is sad to see how frequently sincere seekers after God are content to live
below the privilege of true sonship and daughterhood offered them in
Christ Jesus. This issue of the Herald will address a few pertinent
parts of this only too frequent problem.
people read that all men do not have faith (2 Thess. 3:2) it is easy to
assume that those words were written about people who lived long ago.
Surely, we who have the benefit of God's multiple revelations to men in
the form of church reformers could not be considered in the same
context. After all, haven't many of your Christian friends dedicated
themselves to lives of service to God?
that dedication to a certain life -- style necessarily the faith that
saves? In, The Grace of God and
Man's Salvation, David
Phillips takes up the most fundamental issue of our lives. The life that
God offers to humanity, through the precious blood of his only begotten
son, is a free gift. All that we have to do to receive that gift is to
truly accept it: have faith in Jesus Christ, and to live according to our
faith. Sometimes we don't want to accept God's free gift. We talk about
grace, but practice works. No, just
dedicating yourself to God's service is not the faith that moves
mountains (Matt. 17:20).
passing on the wisdom takes
a look at a mountain moving faith. Individually, we are incapable of
making much of an impact upon this world, or even upon our own
fellowship of believers. The only true impact we make is when we allow God
to work through us, rather than
just working in us. An elder
with a gift for oratory is a blessing to many, but he who passes his
gift on to others blesses even more. A sister who writes encouraging
letters blesses some, but one who teaches others to care for the
isolated or afflicted can bless even more. Think about the Bible's
admonitions to discipleship with Mike Knapp as he challenges you with
scriptures that are often ignored.
Who Overcomes is
challenge from Andy Weeks. How easy it is to distrust the Word of God when
our own personal experience with him is meager, or when our experience
does not confirm what the Bible tells us. We may read Bible promises until
we have them memorized, but never experience their fulfillment. An
overcoming faith doesn't arise from harder work for God, more study of the
Bible, or attending more conferences. That faith arises from the
relationship between the individual believer and their God. Only when we
trust God more than we trust our own experience can we enter into the
spirit filled life.
Blessings of Pentecost continues
the emphasis upon the holy Spirit's work in believers. We recall the
miraculous events of that day so long ago when Jesus' promise was first
fulfilled. Our Christian brothers and sisters received power from on high,
the same power that now works in his children. Surely, there are
differences in how the Spirit accomplishes its work today, but those
differences dare not minimize the importance of the Spirit's indwelling.
It is one of the most important promises Jesus gave. The gift of the holy
Spirit changed the Christian church. It testified to the reality of Jesus'
claims until the church was established. It provided spiritual meat to
nourish a fledgling church. Today, the spirit is the assurance [Paul calls
it the "earnest"] of a believer's future inheritance with
Jesus. How tender is our Lord's love for us, and how wisely he understands
our tendency to doubts and fears.
been reminded of various ways in which we can and should enter fully into the Christian life now, we take one
final lesson before closing out this issue. Older brethren sometimes
approach their final years with regret. That regret can be so strong that
it spurs them to talk about their regrets, privately, with those far
younger. Such conversations spurred the final discussion for this issue.
Aging and our stewardship are sometimes thought of as taboo subjects,
but if we can encourage just one believer with ways to use their
declining abilities for lasting good then it ought not to be a taboo
subject. When Serving God Means
Standing Aside is
a look at God's retirement plan for the Levitical priests. In that
Mosaic arrangement God gave us strong lessons -- lessons Christian
believers too often ignore. The spirit of those lessons still apply, but
they must be applied at a certain time in our lives. So, we offer a
practical, hard -- hitting list of suggestions about how to serve God
faithfully while you can, and then how to prevent future regrets over
actions not taken.
hope you enjoy this issue.
not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our
iniquities... so great is his lovingkindness [hesed]."
103:10-11 New American
Standard Bible [and all citations throughout]
our theme text, hesed, the
Hebrew word for "lovingkindness," is one of Jehovah God's
outstanding characteristics. This word, is used to describe what we
usually call "grace." It is that grace, the grace of God, upon
which we focus.
the Greek scripture "charis"
is the word from which we translate "grace." There, "charis" is defined as that which God does for mankind.
Mankind does not deserve "charis," that is, grace. He cannot
earn or ever merit it. It is God's unmerited favor.
by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves,
it is the gift of God" (Eph.
planned our salvation. His love prompted it. He performed it through his
power. As sinners we do not deserve to be saved, we cannot merit or earn
salvation by works of law.
Grace In the Old Testament
do not usually link "the grace of God" with the Old Testament.
Christians prefer to magnify God's grace in Jesus Christ, and connect
the Old Testament with works of law. "For
we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the
Law" (Rom. 3:28). "For sin shall not be master over you, for you
are not under law, but under grace" (Rom. 6:14). Yet, God's
grace is found in Hebrew Scripture. Hesed
is especially expressed as loyal love. It is described as "the
attitude of love which contains mercy." Biblical scholars translate hesed
as "kindness," "mercy," "unfailing
love," "love," "steadfast love," and "the
loyal love which [Jehovah] had for his people." Hesed
is God's grace.
Grace and Abraham
was a recipient of God's grace or hesed.
God chose Abram (Gen. 12:1). Why was Abram selected? Was it because
Abram was outstandingly righteous or holy? No. It was merely because of
then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh,
has found? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to
boast about; but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? 'And
Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.' Now
to the one who works, his wage is not reckoned as a favor (charis), but as what is
grace did not end with Abraham, rather, his grace would be extended to
Abraham's seed. "And I will
make you a great nation" (Gen. 12:2) and finally even to
"...all the families of the
earth..." (vs. 3). What a blessing God sets before us today, and
all by his grace.
Grace and the Law
is also found in the "law of Moses." The "Law" is more
than merely a list of rules and regulations. Walter C. Kaiser, in his
book, Toward an Old Testament
Theology, p.63, writes:
from being a legalistic code or a hypothetical means to earning one's
salvation, the law was a means of maintaining fellowship with Yahweh --
not the grounds of establishing it. The same law that demanded a
standard of holy living equal to the character of God Himself also made
provision for failure under the law by forgiveness and atonement of sin.
The context of every and any demand of the law was the atmosphere of
Grace and the Individual
grace is especially evident towards us as sinners. Psalm 103 clearly
teaches God's grace on behalf of such. Truly, our God "...is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in
lovingkindness...He has not dealt with us according to our sins" (Psa.
103:8,10). This was true of ancient Israel, and it is true of us
today. We also deserve to die, but God is gracious.
as through the one man's disobedience the many were made
sinners..." (Rom. 5:19). Death
is God's penalty for all who disobey him. The
wages sin pays is death (Rom. 6:23). Being sinners, our situation
without God's grace is hopeless: "No
man can by any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him
... that he should not under go decay" (Psa. 49: 7, 9 margin). Man
apart from God cannot escape this condition. Sinful man is unable to
provide a substitute, a ransom; from this penalty of death. What man
cannot do, God through grace can and
has done. God provided our salvation.
God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten son that whoever
believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Jesus Christ's sacrificial death, was provided by God's love. Only our
heavenly Father, in His grace, could provide the ransom necessary for
man's salvation. Jesus Christ, paid sin's penalty in our place.
Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our
trespasses, according to the riches of His grace" (Eph. 1:7). What love! What grace!
you appreciate God's grace? If
so, how do you manifest it in your life?
The answer is "believe." Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Believe in God's grace, and accept salvation through faith. Salvation
becomes a reality when you, the
sinner meet this simple requirement. "Of
Him [Jesus] all the prophets bear witness that through His name everyone
who believes in Him receives forgiveness of sins" (Acts 10:43).
through Jesus Christ, graciously provides the price of our salvation.
If we accept, God receives the glory. Works do not save us: whether
repentance, the exercise of faith, or baptism. Salvation originates in
God. We only need to accept it, wholeheartedly, without reservation.
Have you accepted the gracious gift of salvation offered in the shed
blood of Jesus Christ our Lord? If not, we invite you to do so. If you
have, then live your life in the
grace of God, a life transformed by the renewing power of the spirit.
this end also we pray for you always that our God may count you worthy of
your calling, and fulfill every desire for goodness and the work of
faith and power; in order that the name of our Lord Jesus may be
glorified in you and in Him, according to the grace of our God and the
Lord Jesus Christ" (2 Thessalonians
eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be
unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the
dumb sing ... And the ransomed of the Lord shall return, and come to Zion
with songs and everlasting joy." - Isaiah 35:5, 6, 10
Elaine R. Redeker
said to them, Follow me." - Matt. 4:19
is rarely discussed today and even more rarely practiced -- in spite
of rampant evil around us. Many people stray from God and from
righteousness because they refuse to learn from other people.
Discipleship is a way to take responsibility for each other. It is also
taking responsibility before our Lord and Master.
Old Testament Examples
and Joshua were quite a team. God took forty years to train Moses. Moses,
in turn, patiently passed on his wisdom to young Joshua. How often does
that happen today? Do you see very many eighty year olds who want to deal
with a rambunctious twenty year old? Moses saw in Joshua another vessel
God could use to lead His people. Moses willingly invested his time and
energy in Joshua. He gave that future leader all the help he possibly
selected Bezalel and Oholiab to manufacture the Tabernacle in the
Wilderness. He told them to teach other workers the technical skills they
would need as assisting artisans. People as gifted as they must have found
teaching others of lesser skill to be a frustrating job. That did not stop
them, however. They did not think that they were so skilled that only they
could do the work, or that only they should do the work (Ex. 35:30-35).
and Elisha are an interesting pair to consider. Elijah was a loner. He
did not want to disciple Elisha. God told him to do it. God had selected
Elisha as a future prophet. Whether Elijah wanted to do so or not, he
obeyed the Lord (1 Kings 19: 15-21). Elijah was honest about how
difficult' this discipling relationship made his work. Yet, his effort
turned Elisha into a prophet who out performed his master (2 Kings 2-13).
Elisha invested his talent in a similar way. He founded the school of
prophets. There he discipled men who worked mightily for God in Israel.
In the New Testament
the Baptist had disciples too. These men wanted to follow and know God's
will better. They wisely associated themselves with a servant of God to
learn this. John shows us a characteristic of all godly teachers.
Discipleship is always a teacher
/ pupil relationship. They point their disciples to God. True
discipleship never draws attention to the teacher. It is a relationship
that aims to do God's will in men for God's own glory. John showed this
spirit when he pointed his followers to, "the
Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).
Anyone who teaches others about God today should live by this spirit. Only
this spirit will teach us greater dedication to the Lord Jesus Christ.
too, teaches discipleship. "If
anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his
cross, and follow Me" (Matt. 16:24).
Who Makes a Good Disciple?
called upon those who believed in him to become active followers.
is a very important point in that simple statement. Only believers can
become disciples. The point is not as obvious as it appears. God is a God
of order, and men must abide by God's order. We cannot go about things in
our own way, thinking that they will be acceptable. We must do things in
the way God has ordained. Do not disciple someone who has not accepted
Jesus as their Savior. Discipleship is not a relationship among equals. A
person has to accept the position of learner for themselves. Only then
can the Master have his will in the disciple for the disciple's own good.
told his followers and believers to count the costs of discipleship.
To whom was he speaking? Those people were already
following him. They believed in him and had a relationship with him,
but this was not discipleship, and he taught them that. Discipleship
demanded more. Builders estimate the cost of a construction project.
Generals plot out a battle plan, including mortalities. Believers, too,
need to take stock of themselves. Is discipleship to Jesus something they
truly want (Luke 14: 28-33)? Are they willing to bear the cost of serving
is very blunt about these costs. Families will fall apart; friends will
forsake you. At times, life will really seem rotten. (Matt. 8:20;
10:25-28, 34-36; Heb. 12:5-9; 2 Tim. 2:4; 3:11).
is also straight forward about the reward. Wonderful things await his
disciples. They will be one with Jesus. They will reign with Jesus in
glory. Jesus will acknowledge them in God's holy presence. Obedience is an
insignificant cost compared to the blessings we now enjoy in his
presence, and that does not even consider the future reward promised
(Matt. 10:29-32, 39-42; c.f., Heb. 12:7-13; 1 Pet. 5:4; Phil. 3:8).
means following, and Jesus tells us specifically we have to
"follow." The steps are simple. Deny yourself, for him. Take
up the cross Jesus gives you. Bearing that cross, follow him. This he requires. There are no exceptions.
There are no shortcuts.
is well and good to know, but it is quite another thing to do these
things. Wouldn't it be helpful if we could get some practical tips about
how to do these things? Other believers might have techniques that help
them obey more fully. If we did the same, we might not sin as often, and
might please him more. This is not to say that there are
"special" cases that the Bible does not cover. Yet, experienced
believers have blessings and benefits to share with others. More than
that, they have a responsibility to share those blessings.
is not walking the earth today as he did then. We cannot follow him the
way the Twelve did. How do we follow the unseen? It is not easy. Here
discipleship can help greatly.
Elders Should Disciple their Flock.
often, today's pastors or elders offer only intellectual leadership (1
Peter 5:1-5). They lead studies. They preach. Where is the teaching or the
leadership that Jesus gave to his twelve? Where is the daily contact? This
is a lot to expect in a busy world, but men and women who live in Christ
can fulfill the need for Christian leadership. It must be filled, and it
must be filled in his power and might. True leadership has been absent for
too long in to many places!
called himself the father of some of the early churches. (1 Cor. 4:14-16).
He was a father, at least in the sense he used the term. He trained the
children God gave him. He was faithful and diligent. He taught new
believers to follow his example, at least as far as they saw him following
Christ. Was that presumptuous? No, it was not! Any claim you or I could
make to life is presumptuous! Our only claim to life is God's grace! We do
not deserve life, but God grants us life in Christ. Christians have a kind
of "natural" reaction to this grace, and that is to admit that
we do not deserve it. This is a good sign that we are not presuming that
we deserve it. If this is the example we give, then we are on safe ground
and can claim with Paul, follow us as we follow Christ. Outside Christ,
we are dead; in him we are alive forevermore.
may remember how John Mark had failed Paul and how Paul put him aside.
Well, Barnabas discipled the young believer. Paul had others to work
with then, and he didn't see Mark as a good investment. Barnabas,
however, saw something of value in Mark, and he took time to work with
him. His foresight paid off. Some time later, a wiser and more capable
Mark helped Paul in the ministry. He also helped Peter, and he wrote the
gospel of Mark. (Acts 15:36-41; 2 Tim. 4:11).
there is the wonderful relationship between Paul and Timothy. They were
father and son in relation to their Christian walk. Paul described one
of the choice fruits Timothy bore under his discipleship. When did he do
this? When he told the Philippian church that he was sending Timothy to be
have no man like -- minded, who will naturally care for your state. For
all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's. But ye know
the proof of him, that, as a son with the father, he hath served with me
in the gospel" (Phil. 2:20-22).
sobering words these are! This is the same Timothy who followed Paul's
advice even at cost to himself. An adult, Timothy was circumcised. Why?
He didn't want to offend immature new believers whom Paul was teaching. He
left his family and home to travel with Paul. He gave of himself to meet
Paul's needs. (Acts 16:1-5). Surely, many of Timothy's long time friends
thought that Timothy was following a foolish course. History says
people in the examples cited found it hard to learn these lessons.
Applying godly principles is no easier today. They doubted while they
counted the costs, just as we do. Some of these individuals [spiritual
giants to us] were the undesirable fanatics of their day. How, then, do
we enter into a discipling relationship today?
first step in all spiritual matters is prayer. Prayer begins the process of seeking a discipling relationship and
is repeated throughout the relationship. Ask God to show you someone,
within your spiritual circle of friends, who can help you to follow God
better. Ask God to open your understanding and to find such a person. Do
not rely on your own wisdom to evaluate who best can direct you. You will
probably choose poorly. God judges the heart. Likewise, our friends may
also think that we have not picked the best mentor we might have. Yet,
what matters is whether the choice is Lord's (Matt. 18:20).
is not a one way street. Ask God to show you someone you can disciple.
Have you believed for a while already? Then you have something to share
with others. Discipleship is a fluid relationship. It does not always last
a long time with one individual. Remember all the mentors Mark went
through. Think of the pairs Jesus sent out. Discipleship can be
horizontal as well as vertical. Pray about the changing circumstances of
your own discipleship experience. Its purpose is to increase your
devotion to God. If that purpose is absent in your relationship, find
another. Always give God the first place in your discipling experience.
can do it myself, I don't need anybody else," is a worldly attitude.
It does not belong in the Lord's body.
there dangers in such close relationships? Of course. However, this is the
Lord's arrangement. If you are his disciple, who are you to argue with
to the Lord for guidance. Look to Him for blessings that will flow from
this form of obedience. Expect the church around you to grow, truly,
one another in this narrow way will result in growth.
God to show you, specifically, who you can learn from in this close
for God's providential answers to your requests -- and follow them.
Monitor your progress in prayer with your mentor and alone with the Lord.
for learning on both sides.
the Lord to show you someone you could help the same way. Nobody is
above, or below, this type of spiritual relationship.
fruitage. "You will know them
by their fruits." (Matt. 7:16). The fruits must match what the
Spirit teaches you in the holy Word.
the Lord for what he does. Share your blessings with others. Pass it on.
overcomes will I grant to sit down with me in my throne, as I overcame...
" - Revelation 3:21
has been a captivating topic for Christians since the Gospel Age began.
Discussions concerning it often center on the "world,"
"the flesh," and "the devil." Such discussions usually
continue with testimonies about how contemptible these three influences
are. Defeat is always the theme, and victories are seldom mentioned.
This, unfortunately, reflects how little we know about biblical teachings
concerning victory in Christ. Without understanding the role he
plays in our overcoming, we
are hopeless and defeated. Knowing Christ will start us on the victorious
living is not a common practice among God's children. If we knew and
believed his word, we would regularly act with power and sustained joy in
the narrow way (Matt. 7:14).
Overcoming the Flesh
happens when we fail to conquer? We are believing our past experience
before we believe what God has told us is possible. Some people have
experienced failure as Christians for such a long time that they believe
that failure is normal. Haven't you heard excuses like the following?
"Well, that is just the way I am," or "I'm thankful that
the Apostle Paul struggled so greatly as he points out in Romans."
of these statements fall short of true Christian belief. One ignores
what God said through the Prophets and the Apostles. The other ignores the
context of Paul's remarks, which actually are an encouragement for
Christians to overcome. If your experience differs from what the Bible
promises then the time has come to examine your faith and your knowledge
of Jesus Christ. You need to know more about how he intercedes for his
do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God" (Matt.
22:29). In order to
overcome we must comprehend, meditate, and pray about what the scriptures
say about overcoming.
that which l am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what /
would like to do, but am doing the very thing I hate ... For / know that
nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the wishing is
present in me but the doing of the good is not..." (Rom. 7:14-15).
be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! ... There is therefore no
condemnation for those that are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the spirit
has set you free from the law of sin and death" (Rom. 7:24-8:2).
seventh and eighth chapters of Romans are repeatedly quoted, and yet
remain one of the most misunderstood passages of scripture. The verses
are often quoted out of context to justify a person's ineffectual
relationship with God. If we understand how these passages were written,
we will better understand the context.
many people know that the New Testament is largely a collection of
letters written to churches and individuals, many people do not study it
in that way. If I send you a letter you wouldn't pick out bits and pieces
to read. No. You would look at large sections of it as total thoughts.
Therefore, if you take twelve verses out of Paul's letter and interpret it
without regard to what he said overall, it would be as inaccurate as if
you read a few sentences from a friend's letter and tried to determine
his entire state of mind.
chapter seven Paul tells how he tries to fulfill a spiritual law in his
flesh (Rom. 7:14). In this context, notice how he uses the expression
"in the flesh." He is not describing his flesh and blood, but
rather his "mind" and "strength." He uses the word
"I" twenty two times in this section, without ever mentioning
God, the holy Spirit, or Jesus Christ.
in the last verse of chapter seven does Paul offer the authentic solution. "But thanks be to God though Jesus Christ our
Lord... For there is no condemnation for those who walk by the
spirit" (Rom. 7:25-Rom. 8:1).
people will say we are "in the flesh," but when they do so they
define the expression differently than Paul did (c.f., Rom. 8:9).
Believers, true believers of God, must never rationalize what we
experience -- because the weakness of our experience can contradict what
God has testified in his word -- and then whom do we believe?
all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved
us" (Rom. 8:38-39). Notice
that Paul says we are conquerors.
He doesn't say that we will be, but are.
He explains what he means earlier in the eighth chapter (Rom. 8:2).
When you do not conquer, pray for wisdom and revelation, and God will open
your eyes to joy and victory in Christ Jesus. God is faithful to show the
"...riches of the wisdom
that are hidden in Christ." Then you will know what Paul means
when he writes "He [Jesus] is
the sum of all spiritual things."
things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the
world you have tribulation: but be of good cheer,, I have overcome the
16:33). Jesus gives us the simple, yet hard, answer to overcoming. The
key to this door is accepting him as
your peace. He already overcame the world; he is now free to dwell in
us. We are able to overcome the world if we abide in him.
illustrates how to overcome in the parable of "the vine and the
branches." "if ye abide in
me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it shall be done
unto you." If you rest from your own works you are then free to
lean upon Jesus.
the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory may give unto you
the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of
your understanding being enlightened: that ye may know what is the hope
of his calling, and what the riches of his inheritance in the saints, and
what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe,
according to the working of his might power" (Eph.
we lack the faith to overcome the world then we must ask for wisdom and
revelation in God's knowledge. Most of us believe that we have this
knowledge because we know something about his plans and purposes. This is
not the knowledge that Paul is talking about. He is here praying for
believers to receive personal instruction about what God's power is
toward us. Paul longs that the brethren would know the investment God
has in his people. He has given us power to overcome and to satisfy his
inheritance in the saints.
are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he
that is in you, than he that is in the world" (1
John 4:4). We are
completely in God's care. We are his
workmanship. If we fail, know that he is faithful even if you are not.
Ask for faith and for understanding and he will gladly give them.
whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory
that overcometh the world, even our faith" (1
John 5:4). John
assures us that overcoming the world is a fact, but that our faith is
the deciding factor. When we stand in faith we cannot help but overcome
-- because Christ is faithful. The choice is yours. Will you believe that
God is greater than your sin?
Doing Good Works
this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for
you, and to desire that ye may be filled with the knowledge of his will in
all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye might walk worthy of the
Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing
in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to his
glorious power, unto all patience and long suffering with joyfulness;
giving thanks... who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and
hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son" (Col. 1:9
and the brethren with him prayed regularly for the Colossians. They asked
on their behalf for wisdom and spiritual understanding. Many other times
Paul wished that Christians would be filled with these things. Why do we
not pray and desire more as did Paul? One reason is that we don't see
the need for such intervening prayers. So, when you pray, ask diligently
for greater understanding just like Paul prayed -- both for yourself and
though Christians want to walk worthy of their Lord, there is none worthy
or able to do so. The Lamb of God is our only holiness! Throw yourself on
the Worthy One's mercy and fix your eyes upon him. Use his strength. Then
you will be fruitful to every good work. These are not words for the
"great" among God's people. No. They are for the common,
everyday believer. We are all children, the offspring of God Almighty.
He is our Father. Christ is our Brother and our Lord! How can we fail,
unless we disbelieve?
have been transferred from one
place to another. Many incorrectly think that they still dwell in
darkness. Jesus Christ was raised in order to translate us into
the kingdom of heaven. We may not have spiritual bodies, but we do
have the power of heaven (the kingdom, his light) working in us, for us,
and through us. Do not close your eyes to the greatness of his power.
Peter & Paul's Practical Example
Bible shows us practical overcoming. Paul confesses his weakness in
order to demonstrate the holy Spirit's power working in him:
l, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of
wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I am determined to
know nothing among you except Christ and him crucified. And I was with you
in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my
preaching were not with enticing words of man's
wisdom, but in demonstration of the spirit and of power (1 Cor.
Paul, we are weak. Thank God that he is strong and that our weakness
glorifies him. Don't be discouraged when you succumb to trials.
Consider it Christ's opportunity to demonstrate his power in you to God's
glory. When you struggle with continuing sin, let him assert himself by
working in you. When you don't preach as you should, He eagerly waits to
reveal his power through you. When Satan assails you in trial, he will
ordain his power for you.
example is more powerful yet. Before the spirit came upon him, Peter
always rushed into things before thinking or praying. He often burdened
himself with his failing, but in the Book of Acts we see in Peter a
different, a more godly man.
Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15:1-21) reveals how much Peter had learned to
rely upon the spirit of God. How telling are those words: "...and
after there had been much debate,
Peter stood up and said to them..."Peter had so often been the
first one to say anything, but on this occasion he had been listening for
a long while. Only then did he stand up to speak. The scriptures add
another detail which expands upon the beauty of the spirit's effect upon
Peter. When he was done talking the people "kept silent,"
giving Paul and Barnabas a chance to speak. Some people talk for hours (or
seemingly so) and never get across their point. When guided by the spirit
of God, Peter's few words were more convincing than volumes spoken by
Relevant Scriptures on the Subject of Overcoming:
we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power
may be of God, and not of ourselves" (2 Cor.
gladly will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ
may rest upon me" (2
be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ"
(1 Cor. 15:57).
I labor, striving according to his working, which worketh in me
mightily" (Col. 1:29).
are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be
revealed in the last time" (1 Peter
have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power
may be of God, and not of us"(2 Cor. 4:7).
unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we
ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph.
you are a Christian, show your good works. Your best skills and your deepest
wisdom is only deserving to be buried -- when we compare it to the
wisdom of God and what he can accomplish in you by his Spirit.
are no Christians better than you -- and none worse either. Overcoming
is solely a matter of God working in you through Christ Jesus.
were before Christ has no bearing on doing good works. Christ is the way
to success -- the only way. Don't believe yourself when you are tempted to
think that you don't have any basis on which to please God. Remember, he
has "blessed you with every
spiritual blessing in the heavenly places" (Eph. 1:3). His
spirit is available for your use in his service. Christ has been made your
wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption (1 Cor. 1:30). Do
what God would have you do. He is greater than the world, greater than
Satan, and greater than your own flesh. Christ is the warrior before whom
all enemies melt.
will encounter resistance. Go to God and confess your sin, or the
situation, so that he can deal with it. He gives you the ability to
overcome at the beginning of your discipleship, not at the end. Take
Jesus' yoke upon you. It is easy and light. Conquer joyfully the enemies
Are my expectations unrealistic?
Is there any sin that I need to confess to God & to turn from?
Am I engaged in practices that dull my spiritual sensitivity?
Am I consistent in spiritual discipline?
What conditions surrounded my best times with the Lord?
Have I fallen into a spiritual rut?
Is poor health or fatigue a factor?
Am I praying for God's blessing on my life and enlisting the
prayers of others?
What person or group might stimulate my life in Christ?
Have I asked God what he is trying to teach me?
they were all filled with the holy
Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving
them utterance." - Acts 2:4, New American Standard Version
times the Scriptures specifically explain how God demonstrated his
approval by pouring out his holy Spirit. The first manifestation showed
God's approval of Jesus when he was baptized in Jordan. The third instance
marked the admission of gentiles into the Christian church (Acts
10:44-48). Pentecost occurred between these two. Jewish believers were
astonished when the holy Spirit entered Cornelius and his associates at
their baptism, as St. Luke describes.
God's Acceptance Manifest
is important to Christians because it marks the beginning of the Christian
Dispensation. The outpouring of the spirit is so important that the
period since is also called the Spirit Dispensation. As part of the Mosaic
types and shadows, Pentecost reminded Israel of their bondage in Egypt
and of their birth as a nation. The spiritual children of Israel, those
who have the kind of faith Paul describes in Galatians (Gal. 3:29),
reflect upon Pentecost for similar reasons. It followed the Lord's
ascension into heaven, and the Gospel Age church sees it as the
commencement of their "holy nation."
ye are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for
God's own possession, that ye may show forth the praises of him who called
you out of darkness into his marvelous light who in time past were no
people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but
now have obtained mercy" (1 Peter 2:9,10, ASV).
God poured out his spirit on that company he showed his acceptance of
the sin offering which was finished at Calvary. Jesus' faithful
followers had been waiting at Jerusalem for some sign. "And
when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one
place" (Acts 2:1). God begat these dear souls by his spirit to
show that Jesus had presented his offering to God, and that God had
accepted it. From this time forward, whoever met God's conditions could
have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I that live, but
Christ liveth in me: and that life which I now live in the flesh I live in
faith, the faith which is in the son of God, who loved me and gave
himself up for me" (Gal. 2:20).
few days prior, Jesus had promised them that they would receive power when
the holy Spirit came upon them. Jesus still fulfills his promise today.
Anyone who possesses such a faith in the work of the Redeemer that it is
manifested by experience and who has also obediently surrendered his
life to God can attest to this continuing fulfillment.
The Spirit's Power in Human Lives
holy Spirit has actively worked in the lives of all who have truly
accepted Christ since Pentecost. An extraordinary power this, it has
been described as follows: "[An] unearthly beauty, whose native
home is in a higher world, yet which tarries among men ... since the Son
of God left us his example, and gave us his spirit. It is nothing else
than his spiritual presence, mantling upon his servants." They live
in him. They are absorbed into a higher life by being transformed into his
likeness. His will blends with theirs. His eyes enlighten their own with
their penetrating sweetness. He decides their course of action by the
power of his hand. His heart communicates a godly love to their life
which by nature is so much more narrow and stagnant than his own. Their
thoughts, feelings, and determination are bolstered by his own. If
a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we
will come unto him, and make our abode with him" (John 14: 23).
"For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which
speaketh in you" (Matt. 10:20). The scriptures point out to
us a group of people who are entirely absorbed into a godly life. They
love the Lord with all of their heart, mind, soul, and strength. They also
love their neighbors as themselves. These, the scriptures say, become
the dwelling place of God and his Son. When they speak it is not they who
speak but God who speaks in and through them. Such believers become
instruments in God's hand to demonstrate his power. God's spirit
inspires their thoughts, words, and acts. In the sight of God they are
without guile and he finds no fault in them.
tradition says that Pentecost was celebrated on the anniversary of the
Law Covenant's inception at Mt. Sinai. It was also at the harvest; two
loaves of fine white flour made from newly gathered wheat being waved in
the holy place. What an appropriate time for God to approve him who
fulfilled its highest requirements. That was the measure of a perfect
man's ability, not just the laws and ordinances which they understood in
the thundering and lightning which marked that Sinai experience.
The Letter and Spirit of the Law Contrasted
no longer look to written ordinances, but to the spirit behind them.
This is the Christian law, a law of grace, given by God. What works does
this law require? None, except as the spirit moves them to act.
of vision no longer try to please God by obeying a law which they cannot
obey absolutely. Those who are. lost by their natural birth into sin can
never live up to the Law's requirements. Instead, their goal is to press
-- forward for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (Phil.
3:14). What does that mean? It is Christlikeness; summarize it in a
single word: "love." God expects all who name the name of Jesus
to become like him.
the moment of their begettal by the holy Spirit, a transformation
should take place. They should grow in the love that characterizes God and
which was demonstrated by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a matter of growth.
First, they may only see love as a thing of duty. By that, they may just
be trying to obey the scripture: "Be
ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt.
a love that is! God's love even includes his enemies. What does that mean
for you? In loving your enemies you will no longer be,
tolerating them, abstaining from injuring them, while thinking evil of
them. Far beyond this, [Godly love] signifies the purging of anger,
malice, hatred, envy and strife not only from our actions but also from
our words, thoughts and sentiments. It means such a complete triumph of
love in our hearts as loves God supremely and delights to sacrifice in
his service from a love of the principles that characterize him. That love
branches out to the brethren, making us careful of their feelings and
interests, and ready to sacrifice our lives for their sake. It is a love
that find ways to deliver them from evil and to avoid stumbling them. It
is an abounding love, so completely assimilated that we love all
creatures and delight to help all men, to serve them as opportunity
allows, and especially the household of faith" (R1901, pg. 9).
are amazing principles, but how do we implement them in our lives? Note
that there are different kinds of love. People should not love all men as
they love God. Love for God must come first, and he must be foremost in
our affections. Believers should love fellow body members of Christ with
the love of their Master. He, in the last hours of his life, spent time
alone with them to prepare them for the trials they would endure. He
admonished them to love each other with the same love that he had shown
them. What a marvelous love that was!
loved differently than any other human. He loved absolutely, and his love
didn't falter even when it lead him to die for others. Yes, he laid down
his life a ransom price for humanity. The world does not yet understand
how monumental his sacrifice was, but there is mounting evidence that
this shall soon be made apparent. How? Through the manifestation of the
Sons of God for which the world is waiting and will soon take place (Rom.
that first Whitsunday, the Apostles and "his own" were
gathered together in Jerusalem. Jesus had instructed them "that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the
promise of the Father, which saith he, ye have heard of me" (Acts
the course of the day of Pentecost they were all together, when suddenly
there came a sound from heaven like a violent blast of wind, which filled
the whole house where they were seated. They saw tongues like flames
distributing themselves, one resting on the head of each, and they were
all filled with the holy Spirit -- they began to speak in foreign tongues,
as the Spirit enabled them to express themselves" (Acts 2:1-4, Moffatt).
Visible Demonstration Necessary
is easy to imagine the scene, the believers eagerly waiting as Jesus
commanded. Up until now they had done what he had told them, and now it
was as though they were waiting for further instructions. The risen Lord
would show them what he next wanted them to do. Only the Eleven saw him in
the upper room. Seven only saw him by the Sea of Galilee. The Apostles
were like foundation stones for a new social order that the Lord was
building. In the Lord's time, he added Paul to their number. Ten days of
anxious waiting passed between the Master's ascension and Pentecost. Might
it not have been that this was time needed by his followers? In their
uncertainty and hope, prayer must have been a sweet solace. God prepared
them, through their meditation upon him, for what was soon to occur.
did God act so miraculously? Most likely so that the world might realize
that God had accepted our Master's atonement. He accomplished all that
God required of him. The next phase of God's plan of salvation could now
the Lion that is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David, hath overcome
to open the book and to loose the seven seals thereof"' (Rev. 5:5). Here,
in the Revelator's word picture, we glimpse the marvelous rejoicing in
heaven over the sacrificial death of Jesus. In the midst of the elders
stands a lamb, as if it had been slain. When he takes a book in his hand
the four beasts and the twenty -- four elders fall down before him to
worship. Each of these has a harp and a golden vial filled with the
prayers of the saints. Listen to the song they sing:
art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast
slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and
tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us unto our God kings and
priests; and we shall reign on the earth" (Rev. 5:9-10).
and earth rejoiced greatly as the Apostle John looked forward in time
to the day when every created being shall praise and glorify God and the
Lamb. Then God's eternal purpose shall have been accomplished and
paradise will have been restored. Then it will be true that:
shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in
it; and his servants shall serve him. And they shall see his face; and his
name shall be in their foreheads... These sayings are faithful and
who took part in that Pentecost will have a part in accomplishing
these things, and they shall praise his holy name. So also shall those who
have believed on Jesus through their word. "I
have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love
wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them" (John
17:26). So may it be!
had charged them to wait in Jerusalem for God's promise, but they seemed
to have little sense about the higher plane to which they were soon to
enter. He showed them humility by washing their feet. He reminded them
that they should be his witnesses because they had been with him from the
beginning. He gave them new commandments. He reassured them and warned
them not to fear. He even gave them a glimpse into the future, describing
the dwelling place he was going to prepare for them because he wanted
them to be with him forever. In their presence he uttered that most
eloquent of prayers, often called his "high priestly prayer"
these things in mind, their last question was whether he would then
establish the kingdom to Israel. Yes, they could not reach beyond the mind
of the flesh. Their highest thought carried them only to temporal cares.
They did not discern spiritual things because they had not yet been
begotten by the holy Spirit. God's spirit did not yet witness to their
spirit that they were God's sons.
Illuminating and Transforming Power
method by which the holy Spirit was manifested was important. It came with
sound. Men heard a rushing wind that filled the house. They saw tongues
like (or "of') flame that distributed themselves upon the head of
each person present. Most importantly, the holy Spirit filled them all,
and they suddenly spoke in various languages so that the crowd heard every
man in his own language. They heard, they saw, and they realized a great
change within themselves.
things passed away for them, and all things became new to them and within
them. They were now new creatures in Christ Jesus. There is no record that
any of them fell short of their ultimate capacity to serve the God whom
they loved and whom they now understood more perfectly. They recalled his
sayings, and they were no longer obscure. His beautiful teaching held them
steadfast as each feature took on added depth of meaning. Their minds
had been transformed, and as they emptied themselves of their old ways
of understanding, the holy Spirit had ever more influence upon them. They
became more like the Lord and Master whom they served.
an earlier occasion, they remembered how Nicodemus had discussed
various subjects with Jesus. They remembered Jesus' words:
wind bloweth where it listeth; and thou hearest the sound thereof, but
canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one
that is born of the Spirit. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and
that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" (John
may have been referring to the soft evening zephyr which whispered among
the leaves of the olive trees as the Master lead this cautious Jewish
authority to under stand the truths for which he stood. This is how the
holy Spirit works in those who seek God and who accept his leading even
when it costs them personally. These are the people that the Scripture
spoke about: "I will guide them with mine eye" (Psa. 32:8). God's
spirit can come in various ways. Like the soft smooth evening zephyr, or
like the sudden storm:
he uttereth his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and
he causeth the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth: he maketh
lightnings with rain, and bringeth forth the wind out of his
you want to be one of Christ's, the spirit must possess you wholly or else
you are none of his. "But ye
are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God
dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of
his" (Rom. 8:9).
Gifts and Fruit of the Spirit
Christian must possess the holy Spirit. However, possession alone is not
enough. The Christian must be filled with this spirit. Remember the
Pentecost description: "And
they were all filled with the holy Spirit, and began to speak with other
tongues, as the spirit gave them utterance."How can you be filled with the spirit? What do you have to do? Jesus himself
and it shall be
given you; seek, and ye shall find, knock, and it shall be opened unto
you... [for] If ye then, being
evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall
your heavenly Father give the holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:9 13).
you want God's spirit to fill you, you are not far from your desire.
There is a caveat, however. To want it alone is not enough. You have to
want it earnestly, sincerely,
above all other things. Why? God's spirit cannot fill you if you have not
first been emptied of your own spirit!
was the evidence that those believers were Spirit -- filled? They began to
speak in other languages. This was the immediate effect of the filling
and it was a part of the evidence of that filling.
minded men have made a great deal of speaking in tongues, to the point
that they neglect the significance of the occasion. The gift of tongues
was temporary. Historically, we find that it was given only to a few
individuals and that it passed from the scene after the first generation
or so of believers. Tongue speaking was not the only gift that passed
away in this manner. The power to perform miracles also ceased.
pictorially symbolizes power. Fiery tongues aptly pictured inspired
speech. The Gospel testimony teaches and directs all believers. There
was no need to continue miraculous gifts. They served their purpose at
the inauguration of the new dispensation and disappeared when the early
church entered their graves.
the Spirit's visitation has permanent results. This effect is deeper and
affects the church all the way down through the Gospel Age. Those then
present were transformed. Their characters were changed in addition to
receiving power to heal miraculously. They saw that there was a more
important work than temporarily healing people. Their eyes were opened
to see that their chief mission was to open human eyes of understanding.
In this mission, the work of Jesus and his example took on greater
was once mysterious they now saw clearly. The cross had new meaning to
them, as did the resurrection.
no longer saw the kingdom of God as earthly. They understood the spiritual
dominion of God which would bring about changes they had not imagined.
Those changes were only understood by the power of God's spirit. God's
spirit was witnessing to their spirit. They no longer cared about wealth
and power. Their station in life lost its hold upon them, and they looked
forward to a kingdom that was not of this world. They saw the light of the
"Sun of Righteousness," and they warmed themselves with the fire
of his zeal. The spirit purged their hearts of the leaven of malice and
wickedness. They fed upon the "bread" of sincerity and truth.
After three and a half years with him, they were prepared for the climax
of their experience: to witness to Jesus throughout the earth.
the holy Spirit still fill human hearts like it did in those early days?
Can it still transform consecrated lives like it did then? Only
individual experience can answer this question. May each believer be
able to say with this voice from history:
with God through Christ in the holy Spirit is not a theory or a dogma. It
is a fact of personal knowledge to tens of thousands of living Christians
who can testify that it is the most certain of actualities."
Look to the Source of all good with confidence. The
holy Spirit will witness to the truth in all who fully submit themselves
4:3; 23, 30, 35, 39, 43; Numbers 8:24-25
by: P.J. Pazucha
servant is expected to obey his master. The master may authorize the
servant to use great latitude in performing his duties, or he may
authorize none. The master's free choice should not matter to the
servant. What should matter is that the Master is happy. If we are
servants of the Most High God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, we should be
more concerned about doing Their will than having our own way.
whatsoever was written in earlier times was written for our
instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the
Scriptures we might have hope" (Rom. 15:4)*
Scripture citations in this article are taken from the NASB
these things happened unto them as an example, and they were written for
our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have some" (1 Cor.
citations are frequently cited as authority to apply symbolic lessons from
the ancient Hebrew people to Christian believers. This is specially true
of those who profess to conform their lives to Romans 12:1. Such
"types" and "shadows" are most commonly applied to
doctrinal teachings. That is a limitation of the principal of Romans 7:6:
now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we
were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the
oldness of the letter."
applying the two former citations only to doctrine, neglecting their
application to Christian living, we avoid a great many practical
lessons. The Word of God should cut a broad swath through our life,
showing us how we can be more like our Savior. Only by struggling to
bring our life into harmony with the revealed will of God can we ever
hear his "well done, good and faithful servant."
regular correspondence brings to our attention frequent sentiments of
regret over lost opportunities for service. None of us can halt the
process of aging, and time inevitably has its effect upon our mind and
body. Once we could give the Lord our strength and our attention. In later
years we find more weakness than strength and more forgetfulness than
memory. Why does this happen? What are we to do about it? How can we
face our own declining years with joy and comfort rather than with --
discouragement and regret? One range of answers to such questions lies
in the Law of Moses and the "newness of the Spirit" which we
find in them.
The Retirement of Levites
chose the tribe of Levi as priests, just as he has now visited the
gentiles to take out of them a people for his name. The Levite's was an
honored service, but it was a service that came at a cost. The Levites
were partially supported by the tribes of Israel so that they could devote
their attention to administering the ordinances of the Law. They were
generally excluded from an inheritance in the land (although special
exceptions are noted in the Law).
from certain parts of normal Jewish
life, they also found that God had set other limitations upon them. Their
men could only serve in the tabernacle / temple between their 30th and
50th years. No man younger than thirty was allowed to serve in the
tabernacle, neither was any man older than fifty. Only the High Priest was
not obliged to obey this rule. He served for life, from the death of the
previous High Priest.
own society is often thought of as advanced, yet people today don't live
much longer than they did then. Why did God retire underpriests so
young? What did underpriests do in their retirement? If we search our
heart we will find that the spirit of these regulations lays out a blessed
opportunity to the people of God's grace.
proceeding let us clearly point out that this article's purpose is NOT to
tell older Christians to retire from the ministry at some arbitrary age.
If this practice had been followed in the early church we would never
have enjoyed much of the Apostle John's written record, including the
we hope to show is the orderliness of God. If God foresaw specific needs
and acted to meet those needs, wouldn't it serve us well to submit to the
spirit of his commands? He gave us a pattern to follow that benefitted the
entire nation of Israel. If we apply the spiritual lessons this
pattern supplies we may find that every year of advancing age provides
us with wonderful new opportunities.
Orderly Transfer of Power
young, strapping, underage youths could not serve in the tabernacle /
temple no matter how much they wanted to. It was prohibited. Yet, they
knew that their day was coming. They had reasons to be patient.
difference between the Numbers 4 texts cited above and the Numbers 8 texts
highlights this. In Numbers 4 the age span was rigidly set at 30
-- 50 years, but in
Numbers 8 the lower age is set at 25. Why?
likely, this five year span was the time when the younger generation
began training. When their apprenticeship had expired they began the
actual service. There was no doubt about God's rules; there was no
uncertainty whether they would be allowed to inherit their rightful job.
They were interested in learning their future job, and God provided a set
time span for them to do so.
Who Would Teach Them?
men aged thirty to fifty served in the tabernacle / temple. They had their
hands full. Read the Old Testament accounts of the volume of
sacrifices, and you will realize just how busy these men were. They were
just not generally available as teachers for the young.
retired underpriests certainly weren't ready to curl up and die. Not at
all. Furthermore, they had the combined experience and wisdom of twenty
years of tabernacle / temple service. The young lads, on the other hand,
knew that these men are around, available, and full of stories to share
about how the work was carried out.
simple a device God arranged for passing on information and wisdom. He
arranged something else, too. He provided the means to knit younger and
older generations together, instead of driving them apart.
underpriests learned some good lessons at their retirement. The service of
the holy things did not depend upon them. They were God's servants, nothing more. God would raise up successive generations to
serve him, just as he had raised up their own generation. They were not
allowed to serve until they could serve no more, so they had a vested
interest in seeing things done correctly. God gave them the incentive to
work with the young and to teach the young all that they were willing to
young learned lessons too. There were certain inflexible requirements
(for example, age). They had to come up to God's standards. God's standard
would not bend to fit them. They learned patience, waiting for God to use
them, just as they would later have to exercise patience with, the
generation to follow them. They didn't fear the old priests. They probably
even found it easier to take instruction from men the age of their
grandparents than from their own parents. They knew that at a set time
control of the Levitical system would pass to them in an orderly manner.
God provided a time of service for them, just as he had provided for
those who went before.
between 30 and 50 were serving and had their hands full. Yet, they were
aware of the transfer of information from the generation ahead of them
to the generation behind them. Thus they were assured of continuity. They
were serving in a system larger than themselves. They needn't worry about
who would take their place. They needn't worry about whether new priests
would do what they should. They could attend upon the Lord God with all
their heart, mind, soul, and strength. How much like the church's
selection of elders and deacon. Elders could devote themselves to
prayer, fasting, and ministration. Deacons should free elders for such
we ask ourselves if we are learning from their example? What do we do
about the orderly transfer of information and experience? How do we cope
with our own aging and with those services that we know individual Bible
study classes need? Perhaps most importantly, do we do it at a time when
we can be effective for God; do we wait until he forces our hand; or do
we resist until we can no longer to what he expects?
are many ways of serving God. One way is the active service of ministers.
Another is the service of passing on your experience to others. A third is
the service of learning -- of soaking up the wisdom and counsel one's
elders have to share.
is shameful for the young to refuse to learn. Oh, the excuses are myriad:
"times have changed," "that's your way," etc. But all
the excuses are still excuses.
is shameful if a person has the opportunity to minister to others and
abuses that opportunity or isn't faithful to it. But, do not failure and
abuse often result from poor training?
worst shame of all, then, is to take one's life experience and wisdom to
the grave with them -- without passing it on. It is like the parable of
the talents. The man having one talent buried his. Did he do so because
he thought he had nothing spare to put out for interest? Did he fear
losing the only talent he had?
can bury our talents too. We can do this either by conscious thought or by
failing to think. Many professedly "consecrated" Christians
die with skills and knowledge locked in their own hearts. Sometimes we
think we don't have enough contact with others to pass our understanding
on. Sometimes we don't want to pass it on. Sometimes society works against
us. The reasons don't matter, though, do they? What matters is that we
have failed to be as effective for our Lord as we can.
is doubtful that any of the Hebrew underpriests wanted to retire at age
fifty. They had turned to a new page in their life, and they lived it as
faithfully as they could. We need to trust God enough to do the same.
can we learn from their experience? How can we be more effective for
the body of Christ?
Look for ways to benefit the entire body of believers.
If we are part of the body of Christ our interest should be more for the
welfare of the body than our own continuing position as teacher,
secretary, pianist, etc. If the body depends upon you instead of Jesus
isn't something wrong? Look for areas where others may depend upon you too
much, and find ways to minimize that dependence -- through education or
a discipling relationship. Those in positions of leadership among the
flock are supposed to provide examples of dependency upon Christ and not
Show, don't just teach. Spend enough time with those who want to learn so that they can
observe how to study,
meditate, disagree and serve. Let them observe
you, in your strengths and weaknesses. Don't just tell them how to do
things, show them how: be a one -- on -- one example.
Don't let fear dominate your actions. If you don't trust the doctrinal background or
character of the next generation, work with them. Share your views with
them, and teach them. Then fear will be unnecessary.
Accept nurturing the next generation as a challenge. You
may find that your basis for believing an idea isn't convincing to a
younger person. Don't let that frighten you. There are
diverse manifestations of the spirit. Trust God! If you are questioned
or disagreed with, give an answer for the hope that is in you -- and let
the spirit of God work in the listener. You cannot convince him, but God's
Accept your role in training others as an important role to be filled.
A willing servant of God can have too many opportunities to do justice
to them all. You are free to struggle in yourself to prepare every
lesson you are asked to prepare and to deliver every address. But if you
do you will be as harried as Moses. Share your skills with others.
Multiply yourself -- you may not be perfect, but God can work through you.
Soon, twice as many people will be able to do what you can, then three
times. Don't measure yourself by how many times you address God's people.
You will be a greater service to God and to your brethren if you teach
others to teach others. Pass some of your invitations to serve on to
someone else. Recommend a younger brother or sister for a service you know
them capable of handling.
them know your confidence in them. Don't be ashamed to be associated with
them. Then, if they accept the challenge, monitor and nurture the
younger one. Offer them help when they want it, and encourage them to grow
strong in the power of God's spirit. Share with them what prayerful
preparation is all about -- and what caring for the needs of others means.
Assume that there are people who want to learn.
You say you don't know who you can pass things on to? Look harder! The
Lord's available choices may not meet your criteria, but they meet the
Lord's! Look at the young with God's eyes, not with your own!
Have you tried and have been rejected? Just because you are unsuccessful in one instance
doesn't mean that everyone is unwilling to learn. You may not be talking
on a level they can understand. You may be talking down to them and
offending them. Try harder! It may be that your personalities are just too
different; find another mature Christian who can work with that young one.
Take rejection as a challenge to nourish each young one near you, even if
it has to be at the hands of someone else.
Stand Down Voluntarily. Nothing says that you have to accept every invitation to speak or to
lead a study that is offered. If you know someone younger who could bless
and be benefited by an apprentice opportunity for service, recommend them
instead of yourself. Then work with the younger one so that they benefit
from the experience.
Act while you can. Remember that the time will come when you will no longer be able to
teach, train, or react flexibly enough to meet the needs of other
believers. Do what you can now. The longer you wait the harder it is. When
you were young you might have found writing easy, now you may find it hard
work. When you were young getting down on your knees wasn't any problem,
but now it may take a major effort. Be a powerful example when you are
able, because you will not always be able. You might be 60, working with a
30 year old, but you could just as easily be 25 working with a 17 year
old. Become a fisher of men and give others an example to follow.
Make sure it is one of the things you DO together. There are more than
enough books and lessons on prayer. What young Christians need to see is
more examples of mature prayers. Let your example show others that prayer
is important and effective. Don't forget that part of your example can be
to engage in bended-knee-prayer. It's a mighty testimony to the work of
the spirit when the young see that even the mature approach God with
These are a few of the lessons to be drawn from the
orderly transfer of power as God arranged it. Draw those additional
lessons that fit you best. We are not recommending that you adopt a 30 /
50 year program, but use the Jewish experience as a positive teaching
tool. Maybe we can find better ways of using those lessons in our own
day and time. Don't be satisfied until you have done all you can for the
strengthening of the body of Christ -- even if it means standing aside.
"If ye then, being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children ,how much more shall your heavenly Father give
the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" (Luke 11:13).
Christ had just said, "Ask, and it shall be
given" (11:9); God's giving is inseparably connected with our asking.
He especially applies this principle to the holy Spirit. As surely as a
father on earth gives bread to his child, so God gives the holy Spirit to
them that ask Him. The ministration of the Spirit is ruled by the one
great law: God must give, we must ask. When the holy Spirit was poured out
at Pentecost with a flow that never ceases, it was in answer to prayer.
His inflow into the believer's heart and his outflow in rivers of living
water always depend upon the law. "Ask, and it shall be given."
The measure of continued believing prayer will be
the measure of the Spirit's working in the church.
- Andrew Murray
hath a froward heart findeth no good." Proverbs 17:20
you want to be happy? Make up your mind to see only good in others, to
hunt for the beautiful things in their characters, and to ignore anything
else. Look for harmony and avoid discord.
hold the loving thought, as a mother does toward her children, develop a
positive character. The flower of manhood or womanhood will never
blossom in the chilly atmosphere of hatred, jealousy, envy or
condemnation. People need the warm sun of love, of praise, of
appreciation, of encouragement, to call out the beauty they can be and to
produce the perfect flower of humankind.
allow yourself to condemn or criticize others. Whatever they do, hold them
perpetually in kindness. Determine to see only what is good and sweet and
wholesome in them. Try to see the man or woman that God intended them to
become, not the warped, twisted, or deformed one which a vicious life may
have made. If you are successful, you will generally find what you are
will never find the straight by looking for the crooked or by holding
crooked thoughts. If you constantly find fault instead of praise or
appreciation you will ruin your power to see the beautiful and the true,
just as the habitual liar loses the power to distinguish the truth.
If you habitually hold the deformed thought, the
ironical, the skeptical, the pessimistic, the depreciative thought, you
will ruin your ability to see or appreciate what is good and true.
Annual Meeting of the Pastoral Bible Institute, Inc., is scheduled to be
held (D.V.) on Saturday, June 13,1992, at 10:00 a.m. It will be held at
the Mission Evangelical Church in Wausau Wisconsin. The Board thanks the
brethren at Wausau for their kind invitation to host our 1992 Annual
members of the Institute may vote (in person or by proxy), but all those
who love our Lord Jesus Christ and his appearing are welcome to attend.
report on the Institute's activities during the preceding year will be
given and an election of directors to serve during the coming year will be
conducted. Opportunity will be given for such other matters as may
properly come before the meeting.
are the brethren who have been nominated for directorship:
M. Caudle Mesa, AZ
Sunday, June 14th the brethren will worship together with the Wausau
church. The schedule for the day will be as follows: 9:30-10:15, Sermon by
Tim Thomassen; 10:45-11:10, Sermon by Alex Gonczewski. Lunch will be
served by the church for all in attendance at 12:00.
is born with his hands clenched, but his hands are open in death, because
on entering the world he desires to, grasp everything, but on leaving, he
takes nothing away.
-- The Talmud
never deceives; but man is deceived whenever he puts too much trust in
himself. Man proposes, but God disposes.
Thomas a Kempis
is the largest slaveholder in the world.
-- Frederick Saunder;
can give without loving, but you can't love without giving.
• Give • Pray • Work • Give • Pray • Work • Give • Pray
• Give • Pray • Work • Give • Pray • Work • Give • Pray