Tag: baptism salvation

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 7

What commemorative institution, in any age, under any religious economy, was ever ordained by divine authority, which had not a fixed time for its observance?  Was it the commemoration of the finishing of creation signified by the weekly Sabbath?  Was it the Passover, the Pentecost, the Feast of Tabernacles?  Was it the Feast of Purim?  What other significant usage was it, the times or occasions of whose observance were not fixed?  What other significant usage was it, the times or occasions of whose observance were not fixed?  How often was circumcision to be administered to the same subject?  How often does a person repent and be baptized for the remission of sins?  Is there a single institution commemorative of anything, the meaning or frequency of the observance of which is not distinctively, either by precept or example, laid down in the Holy Scriptures?  Not one of social character and scarcely one of an individual character.  The commemoration of the Lord’s death must, then, be a weekly institution-an institution in all the meetings of the disciples for Christian worship; or it must be an anomaly-a thing without importance-an institution like no other of divine origin.  And can anyone tell why Christians should celebrate the Lord’s resurrection (if, that is what they are in fact doing when they assemble every Sunday) fifty-two times a year, and forget the POWER of His death, burial, and resurrection only once, twice, or twelve times?  He that can do this will NOT be lacking in a lively imagination, however defective in judgment, or in an acquaintance with the New Testament.

All the arguments I ever known advanced in support of the infrequent participation in the Lord’s Supper appear to me to be destitute of reason or force.  To advance the notion that the early church participated EVERY Sunday (and Sunday only) because of the continual persecutions that then raged or because they thought that any Sunday might be their last is ridiculous!  Are we not now in such danger in this world we live in?  Ought we not to live as if every Lord’s Day is our last, did not the apostles of the first century so teach their pupils?  Was not the church of the first three centuries, before Catholicism raised its ugly head, meet generally under persecution most, if not all, the time?  If they attended had not attended when the command to assemble under the most abhorrent circumstances existed, who could ever think it does not so exist, today?  Do we go to the tombs and crawl in the grave rows to tell where the church was meeting secretly as did the Church of Christ in Rome for two centuries?  If the Church of the first century attended then under that type of unbelievable circumstance, can we EVER think ourselves acceptable when we miss the table of the Lord because of a headache?  Does God require the greatest work at His people’s hands, when He gives least opportunity?  Or does He require least work, when He gives the greatest opportunity for it?  What kind of a master must God be, if this be the case?  The purpose of the weekly remembrance was and is to KEEP us Christians from the influence of the world and its acceptance, not to find a way for the world’s approval??  Let us flip-flop the argument to what was really the truth.  The early Church of Christ was commanded to partake of the Lord’s Supper, weekly, as their souls were in greater danger from the more hurtful alliances sin would bring—for this observance reminds all who partake that the bread represents our acknowledgment of participating in sin-which CAUSED the Lord to have His body pierced- our partaking of the contents of the cup doing nothing BUT remind us that His blood is the God-given means for God’s amnesia to our sin??  It is a time of rejoicing!!  It would seem more hurtful to our souls than offensive to the Savior to decline this observance if for no other reason than self-examination and refreshment of hope this partaking brings to our hearts??  One would think a person would want to partake MORE often, than less!!  When we partake, the peace gained and joy received by participation, because of the knowledge of what each element of the Supper contains, is a bolster, not a deterrent, to greater obedience.   The Roman Church is first of all not invited to the table, teaches its adherents to partake every day even though now they do not partake for the proper reason (it never brings forgiveness of sin), uses the proper elements (they use fermented wine not fruit of the vine), not partaking as Christ commanded. Her children, the Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, and all the rest of her 600+ divisions meet 99% of the time with their table unfurnished.  They cannot meet to remember their sins having been forgiven, for they have never met the blood that forgives!!

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 6

When Acts 2:42; 20:7; and 1 Corinthians 11:20; 1 Corinthians 16:1,2 are compared and put together, it appears that we act under the influence of apostolic teaching and precedent when we meet every Lord’s day for the break of break.  But this is still further demonstrated by a fourth argument drawn from the argument that assembling on the first day of the week, unless for the breaking of bread is prohibited and there is NO day we need to assemble!!

No truth can be believed unless it is taught in the New Testament.  On the first day of the week, unless we assemble for the breaking of bread, the command, example, and incidence of record cannot be understood.  Christians have no authority, nor are under any obligation, to meet on the Lord’s Day, from anything which the apostles said or practiced, unless it is to show forth the Lord’s death, and to attend to those means of edification and comfort connected with it. Under the Old Testament covenant the followers of God met on any day the high Sabbath came, sometimes back to back days.  What would be the reason for specifying the day of assembly unless it was for the reason of glorifying our Master resurrection, the key to His credibility?  The way we glorify Him is to observe what He claimed was His glory.  “I have glorified Thee on the earth, I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” John 17:4 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”  He that loveth his life shall lose it and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.  If any man serve Me, let him follow Me: and where I Am, there shall also My servant be: if any man serve Me, him will My Father honor.  Now is my soul troubled: and what shall I say?  Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.  Father, glorify Thy name.”  John 12:24-28

If it be not the duty and privilege of every Christian congregation to assemble on the first day of every week to show forth the Lord’s death, it will be difficult, if not impossible, from either Scripture or reason, to show that it is their duty or privilege to meet monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or indeed at all, for this purpose.  For from what promises can any person show that it is a duty or privilege to assemble monthly, which will not prove that it is NOT obligatory to meet weekly?  We challenge investigation here, and affirm that no man can produce a single reason to show it should or could be a duty or a privilege to meet monthly, quarterly, or semi-annually, which will not prove that it is our duty and privilege to assemble every first day for this purpose??

Spiritual health, as well as corporal health, is dependent on food.  It is requisite for corporal health, that the food not only be good in its nature and sufficient in its quantity, but that it be received at proper intervals, and these regular and fixed.  Is it otherwise with moral health?  He who does not eat at normal intervals is seen to gorge on what food lies before him when and if he does get to eat.  This is neither pretty nor appropriate for the remembrance of King.  What structure is in your home for the eating of food?  Is this not when the family gets together?  If it gets together with no regularity, how would one know just when the regular time would be??  Is there no analogy between the bread that perishes, and the bread of life?  Is there no likeness between natural and moral life-between natural and moral health?  If there be any, does it not follow, that if the primitive disciples only enjoyed good moral health when they assembled weekly to show forth the Lord’s death, they cannot enjoy good health who only meet quarterly or semi-annually for this purpose?  Is it not true that if you do not eat, you die??  Who is the man or institution who knows how often the soul must feed but the originator of the soul?  Which man among us originated the soul?  If He who “created all things,” Colossians 1:16, determined the need to feed the soul spiritual food every week, where is the wisdom in challenging the wisdom of Him who created the soul??  Can we afford to depend on the word of man or the Creator??  Our spiritual life depends on eating, the Creator of our soul determined the soul ought to feed on spiritual food weekly, and appointed the day of the week the appointment was to be kept.  And it is not co-incidental it was and is to be the first day of the week for it was on that day He arose from the dead and, by example, inaugurated the day we call Sunday for His church to assemble!!  Did not the Passover have a specified day, Pentecost, the feast of Tabernacles, circumcision of male infants??

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 5

Among the acts of worship, or the institutions of the Lord, to which the disciples attended in first days of the marriage of Christ and the Church, the breaking of bread was so conspicuous and important, that the churches are said to meet on the first day of the week for this purpose.  We are expressly told that the disciples at Troas met for this purpose; and what one church did by the authority of the Lord, as a part of His instituted worship, they all did.  That the disciples in Troas met for this purpose is not to be inferred; for Luke says positively, “And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together for the breaking of bread, Paul continued his speech until midnight.” Acts 20:7 From the manner in which this meeting of the disciples at Troas is mentioned by the historian, Luke, two things are very obvious: first that it was an established custom or rule for the disciples to meet on the first day of the week.  Second: The primary object of their meeting was to break bread.  They who object to breaking bread on the first day of every week when the disciples are assembled usually preface their objections by telling us, that Luke does not say they broke bread every first day: and yet they contend against the Sabbatarians, that they ought to observe every first to the commemoration of His resurrection.  The Sabbatarians raise the same objection to this passage, when adduced by all professors of Christianity to authorize the weekly observance of the first day of the week; and yet they contend against the Sabbatarians, that they ought to observe every first day to the Lord in commemoration of His resurrection.  The Sabbbatarians raise the same objection to this passage when all professors of Christianity use it to authorize the weekly observance of the first day.  They say that Luke does not tell us that they met for any religious purpose every first day of the week.  How inconsistent, then, are they who make this sentence an express precedent for the observing every first day, when arguing against the Sabbatarians, and then turn round and tell us that it will not prove that they broke the bread every first day!  If it does not prove the one, it is most obvious it will not prove the other; for the weekly observance of this day, as a day of the meeting of the saints, and the weekly breaking of bread in those meetings, stand or fall together.  Hear it again:   “and on the first day of the week, when the disciples assembled to break bread…”   Now, all must confess, who regard to the meaning of words, that the meeting of the disciples and the breaking of bread, as far as these words are concerned, are expressed in the same terms as respects the frequency.  If the one was fifty two times in a year, or only once, so was the other.  If they met every first day, they broke bread every first day: and if they did not break bread every first day, they did not meet every first day!!  How can one affirm the day of assembly be Sunday and not affirm the breaking of bread on that day in that assembly be on Sunday??   But we argue from the style of Luke, or from his manner of narrating the fact, that they did both!!  If he had said that on afirst day the disciples assembled to break bread, then I would admit that both the Sabbaratians, and the semi-annual or centennial communicants, were right in their arguments.

The definite article is, in the Greek and in the English tongue, prefixed to stated fixed times, and its appearance here is not merely definitive of one day, but expressive of a stated or fixed day.  This is so in all languages which have a definite article.  Illustration: 500 or 1,000 years from now the annual observance of the 4th of July should have ceased for several centuries, and that some person or persons devoted to the primitive institutions of this mighty nation were desirous of seeing the 4th be observed as did the fathers of this republic during the hale and unregenerate days of primitive republican simplicity.  Suppose that none of the records of the first century of this republic had expressly stated, that it was a regular and fixed custom for a certain class of citizens to pay a particular regard to the 4th day of every July; but that a few incidental expressions in the biography of the leading men in the republic spoke of it as Luke has done of the meeting at Troas.  How would it be managed?  For instance, in the life of John Quincy Adams, it is written, A D 1823, “And on the 4th of July, when the republicans of the city of Washington met to dine, Mr. Adams delivered an oration to them.”  Would not an American, a thousand years hence, in circumstances such as have been stated, find in these words one evidence that it was an established usage, during the first century of this republic, to regard the 4th of July a special day for a special occasion, and follow that rule or order, fixed by example??

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 4

All Christians, are members of the house or family of God, are called and constituted a holy and royal priesthood, and may, therefore, attend God for the Lord’s table, its bread and cup.  We may approach it with no fear, and partake of it with joy as often as commanded, one time only on Sunday in remembrance of the death of our Lord and Savior.  Christ is “the Son over His own house, whose house we are”, Hebrews 3:5, provided we maintain our “profession and hope unshaken to the end.”  Members of the body of Christ are “a holy and royal priesthood; lively stones, built up into a spiritual temple, holy and acceptable unto God.”  1 Peter 2:5  Peter, in the ninth verse of the same chapter says; “but you are an elect race, a chosen generation, a royal priesthood;” and this is addressed to all the brethren dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

The purpose of priesthood was examined and explained in the Old Testament.  Holy and royal priests thank God at the Lord’s Table, for remembering them!!  We, without a human priest to hallow it, handle the elements and partake of its blessings.  If the common priests did not fear to approach the golden table, and to place upon it the loaves of the presence; if they feared not to take and eat that consecrated bread; shall royal priests fear and require intervention of human hands, to approach the Lord’s Table and to partake of the bread and cup?  If they should, they know not how to appreciate the price paid by Christ or how to value their high calling and exalted designation as kings and priests of God.  And may we not say, that he who, invested with a little clerical authority, derived only from “the man of sin and son of perdition,” borrowed from the Romanists, says to them, “Stand by, I am holier than thou,”–may we not say that such a one is worse than Diotrephes, who declared a pre-eminence, because he desecrates the royal priesthood of Jesus Christ, and calls him common and unclean, who has been consecrated by the blood of the Son of God??  Such impiety can only be found among those who worship the beast from Hell, who have covenanted and agreed that none shall partake unless blessed by the human hands of a sinful representative of the Roman Catholic Church??    I ask, did your prayers of repentance and thanksgiving not reach the grand abode of the Father and were not your hands also they which handled the bread not as good as those of another sinner who to you gave this bread and cup?? Whether you were the second or one millionth to have handled them in order of location or seating arrangement?

The “royal priest” can approach the Lord’s table without fear, for we have been made worthy to officiate by a blood, as far superior to that which set apart and rolled ahead the sins of the fleshly priesthood, as the Lord’s table, covered with the sacred emblems of the sacrifice of the Lord Himself who’s blood gives the Father amnesia to the sins of we who partake, is superior to the table which held only twelve loaves of the presence?  Are not we, to say the least, called by gospel of the Kingdom more holy and divine according to election, and chosen before the foundations of the world, a race of priests far superior to they who sprung from the loins of Levi and not the seed of Abraham?  What does it means to the partaker who has the bread already broken for him by hands that have tasted sin and cup from the same fashioned sinner??  If we are not worthy to partake, how could we have been invited?  If we are not worthy to eat and drink in direct communion with the Father and Son how could we commune through other hands soiled by sin??

The bread MUST be broken by the saints before the saints feed upon it, which has obtained for this institution the name of “breaking bread.”  No one breaks the bread for you any more than would drink of the fruit of the vine for you!!  One is called a preacher because he preaches; another is called a farmer, because he farms while another is called a “breaker of bread” because that is what he does; otherwise the verbiage is non-nonsensical and ludicrous!!

As the Lord had eaten a religious supper, had partaken of the paschal lamb with His disciples, before He instituted the breaking of bread and drinking of the cup, as commemorative of His death, it seems improper to some to call it a supper; for it was instituted and eaten after a supper.  When my daughter was little she was watching her mother prepare the emblems one morning before services.  She ask her mother; “when do we eat of the Lord’s breakfast?”              to be continued

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 3

When we partake of “Life” we are the living.  Every time we miss this partaking, we diminish our ability to live “in the glory of the Lord.”  Our determination as to how much we “eat of that bread and drink of that cup” has not been left us; our wise and generous Parent has like all good parents determined what we must eat and what we must drink to stay in health, spiritually!!  What parent do you know (who you respect as a parent) that gives their children (child) what the CHILD determines it wants and HOW OFTEN they eat??  Confidence that our Lord is a good and loving parent, we must then respect His wisdom and decision to “upon the first day of the week, His children come together to break bread.” Acts 20:7   In the Garden of Eden, no specific time, no injunction was given; and this was the only other place the “Tree of Life” was mentioned, for it was only here that there were those who were sinless and past the age of accountability, who were alive spiritually before sin entered the world, that were in the process of transformation, existed!!  Remember the premise: dead people eat the food of the dead while live (spiritually alive), not after they are dead!!

When we partake of the Lord’s Supper, we partake of ONE bread.  The proof is not that of a positive law enjoining one bread and not 12 (as in the Mosaic Law), the meaning is explained by the apostle.  There is but one literal body, and but one spiritual or figurative body having many members; so there must be but ONE bread.  Paul, when writing by inspiration of the Holy Spirit, insist upon this, “Because there is one bread, we, the many, are one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread.” 1 Corinthians 10:17   The Greek word artos, when joined with words of number, always signify a bread, and is so translated in our Bibles.  For example, “do you not remember the five loaves of the five thousand… the seven loaves of the four thousand” Matthew 16:9-10?   The Holy Spirit was specific when He had written one bread, seven breads (loaves).  “Because there is one loaf, we must consider the whole congregation as one body.”  Here, the apostle stated what must have been plain enough for us to grasp from what was an already established truth in other Churches of Christ  to what was not so fully established in the minds of the Corinthians.  There was no dispute to be allowed about the one loaf (bread); therefore, there ought to be none about the one body, the one day of partaking, and the one day of the week on which it was to be partaken!!  When an Apostle reasoned, he reasoned from what is called “established principle” that had previously been established by the Holy Spirit.  To have argued from an assumption or a contingency to establish the unity of the body of Christ would have been ridiculous and unworthy of a Deity of the Holy Spirit’s station.  Establish it then as a principle from heaven: there is but one loaf (bread), inasmuch as the apostle establishes his argument by a reference to it as an establish fact mentioned again in Acts 2:42. Acts 20:7, Ephesians 4:4, Ephesians 5:23, and 1 Corinthians 12:20.  Our third purpose for defending the observance of the one bread and cup is now established, that on the Lord’s Table, when her Master as a parent sets the table to feed His children, there is of necessity but one bread partaken by His one body.   Interestingly, the other religious bodies, when they set their tables, have known enough to not put 12 loaves, 5 loaves, or 7 loaves on their tables WHEN AND IF they set their tables, even the 7th Day Adventist, who demand keeping the ordinances of the Mosaic Law in their religion, and the Roman Catholic, which set their table every day or at the death bed of one of their members with enough money to pay them for their trouble!!  The stated principle taught in the first century body of Christ is this:  the one Savior has one church which is Christ’s one body, she has one bread which she partakes of one day during the week, on one day, only!!   Now, miss this and you can get through the fool hole!! Isaiah 35:8; Matthew 7:13-14

It would be a wonderful occasion IF those of denominationalism would read Isaiah 35:5-10.  As prophesied by Isaiah wonders would be wrought on men, sufficient to convince them that God has come.  The eyes of the blind would be opened (Matthew 9:27; 12:22; 20:30; John 9:6) the ears of the deaf would be unstopped with one word ephphatha, that is be opened (Matthew 7:34), the lame had the use of their limbs restored (Acts 3:8), the dumb were able to speak (Matthew 9:32-33), and by the word and Spirit of Christ, those that were deaf to God’s call were made to hear them, readily, so “Lydia’s heart was opened, so that she attended.” (Acts 16:14)    No wonder John believed!! (Matthew 11:1-6)

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 2

The Church of Christ is organized under the government of His Son, and is called His house and temple erected for Himself, which He called His house and glorified it with the symbols of His presence.  In allusion to this, the Christian community, organized under this government is called God’s building, built upon the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner-stone.”

The church, as typified by the tabernacle of the Old Testament, is in the middle space between the outer court and the holiest of all.  “The holy place made with hands were figures of the true.”  The common priests went always into the first tabernacle or holy place, and the high priest once a year into the holiest of all.  Thus our Great High Priest went once for all into the true “holiest of all, into the presence of God,” and has permitted us who have been baptized into Christ, called a “royal priesthood”, a chosen race, to enter always into the only holy place now on earth—the Church of Christ; “as living stones we are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices most acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:8

The “house of God” was a single community under the Christ which the apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Hebrews; “Having a Great High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a full assurance of faith.” Hebrews 10:22  It is apparent that there is under the Lord Messiah, now on earth, an institution called the house of God; and this resembles the holy place between the outer court and the holiest of all, which is that position the Church occupies and which position we will prove.

In the Old Testament holy place (and the house of God in the New Testament) there is furniture on which those who officiated placed items of remembrance. Exodus 25:30 “In the first tabernacle which is called holy, there were the candlestick, and the table, and the show-bread (in other places was called the bread of presence).”  On the golden table EVERY SABBATH were placed twelve loaves, which were exhibited there for one week, and on the next Sabbath they were substituted by twelve fresh loaves sprinkled over with frankincense.  The loaves which were removed the table were eaten by the priests.  These were called in the Hebrew “the loaves of the faces,” or “the loaves of the presence.”  This emblem of the abundance of spiritual food in the presence of God for all who dwelt in the holy place stood alwaysupon the golden table furnished by the twelve tribes, even in the wilderness. The light in the first tabernacle was not from without, but from the seven lamps placed on the golden candlestick; emblematic of the perfect light, not derived from this world, which is in the house of God.

If this was in the emblematic house of God, to which corresponds the Church of Christ, there was not only a table overlaid with gold, always spread, and on it displayed twelve large loaves, or cakes, sacred memorials and emblems of God’s bounty and grace; so shall we say that in the NEW house, over which Jesus is a Son, there is not to stand always a table more precious than gold, covered with a richer food for the holy and royal priesthood which the Lord has instituted, who may always enter into the holy place on the designated day, by command of Himself, to partake?

Paul reminds the saints in Corinth of their familiarity with the Lord’s Table, in speaking of it as being as common as the meetings of the brotherhood.  “The cup of blessing for which we bless God, is it not the joint participation of the blood of Christ? The bread (loaf) which we break, is it not the joint participation of the body of Christ?”  When one event occurred so must the other!!  One can see how common the sight of the bread and cup were to the saints of Rome, Jerusalem, Antioch, and everywhere the saints came together on the first day of the week originated at the inception of the Church!!  These were spoken of as common and usual in the meetings every first day of the week.  Notice: it is not the bread and cup of blessing which we HAVE received with thanks but the cup of blessing which we DO receive and break!!  The aim is now established as fact; for it has been shown that in the Lord’s house there is always the table of the Lord, It is hardly necessary to add, that there is the Lord’s table, as a part of the furniture, for it must always be there, unless it can be shown that only some occasions require the furniture present, and others its absence; or that the Lord is poorer in the New Covenant than He was in the Old Covenant!!  Where, then, comes the Judaic church without the table being spread or is the Lord too delinquent to spread the table for His friends? John 15:14-17

Breaking Bread – The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper Part 1

The Christian was not made for the Christian Institution, but this Christian Institution was made for the Christian.  None but a master of the human constitution-none but one perfectly skilled in all the animal, intellectual, and moral endowments of man could perfectly adapt an institution to man in reference to all that he is, and to all that he is destined to become.  Such is the Christian Institution called the Lord’s Supper.  Its evidences of a divine origin increase and brighten the more we progress in the study of the enlightenment man.  He who most attentively and profoundly reads, himself, and contemplates the picture which the Lord of this Institution has drawn of Him, will be most willing to confess, that man is wholly incapable of originating such a table.  He is ignorant of himself, and of the race from which he sprang, who can persuade himself that man, in any age, or in any country, was so far superior to normal man as to have invented such an institution.  The development of mankind in all his natural, moral, and religious relations, which the Great Teacher has given, is not further beyond the intellectual powers of man, but the Supper of the Lord is as far above man’s intellect as the creation of the sun, moon, and stars is beyond his physical strength.

The eye of man cannot see itself; the ear of man cannot hear itself; nor the understanding of man discern itself; but there is One who sees the human eye, who hears the ear, and who discerns the human understanding.  He it is who alone is skilled in revealing man to himself, and Himself to man.  He who made the eye of man, can He not see?  He who made the ear of man, can He not hear?  He who made the heart of man, can He not know?  None among man could have created such an institution.

It is as supernatural to adapt a system to man as it is to create him.  He has never thought much upon his own powers, who has not seen as much wisdom on the outside as in the inside of the human head.  To suit the outside to the inside required as much wisdom as to suit the inside to the outside, and yet the exterior arrangement exists for the interior.  To fashion a house for the human soul exhibits as many attributes of the Creator as fashioning a human spirit for its habitation!!  Man, therefore, could as easily make a system of religion to suit himself.  It will be admitted, that it calls for as much skill to adapt the appendages to the human eye, as the human eye to its appendages.  To us it is equally plain, that it requires as much wisdom to adapt a religion to man, circumstanced as he is, as to create him an intellectual and moral being!  This did not come about by luck, nor was it fashioned by accidental circumstance, it came about through wisdom beyond our highest consideration, and it is to be admired!!

To come into the kingdom of Christ is one thing, and to live as a wise, happy, and good citizen of that kingdom, is another.  As every human kingdom has its constitution, laws, ordinances, manners, and customs; so has the kingdom of the Great King.   He, then, who would be a good and happy citizen of this kingdom, must understand and submit to its constitution, laws, and customs.  The Designer of the Kingdom of the Great King added brilliance to possibility when He put in that kingdom institutions which would enable those of this kingdom to be successful in being citizens profitable to the King, the Kingdom, and the citizen, himself.

There IS  a church on earth, called the House of God. 1 Timothy 3:15   The citizens of this institution did not enter it by physical birth nor was physical circumcision the outward sign of its coincidental agreement with the Godhead.   The most high God dwells not in temples made with human hands; yet He condescended in the age of types to have a temple erected for Himself, which He called His house, and glorified it with the symbols of His presence.  In allusion to this, the Christian community, organized under the government of His Son, is called His house and temple.  “You are God’s building,” says Paul to a Christian community to whom he wrote.  This building is said to be “built upon the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ being the chief cornerstone.”  “Know you not that you are the temple of God?  The temple of God is holy, which temple you are.”

In allusion to the Jewish temple, the Christian church occupies the middle space between the outer court and the holiest of all.  “The holiest place made with hands were the figures of the true”.  In this holy place was the “table of the Lord” on which the bread of each tribe was placed new, every week.

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 42

Examples or en samples are good for nothing if the example does not show what the writer is striving to teach. Christ entered into the throws of death, as a boxer enters the ring in a boxing match. He was not made, as some teach, nor did He entreat the Father to extricate Him. In no cowardly fashion did our Lord and Captain approach His death. Paul, as he is directed by the Holy Spirit, uses verbiage that teaches the Hebrew Christians NOT to ever relinquish or surrender citing them example after example previous to citing them Christ, to prove his position. “Ye have not resisted unto blood.” The image here is from pugilism (boxing), as the Holy Spirit previously had the image of a race, both being taken from the great national games of the Greeks, the example could not be used if it had not existed, it would not teach a lesson. An example of fighting an opponent would have been useless had our Lord “withdrew from the ring” as some contend in Gethsemane! The brethren to whom Paul was writing were to suffer the loss of goods, and become a gazing-stock by reproaches and afflictions; they would shed blood (Hebrews 13:7). “The athlete who had seen his own blood, and who, though cast down by his opponent, let his spirits be cast down as often as he had fallen, had to be exhorted to rise the more determined than ever to win the contest. The fighter goes into the ring and anticipation and intends to win!! What mockery this would have presented the world if the Captain of our salvation had failed to “win the race, set before Him.?”
We are to fight against sin, not give in to it. Sin is personified as an adversary; sin, whether with you attempting to spare your blood, or in our adversaries, leading them to shed it, if they could not through your faithfulness even unto blood, see some example in Christ to cause them to fight to the death, how would this example induce them to continue in the faith? The cause of the conflict was sin, the gentle and moderate would never stand up to the fight. The fight has a good cause, for sin is the worst enemy both to God and man. We are engaged in spiritual warfare, which is both honorable and worthwhile. We are not defending ourselves, we are defending the Captain of our Salvation, we are enlisted under His banner, against sinful doctrines, practices, and habits. We cannot “throw in the towel” because the opponent is too strong, we have to bear up under the fiercest odds. Thankfully, our Lord, does not call His people out to the hardest battles at first, but wisely trains them by the easier rounds to be prepared for greater. He will not put new wine into weak vessels, He is the “gentle shepherd,” who will not ruin the “young ones in the flock” by breaking their spirits in conflicts that the wisest and most tried would have trouble bearing!! As He, we CAN bear up under battle!!
It becomes Christians to take notice of the gentleness of Christ in accommodating their trial to their strength. We should not over play our afflictions, but should take notice of the mercy that is mixed with them, and should admire, pity, and use as examples those who are called to the fiery trials to “resist to blood;” not to shed the blood of their enemies, but to seal their testimony with their blood!! This the example of our Lord and why it is used!! Afflictions endured, though they may be the fruits of God’s displeasure, are yet proofs of His paternal love to His people. “Whom the Lord loves, He chastises, and scourges every son whom He receives.” The best of God’s children need correction; we are His family, and shall not escape His rebukes even when we want not to have them. In this He acts as a father, and treats us like children. No wise and good father will wink at faults in His own children as he would in others; his relation and his affection oblige him to take more notice of the faults of his own children rather than those of his brothers! If God allowed us to go on in sin without correction, He would show us a bad sign, that He was alienated from us, and cause us to think we were bastards or strangers, not sons. Many call Him Father, because He is the head of the church; but do not appreciate His affection in correction!! If we are resistant to His correction and behave worse toward Him than we have to our earthly fathers, we show Him no reverence!! But, who can be proud of a father who is called a coward by His won children??, that which, some of the sons of the Almighty call our Captain!!
Children who have parents that will not correct them when wrong are loved less by the very parent that brought them into this world than they deserve. Do not expect this of our righteous King!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 41

“We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” Hebrews 12:1 Who would the could of “witnesses” be? How are we “compassed about”? What has this to do with the 11th chapter which has received so much more attention than this part of the 12th?
Being “compassed about” has been expressed to inform the Christians who were attempting to include the Law of Moses with the Law of Christ by showing them which trials are apart of Christianity! The “witnesses” are definitely not apart of the denomination of the Watch Tower nor the Arian heresy of the second century, they were the soldiers in a spiritual army that had been called to duty, and obeyed the call, even at the expense of their physical life and not complained about it!! Important to remember is that they who are on record in the 11th chapter were they who had no knowledge of the “end.” Without the promise of reward, many will not even dare to enter the fray, yet these (most of these) were not privy to special knowledge or information that would make their decision easier to make! When one knows the reward, it is a lot easier to make the commitment! Trials are apart of every life, faint trials that are considered such, are not considerations, but to be unable to know the results of faithfulness, in order to have faithfulness, makes the trial harder to bear. The Law of Moses was a law of terror, not of hope. To despise the penalties imposed in proportion to the greater privileges offered, makes our decision so much easier than the heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11. The “numberless cloud“ are the “unknown.” Their testimony defies determined response based on stimuli. The witnesses, Greek word martus, are first spectators. Next, they are those who after His example have prove the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death, they are martyrs. They who are witnessed now have become witnesses to the faithfulness of God to His people, for He has prepared for them a Home!! “That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12
In Rome, the spectators gave additional spirit to the combatants, so the “cloud of witnesses” who have themselves been in the same contest, increased in earnestness, due to God’s faithfulness. They, who had gone through the same combat, could fortify the courage and industry of we who have yet to enter that arena. By the fact they still are testifying, they instill and encourage our strength that might have been mutating a little to stand even stronger. Some had won the battle and testified of the faithfulness of God standing by them in the hour of deepest trial!! “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:16-17 This extraordinary wisdom and courage, to enable Paul to speak so much the better himself when nobody else would defend him, shows how “God caused His face to shine upon him.“ What a favor and privilege to be put into such a position to receive such a blessing. Wonder if Paul would have traded this privilege for anything the world would have offered?? The “privilege”? What meant more to Paul than the “preaching of the gospel”? Answer: nothing!! If front of whom was Paul able to present Jesus Christ that no other man alive had had the opportunity?? NERO. Nero was the lion! For this, Paul by inspiration reasoned, if he could escape Nero and his might from what was it that God could not deliver him? “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” When God quits delivering, our work is over!! Matthew 11:1-7. Guess John had this rule down pretty well!! Former deliverences provide future hope!! We are in a Heavenly kingdom and the Lord will preserve His faithful for His greater good. We ought to give God the glory of all past, present, and future deliverances: “To whom be glory for ever and ever more, Amen.”
I have to put this in for future references: Paul in 2 Timothy left Trophimus at Miletus, sick. This will mess up the Pentecostals and Healers, won’t it?? Though the apostles healed all manner of diseases miraculously, only for confirmation of the gospel, they did not have permission to exert such power on their friends and associates for personnel gain!! Jesus did not get John the Baptist out of jail, either!! Maybe we blame God when in fact, He has given us a privilege. We just don’t recognize it!!

The Last Week of Jesus Life Part 40

What often is overlooked about Christ on His way to Calvary was His despite for the cross, the pain and agony, and the shame accompanied. Christ despised, counted as nothing of importance the cost He was to pay for the forgiveness of sin on man’s behalf. What a prize our Lord is fo all who follow Him to eternity. He FINISHED!! If there is anything to be considered in the definition of words, finish is what most people do not do well!! There was no quit in the Lord. He came to “do the will of the Father.” What it cost to do that Will was of no consequence, it would be done. When trials met Christ on His journey, He endured! The Greek word means to preserve; under misfortunes and trials to hold fast to one’s faith; to bear bravely and calmly ill treatments. Inordinate care for His body, this present life, and the world were not even in consideration. The fondness most have for this world actually becomes a dead weight pulling as an undertow. It pulls down when they need most to ascend. It pulls back whey we should press forward. There are many things that can come across our path of life when we travel. These things become a drag on our spirit and drag us into complacency, it causes us to put the world before the Lord, and it causes our cares to be for the wrong life!! The more the weight they pull, the heavier becomes our load, and the more we find ourselves doing exactly the opposite of what we intended when we entered the race!! The love affair we have with the things of the world have to be held in check or they will control our place of habitation for eternity! For some to think Christ was so naive as to not consider the cost before going to war is ridiculous!! Remember the parable of the king who “counted the cost?” Was this king wiser than our Lord? Did this King have more integrity than the God who created the heavens and the earth? Luke 14:28-32 It seems ridiculous that some faithless unbeliever would preach that our Lord was not as wise as the King!! If you think a King too high, what about the man who was to build a tower? Either the darling sin of the Jews, the over-fondness for the world, or the damning sin of unbelief causes this lack of drive to achieve the goal. Does this describe our Lord?
The race MUST be run!! That is what most of us do not consider. One day it will be finished-then what? Our Lord knew when He came into the world He was to die. He knew it before He created the heavens and the earth. He knew it as a baby in Mary’s arms. He knew what it would take for the Father to forgive sin. Do you think He dreaded His roll? When Christ was drawn out into the desert by Satan to be tried, did He throw up because of fear? Did He not know Satan? Had they ever met? Was He not Satan’s creator, also? If Christ had dreaded the cross as much as some of our brethren preach, could He just have not created Satan?? When He created Him, did Christ not pre-determine His death at Calvary? When Satan led Him off into the wilderness did Christ hesitate or was His spirit within Him such that He eagerly went out for the challenge? The book says “Jesus was led up of the spirit into the wilderness.” Matthew 4:1 The word “lead up” means to launch out, set sail, put to sea. Is this accidental? Or on purpose?? What spirit lead Him, His own spirit of the Holy Spirit? It is interesting, is it not that never are we without the tempter no matter what station we have in the Kingdom? Great privileges and special allowances will not secure us from being “tempted”!!
We had better consider that when we have great honors bestowed on us Satan or one of his imps will be around to check our resolve to be a child of God! Expect something humbling!! God usually prepares His people for temptation BEFORE He calls them to it; He gives strength according to the day, and, before a sharp trial, gives more than ordinary temptation, the good Spirit of adoption has already written out our plan of escape in that mighty book called the Bible which gives the answer to all the suggestions of the evil spirit that is trying to debauch or destroy us!! When we have been invited into the communion of God, we must expect we are at our weakest, then is when the evil one will set upon us. The Bible calls temptations fiery darts, thorns in the flesh, buffetings, siftings, wrestlings, combats, all which denote hardship and suffering!! Christ submitted to them because He humbled Himself, we are watched over, guarded, and protected BUT we too must show our colors!! Though Satan is the strong man armed, the Captain of or salvation is stronger than he!! Physical weakness from fasting never deterred the drive of His spirit for battle. Our Captain won the day!!