed. I can’t imagine how many people were there but there must have been a lot. His touch is a powerful thing. We still crave His touch today.  We seek to be touched by the Holy Spirit when we worship and when we pray. I personally have felt His touch quite often.  It’s hard to described to someone who has never experienced it.  It feels as if He is in the room with us.  Powerful times in the Lord arrive when He is present.

 

Mark 16:17-18

17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

Jesus, in some of His last words before leaving the disciples, told them that the laying on of hands to heal the sick would follow those who believe in Him.  Thus we see in Acts several cases where the disciples and Paul laid their hands on people to bring healing to them.  Here are a couple of verses.

 Acts 8:17

17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

Here we see the gift of the Holy Ghost is given by the laying on of hands. Again this is a transference from one person to another just like it was in the Old Testament. There’s a lot of power that comes with the laying on of hands.

 

Acts 28:8

And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.

Paul laid his hands on the father of Publius and he was he healed. Once again, we see this method used to bring healing.

1 Timothy 4:14

14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

2 Timothy 1:6 King James Version (KJV)

Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

In both first and second Timothy it is mentioned that Timothy received his gifts from the laying on of hands.  This is the transference of power we have talked about before.

When we ask people to lay their hands on us to pray there are two things that take place. First of all it’s a way for them to associate with what we’re going through. In a way it puts them in our place and they can pray effectively for us because they are right where we are. It also gives us encouragement that somebody is praying for us. The second thing is it signifies a transference of power from them to us. It allows the Holy Spirit to work through them in our lives. It may be a prayer for healing, or finances or for a spiritual need in my life. Whatever the prayer it is strengthened by the laying on of hands.

 

I would urge all of us to make sure that we are making contact with those people that we’re praying for. It does not have to be a contact that’s out of place. Merely laying a hand on their shoulder or taking their hand in ours is enough to give them the reassurance that we care and that we’re there for them. That point of contact is more powerful than we can possibly imagine. So let’s not neglect this practice

 

 

 

Time For A Change!

21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:

22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

If I have heard Him, and been taught by Him, then it’s time.  I should not wait any longer. He is the truth, and He can not lie.  It’s time for me to put away the old things in my life, and all the corrupt thoughts and lust of my past.  Put it away for good.  We all know that’s easier said than done, right?  It seems just when I get my head clear f that baggage, it pops back up again.  Then I feel like I’m stuck on stupid, as my friend says.

Here’s what I see as a key way to get that old man put behind me.  Ignore him.  Every time those bad thoughts come wandering my way, just ignore them and focus on God.  If I spend my time worried that the old thoughts are back, I just give them a place in my head. So when they come rushing in, and they will, I just don’t fret or stew about it, I go about my business and praise God, focusing on the praise instead of the delusion in my mind.  Once I can master that, the thoughts will eventually fade away and become irrelevant.  I believe they will always come.   It’s how I cope with them that matters.

23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.

I need to renew my mind  Romans 12:2 says “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”  This is so critical once we have been born again.  Our minds need to be put right,  We have been in the world for so many years (I got saved when I was 24) and that old worldly mindset needs to go.  The mind has such power over he rest of our body and soul.  If we can be renewed in the spirit of our mind, the  rest will follow.  And that is done through reading and studying the word, getting grounded in a good church where we can fellowship with other believers, and learning how to pray and praise.

The new man is created in righteousness and holiness.  Those that think they can get saved and just go about their merry little lives the same way they were before being saved are deceived.  It is very clear in this passage that God asks us to change.  We should not be the same person after we accept Christ, if we have taken the time to learn Him, hear Him and be taught  by Him, as our first verse says.  His desire is to bring us to the place where we take His love to a lost and dying world.  And we can only do that effectively when the old man is gone, and the new man has taken up residence.  Has he come  alive within you?

It’s All About Jesus!

11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

These are the gifts to the church.  God gave these gifts as He saw fit.  We should never question someone else’s calling unless they are obviously going against God’s will, like a prophet who is always wrong. These are men and women appointed in various offices to contribute to the vibrancy, growth and spiritual well  being of the body of Christ.  And they are still in operation today.  Let’s look at each office individually.

The apostle was a messenger sent for a specific purpose.  The twelve apostles of Jesus and Paul are prime examples.  Some say the office of apostle is no longer needed in the church, but  disagree.  I look at apostles as the church planters.  They see the need for a church in a particular area or  community, and they start the work.  Maybe in a basement, or a storefront, but they start it.  In the New Testament they were usually authenticated by signs and wonders, and they still can be today.  An apostle, unlike a pastor, would not stay a long time and pastor that church.  Rather, he would find a pastor (As Paul did), and then go on to the next town.  We knew a man who was an apostle.  He started dozens of churches in Southern Iowa and Northern Missouri before passing away in 1986, so I  know the office is still in use today, although some say it is not.

Prophets are those who speak for God.  This can be revelation or expounding on what God has already said.  This is not to be confused with the gift of prophecy, which is available to all.  This is an  office of prophet.  Prophets, like apostles, are typically not restricted to a particular church with their ministry, although they may have a church body they call home.  They minister from church to church, similar to evangelists, but having a different type of message.  I have known a few prophets in my time. The one that is dearest to my  heart is a man named  Robert Miller from Breezewood, PA.  He took me under his wing at an  annual camp meeting encouraging me as his worship leader and instructing me in things if the kingdom.  His prophecies always came true, and were very specific.  I miss him dearly.

Evangelists are itinerant preachers who bear the good news to various places. Phillip  is a real good example in the bible.  Each of us probably have our own favorite evangelists.  This is one that is familiar to us because this office is one of the most prevalent today.  I have friends who are tent evangelists across the country, Bob Newton and Sean Strong.  If you ever have an opportunity  to go to one of their tent crusades, tell them I said hi!  These are men who  are on the road most of the year and are working hard for Jesus.  They need our prayers!  Tent evangelism is rare today, and these two  are carrying the mantle to he word.  I love them dearly!

We are all familiar with the office of Pastor, and some who read this blog are wither in that office now or have served in that office.  I have never been a pastor, but in most of the churches I have attended,  was the closets thing to an assistant pastor.  I am familiar with, but have never experienced first hand, the weight that is on the pastor.  I know that burden can be heavy, and he has few he can really share it with.  My church is currently looking for a pastor, and some think I should put my name in  the hat.  But with my health situation, it would be extremely risky to do that.  I am praying about it, and would appreciate your prayers as well.  My wife she would not make a good pastors wife, but I believe she would be a real blessing in that role.

The teachers are the grass roots of all of the gifts to the church.  Sunday school teachers instruct by age group.  And they are truly gifted at what they do.  Putting together a lesson plan that will reach inside a 5 year old’s heart and mind in an hour a week is something that would be foreign to me.   I applaud all the teachers.  They deserve our utmost respect.  The office of teacher can also be similar to an evangelist, going to various churches and instructing in he ways of the kingdom.  I believe this is my calling at this time.

I also believe God can move us from one of these offices to another as it suits His purpose.  We need to be open to where God is leading us on a regular basis, and not get so stuck in our ways that He can’t move us to the next office.  Only our pride can keep us from accepting that call, and we all know how bad that is!  Be ready to hear the call of God and obey.

12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

The offices listed above had a specific purpose, which is outlined in verse 12.  I am going to look at each of these three statements separaelty, then bring them together.

For the perfecting of saints.  How many of you will raise your hands and say you are perfect?  Christ told us to be perfect (Matt 5:48), so why aren’t we all raising our hands right now?  I believe it’s because the art of perfection in God’s kingdom is  an ongoing journey.  2 Cor 3:18 puts it this way: “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.”  If we are open and maintain a teachable, humble spirit ,then God will bring us closer and closer to the perfection He ordained in us through Christ.  Each of the offices are involved n bringing people closer to that perfection

For the work of the ministry involves revealing to us the ministry that God has for each one of us as individuals.  You do have a work of ministry hat is specifically d signed for you.  It might be one of the five-fold ministries above, or it might not.  The work of the ministry tales on all different tasks.  Worship leaders,  band members, deacons, elders, ushers are all in a specific ministry.  But so are custodians, grounds keepers, cooks, and play ground monitors.  One I left specifically for last,  because I believe they are the  most critical ministry i any church  is the prayer warrior.  I know several who have this role, and I admire their dedication to prayer.  They are unsung heroes, except in God’s eyes.  Whatever your ministry is, it’s no less important than anyone else’s.  You are vital in His kingdom, and in the church.

For the Edifying of the body of Christ.  Now we bring the other two together and see the whole purpose.  The five-fold  ministry is given so that the saints will be perfected, that they might do the work of their ministry and edify the body of Christ.  It is all one thought.  There is no other purpose for these gifts.  They are not given to raise me up and bring me gory.  They are not given for entertainment.  They are not given so that their ministry can become large and famous.  They are given to build up (edify) the body of Christ through the work of the ministry that is  being perfected.

13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

I realize this has been a long post, so I will try to be brief on this last verse.  The whole purpose is unity of our faith, and knowledge of Jesus Christ,  It’s all about Jesus.  If you ever have a person supposedly fulfilling one of the offices listed, and they are not exalting  Jesus, get away from them.  The sole purpose of these five offices is to bring us into a measure of the fullness of Christ.  His desire is for us to come to perfection.  That should be our goal as well.

 

If you have friends that might enjoy this type of Bible Study, please recommend this blog or reblog this post.  I believe it can minister to many in the church.  I hope you feel that same way.

 

Unity and Grace

There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

Paul wants to make sure that the Ephesians understand there’s only one God. Ephesus was where the temple of Diana was, and she was the God that most of them worshiped. Now Paul is telling them that his God is the one true God.  This was a very big change for them that is why Paul emphasizes the singularity of God.

He then says there is one body. By this he is talking about the church. Today we see the church split into hundreds of denominations, but it is still one body in God’s eyes. You might not know it by all the different doctrines that are running around. And you might not recognize it because the church unfortunately it’s not that much different than the world in many cases. Many churches have taken stances on social issues that contradict the Bible. A church based on Christ would never contradict the Bible. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is one body, one Church. We always have to remember that we have brothers and sisters in Christ. I would love to see the church unite and then start talking about moral issues.
There is one spirit.  The Holy Spirit is sent from God to come into each one of our lives when we get saved. There is one Lord – that is Jesus Christ Our Lord. It is one faith. We are all Christians. We call ourselves by the name of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. There is one baptism. We are all baptized into Christ. When the old man goes do into the water he dies, and the new man comes out. And there is one God who we call Father. He is above all and He is in us all and He works through each and every one of us. The Ephesians have to come to grips with the fact that there is only one God and he is above all the others.

But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

I put verse seven by itself because it fits better that way and because  verse 7 gives us a whole lot of information. We are all given grace. By now, after our study of Philippians and this far through Ephesians, you should know that everything you’ve been given by God you’re supposed to give away. God does not give us his grace so that we can hold on to it and not do anything with it. He wants us to experience His grace in our lives and apply it to the areas where it needs to be applied, but then He wants us to give grace to those around us.
So how do I give grace? Well it starts by loving your neighbor as yourself. It starts by forgiving those that have wronged you. It begins when you take interest in those that are less fortunate than you are. It begins when it doesn’t matter to you if your favorite NFL team is playing in the afternoon and you also know that somebody need your help – you pick the helping part. The grace that He gives us is in high demand!  We must give it to other people. Now keep in mind that He talks says according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Some people may receive a larger portion of this grace to give away and you should never ever be jealous of that person.  Just because he’s helping other people faster than you are doesn’t mean you’re any less important to the kingdom of God.

Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.

(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?

10 He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)

This is a very interesting scripture and I am not goiing spend a whole lot of time on it. It says He ascended up on high and led captivity captive and then gave gifts to men.  Verse 9 and 10 clarify that statement He led captivity captive a little bit because they mention that He descended into the lower parts of the Earth before He ascended to heaven. There are many who believe that Christ went down to Hell to get the keys of death and hell. This was not the time to open the gates, but it will be coming. I kind of like that interpretation of these verses.  One day we will rise to meet Him in the air but until that day we have to carry on do our best to bring others to Him.