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The Carpenter's Chapel (6)

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Jim1999, Dec 29, 2004.

  1. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Tuesday June 7, 2005

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
    (John 15:1-8)
    The Lesson of the Vine (Part One)
    On their journey to the garden of Gethsemane, Jesus teaches them an object lesson about vines and branches. Possibly they passed by a vineyard on that last night's journey. Now they were all familiar with vines, and vines were used in the Old Testament as a picture of Israel (Psa. 80:8-16; Isa.5:1-13; Jer. 2:21; Ez. 17:2-10)
    As we begin to study this passage, let's first look at what it does not teach. It does not refer to a person's salvation and any risk of losing it. Rather, it is a lesson that is sandwiched between truths about the promised Comforter, the Holy Spirit. It is a lesson about the source of their spiritual power. Their dependency upon the power of God would determine whether or not any fruit would abound from their "branches."
    Now Jesus begins this object lesson with the declaration, "I am the True Vine." As previously stated, Israel was symbolized as God's vine, but by their rebellion and wickedness, they were cast off. Hosea 10:1: "Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself." H.A. Ironside comments: "He (Israel) had gone all to wood and leaves, but there was no real fruit for God." (Gospel of John, p. 646) Israel was not bringing other nations to God, but was becoming just like the other nations in their wickedness. Therefore, Jesus has come as the "True Vine" that will bring forth spiritual fruit to God's glory. Fruit-bearing is the theme and abiding is the key. Jesus said "Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in Me." (15:4) It becomes a choice of dependency upon God and being independent of God's help.
    Now we don't think of a branch deciding to break away from the vine, but spiritually we do have that option. Compare it to Jesus words of the Shepherd and His sheep. The Shepherd leads the sheep, but it is the choice of the sheep to follow. The Shepherd will discipline the sheep; He will search for the wanderers; He will try to protect them from the wolves; yet the sheep must choose to follow the Shepherd. Are you independent, supplying your own needs or are you living by faith, asking God to supply your needs? Are you too busy to pray or are you determining to stay until God answers your prayer? You may ask "How do we abide in Him?" Abiding in the vine is like the blood which carries our nourishment to our body. To think that we can be independent from God and do it ourselves would be similar to severing a limb from our body. We depend upon God for our breadth, our food, water, and so forth. Yet mankind thinks that they are so smart that we don't need God! No, we need to be like a newborn babe who finds all their needs met by a loving parent. We are able to abide in God by the knowledge and application of His Word. Verse 15:7 tells us "and my words abide in you". But it is hard to abide in Christ when we never study what he told us.
     
  2. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Wednesday, 8th June, 2005

    As He had said

    And the Lord visited Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did to unto Sarah as he had spoken” - Genesis 21v1

    What wonderful words! After twenty-five years of waiting, plotting,and human scheming by Abraham and Sarah the entire perspective changes. Now we hear from God!

    I notice a couple of major points here.

    1 – The Lord visited Sarah as He had said
    2 – The Lord did unto Sarah as He had spoken

    Several times Abraham and Sarah and tried to sort things out their way. Every human effort failed and only made things worse. Now – God acts according to what He says.

    Isn't it a great comfort to know that God does what He says he will do for us? If God says it we can trust that it is true and that He will do it. It may not be according to my plan, or the way I want to see it done, or according to my time frame, but God will act as He has spoken.

    Why is it that we fail to grasp this? Why do we want God to act as we say instead of as He says? Because our ways our not His ways, our thoughts are not His thoughts. As the heavens are higher than the earth so are His ways than our ways and His thoughts than our thoughts.

    God says that His word will not return void.
    God says that we will reap if we faint not.
    God says that all things work together for good, them those who love God and are the called according to His purpose.

    Do we believe that? Can we trust God to do as “He had said?” Did God love Sarah any more than me?

    May we trust God in every situation to do “as He had said.”
     
  3. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    What can we say Roger, God is faithful!
     
  4. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Thursday June 9, 2005

    I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.
    (John 15:1-8)
    The Lesson of the Vine (Part Two)

    Another truth we find in this picture of the vine is that the keeper will prune some branches and others will be purged so that the vine as a whole will bear more fruit. Pruning will help a branch concentrate on fruit-bearing instead of just putting on more leaves. Many Christians want to have fellowship, but refuse to work in the fields.
    Another problem fruit-bearing trees have is that too many branches growing in a small area will cause the fruit to be injured or its growth stunted. Purging conflicting branches allows the remaining branches to produce more fruit. Also the clearing of dead branches will make room for the remaining healthy branches. Many Christians have stopped abiding in the True Vine and have withered up to nothing. They are not useful except for kindling. Many pastors have been cast away and are unfit for the ministry. Again it is not talking of their salvation, but their fruit-bearing. Their sin has corrupted their testimony to where they are detrimental to the cause of Christ. The Bible speaks of Demas, a faithful servant with Paul of whom later it was written: "For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." (2Timothy 4:10) We need to be careful to be "clean through the word" (15:3) lest we also become withered up and cast away.
    Abiding does not speak of age or maturity for the aged grandparent still needs to eat as a newborn babe. Do not think that you can survive off the blessings of past victories of years ago. Abide in the vine and continue to bear fruit till Jesus comes! It is the old, majestic, living tree, not the little seed that brings glory to God. (Psa. 92:12-14)
    Let's return back to the problem of too many good branches. As a fruit tree or vine concentrates on its growth, many branches will sprout in the same area.
    The wise keeper will prune away some of the good branches so that the remaining branches will have room for their fruit. We also need to be constantly pruning back good things that keep us from doing the best things of God's will. Your pruning will be different than others, but it will involve things that hinder your spiritual growth. Do you have a passion to serve God or is your life filled with stuff that keeps you from God? If you are a child of God, He will be trying to prune some of the extra branches. Let's look at the example of sports: The Bible tells us to take care of the temple of our body and sports is a fun way to achieve that goal. But when people are singed up for events that take them away from serving God, it can become their "god." Soon they are "worshipping" their recreation and amusements (sporting events, leagues, camping and boating, etc.) on a regular basis, yet they can't come to Church! We all need vacations, but some have to take breaks from their recreation!
    Realize that the pain of God's pruning away extra stuff in our life is essentially the same. Yet think of two people in an emergency room: one is awaiting an antidote for a poisonous snake bite; while the other is having a needle draw a sample of a cancerous tumor. Which one will hurt the most? We need to trust God as He wisely prunes both the good and the bad in our lives.
    Furthermore, God sometimes will prune us in the form of testing and trials to increase our faith. The wise keeper of the vine knows "The vine's ability to produce growth increases each year, but with intensive pruning the plant weakens and the crop diminishes. Mature branches must be pruned hard to achieve maximum yields." (Wilkinson, The Secrets of the Vine, p. 71) Some times we think that we have arrived spiritually, being able to coast the rest of the way to heaven. But the Bible is full of examples of God's testing in the lives of older, mature believers. Abraham was serving God when he was challenged to offer his only son, Isaac. Job was not only concerned with his own spiritual life, but that of his children when God allowed him to suffer. Paul was even told when he started how much he would suffer for God, yet we are indebted to him today. In his later years, Daniel was praying to God when they threw him into a den of lions.
    Before we move on, let's look at the phrase to "abide in Him." Again with the words of J.C. Ryle: "To abide in Christ means to keep up a habit of constant close communion with Him-to be always leaning on Him, resting on Him, pouring out our hearts to Him and using Him as our Fountain of life and strength, as our chief Companion and best Friend. - To have His words abiding in us, is to keep His sayings and precepts continually before our memories and minds, and to make them the guide of our actions, and the rule of our daily conduct and behavior." (Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels. Vol. IV, p. 338) It is easy to understand how the person who abides in Christ will have their prayers answered, having assurance that their discipleship is real and alive.
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Friday, 10th June, 2005

    We Will Come Again to You

    And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship and come again to you.” Genesis 22v6

    It appears the Abraham has finally learned to trust God. After all of the mistakes, fears, doubts, lies, and manipulations he came to a supreme test. We saw yesterday how quickly he responded to God's call on him to sacrifice Isaac, he moved immediately. Now we are given a bit more insight into Abraham's heart.

    As he and Isaac prepare to go up to the mountain Abraham tell the servants to mind the donkey, and that he and Isaac are going up to worship and that THEY will return. Abraham finally had absolute confidence that God was going to fulfil His promises. According to Hebrews 11v19 Abraham fully believed that God was going to allow him to sacrifice Isaac and that God would then raise him back to life. Abraham had learned that even death could not stop God achieving His purpose.


    What did Abraham choose to do during this test of his faith? “We will go and worship...” It is not often that we associate worship with testings. Abraham had learn to trust and worship his God even when God called on Him to sacrifice his son.

    May we trust god enough to give Him our worship, knowing, like Abraham, that God always does right.
     
  6. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Monday June 13, 2005

    I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)
    The lesson of the Vine (Part 3: Abiding)
    The great theme of abiding in Christ finds its fullest expression here in the 15th chapter of John, where the word occurs at least ten times (it is also translated "continue" or "remain"). Abiding in Christ is not a sort of pious spirituality, as some have said, but one that produces godly, practical living. If we consciously abide (or "continue") in Him, it will make a great difference in our lives.
    "He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk as He walked."
    (1John 2:6) If we are truly living in Christ, and He in us, we would be living as He would live.
    "Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us." (1John 3:24)
    When one is abiding in Christ, he will produce much spiritual fruit, and will experience many answers to prayer. Furthermore, that fruit which is borne will "remain." (John 15:16).

    To "abide in Christ" is simply to "walk, even as He walked," for He has left us an "example, that (we) should follow His steps" (1Peter 2:21). But this requires that His words must abide in us. "Therefore let that abide in you which you heard from the beginning. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you also will abide in the Son and in the Father." (1John 2:24)
    And now, as His return is near, it is more important then ever that we
    "abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming." (1John 2:28)
    All of this can be, and is, so easily misunderstood. Many would use this, and other passages as proof that one can be saved, and subsequently, lose their salvation, because they didn't "abide". But we must grasp the fact brethren that we do not deserve to be saved, nor do we deserve to stay saved. Also, it is the Good Shepherd that does the keeping, He is faithful.
    A careful read here shows that the Lord was speaking of bearing fruit, fruit that produces rewards that the Lord Jesus will give at the Judgement Seat of Christ. Sheep can never go astray if they stay close to the Shepherd, that goes without saying.
    Now those who show no interest in the things of God at all, and you cannot tell them apart from anyone else in the world-have they been born again?
     
  7. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Tuesday, 14th June, , 2005

    Jehovah-jireh

    ..Abraham said, God will provide Himself an lamb for the burnt offering ... And Abraham called the name of the place Jehovah-jireh...” _ Genesis 22v8, 14

    Throughout the Word of God we find many many names referring to God. “Jehovah-jireh is one such name. It means, “The Lord will be seen,” or, “The Lord will provide.” The two meanings fit together will for the Lord is clearly seen in His provision here for His people.

    Over and over again in the lives of God's people we have been able to boldy proclaim - “Jehovah-jireh, the Lord is my provider.” He provides life and health and manifold blessings. He provides us with His precious Word. He provides for our material and spiritual needs. Indeed, we can praise God that He is our Jehovah-jireh!

    However, let us look just a little deeper here. Isaac was on the altar and Abraham was ready to sacrifice his only son. At the last minute God intervened and provided a sacrifice to take Isaac's place. In this we see the ultimate example of God as our Jehovah-jireh. By all rights each one of us should have been laid on the altar to vainly attempt to pay the penalty for our sins. Yet, because of His love for us, God provided a sacrifice in our place! Here we are introduced the a concept the theologians call “substitutionary atonement.” The ram went to the altar in the place of Isaac just as Christ went to the cross in our place!

    Praise the Lord that He provided Himself a sacrifice for our sins and that His Son took our place on the cross!
     
  8. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    He was treated like we deserve, so we could live with Him forever.
    Thanks Roger.
     
  9. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Wednesday June 15, 2005

    As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
    (John 15:9-11)
    Jesus speaks of joy on this night of suffering.
    Now the Lord Jesus combines the two previous concepts, our keeping His commandments and our abiding in Him. The result is that our "joy might be full." Yet many people want joy without obedience; joy without abiding. Also realize that Jesus speaks of real joy which comes from the heart, not just an emotional happiness that is based upon our conditions. This joy in our heart is the best testimony to the world around us as we look beyond our temporary conditions and struggles to see our eternal future in the presence of God.
    This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
    Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
    Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
    These things I command you, that ye love one another.
    (John 15: 12-17)
    A New Commandment and a New Name
    Continuing His application of the object lesson of the vine, Jesus connects abiding in Him with our obedience which is shown by our love for others. Earlier that night Jesus had declared to them: "A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another, as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another" (13:34,35). Later the apostle John would refer to this as the "New Commandment" (1John 2:3-10). Notice that the context in 1John 2 speaks of both obedience and abiding. See also 1John 3:23,24 as the Christian life in a nutshell.
    Now Jesus tells them of the great example of His sacrificial love for His friends. Then in 15:14 the Master declares: "Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you." You see our love is shown by our actions. There is a saying that "our walk talks louder than our talk talks." You can say that you love Jesus, but if you do not obey Him, it is just talk. You can say that you obey Him, but if you do not love your Christian brother, it's just talk.
    H.A. Ironside gives an example of the Christian's talk vs. His walk. He said, "Long years ago a missionary over in China was engaged in the work of translating the New Testament into Chinese. He had an imminent scholar assist him, a Confucianist who had never heard of Christianity until the missionary had engaged him to help in the translation. He sat with him day after day, and together they went over the New Testament page by page and verse by verse. The Chinese scholar would suggest the proper Chinese word in order to make the meaning plain. The missionary was a painstaking person and anxious to produce a splendid translation. One thing he thought he had better not do was to talk religion with his helper. So he was very careful, and never said a word to the man about his need for Christ and the salvation of his own soul. But finally when they had finished, he thought he ought to say something. He said. 'You have been a great help to me. I could not have gotten along without you, and now I would like to ask, as we come along through the New Testament, has not the beauty of Christianity appealed to you? Would you not like to be a Christian.' The scholar looked at him and said, 'Yes it does appeal to me. It is the most wonderful system of ethics and philosophy I have ever known I think that if I could once see a Christian I might become interested.'
    "But," said the missionary, "I am a Christian.' 'You,' said the Chinese scholar, 'are you a Christian? Oh, no, pardon me, I don't want to offend you, but I have observed you and listened to you all the way along. You are not a Christian. If I understand aright, a Christian is a follower of Jesus, and Jesus says, 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another.' But I have listened to you talk about others who were not present, saying unkind things about them. You are not a Christian. And then I have noticed that Christianity teaches perfect trust, and I translated for you a passage that says, 'My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus,' and you are told to trust and not be afraid, but you don't do that. If your check is a little late in reaching you, you are dreadfully worried and you wonder what you are going to do.' And he went on with a number of things like that, ending with, 'I have had to conclude that you are not a Christian. I think if I could see a Christian, I would like to be one.'" (Ironside, Gospel of John, p. 666-667)
    "Henceforth" (15:15) gives us a summary of the roadside teachings that night. Because of their obedience to His commands and their dependence in Him as their source of life (abiding), they could become friends. A servant has no right to question a command, nor the reason for it, but a friend is given the explanation for why some things occur. To a stranger on the street you say in answer that you are "fine", but to your friend you explain all the fears and joys. It is a great thing to be able to be the friend of God!
    (15:16) He also reminds them of their calling. They had not volunteered for service, but were all chosen and called by God to do a work. To Simon Peter and his brother Andrew, Jesus asked them to be "fishers of men". To Matthew Jesus simply said, "Follow Me." All of them were chosen by God for a special work; they will later be called Apostles. Dr. Oliver B. Greene ties the work of these Apostles to Christians today by referring to Heb. 2:3,4: "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His will?" (Greene, John Vol. III p. 59) We are not the Apostles which God used to write the Bible, but now that we have the Word of God; how can we neglect it?
     
  10. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Thursday, 16th June, 2005

    Don't take my son back there!

    But Abraham said to him, 'Beware that you do not take my son back there' ... 'only do not take my son back there'...” - Genesis 24v6,8 NKJV

    The time has come for Isaac to take a wife. Knowing that God did not want him to marry into the paganism of Canaan, Abraham prepares to send a servant back “home” to find a wife. The servant ask the obvious question, “What if she won't come? Should I take Isaac back there to her?”

    Abraham's reply leaves not doubts, “Beware that you do not take my son back there!” and a couple of verse later, “Only do not take my son back there!”

    Why such a strong response? Why was he so dogmatic? The answer is in between the two comments. Abraham said that God had taken him out of that land and put him in the new land, promising to give it to him.

    In following God there is “no turning back” Part of the song goes, “I have decided to follow Jesus ... no turning back.” Jesus said in Luke 9v62, “...no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.” If we want to be disciple we are told to take up our cross and follow Him.

    From all of this I think there is a very clear lesson. Following God is a one way decision. There is no going back to the old way of life. When God leads and directs us to a specific service for Him we need to be very careful before quitting before the task is done.

    Abraham would not hear of “going back home” to his family for God had directed him otherwise. May we not look back after putting our hand to the plough!
     
  11. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Friday June 17, 2005

    If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloke for their sin. He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.
    (John 15:18-25)
    Now Jesus follows these words of challenge with a reminder of their standing in this corrupt world. They need to follow His commandments summarized by the great commandments to love God and to love one another. Yet at the same time they need to realize that the world around them will "hate" them. Those that follow Christ will be misunderstood and mistreated by those who do not know God. You see it isn't something you say or do, but the problem really is a family thing. The world around you is of their "father, the devil" (John 8:44), and saints are of their heavenly Father. Jesus declares, "But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." (15:21) He goes on to say that Bible preaching reveals sin which the world tries to cover up as did Adam and Eve. When the first couple knew that they had sinned, the first thing they did was to make clothes of fig leaves.
    Remember they were the only people on earth, so they were only hiding from God! Jesus had told Nicodemus that "This is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, lest his deeds should be reproved." (John 3:19,20) One thing on the positive side of persecution is that though they may hate us, they will listen to us. Jesus said, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." (15:20)
     
  12. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Monday, 20th June, 2005

    Good or Bad?

    Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, The thing proceedeth from the Lord: we cannot speak unto thee good or bad.

    The time has come for Eliezer to come to Rebekah's family about taking her back to Isaac. He properly goes to the family first instead of her. After he lays out exactly what has happened he asks them for permission to take her back.

    Let us put ourselves in their shoes. A total stranger has come to take Rebekah away forever. He claims to be the servant of a distant relative, but there is no “proof,” only the testimony of a servant who explains what has happened. Eliezer's argument must have been persuasive for they were convinced that this was indeed from the Lord.

    They reply of Laban and Bethuel is telling. “This is God's doing, who are we to judge if it is bad or good?”

    What a wonderful, trusting perspective! To often we base goodness on our human perspective of it. If something is the will of God we cannot judge if it is bad or good. God is good and He always does what is good for His people. Rebekah's family surely did not want to see her leave, that is clear later in the chapter. However, they had enough faith to know that man is no position to judge if something that God brought into their lives was bad or good.

    Father, give us the heart of Laban and Bethuel today. May we never have the audacity to try and decide if what you do is good or bad.
     
  13. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Tuesday June 21, 2005

    But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
    (John 15:26)

    15:26 - 16:15 The Ministry of the Holy Spirit
    We have a great God! As He shows us the battle lines drawn in the sand; as we need to win to Christ an enemy that hates us, He also quickly remind us of our secret weapon - God the Holy Spirit indwelling us! Back in 14:16,17, He was introduced as "the Comforter." Then in 14:26, Jesus reveals that He is the Holy Ghost which was promised earlier by John the Baptist (Mt. 3:11) Jesus had also previously taught them to realize that "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men." (Mt. 12:31,32). Now the Master reveals the eternal nature and personality of the Holy Spirit. He is the "Spirit of truth" as stated back in 14:17, but then Jesus reveals that He "proceedeth from the Father" which speaks of Him being more than just an influence or feeling. Dr. J.C. Ryle declares, "Reason and fairness require us to understand that it is a personal Being who is here mentioned." (p. 360) Many religions reduce or remove the ministry of God, the Holy Spirit; but to do so is to ignore the most active person of the Trinity in the world today. Romans 8:9 declares "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."
    The next few words are very important. They state: "He shall testify of Me." (15:26). The Greek word for spirit is pneuma, which is neuter gender, normally requiring "it" as the pronoun. But when referring to the Holy Spirit, the masculine forms are used, showing Him as the third person of the Godhead. Now it says, "He shall testify of Me." And 16:14 states: "He shall glorify Me." The chief work of the Holy Spirit is to testify of Christ and point sinners to the work of Christ on the cross.
    Any form of religious service that brings undo attention to the Spirit is not of God, the Holy Spirit! Many things are done today in the name of the Spirit in charismatic churches that do not honor Christ. He is truly God, yet His ministry is one of quietly working in the hearts of men and women.
    We need to be careful not to follow those who misuse the power of the Holy Ghost as a tool for selfish motives, yet many times we as Baptists are scared to get excited for God, thinking that someone might think we have become Charismatic!
     
  14. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Wednesday, 22nd June, 2005

    Asking God

    ...and she [Rebekah] said, “If all be well, why am I like this?” So she went to inquire of the Lord.” - Genesis 25v22 (NKJV)

    Abraham has died. All of his possessions have been passed on to Isaac and he and Rebekah settled in the wonderfully named area of Beer Lahai Roi (You are the God Who sees). How important it is that we remember the lessons of Beer Lahai Roi in our homes. “Unless the Lord build the house they labour in vain that build it,” we read in the Scriptures. Let's make sure that we set up our lives and our homes on the basis of Beer Lahai Roi.

    That is not our thought for today though. Like her mother-in-law, Rebekah had difficulty conceiving. Isaac may very well have thought, “Here we go again. I don't want to wait until I am 100 to have a son.” When Isaac prayed for his wife she conceived. What joy must have filled their hearts!

    Rebekah's pregnancy was difficult. The Bible tells us that the “children struggled together within her.” Unable to get a scan, Rebekah was apparently unaware that she was carrying twins. She didn't understand what was going on. Why was this pregnancy so difficult. “If everything is okay,” she asks, “why am I having all this trouble?”

    We don't always understand our own difficulties of life. Why does everything end up being a struggle? Why does it seem that everything we attempt for God seems so difficult?

    Rebekah set a pattern for us all. The dear lady of God did the right thing - “...she went to inquire of the Lord.” Rebekah had the right focus. Instead of whining and complaining she simply went to inquire to the Lord. She took her burden to the Lord. She knew the principle of Philippians 4v6-7; “Be careful [full of cares] for nothing, but in everything, with prayer and thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God. And the peace of God that passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

    When we feel those struggles in our own lives, may we follow the example of Rebekah and simply “inquire of the Lord.”
     
  15. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you. Thanks Roger
     
  16. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Thursday June 23, 2005

    Chapter 16

    These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me. But these things have I told you, that when the time shall come, ye may remember that I told you of them. And these things I said not unto you at the beginning, because I was with you.
    But now I go my way to him that sent me; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
    Of sin, because they believe not on me;
    Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;
    Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.
    (John 16:1-11)
    Chapter 16 continues the thought of the ministry of the Holy Spirit as Jesus reminds them of His soon departure. He gives some details that these disciples don't want to hear. They will be persecuted and killed by those who consider themselves be religious. He realizes their sorrow as this night has been a night that has turned from celebration to sorrow. A few hours ago they were ready to usher in the kingdom and now they are needing to prepare their wills! So Jesus comes back to the promise of the comforter, God, the Holy Spirit.
    In 16:7-11 Jesus now explains more of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. As the Master reminds them of the need for His soon departure, He again reveals that the Comforter, the Holy Spirit will be sent to them. Notice that in 14:16 and in 14:26 Jesus makes reference to the Father sending the Spirit, while in 15:26 and now in 16:7 it is clarified that Jesus will send the Spirit from the Father. Here is another example of Christ's own understanding of His Deity as no mortal man could make that claim. Bishop Ryle remarks, "It seems clearly laid down that the Holy Ghost's coming down into the world with influence and grace, was a thing dependent on our Lord's dying, rising again, and ascending into heaven." (Ryle, vol. IV p. 376)
    Now we see the reason for the change as the Son of God becomes our High Priest and goes to Heaven as our Mediator and advocate while the Holy Ghost begins an active ministry in the lives of the saints. Jesus Christ, confined by the restraints of a physical body, could not be in more than one place at a time, but now the Holy Spirit can work everywhere simultaneously.
    In 16:8-11, the Holy Spirit's first ministry mentioned is that of reproving the world. He convicts the world in three ways:
    1. Of sin - the sin that condemns a soul to hell is not murder, abuse or adultery. It is unbelief in the work of Christ.
    2. Of righteousness - as Jesus lived a perfect life and was returning to the Father with His mission accomplished and set the plum-line for any who would try to gain entrance to Heaven by their own works. The Holy Spirit reveals our faults as "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) We (the saved) have been made righteous or justified by the finished work of Christ on the Cross of Calvary. Romans 5:18: "Therefore as by the offence of one judgement came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life."
    3. Of judgement - This is not speaking of the coming day of judgement, but that Satan, the "prince" or god of this world has already been judged and found guilty. Way back in Gen. 3:15 God had promised that the seed of the woman would bruise the head of Satan and now in the Cross we see that death blow.
    Dr. J. Vernon McGee continues this thought saying, "We live in a world that has already been judged and is like the man waiting in death row for his execution. The judgement against all of us is 'Guilty' because all our own righteousnesses are as filthy rags in the sight of God. If we had to stand before God in our own filthy rags, we would not only be ashamed of ourselves, but we would see how guilty we are." (McGee, vol. IV p. 473)
    The second work of God, the Holy Ghost is that of guiding the believers. (Mk. 13:11; Lu. 12:12). Jesus declared that they were not ready to bear al the things that would soon be revealed. After the resurrection many things would be clearer to these disciples. The Holy Spirit would begin to teach and guide them "into all truth." Back in 14:17 and 15:26 He is called the "Spirit of truth." One of the greatest threats to the soon to form Churches (and today, for that matter) would be the false prophets. (2Tim. 3:1-8; 2Pet. 2: 1-3; 2John 9,10)
    Furthermore, the Holy Spirit, as stated earlier "shall not speak of Himself" (16:13), but will take His place in the Triune chain of command. He will reveal the will of God to us and Jesus again notes that the Holy Ghost will "glorify Me." We need to remember that the focus of this dispensation of grace is to glorify the Son and His work of salvation. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said: "I listened to a man on a radio program saying, 'We are having a Holy Ghost revival; the Holy Ghost is working; the Holy Ghost is doing this and that.' The minute he said all those things, I knew the Holy Ghost was not working. Why? Because the Lord Jesus made it very clear that the Holy Ghost will not speak of Himself. Then how can you tell when the Holy Spirit is working? He will glorify Christ. My friend, when in a meeting or Bible study you suddenly get a glimpse of the Lord Jesus and He becomes wonderful, very real and meaningful to you, that is the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, 'He will glorify Me'." (McGee, vol 4. P.474)
    Let's summarize the work of the Holy Spirit in today's world.
    First, He indwells the believers, living in their hearts. He will never leave us as He is our "earnest" and "seal" (Eph. 1:13,14). Now, since He has taken up permanent residence in us, He will be in the world as the One who is withholding (restraining) the power of Satan at bay until the saints are raptured to Heaven (2Thes. 2:6-8).
    Secondly, He reproves the world (John 16:8-11)
    Third, He is the great Teacher of the saints. The very Word of God would be completed by the work of the Holy Ghost (2Peter 1:21). As the Author, He is our great Teacher, Encourager as He will help us pray, interceding for us (Romans 8:26,27). Our whole life as a Christian is under His direction as He leads us and provides gifts for each believer (Romans 12:4-8; 1Cor. 12: 1-11).
     
  17. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    She is my sister

    And the men of the place asked him of his wife: and he said, She is my sister: for he feared to say, She is my wife...Genesis 26v7

    Isaac and Rebekah are have returned to Gerar. The men of the place came to him and asked him about his wife. He is immediately struck with fear that they might kill him to take his beautiful wife.
    Si he did the first thing that came to his mind – he lied. “She is my sister” he boldly proclaimed. Of course he was found out and Abimelech looked out the window and saw his, As the KJV says, sporting with her. Abimelech immediately called him to account for his deception and he admitted what he had done.

    Does the story sound familiar? It ought to, it is almost an exact replay of what Isaac's father had done. Lying, of course, is a sin that God hates. The sin goes deeper though. Abraham had passed on his doubts about God's ability to his own son. This character flaw in the man of God was continued into the next generation. Even after all that he had seen, including his near sacrifice Isaac did not really trust God completely.

    They are a couple of things to note. First, we are reminded again of the practical difficulty of trusting God in every situation. It just made sense to Isaac to lie about Rebekah. He was thinking about himself, even to the point of being willing to sacrifice his own wife to the desires of the men of Gerar. God had to step in and use a lost man to protect Rebekah. How sad it is when the world has more regard for the things of God that God's people do.

    There is another lesson here for us. In this one area at least Abraham had failed his son. Abraham's flaws had now been revealed in Isaac. Isn't it hard when we see our flaws and spiritual weaknesses reflected in our children? Teaching and training our children properly is an awesome task. May we realise just how important it is that we set the proper example and teach them, even through our mistakes and flaws. Isaac had not even seen his father's identical sin, but the character flaw was still there. There is more to living our Christian life that just us, we must consider how our walk with the Lord affects our children.
     
  18. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Monday June 26, 2005

    I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
    A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father. Then said some of his disciples among themselves, What is this that he saith unto us, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me: and, Because I go to the Father? They said therefore, What is this that he saith, A little while? we cannot tell what he saith. Now Jesus knew that they were desirous to ask him, and said unto them, Do ye enquire among yourselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me? Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
    Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh, when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I shall shew you plainly of the Father. At that day ye shall ask in my name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: For the Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me, and have believed that I came out from God. I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again, I leave the world, and go to the Father. His disciples said unto him, Lo, now speakest thou plainly, and speakest no proverb. Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.
    Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
    (John 16:12-33)
    The Holy Spirit would begin to teach and guide them "into all truth." Back in 14:17 and 15:26 He is called the "Spirit of truth." One of the greatest threats to the soon to form Churches (and today, for that matter) would be the false prophets. (2Tim. 3:1-8; 2Pet. 2: 1-3; 2John 9,10)
    Furthermore, the Holy Spirit, as stated earlier "shall not speak of Himself" (16:13), but will take His place in the Triune chain of command. He will reveal the will of God to us and Jesus again notes that the Holy Ghost will "glorify Me." We need to remember that the focus of this dispensation of grace is to glorify the Son and His work of salvation. Dr. J. Vernon McGee said: "I listened to a man on a radio program saying, 'We are having a Holy Ghost revival; the Holy Ghost is working; the Holy Ghost is doing this and that.' The minute he said all those things, I knew the Holy Ghost was not working. Why? Because the Lord Jesus made it very clear that the Holy Ghost will not speak of Himself. Then how can you tell when the Holy Spirit is working? He will glorify Christ. My friend, when in a meeting or Bible study you suddenly get a glimpse of the Lord Jesus and He becomes wonderful, very real and meaningful to you, that is the working of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, 'He will glorify Me'." (McGee, vol 4. P.474)
    Let's summarize the work of the Holy Spirit in today's world.
    First, He indwells the believers, living in their hearts. He will never leave us as He is our "earnest" and "seal" (Eph. 1:13,14). Now, since He has taken up permanent residence in us, He will be in the world as the One who is withholding (restraining) the power of Satan at bay until the saints are raptured to Heaven (2Thes. 2:6-8).
    Secondly, He reproves the world (John 16:8-11)
    Third, He is the great Teacher of the saints. The very Word of God would be completed by the work of the Holy Ghost (2Peter 1:21). As the Author, He is our great Teacher, Encourager as He will help us pray, interceding for us (Romans 8:26,27). Our whole life as a Christian is under His direction as He leads us and provides gifts for each believer (Romans 12:4-8; 1Cor. 12: 1-11).
    Now the Lord Jesus reminds them of His soon departure, but His speech is still confusing unto the disciples. They question His words of going away and coming again. So the Master explains that His departure will bring them sorrow, much like a woman travails in childbirth. It is not a happy time. But when the child is delivered, the pain is replaced by joy! When Jesus returns their sorrow will be replaced with a joy that would last the rest of their lives. Take the example of Peter, who, when he heard the cock crow, wept bitterly. Yet when Jesus rose from the grave, He especially went to see Peter. Jesus then forgave him and encouraged Peter to preach and "feed His lambs." Then Peter had a joy that no one could take away. Look at the words of the new Peter: "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (1Peter 1:7,8)
    Now Jesus reminds them in 16:23,24 that they will soon be able to take their petitions directly to God the Father. This is a new thing as during the Old Testament dispensation, the people were required to bring their offerings unto the priest to make intercession for them, but know the saints of God have the privilege to come directly to God. Hebrews 4:14: "Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. 15 For we have not a high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."
    16:26,26 reveals that after His soon return, the need for speaking in mysterious proverbs will be no more. In that day, He will be able to speak "plainly." Now He again speaks of the love shared between He and the Father for those "sheep" followed by the most clear statement and His future in 16:28. The disciples respond that they finally got it, yet Jesus
    questions their limited knowledge. He proclaims that soon they all will be scattered, yet He will not be alone, that is until the time will come when He will cry out: "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Mt. 27:46) He concludes with a great statement in 16:33. He has shared this dark coming hour with them now that they might understand it clearly after His soon day of resurrection. In that day they will have "peace". Yet at the same time they will have "tribulation" because they are still living in this old sinful world, but Jesus encourages them to "be of good cheer" or, as we would say, "cheer up."
    "I have overcome the world." Whatever will soon be causing the Lord Jesus excruciating pain in the garden it is definitely not a question of whether He will be able to endure the cross. He already fully knows the outcome; it was never in doubt!
     
  19. NaasPreacher (C4K)

    NaasPreacher (C4K) Well-Known Member

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    Bethel – the House of God

    ...Surely, the Lord is in the place and I knew it not ... this is none other than the house of God ... and he called the name of the place Bethel.” - Genesis 28v15

    Jacob has shown nothing but a weak, flawed, deceitful, selfish nature up until this point in his life and His mother has been aiding and abetting him in his selfish actions. As he tricked Esau out of his birthright, with his mother's help he trick Isaac into blessing him with Esau's blessing. There is no excuse for this kind of action.

    At Rebekah's suggestion Jacob left to give Esau a chance to cool off. While he slept one night God appeared to Him in a vision, promising him that he would inherit the blessing given to Abraham and then Isaac. Jacob appears to wake out of his spiritual blindness. “Surely, God is here and I didn't know it! This is the house of God!” Next he named the place Beth-el, the House of God.”

    The problem is that even though now Jacob has a perception of God he still does not trust him completely, Later he lays out some conditions before the Lord will be his God. “If God will be with me, if He will keep me, if He will give me food to eat and clothes to put on, if He will let me return in peace – then He will be my God.”

    Jacob still doesn't get it. While all this is a part of his spiritual growth and development it still shows a tremendous lack of faith. He was basing his relationship on God on what God did.

    This might be expected of a young Christian today. Our trials come to teach us to wait on God. What is unfortunate is when those of us who have lived in Bethel for many years STILL must see God work before we trust Him. Jesus told Thomas that those who could believe without seeing were more blessed than those who had to see in order to believe.

    Lord, remind us today that as your children we live in Bethel. May our faith be based on more than sight.
     
  20. Watchman

    Watchman New Member

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    Wednesday June 28, 2005

    Chapter 17
    17: 1-26 The Lord's Prayer
    Before they enter the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus offers a prayer of intercession for His disciples. As our High Priest, He intercedes on our behalf before the Father's throne today. This prayer is not to be confused with the model prayer of Jesus found in Mt. 6:9-15 and Luke 11:1-4, or the prayer of Jesus in the garden described in Mt. 26: 39-44. Remember this prayer immediately follows 16:31-33 where the Master had just foretold of the scattering of the disciples at His arrest. Now He stops His journey to the Cross to allow them to listen as He intercedes on their behalf. The prayer can be divided into three parts: His prayer for Himself 1-5; His prayer for His disciples 6-19; and His prayer for the future believers 20-26.

    These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
    (John 17:1-5)
    His prayer for Himself
    He begins this section with the simple name of "Father". It is interesting to hear the august public prayers that use great elegant word, yet Jesus simply says "Father." The model prayer leads us to "hallow" His name and to praise God for Who He is, but we can also enjoy the privilege to say "Abba, Father" (or "My Daddy" Romans 8:15.) Now we see the phrase "the hour is come" (compare notes John 12:23 and 13:1) The cross is only a few hours away. His first request is that the Father would "glorify thy Son." Dr. Ironside makes the following observation: "We have here the glory of our Lord presented in two very distinct ways - His essential glory and His acquired glory. When He says in the verse, 'Glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may also glorify Thee,' we have His acquired glory. In verse five He says, 'O Father, glorify Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was.' He speaks here of His essential glory. He was one with the Father from all eternity. Yet in infinite grace He laid aside the outward signs of glory and came into this world and trod the path as a stranger and a pilgrim. Now He is going back whence He came, and all that has been hidden will be fully manifested, His essential glory as one with the Father." (Ironside, p.732)
    Dr. Ironside goes on to say that the acquired glory in 17:1 speaks of the glory He received as He did the work as Savior of the world. Hebrews 2:9: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. 10. For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." He goes on to distinguish these two glories in relation to the believer. We too will one day acquire glory (John 17:22; Hebrews 2:10), yet we will never attain to His essential glory. The Apostle Paul declared his acquired glory in Galatians 6:14: "But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world." (See also 2Cor. 11:30 - 12:9)
    17:2-3 is a great proclamation of our eternal security in Christ; but first, let's deal with another issue - election. Some will look at this passage and declare that God is orchestrating men like puppets and therefore men are selected by God to be saved and to be lost. But the Bible clearly tells us that though God foreknows who will be saved, the decision is open to all people and it is by free-will that man makes the choice of salvation.
    With that in mind, we see that all that come to God are given eternal life.
    The key to eternal security is understanding who is involved in keeping the person saved. No one doubts the power of Christ as our High Priest to offer His precious blood to pay our sin debt. The choice is whether man is in charge of getting himself to heaven once he has been forgiven or if God not only saves us, but keeps us till we are taken to heaven. John 10:28 tells us that "they shall never perish." 1Peter 1:4 speaks of our inheritance in eternal terms ("incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you"). Then he states in verse 5: "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."
     
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