QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM

Group Number 86

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Are the sign gifts for today?

The expression "sign gifts" is not in the Scriptures. I assume you are referring to "the signs of an Apostle." Signs come from God, and He strictly controls them. They are where He puts them, and are given at His discretion. This is not a question for men to answer.


Is speaking in tongues required for everyone baptized in the Holy Spirit?
 
Tongues are nowhere said to be in any sense "required." They are certainly never said to be required by those baptized with the Holy Spirit. Again the Scriptures do not say "baptized in the Holy Spirit," but "baptized WITH the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16).


I have a question.  We have a friend who accepted Christ four years ago.  In the last year he had turned his back on the gospel and went his own way.  But, Praise God, he has recommitted his life to Jesus.  The question - should he be water baptized again?  Thanks for your answer even before it comes. 

The brother does not need to be baptized in water again. There is "one baptism." Your friend is covered by the promise in 1 John 1:9: "If WE confess OUR sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." That is a provision for the family of God.
 
The only case of rebaptism that is recorded in Scripture is that of the Ephesian disciples in Acts 19. Their case is unique, because they only knew about the baptism of John, which was in anticipation of the coming Christ, upon whom they should believe. They did not know Jesus had come, and consequently had not believed on Him, and knew nothing about the Holy Spirit either.
 
Even Simon the sorcerer, who sought to purchase the ability to confer the Holy Spirit upon others, was not told by Peter to be rebaptized -- and his sin was far greater than that of your friend. He had believed and been baptized, and continued following Philip (Acts 8:13). Yet, when confronted by Peter because of his despicable sin, Peter said, "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee" (Acts 8:22). That is the pattern for brothers and sisters who stumble in the dark and fall. They are to return, acknowledge their offense, and enjoy the forgiveness of the Lord. Of course, they should also heed the word of the Master: "sin no more" (John 5:14; 8:11).


I am concerned that I may be missing something. I have often said, the only power Satan has is to lie to us. The problems we experience are the result of our believing his lies and as a result making bad choices as to how we relate to God and live our lives. Do you agree with this or need we be concerned of some other power that he has over us as believer?

Just as the Holy Spirit works through the truth, so Satan works through the lie. His influence does not end with the lie, but he also "takes captive" those who fail to hold to the truth, and are diverted to his delusions. When Satan "entered" into Judas, he betrayed Jesus (Luke 22:3-4). We are also told that Satan stood up against Israel and "provoked David to number Israel" (1 Chron 21:1).
 
Job provides the example of a man who did not sin, and did not yield to Satan. Yet, when the hedge was lowered, and God allowed him to be tested, Satan moved enemies against Job, caused fire to fall from heaven, brought a devastating wind that destroyed the house in which his children were, killing them all. He also caused Job to be covered with boils from the crown of his head to the soles of his feet (Job 1:12-19; 2:Job 2:7). In all of this, Job was not subjected to a single known lie.
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Those who are ensnared by Satan must be "given" repentance from God and "acknowledge the truth," that they may "recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him" (2 Tim 2:25). That means their escape involves much more than just changing their mind. When we yield to Satan, he gains the advantage over us. If married people do not guard themselves, Satan can tempt them through their incontinence, moving them to commit adultery (1 Cor 7:5).
 
The devil's hierarchy of evil include "principalities," "powers," "the rulers of the darkness of this world," and "spiritual wickedness in high places" (Eph 6:12). He is called "the prince of the power of the air," and not only lies, but "works" in the children of disobedience (Eph 2:2). Part of his arsenal is the "power of darkness" that once moved people and military powers against Christ" (Luke 22:53). In fact, we had to be "delivered" from the power of darkness" (Col 1:13).
 
As "the prince of this world" (John 16:11), and the "god of this world" (2 Cor 4:4), he can do infinitely more than tell a lie. He has also "blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Cor 4:4). One of his principalities, which has less power than himself, detained a mighty angel from bringing an answer to prayer to Daniel for twenty-one days (Dan 10:13) -- something no number of men could possibly do. He not only is a "liar" (John 8:44), but a "murderer" (John 8:44) and a "destroyer" as well (Abaddon and Apollyon, Rev 9:11).
 
Satan is depicted as a "great red dragon" with dominion, influence, and shrewdness (Rev 12:3,9), bringing down a third part of the angels and now wreaking havoc upon the earth. He is the "prince of demons," and demons do not only lie. They have bound children, moving them to throw themselves into fire and water (Luke 8:29), vexed children (Mark 15:22), caused a man to become like a wild man breaking chains and cutting himself (Mark 5:4-5), caused dumbness (Matt 9:32), caused blindness (Matt 12:22), and even moved a herd of swine to cast themselves into the sea (Matt 8:30-32). Some of them moved a man to leap on seven sons of Sceva and leave them naked and grievously wounded (Acts 19:13-15).
 
There is more to Satan than lying. It all starts there, but for those who do not flee to Jesus, and abide in Him, it does not end there.


I just read your though for the day~ I see where Moses was told to smite the Rock~ "that Rock was Christ." Moses lips caused him the promised land. Smiting that Rock twice was OK. Jesus was smitten more than once.

Thank you for writing. I always appreciate your interest in the things of God.
 
My reference to Moses forgetting did not infer he did not speak, or that he did not believe. Rather, he was so provoked by the people that the command given to him was no longer prominent in his thinking. This incident is mentioned several times in Scripture, and it is frequently traced back to the provocation of the people. The people "provoked his spirit," so that he spake "unadvisedly with his lips," and without due regard for the word of God (Psa 106:33). The 32nd verse of that chapter reminds us that "it went ill with Moses for their sakes," and that it was the people who "angered" the Lord. The waters that flowed from that rock were called "Meribah" because "the children of Israel strove with the Lord" -- not Moses (Num 20:13). Moses himself was charged with being caught up in that rebellion (Num 20:24), being provoked by that rebellious people. This was out of character for Moses, and reveals the extent of the obstinance of the people. The sin of Moses was not excused, but it was not committed in a deliberate act of rebellion against God, as was the sin of the people. It was provoked by the people's obstinance, whereas the people reacted against God Himself.
 
As to Jesus being stricken more than once, this is emphatically not the case. The smiting of Jesus that is related to our justification was God's smiting, not that of men. God is the one who smote the Shepherd (Zech 13:7). He was, in fact, "smitten of God" (Isa 53:4). God is the One who "put him to grief" (Isa 53:10), delivered Him up (Rom 8:32), and even forsook Him (Mark 15:34). It was God who wounded Him for our transgressions, bruised Him for our iniquities (Isa 53:5). It was God Himself who "condemned sin in the flesh" of His Son (Rom 8:3). God did this once, and only once.


Why does Hebrews 5:8 read, "Although He was a Son..."  rather than "although He was THE Son?

God had already described the uniqueness of Christ's Sonship in this book (1:2,5,8; 4:14; 5:5). At this point, the Divinity of Christ was not the point, but His humanity. While He was uniquely THE Son of God, yet He was the "firstborn among many brethren" (Rom 8:29). In this regard, He "learned obedience" -- something that was not required of Him until He "was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14). In this regard, He identified with us, just as He did when He was growing up, increasing in wisdom and favor with God, with even the grace of God being upon Him (Luke 2:40,52).
 
The word "a" is supplied by the translators. Actually, the text reads, "Although He was Son, yet learned He . . . " However, that does not change the intent of the verse, which is to accent something of the involvements of Him being "made flesh." This does not take anything from Him being the "only begotten Son of God." The things He suffered were absolutely unique, and the obedience He fulfilled was solitary and unique as well.


What religious group are associated with?

I am joyfully associated with all who are in Christ Jesus. I have chosen not have exclusive affiliation with any particular denomination, as Jesus has not done so. Since I must drop all sectarian names at the grave, and since none of them will be honored in the glory, I have chosen to drop them here. I have no reservations about receiving any person or group of persons who is truly in Christ Jesus, and living in the hope of glory. I choose to have no more, or less, requirements for receiving a person, or group of persons, than the Lord Jesus has.


Do animals have souls?  A friend insists that the definition of soul is the mind, will and emotions and therefore, animals have souls.  Jesus came to save lost souls.....but animals?  I disagree with that theory.
What do you think Brother Given?


The theory is foolish. If Jesus came to save animals He would have said so. In the first place, animals have not sinned, and Jesus "came into the world to save sinners" (1 Tim 1:15). The whole creation, both animate and inanimate, die because of man's sin, not their own. The Word of God states the case this way: "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Rom 8:21). Creation will be freed from mortality, or death, when the children of God are set free from mortality at the coming of the Lord.
 
The word "soul" literally means "breath," not "mind, will, and emotion." The latter is a theological definition that particularly identifies mankind. God created man in His own image. That is why man has a mind, will, and emotions. Animals were not created in God's image, and thus do not have those Divine qualities. God did not breathe into them the breath of life as He did into Adam (Gan 2:7).
 
The word "soul" is used around 458 times in Scripture, and "souls" is used 78 times. Both always refer to mankind, never to animals, or any other impersonal creation. The word "soul" is never applied to angels either, and they also have a mind, will, and emotion -- yet, they are not in image of God as man is, which is the point the Spirit develops in Hebrews 2:5.
 
The creation did obey the Lord Jesus, but there is no record of it having fellowship with the Father and the Son, as men can have (1 Cor 1:30; 1 John 1:3). Jesus never taught creation. He never healed creation. He sent no messengers to animals, which He surely would have done if they have a mind, will, and emotion.
 
God's Word does not support the notion that animals have souls.


Why did Jesus call it the House of God when it was not?

I would tend to ask the question, "Why do you say it is not the house of God when Jesus said it was?" He called it that because of its dedication to God, not because of who built it. He also called "My Father's house" (John 2:16). He also called it "My house," and "the house of prayer" (Matt 21:13). Jesus also said the Temple is what sanctified the gold upon and within it, by which the religious leaders swore (Matt 23:17).
 
In the day of Zerubbabel and Haggai, the Lord raised up Cyrus to sponsor the building of the Temple (2 Chron 36:23). During the time just prior to Christ's entrance into the world, He raised up Herod to build it. That was the Temple into which God's Messenger, Jesus, was to come (Mal 3:1). It is said of our Lord, "in the day time He was teaching in the Temple" (Matt 21:37). Even when He was twelve years old, the time He spent in the Temple was spent doing His "Father's business" (Luke 2:49).
 
The Jews venerated the Temple because of their love for God, not Herod. They venerated the one Solomon built because they loved God, not Solomon. They venerated the one built by Zerubbabel because they venerated God, not Zerubbabel.


I know the bible says honor your father and mother but I looked up the definition of honor and it meant "respect". I was wondering if you had a parent who beat you or treated you poorly do you still have to honor/respect them.

God does not condone violence and abuse, and He nowhere asks anyone else to do so. To honor or respect your father and mother does not mean you approve of the wrong they do. It does mean you will not treat them in such a way. It means you will not speak against them, or do wrong to them. It means you will not retaliate, even though you sometimes have to stay out of their way to avoid being hurt. It means you will pray for them, knowing their abuse is wrong.
 
God commands fathers "And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). Abusing and heartlessly beating children is breaking that commandment. It is not right, and God does not ask children to act as though it is all right.
 
If your parents stand between you and Jesus, you must choose Jesus. That is what Jesus meant when He said, "If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26). That means no parents are to be respected more than Jesus.
 
A child can still honor their parents and do all of what the Lord says. The secret is to find what good they have done, or how they have provided for you, and honor them for that.


Sir, You fired off a quick reply to my question the other day but I wonder if you considered all the facts. For example, I think something must be very different for Herod's temple because David wasn't allowed to build the first temple just because he had blood on his hands. I think we can be assured it was righteous blood, at least at that time. Herod's hands were as extreme in the opposite direction as they could be having beheaded one of God's prophets. Can you account for any differences to explain this conflict?

The Herod that ordered the building of the Temple was not the Herod that killed John the Baptist. The original building of this third Temple commenced around B.C. 21. History tells us the Temple itself was completed in approximately 1-1/2 years by the Priests and Levites. The outbuildings and courts required about eight more years. However, there were other extensive building operations that spanned a significant number of years, for it was an extremely elaborate project with several courts, porches, and buildings. Herod's successors, from the Herodian family, continued to sponsor the project. At the time of Jesus, you may recall, in reference to these protracted operations, the Jews spoke to Jesus about the temple being 46 years in the building (John 2:20).
 
It is true that David was not allowed to build the Temple, although God gave him the pattern of it, because he had "shed blood abundantly," and "made great wars" (1 Chron 22:8). There is no suggestion, however, that he shed "righteous blood." Solomon built the Temple because he was associated with peace -- peace that God Himself had caused to take place in his days (1 Chron 22:9). The wars that David initiated were actually directed by God. There is no record of him setting out on his own to slaughter people, especially righteous people..
 
In our reasoning concerning the Temple, we must defer to the words of Christ Jesus. He said the Temple was His "Father's house" (John 2:16), the Lord's house, which was called "by all nations the house of prayer" (Matt 21:13). The Gospels refer to it as "the Temple of God" (Matt 21:12). One of the great signs of the effectiveness of Christ's death was the tearing of the Temple veil in two from the top to the bottom (Matt 27:51). The babe Jesus was dedicated in the Temple, to which Simon came "by the Spirit" (Lk 2:27).  Anna the prophetess served God night and day in the Temple (Lk 2:37). Young Jesus told Mary His activities in the Temple were "the Father's business" (Lk 2:46). Following Jesus' resurrection, the disciples were "continually in the Temple, praising and blessing God" (Lk 24:53). After the day of Pentecost they continued to meet in the Temple (Acts 2:46). The Lord even ordered the to "speak in the Temple to the people all the words of this life" (Acts 5:20). They certainly did not associate the Temple with Herod, but with God.
 
There is not so much as one syllable in Scripture that suggests the Temple of Jesus' day was not sacred, or that God Himself was not associated with it. The Temple was superseded only by the Lord Jesus Himself who affirmed, "in this place is one greater than the Temple."
 
There is no conflict in the various buildings of the Temple. David received the plan and Divine sanction for the Temple to be built. Solomon was commissioned to build it. Although considerable construction was related to the second and third temples, with even the dimensions changing, they were considered but restorations of a place sanctioned by God, and not a totally new structure.
 
My original response to you was in strict accord with your question. You asked why Jesus called the Temple God's house when it was not. I found that to be a wholly inappropriate question. If I misunderstood you in any way, I apologize.


What religious group are associated with?

I am joyfully associated with all who are in Christ Jesus. I have chosen not have exclusive affiliation with any particular denomination, as Jesus has not done so. Since I must drop all sectarian names at the grave, and since none of them will be honored in the glory, I have chosen to drop them here. I have no reservations about receiving any person or group of persons who is truly in Christ Jesus, and living in the hope of glory. I choose to have no more, or less, requirements for receiving a person, or group of persons, than the Lord Jesus has.


I have just spoken with someone who said Sunday morning services were to be totally evangelistic. Gatherings to edify the saints, he said, should be in home groups. Am I on the right track? I am not one to usually argue with someone but he got a little under my skin on this issue and so I have decided to do some study and pursue it. If there is any scripture you would like to share with me to enlighten me on this subject I am an open book. I am very annoyed with this "seeker friendly" philosophy and feel like . . . needs to wake up to the truth.

This brother could not possibly be more wrong. Of course he just affirming what he has been taught -- but he has been taught incorrectly.
 
God has spoken on why saints assemble -- whether it is Lord's day morning or any other time. 1 Corinthians 14:26 gives the over-all perspective. "How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying" (1 Cor 14:26). It is further "the church" that receives edifying, as affirmed in 1 Corinthians 14:5 and 12.
 
In commenting on the indispensable ministry of prophesying, Paul mentioned a stranger, unacquainted with the things of God, coming into their assembly. If he heard them all prophesying, he would fall on his face, worship God, and report that God was in them of a truth (1 Cor 14:25). That does not comport with seek-friendly services at all. The whole environment appeared to be so unfriendly to the flesh that the individual fell down before the Lord. He did not confess to a message that was tailored for seekers, but to prophecy, which is "unto edification, exhortation, and comfort" -- ministries belonging to the saints (1 Cor 14:25 and 3). There appeared to be such a conflict between what the saints were being fed and where he was at that the contrast convicted him.
 
Paul rebuked the Corinthians because they did not come together to eat the Lord's Supper. He upbraided them for their friendly atmosphere that excluded the Lord and moved them to even neglect fellow believers. God even struck some of sick, and took the lives of others because of their reproachful conduct (1 Cor 11:20-34).
 
Even evangelists were gifts to the church for the edifying of the saints -- which is the whole purpose for all of the gifts (Eph 4:11-16; 1 Cor 12:7).

The admonition to not forsake the assembling of ourselves together is in order to exhorting one another, not appealing to sinners (Heb 10:25).

When the brethren in Troaz met on the first day of the week, Paul spoke to the saints, not sinners. Further, the disciples came together to break bread, not evangelize the lost (Acts 20:7).

I do not believe there is a solitary instance in Scripture where saints came together to seek sinners or evangelize the lost. If Pentecost is sited, the brethren had not gathered together to reach the lost. Rather, the lost came to them when they heard they were speaking of the wonderful works of God -- and even they were "devout Jews," not heathen Gentiles (Acts 2:1-11).

The Thessalonians were told "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do" (1 Thess 5:11). I suppose one might take the position Paul was speaking about home groups, but it would surely be difficult to support such a thing.

The whole concept of the "body" of believes presupposes they have come together to edify one another. The gifts, or various ministries of the body, are to profit "withal," not partially. They are for the common good of the body (1 Cor 12:7-31).

When Paul wrote to the Colossians, he told them to read their epistle to the church at Laodicea, and to read the one he had written to Laodicea to their brethren. Was that to be done in a home group. Or, could those Epistles be tailored to be "seeker-friend," whatever that means? The whole matter presumed the saints gathered together for mutual edification.

When Paul deternined to come to Rome, he said he wanted to be with them, and be comforted by their mutual faith, and also to assist in establishing them (Rom 1:11-12).

No church in Scripture was ever commended for having gatherings designed to reach the lost. Further, no church was ever rebuked for failing to do so. There are rebukes, however, for not having gatherings that edified (1 Cor 11:7), and commendations for having ones that did edify (1 Thess 5:11).

The Holy Spirit is very pointed on this matter. The gifts God has given to the church are expressly said to be "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" (Eph 4:12).

Having said all of that, the burden of proof rests upon the shoulders of brother making the statement concerning reaching the lost being the primary reason for assembling. He needs to come up with a word from Jesus or the Apostles that said to assemble to reach the lost. He should show some example where this was actually done, or where a church was commended for doing so -- or rebuked for not doing so.


Are we born with a sinful nature.

Yes. That is the meaning of David's statement, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me" (Psa 51:5). David did not mean he was conceived through a sinful act, as some suppose. The NIV correctly reads, "Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me."

This is also the meaning of Paul's words through the Spirit, "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were BY NATURE the children of wrath, even as others" (Eph 2:3). It is why we "must be born again," for what is "flesh" can only be "flesh," as Jesus affirmed in John 3:6).

An extensive explanation of the impact of Adam's sin upon the human race is given in Romans 5:12-19. The teaching is unmistakable, and unusually strong.

1.  Death and sin entered the world through Adam (5:12a).
2.  Death passed upon all men because of Adam (5:12b).
3.  Death reigned over everyone from Adam to Moses, even though they did not commit the same kind of sin as Adam, that is, breaking a Divine commandment (5:13).
4.  Through the offense of Adam, many are dead (5:15). The word "many" speaks of the entire race, and is a contrast with "one." The universality of death confirms this to be true.
5.  Judgment and condemnation came to everyone from the one who first sinned (Rom 5:16).
6.  Death reigned over everyone through the sin of Adam (5:17).
7. Judgment unto condemnation came to all men through Adam (5:18).
8.  By the disobedience of Adam, many were made sinners (5:19).

Apart from the salvation of God, our nature cannot rise above that of Adam, our natural progenitor. Those who remain connected only to Adam, and gain no relation to Christ, cannot be saved. As for infants, they are covered by the blood of Jesus -- not because they do not have a sinful nature, but because it has not expressed itself. However, and make no mistake about this, if Jesus had not died, they could not have been saved -- because of their association with Adam.


Is prophecy and declaration one in the same or interchangable -- chapter and verse please.

This is true some of the time, but not all of the time. Examples of prophecy being a declaration, and not necessarily an announcement of the future, are provided below.

1.  Prophecy is expressly said to be related to edification (building up), exhortation (entreaty), and comfort (encouragement) -- 1 Cor 14:3.

2. The "prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite" was said to contain the historical acts of Solomon (2 Chron 9:29).

3. The "words of the prophecy of Agur the son of Jekeh" were words of practical wisdom, and did not deal with the future (Prov 30).

4.  The "prophecy" that was taught to king Lemuel by his mother were all words of practical wisdom, including the description of a virtuous woman (Prov 31).

5.  The ministry of the Law is said to be that of prophecy "until John" the Baptist (Matt 11:13).

6.  Isaiah is said to have prophesied, "This people honoreth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me" (Isa 29:16; Mark 7:6). Isaiah gave that as a description of his generation. Jesus applied it to the generation during His time as well.

7.  When the tongue of Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, was loosed, he "prophesied." His words were an announcement of what began to happen at that time (Luke 1:67-79).

It is to be understood that all of these were inspired by God, even though they did not deal with the future. Prophecy, whether opening the significance of the past, shedding light on the present, or declaring the future, is a word from God. It is spoken with the wisdom that God alone gives.


Can you please tell me if a baptism is valid if the only people that are present during the confession and baptism are the person being baptized and the person doing the baptizing, or does there need to be other witnesses present?

If no other individuals are available and present, that does not nullify the baptism. Baptism is into Christ, during which we "put on Christ" (Gal 3:27), is for "the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38), and is an appeal to God for a "good conscience" (1 Pet 3:21). None of those things require multiple witnesses, so I hardly see ho the baptism itself would do so.

While most instances of baptism included other witnesses, there is no indication that this was the case with the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27-38). The fact that no record is given of Philip declaring Christ to an entourage that was supposedly with the eunuch indicates he was probably by himself. Also, when the Philippian jailor was baptized, there is no record of anyone except those being baptized (he and his household) being present (Acts 16:33).

Wherever possible, it is, in my judgment, good to have witnesses. However, that is only my studied opinion.


Where in the word is tattoo's discussed? I am interested in getting ones (nothing bad) but I want to know what God says.

The word "tattoo" is not "discussed" in Scripture. God did express to the Jews something pertaining to this practice. I understand this to be the revelation of His mind on the matter. "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD" (Lev 19:28). The NIV reads, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."

The Apostles declared that our bodies are for the Lord, and not for mere self-gratification. The body is said to be "for the Lord, and the Lord for the body" (1 Cor 6:13). It is even said that "your bodies are the members of Christ" (1 Cor 6:15). In both of these texts, the emphasis is placed on not committing fornication. However, the truth of these statements extends to other areas as well.

It is the business of every Christian to decide whether or not God is honored by tattoos, and if that is the appropriate use of something that belongs to Jesus and is the temple of the Holy Spirit--our bodies (1 Cor 6:19). Also, the heart must honor what the Lord has said about putting marks on the body. The reason God said not to put marks on the body is, "I am the Lord."


When you become a Christian and you sin (knowing it is wrong) will you still be forgiven?

Yes. This is the teaching on the subject -- and it is addressed to those who are in Christ Jesus. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Again it is written, "My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
 
Nothing about salvation encourages sin, or promotes a casual attitude about it. Sin is always viewed as serious, about which something must be done. When a Christian sins, even though it is humiliating, the guilty soul must run quickly to the Lord and confess, or admit, their sin. The promise is that God is faithful and just" to forgive us. We must not, therefore, let our sin keep us from God, for the longer we wait to go to Him and confess that sin, the harder and more calloused we will become.

I'm trying to find a reasonable explanation for the terms "we" and "our" in this chapter, since he doesn't speak like that in the previous two chapters. "Be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," "in many things we offend all," "Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God." But for argument's sake, can you help me out with explaining the "we" and "our?" Sorry, I am not explaining myself very well here. I hope you understand what I'm getting at.

The text that says "in many things we offend all" (James 3:2), is not speaking of deliberate sin. In my judgment, it is not speaking of speech related to malice, guile, blasphemy, reproach, cursing, and the likes. Also, the "greater condemnation" of James 3:1 is not the condemnation by God, but by men. It is true that it also includes the idea of a more strict judgment by God, like judgment beginning with the house of God (1 Pet 4:17) -- but that is not its thrust. The specific point James is making is that those who are "masters," or "teachers" are subject to more strict scrutiny by those they are teaching. This is designedly so, for teachers are in the role of leaders. They are to fulfill their role in the awareness of this, and not set their minds on having everyone respond favorably to them.

In order to make his words more palatable to those to whom he wrote (who were in a state of spiritual decline), he uses the word "we" in two ways. First, he speaks for all who are teachers ("we shall receive the greater condemnation," and "we offend all" -- that is, in our teaching we sometimes "offend all" -- not always by saying something wrong, but also in declaring things that chaff against the flesh). Second, he speaks for the whole of the body of Christ ("bless we God," and "curse we men"). He is not speaking of particular sayings, but of the capacity to speak in such a manner. With the spirit "bless we God," and with the flesh "curse we man" -- and both come out of the same mouth. That is, the tongue does have this capacity. That is why it must be tamed. When James says, "these things ought not to be so," he is suggesting there is grace to avoid such a practice -- otherwise there would be no point to making such a statement. This is why he adds in the fourth chapter, "Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, The Spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy?" (James 4:5). The idea is that the Holy Spirit desires earnestly desires to use us -- especially our tongue.

James uses "we" in the sense those in Christ. He also uses it in the sense of being men. The text will make it evident which is which.


Mr Blakely, we must face the fact that "Sun's Day" came "too late" for; the "precious blood of Jesus Christ" - sealed forever His new-covenant with His faithful  followers ! "The Seventh Day is The Sabbath of The Lord Thy God"

This is not something about which I will enter into lengthy arguments. Jesus nor the Apostles provided extensive arguments promoting keeping the seventh day in the sense commanded under the Old Covenant. I also take quite seriously the word not to allow others to judge me in respect to "a Sabbath day" (Col 2:16).

The Holy Spirit, in Hebrews 4:1-11 speaks extensively about the seventh day Sabbath, but does not make the application you have shared with me. In fact, He categorically states that Israel never did enter into the rest (Heb 4:6), even though many of them did keep the Sabbath day. The Spirit says "There remaineth a rest to the people of God" (Heb 4:9). It is a different kind of rest, for we "labor" to enter into it, while men ceased from labor to enter into the seventh day Sabbath (Heb 4:10-11).

I certainly do not oppose those who choose to honor the seventh day Sabbath. However, I do not accept the notion that this is the "day" that has been officially sanctioned for those in Christ Jesus. I choose to honor the first day of the week on which Jesus rose, appeared to His disciples, on which the day of Pentecost fell, and when early believers met. If what occurred by Divine workings on this day gives it no significance, I do not see the reason for the Spirit providing such records. Having the Spirit of Christ as you do, I know you will not condemn me for such a view.


So - my old world passed away - my old way of thinking - my way of relating to God - passed away. So is this the city I sought to come? Is he talking about the New Jerusalem, which is walking being led by the Holy Spirit? Is this teaching that our relationship comes in degrees - it is not an overnight awakening, but over a period of time - our realizing the power and glory of the city created by God for our enjoyment - though those who trust in the vanity of man may not understand us, those filled with the Spirit appreciate being filled with God's holy love that is mighty in leading us on the paths of His righteousness?

I have a difficult time believing that this message is teaching, be happy today because tomorrow you will live with Christ. I have come to understand we live with Him today, through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. That it is not according to my righteousness, but His, that I am able to be impacted by the love of God. But I also am not quite sure if they are saying that the city to come is when the world (darkness) totally loses power over our hearts and minds.

If it is true that old things passing away and all things becoming new (2 Cor 5 :17) constitutes the city for which we are to seek, then when that is experienced, the seeking will cease. But no one with understanding will embrace such a notion. The obligation to "seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness" has not ceased (Matt 6:33). The promise, "Seek and ye shall find," has not been withdrawn (Matt 7:7). The exhortation to "seek the things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God," has not been obviated (Col 3:1). It is still true, "For here have WE no continuing city, but WE seek one to come" (Heb 13:14). There is no sense in which this word of the Spirit is not true.

It is true that extensive work is still be done within us. We are being "changed" by the Spirit of God (2 Cor 3:18). God is still working in us "both to will and to do of His own good pleasure" (Phil 2:13). The Spirit is still producing fruit within us (Gal 5:22-25). It is also true that we presently live with Jesus, or as the Scripture puts it, "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me" (Gal 2:20). However, this is not the entirety of what God has prepared for those who love Him (1 Cor 2:9-10). There is still a salvation "ready to be revealed" (1 Pet 1:5), and grace that will yet be brought to us "at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1 Pet 1:13).

It is true that we are now walking in the Spirit (Gal 5:16,25), have fellowship with Christ (1 Cor 1:9), and have come to the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb 12:22-24) -- but all of that is by faith. We have not come to, or experienced, the ultimate of our salvation. There is a salvation that is "ready to be revealed in the last time" (1 Pet 1:5). It is not a different salvation, but the fulness of what we are now experiencing in Christ Jesus.

The salvation of God includes the "redemption of the body," which has not presently been experienced. That is why it is written, "For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body" (Rom 8:22-23). Creation has not been liberated from the bondage of corruption, and will not be until the sons of God are "manifested" (Rom 8:19). Presently, with all of their benefits, the sons of God are incognito.

Now, in the body, we experience the "flesh lusting against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" (Gal 5:17). But this is not the ultimate experience with Christ. There is a time when the devil, his angels, his entourage of principalities, and those who follow him, will be "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 19:20; 20:10; 20:15). Flesh and blood, which cannot enter God's kingdom (1 Cor 15:50), will also be ended. Death itself will be overthrown and cast into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14; 1 Cor 15:26). Until that happens, there is a condition yet to come that has not yet been experienced.

The fact that we still have to contend with the devil (1 Pet 5:8-9), throw down imaginations (2 Cor 10:4-5), put off the old man (Eph 4:22), perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord (2 Cor 7:1), confess out sins (1 John 1:9), face the appointment death (Heb 9:27), live by faith (Heb 10:39), and a host similar experiences, testify that there is more to come than what is being experienced in this world. There remains a sense in which we are "absent from the Lord" (2 Cor 5:6), There is such a things as desiring "to depart" to a condition which is "far better" (Phil 1:23). We have not yet seen the Lord as He is, for we are not yet fully "like Him" (1 John 3:1-3). We are still working out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil 2:12).

We are still being "saved by hope" (Rom 8:24-25) -- a living hope to which we were begotten again (1 Pet 1:3). I know of no person willing to even suggest we are fully conformed to the image of God's Son -- something God has determined will be accomplished (Rom 8:29). Right now, we are being changed from one stage of glory to another (2 Cor 3:18) -- which means the work is not yet completed. However, by the grace of God, it will be completed when we are gathered to be forever with the Lord (1 Thess 4:16-18).

The fact that we have to pray (Jude 1:20), draw nigh to God (James 4:8), and enter into the holiest of all (Heb 10:22), confirms we do not yet have the fulness of salvation.

What we have is glorious. It promotes a "joy unspeakable and full of glory" (1 Pet 1:8), together with assurance and confidence. But what we have now is not the whole of the matter. It seems to me that an honest spirit will readily see this is the case. In this world we cannot ever stop seeking, looking, and hoping.


 How do I ABIDE in Christ so I can be able to produce fruits? I'm a point in my life where I really need God's blessings, but I don't feel worthy enough. How do I change my life, do I have to watch less of television???

You abide in Christ the same you received Him -- by faith. It is written, "As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him" (Col 2:6). That is, you take what He has declared in His Word, believer it, rely upon it, and shape your life by it. You depend upon Christ, not relying upon your own wisdom. In this matter, the Gospel of Christ, or the good news concerning who He is and what He has done, becomes primary. 

You are not the one who produces the fruit, the Holy Spirit does that. That is why it is called "the fruit of the Spirit."

 Peter provided one of the secrets to spiritual advancement. It has to do with maintaining a focus upon Christ Jesus Himself, as He is declared in the Gospel. Here is how he said it. "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Pet 1:19). The "prophetic word confirmed" refers to the promises of the coming Savior that were given through the Prophets. The Lord Jesus fulfills them all, as declared in the Gospel. What Peter means is that as we occupy our minds with the various proclamations of who Christ is and what He has accomplished, it will all come together in our thinking -- including an understanding of what it means to abide in Christ. He calls it the dawning of the day, and the morning star (who is Jesus) rising in our hearts. It is then that our faith is lifted out of the area of mystery, bringing assurance, confidence, understanding, and joy.

 There is no routine or procedure that spells out how to abide in Christ. This is something that is done with the heart, not a discipline of life. It is done by maintaining a focus upon Christ, not upon ourselves. He is "able to keep you from falling" (Jude 24), and will do so as you continue to make knowing Him your primary objective (Phil 3:8-10). As long as you worry about how to abide in Him, you will probably not do so. However, as you make your quest to know the Lord more fully, He will see to it that you do, in fact, remain in Him.

 Another view of this is given by John. He attributes the abiding to the work of the Spirit within. The assumption of the text is that we are paying attention to Him, and not grieving or quenching Him. "But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him" (1 John 2:27). The words "anyone teach you" refers to the "how-to-do-it" part of living by faith.

 If you remain sensitive to the Lord, He will direct you, help you, and work within you. Your part is to work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, knowing that it is really God who is doing the work (Phil 2:12-13). In other words, whatever is in your life that detracts from the Lord, or competes with Him for your time, must be forced into a subordinate position. Whatever keeps you sensitive to the Lord, allowing you to think more of Him, read the Word of God more, and seek more to please Him, must be put in the primary place.

 Concerning watching less television, you must decide whether witching television helps you in your quest to abide in Christ or hinders you. Think of it this way. The secret is not found in what you so less of, but what you do MORE of. Blessing does not come from what you do NOT do, but what you DO.



Would you send me your commentary on the Proverb 31 subject we talk of yesterday I did ask the Lord for confirmation on Bible truth as many do.

The first thing to remember is that Proverbs in its entirety is the kindergarten of Scripture. It is altogether true, but it is at the lower end of spiritual understanding. It speaks of things that are really obvious, more than of things we should seek to know. This by no means reduces the significance of this book. It rather helps us to put it in the proper place.
 
The 31st Proverb is the word of king Lemuel's mother to him. We do not know who this man was, or who is mother was. It is obviously wise counsel given to a young man, and is included in Scripture because it represents the mind of the Lord on earthly matters and relationships. Here are some observations concerning the "virtuous woman," who is a woman of noble character, an excellent wife, and a good woman.
 
1.  Such a woman is hard to find. They simply are not plentiful, and we should not expect them to be (1:10a).
2.  Such a woman is very valuable, and will bring advantages to her husband (1:10b).
3.  The husband of such a woman has full confidence in her -- no doubts about her. In no way will he be disadvantaged by her, of suffer loss because of her (1:11).
4.  Such a woman brings only good things to her husband, and never bad things (1:12).
5.  She has wisdom, and can appropriately select wool for clothing, and flax for thread. That is, she knows how to provide, and do so wisely and frugally (1:13a).
6.  She is not afraid of work, but is productive, working willingly with her hands (1:13b).
7.  In a sense, she is like a ship, traveling from afar, and bringing a boatload of good things with her. What she lacks she is willing to go and get, even if she does it at personal expense, and with a great deal of inconvenience (1:14).
8.  She is not lazy, nor is she a sloth. She gets up early, and prepares food for her household, and for those who serve her as well (1:15).
9.  She is wise, and can buy a field after considering everything connected with the purchase of it. She even takes the money earned from working that field, and plants vineyards with it. That is, she is not wasteful, but productive. Things to which she puts her hand turn out better (1:16).
10. Whatever she does is done vigorously, and not halfheartedly. She keeps herself strong, and able to do whatever she does with strength and consistency (1:17).
11. She has the wisdom to know when she has conducted her business well, and thus knows how to avoid being taken to the cleaners, so to speak (1:18a).
12. She does not quit working too soon, leaving tasks half-done. She is willing to stay up, if necessary, to complete her work (1:18b).
13. She is productive, using the tools or utensils she has to produce good and beneficial things (1:19).
14. She is considerate of those with less advantages, providing for the needy, being hospitable, and unselfish (1:20).
15. The inconveniences brought on by winter and other circumstances do not trouble her because she prepares for such times. She can see afar off (1:21).
16. She is not prideful, yet does not take delight in gaudy and unkempt appearance. She provides the best that she can for herself, so she is not a source of disgrace to her husband, and does not appear to be slothful (1:22).
17. Her own influence contributes to her husband being well known among those with understanding. In other words, she is not a source of shame and reproach to him (1:23).
18. She can handle herself among other people, delivering the goods she has made without having to be ashamed of them (1:24).
19. She is a strong woman, who can hold up under pressure, yet she is dignified and honorable. The future does not trouble her (1:25).
20. When she speaks, wisdom is revealed in her words. She is not basically ignorant, and she is noted for being kind, not a critical or gossipy person (1:26).
21. She is a good manager of the household, not allowing any part of it to suffer loss or be at a disadvantgage. She is not idle, nor does she give herself to inordinate entertainment and the likes (1:27).
22. Because of her faith and industry, both her husband and children think well, and speak well, of her. They canot find fault with the way she lives. It is to be understood that her children and husband are themselves wise (1:28).
 
    After reviewing the list, you can scratch out the ones you are willing to have absent oprt do without. However, we are to understood that this is the kind of woman that God honors and recommends. There will, of course, be measures of each of the traits that are mentioned, and the virtuous, or good, woman, will grow in them all. But a measure of all them ought to be found in some way.  


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