Author: kittycool only

The Spirit of Truth & spirit of Error (1John 4:1-3, 6)

1.0 The Statement

We are living in the Last Day before Christ Return for the Church. Arising in our midst is “the spirit of Error”1John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: Because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”  The “spirit of error” is the Antichrist’s spirit. As the Apostle John warns of false spirits and false prophets, more so does our Lord Jesus the same, yes, even false Christs “shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very Elect” (Matthew 24:24). Apostle Peter adds with “false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies” (2Peter 2:1). Apostle Paul also forewarns with the list of false Apostles (2Corinthians 11:13), false brethren (2Corinthians 11:26) and false Witnesses (1Corinthians 15:15).

Furthermore, Jesus likens these Agents of falsehood in the Parable of the Good Shepherd to Thieves, Robbers and Strangers, Hirelings and Wolves (John 10:1, 5, 8, 10a, 12-13). Christ’s sheep with keen discernment between the Master’s (Christ’s) Voice and the Voice of the Stranger will keep out of harm’s way. Apostle John concludes: “We are of God: he that knows God hears us; he that is not of God hears not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth and the spirit of error” (1John 4:6).

Here is the critical point, – Church Leadership needs to teach God’s People God’s Word (the Bible) without adulteration – there must be clear biblical-teaching (feeding God’s people with His Truth – His Written Word – John 21:15-17). Jesus said that He is The Truth (John 14:6; 15:26). If any person attacks Christ’s Person, His Virgin Birth, His Deity and denying His Humanity, that person is under the “spirit of Antichrist” which is “the spirit of Error,” – 1John 4:1-3, 6 “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God. And every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world…..We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” The Docetists in John’s day denied Christ’s Humanity (1John 4:3), were Agents of the “spirit of Error,” the “Antichrist’s spirit.”

Throughout the long centuries, the “spirit of Error” has made the Salvation of the Individual not by God’s Grace of Ephesians 2:8-9, but of works (The Law). Of more recent history, there have arisen the Modernists and Liberals who rejects God’s Infallible, Inerrant Written Word (the Bible), with the latest so-called Neo-Evangelical that speaks of “a limited-Inerrancy.” It is the “spirit of Error” that counters the Inerrancy of the Bible, yes, even the Living Word who is Christ Himself (Revelation 19:13; John 1:1). The Christians believed God’s Written Word (the Bible) to be Infallible and Inerrant to the jot and tittle (Matthew 5:18), and the Christians reaffirmed their faith on God’s Written Word (the Bible).      

1.1 The Spirit of Truth

While Jesus is The Truth (God’s Word – Revelation 19:13; John 1:1; John 14:6); the Spirit of Truth is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17), whom Jesus, before His departure, promised to send to His Church (John 14:16). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) proceeds from God the Father (John 15:26). The Holy Spirit manifested Himself in Power at Pentecost, at the birth of the Church, by giving utterance in multi-languages to the Apostles, and the 120 Disciples (Acts 2).

The Holy Spirit is sent to indwell born-again Believers and to teach and guide the Individual/Church (John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:7-15; 1John 2:20, 27). The mark of the Spirit of Truth is that He (Holy Spirit) will not speak of Himself, but rather testifies of the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) shall glorify the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, for He (Spirit of Truth) shall receive of the Son (Christ) and show it to us (John 16:13, 14).

The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) being Holy “will reprove the world of sin, and righteousness, and of judgement” (John 16:8). The Spirit of Truth (the Holy Spirit) makes “intercession for the Saints according to the Will of God” (Romans 8:27). As He (the Spirit of Truth) is sent from the Father by the Son, Christ (John 15:26), He is also called the Spirit of Christ (Romans 8:9). He (Spirit of Truth) is “Comforter, Counsellor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby” (John 14:16-17, Amp. Bible).

1.11 Love not Divorced from Doctrine

The current thinking of the Church is to eliminate doctrinal distinctives and to emphasise love among the brethren to bring forth Unity in the Church. Although Love among the brethren, is important, nevertheless, it should not replace doctrinal distinctives; as this position, however outwardly attractive and impressive to an Observer, is not biblical, viewed in the light of Scripture; as the Great Commission of the Lord Jesus Christ contains the Command to bring the new Believers immediately into the teaching programme, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I (Christ) has commanded you” (Matthew 28:20). In other word, the entire Scripture is the basis of this instruction, and this must be the supreme position of the Church in terms of priorities. It is a lifelong responsibility of the Leaders of the Church, under God’s Spirit, to bring their Members into the whole Counsel of God’s revealed Truth, as advocated by Apostle Paul – Acts 20:27 “For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God.” 

One of the basic ideas of some of today’s Churches is that love is more important than doctrine; they stated that doctrine divides, whereas love unifies. Is this position Scriptural? What does the Bible say about this? Is it really true that in the New Testament love is more important than doctrine, or Truth? In the “Love-Chapter” of 1Corinthians 13, we are reminded, “Now abides Faith, Hope and Love, these three, but the greatest of these is Love (Agape)” (1Corinthians 13:13). Some said, “that settles it; love is supreme!” However, when we examine 1Corinthians chapter 13, carefully, we discovered that Truth is also mentioned in that chapter. In 1Corinthians 13:6 we are told that, “Love rejoices in the TRUTH.” In other words, “Faith, Hope and Love” are virtues but TRUTH has an altogether different status. TRUTH is the “the frame of reference, the foundation, the atmosphere,” without which virtues of “Faith, Hope & Love” have no anchor!

1.12 “Love rejoices in the TRUTH”

(1Corinthians 13:6). Why? Because without TRUTH to define Love, to interpret Love, to protect Love, to guide Love, to channel Love – Love can become a disaster. Virtues of: “Faith, Hope & Love” are not the same level as TRUTH. Virtues (Faith, Hope & Love) will shrivel up, misuse and abuse, if they were not for TRUTH.

1.13 God’s Definition of Love

God’s definition of Love is always in association with discipline, so that we can grow in Him and be Partakers of His Holiness (Hebrews 12:5-13) – “For whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives…..He for our profit, that we may be Partakers of His Holiness.” Love voids of discipline is sentimentalism and can be destructive; – observe what happens within a home when Parents exhibited love toward their children by refusing to discipline them, in the name of Love. The Book of Proverbs defines Love as doing for the Person that which is best for him in the light of eternity, no matter what the cost may be. That is how Love is defined in the Scripture.

1.14 Love Obeys Truth

The Scripture reveals to us that Love obeys Truth – John 8:31 “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, if you continue in My Words (Truth), then you are My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” The Lord Jesus Christ said that ultimate freedom will only be achieved by submission, and unconditional surrender to Truth; in so doing, our love for the Lord Jesus Christ is implied.

Many Christians speak glowingly of their love for our Lord Jesus, failing to take heed of His (Christ’s) Words as in John 14:15, 21, 23, & 24, as He (Christ) stresses that obedience to Truth is our demonstration of our Love for Him (Christ) – “If you love Me, keep My commandments……He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me….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. He that loves Me not keeps not My sayings.” This is the “acid-test” of our Love for our Lord Jesus Christ. Do we obey the Lord Jesus’ Commandments? It really makes no difference how much we talk about our love for our Lord Jesus, and for one-another, if we are not obeying Jesus’ Word (Truth).

1.15 Love Teaches the Truth

John chapter 21 gives us an example of Peter who confessed his love for His Lord (Jesus); he (Peter) even insisted that he would never waiver in loyalty, saying, “Even though all the Disciples betray Him (Jesus), I (Peter) will not. You can count on me.” But when the pressure came, his (Peter’s) resolution collapsed, he denied the Lord Jesus three times (Matthew 26:69-75; Luke 22:54-62); and as Jesus looked at him (Peter) in that courtyard, he went out and wept (Luke 22:60b, 61, 62).

John 21:15-17 – After His (Christ’s) Resurrection, Jesus faced Peter, by the Sea of Galilee, and very lovingly, but in truth, said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me more than these? He (Peter)saith unto Him (Jesus), Yea Lord; thou knowest that I love Thee, Feed My lambs….Feed My sheep….Feed My sheep” (John 21:15-17). The three confessions of Peter of his love for the Lord Jesus Christ, cancelled his (Peter’s) three denials, earlier. How do Jesus expected Peter to express his (Peter’s) love for Him (Christ)?

  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) lamb” (John 21:15) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (new Believers) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “bosko”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:17) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “bosko”) speaks of nourishing Christ’s People (mature Believer) with God’s Written Word.
  • “Feed (Gk: “poimaino”) My (Christ’s) sheep (John 21:16) – The word “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) speaks of tending (shepherding/pastoring) His (Christ’s) People.  

Peter expresses his (Peter’s) love for the Lord Jesus, is by “Feeding” (Gk: “bosko”) – Nourishing His (Christ’s) People (New {lamb}Believers & Mature {sheep}Believers), as commanded by the Lord Jesus Himself (John 21:15, 17) and shepherding/pastoring (John 21:16) His People – Thus, Peter’s love for Christ is related with his (Peter’s) Nourishing Ministry (Truth – God’s Written Word); and by Peter’s Shepherding Ministry as “Feed” (Gk: “poimaino”) in John 21:16. 

Acts 20 provides another good example of how Apostle Paul ministered to the Christians at Ephesus. – Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD.” – Paul has preached for three months and when some has spoken against his teaching, he (Paul) separated the Disciples to meet in the hall of Tyrannus. There, for two years, Paul teaches that group of Disciples in the WHOLE COUNSEL of GOD. Imagine the prolonged, in-depth, intensive teaching those Ephesians Elders (Acts 20:17) received. The result was “that all they which dwelt in Asia, both Jews and Gentiles, heard the Word of the Lord Jesus.” Everyone in the Province heard the true message about Christ because Apostle Paul based his teaching on the clear, sound doctrinal instruction on that Pioneer Group (Elders – Acts 20:17).    

1.16 Love Leaves Nothing Out

Acts 20:26-27 “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I HAVE NOT SHUNNED TO DECLARE to you the whole counsel of God.” It was not easy for Apostle Paul to teach the doctrinal material to the people at Ephesus – he dealt with doctrines which were controversial, offensive, and divisive, which is why he said, I SHUNNED NOT to declare unto you…..” Also, in Galatians 1:6, Paul states: “I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him (Christ) that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an Angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.” Why was Paul so hard on the Churches at Galatia, and perhaps jeopardise the loving relationship which he enjoyed with the Leadership of the Churches at Galatia? It was necessary to risk becoming their Enemy, as Paul tells us in Galatians chapter 4, in order to “tell them the Truth.”  – Galatians 4:16 “Have I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth?”  

1.17 Ephesians 4:11,15

The Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11: “Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Techers.” Every Person of the Fivefold Ministers of Ephesians 4:11 are “Doctrinal-Persons.” – All are involved in God’s Written Word (Truth). Ephesians 4:15 exhorts us “to speaking the Truth in love.” Love is the manner and method of speaking Truth. Love serves the Truth. It makes it easier to receive, absorb and digest Truth if spoken in love, and not in harshness. Love must never be allowed to eclipse or set aside Truth. God’s Written Word (Truth) never change; but God’s Written Word (Truth) could be misused and abused in the hands of the untrained/ill-disciplined Person. Truth cannot be perpetuated through compromise, and compromise cannot be avoided without separation. This basic Principle has been illustrated repeatedly in the History of the Church during the Ages. Thus, the whole question of success in the Christian Ministry needs to be constantly re-examined. How can the relative success of the Christian ministry be evaluated apart from God’s Infallible, Inerrant Word? Who is to determine what success means? Is the Cross of Christ’s  Preeminent in the life of the Church, the Leaders and the Message – Galatians 6:14 “But God forbid that I should boast except in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” (Philippians 3:7-9; 1Corinthians 1:18). What we consider success in the ministry may turn out to be failure in God’s Sight.

1.20 What is Truth??

An increase in the understanding of Divine Truth helps to free the Church from the bondage of traditions of men that are “dead.” However, not all traditions of men are “dead” as some of those traditions are good and useful – 2Thessalonians 2:15 (NKJV) “Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistles.” Truth is the continuing Revelation of God and is not “an end” but is like that pathway that gives direction that leads us into the Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is “The Truth” (John 14:6a). Truth that becomes “an end” will eventually become a tradition.

Truth is not the accumulation of factual knowledge, as factual knowledge is true, but it is not itself the Truth. People can and do believe all kinds of true things without having Truth. Most in Christianity believe the Bible is the Word of God, which is true, but it does not necessarily give the Truth to the people who just believe the Bible, but not submitted to the Teachings.

Truth in its highest understanding, is the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1) – Truth as “the Pathway” leads us to the Person and the Finished Work of Christ (“It is Finished” – John 19:30). Although we can believe true things, we will never have the Truth until we know the Person (Jesus) who is “The Truth” (John 14:6a; Revelation 19:13; John 1:1), thus, Truth is not an end but the continuing Revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is Eternal and Unfolding.

All things that reveal God are Truth, and all things that are meant to obscure or misrepresent Him (Christ) are not of Truth. Thus, it is not Truth but “THE TRUTH” (the Lord Jesus Christ) that brings liberty to our life – “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). From the Christian’s viewpoint, without Jesus, whatever Truth we possess, we possessed in darkness only – those traditions that are “dead” tends to “war” against increased Revelation of the Truth, can turn the Light of Jesus into darkness –“If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matthew 6:23b).

If the Truth the Church possesses is bounded by “dead” traditions, then the Truth could become distorted and ended up as Partial Truth. The purpose of Truth is the greater and greater manifestation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Individual/Church; that is why it is difficult for many Christians to practice spiritual discernment, because circumstance can look so much like the real things but are really only in a natural form, which is true but not Truth.

Those traditions that are “dead” can block our growth in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. Understandably, those bounded by “dead” traditions often used Scripture to support or justify what they believed and how they acted – “Ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” (2Timothy 3:7).

The Jews in the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15) held that Salvation required the Person to be circumcised has good Scriptural support from Genesis 17:13-14, “the Covenant of Circumcision,” which is an Everlasting Covenant. However, the Jews of the Circumcision did not realise or were blinded by traditions that caused them to fail to understand the Restoration of the “Davidic Worship” (Amos 9:11-12; Acts 15:15-18) that was quoted by Apostle James of the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:15-18), of God’s Progressive Restoration, that the Gentiles did not require circumcision for Salvation.

Traditions of the circumcised Jews caused them to fail to see God’s Eternal Purpose. Traditions have blinded the “spiritual eyes” of the Jews – thus, if the Individual/Church is not careful; he/Church may recognise God is or has been in his life/Church and still not really know the Lord Jesus Christ and God’s Present, Restorative Outworking (Acts 3:21).

Things that God once said to do can become a stumbling block to us (the bronze serpent served its purpose – Numbers 21:9); but later became a stumbling block that ensnared the Nation of Israel (2Kings 18:4), that we vow never to let go of, and therefore, cause us to miss “the Present Truth” (2Peter 1:12), thus, causing us to miss God’s Present Move!

Furthermore, Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” (John 14:6a), an Individual and the Church is not able to know “the Way” and “the Truth” until Jesus becomes his Life. “The Way” is not just believe a few fundamental Truths about the Lord Jesus Christ – “the Way” is the Lord Jesus Christ – “The Truth” is not found by just agreeing with certain Doctrines, even all Christian Doctrines – “the Truth” is the Person, the Lord Jesus Christ, who must be the Person’s/Church’s whole life.

Also, Truth will always manifest itself in Love because God is Love (1John 4:7-8) – If what is being spoken/ministered is not done in love, it is not truth – “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ” (Ephesians 4:15). Many Christians quoted Scripture (all Scripture is True), but if the Scripture spoken is not spoken in love; it is not spoken in the “Spirit of Truth,” who is the Holy Spirit (John 14:17).

Good Understanding (Proverbs 13:15)

1.0 The Statement

Proverbs 13:15a “Good understanding giveth favour (grace).”  – The word “understanding” means “Good sense, good success, insight, and discretion.” It applies to the Person who acts prudently, and always behaves in a manner pleasing God, and give due consideration to others:

1.1 Benefits Self

The Person with good understanding has a well-informed mind, is impartial, and seeks to keep a balance view of life always. Charles Bridge calls this: “The glow of heavenly light and love in the disciplining of Christian habits.”

Good Understanding is the “Image of God stamped upon His Servants.” This Good Understanding gives favour (grace) in the sight of man and God – Proverbs 3:4 “So shalt thou find favour in the sight of God and man.”

Good Understanding is God’s Grace that gives the Good Understanding to the Person, and Grace is multiplied to him, through knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord – 2Peter 1:2 “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus, our Lord.” God shows His favour to the Person of Good Understanding, by making others to favour him.

Good Understanding leads to the practical application of this Good Understanding to every decision of life. It reflects the healthy fear of the LORD – Psalm 111:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding has all those who do His commandments, His Praise endures forever.”  The Person without this knowledge of Good Understanding is deprived and dark indeed – “Unaided wisdom, with its strongest wings, can only flutter in the vale of vanity. No earth-born eye can catch a glimpse of God” (Law).  It is even worse for those with false knowledge or only half-truths. Solomon is saying that the mind cannot be sound that has no interest in Heaven, and no time for the things of the Spirit. This is needed reminder of our pleasure-crazed age.

1.2 Excellent People Skill

The Person of “Good Understanding” has a high degree of People-skill. This “People-skill” is highly regarded in Society and Workplace. There is a high need for communication and People-skill:

The Bureau of Vocational Guidance at Harvard found that at least two-thirds of the People who lose their jobs do not do so because they cannot do the work, but because of their inability to deal effectively with People.

The Centre for Creative Leadership in Greensboro, North Carolina, shows that most fired Executives are Poor Communicators.

The National Alliance of Business warns that “an uneducated work force is an unmotivated and unproductive one.”

Freelance Writer Joanne Selement, with Kate Ludman, asked top Executives from 25 Successful high-growth Silicon Valley Companies to account for the most abrupt leaps they made in their career:

  • One–third said moves to challenging new jobs supercharged their careers.
  • One–third cited formal training programs that improved their leadership behaviour.
  • One–third described the importance of the Mentor/Coach who gave them regular feedback and took an active role in their development.

When the Carnegie Institute of Technology analysed the records of 10,000 People, it concluded that 15% of Success comes from Technical Skill on the job and 85% from the ability to deal with People successfully.

A Study has shown that it is safe to assume that problems encountered at work are mostly communicative, not substantive. A study has shown that the most necessary skill needed, besides Computer Competence, may be listening and People-relating Skills.

A study of the White House Office of Consumer Affairs shows that 96% of unhappy Customers never complained to the Stores where they received Poor Service/Goods, but 91% won’t buy again from the same place and, on average, they will share their bad experience with nine other People.

Will Schutz San Francisco Psychologist and Business Consultant, says that if People in Companies told the truth 89% to 90% of their problems would disappear. When we act with honour, we discover that People are “relentlessly reasonable, cooperative, and capable of coming to sensible and productive agreements when they are dealt with directly.”

The Work Force of the 21st Century faces three obstacles to success in adopting and supporting ethics that align with integrity:

  • Substituting manipulation for real change.
  • Lacking discipline and dedication to your efforts.
  • Failing to deal with potential resentment.

In the management, Peter Drucker warns that controlling and manipulating or strategising without direct communication is a “Self-destructive abuse of knowledge and power.” Ultimately, we hurt ourselves as well as our Colleagues and Employees when we say the right words and use the right techniques without matching them to honest feelings and intentions.

Research by Management Consultant Harry Levinson, previously the Business Professor at Harvard University, shows successful CEOs can accurately assess their effectiveness as Leaders, but many Managers who fail to make it to the CEO level lack this ability; still, they are afraid to ask for advice. yet fear that the Confidante will interpret their request for help as an admission that they can’t fill the job, or worst yet, will pass their concerns on to top Management. The fear of not doing it right supersedes asking for help.

1.3 Contrast

Proverbs 13:15b (KJV) “But the way of the transgressors is hard.” Proverbs 13:15b (NIV) “But the way of the unfaithful is hard.” – The word “transgressors” in Hebrews literally means “take the shirt of the back of their fellows” – Exodus 22:26-27 “If thou at all take thy neighbour’s raiment to pledge, thou shalt deliver it unto him by the time that the sun goeth down. For that is his covering only; it is his raiment for his skin; wherein shall he sleep? And it shall come to pass, when he cried unto Me, that I will hear; for I am gracious.” Hence, they are treacherous Deceivers. The way of the Unfaithful (Transgressors), in contrast, to “the Man of Understanding,” is rough and barren. The “Transgressor {Deceiver} leads others only to the sadness and barrenness of life that is his daily lot. The way of the Unfaithful (Transgressors) is hard, rough and rugged leading to isolation, not to water of comfort.

Jesus’ Flesh and Blood (John 5:53-56)

Jesus’ Flesh & Blood

In John 6:53-56, Jesus told the Jews that if they do not partake of His “Flesh” and “Blood,” they cannot have Eternal Life – “Verily, verily, I say unto you, except you eat the Flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His Blood, you have no life in you. Whoso eats My Flesh and drink My Blood has Eternal Life; and I will raise him up at the Last Day. For My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed. He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood, dwells in Me, and I in him.” Though some teach that John 6:53-56 is a reference to “Elements” of The Lord’s Table (Communion), the context testifies to the “Perpetual Eating by Faith” of the Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. A comparison of the two passages (John 6:40 and John 6:54) found in John 6:41-59 helps us to see how an Individual can “eat” Christ’s Flesh and “drink” Christ’s Blood.

John 6:40
aEveryone who sees the Sonband believes in Him
cmay have Everlasting Lifedand I will raise him up at the Last Day
John 6:54
a1Whoever eats My Fleshb1and drinks My Blood
c1has Eternal Lifed1and I will raise him up at the Last Day

The literary structure of the above John 6:40 & John 6:54 shows parallelism, and thus we can conclude that the Recipient of these Promises are the same: “Sees” (a) and “believes” (b) in John 6:40 are parallel to the “eats” (a1) and “drinks” (b1) in John 6:54. Jesus is therefore speaking about the importance of the Individual Believer’s Faith in His Shed-Blood and Broken-Body on the Cross of Calvary in order to receive Eternal Life.

Jesus speaks in John 6:56 that “He that eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood dwells in Me, and I in him.” The present participle form of the Greek terms for “eats” and “drinks” implies that the Individual Believer’s Faith in the Blood and Death of the Lord Jesus Christ, must be a continuing one. In other words, only the Individual Believer who continually feeds on the Atoning Redemptive Power of Christ’s Blood and His Death can enter into Union with Him. Christ’s Flesh and Blood offered on the Cross at Calvary is Life-Giving to every Individual Believer.  In John 6 passage, Jesus gives Eternal Life to an Individual who would place his/her trust on His (Christ’s) Atoning-Redemptive Work on the Cross at Calvary, where His (Christ’s) Body was broken, and His (Christ’s) Blood was shed, as God’s Lamb, in His Sacrificial Substitutional Death (John 1:29, 36).

Jesus’ teaching as recorded in John 6 emphasise the importance of Faith in His (Christ’s) Shed Blood and His Broken Body, to receive Eternal Life. In John 6:32-50, Jesus introduced Himself as the “Bread of Life,” and the necessity of believing in Him for Eternal Life. Then in John 6:51, He (Jesus) said: “…the Bread that I will give is My Flesh, which I (Jesus) will give for the life of the world.” Jesus is referring to His Sacrificial-Substitutionary-Death and His Shed Blood, that provides Eternal Life for All who believe. But the Jews are confused about Christ’s saying, and asked, “How can this Man (Jesus) gives us His Flesh?” (John 6:52). Then, Jesus answered them, “Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of God and drink His Blood, you have no Life (Eternal-Life).” (John 6:53).

By introducing His (Christ’s) “Blood” together with His (Christ’s) “Flesh,” Jesus is revealing to the Jews that His Own Atoning-Redemptive Sacrifice involved His Own Flesh and His Own Blood (John 1:29, 36 – The Lamb of God). As it is with the Jewish Sin-Offering, the “blood” is crucial; so also, is Christ’s Blood in His Atoning-Redemptive Work for the Salvation to All. It is Christ’s Shed Blood and His Death, that brings Eternal Life to Believers. The term “Christ’s Blood,” and “Christ’s Flesh,” are used literally and not figuratively. Jesus literally Shed His Precious Blood, and Sacrificed His Body; thus, it is both Christ’s Sacrifice (His Broken Body and Shed Blood), in His Death, and our receiving His Shed Blood and Death, in Faith, that gives us Eternal Life. 

The Parables (Basic Guideline)

1.0 The Statement

Our English word “parable” is a transliteration of the Greek “parabole” which simply means: “To place besides, to cast alongside:”

  • Parable is an illustration that places one thing beside another for the purpose of teaching.
  • Parable puts the known next to the unknown so that we may learn.
  • Parable is an earthly illustration with a heavenly message. This links the natural with the spiritual.

Matthew 13:45-46 (KJV) “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls. Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went, and sold all that he had, and bought it.”

  • Some parables are long and detailed, such as the “Parable of the Sower” (Matthew 13:3-23), while other are quite brief, such as the “Parable of the Household” (Matthew 13:52).
  • The term “Parable” is used 48 times in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The word translated “Parable” in the Authorised Version of John 10:6 is not “parabole” (Greek), but “paroimia” (Greek), which is better translated “figure of speech” or “proverb” – John 10:6 “This parable (figure of speech) spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which He spake unto them.”

1.1 Why Parables?

The Jewish Rabbi used “Parables” in their teaching however, Jesus is the Greatest Exponent of “Parabolic teaching.” The reasons for teaching in Parables:

First Reason – “Truth Hidden” – When Jesus’ Disciples asked Him the reason for His teaching in Parables (Matthew 13:10), Jesus replied by quoting a prophecy found in Isaiah 6:9-10 which was recorded in Matthew 13:13-15“Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which saith, by hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (KJV).

1. Jesus teaches that He had hidden spiritual truth in the Parables – Proverbs 25:2 (KJV) “It is the Glory of God to conceal a thing, but the honour of Kings is to search out a matter.”

  • The Individual who has the desire to “unearth” this truth will benefit from it.
  • The careless and indifferent, those with no spiritual hunger for truth, will not understand and benefit from it.

2. When an Individual hears God’s Word, he is not participating in a static event, but in a dynamic experience. He either become better or worse for having heard God’s Word, for there is accountability.

Second Reason – “Mysteries Revealed” – The use of Parables is given in Matthew 13:34-35 “All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in Parables; and without a Parable spoke He not unto them. That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in Parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” It was in fulfilment of the Prophecy of Psalm 78:2 “I will open my mouth in a parable. I will utter dark sayings of old.” In His (Jesus’) Parables, Jesus opens to us the “mysteries” (Hidden secrets understood only by Divine Revelation).

1.2 Why Study the Parables?

There are various reasons and benefits for studying Parables:

1 The most obvious reason for studying the Parables is that they are part of God’s Word and we have been commanded to live on “every word” (Matthew 4:4).

2 At least one-third of Christ’s recorded teaching is found in Parables. To ignore them is to rob ourselves of much of what Jesus wants us to learn.

3 Jesus took His Parables from primarily two major sources: (a) The Realm of Creation; (b) The Realm of Human Relationships. These Parables are “born out of life,” and therefore have a way of touching us in those areas where life is the most meaningful and significant.

4 Many Parables were given because of some opposition or problem for, example

  • The Pharisees criticised Jesus for eating with Sinners (Luke 15:1-2), so He (Jesus) talked about a lost sheep, a lost coin, and a lost son (Luke 15:3-32).
  • Jesus’ Disciples thought they were very successful because of the big Crowds (Matthew 13:1-2), so Jesus told the Parable of “the Sower” who saw three-fourth of his seed produce nothing (Matthew 13:3-23).
  • Jesus was accused by the Pharisees of being in league with the Devil because He had cast out “the blind and dumb spirit” (Matthew 12:22-24), so He (Jesus) told the Parable of the strong man guarding his castle (Matthew 12:25-29).

5 The Parables are both mirrors and “windows.” As mirrors, the Parables help us to see ourselves. The Parables reveal our lives as they really are. As “windows,” the Parables help us see life and God.

1.3 How to use the Parables?

Jesus asked His Disciples whether they have understood “all” that He had taught them, and they responded “yes”Matthew 13:51(KJV) “Jesus saith unto them, have ye understood all these things? They say unto Him, yea, Lord.” Understanding always brings responsibility. The Disciples were privileged to understand the explanation of the Parables (“Mysteries of the Kingdom”), and therefore they had a great responsibility to put these understandings into practice – “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required” (Luke 12:48). Immediately, Jesus spoke on the “Parable of the Householder” explains how to best use the Parables – Matthew 13:52 (NASB) “Therefore every Scribe who has become a Disciple of Heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” In this Parable, Jesus points out three responsibilities that we have toward revealed truth:

1 Learning the Truth – Matthew 13:52a “Therefore every Scribe.” A Scribe’s work was to examine the Law and discover its teachings. It is important to remember that the Scribes began as a very noble Group. They devoted themselves to the Protection and Preservation of the Law. But at the time of Christ, the Scribes work degenerated into protecting dead traditions rather than teaching and living the truth of God’s Word. Jesus accused them of putting the people under spiritual bondage, not liberty (Luke 11:42-52):    

  • They are so caught up with their traditions that they ignored Jesus’ teaching (Matthew 23:1-7).
  • Instead of opening doors for Sinners to be saved, they closed them (Matthew 23:3).
  • They became blind Leaders of the Blind (Matthew 23:16-24). 

 2. Living the Truth – Matthew 13:52b “who has become a disciple of heaven.” Every Scribe who becomes Jesus’ Disciple is a Person who follows Jesus and puts Jesus’ teaching into practice – Matthew 28:20a “Teaching them (disciples) to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.”

  • A Disciple learns the truth to live the truth.
  • The truth becomes alive to the Disciple when he lives it, and in the process, he learns more truth.
  • There is a desperate need for a balance between theory and practice. Learning and living, the classroom and the marketplace.
  • Jesus teaches His Disciples by precept and by practice – Acts 1:1b “Of all that Jesus began both to do and teach.”
  • A Disciple must be taught objective truth and subjective experience.   

It is not enough to be Hearers of God’s Word – We must be Doers if we are going to grow in the Lord Jesus – James 1:22-24 “But be ye Doers of the Word, and not Hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a Hearer of the Word, and not a Doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.”

3. Sharing the Truth – Matthew 13:52c “Is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.” Every Disciple has “a treasury” within that contains the spiritual truth accumulated from his learning and living. He, as “the head of the household” has to bring forth this treasure of spiritual truth to share. He must share “the old and the new.” The “old” is what he has learned as a “Scribe,” and the “new” is what he learned as a Disciple, practicing the truth.  

It in the obedient to God’s Word that a Disciple benefited the most and he has the most to impart. We cannot do without “the old” for out of “the old” comes “the new” – Isaiah 28:9-10 “Whom shall he teach knowledge? And whom shall he make to understand doctrine? Those who are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts, for precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; her a little, and there a little.” There is always new application for existing (“old”) truths, new insights into existing (“old”) principles, and new understanding of existing (“old”) relationships.

1.4 Ezra

Ezra, the first Scribe, exemplified this kind of balanced life of the Disciple of Jesus Christ. It was said of this man of God: Ezra 7:10“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD (Scribe – Learning), and to do it (Disciple – Living), and to teach in Israel statutes and judgement (Householder – Sharing).”

1.5 Doing Precedes Teaching

The Principle laid down by Jesus is “doing” precedes “teaching” – Acts 1:1b (KJV) “Of all that Jesus began to both to do and teach.” This Principle (“Do & Teach”) is also followed by the Apostles and Prophets, and Kingdom’s Manifesto (Matthew chapters 5 to 7):

  • Apostles – Mark 6:30 “And the Apostles gather themselves together unto Jesus, and told Him all things, both what they had done, and what they had taught.”
  • Prophets – Ezra 7:10“For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgement.”
  • Kingdom of HeavenMatthew 5:19 (NKJV) “Whoever therefore breaks one of the least of these Commandments, and teaches men so, shall be called Least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever does and teaches them, he shall be called Great in the Kingdom of Heaven.”

1.6 How to study the Parables

Because the Bible consists of different types of Writings; it is important to us to know how to approach with each type. We do not approach the Poetry of the Psalms in the same way that we approach the Narratives of Bible History or the Doctrinal discussions of the Epistles. It is a basic rule of Bible Study that we examine each passage of Scripture in the light of its literary classification. Consider these Principles for Interpreting the Parables:

1. Contextual – Study each Parable in its Context – This is true of any Portion of Scripture; but it is especially true of the Parables. Ignore the Context and we can make a Parable teach almost anything. For example, the Parable of the “Good Samaritan” (Luke 10:25-37) has suffered at the hand of “Spiritualisers” who have forgotten the Context – The Context is the Scribe (Lawyer’s) evasive question: “And who is my neighbor” (Luke 10:29b). While there is certainly a Salvation Message in the Parable, the fundamental lesson is that of being a Neighbor to the Person in need – Luke 10:36-37 “Which now of these three thinkest thou (Lawyer), was neighbor unto him that fell among the thieves? And he (Lawyer) said, he that showed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him (Lawyer), go, and do thou likewise.”

2. Main Truth – Look for the main truth the Parable teaches – This does not mean there are no secondary lessons, but even these must be related to the main truth of the Parable. The main truth of the Parable of the Prodigal son is that God receives, forgives, and restores us. We can discover in this rich Parable many spiritual truths, but all of them relate in some way to that primary lesson of God’s Love, for God is Love (1John 4:7-8).

3. Not to Spiritualize – Do not try to attach “meaning” to every detail – Some of the Parables are quite detailed, such as “the Sower” (Matthew 13:3-23) and “the Wheat and the Tares” (Matthew 13:24-30); while other Parables have very little detail. It is not necessary to make everything mean something unless the context warrants it. Jesus explained “the Parable of the Sower” in detail, and likewise “the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.” In connection with this Principle, the symbols used in different Parables do not always represent the same thing. In the “Parable of the Sower,” “the Seed” represents God’s Word (Matthew 13:19a – “the Word of the Kingdom.”) and “Soil” (Matthew 13:19b “that which was sown in his heart”) represents the human heart. But in the “Parable of the Wheat and Tares,” the “Seed” represents the children of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:24), the “Tares,” the children of this World (Matthew 13:25); while the field is the World (Matthew 13:30).

4. Not Doctrinal – The Parables are given to illustrate Doctrine, not to declare Doctrine – In other words, try not to build a case for some Doctrine on the basis of a Parable. The Parables are the “Windows” in the house and not the foundation stones. It is dangerous to build a Doctrine (teaching) of Salvation by Good Works on the “Parable of the sheep and goats” (Matthew 25:31-46). To do so would be to ignore the Prophetic Context of the Parable, and the resulting “Doctrine” would contradict the Clear Teaching of other portions of the Scriptures.

5. Spiritual Perception – Ask God for Spiritual Perception (1John 2:20, 27) – This is necessary for all Bible Study; but it is especially important in dealing with the Parables. The Disciples came to Jesus and asked Him for understanding, and we must do likewise (Matthew 13:10). God Promises us Wisdom if we ask Him (James 1:5).

Love and Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 13)

1.0 Love & Spiritual Gifts

The Church of Jesus Christ needs both the “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) and the “Gifts of the Holy Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:8-10). It is not either or, but both. Arguably, the Church at Corinth was the most Anointed Church in the New Testament – the Church flowed in God’s Power – with “Spiritual-Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 to 14); but the Church was also “loaded” with issues – Carnality (1Corinthians 3:1-4); Exalting one Person above the others (1Corinthians 1:12); etc., Apostle Paul advocated that “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 & 14) should be balanced by God’s Love (1Corinthians chapter 13) – 1Corinthians 12:8-10 lists the “Spiritual Gifts;” 1Corinthians 13 teaches on God’s Love (16 Characteristics); 1Corinthians 14 teaches on the Operation of the “Spiritual Gifts.” – The understanding of the relationship is summed up in 1Corinthians 13:2“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove the mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”  Operating “Spiritual Gifts” without God’s Love opens it to misuse and abuse – it will not edify or have their full effect. God’s Love gives “Spiritual Gifts” the proper “foundation” to minister God’s Grace to others. To avoid misuse and abuse of “Spiritual Gifts,” the Person/Church must learn to submit to God’s Written Word (Logos) and operates out of God’s Love.

On the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the Covenantal Relationship of the Members of the Body of Christ was established in the Apostolic Teaching (Acts 2:42-47). The “bed-rock” of God’s Habitation is Covenantal Relationship in “the Bond of Love” (Psalm 133); without which Revival will not last.

The Church has been seeking Revival but lost the “spirit of repentance;” and without repentance, the Individual/Church will not be able to grow into Christlikeness (2Corinthians 3:18). 1Corinthians 12:7 states that the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” is for the common good1Corinthians 12:7 (NKJV) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all (“common-good” – NIV).” – God gives “Spiritual Gifts” to an Individual/Church as “tools” to manifest forth His Love (1Corinthians 13) – the Individual/Church flows in God’s Nature and Character, strengthening Christ’s Body, the Local Church.

The Local Church is always in God’s Plan – “I will build My Church” (Matthew 16:18); and every Member of the Body of Christ is to be connected (Ephesians 4:16); for God’s Plan and Purpose to be effective in the Local Church, there need to be the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” – 1Corinthians 12:7, 11 (NKJV) “But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all……But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.”

However, the Individual/Church needs to be “soaked” in God’s Love (1Corinthians 13), to receive God’s Presence and Power in the Operation of the “Spiritual-Gifts” (1Corinthians chapter 12 & 14); – and using “Spiritual Gifts” with God’s Love (1Corinthians 13) to minister God’s Power to the World – revealing the Father’s Heart!  God’s Love (1Corinthians 13) gives true value to “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapters 12 & 14). In any discussion on “Spiritual Gifts,” due consideration should be given to the teaching of God’s Love of 1Corinthians 13.

1.1 The Placing

The “Teaching on Love” in 1Corinthians 13 is sandwiched between the most extensive teaching on “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapter 12) and the Operation of “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians Chapter 14). The “Love-Chapter” of 1Corinthians 13 is frequently spoken at Wedding, which is acceptable, but is not the intention of Apostle Paul – In the original text, there was no “chapters-separation,” but a continuous flow of thoughts and teaching of Paul on “Spiritual-Gifts” and their Operations. 1Corinthians 13:4-8 gives one of the best definitions of Love in God’s Word, involving16 Characteristics:

  • Love suffers long (endures long, is patient).
  • Love is kind.
  • Love does not envy (is not jealous).
  • Love does not parade itself (does not brag; does not boast).
  • Love is not puffed up (not proud, vainglorious, arrogant, prideful)
  • Love does not behave rudely (not rude, unbecomingly, indecently, unmannerly).
  • Love does not seek its own (is not selfish, or self-seeking; foes not insist on one’s own right and way).
  • Love is not provoked (not touchy, angry, fretful, and resentful).
  • Love thinks no evil (harbors and plan no evil thought; takes no account of a wrong done it).
  • Love does not rejoice in iniquity (lawlessness, wrong, sin, evil, injustice),
  • Love rejoices in the truth (justice and righteousness).
  • Love bears all things (Love protects).
  • Love believes in all things (exercises faith in everything; is ready to believe the best in everyone).
  • Love hopes for all things (keep up hope in everything under all circumstances).
  • Love endures all things (without weakening; it gives power to endure).
  • Love never fails.

1.2 Love

In 1Corinthians 13:1-3, Paul teaches that the “Spiritual Gifts” (Tongues, Prophecy and Knowledge) and character traits (Faith to move mountains, the sacrificial spirit that would prompt the Person to give his goods to the poor, the courage that enables the Person to be a Martyr to endure the flames) are not insignificant or commonplace; yet, Apostle Paul does not say once but three times that it is love that gives value to “Spiritual Gifts (Tongues, Prophecy, and Knowledge), spirit of sacrifice (Faith, Zeal and Courage). If not, all are nothing and we have accomplished nothing – 1Corinthians 13:1-3 (NIV) “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have faith that can move mountains, but have no love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flame, but have not love, I am nothing.”

1.3 Relationship

1Corinthians 13:4-8, each description of God’s Love is in the Arena of interpersonal relationship. We would have expected from the larger context that Paul would want to instruct us on how to Prophesy in Love; how to Exercise Faith in Love; and how to give sacrificially in Love; how to lay down our life in Love; but he does not do that. Instead, he teaches about exercising Patience and being Kind to one another; he teaches about Love, elimination of envy, boasting, rudeness and selfishness; he teaches that Love is not easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs; Paul has thus passed from the teaching of “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians 12) to the Arena of Relationship.

1.4 Love Lived Out

What is Paul teaching us through this subtle change from “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians 12) to God’s Love in 1Corinthians 13? Just this: “Love must permeate and govern every aspect of our lives.” Love is not to be exercised only in the use of “Spiritual Gifts,” but God’s Love gives value to “Spiritual Gifts:”

  • Love enables us to share together our life in Jesus Christ (1Corinthians 13).
  • Love is the cement that binds us, the “Living Stones,” together that is being built into God’s Spiritual House (1Peter 2:5).
  • Love is the ligament that binds the Members into one Body (Ephesians 4:16).
  • Love gives Unity to the Body and makes the functioning of “Spiritual Gifts” effective (Ephesians 4:16).

1.5 The Balance

The “Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23) is Eternal (“abides” – 1Corinthians 13:13); whereas the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians 12 & 14) is temporal (“vanished away” – 1Corinthians 13:8). “Spiritual Gifts” is Ministry-Oriented, whereas “Fruit of the Spirit” is God-Oriented. Also, the “Fruit of the Spirit” accompanies all the four passages on “Spiritual-Gifts:” 

  • 1Corinthians 13- “The Love Chapter” – is sandwiched between the “Gifts of the Spirit” in 1Corinthians 12:8-10 and the Operations of the “Gifts of the Spirit” in 1Corinthians chapter 14.
  • The “Gifts of the Spirit” in Romans 12:6-8 is followed by the exhortation on Love – “Let love be without hypocrisy” and “be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love” (Romans 12:9-10). The passage on “Fruit of Love” continues for another 11 verses (Romans 12:11-21).
  • The teaching of the “Gifts of Christ” in Ephesians 4:11-16 is followed by the “Fruit of Love” Ephesians 4:17 and continued to Ephesians 5:2 “And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.”
  • The “Fruit of Love” in 1Peter 4:8 precedes the “Spiritual Gifts” of 1Peter 4:10-11 – “Above all things have fervent love for one another, for ‘love will cover a multitude of sins’”

The Church at Corinth, although is, “a messy-Church,” but yet has an ideal Spiritual Gift-Mix“You come short in no gift” (1Corinthians 1:7) and the “Nine-Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians 12:8-10), with the Operation of the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 14); sandwiched is the teaching of “God’s Love” (1Corinthians chapter 13) –  Thus, the “Fruit of the Spirit” is the Indispensable Foundation for the effective use of the “Gifts of the Spirit” in any Church, even the messy ones! Therefore, any teaching of “Gifts of the Spirit” (Romans 12:3-8; 1Corinthians 12 to 14; 1Peter 4:10-11) and the “Gifts of Christ” (Ephesians 4:7-16), must include the teaching of God’s Love of 1Corinthians chapter 13. Most people agreed on the need of balance between “Spiritual Gifts” (1Corinthians chapters 12 & 14) and “God’s Love” (1Corinthians chapter 13); however, few practice it. Most of the Discipleship Training, whether in the Local Churches or Para-Organizations, emphasizes on ministry skills without much consideration of the development of “Fruit of the Spirit” (God’s Love – our Character).

1.6 Love and Discernment

1Corinthians 14:1 (NIV) “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire Spiritual Gifts, especially the Gift of Prophecy” – I believe that the Prophetic Person effectiveness in discernment and accuracy in the Prophetic Word (“Rhema”) is directly proportion to the way he “follows the Way of Love” (1Corinthians 14:1; 1Corinthians 13:4-8a) – the Prophetic Person may be able to see some effectiveness in his discernment and Prophetic Word (“Rhema”); but ultimately he is limited in the Anointing, if he does not “Follow the way of Agape-Love” (1Corinthians 14:1; 1Corinthians 13:4-8a) and grows into it – he will level off and missed God’s Heart-beats.   

1.7 Book of Galatians

God’s Love (Agape) is also taught in the Book of Galatians in the form of “the Fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), of which most teaches on Character Traits, which is not wrong but incomplete. The passage starts with Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is Love…….;” it is “the Fruit” (singular) as affirmed in the original text; Love is “the Fruit” of the Spirit; the “Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-control,” are the description and expansion of the “the Fruit” (singular) of the Spirit, which is Love; in other words, “Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-control” are the outworking of the “God’s (Agape) Love” of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), in the Life-of-the-Believer.

1.8 Lifestyle

“God’s Love (Agape)” is not a weak notion of feeling; God’s Love (Agape) is the choice God made on our behalf (John 3:16); Believer is to Walk in the Life-style of Love:    

  • 1Thessalonians 5:8 (NKJV) “But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.”
  • 1Timothy 6:11 (NKJV) “But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.”
  • 2Timothy 2:22 (NKJV) “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”

The demonstration of God’s Love (Agape) is expected of us; not as a single act, but as a life-style; it is seen in our words, attitudes, and actions as shown in the following Scripture:

  • 2John 1:6b (NIV) “As you have heard from the beginning, His command is that you walk in love.”
  • Ephesians 5:2 (NIV) “Live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” 
  • Jude 21b (NIV) “Keep yourselves in God’s love.”
  • 1Corinthians 16:14 (NKJV) “Let all that you do be done with love.”

As in 1Corinthians 13:6b, “Love keeps no record of wrongs” because “love covers over a multitude of sins” (1Peter 4:8b, NIV); we are called to love each other deeply (1Peter 4:8a, NIV). Confrontation, in the “midst-of-wrongs,” must be “spoken in love” (Ephesians 4:15a); Truth, must not be spoken as validation, but out of the Heart of Love – Ephesians 4:15a “Speaking the truth in love.” God’s Love (Agape), in Scripture, is put in the chief place above all other Virtues – Colossians 3:12, 14 “Therefore, as the Elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering;…….But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” (NKJV). God’s Love (Agape) is of the utmost importance; it is sandwiched between the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 12) and the Operation of the “Gifts of the Spirit” (1Corinthians chapter 14). Love is “the glue” that holds the balance of the “Spiritual-Gifts” and the Operation of the “Spiritual Gifts.” We already have “a measure of God’s Love (Agape)” sheds in our heart by God’s Spirit (Romans 5:5); and as we continue this exercise of God’s Love (Agape),” for God and for others and for ourselves (Matthew 22:37-40), we will progressively grow into it, how?

1.9 Greater than Fear & Death

– Love is greater than fear and death – Song of Solomon 8:6 states that “Love is as strong as death” and 1John 4:18 states: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment; but he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” (NKJV). God’s Love (Agape) is literally “the Force” in the spiritual realm and it is as strong as death and perfect love casts out fear.

1.10 Love & Faith

does not function effectively without love – “Faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6b, NKJV); further, God’s Love is greater than Faith – 1Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) “And now these three remain: Faith, Hope and Love. But the greatest of these is Love;” an amazing statement. Love has a greater Power (Force), in the spiritual realm, than Faith; but most Christians pursue Faith to an ultimate end. I believe, that as the release of the Prophetic Understanding and Anointing increases; there is a corresponding release of the Revelation and the Experience of “God’s Love (Agape)” in the Church of Jesus Christ of 1Corinthians 13. Ephesians 3:17b-19 (NIV) “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  Only the Individual/Church, being firmly rooted in “God’s Love (Agape),” be able to be filled with all “the Fullness of God;” Ephesians 3, affirms: “The love of Christ…….surpasses knowledge”“being filled with the fullness of God” is to receive the “Fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ” because “God was pleased to have all His Fullness dwell in Him (Jesus)” (Colossians 1:19, NIV). 

The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Self

We are created “in the image and likeness” of God – Genesis 1:26-27 “And God said, let Us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So, God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (KJV).


Adam & Eve were not the product of some galactic accident nor is he the result of evolution. God created Adam to be totally dependent on Him – “For in Him, we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Luke 3:38 calls Adam “the son of God.”


Adam & Eve were God’s masterpiece and the focal point of His (God’s) Creation. All of God’s purposes were to centre on them (Genesis 1:26-28) – Genesis 1:31a “He (God) had made, and indeed it was very good….”


Adam & Eve were created in God’s Image and Likeness (Genesis 1:26-27). Unlike Angels and the animals, Adam & Eve have very special relationship with God. God not only gave Adam & Eve Personality – Mind to think, emotion to feel, and will for making decisions – but God also gave Adam & Eve a spirit that enabled them to know Him (God) and worship Him (God).


God’s Image is spiritual, mental, and volitional (power). It involves the Character (Image) and Nature (Likeness) of God – Likeness (intellect, emotion, will) and Image (Moral Attributes: Holy, righteous, love, faithful). Not God’s Essential Attributes (Omnipresent, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Immutable (unchanging as to His Nature, Being and Character) and Self-existent) of God.


Fruitful, Multiply and FillGenesis 1:28a “And God blessed them, and God said unto them (Adam & Eve), be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (KJV). The three Commands: “Be Fruitful, and Multiply and Filled the Earth” involves Procreation, the union of man (Adam) and woman (Eve) to populate the Earth (Genesis 9:1; Isaiah 45:18). Adam and Eve were to reproduce “after their kind”Genesis 5:1-3 “This is the Book of the Generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made He him; male and female created He them; and blessed them and called their Name Adam (Mr & Mrs Adam), in the day when they were created. And Adam lived a hundred and thirty years, and begot a son in his own likeness, after his own image; and called his name Seth” (KJV).


Subdue the EarthGenesis 1:28b “And subdue it” (KJV). The word “subdue” denotes warfare and means “to tread down, to conquer and to subjugate.” This implied the existence of Enemy (Satan – The Fall of Lucifer – Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28:12-19; Genesis 3:1; Revelation 12:9) that Adam and Eve must overcome. Satan and one third of the Angelic Host rebelled against God (Revelation 12:4a) and became God’s Enemies and Adam’s & Eve’s Enemies. Satan (Lucifer) and the Fallen Angels were the Enemies that Adam & Eve must overcome. Furthermore, Adam & Eve were to make the whole Earth as the Garden of Eden. This implies a degree of sovereignty, control and direction over Nature (Psalm 8:6).


Have DominionGenesis 1:28c “And have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moved upon the earth” (KJV). Adam and Eve were the first Rulers over God’s Creation – “The Heaven, even the Heavens are the LORD’s but the Earth He has given to the Children of men” (Psalm 115:16, NKJV). From the moment of their (Adam & Eve) Creation Man & Woman were given the Authority to have Dominion – This Dominion involves the Rulership over the Earthly Creation and would include the spiritual authority.

Adam & Eve were King & Queen under God, Adam named the animals – Genesis 1:19-20a “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field; and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call every living Creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field” (KJV).

  • Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given authority over the Creation (Genesis 1:28), when Adam gave Names to the animals and fowls.
  • Adam & Eve demonstrated their God’s given mental capacity when Adam named the animals and fowls.

It did not take millions of years for Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) to evolve in their search of self-identity and self-consciousness, for Adam’s & Eve’s Dominion (Genesis 1:28) were the direct result of being created in God’s Image and Likeness. Man (Adam) and Woman (Eve) were created to have dominion over all living Creatures (Genesis 1:28).


When Adam & Eve Fell (sinned – Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-6), not only physical death and spiritual death (cut-off from God’s Life) came upon them (Adam & Eve) but the Image of God in them were marred (Ephesians 4:18-19). But at the same time, they still retain God’s Likeness of: Intellect, Emotion, and Will. Through Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Work of the Holy Spirit, the Image of God is presently being formed in every born-again Believer who allows God’s Spirit to conform him/her to God’s Image, of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit:

  • Romans 8:29 “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers” (KJV).
  • 2Corinthians 3:18 “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (NIV).
  • Colossians 3:10 “And have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator” (NIV).


At the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, all of God’s Children will share in the Glorious Image of Christ – 1John 3:1-3 “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the Children of God; therefore, the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the Children of God, and it doeth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure” (KJV)


Thus, we have worth and significance in God’s Sight, despite our weaknesses, failures, and faults. Every Person long for meaning of life and deep relationship, which could only be satisfied in God in the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ. The field of Psychology tries to create an understanding and appreciation of this worth and significance, for example:

  • Erik Erikson helps his Readers appreciate more fully what it means to become an Adult – to be mature in one’s personal identity.
  • Victor Frankle effectively argues that deep within the psyche of each Person is a longing for meaning that needs to be expressed in hopeful work and purposeful activity.
  • Rollo May recognises the essential worth of each Person and appreciates the power of crisis and stress to undermine personal identity. He contends that the resulting emptiness and anxiety can only be overcome through the power of love, love that enables us to live with freedom and courage.
  • Abraham Maslow gives us the language of self-actualisation, the ideal or goal toward which each Person strives – to realise our potential in our work and relationships, and to be able to do so even in environments and contexts that threaten our capacity for inner strength, authenticity and courage.”

It was estimated by one author (Gordon T Smith) that over 80 percent of the books published in any given year are about the self. We are consumed with our “selves.”  In order to resist being absorbed with ourselves, we must find, in response to God’s Grace, Mercy and Moral grounding, a clear sense of Authentic Identity in God through the Lord Jesus Christ, in our life and calling (vocation). Only then can we turn from self-absorption and self-centredness and know God’s Grace & Mercy in the Service to Others.  


God’ Glory – Man/Woman reflects God’s Glory – 1Corinthians 11:7b “Man… the Image and Glory of God” (KJV) and thus, it is erroneous for Christians and the Church to consider the Person to be nothing but God’s channel only. Scripture speaks of us as Partners with God – even Ambassadors for God (2Corinthians 5:20). Our lives and works matter greatly to God; our choices and decisions make a difference. Apostle Paul urges Timothy to “fan into flame the Gift of God” (2Timothy 1:6, NIV). If he/she does not, the Gift of God will not flourish in him/her! Timothy is urged to be proactive, to take responsibility for his life and his work (Ministry = Service), which will impact both the Church and the World.

Christians and Church, who argued that the best option is for the Person to decrease, often quoted the words of John the Baptist: “He (Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). We miss the point if we extrapolate from this declaration of John the Baptist that the Person has little if any significance.

  • John the Baptist was speaking of his calling (vocation), and of the joy at Christ’s Coming.
  • John’s work is that of a friend of the Bridegroom (Jesus – John 3:29), not that of the Bridegroom.

Naturally, when the Bridegroom appears, it is appropriate for the friend (John) to step aside – and this is his joy (and also Jesus’ joy). We see this Principle repeated in the affirmation that we are called to lose our lives if we are to gain them; that if we are to be great, then we must be Servants of all:

  • Mark 10:43-44 “But so shall it not be among you; but whosoever would be great among you, shall be your minister (Servant); And whosoever of you would be the chiefest shall be Servant of all” (KJV).
  • Matthew 23:11 “But he that is greatest among you shall be your Servant” (KJV).

Implicit in these teaching of Jesus is the recognition that we have life to give, and we achieve greatness by giving our life, thus, it can be assumed that the Individual life before God has the potential of greatness. When Christ’s Disciples wondered who would be great in the Kingdom of God, Jesus’ response was not to rebuke them for desiring greatness but rather to point them to the way of Service. Furthermore, Jesus made the remarkable statement that His Disciples were not only His Servants; they were His friends (John 15:15). Thus, we are more than “Channels” or “Instruments” but Partners with Him in the Work of the Kingdom! So do not run yourself down but Praise the Lord Jesus!

The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Calling

The “Call of God,” whether Secular or Religious, are Sacred – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV) – Whether we are called into Service in the Church or in the World, whether to manual work, art, education, science, technology, engineering, medicine, the service professionals or managerial, in every area and sector of human life, every call is sacred. If a vocation represents God’s Call to serve Him in the World, then that vocation (call) is sacred because it comes from God. It therefore makes no sense to speak of secular vocation (call); such a term is a contradiction, because all vocation (call) comes from God, and is sacred. The term “secular work” comes from the Hellenistic teaching, any work that was “in the world” or involved active engagement with society was viewed as secular and probably evil. Thus, the spiritual ideal was to leave the world, to be separated from it and to live a life of prayer and study as much as possible. This belief system, for centuries, has become deeply imbedded in the psyche of the Church: That if you have “a vocation (calling)” you are to leave “secular” employment and to accept the responsibility

Mind-Set Change – Martin Luther and John Calvin brought about a reformation and a mind-set change by refusing to make the sharp distinction between sacred and secular that was so characteristic of the medieval world and is still evident in the language of the present-day Christians and the Church. Martin Luther and John Calvin promoted a revolutionary teaching: That the homemaker, the shoemaker, and the preacher all serve God, all respond to the call (vocation) of God, and thus all have “a calling” (vocation). Martin Luther and John Calvin called for spirituality in the world that took seriously the home and the marketplace. Both affirmed the common and the ordinary – As Calvin puts it, “in following your proper calling, no work will be so mean and sordid as not to have splendour and value in the eye of God” (John Calvin, “Institute of the Christian Religion”).

Luther and Calvin insisted that all people should have a respect for their own calling (vocation). John Calvin went further and affirmed that each Person has been assigned a station or calling (vocation) from God; this calling (vocation) is not something incidental or accidental. Consequently, it is our sacred duty to accept and even embrace that to which God has called us.

The sacred is not distinct from the secular; rather the sacred is what sanctifies the ordinary and thus makes it good and noble. This idea of sanctification was critical to Martin Luther’s assertion that every Christian, regardless of station, is a Priest (Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10; 1Peter 2:5-9). In spite of the teaching of Martin Luther and John Calvin, the unbiblical teaching that some callings (vocations) are sacred, and some callings (vocations) are secular are still locked in the “mind-set” of the Church, and in the Christians, today!!


Spheres of Influence – The recovery and understanding of this biblical vocation (calling) of God involving all areas of life leads us to a renewed appreciation of the full extent of God’s call (vocation) and His Kingdom that is, permeating all strata of societies, communities, and countries. This recovery and understanding leads us into the revelation of the “Seven-Mountain” Spheres of Influence which was given by God, simultaneously, to Bill Bright, Founder of Campus Crusade, and Loren Cunningham, Founder of Youth with a Mission, in 1975. The revelation was if we are to impact any Nation for Jesus Christ, we would have to affect the seven spheres of influence of society that are pillars. Furthermore, the Church and the Christians need to change their mind-set and embraced that God calls people into the “Seven-mountains” of spheres of influence:

  • Families (Covenant relationship and personal identity, which are the key building blocks of society. Parenting styles, singleness, orphans, gender issues, marriage, sexuality, divorce, aging etc).
  • Religion (Faith and practice concerning what is ultimately true. Among the many voices on this sphere of influence (mountain), the Church declares who God is and what Jesus has done to redeem man and creation).
  • Economy (The system that produces, distributes, and consumes wealth. Business, finance, management, social justice, capitalism, socialism, prosperity, poverty, etc).
  • Education (Who, what, when, where why and how we teach the next Generation. Public & private schools, textbooks, literacy, indoctrination vs. education, universities, etc).
  • Government (The system and policies by which we rule and are ruled. Politics, law, courts, taxes, prisons, military, bureaucracies, civic duty, patriotism, activism, etc).
  • Arts & Media (Our creations, stories, ideas, music and games and the way we communicate them. Entertainment, the process, sports, novels, myths, the internet, televisions, music, etc).
  • Science & Technology (Our knowledge of creation and how we practically apply it. Health, medicine, innovation, sanitation, the printing press, computers, weaponry, etc).
  • (Source: “Prayer Card – The Seven Mountain or Spheres of Influence” & “The Seven Mountain Prophecy” – Johnny Enlow)

All vocation (calling) is sacred and there should be no separation between the Church and the Marketplace, as God is establishing His Kingdom on earth as the whole Creation comes under His Divine Authority. To that end God calls and enables His Children to be His Kingdom People within every sphere of life and society. Each call (vocation) reflects but one avenue by which God, through word and deed, is accomplishing the establishment of His Kingdom on Earth.


Calling & Career – It is also important to stress the distinction between calling (vocation) and career, job or occupation – A calling (vocation) comes from God, and though it does involve work in any sector or society, from the home to the marketplace to the Church. God’s Word states that the “Gift and Calling (Vocation) of God are irrevocable” (Romans 11:29). The Person can lose his job, be released from a position or his career can come to an end when he retires. But his Calling (Vocation) remains because it reflects his fundamental identity. This means that if we are going to be successful in the Service of God, whether in the Church or in the World, we have to understand and use His (God’s) Calling (Vocation) upon our life.


Market-PlaceTom Philips, who is associated with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, said this: “The greatest potential ministry in the world today is in the marketplace. Christ’s greatest labour force is those men and women already in that environment.” This is a powerful prophetic statement with great implications:

  • Ministry – Our job, career, business, and the connections with the various Leaders or People, is more than earning a profit or wage but a ministry unto the Lord Jesus.
  • Window of Opportunity – There is “a fruitful season” for God’s work – God determined allotted periods – Acts 17:26b “Hath determined the times before appointed” (KJV).
  • The Boundary -– Acts 17:26c “The boundary of their habitation” (KJV). God has also assigned an Individual to his/her assigned place(s).  
  • Positioning – God is calling and selecting Leaders in the market-place to impact the work-place, society and transform the community, because they are people of influence and strategically positioned in the market place.


The Church is to be a blessing to societies/communities because of Christ’s Finished Work (John 19:30 “It is Finished”), by being a good and useful citizen to the Nation of our dwelling, involving the dual task:

  • Evangelistic Mandate (Saving Souls) – Matthew 28:19a “Therefore go and make Disciples of all Nations…..”
  • Territorial Mandate (Transforming Societies and Communities – We, being “People of Blessings”) – Luke 19:10 “For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (KJV)
    • The old paradigm interpretation would make it to read: “To save those who were lost.” But it does not say this. It says “that (“what was lost” – NIV) which was lost.” What is that?” It is the Dominion over God’s Creation (Genesis 1:26-28), which was lost in the Garden of Eden at the Fall of Adam (Genesis 2:17; Genesis 3:1-6).
    • Matthew 28:19a “Therefore go and make Disciples of all Nations…..” – This passage of the Scripture does not tell us to make Disciples of Individuals in all the Nations, even though it is important, which has been our standard, old paradigm interpretation. Instead, the Church is to make Disciples of “All ethnic units or social units or people groups” = “all Nations” (Greek: “panta ta ethne”). It denotes sociological groupings of Individuals. The whole ethnic or nation (including, the Individuals who belongs to it) is Jesus’ directive to His Church. Thus, the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is the “social transformation” which also include Individuals, by not being combative/pushy in the sharing of the Gospel but being blessing to our neighbours (Matthew 22:39; Leviticus 19:18b) and the Nation of our dwelling (2Peter 1:3-12).

The Theology of God’s Calling (Romans 11:29) – The Theology of Work

1.0 Introduction

God’s Call in the Person (Romans 11:29), involves Work (Secular or Sacred), Service (Ministry) and Life – Romans 11:29“For God’s Gifts and His Call are irrevocable” (NIV). God’s Calling is the demonstration of His Love and Initiative, but more, it is through Service (Ministry) that we come to an appreciation God, better.

1.1 Theology of Work

Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man (Adam) and put him into the Garden of Eden to till it and to keep it” (KJV). This involved Man’s (Adam’s) Calling (Vocation). Adam was created to work, and his work was meaningful. From the beginning it was God’s Plan that Adam worked and be a responsible Steward of God’s Creation. Adam and his Descendants, with their privileges and responsibilities were to live and move in Kingly Fashion.

  • The word “dress” (till) from a root meaning to serve.
  • The word “keep” means “to look after or to have charge of.”

Point 1:

Adam’s responsibility was in fulfilment of a need described in Genesis 2:5b “There was not a man to till the ground” (KJV).

Point 2:

God intended that work is good, noble, and excellent and is the reflection of a Partnership with God in the care of His (God’s) Creation. Thus, work is important, significant, and valued by God – 2Thessalonians 3:10 “For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat.”  

Point 3:

With Fall of Adam & Eve, and the entrance of Sin, work became “toilsome”Genesis 3:17-19 “And unto Adam He said, because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns also and thistle shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return” (KJV).

Point 4:

We must never confuse work with toil or denigrate (belittle) the joy and privilege of work just because it involves toil; we must strive together for the recovery of the meaningful and joyful work.

Point 5:

Unfortunately, we have been deeply influenced by the strange notion that work is bad and should be avoided. God’s Word exhorts that the Person who is too lazy to work should not be supported – 2Thessalonians 3:10b “If any would not work, neither shall he eat” (KJV).

Point 6:

More Work – Our diligent and faithful in “small things” will be rewarded with “more work:” 

  • Luke 12:48b “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more” (KJV).
  • Matthew 25:29 “For unto everyone that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath” (KJV).

Point 7:

Work is one of the central expressions in our life as Christians, and to do well and efficiently is one of the critical aspects of our spiritual maturity – Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are Serving” (NIV).

Point 8:

Deep within the psyche of People of many cultures and societies is the notion that all which is manual is menial. People are inclined to think that work that done with our hands is less important, significant, or valuable than work that can be described as being done with the mind, such as managing, writing, speaking or teaching, which are important, nevertheless, basically, in the Body of Christ, there are two broad groupings of spiritual gifts:

  • There is the “speaking gift” – Speaking forth the “Oracles” (“Burdens”) of God – should be “God’s Word” based – 1Peter 4:11a (KJV) “If any man speaks, let him speak as the Oracles (Logia = Divine Utterances, used in the Classical) of God.”
  • There is the “serving gift” – the Person who works “behind the scenes” – helping to make the Public Ministry possible – 1Peter 4:11b (KJV) “If any man minister (serve), let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.”

Both, “the speaking gift” and “the serving gifts” are important to the Body of Christ because not everybody are Teachers or Preachers, which tends to get the “lime-light and recognition” but there are those “behind-the-scenes” service ministry in seeing that the physical aspects of the Church are in place and properly functioning. Hardly anyone ever sees the work that they do. In fact, if they do their job properly, few People even think about it; their work is taken for granted by most of the Members of the Congregation. Furthermore, in Scripture we are encouraged to work with our hands, and consistently those who are masters of a craft are celebrated, such as those who designed and created the Old Testament Tabernacle, Bezalel, a Craftsman is the first person in Scripture who is said to be filled with the Spirit (Exodus 35:30-35).

Also, the Woman of Proverbs 31 is praised as one who worked with her hands. There is probably a measured of truth in the suggestion that only as we learn to work with our hands, mastering a craft as a means of employment or as a form of recreation, are we truly integrated with our bodies – when we live entirely in our heads we may miss out on a major dimension of life.

Point 9:

Sabbath RestGenesis 2:2b-3 “On the Seventh day, God rested from all His work. And God blessed the Seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all His work of creating that He had done” (NIV). The weekly Sabbath rest is instituted, not for God because God does not need to rest, but for us. The biblical theology of work also includes the explicit call for weekly Sabbath Rest, when we set our work aside and take time for worship, fellowship, leisure, and recreation, because we are not merely Workers; we are God’s Children. Our work is never the primary expression of our identity, and through the weekly Sabbath Rest we re-establish our identity in God and in His love, acceptance, and grace toward us (Exodus 31:13-17). We violate the meaning of work when all we do is work, when we lose a rhythm and routine of work and play, work and prayer, work, and Sabbath Rest.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned

The Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Part 2)

1.3 The Grace of Christ

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ is the demonstration of God’s Love for our Salvation. The word “Grace” and “Graciousness” have the same root in the Greek. “Grace” is God’s free and unmerited favour towards the undeserving and ill-deserving. The word “Grace” is frequently used in the Bible. It is mentioned more than 50 times in Paul’s letters to the Romans, Corinthians, and Ephesians. Three important facts about “Christ’s Grace:”

Christ’s Grace is intimately related to God the Father’s Love. The Law is derived from God’s Holiness, Righteousness and Goodness:

  • Christ’s Grace is from God’s Love, a manifestation of His Love, God’s Love is prepared for our hearts, but Christ’s Grace is for our Need.
  • The Purpose of Christ’s Grace is to show God’s Love. Because God Loves us, He works for us and sends His Son {Jesus} to us to accomplish the Work of Redemption so that we may receive Christ’s Grace for the Forgiveness of Sin – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Christ) we have Redemption through His (Christ’s) Blood, the Forgiveness of Sins, according to the riches of His (Christ’s) Grace.”
  • Everything that God does is Christ’s Grace. It is His Expression of His (Father’s) Love for us (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:5, 2:4-5, Titus 3:4).

Christ Grace is manifested in Faith. Since it is Grace, it need not be worked for; no self-work is required of us except to have Faith; in fact this Faith is also God’s impartation – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by Grace are ye saved through Faith; and that not of yourselves, it is a Gift of God – not of works, lest any man should boast.” This is the basis and manifestation of Christ’s Grace (Romans 4:4-5; 11:6).

How is Christ’s Grace obtained? The Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth come through the Lord Jesus Christ – John 1:17 “For the Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ.”

  • The Law came to us through Angels and Moses, but Grace came through God Himself via Jesus (2Timothy 1:9-10; Ephesians 1:6; Titus 3:4; John 1:17).
  • The Law is an addendum (addition) outside Christ, but Grace is the Design in Christ.
  • Whether Christ’s Grace has been given to us in Time or Eternity, God’s Grace is received in Christ.
  • Christ’s Grace comes with Joy. The root word in Greek for Grace (Charis) and Joy (Chairo) is the same showing a close connection between Christ’s Grace and Joy; not “happiness,” as “happiness,” comes from “circumstance, situation, happenstance.”  

Believers in Christ do not only receive God’s Forgiveness of our Sin, but also other Blessings like being set free from Sin, being Protected, being Healed, and being lifted in Hope – this is “the joy of the LORD is our strength” (Nehemiah 8:10b).

1.4 The Love of God

In English, one word is used to express “love.” But in Greek, there are different words:

  • Erhós, refers to sexual, base, and immoral love. This word is never used in the Bible though commonly found in classical Greek.
  • Phileó, refers to human and emotional love like the love of friends, sibling, and parents – the reply of Peter to Jesus question (John 21:15-17).
  • Agapaó, refers to the noble and pure of God’s Love. The greatest expression of Love is to “give.” John 3:16 says “For God so loved (agapaó) the world that He gave His only begotten Son….” God expresses His Love for humanity by “giving” His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

God the Father’s Love (Agapaó) is describes in 1Corinthians chapter 13:4-8a “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.” God’s Love “cast out fear” (1John 4:18); and nothing can separate us from the Father’s Love (Romans 8:35, 37-39). God’s Love is immeasurable (Ephesians 3:18-19). God’s Love acts as “His Shield” upon us (Psalm 5:11-12). His Love cannot fail (Psalm 36:5-7). The Fruit (single) of the Spirit: “Love, Joy, Peace, Longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” – Foundational is LOVE.  

1.5 The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit

The word in the Benediction “Fellowship” means “having Communion.” It signifies the kind of relationship like that of the Partnership in business, with the single purpose, to achieve the common aim. Thus “Fellowship” (koinonia) means:

  • Having Communication: The Holy Spirit by His Presence gathers all Christians together to Fellowship. He offers Spiritual Gifts to each Believer so that we might share and minister to each other, and to the World (1Peter 4:10,11; 1Corinthians 12; Romans 12:3-8; Ephesians 4:11-16).
  • Taking Part: The Holy Spirit enables us, in 2Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul mentions that the Church of Macedonia was willingly taking part in the Work of the Saints by contributing their giving. “Taking part” is translated from the same word as “Fellowship” and “Communion.”
  • Being in Partnership: The Holy Spirit enables us, having the same aim and determination. Philippians 1:5 puts it as “Partnership in the Gospel.” This is the encouragement that all Churches should take.

1.6 Amen

“Amen” is used at the end of a Prayer. It means “let it be so” is incomplete. The term “Amen” essentially means “it is faithful” or “that is true” – Revelation 3:14b (KJV) “These things saith the Amen (Jesus), the Faithful and true Witness.” The word “Amen” appears 175 times in the Bible, 25 times in the Old Testament and 150 times in the New Testament. The word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” is used 25 times in the Gospel of John and Jesus used the word “Amen (Verily, Verily)” 101 times. The word “Amen” was used by the Children of Israel in the time of Moses. It does not only signify the end of Prayer, but also the urgent wish of the Person who Prays. A few clarifications from the Bible help us to understand the usage of the term “Amen:”

Faithful – “Amen” means “Faithful” or “Truthful” as in one of the many Sacred Names of God and our Lord Jesus Christ – Revelation 3:14 “And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans writes: These things saith the Amen, the Faithful and true Witness, the beginning of the Creation of God.” It shows that God is Faithful and Trustworthy. Deuteronomy 7:9 and Isaiah 65:16 tell us that God is the Faithful and Truthful God.

Steadfast – Since God is Faithful, His Covenant is also Steadfast. “Steadfast” in the Old Testament is one of the meanings of “Amen”

  • Isaiah 55:3 “I will make you an Everlasting Covenant, my Steadfast (Amen) sure love of David.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:20 “For all the Promises of God in Him are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the Glory of God by us.”

Obedient – Obedience signifies a vow, willingness. In the Old Testament, it indicates that “Amen” is also used during vow-taking. For example, in the latter part of chapter 27 of Deuteronomy, several times the word “Amen” is used as a response to indicate the willingness of the People to accept blessing/punishment. The same use of “Amen” is found in the responses by the woman and the people in Numbers chapters 5 and Nehemiah 5:12-13

Unity – The Church is the Body of Christ. Believers can express their Unity through the declaration of “Amen.” During the Service a brother/sister may lead in Prayer, but the Prayer represents the Prayer of all Members of the Body and we express our Unity by saying “Amen.”

Deep Expression – In the four Gospels, our Lord Jesus often uses “verily, verily” as an adverb to emphasize what He says. In the original “Amen” is used (Matthew 5:18, 26; Mark 3:28; 8:12; Luke 4:24; 12:37, etc)

Strong Confident – Revelation 22:20 “Amen, Come, Lord Jesus.” The “Amen” is like the Signatory on the Document – Unalterable and Unchangeable. In the same way, the Second Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is sure, reliable, and unalterable.

1.7 Exhortation

In conclusion, the Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) is given at the end of each Worship Service by the Senior Pastor/Pastor to bless the Congregation, trusting that they would depart to share this blessing with their families and others. Therefore, it is beneficial for the Congregation to stay behind to receive this “Benediction-Blessing.”

The Benediction (2 Corinthians 13:14) (Part 1)

1.0 The Statement

The New Testament’s Benediction is found in 2Corinthians 13:14 – “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God (the Father), and the Communion (Fellowship) of the Holy Spirit be with you All. Amen.”  The Greek word for “benediction” is “eulogia,” and is formed by “eu” which means “good” and “logia” which means “word.” Therefore “eulogia” means “to express good words.” The common translations of eulogia is: “Eulogy, Praise, Greetings and Benediction.” The Benediction in the Old Testament is recorded in Numbers 6:24-26. This Benediction is given when the Priest leave the Temple after Prayer. He (Priest) would stand outside, raise his hands, and blesses the People who had gathered there. His Blessing would be:

  • “The LORD blesses thee and keeps thee.” (Number 6:24).
  • “The LORD makes His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee.” (Number 6:25).
  • “The LORD lifts up His countenance upon thee and gives thee peace.” (Number 6:26).

1.1 The Old Testament

The Priestly Benediction as recorded in Numbers 6:24-26, is important to Israel and the Church:  

  • “The LORD blesses thee and keeps thee,” is the declaration of the blessing of God the Father. – The First “LORD” (Numbers 6:24) who “blesses and keeps us” corresponds with God the Father. Ephesians 1:3 says, “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.”
  • “The LORD makes His face to shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee” is the declaration of the blessing of God the Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. – The Second “LORD” (Numbers 6:25) who “makes His face to shine upon us and is gracious to us” corresponds with Christ, who is “the Image of God” (2Corinthians 4:4; Colossians 1:15). No human has looked into God the Father’s Face, but our Lord Jesus Christ, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). No one was ever so gracious as Jesus, for “Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17). 
  • “The LORD lifts up His Countenance upon thee, and “gives thee Peace” is the declaration of the blessing God the Holy Spirit. – The Third “LORD” (Numbers 6:26) who “lifts up His Countenance upon us and gives us Peace” corresponds with the Holy Spirit. He is sent to lift up Jesus. Speaking of the Holy Spirit’s Ministry, Jesus teaches “He (Spirit) will glorify Me (Jesus), for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you” (John 16:14). The “Fruit” of the Holy Spirit is “Love, Joy Peace….(Galatians 5:22-23). The Kingdom of God is “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” (Romans 14:7). The Holy Spirit lives in us and keeps us in perfect peace!

The use of “The LORD,” 3 times in Numbers 6:24-26, corresponds with God the Father, God the Son {Jesus}, and God the Holy Spirit. Thus, in the Old Testament, the three Persons in the Godhead (Father, Son {Jesus} and the Holy Spirit) is revealed in the Benediction in Numbers 6:24-26. The Benediction is asking God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit to bless, to be gracious and to give peace to His People. The Benediction in the Old Testament lets the People know that the God who is blessing them is the Highest and all Transcending God.

1.2 New Testament

2 Corinthians 13:14 (KJV) “The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit be with you All. Amen.” The Benediction in the New Testament draws Believers closer to God and establishes a more intimate relationship by means of:

  1. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
  2. The Love of God the Father.
  3. The Fellowship of the Holy Spirit.

There is no Reconciliation and Relationship without the Redemption of the Lord Jesus Christ.   Why is “the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ” put before “the Love of God” in 2Corinthians 13:14? From a theological view point the order should be reversed, but as Benediction, the order is correct:

  • It is through Jesus Christ that the Believers come into their Relationship with God the Father – John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
  • It is through Christ we receive God’s Love – Isaiah 54:10 “For the mountain shall depart and the hills be removed, but My Love shall not depart from you, nor My Covenant of Peace be removed,’ says the LORD, who has Mercy on you.”
  • It is through Christ that a Believer enters a life of Fellowship (Communion) with the Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 17, 26; John 15:26; John 16:13-15; 1John 2:20, 27).

Thus, Christ’s Grace than is the door through which we enter God the Father’s Love and the Fellowship (Communion) with the Holy Spirit. – Ephesians 2:8-9 “For by GRACE you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..