Friday, February 26, 2016

Who and What is the Church of God

Who and what is the “Church”

Church defined from Greek:
“An assembly, congregation; the Church, the whole body of Christian believers.”
And we also know that the word church can refer to denominations and a place of worship, but what does the word church in scripture actually mean?

During His ministry on earth, Jesus referenced the church in multiple ways. Sometimes He said the church, other times he said peoples. Through history we see that the church began as a people (e.g., Adam and Eve, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc), and progressed into a nation that has had many dark times as well as that of good.

What defined the church in Abraham’s time?

Galatians 3:6-9
6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.

The believer’s in Abraham’s day were defined by their faith, correct? And because of Abraham’s faith in God, God promised that his seed would be heirs to righteousness in Faith. So, here Abrahams family who feared the Lord were defined as God’s people by their faith, and thus the Children of Israel also were defined as the people of God because of their faith and lineage, and again today those who are of faith in God (which is the same God of Abraham and Israel) are called the people of God, and by their faith are heirs to Salvation in Through Christ.

In the time of Christ, what was considered the “Church?” (Or thought to be)

Again, looking back through history, we find that the Israel nation in the time of Christ considered themselves the heirs of Salvation because of their lineage from Abraham. So, the Jews were thought to be considered the Church of God, but were the Jews actually the true church of God?

Matthew 10:5, 6
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
What does this verse show about the Israel nation? “the lost sheep of Israel.” Does this show that there were some in Israel who were erring and not in the truth? Certainly. So, as a nation, Israel could not be considered the church because if the nation was taken to heaven, there would be vile sinners in it.
How about the denominational church of the Jews? Was that the true Church of God? They did keep the ordinances of the Sanctuary and of the laws, but how did many of the members and leaders of that church treat Jesus? The chief priests and Pharisees certainly did not approve of Christ and the ministry work that He worked among them, and many times those religious leaders sought to Kill Jesus. Does that sound like God’s church? God forbid.
However, with all the corruptions of the Jewish religion, did Jesus turn His back upon them? Did He not worship on the Sabbath day in their synagogues? Of course He did. It says in Mark 1:21 that Jesus went into the Synagogue on the Sabbath day and taught. Why? Because He went to seek after “the lost sheep of Israel. (Mat 10:6)”

This is the example for us in this: We can see that a denomination cannot be God’s defined church, for their can be leaders and members in a denomination that do err. It is by the condition of our heart and the condition of our faith that will define whether or not we are a member of God’s Church. I would rather have my name written in the book of Life in heaven and go to spend eternity with My Lord, rather than to have my faith put in an earthly denomination (instead of God) and have my name written in the that earthly book. Our Salvation is in Christ alone, and we must work out or Salvation with Him in fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), and prove our steadfast faithfulness in Him to be counted among the faithful. This is my prayer for each, that we would each lift our eyes upon High, and trust in the Lord rather than in man.
Let us also not turn our back upon those whose eyes are upon men, but be like Jesus who sought to reach the “lost sheep of Israel.”

(Ended last week)
In the time that Christ ministered, the Jews believed themselves to be the heirs of Righteousness, and because of it they felt themselves as superior above all other nations of the world, and any person who was not a part of their “Church” of Israel was considered a Gentile (the Gentiles were treated like dogs by the Jews and downtrodden upon). Is this the character that was described as that of God’s church? Certainly not so. The so-thought church of that time was not actually the real church of God because that organization had separated from God. The Jews were early Seventh day Adventist, for they professed in the Advent of Christ and kept the Seventh day Holy, but as Jesus said, the Jews were the “lost sheep of Israel” and were in need of being shown the gospel, for they had certainly gone away from God. Through the time of Christ’s ministry, Jesus focused upon reaching the people who were once the chosen people of God, but as was shown when Christ was crucified, the largely established “Church” of that time rejected the Messiah and actually condemned Him to death on the cross. It was shortly after which when the door was opened for the gospel to be spread to the whole world and was no longer secluded to one nation and one people. The advent message of the redemption that Christ bought for us was able to be accepted by any and all who could hear it, and in being brought to faith in God, all could become heirs of righteousness.

            Now, let’s quickly follow the church of God up to our time.

Matthew 28:19 and 20
19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

At Jesus’ last conversation with His disciples before He was taken up to Heaven, He charged the disciples to now take the gospel to all the world teaching and baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son, and Holy Ghost. To teach all to observe what Christ had taught the disciples leaving them with the Promise that He would be with them always (this promise still applies to us today if we heed the calling to go and teach all the truth of Salvation).

The true members of God’s church following the Stoning of Steven were a peculiar people of faithfulness, accepting the truth and following in faith after righteousness, but they were persecuted for their faith. Who were the people who stoned Steven? Were they not Jews too? Even those claiming to be the church of God (falsely of course) continued to reject the truth and persecuted the real Christians of that time. Because of the Pride of the nation, the Jews lost sight of the covenant that God made with Abraham and its conditions that they were required to keep. They rejected the gospel, they rejected the righteousness, and rejected everlasting life.

            These things of history show very important lessons for us today, amen? We are given a proper example to follow in order to be heirs of righteousness, and also are given examples of what disobedience to God can do to those who were once the true people of God.

            What does a woman represent in Scripture when spoken as a symbol?

Jeremiah 6:2
I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.

What is Zion?

2 Kings 19: 30 and 31
30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.
31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

So, Zion, or the mount of Zion is reference to Jerusalem which was the capitol of the Israelite nation. Therefore, the daughters of Zion represent the people of God, for Israel was the chosen people of God. Jeremiah 6:2 says that the “daughters of Zion” are likened “to a comely and delicate woman.” Often in scripture, when speaking of prophecy, the people of God are symbolized as a woman then, correct?

Now, let’s turn to Revelation and read about the church in the last days.

Revelation 12: 7-17
7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
17 And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

Here, the dragon represent Satan who was cast out of heaven with 1/3 of the angles for rebelling against God and making war in heaven. Satan sees that he has but a short time and then he will be utterly defeated, so he turned to the bride of Christ to persecute her and to try and destroy her. We know from our previous two bible studies that the woman, who is the people of God, was nourished in faithfulness for 1260 years (time, times, and a half) through the time of trouble.
Now, notice verse 17 that says, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

This portrays the character of God’s church in the last days; they are those who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.
Also notice how the verse says that the devil went to make war with the remnant or her seed. Also note that in 2 Kings 19, verse 30 and 31 says, “And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward. For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

This remnant mentioned in Revelation 12:17, and in 2 Kings 19 are the remaining people of God’s church in these last days. They will be scattered throughout the earth, and afflicted, and tried and tested for their faith; they will be those who keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus though the heavens fall. This remnant I want to be among: which are the people of God, and the inheritors of righteousness through faith. Amen?


The sum of the matter is simple. The Church represents the woman who is the people of God, of whom Christ died for to present to Himself as a bride clean and spotless (Ephesians 5:25-27). The remnant represents the remnant of God’s people in the last days.
            In the world today, we all hear many peoples and nations and denominations as well as individuals claiming to be the church of God. But are they truly the People of God? How do we know what is the true church of God? How do we know who is working by the Spirit of God, and who is working by the Spirit of Satan? Matthew 7:20 says, “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” By this and study of the word of God we will be able to discern who are the true people of God, and who are false teachers.
The True Church of God are a people –not a denomination, a structure, building, or a nation, but are a people; a people who keep the commandments of God, who are not afraid to call sin by its right name, who keep the faith and testimony of Jesus, who are as true to duty as the needle to the pole though the heavens fall. This is who I want to be numbered with in the day that Christ comes to gather us with Him to take home with Him.
            We have to realize that the people of God put their full trust and attention on God, and not in any man. We cannot put our trust in a denomination, or a modern theology, but instead we must look unto Christ (who is author and finisher of our faith) for truth and discernment, Amen?
We must be sober and vigilant, because no matter where we are, or with whom we worship with, the devil strives to continually deceive the people of God away from the truth.

I pray that we each would recognize the duty of God’s church (us) for these last days. I pray that we would study diligently to shew ourselves approved unto God (2 Tim 2:15), and that we would pray for discernment from the holy Spirit to rightly know our teachers, ministers, pastors, and fellow believer’s by their fruits. Keep your eyes upon Jesus, and don’t look away. Remember to keep the commandments in faithfulness, and to keep the testimony of Jesus to be among the saints of God (Rev 14:12).

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Is freedom free?

  Is Freedom Free?

   Freedom was bought by the blood of Christ so that we would be able to be free from sin, so the price has been paid for those who would accept His life as payment for the sinners debt; it was certainly not a cheep price. Those who reject the blood of Christ and choose to stay in sin will have made Christ's sacrifice for them of no success, but He died for them just as much as for me. The only price for freedom on our part is the forsaking and surrendering of sin in our lives to walk therein no more.

Christ Conquered death and rose from the grave again to live, so that we, in Him, would be able to be conquerors of the flesh.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

And sin entered

And Sin Entered

A major question that sits in the minds of many is the question of how sin entered the world.  Some entertain the belief that God created sin, but God is love, His throne is the habitation of Justice and judgement, and mercy go before His face (Psalm 89:14).

            What is sin?
1 John 3:4
 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
So, sin is the transgression of God’s law, or initially disobedience, correct? Does God cause men to sin? Does He cause men to disobey Him? Why would He? God is Just and merciful, He would not make any to commit disobedience. God created all beings with the gift of choice. They were created to make a freewill choice to serve Him, and all living beings did serve God with all joy and satisfaction. But, if God did not create sin, how did sin come about?

Let’s turn to Isaiah 14:
Isaiah 14:12-15
12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
“So long as all created beings acknowledged the allegiance of love, there was perfect harmony throughout the universe of God. It was the joy of the heavenly host to fulfill the purpose of their Creator. They delighted in reflecting His glory and showing forth His praise. And while love to God was supreme, love for one another was confiding and unselfish. There was no note of discord to mar the celestial harmonies. But a change came over this happy state. There was one who perverted the freedom that God had granted to His creatures. Sin originated with him who, second to Christ, had been most honored of God and was highest in power and glory among the inhabitants of heaven. Lucifer, “son of the morning,” was first of the covering cherubs, holy and undefiled. He stood in the presence of the great Creator, and the ceaseless beams of glory enshrouding the eternal God rested upon him. “Thus saith the Lord God; Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering.... Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire. Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.” Ezekiel 28:12-15. {PP 35.1}”
“Little by little Lucifer came to indulge the desire for self-exaltation. The Scripture says, “Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness.” Ezekiel 28:17. “Thou hast said in thine heart, ...I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.... I will be like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:13, 14. Though all his glory was from God, this mighty angel came to regard it as pertaining to himself. Not content with his position, though honored above the heavenly host, he ventured to covet homage due alone to the Creator. Instead of seeking to make God supreme in the affections and allegiance of all created beings, it was his endeavor to secure their service and loyalty to himself. And coveting the glory with which the infinite Father had invested His Son, this prince of angels aspired to power that was the prerogative of Christ alone. {PP 35.2}”
Now the perfect harmony of heaven was broken. Lucifer began to harbor feelings of pride, jealousy, and selfishness. As time progressed, his feelings became greater and greater and he boasted to himself that He would become higher than God. Instead of looking continually to God, he began looking unto self, and sin entered.
Sin is like a disease, an awful terrible consuming disease. The more sin is allowed to dwell in the heart and mind, the more destruction it causes. The more a person indulges in gratifying self, the more the curse of sin can grasp upon the person. Lucifer was in a very great position in Heaven, he was a commander of the Angels. What God commanded, Lucifer would deliver to the angels to carry out. But, Lucifer began to doubt and question the nature of God’s perfect laws. He began to defy them in his heart, and let self reign instead. Even with all such overwhelming evidence to how good, and merciful and worthy God is, Lucifer still turned blindly away, and sin entered.
We established earlier what sin was in 1 John 3:4, that it is the transgression of God’s law, or disobedience to God. Lucifer committed transgression against God’s law and rebelled against Him, and convinced one third of the Angels to rebel with him (Lucifer was very much loved in heaven by all the Angels, and it was a very tragic thing when he fell into rebellion). One third of the angels chose to follow Lucifer, but the rest chose to remain faithful unto God. Note: Even the faithfulness of all the angels has been tested.
Since we know how sin began, how did sin enter our world?
Genesis 2:17, 18:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

After God have created all of creation and given all for Adam to partake in, He gave Adam Specific instructions of all that he may do in Eden, and what Adam was responsible for. However, there was one thing in Eden that God had put forth their as a test of Adam’s faithfulness. God gave one specific instruction to Adam that He should not eat of tree that was in the midst of the Garden. The purpose of the Tree of knowledge of good and evil is as a test. God knew that Satan would try and tempt his Creation into falling under his rebellious tyranny, and He needed a way to make Adam’s faith grow and increase and be proved. Thus, the tree was a test to Adam’s faithful obedience to God.
 Also, God saw that Adam was in need of a help meet--a person to stay with Adam and be the meet for his help. Thus, God created Eve for Adam out of Adam’s rib, signifying that she was not from his head to rule over, nor from his feet to be trampled upon, but from his side to be under his arm and by him through all things.  This was one of the best gifts that God gave Adam.

Now turn to Genesis 3, and we will read the history of the fall.
Genesis 3:
1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?
2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:
3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.
Let’s stop for a moment. What do we have happening here?

Where is Adam? So, Eve is walking through the garden without her faithful and wise husband with her to help protect and shield her from any wrong doings (Man was created with the same gift of choice as the Heavenly beings were, and thus were capable of deciding to turn away from God).
“Our first parents were not left without a warning of the danger that threatened them. Heavenly messengers opened to them the history of Satan’s fall and his plots for their destruction, unfolding more fully the nature of the divine government, which the prince of evil was trying to overthrow. It was by disobedience to the just commands of God that Satan and his host had fallen. How important, then, that Adam and Eve should honor that law by which alone it was possible for order and equity to be maintained. {PP 52.2}”

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
(The first lies ever uttered in this world)
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.
7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.

 The first mistake that Eve made was to wander away from Adam’s side, something of which the angels had warned her against in their communion with each other.
 Eve’s second mistake was to go near the tree which they were not to partake of, putting herself in the enemy’s territory to be tempted.
When Eve had already fallen into the temptation, she further made mistake by adding to that which God had commanded them. Eve showed her ignorance when she said that God commanded them to not touch of the fruit. God commanded them to not go near the tree, let alone touch or eat it. In this way Eve opened herself up all the more to the deceptions of the serpent (at that point, Eve was near to point of no return). In this way Satan, in the form a serpent, which was the wisest creature in Eden and a very beautiful creature in the garden, used Eve’s ignorance to her destruction. When Eve touched the fruit, she did not die, and thus she then took to eat for the serpent deceived her. And sin entered into Eden.
Adam, when Eve took fruit to him to eat, he was troubled and sad that Eve had sinned when he recognized what she came bearing to him, but against his own conscience, Adam became blinded by his passion for Eve, and disregarded the Instructions from God. Adam hastily took to eat so he would not become separated from Eve, and sin again manifested.
            Right after having committed the disobedience to God’s command, the guilt and impact of their deed began to set in. Surely, such a small sin as that could not have such a strict penalty of death and destruction? But sin is sin, no matter its condition, it is still a curse and rebellion unto God and thus the only consequence of sin is death. “For the wages of sin is death… (Romans 6:23).”

The lessons in this story are numerous, but one that I want to point to is the state and actions leading up to the actions of sin. With Lucifer, whilst he was yet a noble angel in the presence of God, he turned to feelings of pride and jealousy allowing self to become present. He began to question the perfect and holy laws of God and gradually in his heart set his mind to rebel against them. He desired to rise above the throne of God, a position that only the creator is worthy of. Slowly the feelings of pride and arrogance crept into his heart and he committed sin by rebelling against the Almighty God.
Eve also made decisions that led her to the fall. She and Adam had been forewarned of the history of the fall of Lucifer in heaven, and the conflict that had begun from it. Adam and Eve had been instructed to remain with one another lest the enemy should come to temp them separately. Yet, even after all the warnings and instructions, Adam permitted Eve to wander from him, and Eve chose to leave Adam which compromised both of their faithfulness. By this first action, both Adam and Eve put them in jeopardy of being tempted. Eve continued farther down the path of treading upon dangerous ground when she went near to the tree which they were instructed to stay away from. At the tree she was further digging herself deeper into danger by lingering and speaking with the serpent, which should have been enough to cause alarm, but Eve tarried until she fell.

Similarly today, we can often time put ourselves in the way of temptation. When Christ calls us, beckons us to leave off from sin and follow Him, He makes it very clear that we must surrender all to follow Him. Sin, being like a curse, clings onto the spiritual garments, and cannot be removed except by the cleansing blood and forgiveness of Christ. By repentance to Christ, we can have our sinful and stained garments replaced by the pure and clean covering of Christ. Yet, we cannot become clean if we continue to remain in Sin. We have to turn from our sins to be able to remain clean in Christ. With every temptation we must resist the urge and desire to turn to self-indulgence. But, we cannot do that upon our own efforts, we have to have the strength and enabling that Christ gives us. However, we can put ourselves in the way of danger by walking upon the ground that leads to temptation like that of Adam and Eve in Eden. There is a song known as Little feet be careful where you take me to; anywhere for Jesus, only let me do. Let us not walk in the way that is near to temptation, or that opens us up to the temptations of evil, because how can the angels deliver us strength if we go where they cannot. Trust in the Lord, and walk steadfastly in Him; be sober and vigilant, pray without ceasing, so as to not fall into temptation. Let us remember these things continually as we strive to walk with the Lord. Amen?

Satan represented to the holy pair that they would be gainers by breaking the law of God. Do we not today hear similar reasoning? Many talk of the narrowness of those who obey God’s commandments, while they themselves claim to have broader ideas and to enjoy greater liberty. What is this but an echo of the voice from Eden, “In the day ye eat thereof”—transgress the divine requirement—“ye shall be as gods”? Satan claimed to have received great good by eating of the forbidden fruit, but he did not let it appear that by transgression he had become an outcast from heaven. Though he had found sin to result in infinite loss, he concealed his own misery in order to draw others into the same position. So now the transgressor seeks to disguise his true character; he may claim to be holy; but his exalted profession only makes him the more dangerous as a deceiver. He is on the side of Satan, trampling upon the law of God, and leading others to do the same, to their eternal ruin. {PP 55.1}

"If Satan was cast out of Heaven because of sin, what makes man think they can get to heaven in Sin?"