WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY ABOUT YOUR SEARCH FOR TRUTH?

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(A Scriptural Review)

Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat. Yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.  Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy?  Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.  Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you …Seek the LORD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.  Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.

“For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater,  so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:1-11

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This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” John 3:19-21

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“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”John 8:31-32

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My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
John 17:15-17

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But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. John 16:12-14

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I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.
Acts 20:28-31

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Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
John 18:37

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Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”   John 14:6

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Is truth factual or personal?

All scripture is from NKJV.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE LIVE BY THE SPIRIT?

(Scriptural Review)

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The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life. – Rev 22:17 NIV


 

This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world. – 1 John 4:2-3 NIV


 

…those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.Therefore, brothers, we have an obligation-but it is not to the sinful nature, to live according to it. For if you live according to the sinful nature, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live, because those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.

Rom 8:5-17 NIV


 

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints. Eph 6:17-18 NIV


 

So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. – Galatians 5:16-25


 

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. – Eph 5:18-19 NIV


 

The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.   The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:  “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”  But we have the mind of Christ. – 1 Cor 2:10-16 NIV 


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A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. – Gal 6:7-10 NIV


 

Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. – 1 Cor 12:2-11


 

Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. – Gal 4:6-7 NIV


 

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit,  to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues.   All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 NIV


 

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.- 2 Cor 3:17 NIV

 

What stories can you share with others where the Spirit empowered you for the sake of others?

Dr. Mike

WHY ARE YOU IMPORTANT TO GOD?

 

 

 

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 (A Scriptural Review)
1 Peter 2:9-10

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

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1 Peter 2:4-5

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ

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2 Peter 1:2-11

Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble;

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2 Thessalonians 1:11-12

Therefore we also pray always for you that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power, that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Philippians 1:9-11

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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Colossians 2:6-10

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving.

Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily;

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Colossians 1:25-29

…of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily.

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Colossians 1:9-14

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.

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All scripture is from the NKJV.

HOW DOES ONE CULTIVATE A GODLY LIFE?

 

An Essay on the Book of II Peter

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 “His divine power has given us everything we need for life

and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us

by his own glory and goodness.

Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises,

so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and

escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.”  2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV

 

What is the corruption in the world caused by evil desires? Is it not broken relationships, crime, murder, war, poverty, etc?

It has been said that doctors of old times tested the sanity of a mental patient with the following test: the patient was placed in a room with a sink. The faucet was turned on and a stopper was put in the drain until the sink overflowed. The patient was then handed a mop and the door was closed.

If the patient had enough sense to shut off the water, pull the plug, and then mop up the water, he was considered capable of going home. But on the other hand, if the patient mopped like crazy and never bothered to shut off the water and/or pull the plug, he was considered still insane and therefore needed to be detained a little longer in the mental institution.

Well, when it comes to practical spiritual application, there are people in this world that are mopping like crazy, but the water is still running, and the plug is still in the drain. They may be working hard, but getting no place.  Or they climb the ladder of worldly success only to find out when they get to the top that the ladder was on the wrong wall.  These people are not in mental institutions. Some are even people whom we’d consider quite sane, but they are plagued by their own personal demons and they haven’t figured out how to stop the floods in their lives.  And that includes Christians who still don’t quite understand what it means to follow Jesus as his apprentice.

Most of these people know there’s a problem they just haven’t figured out where to go to solve it. They hear and see what others have claimed Jesus has done for them, but they think, “I’m different”, or “I’m no weakling”, or “I don’t need help”, or “I’ve got my act together.” They want to experience Godly power in their life but refrain from making the commitment to diligently follow the “source of that power”.

It seems the apostle Peter had a similar dilemma on his hands when he wrote a letter (which we now call the 2nd epistle of Peter) to believers that they also needed to remember not to take their calling for granted, but always to focus on the proper goal.  If we were to summarize Peter’s letter in one sentence, we would say it this way:

          “Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ,

guarding yourself against false  teachings and

you will cultivate a fruitful, Godly life.”

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Which raises a Question: How does one grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? And also, how does one guard against false teaching?

The writer of 2nd Peter provides us with solutions.

First, how does one grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?

“But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,

to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance,

to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.

For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren

nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure,

for if you do these things you will never stumble;

for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly

into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”. 2 Peter 1:5-11 NKJV

And the kingdom is something not only in the future, but also a lifestyle for now. Also, to grow in grace and knowledge here doesn’t mean intelligent facts – but insight. It’s understanding the working relationship in practical application between you and Jesus.

Have you ever met someone who graduated top of his or her class; always had the answer, but didn’t know how to make it applicable in everyday life?

We are not talking about acquiring facts, but the practical application of building a relationship where iron sharpens iron.

Notice that each attribute (vs. 5-6) is built upon the other – and each attribute is God’s grace to us.  This is not a simple formula on how you can change yourself to experience Godly power.  Instead it’s the developmental process that God is going to take you through.  And as he does, you are going to be stretched, pulled, and challenged.  However, as you diligently pray asking for a transformed life, and seek his kingdom in your life, he will oblige.  This is what you will learn and become through the process.

 

Faith = “conviction, strong assurance”

Virtue = “moral excellence, goodness”

Knowledge = “correct insight”

Self-control = “self-discipline”

Perseverance = “bearing up under trials”

Godliness = “godly character out of devotion to God”

Brotherly kindness = “love toward brethren”

Love = “active goodwill toward those in need”

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How can you experience sustainable, long-term Godly power in your life?

When you pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ these attributes become your method of daily operations; you will find yourself growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  And as you grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord, your life will become transformed into his likeness and image.  That is the by-product of discipleship.  You become an apprentice of Jesus Christ.  He becomes your mentor, teacher, and yes, hero, redeemer, and Lord.  In return, you find yourself growing into spiritual maturity where the power of the Godly life is yours to experience.

But Peter also writes something we all need to be warned of…false teaching.  False teaching will lead us away from experiencing the real power of Godly living.  And Peter shows us how to identify falsehood by looking at the character of the teacher.

Imagine a family from a remote area was making their first visit to a big city. They checked in to a grand hotel and stood in amazement at the impressive sight. Leaving the reception desk they came to the elevator entrance. They’d never seen an elevator before, and just stared at it, unable to figure out what it was for. An old lady hobbled towards the elevator and went inside. The door closed. About a minute later, the door opened and out came a stunningly good-looking young woman. Dad couldn’t stop staring. Without turning his head he patted his son’s arm and said, “Go get your mother, son.”

Now if one didn’t know any better and based on perception alone, one would believe that one can be transformed by an Elevator.

How about in Australia?  The Australian Jedi Council consisting of more than 70,000 people have declared that they are followers of the Jedi faith, the religion created by George Lucas for the Star Wars films.  Question: Is every following built on a foundation that will achieve Godly results today and for eternity?

Jesus states in Matt 7:15-20 that you will know false teachers by their fruit. Can apples grow from a banana tree?  Can oranges grow from a fig tree?  Likewise, you will know false teaching by looking at the teachers themselves.  But what are you looking for?   What is the standard of character?

Peter outlines certain characteristics that identifies false teachers whose words must be carefully scrutinized…
1. They walk after the flesh (v.10).
2. They despise authority (v.10).
3. They are presumptuous or arrogant (v.10).
4. They are self-willed (v.10).
5. They speak evil of dignitaries (v.10-12).
6. They carouse around in pleasure and they do it openly, that is, along with the unbelievers of the world (v.13).
7. They have eyes full of adultery (v.14).
8. They entice unstable souls (v.14).
9. They are covetous (v.14).
10.They have forsaken the right way and gone astray (v.15-16).
11.They are filled with emptiness and instability (v.17).
12.They speak great swelling words of emptiness (v.18).
13.They lure people through the lusts of the flesh (v.18).
14.They promise liberty, but they only enslave people (v.19).

What do you notice about all the characteristics mentioned?  Are these characteristics of Jesus Christ?  Or are they just the opposite? What is another by-product of growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ? Isn’t it that you will be able to more easily identify false teachers and teachings.

Most of us have been educated in the school of performance. In fact, Shakespeare once said, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players”. From the very beginning of our lives we’re taught that we must perform properly in order to get what we want. There’s a direct relationship between how hard we work and how much we’re rewarded. For example, be good & you’ll get a cookie. Clean your room and you’ll get your allowance. Practice hard and you’ll make the varsity team. Study in college and you’ll get a better job. And on the list could go.

The tragedy of this world’s philosophy is that we become so conditioned by it we carry it over into our Christian experience. The grace of God that saves us (Ephesians 2:8-9) loses its meaning when we’re bombarded with the pressure to perform. And this pressure often comes packaged in religious verbiage such as; God helps those who help themselves. It sounds good; the only problem is, it’s not biblical! There’s only one place where you and I can stop performing and that’s in the unconditional love and acceptance of Jesus Christ – He who is full of grace and truth (John 1:14). The same grace that saves us is what sustains us and enables us to grow. It teaches us how to live here and now without performing!

What is Peter’s conclusion if we’re going to experience Godly power in our personal relationship, in the transformation of our inner self, and success in our outward behavior?

 

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“Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this,

be on your guard so that you may not be carried away

by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position.

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.”  2 Peter 3:17-18 NIV

Or to put it in another way:

Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Jesus Christ,

guarding yourself against false teachings

and you will fruitfully cultivate a Godly life.

By Dr. Mike

Question: What are some simple life applications that YOU do to continue growing in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?

WHAT KIND OF LIFE DO YOU REALLY WANT?

A Short Essay on the Book of Ecclesiastes

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What is Life all about? Does Life make sense to you?  If someone asked you, how would you respond? Someone once asked me if I could only preach from one book from the Bible to today’s generation, which book would it be?  John? Matthew? Romans? Revelation? Genesis?  Would you believe-Ecclesiastes? Why?  Because it is written to self-centered, independent happiness seekers who believe they have life figured out in a simple formula and they are not going to miss out on anything.  Sound familiar?  Does that sound like someone you may know?

Let me ask again…What is Life all about?  Think about it…

One day you are born into a world and into a family that you didn’t ask for.  They raised you as they chose. You go to school, public, private, or even home-schooled – five years of grade school, 3 years of middle school, 4 years of high school, than you have the honor of graduating and deciding what you are going to be doing for the rest of your life.  You may enter a trade school, or a local college, or leave home to a major university – and their spend another 4 more years preparing you for your life’s work.  You graduate and decide to pursue graduate studies, possibly even post-graduate work.  All to prepare you for your life’s work. meaning 21

Meanwhile, you meet a person of the opposite sex that you enjoy hanging around with – you become involved and begin dating more seriously; meanwhile you find a job in the career field you have chosen.  You’re excited that someone is going to pay you that kind of money to do what you want to do…you buy yourself a new car, you buy yourself that low down-payment, fixer-up house that you always wanted; and you even start paying off your student loans.  You marry, you have children -1.8 per the national average. You fix up your house for the additional members.  You expand it up and over.  You build yourself that 3 car garage with the attached tool shed where you like to disappear on weekends.  You work, you run around town watching your 1.8 kids sporting activities.  You watch your kids graduate from high school and move on to college; your company is bought out and your job is eliminated; you sell your dream house and move into a smaller, easier to maintain unit.

You retire, your children get married and occasionally stop by with the grand-kids so you can spoil them.  Your body begins to lose hair as it changes color; you have put on more weight around the mid-section. Your not as quick as you use to be and your hearing and eyes play tricks on you.  One day you find yourself sick, you visit the doctors and he tells you that you have the dreaded C – cancer.  You have a short time to live.  You begin to ask yourself, what has my life been all about?  You die and though you request to be cremated, your mate always stated to you that funerals are for the living and therefore gave you a large open casket funeral where everyone who you haven’t seen in the last twenty years stop by to offer their words of sadness to your late spouse. What is life all about?

As a seventeen year old in my senior year of high school that question impacted my mind for months.  It’s how God led me to begin investigating life’s meaning and purpose in my own life.  It led me to discussion with all the people who are suppose to know – priests, teachers, nuns, philosophers, authors, and eventually to the Bible itself. I would strike up discussions with anyone who wanted to discuss the subject.  Eventually, people would turn away from me because they themselves didn’t have the answers and didn’t want to deal with the questions.

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In fact, the very first book that I read from the Bible was the Book of Ecclesiastes – how’s that for a questioning 17 year old?  “All is vanity and blowing after wind” is what the book reads in its beginning refrain.  How would you feel being 17 years old and you read from the Bible that All is vanity?  How would you respond?

Since then though I have made it an annual tradition to read the book at least once per year simply to keep my feet on solid ground at how to deal with reality.  This past year I took a class on the Old Testament  and it has opened my mind to a deeper appreciation on the message the author wanted to convey to his universal audience.

Since the Book of Ecclesiastes is in the Old Testament, most people believe it was written to the Jewish people of its time.  However, there are many theologians today who now agree that it was written to a larger universal audience because of its style, structure, and what is not included within the message.  Today, we would call it an evangelical sermon.

What is the book about?  What does the book have to do with answering the question, what is life all about?  Many who have read it are confused on its message.

Is the author really a pessimist?  Does he only views the worst side of things; finds no comfort in God, and sees no hope for man’s happiness?  Isn’t the ever-recurring theme, “Vanity of vanities; all is vanity” a cynical view of life?

Yes the author affirms that death is better than life; that man’s labor, aim, and ambition ends in disappointment; that the pursuit of wisdom, wealth, and pleasure is unsatisfying.  However, these verses do not represent the teaching of the book; they only occur as a passing observation in the course of his investigation. His pessimism is only a gray cloud covering the sunshine until the proper time.

When he speaks in negative tones of life’s circumstances, he desires to call attention to the weaknesses of reality. Our mistake is to think that we can secure happiness by our own efforts and deny the involvement of a higher power.  Whereas the author repeatedly states that mankind cannot achieve enjoyment except by the gift of God.

The author speaks of “vanity,” not with bitterness or scorn, but as a stated fact. This is the result of his advanced study of men, nature, and life’s circumstances. From such feelings he finds refuge by contrasting this with another fact, which he holds just as strong, namely, that the whole universe is made and is governed by a God of justice, goodness, and power; and the good things in life come from Him.

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The mood of Ecclesiastes is one of delight, with prospects of living and enjoying all the goods of life – once man has come to fear God and keep His commandments. It is a book written to celebrate “joy” and God’s “good” creation. The author recommends joy and rejoicing because life is a gift from God.

What is the message of the Book of Ecclesiastes?  Simply this…

               Apart from the Creator God, Life is Empty, Futile, and Meaningless – But God’s Gift is Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment.

He repeatedly states that there is nothing to gain from this planet apart from God – “under the sun” is how the author states it 28 times.

The simple routine functions of life are meant to be enjoyed as a gift from God.  God has already ordained that we enjoy what we eat, drink, the work we do, the mate we marry, the companions we live life with, and what we wear. 12 times God is said to ‘give’.  Seven times man is said to have a joyful ‘portion’ from God

Let’s read the authors conclusion of his message:

Eccl 12:13-14 NLT

“Here is my final conclusion: Fear God and obey his commands, for this is the duty of every person.  God will judge us for everything we do, including every secret thing, whether good or bad.”

Or to put it in today’s vocabulary (my translation):

            “Believe God; Be at awe of Him; Remember. God is God, we are not.

            Walk with Him, Come to Know Him – Let His character rub off on you.

            Be Accountable to Him; He will bless & yes, discipline you; because He loves you and wants what is best for you.  He will give you the gift of joy, contentment, and fulfillment.”

Jesus Christ stated it more clearly for his disciples today: Matt 6:33 “Seek first the Kingdom of God & His Righteousness…

Seeking the Kingdom of God requires following its King, Jesus Christ.  It means being a disciple of His.  A lifestyle of Kingdom living…..His Righteousness is accepting Jesus Christ’s redeeming life, death, and resurrection as imputing His righteousness in our lives.  When God sees us, He sees the righteousness of Jesus.  As we walk in His presence, develop a lifestyle as His disciple, and allow Him to teach us in His Word through the Holy Spirit, our character, attitude, and life will become transformed like His.

The Preacher lived approximately 1000 years before Christ – He explained it as he saw it.  His conclusion:

Apart from the Creator God, Life is Empty, Futile, and Meaningless –

                          But God’s Gift is Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment.

Jesus 7If you really want a life full of Joy, Contentment, and Fulfillment, and you have tried everything that this world has to offer – only to discover what Solomon did – how empty, futile, and meaningless it really is, than maybe its time to do business with Jesus….

This is the message of the Book of Ecclesiastes. How does that agree with your theology?

By Dr. Mike



WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD?

RESURRECTION 2

I Peter 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!  In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for  you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

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Matt. 22:29-32
Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.  At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 

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John 11:24-26
Martha answered, “I know he (Lazarus) will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

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I Cor 15:12-57
But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?  If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.  And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.  More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead.  But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised.  For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.  And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.  Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost.  If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.  For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.  But each in his own turn: Christ, the first-fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power.  For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.  The last enemy to be destroyed is death.  For he “has put everything under his feet.”  Now when it says that “everything” has been put under him, it is clear that this does not include God himself, who put everything under Christ.  When he has done this, then the Son himself will be made  subject to him who put everything under him, so that God may be all in all.Now if there is no resurrection, what will those do who are baptized for the dead?  If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized for them?  And as for us, why do we endanger ourselves every hour?  I die every day – I mean that, brothers – just as surely as I glory over you in Christ Jesus our Lord.  If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus for merely human reasons, what have I gained?  If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”  Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God – I say this to your shame.  But someone may ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body will they come?”  How foolish!  What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.  When you sow, you do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed, perhaps of wheat or of something else.  But God gives it a body as he has determined, and to each kind of seed he gives its own body.  All flesh is not the same: Men have one kind of flesh, animals have another, birds another and fish another.  There are also heavenly bodies and there are earthly bodies; but the splendor of the heavenly bodies is one kind, and the splendor of the earthly bodies in another.  The sum has one kind of splendor, the moon another and the stars another; and the star differs from star in splendor.So will it be with the resurrection of the dead.  The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.   If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.  So it is written: “The first Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit.  The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.  The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.  And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, not does the perishable inherit the imperishable.  Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not sleep, but we will all be changed – in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.  When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.””Where, O death, is your victory?  Where, O death, is your sting?”  The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God!   He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

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Rev 20:4-6
I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge.  And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony for Jesus and because of the word of God.  They had not worshiped the beast or his image and had not received his mark on their foreheads or their hands.  They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. (The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.)  This is the first resurrection.  Blessed and holy are those who have part in the first resurrection.  The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.

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Acts 17:18-19
They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.

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Phil 3:10-11
I (Paul) want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.

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Acts 4:1-2
They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead.

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Luke 20:35-36
But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels.  They are God’s children, since they are children of the resurrection.

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Luke 14:13-14
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.  Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

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How does your theology explain life after death in comparison with the resurrection from the dead?

All scripture taken from the New International Version Bible unless noted.

WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE SAY ABOUT THE WORD OF GOD? PART 2

(Scriptural Review Continued)

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2 Tim 4:2-4
Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
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word 8

Psalm 119:9-172  

 

How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word…I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against youteach me your decrees. With my lips I recount all the laws that come from your mouth. I rejoice in following your statutes as one rejoices in great riches. I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word. Do good to your servant, and I will live;I will obey your word. Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law. I am a stranger on earth;do not hide your commands from me. My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times.preserve my life according to your word…teach me your decrees. Let me understand the teaching of your precepts; then I will meditate on your wonders. My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your wordI have chosen the way of truth; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes…I run in the path of your commands,for you have set my heart free.Teach me, O LORD… Give me understanding…Direct me in the path of your commands… Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.   Fulfill your promise to your servant, so that you may be feared. Take away the disgrace I dread,for your laws are good. How I long for your precepts! Preserve my life in your righteousness.May your unfailing love come to me, O LORD,your salvation according to your promise; then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in your wordDo not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in your laws. I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts. I will speak of your statutes before kings and will not be put to shame, for I delight in your commands because I love them. I lift up my hands to your commands, which I love, and I meditate on your decrees.Remember your word to your servant, for you have given me hope. My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. The arrogant mock me without restraint,but I do not turn from your law. I remember your ancient laws, O LORD, and I find comfort in them…You are my portion, O LORD; I have promised to obey your words. I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise. I have considered my ways and have turned my steps to your statutes. I will hasten and not delay to obey your commands…Do good to your servant according to your word, O LORD. Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word. You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees…Your hands made me and formed me;give me understanding to learn your commands. May those who fear you rejoice when they see me, for I have put my hope in your word. I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous,and in faithfulness you have afflicted me. May your unfailing love be my comfort,according to your promise to your servant. Let your compassion come to me that I may live, for your law is my delight…My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in your word… Your word, O LORD, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day,for all things serve you…Oh, how I love your law!I meditate on it all day long. Your commands make me wiser than my enemies, for they are ever with me. I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts. I have kept my feet from every evil path so that I might obey your word.  I have not departed from your laws, for you yourself have taught me. How sweet are your words to my taste,sweeter than honey to my mouth! I gain understanding from your precepts;therefore I hate every wrong path.Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my pathI have taken an oath and confirmed it,that I will follow your righteous laws……You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word…Sustain me according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed.

… Deal with your servant according to your love and teach me your decrees. I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Your statutes are wonderful;therefore I obey them. The unfolding of your words gives light;it gives understanding to the simple. I open my mouth and pant,longing for your commands. Turn to me and have mercy on me,as you always do to those who love your name. Direct my footsteps according to your word;let no sin rule over me. Redeem me from the oppression of men, that I may obey your precepts. Make your face shine upon your servant and teach me your decrees…

May my cry come before you, O LORD; give me understanding according to your word. May my supplication come before you; deliver me according to your promise. May my lips overflow with praise,for you teach me your decrees. May my tongue sing of your word,for all your commands are righteous. May your hand be ready to help me,for I have chosen your precepts. I long for your salvation, O LORD,and your law is my delight.  Let me live that I may praise you,and may your laws sustain me. I have strayed like a lost sheep.Seek your servant,for I have not forgotten your commands.   NIV

 

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2 Tim 2:15
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.     NIV
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Col 3:16
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…
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Eph 6:17
Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
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Eph 5:25-27
… just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
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Gal 6:6
Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.
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2 Cor 4:1-5
Therefore, since through God’s mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.
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2 Cor 2:17
Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God.
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Acts 6:2-4
So the twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”
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John 17: 6-8,14,17-18
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them…I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
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Deut 30:11-14
Now what I am commanding you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not up in heaven, so that you have to ask, “Who will ascend into heaven to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” Nor is it beyond the sea, so that you have to ask, “Who will cross the sea to get it and proclaim it to us so we may obey it?” No, the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart so you may obey it.
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Mark 16:20
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
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Matt 13: 18-23
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower meansWhen anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The one who received the seed that fell on rocky places is the man who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since he has no root, he lasts only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, he quickly falls away. The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful. But the one who received the seed that fell on good soil is the man who hears the word and understands it. He produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”     NIV
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Matt 8:8-11
The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.

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 word 3

 

Isa 55:11
… so is My word (The LORD’s) that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.    NIV
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Psalm 33:4-9
For the word of the LORD is right and true; he is faithful in all he does. The LORD loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love. By the word of the LORD were the heavens made, their starry host by the breath of his mouth. He gathers the waters of the sea into jars; he puts the deep into storehouses.  Let all the earth fear the LORD; let all the people of the world revere him.  For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm.    NIV
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Genesis 15:1-6
After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision:”Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.”But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.”Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.    NIV
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I Samuel 15:23-26
For rebellion is like the sin of divination,
and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the word of the LORD,
he has rejected you as king.” Then Saul said to Samuel, “I have sinned. I violated the LORD’s command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people and so I gave in to them. Now I beg you, forgive my sin and come back with me, so that I may worship the LORD.”But Samuel said to him, “I will not go back with you. You have rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD has rejected you as king over Israel!”     NIV
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Deut 8:3-5
He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years.Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the LORD your God disciplines you.    NIV

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What way does the Word impact your relationship with others?