Thursday, 21 June 2018

Water Baptism Part 1

15th June

Matthew 28:18-20
Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching the to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

What is water baptism?
Water baptism is a commandment from Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Water baptism is for believers. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Water baptism is by full immersion. The greek word 'baptizo' means to immerse or overwhelm.
Water baptism is a symbol of a christian dying to the sinful self, burying this old life and gaining a new life just as Christ died, was buried and rose again. (Romans 6:4)
Water baptism is an outward testimony of what Christ has done for us on the inside.
(Colosians 2:11-12)
When we baptize, we baptize in the name of The Father, and of The Son, and of The Holy Ghost.
(Matthew 28:18-20)

In Acts 8, Philip comes across an Ethiopian man (a Eunuch) who was reading the scripture and not understanding it. The Eunuch invited Philip to explain the scripture to him. When they came to some water the Eunuch wanted to get baptized and because he chose to believe in Jesus Christ, Philip baptized him immediately. The Spirit then caught Philip away after the baptism.

Must we be baptized in water to be saved?
No.
The thief on the cross (Luke 23:39-43) admitted that he deserved his crucifixion, while Jesus had done nothing wrong. He believed in Jesus and asked Jesus to remember him. Jesus told him that he would be in paradise with Jesus that day. There was no time to be water baptized but yet he could still go to heaven.

In 1 John 1:8-9, it states that confessing our sins is what is what is needed to be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness. There is no mention of water baptism here.
Likewise in Romans 10:9-10, it states that we must confess with our mouth and believe with our heart and we can be saved. Again no mention of water baptism.

Why do some people believe in baptismal regeneration? 
Some people will argue that we need to be water baptised in order to be saved. They will use verses like Mark 16:15-16 'He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved' to prove their point.

Another verse is John 3:5 'Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.' But in this example (see the context John 3:1-7) the water is not referring to water baptism but rather the physical birth from a mother's womb. We know this because Jesus talks about flesh giving birth to flesh and the Spirit giving birth to spirit (John 3:6). So Jesus was explaining to Nicodemus that being born again means that the Spirit has to impart something spiritual in us.

Acts 2:38 'Then Peter said unto them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.'
In this example Peter is referring to receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. However, water baptism is again an external confession of an inward experience. Repentance leads to baptism and baptism showed in the Bible days that the Christians had received salvation.

Acts 22:16 'And now why tarriest thou? arise and be baptized, and wash away they sins, calling on the name of the Lord.' 
Because this verse talks about being baptized and having your sins washed away, some would say that the water washes away your sin. However, only the Blood of Jesus can wash away our sins.
Acts 10:43 'through His name whosoever believeth in Him shall receive remission of sins.'


Conclusion:

It is only what Christ has done for us on the cross that can save us. It was never meant to be anything that we have done that can earn us salvation. And it was always meant to be a simple confession with our mouth and belief in our heart that allows us to receive the salvation which Christ has already paid for with His life. Christ broke himself that in our brokenness we can be restored, healed and forgiven.













Saturday, 9 June 2018

The Ministry Part 5

8th June

Last week we discussed the first point
1. We need Ministers and people who are strong in faith like Abraham.

This week we discussed the second point

2. We need Ministers and people who are strong in conviction.

2 Timothy 4:1-5 (NKJV)
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom.:
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
For a time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers;
and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.
But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. 

We can see that what Paul told Timothy is already happening. People are compromising the Word of God and allowing the world's standard to be acceptable when it is NOT. Even in churches many compromises are made and nonsense may be heard from church people who really should know better. Many choose to believe a lie, rather than the truth. So we must be careful to distinguish between compromises and The Word of God (sound doctrine). Then we won't get sucked into the lies.
We must also be ready to share God's Word when we are expecting to share and also when we are not expecting to share. We never know when the opportunities will pop up.

2 Thessolonians 2:8-12 (NKJV)
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Antichrist will come prior to Jesus' second coming. We do not know if the Antichrist is already in the world or not, but he will be revealed later after the rapture. He is deceptive and many will believe his false signs and fake miracles. God is allowing the Antichrist to deceive people because they did not believe the truth in the first place.  We are also told that the Antichrist will be destroyed by the brightness of Jesus when He returns.

John 8:31-32 (NKJV)
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
"And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

The Truth is what makes us free, but we can only know the Truth if we abide in His WORD.

We need God to renew our convictions.
A. Convictions about sin and sinfulness 
     (Romans 6:23 - Sin brings death but the gift of God is eternal life)
     (Psalm 1:1 - Let us remove all sin from our lives and walk with the Lord in righteousness)

B. We need conviction about separation from all sin and every kind of wickedness. 
     (2 Corinthians 6:17 - Strive to be separate unto the Lord)

C. We need conviction and dedication to the Lord.
     (1 Chronicles 29:5  David challenged the people asking "Who is willing to consecrate his 
       service this day unto the Lord?)Note that David had already dedicated some of his personal 
       belongings including gold for the purposes of building the temple so he surely led by example)
      (Proverbs 23:26 - we must first dedicate our heart to the Lord before we can dedicate our                     resources, time, talents and other things)

We are not our own but were bought with a price so let's dedicate ourselves unto the Lord. Strengthen your convictions and serve the Lord with all your heart.

Conclusion of this chapter on The Ministry

We started this chapter with Ephesians 4:11-16 and focused on the different giftings and responsibilities in the church
(apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers for the edifying of the church).

Now consider verse 15-16: (NKJV)
but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head - Christ - 
from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body of the edifying of itself in love.

In the human body, bones come together at joints and the joints will provide a fluid to lubricate the place where the bones meet so as to reduce friction. If pressure is put on the joints, more fluid will be released to bring more lubrication in order to help manage the pressure.

The body of Christ functions in much the same way. Where members come together, there are joints. These joints are the communication, interaction and inter-ministry between members. In the above verse, we can see the joints supply which means its the sharing and praying that happens between members on Sunday or during prayer meetings, bible studies etc which supplies what is needed and helps bring the 'lubrication' which is needed even more when the pressure comes (enemy attacks etc)
When the joints supply, then the body of Christ works effectively and therefore the church is edified and able to grow.

We need to flow with The Holy Spirit and The Word of God (like the oil and water which makes up the fluid in our physical body's joint) so that the joints can really supply as God purposed them to.
In this way the church can keep moving closer to God's vision for churches:

Ephesians 4:13
Till we all come in the unity of faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: ...














Saturday, 26 May 2018

The Ministry Part 4

25th May

1. We need ministers and people who are strong in faith like Abraham.

Romans 4:19-21
And not being weak in faith, he did not consider his own body, already dead (since he was about a hundred years old), and the deadness of Sarah's womb. He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, and being fully convinced that what He (GOD) had promised He was also able to perform.

Abraham was PURSUING THE PROPHESY that God had given him that he would have a son and be the father of many nations. Rather than look at the obvious impossible physical circumstances, he chose to focus on the prophesy and that made his faith stronger which led to him giving glory to God. This then strengthened his faith further to the point that there was no doubt that God could and would do what He said He would.

A. WE NEED FAITH IN THE WORD OF GOD.

Romans 10:17 tells us that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
In Jeremiah 5:21 and Ezekiel 12:2 it speaks about people being able to hear but not hearing and being able to see but not seeing. So there is another factor to consider and that is we must have our spiritual ears open and hear with our heart so that the word of God gets into the core of our being and takes our faith to another level.

B. WE NEED FAITH IN THE GOD OF THE WORD.

2 Timothy 1:!2
For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. 

Paul was in prison and possibly even with a death sentence over him when he wrote this encouragement to Timothy. However, he did not let his circumstances affect his faith. 
Instead he had complete confidence in who God is. 

  1. We need faith for salvation Acts 16:31
       Paul and Silas led the jailer to the Lord and they all trusted God for forgiveness of sin.

  2. We need faith that the Lord will take care of us. Psalm 37:23-24
       Our steps are ordered by the Lord and He is and will continue to be faithful in caring for us.

  3. We need faith that the Lord will provide  Philippians 4:19
       The Lord is our supply and He knows our every need. 
       He is interested in the big and small details of our lives.

  4. We need faith to serve the Lord no matter what happens  Joshua 24:15 
       Joshua made up his mind that regardless of what others did, he would serve the Lord.


      



The Ministry Part 3

18th May

MINISTER'S RESPONSIBILITY

3. The minister is responsible for feeding the flock. 

John 21:15 (NKJV)
So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" He said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, "Feed my lambs."
The minister is responsible for having a good meal prepared for the flock when they come into God's house.

4. The minister is responsible for protecting the flock

Acts 20:29-30 (NKJV)
For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.
Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Pastors and Ministers must be alert to the false doctrines and cults in the world today. Ministers protect the flock by preaching the TRUTH. Paul warned that false teachings will come from people outside the church and also from people in the church (members). Satan is trying to distort the truth and will send whoever it takes to spread his lies.

John 8:32
Jesus said that we will know the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set us free.

Ministers cannot allow anybody (stranger or member) to teach any false doctrines in the church.
If any false teaching does arise, the minister needs to stop it by rebuking it and removing it before it continues further in the Body of Christ.

5. The minister's responsibility is to be faithful

1 Corinthians 9:27 (NKJV)
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.

Paul worked on keeping himself right and faithful to the Lord and to the Word of God. Ministers have a responsibility to those they have ministered to, so they must be absolutely faithful and not coming under anyone's criticism for dishonoring the Word of God.

Philippians 1:27 (NKJV)
Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.

1 Timothy 4:12 (NKJV)
Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love in spirit, in faith, in purity.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NKJV)
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Paul instructed Timothy to focus on being an example to the believers and not be put off if people thought he was too young to preach. He told Timothy to take responsibility for being faithful and for studying the Word so that he might show that he is approved by God. Being called by God is serious and we must take the calling seriously.

Ephesians 4:11-13 is a reminder again of the work of the ministry.

1 Corinthians 16:13-14 reminds us to be on guard and be firm in the faith.








Tuesday, 15 May 2018

The Ministry Part 2

May 11th

Titus 1:5-11 (NKJV)
5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you -
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having children not accused of dissipation or
insubordination.
7 For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given
to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober minded, just, holy, self-controlled,
9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to
exhort and convict those who contradict.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the
circumcision,
11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain.

Paul and Titus had been working together on the island of Crete. However, Paul had to leave so Titus was given the job of appointing elders in every city. Paul knew this letter would be read out in the churches around Crete yet he did not lower the standard to make people happy. The standard for the Pastors and Church leaders is very high. Our holy God desires a holy church. In fact these qualities are good for all members of the church. Only by what Jesus has done for us, can we be living our life up to this standard. God is not only interested in the message but the journey of the messengers that God would be able to do a work in their lives and bring them to His desired standard. When the messengers are ready and go out with the Word then surely the harvest will come.

According to the list in Titus 1:5-11
We must be ....
1. blameless - upright at all times
2. the husband of one wife (wife of one husband) - being absolutely faithful stops trouble
3. managing the family well - bringing up our children in the Lord
4. self controlled / self disciplined
5. not self-willed - not stubborn as this is of the devil
6. not quick-tempered - avoid hurting others with a temper
7. not given to wine - Proverbs 20:1
8. not violent but gentle
9. free from the love of money - don't go after the things of this world
10. hospitable - welcome others into our homes and serve them well
11. love what is good
12. just
13. holy - God calls us to live holy lives as He is a holy God
14. holding fast to the faithful word which we have been taught and able to instruct others

Philippians 1:27 
Only let your  conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel,

God is calling us to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of the Lord. Our conduct shouldn't depend on whether the pastors are present or not, but we should be Christ like and Godly in all situations.

MINISTER'S RESPONSIBILITY

1. The minister is responsible for leading the flock. 
     Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit 
     has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. 

      Christ is the Chief and the Great Shepherd. (Christ is the head of the body of Christ)
     The pastor is the under-shepherd and head of the flock (the believers)

      John 10:23 The sheep will and are to follow their shepherd. John 10:25 It is the shepherd to 
      lead the flock

2. The minister is responsible for correcting and comforting.
     2 Timothy 4: 1-5  talks about preaching the Word in season and out of season, correcting when needed and bringing the whole counsel of God because a time is coming when people will not want to listen to the whole Word but only the parts that are pleasing to them. The minister can not just preach Grace every week but must bring the whole counsel including judgement, curses or other parts which maybe people don't want to hear about.
     Hebrews 12:11-13 Rebuking must always be done in love so that people can be comforted and continue on for the Lord. Ephesians 4:11-13 where this unit started reminds us that equipping God's people, edifying the body of Christ and bringing everyone into unity of faith is what the ministers are responsible for so that the believers can measure up to the full and complete standard of Christ.






Sunday, 13 May 2018

The Ministry Part 1

May 4th

Ephesians 4:11-16 (NKJV)
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers,
12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting,
15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ—
16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
This topic connects to the previous topic on The Church. Again we see The Church is the body of Christ and Christ is the head. We can also see that every

message and word spoken by the pastor, evangelist, prophet or apostle is important for equipping us to do the work of the Lord.

Mark 16:15-18
God has commissioned us to go out and preach the gospel so that people believe and are baptized. And there will be signs that follow like casting out demons and speaking in new tongues. God's protection will be around us. If any harm comes (like snakes), they won't be able to hurt us ( Acts 28:5 Paul shook the poisonous snake off into the fire and people were amazed) but this is not an invitation to test God by taking up dangerous things. 


1 Corinthians 9:22-23 (NKJV)

v22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. v23 Now this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker of it with you. 


We can see Paul's total focus was to win the lost to Christ. He even tried to find common ground in order to share the gospel. 

In Ephesians 4:11-16 the Lord explain to us that different giftings have been given out in the church. 
1. Apostles: (greek word apostolos - strongs 652 
    = ambassador of the gospel, one who is sent forth by 
   the Lord. Usually leaving home to go to another place.
2. Prophet: (greek word prophetes - strongs 4396)
    = one speaking forth a divine message from God
    They need to be in continuous communication with God to 
    get the message from God. In the church those who spend  
    time with the Lord will have a word from God even though 
    they may not be prophets.
3. Evangalists: (greek word euaggelistes - strongs 2099)
    = heralds of salvation who are not apostles. Basically all 
    of  us are evangalists as we take the message of salvation        into our families, workplaces and anywhere else we go.
4. Pastors: (greek word poiman - strongs 4166)
    = A shepherd who tends and guides the Lord's flock. 
5. Teacher: One who explains or brings God's truth.

In 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Paul gives Timothy a warning about the last days: (NKJV)
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Difficult times will come in the last days. There will be a fake godliness and behind the fake godliness will be lots of ungodliness that will grieve God. These people will miss out on the power that could bring them to true godliness. Satan is doing all he can to destroy and tear down the Church. 

Monday, 23 April 2018

The Church Part 5

20 April, 2018

In the previous week, the discussion focused on the spiritual gifts.

In this last session, the question was What is the glory of the church? 

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so
until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, who the Lord
will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.

This letter to the church of Thessalonians contains a strong message about the end times.
In chapter 2, a lawless one is described as rising in power and saying that he is God.
This will happen first before the day of the Lord's coming and all the believers will still be on earth and should be alert, knowing this lawless one or  'Antichrist' ( 1 John 4:3) will make all these claims.

After the 3.5 years of the lawless one claiming he is God and tried to fool everyone,
Jesus will overthrow him and destroy him (verse 8) with the brightness of His coming (the rapture)

The first time Jesus returns in the clouds is the rapture.
Matthew 24:30, Luke 17:34, 1 Corinthians 15:52,
Jesus will send angels to gather His people. 1 will be taken and the other left.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-17
17. ... we who are still alive ... will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet
the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

After the rapture the Holy Spirit will be taken away and there will be a 3.5 year period of tribulation and persecution before the second coming and final judgement of Satan. Note that it will be almost impossible for anyone to turn to the Lord during the persecution period because its the Holy Spirit who convicts us and births something of the spirit in us, but the Holy Spirit won't be present.

The glory of the church is that we are the bride that Jesus is coming back for. We will be taken up
to dwell with the Lord and don't need to endure the period of tribulation.

We should seek the presence of God in our lives.

As a church we must:

1. have a biblical foundation (God's Word). Keep checking that what we are hearing aligns with the Word of God.
2. preach the message of redemption (born of water and of spirit)
3. lift up Christ. Be careful not to lift up ministries, pastors, leaders or other things more than Christ.

What can we do to help the church which is the body of Christ?

1. Be regular in our attendance. Hebrews 10:25
    CH U R CH    You are present in the center of  church 😃
2. Be ready to be used by God. Make ourselves available.
3. Be reverent in our attention. Romans 12:2 be transformed by the renewing of your mind
4. Be Godly in conduct. God wants to see His character reflected in us. Resist the devil and he will flee from us (James 4:7)

Titus 2:11-12 (NIV) For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'NO' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled upright and godly lives in this present age...

5. As a church, strive to reach sinners with the gospel.