Archive for January, 2017

Kingdom = Heaven (sometimes)

January 27, 2017

Many times the word “kingdom” in the New Testament refers to Jesus (as King) plus the same people the term “church” refers to (the saved). But sometimes “kingdom” refers to heaven – as in the following passages …

II Tim 4:18 “And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

I Cor 15:50,53 “Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. … For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.”

I Cor 6:11 “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Matt 5:10,12 “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.”

Acts 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

Matt 7:21 “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

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Calvinism Says God Gives Repentance

January 20, 2017

Yes there is a sense in which God grants repentance to a person (Acts 11:18b). But it is not in the sense of miraculously forcing us to repent (as the Calvinist understands it). Rom 2:4b says “… the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance.” So God grants us repentance by leading us through means, and does not take away our free will in the matter. As a parallel, God gives us our daily bread (Matt 6:11), not through the miraculous raining of manna, but through providentially providing us opportunities to work.

Notice “the gospel … is the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16) and “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God” (Rom 10:17). Notice also from John 6:44-45 that the way God “draws” us is by teaching and learning, not by force. So God grants us repentance by leading us to that end by inspired persuasion (II Cor 5:11). Repentance is something “we do” (Acts 2:37-38). God doesn’t repent for us. It is our choice (Josh 24:15).

And God’s leading/persuasion/calling can be refused:

· Matt 22:14: For many are called, but few are chosen.

· Matt 23:37: O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not.

Repentance is a very important condition of salvation (Luke 13:3). Have you repented, or are you still living in sin?

May One Congregation Withdraw From Another Congregation?

January 13, 2017

Passages such as Eph 5:11 (“have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness”) not only authorize one congregation withdrawing from another congregation, they require such under some circumstances. It is true that just because an individual is authorized to do something, that doesn’t necessarily mean the congregation is likewise authorized (I Tim 5:16, etc.). But if the individual is forbidden from doing something (such as lying), that automatically means the congregation is also forbidden, because (for example) if the congregation lies, that means the individuals of the congregation are lying. Illustrations: (1) If a congregation A is regularly having benevolent fellowship with congregation B (such as what we see in Acts 11:26-30) and then congregation B becomes a “gay church,” should congregation A withdraw that fellowship from congregation B, or must they continue to send benevolent financial support … because “it is wrong for one congregation to withdraw fellowship from another congregation” as some teach?  (2) Suppose congregation A is in the habit of announcing congregation B’s gospel meetings, and then congregation B becomes a “church of Satan.”  Must congregation A continue to fellowship congregation B by announcing their gospel meetings, or should congregation A now withhold that fellowship (II John 10-11)?

A related issue is “May A Congregation Withdraw From A Member Of Another Congregation?” The answer to that question is also “yes.” II Thess 3:6 commands us to withdraw from “every brother that walketh disorderly,” not just brothers at the same local congregation. Suppose congregation A is financially supporting an evangelist at congregation B. Suppose then that evangelist becomes a homosexual and won’t repent, and so congregation B withdraws from him. Must congregation A continue to financially support said gay preacher, or can they withdraw that fellowship? If we bid God speed to a brother who is not abiding in the doctrine of Christ, we become a “partaker of his evil deeds” (II John 9-11) – period; it doesn’t matter what congregation he might be a member of.

Carefully Following Bible Doctrine

January 6, 2017

Many believers in Christ don’t think it is important to carefully follow the doctrine of Christ. For example a Facebook friend recently wrote “Worshipping God can look very different, in different places in the world. God knows our hearts.” Another Facebook friend wrote “We live in a different culture today and things are different than they were 2000 years ago. That goes for a lot of practices we do differently today.”

However, we must worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). That means we must do it the way God specifies. Lev 10:1-2 relates an example of two who worshiped God according to their own designs. God was very displeased to say the least. Paul wrote in II Tim 3:10 “you have carefully followed my doctrine.”

Of course II John 9 verifies this by stating “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.” Since it is true that if we don’t abide in the doctrine of Christ we don’t have God (we won’t be saved), then you better believe we should be careful to follow Jesus’ doctrine.

I Timothy 4:16 says “Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” So to be saved, this text says we must be careful to continue in God’s doctrine.

Question: Are you carefully following the doctrine of Christ?