Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘gospel’


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 »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel.  Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. – Galatians 1:6-7

– Beware, lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Jesus Christ. – Colossians 2:8

All of us can have our theories and thoughts about God and His Word – and they may not be as true as we believe (Isaiah 55:8-9, Romans 11:33).  They’re often not of Christ’s mind – but our own (Numbers 16:28, 1 Corinthians 2:16).  If so, we have created our own gospel; a blended brew of belief.  We have created a mix of worldly rudiments, life philosophies, traditions – and stirred it in with God’s truth.

However, by generating our own version of the gospel like this, we have been moved away from God’s.  If life keeps moving ahead the way we might want it to like a good movie – we will most likely never realize it.  Until He goes and does something not making any worldly sense.  It may even seem weak and foolish (1 Corinthians 1:27-29, 3:19).  It won’t follow along with our version of His gospel.

We usually get quite confused when such happens. This is likely because we had been living by leaning on our understanding of how our lives were supposed to “work out” for us.  There is a strong possibility we had been acknowledging God up until then only when life was going our way (Proverbs 3:5-6).  As singer Paul Simon once alluded to, we had been hearing what we wanted to, and disregarding the rest.

God warns us many times about all the words we listen to in life about Him.  Whose gospel are we truly heeding and believing?  Our own, another person’s, or His?  Is it a blended mix of all three?  Do we have to keep purchasing Christian merchandise to keep the faith (2 Peter 2:3, Romans 10:17)?  When all we have to do is buy His truth in our hearts – and not sell it to anyone (Proverbs 23:23, 2 Corinthians 11:9).

Jesus warned us all to take heed, lest any person deceive us.  For the end of this age can’t come until many are duped; as false prophets and Christs will arise to do so (Matthew 24:4-5.11).  Therefore, we always have to be sure we are believing – and being taught the whole truth.  Ensuring we’re not trapped in tradition (Mark 7:7), or building our life upon any worldly foundation/rudiment (1 Corinthians 3:11).

Allowing ourselves to be deceived in any way will easily move us away from His gospel to another.  It is disobedient.  It means we are still in darkness.  For we are not walking in the Word’s light – but still walking after the world’s lies – even those from the pulpit (Ephesians 6:12).  We’re not to be partakers with those deceiving us with vain words.  Otherwise, we’re candidates for His wrath (Ephesians 5:6-8).

We also have to be certain we are not falling for false divinations from anybody (e.g. “God spoke to me last night and laid this burden upon my heart.”).  Even though such people may say “God says” … if their words are not causing us to turn from our evil way since youth (Genesis 8:21) – then He did not send them.  They are merely speaking words out of their heart’s deceit (Jeremiah 23:21-40, Obadiah 1:3).

We have to hold fast the form of sound words, and not words sounding good to our itching ears (2 Timothy 1:13).  God warns all of us such will be the case during the coming apostasy of mankind’s last days.  And – it seems many a day, they’re already here (2 Timothy 4:3-4).  Such unsound doctrine appears to be confusing many a Christian these days. God is never the author of it (1 Corinthians 14:33).

If we say we believe, we shall never be confounded (1 Peter 2:6).  If we are confused as Christians, we have caused it ourselves through some sort of unaddressed sin … such as being moved away from the gospel of God’s grace we first heard (Daniel 9:8, lead passage). We have mixed something into our faith simply not belonging there (Hebrews 4:2).  We have blended the wrong ingredients into our belief.

The only thing not belonging with the Word – is the world.  If we try combining the two, it creates a blended belief based on living a life trying to get the best of both – moving to and fro between all truth and all lies (1 Corinthians 10:21, Hebrews 6:18, John 8:44).  This is how we can get carried about with every wind of doctrine by moving toward the Word one day – away from it the next (Ephesians 4:14).

It is also how gospel perversion begins (Jeremiah 23:36, lead passage).  Perversion is most often heard in relation to sexual deviance, but rarely to Scriptural. It is the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state … into a distortion or corruption of what was first meant.  It is twisting the truth of His Word, into something worldly we like – leading to lying against the truth (James 3:14).

If our Father’s gospel is to have free course (2 Thessalonians 3:1), it must keep moving steadily down the narrow path to heaven (Matthew 7:14).  We must be on the same trail.  It if ever feels like we’re stumbling, straying, or stuck spiritually – then the chances are good we’re following some other version of His gospel.  If this should continue too long  – we may be in for a rude awakening (Daniel 12:2).

 

 

Read Full Post »


(KJV and NKJV Scripture)

– But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.  In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them that believe not.  Lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ – who is the image of God; should shine unto them. – 2 Corinthians 4:3-4

Many populated areas around the world still have a lot of nature nestled in nearby.  Along both sides of the Florida peninsula, there are numerous coastal cities and towns with turtle breeding grounds on nearby beaches.  When it is time for eggs buried beneath the sand to finally hatch, area residences and commercial establishments are asked to dim man-made lighting as much as they can.  Why?

Baby turtles have an in-born tendency to move in the brightest direction after their birth.  A natural beach without much – or any artificial lighting around – offers them the best chance of getting to where they are supposed to go … to the life-sustaining water of the nearby ocean.  If any artificial light is brighter, the same in-born inclination to lead the hatchling seaward, will lead them astray if they see it first.

Disorientation caused by man-made lighting results in thousands of hatchling deaths each year in Florida.  A baby turtle’s natural compulsion will immediately make it gravitate towards the closest and brightest light on the beach after being born – whether it is the right one or not.  The resulting glare causes the artificial light to seem overwhelmingly welcoming, no matter where it is relative to the sea.

In this regard, human beings are much like these baby turtles when born.  Right away from the womb, we are exposed to the bright lights of this world. Satan is their power source, and all of his ministers are the transformers.  They do not carry dimmer switches.  We should not marvel at how quickly they can get us to march off away in the wrong direction from the delivery room (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).

We are disoriented and lost from day one.  Each and every beckoning light might appear to be the right one to finally follow as we grow up in the world. However, they can often just lead us right into another wreck in life.  Further and further we can move away from where we are supposed to go from the beginning – to the eternal and life-sustaining water of our Father’s Word (Revelation 7:17).

The pretty lights of this world make us easy prey for the one who is always preying on us like a roaring lion (1 Peter 5:8).  Even if we are moving steadfastly forward in our faith – Satan does not stop (Hebrews 3:14, 1 Peter 5:9).  It’s the same with baby turtles. Even without artificial lights nearby – they can’t stop moving until they get to the water.  They are still easy targets for any predator along the way.

God dwells in light no man can approach (1 Timothy 6:16).  Satan’s lights are both approachable and appealing.  They are tantalizing and tangible, but they are not the truth.  Christ abolished death on the Cross – bringing life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10).  Despite this, death will not be fully destroyed until Jesus returns with salvation (1 Corinthians 15:26, Revelation 12:9-10).

Until then, we are to give all diligence – making our calling and election as Christians sure (John 6:44, 2 Peter 1:10).  We are to take heed the light in us, is not darkness (Luke 11:35).  Why?  We were all born with darkened hearts.  They are desperately wicked and deceitful above all things (Jeremiah 17:9).  They stay unlit through life unless God commands His light to shine out of this darkness (2 Corinthians 4:6).

Otherwise, we can deceive a lot of people (including ourselves) into believing we are Christians, never having God’s light shed aboard in our hearts by the Holy Ghost given unto them (Romans 5:5).  We can share a lot of Christ-like words, show a lot of Christ-like actions – without having any protection inside to shield or shade our souls from Satan’s shiny lights. The gospel is still hidden to us (lead passage).

Without being born again of the Holy Spirit at some point in life (John 3:7), we remain lost in Satan’s often likeable, but lying lights.  If we still believe we are Christians otherwise – we deceive ourselves, for we are still serving the devil (Deuteronomy 11:16, 1 Corinthians 10:21).  We are still submitting our Christian criteria to God for His approval – without submitting ourselves to Him (Romans 10:1-4).

It is easy to be a believer when we are walking around in a light we like to be bathed in.  When we receive worldly things and call them blessings from above – because God loves us so much to do anything but (Isaiah 45:7).  However, without receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, we are still blindly walking around in the wrong light (Isaiah 59:9-11) – all the while blindly believing it is the right light.

This can make us feel peaceful and safe in the protective-like shell of a Sunday sanctuary.  With our believing heads buried beneath the security of the sand – like baby turtle eggs (2 Corinthians 5:1-3, 1 Thessalonians 5:3).  Playing it safe is not the way to salvation.  When we are born again, we have to get moving across the sands of life towards eternal water. Shining our light to lead others (Philippians 2:15).

Someone once said we have to be careful about the light at the end of the tunnel – because it can just be the headlight of death’s long black train coming the other way.  So, if we are not sure what light we are walking in or towards at all times – we have to make certain (Philippians 2:12, 1 John 1:6-10).  Before darkness overtakes us forever – for letting wrong lights lead us eternally astray from the start.

 

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: