Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘born again’


– God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and truth. – John 4:24

There has been a TV ad running here in Gainesville for about six or seven months now, promoting various aspects of an area Christian school.  Near the end of it, an voice from off-screen says, “I believe God has a spiritual home for everybody.”  Yes, it’s true He does. However, this house is a habitation in our heart.

Our soul is where all true worship of our Father starts, and then finishes upon our final breath.  Not within the confines of any physical building or dwelling man designates as a “house of worship” – or a “house of faith.”  It does not mean people cannot go to these places, but they’re not where worship is centered.  

Why?  Well, God says the following words to us in the book of Acts: “However, the most High does not dwell in temples made with hands.  Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool.  What house will you build for Me?  Or, what is the place of My rest?  Has My hand not made all of these things (Acts 7:48-50)?”

In a similar vein, when the apostle Paul was in Berea, he penned these words about Him: “God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord of heaven and earth – doesn’t dwell in temples made with hands.  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as if He needed anything (Acts 17:24-25).”

This is why true worship can only be within us.  It begins, continues, and finishes with our last day on earth.  It is why we must be “born again” of the Spirit at some point before we die (John 3:5).  This is the only church plant mattering to Him – for a seed of salvation is sown in the heart when it takes place.

It begins growing, and starts producing spiritual fruit (Galatians 5:22-23).  An inner church is birthed, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Jesus Christ as the chief cornerstone.  In whom all the building is fitly framed together – so it grows into a holy temple of God in our soul (Ephesians 2:20-22).

All other forms of external worship are wrong and fraudulent.  They create a feigned, often forced faith, complete with fake smiles.  It can fool many for a long time, but not God (Hebrews 4:12-13).  Being born again is the only way we can be guided into all truth without being lied to (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27).

Otherwise, we can be deceived by a lot of likeable lies disguised as His truth.  We can then be dangerously misled.  With Satan having his own seat in Sunday pews (Revelation 2:13) spewing forth such falsehoods (John 8:44).  Or, preaching these fallacies and errors standing in the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12, James 1:16).

 

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– And let the peace of God rule in your hearts. – Colossians 3:15

– Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. – Hebrews 12:14

Have you ever wondered why there has never been true peace on this earth when Christ is the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)?  When there has been peace, it has been very fragmented and fragile.  And, why do things seem to be getting progressively worse on this planet; not better?  The answer comes from Jesus: “My kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36).”

Christ is the prince of the peaceable kingdom to come when this earth is done.  It is the very same kingdom dwelling in the hearts of Christians born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  It is a kingdom that doesn’t come with any outer observation (Luke 17:20-21), but by humble and inner obedience (Philippians 2:8) – and mutually abiding with God until death (John 15:1-6).

So the steps up the spiritual staircase to heaven are climbed correctly – so an entrance is ministered unto us into heaven (2 Peter 1:4-11).  So Jesus does not call us robbers and thieves for trying to climb some other way than the narrow one (John 10:1, Matthew 7:14).  If we do it God’s way without straying, we will begin to think proper thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

This is God’s promise, if we truly obey according to His Word.  It provides a constant sense of inner peace and contentment – no matter what state we are in – no matter if we cannot understand what is going on outside in an ever changing world (Philippians 4:11). This is the peace Christ leaves inside us; not as the world gives, but as the Word does (John 14:27).

False converts or nominal believers never experience this peace, as they do not have the Prince of Peace dwelling inside through the Spirit’s power.  They may earnestly expect to find it by reading the Bible a lot or going to church weekly.  But, they seek inner peace by such external means, and others, to keep their soul calm, no matter what life storm rages outside.

This does not work, because God didn’t design it to be this way from the beginning.  The hope of eternal life in Christ was given before He formed this earth (Titus 1:2).  However, false converts and nominal believers don’t have this anchor of hope in their soul (Hebrews 6:19).  Whatever peace they may sense inside – is only based on a sense of relative tranquility outside.

Born again Christians may also not experience any sense of steady inner peace.  If they stay entangled in life’s affairs (2 Timothy 2:4), and keep on minding earthly matters (Philippians 3:19), they will not for long.  This is because Satan is this world’s prince (John 14:30) whose job – whose joy – is to rob true Christians of complete inner peace and joy in Jesus.

A peace keeping us from ever being troubled or afraid again (John 14:27).  However, any conformance to this world (Romans 12:2) is bound to bring regular bouts of spiritual highs and lows, based on how long or how strong winds of life blow.  Leaving a fleeting peace in their wake, and preventing a lasting one passing all understanding inside (Philippians 4:5-7).

 

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.  For he that wavers is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.  For let not that man think he shall receive anything of the Lord.  A double minded man is unstable in all his ways – James 1:6-8

– Don’t be double minded or you’ll be falling where you used to stand strong.  Don’t be double-minded or you’ll be talking to yourself, and yet you just can’t get along. – Double Minded, written by Nick Laird-Clowes, sung by The Dream Academy, copyright 1987

In general, physical storms all around this planet are formed by conditions of atmospheric instability.  Two opposite types of air masses collide and then begin spinning around each other.  When they evolve into turbulent tornadoes and hurricanes, the resulting whirlwinds can cause widespread destruction, and it can take years for some to rebuild and recover from.

Storms in the human soul start in a similar fashion. They are formed by conditions of spiritual instability. Two opposite types of life collide when the world and Word meet inside a double mind and begin turbulently spinning around each other.  The ensuing whirlwinds can destroy relationships, including one with Christ. Some can rebuild and recover; but some never do.

“Double minded” comes to us from the Greek word “dipsuchos” meaning a person with two minds or two souls.  It appears just twice in Scripture, both in the book of James (James 1:8, James 4:8).  However, all Christians must fully comprehend what it means at all times, as it is disobedience with fiery consequences forever if left uncorrected (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

If you say you are a Christian, but you often find faith and belief wavering, drifting, spiking, or plummeting – based on how life is going, or not – then you are not walking the right way with God.  You are not being steadfast, straight, confident, and patient on heaven’s narrow path that few find (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14, Hebrews 10:36).  Double minds prevent this.  .

Spiritual instability is a hallmark of doubting hearts, divided souls, and double minds.  It is a lack of faith, and it is impossible to please God without it (Hebrews 11:6).  Even drawing back from faith a little bit upsets our Father’s soul, as it signals an evil heart of unbelief that cannot save, and puts one on perdition’s perilous and unrighteous road (Hebrews 3:12-19, 10:38-39).

We are not to cast away our confidence, for it has a great recompense of reward (i.e. heaven).  We have need of patience, that after having done God’s will, we might receive this promise (Hebrews 10:36-37). Confidence comes from the Latin “con fidentia.”  It means firmly trusting.  When people start losing it, they can get washed away in a tidal wave of doubt.

They might start questioning aspects of their life in the world, or in the Word.  They may begin opposing or disputing some of God’s truths, even if it’s silently inside the soul (Philippians 2:14).  Objections may be raised and dangerous aspersions could be cast upon Him.  In time, one can get to where they don’t know what or who to believe; a perfect double mind recipe.

Jesus said, “Whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:24).”  However, double-minded believers pray in doubt (1 Timothy 2:8).  Still uncertain and confused as to what being a Christian is all about, their loyalty stays divided between world and Word, usually based upon which one is working out the best.

God won’t tolerate such split service and devotion (1 Corinthians 10:21).  Deviating from the Word in any way, is in err from God’s ways, and our Father warns us many times not to (e.g. James 1:16).  A double mind can be masked with a lot of righteous words in front of the masses for years, but it’s always manifest and naked before the Almighty (Hebrews 4:12-13).

A double-mind exists when God is not in all one’s thoughts – and He knows every one (Ezekiel 11:5). God is fully aware if any person is wavering, slipping, or backsliding in spirit, despite what they declare with their lips (Mark 7:6).  If one is ever like this, it gives place to Satan (Ephesians 4:27), always ready, able, and willing to lead a soul away in err (2 Peter 3:17).

So are mortal men and women disguised as believers following Christ, but who are false teachers lying in wait to deceive us with their cunning craftiness and sleight (Ephesians 4:14).  Hiding immoral, misguided, and ungodly agendas in dissembled hearts.  Grievous wolves trying to draw disciples away after them, and not sparing the flock in the process (Acts 20:29-30).

Satan and false prophets operate slowly and subtly. Because double-minded souls don’t have complete allegiance to God, they fall prey to these pernicious ways (2 Peter 2:1-2).  Then, as the certainty of God’s promises (2 Corinthians 1:20) are questioned more and more because they’re not coming true, their ears get turned to unsound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

Hearing swelling words of vanity sounding good at first, but they fizzle out quickly when the double minded soul realizes they were exactly that – vain. Meaning wasted time because they didn’t produce promised results if one bought a Christian product, read a devotional, followed a prayer plan, etc.  Still, they keep looking for something new to tell or hear.

A very accurate description of a double-minded and divided soul comes from the Scriptural sound website Got Questions as follows (with a couple of personal additions): “They are unsteady and wavering in both character and feelings.  They are quite restless and confused in thoughts, actions, and behavior.  They are always in some sort of conflict with themselves.

Those torn by this type of inner dissension can never lean with any confidence on God and His gracious promises.  They slowly become convinced they are never going to be granted.  Correspondingly, the term unstable is analogous to a drunk unable to walk a straight line, swaying one way – then another.  With no defined direction, they never progress spiritually.

God cannot grant His blessings on the double-minded. Those who mind earthly matters one day (Philippians 3:19), then mind Christ the next.  As Jesus said “No man can serve two masters, for he will hate the one and love the other – or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon (Matthew 6:24).” (end Got Questions)

Mammon is wealth considered as an evil influence, or a false object of worship and devotion.  Pursuing it debases God.  It is a destabilizing factor causing faith to fluctuate.  Serving Mammon at any time shows Him where affections are really focused.  It tells God one believes there is still a better country down here, than what awaits up above (Hebrews 11:13-17).

We either love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind (Matthew 22:37) or we do not.  There is no middle ground.  As Edwin Chapin once said, “neutral men are the devil’s allies.”  Our Father always knows if He is the only master of anyone’s life.  If not, it puts one on a very dangerous and disastrous path.  It is the broad one leading to destruction (Matthew 7:13).

It is a direction that has to be corrected before it’s too late.  We are to present a singleness of heart towards all people no matter what the situation might be, with one totally undivided soul unto Christ and fearing God always (Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22).  The way to do this is doing what He tells us to do.  This does not mean obedience is easy, but it keeps us out of the pit.

God’s commandments are not grievous (1 John 5:3). They are meant to grow us in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  A single heart cannot keep gravitating back to the world (Philippians 1:23).  Some ways to help stay stable are to meditate on the Word day and night (Joshua 1:8), keeping affections set on things above (Colossians 3:2), and thinking right thoughts (Philippians 4:8-9).

Lastly and most importantly, a double mind is a tell-tale sign of being a false convert or nominal believer. This is a person who’s convinced they are a Christian, but became one by external means.  An example is creating their own criteria based on self-perceptions of goodness (Proverbs 20:6, Mark 10:18), and using a willingness to love and lend as some of the qualifiers.

Instead of the only way by being born again of the Spirit within (John 3:5).  This is when God convicts one with His sorrow about their sin, when there isn’t any doubt in His mind they are ready to repent unto salvation (2 Corinthians 7:8-10).  This is one becomes rooted and grounded in His love (Ephesians 3:16-17) and receives an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19).

Because false converts and nominal believers have not received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God, they cannot say Jesus is Lord of their life (1 Corinthians 12:3).  They have not been returned to the Shepherd of their soul (1 Peter 2:25).  They do not have Christ inside their heart to pull them back into the fold if they begin wavering and straying from the flock.

As Watchman Nee once wrote,, “People with mixed motives, those of a double mind, shall not be able to receive the baptism in the Spirit.”  Their heart is not right with God, and He knows it.  Just like it was with Simon, the sorcerer who said he believed, who’d been baptized in physical water, but who thought the Holy Ghost could be bought with money (Acts 8:13-21).

In closing, regardless of what creates a double mind and keeps it in an unsettled and wavering state of spiritual instability, there is always hope.  It is what faith and salvation are all about (Romans 8:24-25, Hebrews 11:1).  However, only God can balance and steady spiritual ships (like worship) – and keep them moving straight ahead on salvation’s narrow road.

Our Father does not do this automatically as it would negate His free will.  It takes a lot on our part, such as mutually abiding side by side with God every day, and humbly obeying Him unto death just like Jesus (John 15:1-6, Philippians 2:8).  It takes repenting of worldly ways so one does not keep repeating them. Again, this all can’t be done unless one is born again.

Even still, God says “Draw near to Me, and I will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you sinners – and purify your hearts, you double minded (James 4:8).” Only He can draw any lost and alienated spirit to the Cross (John 6:44).  When this occurs, He begins the inner renewal and regeneration of the soul, cleansing sins and purifying hearts continually unto salvation.

To paraphrase Matthew Henry, “Wavering faiths and spirits have bad influences on communications.  When they rise and fall, filled with secondary causes, there’ll be unsteadiness in all behavior.  If having one God to trust, love, and be governed by doesn’t keep a person steady at all times, a double mind exists in a divided soul heading down a very perilous path to damnation.

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Let us hold fast the profession of our hope without wavering; for He is faithful as promised. – Hebrews 10:23

– That we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine.  By the trickery of man, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. – Ephesians 4:14

The phrase “hold fast” means to remain tightly and firmly secured to something or someone.  With God, it means the ability to stay steadfast and stable in spirit throughout every day, regardless of the situation or circumstance.  It means not letting go of heavenly instructions, for they are our life (Proverbs 4:13).

If you are a true Christian, then you have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  When this happened, you were returned to the Shepherd of your soul (1 Peter 2:25).  An anchor of hope was placed in you with Christ (Hebrews 6:19).  Tightly securing you to Jesus, so you don’t keep wavering in faith and belief.

When physical ships encounter stormy seas, anything not securely fastened to the deck gets tossed around. Essential items to the voyage get badly damaged or destroyed.  Some of these vessels can veer off course in wild weather without seasoned captains and crews, proper ballast, and functional navigational systems.

The same goes for spiritual ships (e.g. discipleship, fellowship, worship, etc.).  However, our spirits are irreplaceable.  If they are not securely tied to Christ inside us at all times, they get tossed around in the storms life can often bring without warning.  Satan is always waiting with open arms during such occasions.

This is why we must keep in memory everything we hear from God.  So we don’t get deceived by the devil or mortal men (Revelation 12:9, Mark 13:5) and led away in err (2 Peter 3:17, James 1:16).  If they steer us to unsalvageable faith shipwrecks, our belief ends up in vain (1 Timothy 1:191 Corinthians 15:2).

Any time we let go of Jesus, we start to list in spirit and begin tilting in belief.  If this continues, we can swerve away from truth (1 Timothy 1:6).  If we look away from Christ for a second, we can start getting frightened by all that is happening in life, and begin sinking in our littleness of faith (Matthew 14:28-31).

Wavering walks with God aren’t the way to steadfastly travel down heaven’s narrow path few will find.  To enter in at the straight gate, and be made partakers of Christ at the end (Matthew 7:14, Hebrews 3:14). This, after enduring everything God commands us to along the way (Hebrews 12:20, Matthew 24:13).

Christians with any selfish and/or worldly focuses to their walk, generally find a solid faith and balanced belief only when self is being served (Matthew 16:24), or lusts are regularly being satisfied (Proverbs 27:20). Otherwise, spiritual wavering enters.  Then, drifting between world and Word starts (1 Corinthians 10:21).

Salvation is a hope and promise no man has seen.  If Christians think they have been saved already (as so many seem to believe), why would they still have to hope for it (Romans 8:24-25)?  Salvation is the end result of our faith – not the beginning of it, or at any other point somewhere along the path (1 Peter 1:9).

Faith is something we contend for, just like the kind delivered to the saints of yore (Jude 1:3).  If we claim hope in Jesus, we hold fast to this profession without wavering (lead verse).  Girding up our loins, being sober, and hoping to the end for God’s saving grace to be brought at Christ’s revelation (1 Peter 1:13).

Faith is a race and a fight that not everybody wins (1 Corinthians 9:24, 1 Timothy 6:12).  Only Christ waits at the finish line and we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus at all times to win our crown of glory there (1 Corinthians 9:25).  Growing up in grace and running patiently all the way (2 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 12:1-2).

Holding fast to Christ inside us prevents a falling away from repentance, from which it is impossible for God to renew us to (Hebrews 6:4-6).  It makes us able to retain the faithful Word we have been taught.  In turn, it helps us present sound doctrine to exhort and convince the gainsayers (2 Timothy 1:13, Titus 1:9).

This is so we can prove all things and hold fast to all that’s good (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  It is so we don’t backslide by holding firm to the deceit of our heart (Jeremiah 8:5).  One cannot expect victory running every way but straight in any race   Moving steadily ahead in one direction wins, but fast and foolish loses.

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– Who did hinder you, that you should not obey the truth?  This persuasion does not come from Him who called you. – Galatians 5:7-8

– Wherefore we would have come unto you – even I, Paul, once and again – but Satan hindered us. – 1 Thessalonians 2:18

We can never blame any disobedience to God – on God.  Our Father’s commands aren’t meant to grieve us (1 John 5:3), but to grow us up in grace (2 Peter 3:18).  To stop us from serving sin (Romans 6:6) by serving Him, and to keep us humbly obedient until death like Jesus (Philippians 2:8).  Thus, He’ll never hinder our obedience (lead verse); never tempting us to commit any sinful, disobedient act (James 1:13).

If we are ever persuaded to disobey God; then do – it is from sinful lust still in us.  It hasn’t been confessed for forgiveness (1 John 1:9), then corrected with His chastisement (Hebrews 12:5-11).  If God punishes to right us, then we go out and disobey the same way, we offend Him again with sin.  We did not learn our lesson (Job 34:31).  It means we’re still conformed to this world in some fashion or form (Romans 12:2).

Satan hinders us from many things (2 Corinthians 12:7, second lead verse) such as obeying God.  If we’re drawn away from Him by lust, we have been enticed by the devil and erred from God’s way.  Lust conceived brings forth sin.  Sin when finished brings forth death (James 1:14-16).  Succumbing to worldly temptation means we’ve yielded to tools Satan uses to swerve us away from His truth (1 Timothy 1:5-6).

The devil gets advantage of us if we become ignorant of such devices (2 Corinthians 2:11).  Failing to obey God means we have failed to resist Satan so he will flee (James 4:7).  We have failed to put on our whole armor of God each day.  We have not done everything our Father commands to withstand the devil, and his fiery darts of disobedience during our evil days upon this earth (Ephesians 6:13-18, Matthew 6:34).

We give plenty of place to Satan when we disobey God (Ephesians 4:27), because we’ve chosen to serve and worship him more than God, changing His truth into a lie (Romans 1:25).  If so, God has power to make us sin so many other ways (Romans 1:26-31). Despite knowing His judgement of death against such; we do them.  Taking pleasure because we still prefer worldly lust over godly love (Romans 1:32).

Each time we willfully sin as Christians, we turn aside after Satan again (1 Timothy 5:15).  This, after we had been released from his power (Acts 26:18) upon being born again (John 3:5).  When we disobey this way, we have departed from our Father in unbelief (Hebrews 3:12-19) – counting the blood of the new covenant as unholy (Hebrews 10:27-29).  There’ll never be another final sin sacrifice (Hebrews 10:10).

Hinder means to create difficulties for something or someone, causing delays or obstructions.  Tragically, there’ll always be Christians who think God’s promise of sending Jesus back is still far off – or never going to happen (Ezekiel 12:27-28, 2 Peter 3:4).  They say in heart, “The Lord delays His coming (Luke 12:45)” – so they delve into disobedience without delay, as if there’s no more hell to pay (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

God will never create difficulties for us, causing us grief or affliction, without reason (Lamentations 3:32-33).  If there is anything hindering us in bringing forth all the spiritual fruits He commands us to produce – meet for our repentance unto salvation, we cannot point fingers at Him (Galatians 5:22-23, Acts 17:30, 2 Corinthians 7:10, Matthew 3:8).  We can’t say “What are You doing (Job 9:12)?” – as if He is at fault.

Why?  Because the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptation, and reserve the unjust unto the day of judgement … but chiefly those who walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness (2 Peter 2:9).  There is condemnation to Christians who live as such – and it still leads to death if unconfessed and uncorrected.  Only mortifying the deeds of the body through the Spirit leads to life (Romans 8:1,12-13).

If there is any hindrance to this, it is only because we still want to keep on living in the world like we always have.  Loving its things (1 John 2:15-16) and filled with our own ways.  This is why believers backslide – often perpetually (Proverbs 14:14, Jeremiah 8:5). Leaving little in Satan’s way to hinder him and lead worldly Christians away in err (2 Peter 3:17); and making a shipwreck of their faith (1 Timothy 1:19).

 

 

 

Read Full Post »


KJV and NKJV Scripture

– To whom he (Paul) expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus – both out of the law of Moses and out of the prophets, from morning ’til evening. – Acts 28:23

– Desiring to be teachers of the law – understanding neither what they say, nor the things which they affirm. – 1 Timothy 1:7

It is never wrong for any Christian to share single passages or verses from Scripture with those who are lost.  However, doing so in any random fashion does not really help them understand the message of the Cross, any better than if they’d read the same alone. Regular sharing like this is not connecting the dots.  It marks one who isn’t learning how to compare spiritual things with spiritual from God (1 Corinthians 2:13).

It makes it hard for any believer like this to expound Scripture to the lost, and who don’t understand the gospel yet.  To them, it is foolishness and hidden because they are currently perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18, 2 Corinthians 4:3).  Expounding presents and explains something systematically and in detail.  It should always leave anyone with a better concept of what is being expounded, and less confused about it.

Expounding is also more convincing.  In regards to God’s Word, it is more capable of causing someone to believe He is true and real, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to stay on heaven’s narrow path (John 14:6, Matthew 7:14).  Expounding is also far more persuasive if we don’t require a Bible in our hands when people ask us questions about it; and we have to flip back and forth between pages to find answers.

Saying things like “Well, I thought that verse was in Jeremiah, but maybe it’s Jude.”  Followed by a long pause as we search unsuccessfully and remark, “I could have sworn it was in here somewhere.  I just can’t find it now.”  How compelling would any of these comments sound to a lost soul?  Wouldn’t it appear we did not understand what we are saying – unable to affirm our words with God’s (second lead verse)?

Remember, if we are Christians, we have been born again of the Spirit (John 3:5).  We have God’s Word dwelling within us at all times through the power of the Holy Ghost.  We have Scripture inside our soul wherever we may go.  So we do not go around saying things as, “I wish I could answer, but I don’t have my Bible now” – if anyone asks us questions about it.  We can still expound quickly, confidently, and correctly.

Our Father does not automatically give us an ability to expound.  We can’t expect or anticipate it to develop without participation on our part, and it certainly does not happen overnight.  We are to study Scripture on a steady basis to show ourselves approved to God – not other Christians.  This is so we can rightly divide His word of truth assuredly.  Without shame, delay, or doubt as to what we are saying (2 Timothy 2:15).

This is not all.  We have to rehearse what we are learning from God on a regular basis as He guides us into all truth (John 16:13, 1 John 2:27), teaching us freely how to compare spiritual things with spiritual (1 Corinthians 2:12-13).  This is so we can readily and practically apply the Word to any worldly situation. Sitting in church listening to Scripture, but doing little else with it, does not teach expounding (James 1:22).

There is a worldwide audience today of lost and unbelieving souls in a state of spiritual famine and starvation.  Such people are not famished by lack of worldly water or bread – but out of a longing hunger for hearing the Word (Amos 8:11).  Rehearsing to expound helps us prepare to feed anyone like this properly at any moment.  Providing malnourished souls with suitable spiritual food; if only for a while.

Expounding also helps connect what the lost can relate to, or understand in their world, to truths in God’s Word – a lamp unto our feet as Christians.  It should brighten their path at least a little while with the Bible (Psalm 119:105).  Learning how to expound keeps us ready to answer anyone in this manner with grace and relevance (Colossians 4:6).  It is so they don’t stumble as much and stay so distant from God.

For example, if we should find ourselves talking to athletes, we could expound to them how faith is similar to running a long race.  Moving ahead at a steady and patient pace – perhaps as in a marathon. And, how only person can win a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-25).  We could then add in talk about a need for spiritual discipline and commitment, just as one would require physically in the world if they desired victory.

When we rehearse to expound, it’s so we can take a person from point A to point B in Scripture.  Without skipping or forgetting steps along the way – or losing our audience somewhere in the middle.  The book of Acts gives us a great example of this.  Some Jewish believers were in strong contention with Peter about the Gentiles.  People they considered unclean human beings; and not worthy of God’s grace (Acts 11:1-3).

However, Peter had already rehearsed what he was going to say to them, in set order from the beginning (Acts 11:4); just in case a meeting like this ever took place.  As Peter knew how they felt about the Gentiles – a complete and conclusive response had to be ready at moment’s notice.  By expounding everything as to why Gentiles were just as worthy; the Jews held their peace at the end in agreement (Acts 11:5-18).

Because Peter prepared ahead of time, he was able to expound convincingly, and not come across sounding holier-than-thou to the Jews – because he knew he wasn’t (Romans 3:23).  Nor, did it appear to them Peter was showing off his Scriptural knowledge; but sharing little or nothing pertaining to the situation at hand.  We always want to help draw the lost closer to the Cross, not drive them further away from it.

Practice makes perfect just as much in the Word as it does in the world.  It involves rehearsing privately as Peter did for later use in public.  Musicians and actors don’t walk out on stage without rehearsing first, or they are bound to forget and skip some notes or lines. Likewise, we cannot expound the Word if we don’t learn how to rehearse.  It will just sound like we are randomly tossing out verses without rhyme or reason.

As we mature spiritually and learn the discipline to rehearse, we can help other believers also learn to expound more credibly.  There was a Jewish man in Acts named Apollos.  He was an eloquent speaker who was mighty in Scriptures and fervent in the spirit. Instructed in the Lord’s ways and teaching accurately in this manner.  However, his knowledge was limited, knowing only of John’s baptism (Acts 18:24-25).

When he began speaking boldly in the synagogues, an early missionary couple of the Christian church heard him.  Their names were Aquila and Priscilla, who had already lived, worked, and traveled with the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3, 18).  The two took Apollos aside and began expounding unto him the way of God more perfectly.  It was so he could go publicly convince other Jews that Jesus was Christ (Acts 18:26-28).

Likewise, we should be expounding Scripture more perfectly with each passing year.  We are continually being transformed (Romans 12:2) and perfected by God’s truth, so it becomes a natural progression.  So our expounding sounds more and more complete and connected – and less piecemeal.  Resounding in the souls of others as immutable truths flowing forth from the living water of God’s Word in ours (John 7:38).

If we don’t learn to expound more perfectly, we will likely sound purposeful.  However, we’re not trying to add members to our church – only God can do this (Acts 2:47).  Sadly, some expound as an attempt to do so; or as a way to sell Christian merchandise (2 Thessalonians 3:8, 2 Peter 2:3).  Although we can persuade others about God with our expounding, we can’t do so to make them be a Christian (Acts 26:28).

However, we can never really learn or expect to expound Scripture without spiritual discipline.  It commands steadfast commitment and devotion to God – for this defines belief in Him.  It takes studying and rehearsing in private, so we always know what to expound with any type of public audience.  It takes exercising our spirit into godliness (1 Timothy 4:7), so we’re not labeled as hypocrites (1 Corinthians 9:14).

Only our Father is perfect (Deuteronomy 32:4), so our expounding will never be 100 percent flawless. Still, we should eventually get to a point through repeated rehearsing and practicing, where it never sounds to other people as if we’re merely expounding Scripture by reading from a prepared script or crib notes.  Or, as if we’re just ad-libbing without prior preparation.  “Winging it” isn’t the way to expound.

What we should learn is to be like Paul, and be able to sit down and expound Scripture to any number of people from morning until night – without having a Bible in sight.  Talking about any topic from God’s Word in systematic detail as Paul did with the Jews in the lead verse.  Starting from a specific point and leading to a definitive conclusion.  Leaving those who hear to decide if they believe or not (Acts 28:23-24).

In conclusion, expounding explains in great detail, in a set order.  It clears up truths from God’s Word with the lost, or even new believers who still wrestle with Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).  People who often see the Bible as being contradictory or confusing.  In turn, expounding births wholesome words becoming sound doctrine (1 Timothy 6:3-4, Titus 2:1).  It’s why God had soldiers pound nails into the body of His Son.

Read Full Post »


(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: