Our latest podcast presents ten minutes of wisdom entitled “Prick Kicking.” This isn’t about bar fighting but, rather, about ministries whose ministry is to attack other ministries.
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Wednesday, January 30, 2008
A View of the True Church
By Randall Walton
In this twenty-first century of the Christian era, there is a massive array of religious organizations that are known as “The Church.” Most of these institutions consider themselves an example of the true and accepted church of God, or as having God’s stamp of approval.
But of the hundreds of different denominations scattered abroad, no two are exactly alike, by which we know that they are most certainly not all “God-ordained.” In fact, it is our solemn conviction that there does not exist anywhere on earth a “true church,” or one that follows the pattern that is laid out in the Book of Acts. It is our contention that the body which was established by Jesus Christ through His apostles is/was the only corporeal Body which has ever met the demands and standards of its Founder, and it is quite evident that it was very short-lived!
While it remains true that a handful of faithful followers have existed down through the dark centuries since the passing of the apostles, it is also true that the divine pattern, which they knew, has never been replicated. We seriously wonder how anyone can refer to their own religious company as a “New Testament Church.”
Let us substantiate this claim with a brief profile of that pristine body which was established by none other than the Lord of Glory Himself, and which existed but a few short years due to carnality that was allowed to go on unabated and unchecked.
- They were all with ONE ACCORD (Acts 1:14; Acts 2:1; Acts 4:24; Acts 5:12).
It is doubtful that this condition has existed at any time since those days. There have been attempts made to require everyone under some regime to conform to certain set of ideas and beliefs, but all of these have failed to succeed because it is “with the heart” that man believes; no regime or order has been able to conquer, control, or change man’s heart. The 120 saints who gathered in the upper room were united in their fervor, zeal, and aim/purpose. We do not assume that they believed every minor and major point exactly alike, but they were of one accord in their desire to please God and to see God’s will done.
- They were baptized with the Holy Ghost (Acts 1:5; Acts 10:44-46; Acts 11:15-17; Acts 19:6).
Just prior to Jesus’ ascension, He told the apostles to remain in Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father. “For John truly baptized with water; but YE SHALL BE BAPTIZED WITH THE HOLY GHOST not many days hence” (Acts 1:5). So it was just seven days later that Pentecost was fully come and these saints (about 120, both men and women) were baptized with the Holy Spirit, the evidence of which was that they all spoke with “tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.”
3. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4; Acts 4:8 & 31; Acts 9:17; Acts 13:9 & 52; Ephesians 5:18).
There is much talk today about “Spirit filled churches,” “Spirit filled preachers,” etc., but the early church bore the signs thereof. Where are Spirit-filled people today? Just because a person speaks in tongues, or rolls on the floor, or dances a holy jig does not mean that person is filled with the Spirit. Filled means FILLED. Being filled is not the same as an anointing of the Spirit, either. Too many people claim to be filled with the Spirit who are not filled at all.
- The early church was a channel of power (Acts 1:8; Acts 5:5-10 & 12-16; Acts 9:36-42; Acts 12:4-10; Acts 20:8-10; etc.).
“But ye shall receive POWER (dunamis, [dynamite] Grk.), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Supernatural power was one of the earmarks of the church. There was power over sickness, sin, Satan and death. Jesus had stated that “he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father” (John 14:12).
Very little power is demonstrated among believers today. Sin and lawlessness dominate most of the religious scene today, whereas in the early church, even liars were smitten by the power of God (Acts 5:1-10). Demons were cast out of those who were possessed; an ungodly man was struck with blindness (Acts 13:11); a fornicator was turned over to Satan (1 Cor. 5:4-5).
5 5. They had all things common (Acts 2:44-45; Acts 4:32-37).
One of the outstanding out comes of the Pentecostal experience was the selflessness of the people, a condition which is sorely lacking among the professors of the Christian faith today. The outpouring of the Spirit not only changed their manner of worship, but also their manner of living. Now, no man called anything his own, but distribution was made of all the resources according to each one’s needs.
6 6. The FRUIT of the Spirit was manifest:
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith(fullness), meekness, temperance”
Fruit is a product, or the result of certain action having taken place. In this case, it is the Holy Spirit at work in the heart supplying the necessary impetus and spiritual nutrition to produce the expected results.
In a study of the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament, it is very easy to find evidence of each of these divine qualities, thereby confirming the fact that the Holy Spirit was actively at work within them, aiding in the production of these characteristics of the divine nature.
- They had the Gifts of the Spirit.
“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of WISDOM; to another the word of KNOWLEDGE by the same spirit; to another FAITH by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of HEALING by the same Spirit; to another the working of MIRACLES; to another PROPHECY; to another DISCERNING of spirits; to another divers kinds of TONGUES; to another the INTERPRETATIONS of tongues” (1st Corinthians 12:7-10).
The operation of these gifts in the church made it a vibrant, powerful, living body of which Jesus was the Head.
While it is true that there are many claims today of apostolic succession and the use of the gifts of the Spirit, it is probably safe to say at least 99%+ of these claims are false. We do not know of any place where these nine gifts (or even one) are in existence. We have witnessed many counterfeit attempts to display these spiritual manifestations, but to this present hour we have not discovered the genuine.
These nine spiritual gifts set the early church apart from all other religious orders. There was never anything like this before, and there has not been an equal to it since it slowly faded into oblivion.
- They had God-ordained Ministries.
“And He gave some apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11).
These 5 ministries or offices are generally referred to as the “Five-Fold Ministry.” There are several religious bodies that claim to have these ministries. Frankly we doubt that all of these offices are in existence today. It would be truly wonderful if this was true, but the record speaks differently.
Compare today’s professed apostles with the apostles in the Scriptures. Based on the information we have, these modern apostles are man-made, not God-ordained. And if God has not sent them, they are not true apostles.
The same can be said of the prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers.
Too many professing ministers of the gospel have chosen their careers as a vocation. God did not call them: they chose their particular job. This is not to say that there are no God-called ministers, for some are surely bearing good fruit, but it is a skinny minority to whom this applies!
A Restoration Promised
Would you like to see a truly New Testament Church? On the basis of what we have covered thus far, it is plain that no such creature exists on this planet today (This includes People of the Living God).
However, we have the assurance that God is going to restore the Church to its original splendor and glory, and that before Jesus returns in the clouds:
“Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it: That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of the water by the word; That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).
“And He shall send Jesus Christ…Whom the heaven must receive (keep) until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began (from “of old,” Grk)” (Acts 3:20-21).
It is on God’s program---this restoration of all that once belonged to the people of God: the same glory, the same power, the same ministries, gifts, manner of life, and experiences. The greatest display of spiritual might and power is due before Jesus comes back to judge the world in righteousness.
But the church (lit. the people of God) must first be sanctified and cleansed. There exists too much worldliness, carnality, and fleshly activity for this restoration to take place presently. If you are a member of the “called-out-ones” expect some sever trials and testings for these are instrumental in the cleansing process to which He will subject His elect.
For a preview of these things, we encouraged you to read the Book of the Acts of the Apostles.
And when the restoration is completed we believe these eight factors will be plainly visible:
- The saints will be of one accord.
- They will be filled with the Spirit.
- They will be baptized with the Spirit.
- They will be endued with power from on high.
- They will have all things in common.
- They will have the fruit of the Spirit.
- They will have the gifts of the Spirit.
- They will have the God-given ministries of the Spirit.
Truly, that will be a glorious Church!
Copied by permission from a monthly magazine titled “The Testimony of Truth” published by “The People Of The Living God;” A Non-Sectarian Back To The Bible Movement.
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
“For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself, saying, ‘I will surely bless you and I will surely multiply you.’ And so, having patiently waited, he obtained the promise.”
(Hebrews 6:13-15 NASU)
Evidently the promise referred to, in the oath made to Abraham, is that he would have numerous posterities. The apostle apparently is pointing out the fact that Abraham had waited for a long time and his faith did not waver, and in due season the object of his desires was granted. To realize the full force of this, we are to remember:
- That when the promise of numerous posterities was made to Abraham, he was seventy-five years old (Gen 12:1-5);
- Then twenty-four years elapsed after this, during which he was a sojourner in a strange land, before the manner in which this promise would be fulfilled was made known to him (Genesis 17:1-16);
- It was only when he was an hundred years old, and when he had persevered in the belief of the truth of the promise against all the natural improbabilities of its accomplishment, that he received the pledge of its fulfillment in the birth of his son Isaac (Gen 21:1-5);
- The birth of that son was a pledge that the other blessings implied in the promise would be granted, and in that pledge Abraham may be said to have “received the promise.”
He did not actually see the numerous posterities, or the Messiah who was to descend from him, or the influences, which would result to mankind from the fulfillment of the promise. He did see the certainty that all this would occur; he saw by faith the Messiah in the distance (John 8:56), and the abundance of grace that would result from His coming.
It was a remarkable instance of faith, and one well suited to the purpose of the apostle. It would furnish ample encouragement to the saints to whom he wrote, to persevere in their course, and to avoid the dangers of apostasy.
“For men swear by one greater than themselves, and with them an oath given as confirmation is an end of every dispute. In the same way God, desiring even more to show to the heirs of the promise the unchangeableness of His purpose, interposed with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have taken refuge would have strong encouragement to take hold of the hope set before us.” (Hebrews 6:16-18 NASU)
For men swear by one greater than themselves, that is, they appeal to God. Men never swear by one who is inferior to them. The object of the apostle in this declaration is to show that as far as this could be done God had done it.
He could not swear by one greater than himself, but he could make His promise as certain as an oath taken by people was when they solemnly appealed to Him. He could appeal to His own existence and adherence to truth, which was at any time the most solemn form of an oath, and thus intended to put the mind to rest in regard to the hope of eternal life.
“This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, a hope both sure and steadfast and one which enters within the veil, 20 where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 6:13-20 NASU)
Before examining the meaning of hope let us first take a look at what an anchor is. According to Webster’s an anchor is “any thing that gives stability and security to that which it is firmly attached or well secured.”
For example a boat that lets down a good anchor will not drift or be tossed about.
A good anchor must be made of material worthy to be an anchor. Again, a boat anchor would need to be made of a heavy material that would resist rust and corrosion; and it would need to be firmly attached to the boat.
A likeness to the above would be a person who is knowledgeable and well trained in the gospel is anchored and will not drift or vary because that which he believes secures him. If his knowledge and training is in the word of God then he has faith and this faith is the substance of his anchor of hope; and the love of Jesus firmly secures the anchor.
Therefore, a Christian of faith is a person knowledgeable and well trained in the word of God and has a fixed, unchangeable and unshakeable hope; he has this hope as the anchor for his soul.
Webster defines hope as “a desire accompanied by expectation.” Nelsons Bible Dictionary defines hope as “confident expectancy.”
Nelson seems to have the better biblical definition in as much as confidence is built upon reassuring acts or promises by an authoritative dependable person; one who has demonstrated his authority and faithfulness.
Further, biblical hope is not passive but patience while aggressively pursuing the promises of God through love and obedience to the will of God (faith). Thus the essential quality of hope is that it is oriented to something in the future that one expects but does not yet possess (Romans 8:24-25). Therefore hope is something the believer is born into, a salvation not yet seen.
If Abraham persevered when “appearances” were so much against the fulfillment of what had been promised, then certainly modern day saints should persevere under the clearer light and with the more distinct promises of the gospel.
James C Sanford
Monday, January 28, 2008
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Our latest podcast presents seven minutes of wisdom entitled “Got Milk?”
Saturday, January 26, 2008
What Is Truth?
“Pilate therefore said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, “You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.’ Pilate said to Him, ‘what is truth?’”
During the time period when Jesus walked the earth, there were many opinions concerning truth; and some had even supposed that it was a thing utterly out of the reach of men. Pilate perhaps might have asked the question, “what is truth” in a mocking way; and in not staying to get an answer he indicated that he either despaired of getting a satisfactory one, or that he was indifferent about it. Nevertheless all truth in heaven and on earth was standing before him and he did not know Him.
To know Christ, the living Word of God, is to know truth, for Christ is the embodiment of all truth. Like Pilate, most of mankind had lost sight of truth and Jesus came that He might restore mankind in truth. Apart from truth man cannot be in right standing with God, therefore man must seek to know God’s truth.
The word truth is defined as a statement or an act that conforms to fact or actuality. Fact is exact and cannot be altered; thus fact has no variation; and truth conforms to fact, and it too, to remain truth, cannot be in part, vary or be altered. Fact and/or truth are the standard by which all else is measured. To make a statement or to do an act that adds to, takes from or omits the facts is a distortion, a variation and a misstatement that does not represent and uphold the facts; thus it is not truth.
Truth establishes trust. Trust is defined as confidence in the honesty, integrity, reliability and justice of a person or institution. If a person or institution is to be trusted they must be known for speaking and abiding in the truth. It is the element of trust in truth that has the power to transform the soul.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
“I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth.”
(1st Timothy 3:15ff)
God’s word---His truth, is His expressed power and authority; therefore the power and authority of the church is God’s truth. Myths, fantasy, fiction or any other form of a lie has no place in the church of the living God; for the true church is Christ body in the earth today, the embodiment of truth.
To be a member of the body of Christ, the church, one must be faithful to know, be obedient to-- and faithfully speak the truth.
“O send out Your light and Your truth, let them lead me; let them bring me to Your holy hill, and to Your dwelling places.”
James C Sanford
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Our latest podcast presents seven minutes of wisdom entitled “True Religion.” We see people like Al Qaeda who feel that their religion warrants blowing up innocent men, women and children (despite that the Qur'an teaches the opposite). We see people like Ted Haggard preaching against homosexuality yet winding up in an embarrassing situation. Then, there is poor little Britney Spears who was raised in the church but lately seems only determined to raise hell.
We can point fingers at the aforementioned... or others. But truth be told, we all have sin in our lives. We just haven’t been caught (yet). So what exactly is true religion... and how do we live it? Download this seven-minute podcast by clicking or, right-click the icon below:
You can also download all of our podcasts and/or other resources from our download site, http://www.link2power.org.
Here are the scriptures that we referenced:
|Amplified Bible (AMP)|
Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987
8[[a]You behave as if] you are already filled and think you have enough [you are full and content, feeling no need of anything more]! Already you have become rich [in spiritual gifts and graces]! [Without any counsel or instruction from us, in your conceit], you have ascended your thrones and come into your kingdom without including us! And would that it were true and that you did reign, so that we might be sharing the kingdom with you!
1st Corinthians 4:8 (Amplified Bible)
26If anyone thinks himself to be religious (piously observant of the external duties of his faith) and does not bridle his tongue but deludes his own heart, this person's religious service is worthless (futile, barren).
27External [a]religious worship [[b]religion as it is expressed in outward acts] that is pure and unblemished in the sight of God the Father is this: to visit and help and care for the orphans and widows in their affliction and need, and to keep oneself unspotted and uncontaminated from the world.
James 1:26-27 (Amplified Bible)
Thursday, January 17, 2008
When I created the heavens and the earth, I spoke them into being. When I created man, I formed him from the dust of the ground and breathed life into his nostrils. But you, woman I did not create from the dirt. I made you from man as a symbol that you are “within” man, just as my bride is “within” me.
I fashioned you after I breathed the breath of life into man because you are too delicate. I allowed a deep sleep to come over him so I could patiently and perfectly form you. As a surgeon would put a patient under anesthesia, man was put to sleep so that he could not interfere with my creativity. From man’s one bone, I fashioned you. I chose the bone that protects his very life. I chose the rib; that which protects his heart and lungs and supports him as you are meant to do. Around this one bone I shaped you... I molded you. I created you tenderly, beautifully, and perfectly.
Your characteristics are as the rib; strong yet delicate and fragile. You provide protection for the most delicate organ within man, his heart. His heart is the center of his being; his lungs hold the breath of life. The ribcage will allow itself to be broken before it will allow damage to the heart. I created you to support man as the rib cage supports the body. You were not taken from his feet, to be under him, nor were you taken from his head, to be above him. You were taken from his side closest to his heart, to stand beside him and be held close to his side and dear to his heart.
You woman are my perfect creation. You are my beautiful little girl. You have grown to be a splendid woman of excellence, and my eyes fill when I see the virtues in your heart. Your eyes are as beautiful as a golden sunset. Your lips; how lovely when they part in prayer. Your nose; so perfect in form. Your hands so gentle to touch. I’ve caressed your face in your deepest sleep. I’ve whispered tender words of love in your ear. I hold your heart here within mine. Of all that lives and breathes, you are most like me. Your pure heart is most like mine. You my precious angel are the climax of my creation. You are a representation of my pure and spotless bride. When man loves you, he loves me, and the more deeply he loves you, the more deeply he loves me.
Adam walked with me in the cool of the day, yet he was lonely. So everything I wanted Adam to share and experience with me, I fashioned in you as a physical representation of myself upon the earth. You possess my holiness, my strength, my purity, my beauty, my love, my protection and my support.
So man... treat woman well. Love her extravagantly; treasure her royally, for she is fragile. In hurting her, you only hurt me. What you do to her, you do to me. In crushing her, you only damage your own heart; her heart, and also my heart.
Woman, support man. In humility, show him the power of emotion I have given you. In gentle quietness, show your strength. In love, show him that you are the rib that protects his very life; that you the bone that shelters his very heart.
The One Who Created and Loves You
Thanks to David River for this!
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
The Chief Shepherd Group is looking for employees who can start immediately and work for the rest of their lives.
Please read all of the following before applying.
Character: Loving, forgiving, hospitable, dependable, energetic, humble, alert, controlled, courageous, generous, faith -filled, service-oriented.
Duties: Deeply love other believers, open your home to them whenever necessary, use the gifts God has given you, willingly suffer for Christ, be an example to others, humble yourself under God's hand. resist the devil, and stand firm.
Experience and Education: No experience and no education required. The Good Shepherd is willing to qualify every committed worker through on-the-job training.
Benefits: The covering of a multitude of sins; suffering in Christ's name; experiencing God's grace; receiving an eternal crown of glory.
How to apply: Humble yourself under God's mighty hand.
The life of service to which God calls His children is an adventurous one that cannot be fulfilled in our own power. He calls us to do things- love deeply, use our spiritual gifts, withstand sufferings, be humble, resist the devil- that we in ourselves cannot do. In fact, that's the point. The only way to genuinely minister to others, imitate Christ and live in humility is through the enabling grace of God. If we live in His grace, we will be the people and do the works that fulfill our calling.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Our latest podcast presents seven minutes of wisdom entitled “Power Tools.” Remember the song by White Heart called Power Tools?
Well, a lot of Christians (and perhaps non-Christians even more so) are like babies with power tools. How so? Give us seven minutes of your time and we will tell you how!
Saturday, January 12, 2008
As Mick Jagger sang, you can’t always get what you want. But, if you try sometimes... you get what you need. In that regard, we have a new recording by Brotha DC providing seven minutes of wisdom about what we ask from God and what to do while waiting to get it (or, in some cases, to not get it).
This seven minute message is available by clicking the icon below (or, right-click to download the MP3).
Thursday, January 10, 2008
There is a great principle that is found throughout the Holy Bible concerning God’s love, mercy, grace and faith. The Apostle Paul states it very clearly in Ephesians 2:1-9. In the first three verses he states the dreadful condition of man’s soul and that the wrath of God was his destiny.
“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,” (Ephesians 2:4 NASU)
It is a beautiful expression, “God is ‘rich’ in mercy;” overflowing or abundant, more than sufficient. Thus mercy is the riches or the wealth of God rendered in abundance to someone who is miserable, needy and hopeless, someone who is without claim to favorable treatment.
Mercy is closely related to compassion in the Holy Scripture; their differences are barely definable. The Greek word from which compassion is derived means literally “from the bowels,” denoting the deep innermost being, an intensely emotional reaction to someone or something in a hopeless condition. Mercy, therefore, is both feeling compassion and acting upon it. Thus mercy can be though of as compassion in action.
The most important fact about mercy in the Bible is that God is the fountain of mercy. There are, to be sure, references to human displays of mercy in the Bible but God was the source. If man desires mercy from man he must go to God and ask Him to supply it.
God’s infinite love is the groundwork of man’s salvation; in reference to man that love assumes the form of mercy, and that mercy provides the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. It is God’s love that motivated Him to be “rich in mercy” and moved Him to the greatest act of compassion ever shown man.
“Even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)” (Ephesians 2:5 NASU)
The hopeless is the sinner who is without hope, born into Adam, bound to eternal death under the Law of sin and of death. When Adam sinned against God he became separated from the life of his soul, God’s Spirit of life, and became one with his flesh; thus he became “sin in the flesh.” Every child of the flesh of Adam is born “sin in the flesh” and he sins because he is born a sinner. And like Adam, does not have the Spirit of Life in him; thus he is spiritual dead.
In Christ is the Law of the Spirit of Life (Romans 8:1-2) and by the grace of God we are made alive with our resurrected Lord through a spiritual rebirth. So from God’s love and mercy comes grace.
And by grace God has exalted the believer.
“and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:6-7 NASU)
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 NASU)
The grace of God the Father has been placed on every man’s plate through the sacrificial death of His Son on the cross of Calvary; He died “to take away the sins of the world.” But the message of the Gospel is that to partake of this wonderful grace, the gift of eternal life that is on every man’s plate, one must believe (John 3:16), he must have a lasting faith (Matthew 24:13) and put total trust in the work of Christ for the salvation of his soul.
But where does one get such a faith, a faith that leads to the Divine attribute of faithfulness? “Faith comes by hearing,” but how does one hear? “And hearing by the word of Christ;” (Romans 10:17 NASU). So it is the word of God being preached by the anointed preacher (Romans 10:14-15) that quickens the ear of the spiritually dead and causes the dead to hear. And hearing the word of God the formerly dead turns away from his sins (repents) and receives the gift of faith. Thus the faith that God’s grace works through is a gift from God and not of works or anything that man conjures up, thus he cannot boast.
Therefore we have the great principle of God’s love resulting in mercy, and from mercy the gift of faith, and grace working through the gift of faith in Christ Jesus, resulting in redemption. (Ephesians 2:4-10)
We leave the reader with this though: Salvation is not by the works of the Law or works of faith, but by faith through God’s grace. Unless we repent and receive His gift of faith it is impossible to please Him (Hebrews 11:6). We are justified by faith and we must live by faith (Romans 1:17) and by faith we faithfully walk in the works that God has prepared for us (Ephesians 2:10), but it is the grace of God that flows from His fountain of love and mercy that saves our soul, working through His gift of faith.
James C Sanford
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sunday, January 6, 2008
“Mission Possible” is the first of our “Seven Minutes of Wisdom” podcasts for 2008.
This recording looks at the mission Jesus gave us... compared to what most churches are actually doing.
Are we on target? Are we even close?
Izzit apples and oranges... or apples and bowling balls?
Download this podcast by clicking the icon below (or, right-click to download the MP3).
You can also download other podcasts (in addition to entire teaching CDs and books) from our download site, http://www.link2power.org.
Saturday, January 5, 2008
“John testified about Him and cried out, saying, ‘this was He of whom I said, He who comes after me has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me. For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace’.” (John 1:15-16 NASU)
Grace upon grace
The Apostle John has said in verse 14 that Christ was “full of grace and truth.” Of that “fullness” he now says that all have received; that is, all who believe derive from his abundant truth, mercy and grace to understand the plan of salvation, to live lives of holiness; and thus partake of the numerous blessings, which He came to impart by His teachings and His sacrificial death. Thus grace and truth are realized through faith in God’s Son Jesus Christ. For it is by grace through faith that we receive the fullness of Christ and through Him the fullness of God, grace upon grace.
14 “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; 15 so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
Whoever believes in Him
To believe is more than an acknowledgment or an agreement with a known truth. In the context of verses 15 and 16 it means whoever remains steadfast as in Genesis 15:6 where Abraham had been steadfast in the Lord’s commandments and the Lord “reckoned it to him” as righteousness; for other examples see Exodus 4:1; Numbers 14:11; etc.
To believe is also to be persuaded of God’s revealed truth; such as in Acts 17:4 after hearing the preaching of the gospel many were persuaded to join Paul and Silas; for other examples see Acts 27:11; 28: 24; etc.; and to also adhere to and rely on God’s promises; as the centurion did in Matthew 8:13 and the synagogue official in Mark 5:35-43; etc. Thus it must be that being persuaded of God’s truths, adherence and reliance upon these truths, is the evidence of what one believes in the eyes of his Creator.
Looking deeper we find that believing or faith, in a scriptural sense, represents four principal ideas.
- The first is personal confidence and deep trust in God;
- and having a spiritual understanding of the essential body of truth as revealed by the Holy Spirit (Luke 18:8; 1st Corinthians 16:13; 2nd Corinthians 13:5; Colossians 1:23; 2:7; Titus 1:13; Jude 3);
- and further, having the fruit of the Spirit manifested in the believers life as a witness to others of total trust in God (Galatians 5:22-23);
- and finally, and of most importance is that Christ must be the object of faith (Galatians 3:23-26).
The above being understood, the reader must also understand there can be no believing unto salvation without the anointed preaching of this Gospel: a dispensation of love, mercy and grace from God alone, proclaimed by the Apostle Paul to be “the Gospel of peace; glad tidings of good things.” (Romans 10:15)
13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 14 “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher"” (Romans 10:13-14 NASU)
How then will they call on Him (Christ) in whom they have not believed?
The good news of salvation through Jesus must be preached, proclaimed in the world to bring about conviction of sin, repentance and obedience of the faith.
How will they believe in Him (Christ) whom they have not heard?
The Apostle answers this question in verse 17, “So faith comes from hearing” (Romans 10:17f NASU). The word of God preached by an anointed preacher quickens the ear of the sinner who is spiritually dead in his sins and causes him to hear.
How will they hear without a preacher?
“And hearing by the word of Christ” (Romans 10:17ff NASU). One who anointed of God to preach the gospel must present the gospel to the sinner.
How will they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written, “how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news of good things!” (Romans 10:14-15 NASU)
How will they preach unless they are sent?
“The word of Christ” (Romans 10:17ff NASU) meaning: the word of the “anointed one;” such as the preacher that is called, prepared and sent of God. Or if the reader prefers the translation that reads: “the word of God”—as preached by the “sent” (meaning: sent of God) or the anointed preacher of faith.
But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” — that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.” (Romans 10:8 NASU)
The word of faith, which we are preaching,
The gospel message having now been preached is not a far off, having been heard it is now in your mouth and in your heart.
that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved;” (Romans 10:9 NASU)
Confess with your mouth
Confess with your mouth that which is now in your innermost being, in your soul through the persuasion of the truth proclaimed to you, you will be saved.
10 for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
James C Sanford
Friday, January 4, 2008
We are grateful to Ezequiel Pethead for his hard work in bringing this to us. We look forward to the release of more unreleased music by Keith Green in 2008.