Romans 8

Romans 8: Joint-Heirs with Christ

                Paul explains that those who walk according to the Spirit, rather than according to the flesh are not condemned. Paul points out that even the; “…Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17) This means that we are literally Children; sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father. Because we are God’s offspring, we too are heirs and joint heirs with our Brother Jesus Christ. Paul explains that we all suffer, but that the; “…sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18), in other words our suffering now will be nothing compared to our eternal glory and reward.

Glory, Hope and the Holy Ghost

                “…we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Romans 8:24-25)

If we know the outcome of something, then we have no need for hope. However, if we don’t know the outcome of something, we must wait. Waiting helps to build patience and through patience we gain a testimony of hope and a growing love for God and our Savior, Jesus Christ. The Spirit [Holy Ghost] is our intercessor, and even during times of uncertainty the Holy Ghost will guide us when we know not what to say or what to pray for.

Wisdom from Paul

                Paul teaches some great words of wisdom;

                “…he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:27) In other words; he who has a clean heart will know the will and love of God.

                “…we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28) Anyone who truly loves God, will find that eventually in God’s timing, everything will work out.

                “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Romans 8:29-30) The Bible does not speak that often on the word “pre-destiny” or “predestination”. But, essentially those who follow the Lord have the opportunity to become like Him. We are predestined to conform to the image of Jesus and those who are predestined are called. God foreknows, predestines, calls, justifies and glorifies

                “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) If God was willing to let His own Son be tortured and killed for the Sins of all mankind… wouldn’t that mean that God would freely give us ALL things? YES.

                “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8: 35-39)

If God is with us, who can be against us? No one!

Acts 19

Acts 19: The Gift of the Holy Ghost

                While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul passed through the upper coasts of Epheus where he found certain Disciples of Christ who had not yet received the Holy Ghost;

“He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as head whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto the, Unto what then where ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came upon them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” (Acts 19:2-6)

                When Paul had asked them if they had received the Holy Ghost, they knew nothing of it. These people thought they had received a valid baptism with the proper authority. However, Paul, an Apostle of the Lord told them that they had been baptized without the actual Authority. So when the people heard and understood this, they were RE-BAPTIZED, because a baptism without the proper Authority is just getting wet, and serves no purpose. Paul then gave them the power and gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands, by the proper Authority. Thus, it is important to have proper Authority to get a proper baptism. This Authority was lost some time after Paul was an Apostle, but has been restored in these Latter-days.

While in Ephesus Paul has a mixed response, but performs miraculous healings. The seven sons of Sceva, Jewish exorcists, try to exorcise by the name of the Lord Jesus. However, the evil spirits do not recognize them or their proper Authority and are beaten by the evil spirits. Many in Ephesus renounce occult objects. Demetrius, a maker of idols, opposes Paul because his business has suffered. A riot starts, which is finally calmed by a city clerk.

Acts 8

Acts 8: Holy Ghost by Laying on of hands

After Stephen had been stoned to death, a great persecution against the church went throughout Jerusalem. A man named Saul came forth making “…havock of the church…” (Acts 8:3) by throwing believers in jail. Because of this great persecution Phillip had to scatter the believers abroad so that the church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ could be preserved. Phillip was successful in teaching the Gospel to the Samaritans, and even converted a man named Simon.

Simon was a man who used sorcery and witchcraft and claimed to have great power, however, after watching the great miracles of Phillip, the Samaritans said; “…This man [Phillip] is the great power of God.” (Acts 8:10) Simon also believed that Phillip had power from God and was baptized like most of the Samaritans. After hearing that Samaria had received the word of God, Peter and John came down from Jerusalem to give them the Gift of the Holy Ghost.

Baptism and the Holy Ghost

Why did the Apostles Peter and John come down to give the Samaritans the Holy Ghost? We read that the Holy Ghost had yet to fall upon any “…of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)” (Acts 8:16) This is something very important to know about Baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost: First the believers had to have Faith in Jesus Christ, Second they had to Repent of their wrong-doings and organize their lives in a manner in which they could live by the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Third they had to be Baptized by the Power and Authority of Jesus Christ. Fourth, after having received a Baptism by the proper Authority, they could be given the Gift of the Holy Ghost, by the laying on of hands by someone who also has the Authority to do so.

  1. Faith in Jesus Christ
  2. Repentance
  3. Baptism by Immersion with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  4. The Gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, with the Proper Authority from Jesus Christ
  5. Enduring to the end, and continuing to live the Gospel, commandments and Repenting if necessary.

Peter and John arrived in Samaria where they gave the Gift of the Holy Ghost to the recent converts of the Church, they did this by laying “…their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:17) When Simon saw that they had this great power to give the Gift of the Holy Ghost, “…he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.” (Acts 8:18-19) Clearly, but unknown to Simon, the powers and authorities given from God cannot be bought nor sold for money. Peter responded to Simon by saying; “…Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast though that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20)

After Phillip had finished “correcting” Simon, he travels over to Jerusalem where he is told to go down to the desert of Gaza to meet an eunuch who had great Authority under the Queen of Ethiopia, Candace. This eunuch sat in a chariot reading the Book of Esaias [Isaiah] the Prophet; Phillip asked the man if he understood what he read, and the man deserved for him to teach from the book ,and read: “…He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:” (Acts 8:32) The man desired to know more of this prophet, so Phillip taught him of Jesus Christ. Along their journey the man points to a body of water and ask Phillip to be baptized, Phillip tells him that there is one major qualification to getting baptized, and that is: “…If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest…” (Acts 8:37) The man tells Phillip that he does believe and “…they went down both into the water… and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” (Acts 8:38-39)

Notice how they BOTH went down INTO the water? Notice also, that they came OUT of the Water? What does that mean? It means that the man had to be baptized with the Authority (which Phillip had) and the man had to be baptized like Jesus Christ was baptized… by immersion! (See Matthew 3:15-16)

John 16

John 16: The Mission of the Holy Ghost

Jesus continues His address from the last chapter, He explains that there will come a time when those who believe on Christ will be forced out of the Synagogues and “…that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” (John 16:2) This act was seen in ancient times and in modern times. Shortly after the death of Jesus Christ, the Apostles He had called were also killed, and done in the name of doing ‘service to God’, just like bombings that occur in our modern society in the ‘service or name of God’.

The Apostles were upset by all of what Jesus had told them, but He assured them that all this must come to pass, but that after He leaves the world, the Comforter or Holy Ghost will guide them. “…he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he will shew you things to come.” (John 16:13)

Jesus then tells them; “A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.” (John 16:16) The Apostles all thought to themselves, how is this possible? They were confused by His statement, and Jesus perceived this in their hearts and asked them; “…Do ye enquire among youselves of that I said, A little while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me?” (John 16:19) Jesus knew that they wanted to know, but were too afraid to ask, so He explains; “…ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world…. Ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” (John 16:20-22)

The Apostles did not ask to receive this answer, but Jesus tells them in the future they will need to ask, but that if they ask they shall receive. Jesus explains that He will no longer have to use Parables to explain, and will instead show them plainly; “I came forth from the Father, and am come into the world: again I leave the world, and go to the Father.” (John 16:28) Jesus asks them if they now believe, seeing that He speaks plainly. The Apostles say they do believe.

Jesus reminds His Apostles and Followers, that; “…In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I [Jesus] have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) We need to remember that when we are sad, lonely, angry, upset, etc. that Jesus Christ overcame the world for us, and gave His life that we could be forgiven of our sins, if we use our agency to repent and longer commit those sins. Jesus Christ enabled us to return to live with the Father. Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we too can overcome the world.

Matthew 3

Matthew 3:

Jesus is baptized 

                “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:1-2)

John the Baptist was preaching about the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the wilderness of Judea. John wore raiment of camel’s hair and a leather girdle. He was a simple man, who ate only locusts and honey. Everyone who came unto him for baptism was baptized. What is Baptism? Baptism is a practice of having your sins washed away and today symbolizes the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the death and rebirth of the sinner.

Something very important to understand is that you must bring forth “…fruits meet for repentance.” (Matthew 3:8), meaning that you MUST be repented of your sins, before baptism in order to be cleansed of those sins. If you commit sin, you must first stop committing that sin; second you must ask forgiveness of that sin and make reparations. For example, if you stole something, you must return it. If you hurt someone, you need to say sorry…. Etc. After that you must make a commitment with God to never commit that sin again. Then you can be baptized and have those sins washed away.

John tells those who he baptizes that he baptizes with water, but “…he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11) this ordinance is completed by the laying on of hands to give someone (after baptism) the gift of the Holy Ghost by the Authority of the Melchizedek Priesthood.

Jesus Christ himself comes down to John the Baptist to be baptized by him. “…John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him,  Suffer it to be so no: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and lo the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:14-17)

In verses 14-17 we learn a few things. First we learn that Jesus had no need to be baptized, but was baptized anyways to “fulfill all righteousness”, therefore setting an example for us ALL. Second we learn that Jesus was baptized by IMMERSION, because he went straight up from the water. Third we learn that Jesus Christ and God the Eternal Father are two SEPARATE and INDIVIDUAL beings. Because God called from the heavens and told the world that Jesus, was HIS beloved SON.

 

1 Kings 19-20

1 Kings 19-20

Chapter 19: A Still Small Voice

Ahab comes in and tells Jezebel all that Elijah had done; how he had executed the prophets. So Jezebel sends a messenger to Elijah telling him; that if he were to expose the lie of worshiping Baal and expose the glory of God that he would be killed.

So, Elijah makes a run for it! Elijah heads off to Judah to get away and there is met by an angel of the Lord, who tells him to eat and drink for his strength… strength for a 40 day journey. The food and water here, basically appeared out of nowhere! Elijah eats and drinks and then travels for forty days and forty nights on that food, while he traveled to Mount Horeb (verse 8). Elijah gets to the mount and goes into lodge in a cave. There in the cave the Lord asks; “…what doest thou here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9), and Elijah responds by saying “…I have been very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away” (1 Kings 19:10).

So the Lord tells him to go stand upon the mount and stand before him (the Lord) and a great wind passed by him which did rent the mountains breaking the pieces of rock, followed by an earthquake and a fire… but we learn that the Lord was not in any of those… but after all the power… there was a “still small voice” that the Lord was in. (see verse 12). Here we learn that the Spirit of the Lord can be felt in a quiet, reverant manner. We don’t need to scream to God… believe me, He can hear us! He also won’t scream down at us… if we want to hear him… we must be careful to listen, patiently and humbly and we WILL hear HIM!

The Lord then gives Elijah a mission, to anoint Hazael to be king over Syriaand Jehu to be anointed as king over Israel to replace the corrup Ahab and his wife Jezebel. Elisha is to be a friend and a succesor to Elijah.

Chapter 20: Ben-hadad makes War with Israel

Ben-hadad the King of Syria goes up tp war against Samaria. Ben-hadad also sends a message to Ahab in Israel that he will be coming to take everything he has. So Ahab gathered the elders of the land together and they all tell him to not listen or consent to the messages of Ben-hadad. But at the same time a prophet came to Israel and tells Ahab that he essentially cannot win against Ben-hadad, but makes him a promise that he would be able to deliver Ben-hadad into his hands if Ahab followed the Lord and allowed the Lord to show his great power.

So Ahab organizes his army and goes in on a surprise attack to Ben-hadad (who at the time was actually drunk), the Israelites pursue the Syrians until the king (Ben-hadad) has to escape with his leaders on horseback. The Israelites have a victory! But the King of Syria and his leaders are convinced that the God of the Israelites is the god of the hills, whereas their god is the god of the valley. They decide that they should have the battle again, and because it is in the valley they will win. They fight a second time and even though the Israelites were outnumbered… they still have a second victory against Syria! Ahab, probably out of fear of other threats around him makes a treaty with the now humble Ben-hadad and sends him on his way.