Tag Archives: Paul
expressing the unity of the faith, Paul told the Ephesians, “One
Lord, one faith, one baptism…” Eph. 4:5. But. one reads in the
scriptures about the baptism of the Spirit, water baptism of
believers in Jesus, and the suffering of Jesus is referred to as a
baptism. So just what does it mean to say “one baptism?”
The word “baptism” comes from the Greek word “baptizo” which mean to dip or plunge. It is consistently referred to as a total inundation so much so that it is also portrayed as a burial. There is a sense that anything one may immerse himself in could be called a baptism. This is how it is used with reference to the suffering of Jesus. He would be immersed in pain and suffering.
However, the mainstream, biblical context of the word references water baptism of a professed believer by the authority of a New Testament Church. The other main reference using that word is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that came upon the church on the day called Pentecost. So, how then is it to be referenced as one?
Some would have you believe that only Spirit baptism is important and that occurs in the minute of one’s spiritual salvation. Not so! That line is pure universal church heresy.
Still others would have you believe that Holy Spirit baptism can only occur AFTER water baptism, and that upon the select few who diligently implore the Holy Spirit to so accommodate them. Not so! That is pure holy roller heresy!
The truth of the matter is settled in long ago typology in the Old Testament. When the Hebrews were freed from Egyptian slavery, they came out after applying the blood of the Passover Lamb. Then they were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. Did you catch that? IN THE CLOUD AND IN THE SEA. It was a simultaneous thing. Baptism is an immersion in water. A cloud is water even though it was a manifestation of the Spirit of God. The Hebrews were completely immersed with walls of water about them and the cloud of water even the Spirit of God over and about them.
Today when a professed believer is scripturally baptized, it is in water, but he is baptized to fellowship in the New Covenant, the practical expression of which is the New Testament Church where the baptism of the Holy Spirit still abides since Pentecost in special office work. By this the obedient believer is enabled to be led to spiritual maturity. So, it all occurs at once, as the scriptures plainly state: “….one lord, one faith, one baptism.” Scriptural baptism last forever, it can never be repeated.
KEEP THE FIRST THINGS FIRST
once said, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main
thing! How true!
In the hustle and bustle of daily life, one often finds his focus shifted away from the things of the Lord to a sort of cultural Christianity. Religious holidays are not observed by
true churches of theLord, but, such days are recognized as federal holidays intended to honor the Christ of our salvation, and to some extent we are carried along in the force of it even though our understanding of it is quite different to that of the world.
Throughout the year we focus on our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. We should be studying about Him, praying to Him, talking about Him, and seeking to advance His cause. We must not get carried away from truth, in worldliness nor in misguided piety as some do pointing to Romans 9:3. Here they either pretend to love lost souls more than any human possibly could or else they live in anguish because they cannot love others to the degree they think is mentioned here. That verse states, “For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” This verse needs to be looked over realistically in context of what Paul had experienced and was, in fact, saying.
I have known tremendously great and very dedicated people of God, but I have never known one who was willing to go to hell himself for others. Would that not mean that others were loved more than the Christ of one’s salvation? Such simply is not possible. But is this not what Paul was saying, or did he actually say something else?
Young’s Literal Translation of the scriptures translates this verse, “For I was wishing, I myself, to be anathema from the Christ for my brethren, my kindred, according to the flesh.” Notice “Was.” The apostle was referring to his past. Surely, this is what Paul meant: while he was a practicing Pharisee, he was zealous in persecuting Christians, and wanted nothing to do with the Christ. He wanted to please his kindred according to the flesh.
The following verses in Romans Nine explain that there is a difference between the fleshly Israel (whom he sought to please earlier) and the true seed of promise. In context then, this verse makes a lot better sense than painting a pious picture that no human could fulfill, and one that would be wrong if it were possible.
So what shall we say then? Share the gospel! Help others as much as possible, but love God more. Remember the first and greatest commandment. Also remember the witness of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 12:13 “Let us hear the conclusion of the matter. Fear God and keep His commandments for this is the whole duty of man.” It is Jesus first, not humanity first!
SELL ME THIS POWER
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
THE REMAINS OF ANTIQUITY TESTIFY (Philippi)
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
The ship left the port of Athens at night. Calm seas allowed land lovers to have a peaceful sleep. Next morning, a cold front brought rain showers and rougher seas, allowing some to experience sea sickness, but calmness soon re-appeared, and following a delicious breakfast, the ship docked in Kavala, a thriving city biblically noted as Neopolis. With sack lunches in hand, a tour bus began the fairly short inland trip to the ancient city of Philippi. Along the mountain road one could view below the ancient Roman highway made of cobblestone, and wide enough for one automobile. Here Roman soldiers of old marched four abreast, and chariots were driven to this ancient Roman colony outpost.
The ruins of Philippi are situated at the base of mountain into the side of which was constructed an amphitheater, attesting to the many civic gatherings and entertainment events its citizens enjoyed. The city ruins constitute approximately two blocks in width and three or four blocks long. Surely, one would find some evidence of the apostle Paul’s visit to this place. They were there.
There was a large open area around which were the remnants of shops and municipal buildings. This would be the place where the demon-possessed woman harassed the apostle until he drove it from her. Also, there was on the western outskirts of the town a small, swift stream still flowing freely. It was deep in places, and in some areas narrow enough that an athletic person could jump across it. This is the stream where some of the ancients gathered to pray, and Paul preached here and won and baptized Lydia, a seller of purple from Thyatira.
Ruins of the prison at Philippi still stand. The cubical cells of thick rock construction gives vision of Paul and Silas singing and praising God in the dead of night with wounds on their back still smarting severely from the lashes of the whip laid on them. They had deprived men of the city their fundraising opportunities by exorcising the demon possessed woman who no longer could serve them as before. It was here that God sent an earthquake, loosed the prisoner’s bands, and brought the jailor to his knees, and Christ Jesus into his heart.
At one end of the colony excavations there remains ruins of a church house dating back to the third century A wall, marble flooring, and a deep water baptistery constructed in the form of a cross all testified of the influence of Paul, Silas, the jailor and his house, and so many others that led to its construction and use. The marvelous book of Philippians testifies of the worship that ensued for decades.
I thanked God for Paul, Silas, and so many unnamed others whose lives counted for Christ Jesus: His person, words, and works. Antiquity still testifies: this is the place; this is where it happened, and we are blessed as a result.
MARCH 25 – Fear changes People
Est 8:17 And in every province, and in every city, whithersoever the king’s commandment and his decree came, the Jews had joy and gladness, a feast and a good day. And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
What a time to be alive and living in Persia and Media. A time when the people of God were hated with a vengeance. A time where the God of the Jews was hated with great a passion. Esther would not reveal that she was a Jew to the King. He ended up marrying a Jew girl and it was by the great providence of God.
Persecution of God’s people is not new. It has been happening for a long time. The evilness that man has hates the authority of God. The King had John the Baptist head lifted by the influence of a pagan girl and a hateful mother and wife. John was ushered into paradise to wait three years for our Savior to descend and lift him into heaven and the presence of God. For John the Baptist this was not defeat, this was victory. His work was done.
Paul persecuted the church by throwing them in jail and killing them. He stood and held the coats of the ones that stoned Stephen to death and was on his way to kill more when the Lord struck him with a conviction that called for repentance. He was so faithful after being transformed that he became a missionary and suffered many things for Christ. I am reminded that he was stoned and left for dead. He revived and continued the work he was called to do. Suffering for Christ is a privilege that some never get to enjoy. Because they do not have the joy of suffering, they seldom find the sublime joy of showing one that is lost how to be saved. They seldom point the way to the cross.
A Jewish maid in the hands of God faced all these things and was at the place to help her people, the Jews to defend themselves and show the people that assailed the Jews, the fear of God. Notice what is said – “And many of the people of the land became Jews; for the fear of the Jews fell upon them.
God can put you in the place to be a great influence. You might experience some trials and tribulations but is worth it. You are needed, “for such a time as this.”
William Andrew Dillard
A DEADLY SIN
Parson to Person
Warning the church of the Living God at Corinth, the beloved Apostle Paul called attention to the terrible failures of Israel in the wilderness wanderings. In I Cor. 10:4, he recalls a most intriguing and interesting phenomenon. A certain Rock appeared wherever the Hebrews made camp, as though it were (because it was) following them. Now this was not an ordinary rock. Paul calls it a spiritual rock. Doubtless it appeared as a large hunk of stone to the Hebrews, but something was very different about this rock. It’s story begins early in the Hebrew exodus from Egypt. It is first mentioned in Exodus 17:5-7. Moses was instructed to smite the rock which would produce water in abundance for the people.
Since that spiritual rock followed them, it is not known how many appearances it made or how many times the Hebrews took special note of it, or how many times they may have depended upon it for life sustaining water. But, it comes into significant play some forty years later as water was desperately needed, and the Hebrews were complaining because there was none. God’s instruction to Moses now was different: “Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink.” Num. 20:8.
Most who are passingly familiar with the Bible know Moses and Aaron did not follow God’s instructions, but in frustration with the people smote the rock twice. Yes, life giving water flowed, but God was not sanctified in the eyes of the people, and it cost Aaron and Moses their life.
That rock was not Jesus, but it was anointed (Christ is a Greek word that means anointed in English) of God to typify mighty things about Jesus. It showed among other things, God’s protection, solidarity, presence, and sustainment of life. What God has to give mankind is freely offered in Jesus, the Christ. He willingly died to give to all the water of everlasting life. He is with His people and will never forsake them: He is there! He never changes! Either He is one’s life into the age of the ages, or that life shall be forfeited. Being once smitten, He will not be smitten again, but forgives all who call upon Him in repentance and faith.
The recipients of His righteous blood’s cleansing that flowed from the smitten Anointed One commit a similar sin as Moses and Aaron when they claim they have become lost, and now must return to the Rock for a washing in His blood the second time. He will not be smitten again, but he may be spoken to in prayer and….”if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John 1:9 Hallelujah! What a Rock is our Savior!
I. WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT INSPIRATION.
2Pe 1:21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
This Scripture is very clear how it addresses inspiration.
- Human Penmanship – “…holy men of God spoke…”
- Divine Authorship – “…moved by the Holy Ghost.”
The active source of the Scripture is God. The Greek word “pheomenoi” means “borne along.” God did not correct any mistakes because no mistakes were made. God gave the words and allowed the men to use their own choice of words that corresponded to their natural way of speaking. By Inspiration we mean the Holy Spirit moved the human writers of the Bible in such a way that they recorded the very words and sense of God, though couched in their own literary style.
2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
I Peter 1:25 – “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Peter agrees with the endurance of the Word of God.
Paul refers to all which would include the Old Testament. Surely no one would claim that the Old Testament Manuscripts that Paul had were the originals.
Paul makes a request in II Timothy 4:13 “The cloke that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
The previous chapter recorded that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God.
There is very little doubt that Paul here called the copies of the Old Testament Manuscripts inspired.
Inspired in the original manuscripts is no where in God’s Word.
It was inspired by Satan and made up by man to attempt to allow what man wanted to do to God’s Word.
When we claim that the Word was inspired in the original manuscripts then we are equating the ink, the papyrus and the pen to be inspired. That is not what Paul or Peter said.
- INSPIRED BY GOD
The Word was inspired, man was not inspired.
The phrase that carries so much importance is “…Inspiration of God….” The Greek word translated “inspired” is “theopneustos,” which means “God-breathed.”
There are several theories as to inspiration. I believe in the “Superintendence or Verbal Plenary Theory.”
We shall examine this theory:
- Verbal inspiration.
We mean that the very words of Scripture are God’s words. Inspiration goes beyond the concepts and message to actual words.
1Co 2:13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
Mat 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.
Jer 1:9 Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth.
According to Matthew 5:18, Inspiration extends to even the letter “jot” and “tittle.” Luke 16:17.
God places emphasis upon His Words.
Consider these verses: Exodus 24:4; Deuteronomy 6:6; 12:28; 17:19; 18:18; 27:3; 31:12; 32:1,45,46; Joshua 8:34,35; 24:26; I Samuel 8:10; II Samuel 23:2; Psalm 12:6; Proverbs 30:5,6; Jeremiah 7:27; 23:36; 26:2; 30:2; Ezekiel 3:10; Daniel 10:9-11; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4; John 8:47; 17:8; I Timothy 4:6; II Peter 3:2; Jude 17; Revelation 1:3; 22:18,19.
Every Word of God is important to Him. To ridicule, change or laugh at the Word of God, I believe is a serious infraction against God. To change the force, power or meaning of His word would be to diminish God and His utterances.
- Plenary Inspiration
This means “extending to all parts alike,” this leads us to the belief that all of the Bible is inspired and every part of the Bible is equally inspired.
II Timothy 3:16 – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God…”
- Inerrant Inspiration
Inerrant means “not liable to error.” This means there is no mistake or anything false, therefore the Bible was written down correct in every detail.
Hebrews 6:18b; Titus 1:2c; Numbers 23:19; John 10;35
This kind of inspiration provides that the exact divine message be given. Both God’s truth and Satan’s lies are reported and recorded exactly. Inspiration does not change truth into lies.
- Infallible Inspiration
This means the Bible is without error in its teaching. It is incapable of teaching deception.
Psalm 119:160; John 17:17. The terms “infallible” and “inerrant” are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference:
- Inerrant means without error in its recording.
- Infallible means without error in its teaching.
“Infallibility is obviously restricted to the intended assertions of Scripture understood in an ordinary grammatical exegesis of the text.”
In other words, infallibility takes into account such things as the use of poetic or figurative language, the use of simile, hyperbole, allegory, parable and symbolism, etc.
In most cases, what is inspired is authoritative, but not all cases. Some things in the Bible, though accurately recorded through inspiration, do not have the authority of God.
e.g. The Book of Job accurately records the words of God, Job, Satan, Job’s wife, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu. Some of the statements in the Book are consequently ungodly or in direct contradiction to other statements of Scripture. They are inspired, but not authoritative.
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
A small child was traveling by air to a distant city with his mother. At the airport, a kind employee gave him a wing pin to wear. In the child’s excitement he exclaimed, “Look mom, I am a pilot!” In return his mother said, “Oh, yes, son. To me you are a grand pilot, and I know that to you, you are a pilot, but to a pilot, you are not there yet.” In childhood, how marvelous are the wings of imagination. However, somewhere along Maturity Road, imagination must give way to reality in life.
Happily, for most, the processes of education, experience, and maturity succeed in equipping them to engage the realities of life with varying degrees of success as they leave childhood behind. But, if one is to draw conclusions from observation, it seems many miserably fail in the spiritual realm. One cannot be a Christian on the basis of simple imagination. Think with me about why that may be true.
A personal, one-on-one meeting with God in repentant prayer and trust in Christ Jesus is not just good, it is absolutely essential to becoming a Christian in reality. Some folks seek to be a Christian without this, depending on their works, and that just succeeds in keeping them to be an imaginative Christian. Still others joyfully recount such a personal meeting with God as described above, but like those in the parable of the sower, they fail for various reasons to follow the Lord and ingest His Word that is able to bring them into Christian reality. So they continue imagining themselves to be a Christian and when churches are filled with such immaturity, they will soon be imagining themselves to be a church.
Jesus spoke of this problem in terms that are often startling. “If any man come to me and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:26 In yet another place He said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Matt. 16:24.
Another problem of imaginative Christians is that they think there is more joy and fulfillment of life in the things of the world than in following Jesus. The great apostle Paul was a man of power, education, wealth, but how did he consider that in comparison to his life as a true Christian? He said that all things that were counted gain to him were now nothing more than a barnyard dung pile. He abandoned them all for the joy of eternal knowledge. Likewise, the true Christian invariably possesses joy unspeakable and full of glory. Think about it. Are you a robotic, imaginative Christian or a real Christian in the maturity of the Word? One day, as sure as you can read these lines, it will make an exceedingly joyful difference for all eternity.
Parson to Person
An arresting concept emanating from the scriptures is that of being separated while united. No, this is not double-speak, so think with me about it.
Jesus had much to say about the doctrine of separation while in His earthly ministry. He came to separate families. He forthrightly declared He had not come to bring peace, but a sword, and that His teachings received would make the members of one’s household to be his enemies in spiritual things. The family would still be united, but at the same time separated.
The apostle Paul spoke in detail about personal, inner separation while being united. His writing in Romans Chapter Seven underscores what most every Christian of any degree of maturity experiences. Not doing what should be done, and doing what should not be done is universal among people of God on earth. The higher calling of God in Christ prompts us ever onward in the right direction, but the warfare with the flesh ever yields challenges to those accomplishments. By these things, one is separated while remaining united in the Christian pilgrimage. Every disciple of the Lord Jesus knows exactly what I am talking about from his own personal experience.
Another aspect of the subject is what is obviously manifested in the Lord’s churches. Some have managed to get their name on the church roll, but have never been saved. Still others who are legitimate members of the church find it often cramps their style, and they rejoice when they find another excuse to not participate either in worship or other important kingdom activities. It must be admitted that they are members of the church even if one has cause to doubt that Jesus would say so. Hence, the church is separated while still being technically united. It will be judgment before the Lord that finalizes and eliminates such fragmented status.
Still, in another sense being separated while united is often a cause of great joy. As one experiences war between the spirit and the flesh, and through prayer and understanding, the spirit wins over the flesh, it brings great happiness. This is the kind of separation while being together that pleases the Lord. It also adds to the growth in grace that builds Christian warriors.
The enemy of every disciple of Jesus lies within, and it cannot be uprooted. It can be overcome to a great extent as one dedicates himself to learning and following the Lord in harmony with His Word, and that brings rich reward in the end. Until then, victory in life through separation while being united goes on in the sure knowledge and hope of final unification of the total man without the separation sin has brought to us.