Prayer and the Mediator, Jesus Christ- Part 2

Defending “God cannot hear the prayer of a sinner”, examing the mechanics of prayer, involvement of Jesus Christ, and attitude Read more →

Prayer and the Mediator, Jesus Christ- Part 1

Defending “God cannot hear the prayer of a sinner”, examing the mechanics of prayer, involvement of Jesus Christ, and attitude Read more →

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 17

Some might object to calling the ?seven? in Jerusalem prophets.? Remembering ?He set some in the church; first apostles, then prophets?Ephesians 4:11, tells us WHEN this was done??when He ascended!!?? When Jesus ?rode on a cloud to the Ancient of Days,? Daniel 7:13-14; Acts 1:11, ?He was brought near before Him.? And there was given Him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom? as we hear the words of the Ancient of Days; ?Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever.? A scepter of righteousness (the standard of acceptance in Thy kingdom is obedience to the commands of Thy covenant) is the scepter of Thy kingdom.? Hebrews 1:8-12? Much to the chagrin of the pre-millennialism, God, the Father calls the Church of Christ, CHRIST?S KINGDOM.? Christ IS NOT COMING BACK to ?set up a kingdom? when returns the second time!!!!?

???? So, in the early church at Jerusalem, we see the apostles delivering the rules and regulations of the new covenant and prophets preaching the message, getting to the hearts of the listeners.? Stephen lost his life and Philip went to Samaria, then to the Eunuch, and finally, Luke records him being in Azotus, then Caesarea. Acts 8:40? ?To some this sounds like a filler that Luke used?read on!! ?Philip was raptured to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea to Azotus (near the site of ancient Ashdod, about 20 miles from Gaza).? It was about 60 miles from Azotus to Caesarea.? The plains of Philistia and Sharon are included in this area, as are many towns including Lydda and Joppa.? Perhaps, we can trace some of the effects of Philip?s evangelistic work in the appearance later in Acts of flourishing churches in both these towns (see Acts 9:32; 36).? It was a field of evangelism sufficient to occupy many years of Philip?s time.? Evidently, it seems Philip made this his headquarters from this time, on.? It was at Lydda that Peter, by the power of God, the Holy Spirit, healed Aeneas and at Joppa (Japho in Joshua 19:46, famous for its visit by Jonah) that he raised Dorcas from the dead using the same command Jesus used in Mark 5:41.? It was from Simon?s house in Joppa that Cornelius sent for Peter!!? With this kind of notoriety, no wonder Cornelius bowed down to worship Peter!!? By the way, it is recorded that a bishop from Azotus was present at the councils of Nicea (where Constantine (the first Papa of Roman Catholicism) divided the Church of Christ causing the Roman Catholic church to break from our fellowship in 314 AD) and then at another council at Chalcedon at even a later date! ???

???? The next mention of prophets of the New Testament is in Acts 13:1-4.? It might be that three of these brethren are well-known to the church, today, the others are not.? Saul and Barnabas, we know. It is said that Niger, meaning black, was none other than the son of Simon, the Cyrenian who carried Christ?s cross. Mark 15:21; Luke 23:26??? Then, there was brother Lucius; known for being the first member of the body of Christ to bring the gospel to Antioch, Acts 11:20.? Finally, there was Manaen who was brought up with Herod the Tetrarch (Herod Antipas, who killed John the Baptist).? He was said to have literally been a foster brother of Herod who had grown up in the castle with him!!? ?It is said of the effort of these prophets that ?the hand of the Lord? was with them.?? This phrase frequently was used in the Old Testament of the mighty manifestations of the power of God in behalf of His people.? This was the same phrase that was said of Philip in Samaria in Acts 8:5-8 as he ?confirmed the Word?!!? As David was king before he sat on the throne so Saul of Tarsus work was made successful by the providential working of the Almighty which Saul had to wait to do?SO??then departed Barnabas for to seek Saul?!! ?Saul had waited, now was the time.? Some have never learned this lesson!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 16

When Philip went to Samaria in Acts 8, under what authority did he journey?? He was not an apostle for he had not been with the Lord from the baptism of John (see Acts 1:22)? Some venture among us that Philip had this special gift through the ?laying on of the apostle?s hands,? but did that empower Philip with his message?? Both Philip and Stephen had had this ?laying on of hands? but so did Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.? Did anyone hear of these other brethren prophesying or working miracles as did Stephen and Philip??? Did the ?laying on of the apostles hands? authorize the prophets message (Acts 6:8 and 8:6) or did the miracles not function as in our preaching, today, when we use a book, chapter, and verse to prove the delivered message??? Is there any record that Philip when at Azotas or as he went through until he came to Caesarea, not work miracles to sustain-prove his message??? I have some of the best in helps on the book of Acts, but none of them prove what I cannot find in the text.? Did these brethren receive this ability to speak from the ?laying of the apostle?s hands??

Is it not interesting that these brethren were already in an established function and were known as ?the seven? as the apostles were known as ?the twelve????? Don?t forget that the seven filled a void in service the apostles could not, should not, and did not attend!!? It is said of Stephen, as well as the other brethren, that they were qualified, already ?full of faith and of the Holy Ghost? BEFORE the apostle?s hands were laid on him, this was a requirement laid down by the apostles!!

I have read many of our brethren who taught these men to be the ?first deacons?!!? This makes no sense, for these men to have been deacons; there first were seven (this always means perfection).? This is not just a coincidence, nor was it luck.? The apostles were delivering the ?word of God? and it has been inferred by some that they were the only ones preaching the gospel at this time?this cannot be sustained, these men were ?full of the Holy Ghost??? If these brethren were the ?first deacons? then all deacons thereafter would have to be full of the Holy Ghost BEFORE THEY WERE APPOINTED IN EVERY CONGREGATION, something that is not even mentioned for the elders!!? They would be better qualified than the eldership under which they were serving.? They would have been set in the church BEFORE any elder would have been, they would have to been married men with children, there would have had to have been elders before them or they could not have been schooled in the art of working with the families of the church (these men were also ?full of wisdom,? again, a qualification that the eldership does not have), and there would have been no greater degree (1 Timothy 3:13) to which these deacons could have attained for they were already BETTER QUALIFIED than any elder they could have served under!!? Finally, there would have been deacons before there were elders?the word ?elders? was the synechtoche (a part standing for the whole) that the Holy Spirit had Paul and Barnabas ordain in every congregation on their second visit to the new congregations of the Lord, Acts 14:23.? So, without too much effort, we are in enough trouble making these men ?deacons?!!? What we are not in trouble with, though, is that these men were qualified, known as qualified, and were classified, were already functioning WHILE, AS, DURING the time the apostles were giving the ?Word of God? to the assembly!!? James did not send someone like Barnabas to check on their message as he did in Acts 11:22-23.? Let me introduce to you the first mentioning of the prophets, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, a like group that was in the church at Antioch in Acts 13:1-3!!? It had to begin first, at Jerusalem, remember?!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 15

We have come to the end of a study which I hope has been interesting and informative to you.? I am sure someone else has done a better job with this in other times in the history of the Church.? Prophets are mentioned in the New Testament with little or no elucidation.? They receive no understanding from the readers of God?s Holy Book.? That they were ?set? in the church as were the apostles, evangelist, pastors, teachers, etc., so there must have been a need they fulfilled.? Like the many other things we use in the New Testament Church (unleavened bread as an example), their background comes from a study of the Old Testament understood by its early readers.? If the ?pattern? shown Moses included this office/work, so must its ?reality!!? ??Not apart of ?that which was perfect,? this position existed in the dispensation that existed immediately ?for our learning.??

???? They were not ?apostle apprentices? and were never ?checked on? by the apostles or the churches from which they were sent as in Acts 11:23, but often functioned simultaneously with the existing church or apostle and did the preaching in that place (as we see the prophetical work in the study of Stephen, in Acts 7.? It was not coincidental that the Jews found Stephen; he was on the debate team that ministered for the church at Jerusalem!! Acts 7:9; 13:1-4; 1st and 2nd Timothy and Titus).? Some Churches of Christ don?t even consider debate; much less have a team training as ?the defenders of the faith.?? They are afraid of hurting feelings and not defending the great God who died for them!!? They don?t study denominationalism and its damnable lies so they can defend the precious, pure ?river of Life.!!? Like the apostle Paul, Stephen was ?set for the defense of the gospel? and it cost him his life, not just his relationship with his denominational mother-in-law!! 1 Peter 3:15; Psalms 139:17-24; Philippians 1:12-19; 3:18-20? ?????????

???? These brethren had a role or function in the church that has been amalgamated by ?love advocates? and the ?feelings-oriented.?? They were in a fight for their lives and the existence of the Church of Christ; they were soldiers, not cowards!!? They had to get the brethren ready for the ?wiles of the devil? for the week to come and were ?charged? (this is the stirring up of the heart commanded of God to the prophets) by the apostles to do so!! 2nd Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:5-11 ??The church of the first century and all other centuries have to ?fight, the good fight of faith,? not put the brethren to sleep in the pews, entertain their children with gold fish, or put on a musical!! ???The Holy Spirit called out- named those who had this job to perform, and these prophets did not set down after 15 minutes of preaching or be fired!!? Some even ?continued until midnight!!?? The baton has to be passed on; we do not have to re-light the torch if it has continued to burn bright in the hearts of the preachers/prophets of God!!? God pulled the plug on the church at Laodicea. They were fat and happy on their way to Hell. Jesus said the preacher would not ?earnestly contend and defend the faith once delivered to the saints!!?

???? When Peter ?lifted up his voice? in Acts 2: 14; his message came from a heart that had already been put in prophet gear ??Neither Satan nor all the demons of Hell; not even his wife,? his mother-in-law, or a good paying job) could stop him!!!? He couldn?t stop until they crucified him upside down!! ?There was no aire of a funeral home or a comedy routine; sinners repented and saints held on to their seats fearing the Lord would return and they would fly off to glory before the preacher had finished his message!! Preachers, baptize your message with the fire-power of the Holy Spirit.? If your audience is made up of members of the Church of Christ, it won?t bother them; the Holy Spirit lives in them!!
If not, maybe they will repent and be baptized SO the Holy Spirit will move in!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 14

The major problem with Saul as King was his tendency to ?do as he wanted, or as he felt in his heart!?? With the bad situation in Israel with the idolatry on the rise and the depletion of the prophets except Samuel, Saul would have been the very replacement needed to buffer the waning love that should have been shown Jehovah God.? Saul was a bitter disappointment.? When David came on the scene, a ?man after God?s own heart,? obstinate Saul furthered his contempt for the plan of God by trying to stop the plan God had in mind from the beginning of what we know as ?time.?? This plan was the sending of His only begotten Son to reign over His people.? David was the next step in that plan.?

???? In 1 Samuel 3:1 we learn that the word of God was rare in the days when Samuel was a child.? The rise of the companies of prophets during his tenure as ?the? prophet and the designation employed in 1 Samuel 19:20 for Samuel teach us that Samuel was self appointed over them.? Again, with the downfall of the sanctuary at Shiloh and the Ark of the Covenant being taken away by the Philistines, the presence of God in the midst of His people was not existent.? (Shiloh, a city in the tribe of Ephraim about 13 miles North and east of Bethel, was the city with the isolated hill which could easily be defended either against the Canaanites or the Philistines.? Here, the children of Israel under Joshua assembled after the first phase of the conquest of Canaan and set up the tabernacle, thus making Shiloh the capital city of Canaan under the theocracy.? Here, it remained till the days of Samuel, about 400 years later, when the Ark of the Covenant was removed in a battle with the Philistines as mentioned in 1 Samuel 4:3.? From here the Ark of the Covenant wandered until the days of Solomon?s Temple.? From the time of the removal of the Ark, Shiloh gradually lost its importance, and especially when David made Jerusalem the capital of the kingdom.? This loss of importance was principally because God ?forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which He placed among men.? Psalms 78:60? ?In the days of Jeremiah, Shiloh was in ruins. Jeremiah 7:12,14)

???? After the death of Samuel the prophetical bodies seem to have died out, not to re-appear until the time of Elijah and Elisha (and then only in the northern tribes).? There were no hereditary demands on these groups in any period.? Furthermore, they then received a new designation, namely, ?sons of the prophets.?? ?Much has been studied about this group, the word ?son? did not intend to express actual son-ship but a close association such as might be understood by a term like discipleship. When the great writing prophets appeared on the scene, the ?sons of the prophets? disappeared.?? ??????????????

???? ?When Saul went to ?arrest? David, he found himself, again, ?fighting against God.?? God had moved on, Saul was king in name, only (as some congregations, some in their marriages), waiting the appointed time so all would know just who are the dead!! ?The Spirit had already LEFT Saul, saints/men who are alive in Christ and continue to be unequally yoked with the dead (those who have turned away from God and denied the Christ who bought them) CAN be destroyed IN THIS false association!! ?The living church/saint sometimes gives up in despair, spiritually and changes the message or leaves the church.? God had had enough of Saul. ?God?s heart was with the king who would bring righteousness physically and spiritually to this world.? What are we to learn from this example of 1 Samuel 19:19-24, but another great truth-?if God can give up on someone, should not His children do the same??? Some eldership can not see or ?mark? the true sinner, but they can ?mark? the innocent who the guilty destroy along with their saints/children who have to live in that mess.? Our faith must be in God!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 13

???? In 1 Samuel 19:19-24 we have another incident to study.? Fearing the hand of Saul, David fled and came to Naioth.? Word was then brought to Saul, who sent messengers for the express purpose of arresting David.? They sought to follow out his bidding, and saw a company of prophets who prophesied, and Samuel was standing as one appointed over them.? The word which expresses Samuel position in the group was as one appointed over the prophets may have the meaning of ?one who appointed himself.?? Samuel may have been the only recognized voice of God in these days.?

???? ???When they had seen the body of prophets, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul, and they also engaged in prophesying.? Here, again, we must emphasize that it was not contact with the company of prophets which produced the condition of prophesying, but rather the coming upon the messengers of the Spirit of God.? When this was made known to Saul, he sent a second group of messengers, and the results were the same, and this was followed by a third group.? Saul determined to go himself!!? The Spirit of God came also upon him, and as he went, he prophesied until he came to Naioth in Ramah.? There is no mention of Saul first meeting the company of prophets and then prophesying.? The purpose of Saul?s going was to arrest David.? The Spirit came upon him, and He constrained Saul to continue the journey, prophesying.? ?

???? Saul stripped off his garments and prophesied before Samuel.? It is implied that all those who prophesied stripped off their garments as they prophesied.? The action is expressive of the ecstatic condition in which the prophets were placed by the overcoming power of the Spirit of God.? Of Saul alone, it is related that he fell down naked all that day and night.? From this we may infer that in this particular act Saul was alone, and that there is a reason why this was so.?

???? It is not without understanding that some of the fake demonstrators in religion have read this account, for they have tried to immolate the actions of Saul in tearing off their clothing.? It was not common for a man to come under the power of the Spirit in that day as it is today.? The seizure of the Spirit was more powerful in the case of Saul than in that of the messengers, for Saul had more stubbornly resisted the will of God.? This tells us Saul was made to recognize that God was far more powerful than man and to resist God?s willed was pointless.? The over whelming influence which came upon Saul was evidently designed to control him so he would not struggle ?against God and so to subdue him and break his hard heart.? ?God was in control!!

???? Samuel had a stronger position as prophet to any other that had been up to this time.? It was during Samuel?s lifetime the sanctuary at Shiloh was removed, the Ark of the Covenant was taken away by the Philistines. ?The only representative of God was Samuel.? With the fall of the sanctuary and the attendant priesthood, there arose a serious situation in Israel.? Idolatry and apostasy made their appearance, and there was need for a strong leadership that would protect God?s rights to this nation.? It was necessary that Israel be brought to know its situation.? No one stood in a place of higher respect as a servant of God than did Samuel and it seems logical that it was he who brought into being the bodies known as ?schools of prophets.?? Although they worked under his direction, he probably did not live with them (1 Samuel 7:17).? When these schools of prophets met it was to prophesy together, not teach each other.? Protected by God, the prophets and their assistants carried on the work of God without interference!!

The Prophets- Teachers or Preachers? Part 12

The ?new heart? given to King Saul, I believe, made him a better man, husband, king, and servant of God, but it is not the ?new heart? we receive after we have come forth from the watery grave of baptism?we have been given something BETTER!!? Was there an actual change to Saul?s heart?? Yes, I can see when reading the text there was, but from this incident did Saul become a different man??? No, because he turned down the direction and leading of the Spirit of God.? The purpose of the ?new heart? was to make him capable to rule God?s people, Israel.? Saul showed over and over again a stubborn to do it his way!!?? What was the necessity of the Spirit on Saul?? He would be able to act as a king should act, have a greater appreciation the capacity of leadership should bring and its effect on his people, have a greater ability to carry out the duties and demands of kingship, and be able to be what he had been chosen to be.? If he had recognized the extent his person now had on the sons of Israel, he would have ?quaked in his boots? seeing the lack of preparation for such a work.?

???? It is true of us today!? We enter marriage with no courses to take to determine it successful, fatherhood and motherhood with no previous experience, and the body of Christ turned inside out because of sin.? How can we expect to be successful??? In Christianity, each ?new born child? receives the gift of the Holy Spirit.? Many do not know why, some do not think it as important as it is, but when this example is re-told. It brings far more understanding.? With the Spirit, a greater appreciation for obedience becomes real.?

???? When Saul came to Gibeon, the band of prophets was there to meet him.? The language seems to imply that the prophets were there for the purpose of meeting him.? The Spirit of God then rushed upon him, and he prophesied in the midst of the prophets.? It was as though Saul had actually become one of the prophets.? To the eye of the beholder, there would have appeared no difference; ?and behold, with prophets he prophesied,? 1 Samuel 10:11? Whatever the precise nature of this phenomenon may have been, Saul also was partaker of it.? He would here at least in no wise have been distinguished from the other prophets.? Whatever the nature of the ecstatic inspiration which had come over the other prophets and under the influence of which they probably gave expression to the overflowing feeling that filled their hearts, it had come also upon Saul.? It must be noted that this was not mere contact with the prophets which brought about such inspiration; it was the onrushing of the Spirit of God!!

???? When the people who had known Saul saw him, they asked, ?Is Saul also among the prophets??? The very asking of such a question supposes that the p0revious life of Saul had been quite different.? Saul was ONE of the last whom they might expect to find in the company of prophets.? One of those who were present then asked concerning the prophets ?And who is their father??? This question has been interpreted in various ways.? Probably, however, it was just asking whether the father of the prophets was also a prophet.? In other words, did the gift of prophecy come upon these men by way of inheritance?? Was it theirs as a birthright?? The questions would imply a negative answer.? The prophets did not receive this gift by way of heredity.? Rather, it was a free gift of God ?Who bestows it upon whom He will.??? Since the prophets themselves did not receive it, must we be surprised that Saul has also received it??? If God could and did freely bestow this gift upon the prophets, could He not also bestow it upon such a one as Saul, who up to this point had shown a disposition alien or at least indifferent to that of the prophets?

The Lord’s Prayer or Disciples Prayer? Part 4

Examining the meaning and purpose of what is commonly referred to as “the Lord’s Prayer” in Luke 11:1-13

The Lord’s Prayer or Disciples Prayer? Part 3

Examining the meaning and purpose of what is commonly referred to as “the Lord’s Prayer” in Luke 11:1-13