1 John 5

1 John 5: Saints are Born of God

                John explains that all Saints are born of God and that those who love God; “…keep his commandments…” (1 John 5:3) For those same people who love God and who keep the commandments of God; “…overcometh the world…” (1 John 5:4) Jesus Christ overcame the world, and we can too! For not only by water; “…but by water and blood.” (1 John 5:5) did Jesus Christ sacrifice Himself for us, setting the example.

By the Spirit we may know the truth of things, for the “…witness of God is greater…” (1 John 5:9) John goes on to explain the purpose of what Jesus Christ did for us; “…God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.” (1 John 5:11-12)

John explains that those who have faith in God and in His Son Jesus Christ will have confidence’ “…that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he will hear us; And if we know that he hear us whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” (1 John 5:14-15) In other words, God will answer our prayers according to His own will. This can be likened to a little child attempting to touch a hot stove. Obviously the parent says not to, because it’ll burn them! However, as little children in the eyes of God, we often want something, but God repeatedly says no. Why? Because He knows best and does not want us to be burned!

1 Thessalonians 5

1 Thessalonians 5: The Last Days…

 

Paul writes to the Thessalonians and tells them that they do not need reminders to know that they themselves “…know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.” (1 Thessalonians 5:2-3) Paul exhorts them to be mindful of the day of the Lord, and reminds them that they “…are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of the darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.” (1 Thessalonians 5:5-6) He urges those in the Last Days to not only be sober, but to put “…on the breastplate of faith and love; and… an helmet, the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8)

He urges the members of the Church of Jesus Christ to edify one another and to work for the sake of love. He asks that peace be among the followers of Christ and to support the weak and be “…patient toward all men.” (1 Thessalonians 5:14)

 

Paul begins to end his letter with some wisdom;

“Rejoice evermore.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16)

                                In other words; be happy always.

                “Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

                                In other words; Pray ALWAYS! Day and Night!

                “In everything give thanks…” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

                                In other words; be humble and realize ALL of your blessings.

                “Quench [do not suppress] not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

In other words; Do not do anything that would offend the Spirit. Follow the commandments so you can always have the guidance of the Holy Ghost.

“Despise not prophesyings.” (1 Thessalonians 5:20)

In other words; We need to listen to prophecy and revelation, even if we don’t 100% agree.

                “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21)

In other words; We need to be knowledgable and know what is TRUE and FALSE. Those things that are good, we should hold on to!

                “Abstain from the appearance of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:22)

In other words; Just because you aren’t breaking the commandments of God, doing something that even appears to be bad should not be done.

Finally Paul asks all the members of the Church to “…pray for us.” (1 Thessalonians 5:25) This is a reminder that we should pray for all the divinely appointed leaders of Christ’s Church.

 

Galatians 5

Galatians 5: The Fruits of the Spirit

                “STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” (Galatians 5:1)

                Paul makes a very bold statement in declaring that we are free in liberty when we follow the commandments of God. However, if we get entangled in the evils of the world we will be in bondage. Paul goes on to say that in the “…Spirit [we] wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” (Galatians 5:5) We are not always going to have signs or wonders performed in front of our eyes for us to believe in Jesus Christ, or His doctrine and commandments. We walk by faith and by that faith we serve one another. “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

Paul gives the Galatians a great piece of advice, which can be applied to everyone: “…Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16) Paul explains that lust pulls away from the Spirit, those who are led by the Spirit have no need for the law… because the Spirit will guide them in the ways of the law.

Paul explains the works of the flesh: “…Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [lustful], Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance [contention], emulations [rivalry, self-seeking], wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings… they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21) Those who follow after the desires, and lusts of the world will not inherit the kingdom of God.

                Paul goes onto explain that those who follow the Spirit will feel something different than those who are following after the flesh. For “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance; against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

                Those who are filled with the Spirit and fight against the lusts of the world are filled with the joy of the Spirit. Those who rid themselves of those evils, have participated in their own crucifixion of the evil and have been Spiritually reborn and symbolically resurrected of their old ways. “…they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.” (Galatians 5:24-26) Paul urges the Galatians (and the reader) to walk by the Spirit and love one another.

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!

Luke 24

Luke 24: He Lives!

                Early in the morning days after the death of Jesus Christ, some of His followers (including Mary Magdelene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James) came to His sepulchre [tomb] to anoint Him with spices. Upon approaching the tomb, they found the stone, which sealed the tomb was rolled back and when they went in, they did not find the body of Jesus Christ. The followers were confused, but they found two men who were wearing shining garments, who told them; “…Why seek ye the living among the dead? He is not here, but is risen…” (Luke 24:5-6) The two men [or angels] reminded the followers that Jesus had told them exactly what would happen; “…The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.” (Luke 24:7)

When the followers heard these words, they remembered. The followers left to tell the Eleven Apostles, but the Apostles thought they were listening to idle tales, and did not believe. Peter ran to the tomb to see for himself; but departed wondering what would happen.

Later, on the way down to a village named Emmaus two of the Apostles walked while discussing the things that had happened. While walking a man approached them and began to speak to them, this man was Jesus Christ, but the two Apostles did not know Him. Jesus asks them why they are sad, and what the reason is for their communication. The two Apostles are flabbergasted as to why this ‘man’ would ask them these questions, they begin to tell Him about the ministry of Jesus and how He was crucified. Jesus responds; “…O fools, and slow of heart to believe… Ought not Christ to have suffered these things…” (Luke 24:25-26) Jesus explains that He has further to walk, but with the evening approaching, the two Apostles invite this ‘man’ to stay with them for the night. While with them, He breaks bread and communes with them, after He is done breaking bread, he disappeared. Upon realizing that the ‘man’ who was with them was Jesus and He had now left after breaking bread with them, they were perplexed; “…Did not our heart burn within us while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened t us the scriptures?” (Luke 24:32) Essentially the two Apostles were upset that they were so blind to not even see Jesus!

The two Apostles return to Jerusalem and proclaim to the other Apostles that Jesus had indeed Risen! While they were speaking, Jesus enters and says to them; “…Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? And why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.” (Luke 24:39) While the Apostles were in shock and were wondering what they had just seen, Jesus asks them; “…Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them.” (Luke 24:41-43)

Here is an important Doctrinal Truth: Jesus Christ has a glorified body of flesh and bones, just like we have as humans. Jesus told His Apostles to touch Him for He had flesh and bones, and He even asked them for food, so that He could eat. Jesus then “…opened… their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures… Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day… that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:45-48) Jesus opens their understanding, so that the Apostles and all those who follow Him can understand the scriptures and know the truth. Jesus had told the people He would be persecuted to death and rise again on the third day, but even then when it happens the Apostles did not believe Him. Jesus explains that His death had to happen, in order to open the door to a remission of sins and the start of missionary work throughout the world, starting in Jerusalem.

Jesus died for ALL of us, that we might be saved. In order to be truly saved, we must follow Jesus, and all His teachings. We cannot follow Him, if we do not follow His commandments and teachings. Jesus is lifted up into heaven and the Apostles rejoiced and worshipped Him in the temple.

Luke 8

Luke 8: Miracles of Jesus

                Jesus went throughout all the cities “…preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God…” (Luke 8:1)

Jesus relates the Parable of the Sower:

“A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it sprang up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold…” (Luke 8:5-8) Jesus then explains to His Apostles that “…the seed is the word of God. Those by the wayside are those who hear… The rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” (Luke 8:11-14)

Essentially those who hear the words of God and plant the seed of that goodness in good ground, they will rise up and produce good fruit. Those however that are around thorns (temptations or evils) will be choked out. Those who simply don’t have a standing will wither. We must plant our seeds of the gospel in good ground and surround ourselves with good things or else we will wither or choke.

After giving this Parable the Apostles along with Jesus travel by boat to their next destination, however a storm rises… The Apostles, scared, turn to Jesus and say; “…Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was calm.” (Luke 8:24)

The Apostles were scared and had forgotten the power of the Lord, after all they had seen many miracles by Jesus, yet forgot that He would not let them perish. Jesus turns to them; “…Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! For he commandeth even the winds and the water, and they obey him.” (Luke 8:25)

They arrive in the country of Gaderenes, which is against Galilee. When they were there they ran into a man possessed of many devils. The man’s name was Legion, and he had been possessed by devils for years. Jesus commands the devils to leave the man, and they do. But they plead to have a body, so Jesus permits them to enter into a herd of swine (pigs), which upon entering them ran off a cliff and choked in a lake. The man Legion proclaims the miracle of Jesus throughout all the land!

Jesus continues His journeys and while walking a woman, who had suffered a disease of the blood reached out and touched the garment of Jesus, in hopes of being healed. Jesus upon feeling the touch, stopped, and said; “…I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.” (Luke 8:46) The woman admitted to touching Jesus and comes and kneels down before Him, Jesus heals her and says; “…Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.” (Luke 8:48)

Before Jesus could finish what He was doing, there came a ruler of a synagogue’s house that said his daughter was dead. He turns to the man and says; “…Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” (Luke 8:50) Jesus explains that she is not actually dead, but sleeps. He comes into the girl and tells her to arise, and she does! Jesus tells the parents to tell no man of what they saw.

Mark 7

Mark 7: False Traditions

                  The Scribes and Pharisees come from Jerusalem to criticize Jesus for feeding many, with having them wash their hands before eating, as it is customary for the elders to do. Jesus answers unto them; “…Well hat Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men…” (Mark 7:6-8) Jesus instructs them that just because it is tradition to do something, does not make it above the commandments or teachings of God. The people that were gathered with Jesus did nothing wrong, but simply failed to honor a tradition. Jesus explains that they were being hypocrites for saying they honored God, yet with their actions they were chastising His Only Begotten.

Jesus explains to those gathered, that only by what leaves man can defile him; “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, and evil eye, blasphemy, pride and foolishness.” (Mark 7:21-22) These are the things that can defile man, not what they partake.

From here, Jesus leaves to the borders of Tyre and Sidon where he meets a Greek woman, who had a daughter who was possessed of an evil spirit. Jesus tells the lady that she will come home to find her daughter cured and freed from the evil spirit. Jesus then departs the land and goes to the sea of Galilee, near the coasts of Decapolis. Jesus is met by a man who was not only deaf, but also dumb in his speech impediment, He takes the man and hold him; “…and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue.” (Mark 7:33) and instantly the man was able to hear and speak.