A Gift from God

There is a very well known passage from the Bible that opens Chapter Three of the book Ecclesiastes:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;

4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

6 A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

7 A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

8 A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Even became a hit song in the Sixties by The Byrds! Today let’s delve a little further into his thought process.

What profit has the worker from that in which he labors? I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:9-11.

Ecclesiastes is called a wisdom book, and your contributions now adds the wisdom of experience. This is a gift from God, to provide a greater service to others from what we have gained from simply living life.

I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives,  and also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God. Ecclesiastes 3:12&13.

Life is temporal, but the gifts of God which we receive in this life, are eternal. The only thing that we take with us from life is the spiritual gifts God puts in us, which we receive FROM ABOVE.

I know that whatever God does, it shall be forever. Nothing can be added to it, and nothing taken from it. God does it, that men should fear before Him. That which is has already been, and what is to be has already been; and God requires an account of what is past. Ecclesiastes 3:14&15.

And so the true wisdom of experience is to rightly discern the Holy, and to know the Holy One.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding. Proverbs 9:10.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.  John 17:3.

But solid food is for the mature, who through practice have their senses trained to discern both good and evil. Hebrew 5:14.

I urge you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice—holy, acceptable to God—which is your spiritual service.  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:1&2.

Lagniappe: Proverbs 9:1-12.

Abide in Truth

Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!”   John 8:31&32.

Greek: meno[G3306]-to abide, remain, continue, endures.

Don’t work for food that spoils, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on Him, God the Father has put the seal of approval.” John 6:27.

An abiding Joy:

These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.                                                                                                                                   John 15:11.

Abide in Liberty:

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.                                                                                             1 John 3:9.

Abide in Love:

Just as the Father has loved Me, I also have loved you. Abide in My love!                                John 15:9.

Abide in Light:

I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness. John 12:46.

Abide in the Father and the Son:

Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father.             1 John 2:24.

Judge Yourself

For if we were judging ourselves thoroughly, we wouldn’t be coming under judgment. But when we are judged, we are being disciplined by the Lord so that we might not be condemned along with the world. 1 Co 11:31&32.

If we are to judge ourselves, by what standard are we to discern the body  (V.29)? Paul provides the answer to this question in Colossians 2:

Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Col 2:16,17.

Many translations fail to get the gist of what Paul is saying here, and modify verse 17 drastically. There seems to be the notion that “the body of Christ” at the end of the verse seems to just hang. The authorized KJV adds the word “is”, while other translations completely change the text to “the reality is Christ (Messiah). Verse 17 cannot be separated from verse 16 as many translations do, because the point is by what means are we to be judged. It is not by what you do or don’t eat, or any other religious observance, which are a shadow of things that are now established in the body of Messiah.

Allow me to give you an example. I have heard on many occasions a believer say; ”I am in the church every time the doors are open!” That’s great, but here’s what the Lord says about religious observance:

“Woe to you, Torah scholars and Pharisees, hypocrites! You tithe mint and dill and cumin, yet you have neglected the weightier matters of Torah—justice and mercy and faithfulness. It is necessary to do these things without neglecting the others. Matthew 23:23.

There are weightier matters with which we must concern ourselves, and these are established within the functioning body of Messiah. At the judgment, no one is going to hear; “Ah yes, my good and faithful servant. You were in the church every time the doors were open. Enter into the joy of the Lord.”

Consider these words of the Messiah:

Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, and drive out demons in Your name, and perform many miracles in Your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Get away from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’. Matthew 7:22,23.

We may perform many wonderful works, but did we know our Master’s voice. Did we perform His Will, or our own in His Name. This must be given serious consideration. Perhaps you had done many wonderful works, but then decided to take up with another brother’s wife.

When I tell the righteous that he will surely live, but he trusts in his own righteousness and commits iniquity, none of his righteous deeds will be remembered. But in his iniquity that he has committed, he will die.     Ezekiel 33:13.

The Lord has ordained the good works that we are to abide in through faithfulness.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not from yourselves—it is the gift of God.  It is not based on deeds, so that no one may boast.  For we are His workmanship created in Messiah Yeshua for good deeds, which God prepared beforehand so we might walk in them.   Ephesians 2:8-10. Think on these things.

Receive Grace for Grace

And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.“  John 1:16.

What, then, is “grace for grace”?

I have always understood this Hebraism by the words of the Lord to His disciples:
“freely ye have received, freely give”. Matthew 10:8.

Churches are full of people every Sunday morning who have received God’s grace, as evidenced by the fact that they got out of bed. Hallelujah!

The body of Christ continue to touch lives by the hands of those who give grace. Who have received grace, for grace.

The testimony of Christian maturity is found in the words of Paul:

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, “because I have you in my heart”; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel:
ye all are partakers of my grace.Philippians 1:7.

The unmerited favor of God is a theological definition of grace that is universally accepted among Christians.

And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work. 2 Co 9:8.

A Holy Ghost definition of grace: the all sufficiency of God that enables us to abound in every good work in service to the body of Christ.

Therefore, as ye abound in every thing, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this grace also. (charity) 2 Co 8:7.

Since it is still better to give than to receive (Acts 20:35), continue to freely give, for we have received of His Fullness.

The Mystery of Godliness

And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness:
1 Timothy 3:16.

God was manifested in the flesh,

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14.

Justified in the Spirit,

And declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.   Romans 1:4.

Seen by angels,

Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:12.

Preached among the Gentiles,

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.   Acts 1:8.

Believed on in the world,

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  John 1:12&13.

Received up in glory.

Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.   Rev 4:11.

Who by Him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.  1 Peter 1:21.

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.  Hebrews 2:9.

Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sake, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. 2 Tim 2:10.

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.       1 Th 2:12.

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in gloryCol 3:4.

For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.  Romans 11:36.

Newness of Life

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.   Romans 6:4.

Paul begins this chapter of his letter to the Romans by proposing this question:                Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?  Romans 6:1.

We see  within the scope of this question the inherent stumbling block of preaching the abounding Grace of God. The  clear and present danger is that many immature Christians will take license to continue in sin. This was already an issue in Paul’s day, how much more now as that day approaches when the Lord will judge the world in righteousness?

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Ro. 6:2&3.

And now in the tradition of his training, Paul continues to answer his own question by proposing two more questions. Do we know that we are dead to sin? Do you not know that this is the very point of your baptism.?

We know that whosoever is born of God sins not; but he that is begotten of God keeps himself, and that wicked one touches him not.  1 John 5:18.

If you have not come to know this as a fact, know that the abounding grace is given to those who ask in genuine humility.

But he gives greater grace. Therefore he says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.  James 4:6.

We now move forward in Paul’s exposition to witness to the word and work of the Holy Spirit in presenting the Apostolic Memorials of our Faith. For every word must be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.

But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Romans 7:6.

As Paul continues in the argument, he uses the word newness for the second time. Previously, the word was newness of life. Now, we refine the definition to newness of spirit. You can bear witness to how Paul is able to teach Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit, even though he was not among the disciples of Jesus prior to His death and resurrection. For Jesus gave this testimony that you can confirm within yourself.

It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63.

 

 

Thoughts on Covenant

The first principle of a covenant relationship with God is that all things must be done according to His purpose.

who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, 2 Tim 1:9.

God is able to work out every detail after the counsel of His own will.

In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will.           Ephesians 1:11.

Who, when he came, and had seen the grace of God, was glad, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord. Acts 11:23.

What is meant by this expression “purpose of heart”?

This word translated purpose is also used in the New Testament for the show-bread that was laid out before the Lord in the Temple Sanctuary. Thus our hearts are laid open before Him;

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.  Hebrews 4:13.

Even as the Holy Spirit spoke through Zacharias:

That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. Luke 1:74,75.

And again from Ephesians:

just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Ephesians 1:4.

And now as faithful children of God, let us abide in Him.

And now, little children, abide in him; that, when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 1 John 2:28.