Monday, February 28, 2011

What in the world is God doing today!?

While God works in the lives of believers through his word, what about the unbeliever who doesn’t have or acknowledge his word?  

The way that God intervenes today is not just in his word, but also in the systems that he set up (ordained) in the beginning. While it is true that God intervenes directly in the lives of us believers through his word, it is equally true that he intervenes indirectly also by the laws and principles that he originally set up at creation!

God created four institutions back in Genesis:
1.      Volition (man’s free will),
2.      Marriage
3.      Family
4.      Nationalism/nations.

Each of these institutions help God keep peace in the earth for man.

For example, women can be protected from most dangers and from loneliness by having a male covering! You are less likely to be lonely, victimized or attacked or taken advantage of as a woman if you have a man (father/brother/husband, etc). This is true whether the woman or man is lost or saved, trusting God's word or not! God made it that way from the beginning!

Until a woman is married, it is wise if she stay under her father's authority, those who do are safer! When she gets a husband, she is even more fulfilled because she now has a life companion who helps with her loneliness, her need for physical love, etc., as well as her continued protection and to bear children!

1 Corinthians 7:14
For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.

God does not pick the spouse for us, but he gives us the wisdom [by way of his word] to pick the right one...a grace believer [2 Corinthians 6:14]! By doing that, we accomplish his will of enjoying a fulfilled life in Christ and to raise Godly children for him!

Men and women aren't to resort to sin to meet their physical needs. [1 Corinthians 7:1-2]. And, we can also raise godly children.

Another example, how does God keep peace in the earth? He keeps peace in the earth through the governmental authority that mankind operates...

Genesis 9:5-6
And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man.  Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

From this, God allows mankind to stop the violence of other men by justly instituting capital punishment up to death! And because he allows the government to impose death to the evil doer, the government has power from God to keep the peace!

Romans 13:1-6
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

God did not pick the people in those positions of authority today (i.e., Obama), nor did he choose the type of government (i.e., democratic, theocracy, king, etc.), but he did ordain the structure called government back in Genesis 9, whereby mankind can benefit by having peace where there would normally be no peace.

So yes, the primary way that God intervenes in our lives today is his word, but he also, through his divine providence gets his will done outside of his word. Including, getting even lost people (who care nothing of his word) to work on his behalf!

I tell people all the time to stop trying to figure out how God would get His will accomplished and just trust him that he will! He has more than a billion and two ways to get things done that you and I would never think about or know! he does this by his providence, either directly by his word working in people, or by the world's system that he originally set up!

Lastly, if you live in a nation that rejects God's word, you can move to one that allows you to worship God freely—that’s how our nation came to be. Once all the nations reject God's grace as a whole, He will take us home to heaven in the rapture [1 Thssalonians 4:15-18] and pour out His wrath [Psalm 2:4-5]!

Who is the bride of Christ?

I’ve heard the term ‘Bride of Christ’ applied to us Christians by many denominational preachers.  But of the grace teachers that teach from a Pauline dispensational viewpoint I’ve only heard a rare mention of it and then only in relation to “the New Jerusalem” that comes down at the end of Revelation.   Would you be able to help me better understand exactly who or what the bride of Christ is?  

As far as whom the bible says is the "bride of Christ" really never does actually use that term, nor defines it specifically. (The term "the bride of Christ" was invented by the Roman Catholic church as a word to describe them as God's people in the earth.) Since it is not a term found in the Bible, it is a non-essential doctrine for today under Grace and nothing to be too concerned about. All one can do is truly speculate about what that term means because it is not found in the Word of God!

But, with all that said, if I had to show a passage from scripture that comes the closest to the words "the bride of Christ," I would go to the book of Revelation where John, an apostle to Israel, is foretelling a future event where the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem comes down to the earth with Christ at his second coming to Israel.

Revelation 21:2
And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Notice here that John says that this city comes down as a bride adorned for her husband. John does not say in this passage who the husband is, nor does he actually say that the city is a bride...but only that it is as a bride.

He goes on to say…

Revelation 22:9-10
And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

Here, an angel tells John that the city is the bride, the wife of the Lamb (a term only used in prophecy of the Lord Jesus, and never used by our Apostle Paul in his 13 books on the Mystery). So one can make a case from this verse that if anyone in scripture is to be called the so-called bride of Christ, it is clear that it is not people-group like the body of Christ, but a place, a city, the new Jerusalem!

Again, although the term "the bride of Christ" is not in the bible, and was made up by the Roman Catholic religion as a way of exalting their authority here in the earth, if I had to say what this bride is, according to the above verses, it is not any church, but a city!

Look at this prophetic passage from Isaiah 62 about the time when the Lord will save and redeem the believers in Israel and set up his kingdom...

Isaiah 62:1-5
For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.  Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.  Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.  For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.

Notice it is all about Zion/Jerusalem, and those Jewish people (of whom our Lord is the true representative of) being re-united or married to the LAND! In verse 5, both the sons of Israel and the Lord will marry and rejoice over this city.

As far as passages in our Apostle Paul's epistles....he never even uses the word bride, so it is ridiculous for anyone to say that the so-called "bride of Christ" is the church, the body of Christ! Yes it is true that in a couple of passages our Apostle likens the church to a virgin espoused and a wife with her husband, but because he never uses the word bride and we see it used by both John and Isaiah, tells us that this is a prophetic term and not one used by our Apostle in the mystery.

Hopefully this helps!

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Paul’s Kingdom message…

Didn't Paul also teach concerning the kingdom of God?

Yes, Paul taught the kingdom of God, but man makes the same mistake most people make—his definition of the kingdom of God is flawed! Just because Paul taught the kingdom of God, does not mean he taught the gospel of the earthly kingdom.

What he fails to realize is that God's kingdom has two spheres...a heavenly sphere and an earthly sphere!

John the Baptist, the Lord Jesus (during his earthly ministry), and the 12 Apostles ALL taught the kingdom of God for the earthly  kingdom, which is Israel's hope.

1 Peter 2:9
But ye [Israel] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

Revelation 5:10
And hast made us [Israel] unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

This earthly kingdom has been their hope from the beginning!

Exodus 19:5-6
Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye [Israel] shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye [Israel] shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

Daniel also said it would be on the earth!

Daniel 2:35
Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain [government of the Kingdom], and filled the whole earth.

That's the prayer of the Jewish believer...

Matthew 6:10
Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

So man errs in not rightly dividing the kingdom of God the way the bible does!

From the first verse of the bible...God tells us how he divides his kingdom.

Genesis 1:1
In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth

Man did not read the verse that came before Acts 20:25, when showing how Paul preached the kingdom of God!

Matthew 12:32
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

And while it is true that our Apostle preached the kingdom of God, it was not Israel's earthly kingdom—that was on hold once Paul was saved...and Paul could never get into that earthly kingdom anyway because he committed the unpardonable sin

Acts 20:25
And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

But man erred in not noticing Paul's words in the previous verse...

Acts 20:24
But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul taught the grace of God, and not the law of God like the Jews taught!

Matthew 5:19
Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Paul taught the heavenly/grace part of God's kingdom for us gentiles!

Acts 20:32
And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

We are not under the law like Israel; we are under grace.

Romans 6:14
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

We are not to focus on the earthly kingdom, but the heavenly.

Colossians 3:2
Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Philippians 3:18-20
 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)  For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

We will rule and reign with Christ in the heaven places, not on earth like Israel...

Ephesians 2:6
And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

So when Paul preached the kingdom of God, he preached the heavenly part—that is where we end up!  Not the earth—that belongs to Israel!

2 Timothy 2:18
And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if our earthly house [our physical body] of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house [our spiritual glorified body] not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

So if man studies God's word rightly divided he will not be confusing our Apostle Paul's uncircumcision ministry with the ministry of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the circumcision ministry of the 12 apostles.

Galatians 2:7
But contrariwise, when they [James, Cephas, and John] saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter [and the 11 others];  (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles[aka heathen and uncircumcision]:)  And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen [aka Gentiles uncircumcision], and they unto the circumcision [believing Israel].

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

Head covering…

Should women be ‘covering’ their heads, as mentioned in Corinthians?

Here is what I see from scripture in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16, as our Apostle Paul discusses the place of men and women in public worship there in Corinth.

The first thing that our apostle does as he begins the chapter is to remind those saints that as their God-appointed apostle, they are to follow his instructions, as what he tells them is from our Lord Jesus Christ!

1 Corinthians 14:37
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.

The ordinances laid down by Paul were to be followed in order to maintain order in their public worship!

1 Corinthians 11:1-2
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.  Now I praise you, brethren, that ye remember me in all things, and keep the ordinances, as I delivered them to you.

He then goes onto to remind them of God's original order of authority.  That is, that the male is in submission to Christ, that the female is in submission to the male, and that even our Lord Jesus is in submission to God the Father.

1 Corinthians 11:3
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.

Here we see that although the male and female are equals, just like our Lord and the Father are equal, they are still different, and there is still a God-ordained order of authority.

Then Paul goes on to clarify the tradition of public worship of that day in which it was not right for a man to cover his head while praying or prophesying under the power of the Holy Ghost, because the man, as the leader or head, represented the Lord Jesus, and as such, had no other HUMAN in authority over him, and therefore, the man was not to cover his head. To do so would dishonor his Lord.

1 Corinthians 11:4
Every man praying or prophesying, having his head [authority] covered, dishonoureth his head [authority].

Our apostle goes onto say about the female however, that she, as subordinate to the male by God's ordination at creation, must have her head covered in some manner during public worship, because it represented her acknowledgement, and those who watched her (including the angels) that she was under the man's authority.

1 Corinthians 11:5-6
But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn: but if it be a shame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered.

As you can see, Paul says for a woman to be uncovered in that day while in public worship, she would be dishonoring her head or covering, the male. Paul even goes so far as to say that she might as well go ahead and shave off all of her hair (they had very long hair, not cutting it from birth). And in that day, if a woman had short or shorn or shaven hair it was a shame unto her. Makes me think that is why many lesbian women have short hair because they don't want to be under man's God given authority.

Anyway, our apostle goes on to give further explanation of this principle—one that God Himself set up at creation with Adam and Eve.

1 Corinthians 11:7-9
For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man.  For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man.  Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

Then our apostle gives one last reason why God's order of submission should be followed by the woman—one that goes beyond human kind and extends into the Heavenly Places.

1 Corinthians 11:10
For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.

What Paul is alluding to is the fact that the angels learn from those of us in the Church, the Body of Christ! They learn about God's manifold or multifaceted, or multiple wisdom in the Mystery of Christ. They learn from our submission to His Word through Paul how God is exalting the Lord Jesus Christ as the Head of all things both on earth and also in Heaven.

Ephesians 3:10-11
To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

So as the female submits to the male, the angels learn about the church and it's submission to its Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, as the man actually represents our Lord.

God has His angels observe the public worship of the Church, the Body of Christ, and He wants them to watch us worship Him in all decency and order. So when that woman has a covering upon her, she is showing her subjection to the male's headship and therefore her reverence for God's creative order.

Lastly, our apostle Paul reminds all the saints of our oneness in Christ, and how all this works out for God's glory when we obey and submit to His God-ordained authority in our public worship.

1 Corinthians 11:11-12
Nevertheless neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.  For as the woman is of the man, even so is the man also by the woman; but all things of God.

Then Paul sums up his argument by saying just consider that natural world...notice how men in general and for the most part have short hair, and women, to the contrary have longer hair (even to our present day). So even in the natural, woman having a covering [her hair] is the norm.

1 Corinthians 11:13-15
Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered?  Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

To complete his instructions, Paul goes on to make the grace of God the issue, by saying that although this is the custom of that time, if someone wanted to do it another way, go ahead and let them…

Romans 14:5
…Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 

…because we are free from being so strict and legalistic about that custom because our Lord did not give a direct command to Paul to give to us about ‘head coverings’ (hair), although it was the custom of that day.

Today, whether a man or woman has their head covered (chooses to have long or short hair) or not is not the main issue with God—rather, the weightier matters of following the Apostle Paul in his sound doctrine is most important.

1 Timothy 1:10-11
…and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;  according to the glorious gospel of the blessed god, which was committed to my trust.

It is a tougher passage because of the traditions and customs and culture of that day, which is far different from ours today.

Hopefully this helps!

Do you have a question for Pastor Ron?