Speaking the Gospel
John 14:6 I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

                                                                              Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

A good place to start this topic would be the reading of Ephesians 4:1–6 
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all. ( maintaining the unity of the Spirit: is the subject matter) 

In reading the above verses are we able to identify what main point Paul is bringing to our attention as to what unity is? 
The understanding of that question is very, very important,  Why?  How can one have unity if one does not have a clear understanding of what true unity of the Spirit really is? These verses also reveal another important fact that help us in understanding how to (maintain this unity), in order for anyone to live the Christian life one must first be called, in other words Christ must be in us. It is only with Christ living in us that we are able to grow in true lowliness, meekness, and patience, and proper unity. It is however unfortunate that in teaching about unity the most popular understanding and explanation given today, as to the kind of unity spoken of in these verses, is one that focuses more on the physical and psychological aspect of unity between church members and differing church organizations, rather than on the spiritual aspect of unity.  Unity most of the time is being understood in terms of human wisdom rather than Godly wisdom. Paul brings this to light when he says in, 
1 Corinthians 2:1-16 1 And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. 2 For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 3 I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. 4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 6 We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. 7 No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. 8 None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” the things God has prepared for those who love him 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit.  
The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. (without God giving us a spirit of understanding we would not be able to search the deep things of God)11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. 13 This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words. 14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 15 The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, 16 for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.  What we just read here is that, without a direct revelation from God, we cannot understand the things of God, and unity of the Spirit is from God.  What Paul wants us to understand is that unless God's (mind) combines with our human (mind), man cannot or will not be able to understand the things of God from a Godly perspective. But when God gives us His Spirit, (mind) we begin to comprehend what He is doing and why He is doing it.

One of the biggest threats currently taking place towards true Christian faith as it relates to our understanding of what the unity of Spirit  should look like is coming from what is being called the emergent church, or seeker sensitive churches. 
Where the danger lies is with the kind of philosophy that is motivating the emergent church, and sadly many others, is that of applying a philosophical understanding to these verses rather than spiritual,  to do so is a direct violation of the word of God,  also it  results in denying the very power of Christ’s work in us and  focuses the attention on our own efforts, as if we with out Christ have power to effect change in our life, then we would have something to boast about.(Paul called this human wisdom)  
When taking a closer look at the emergent church philosophy, it is really more about experience over reason, subjectivity over objectivity, outward over inward and feelings over truth, spirituality over religion. (the danger here is that spirituality teaches to love God and become another God, whereas religion teaches to fear God and obey God), the first is man’s teaching, the second is a Godly teaching, and because experience is valued more highly than reason, truth than becomes something that is relative, it is these kinds of views that destroys the very standard that the Word of God contains. as to absolute truth, resulting in the word of God becoming ineffective in a person’s life. If we don't allow the Bible which is the word of God to be our source for absolute truth, but instead allow our personal experience or opinion to define and interpret what truth actually is, this renders the saving faith we are to have in Jesus Christ meaningless.
 Another area where the emergent church movement has become confused in understanding true unity is its focus on ecumenism, (Which is the promoting of unity among various Christian Churches) On the surface this kind of unity looks very godly, but is this so called unity among people coming from different religious and ethnic backgrounds and diversity an expression of corporate worship based on a biblical standard?  Make no mistake, to be ecumenical means that compromise is taking place, with the end result leading to a watering down of Scripture in favor of not offending anyone. Individuals who are not aware that this approach is in direct opposition to God’s word as we read in Revelation 2:14-17, will fall prey to this teaching. 
We read in Rev 2:14-17 14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality. 15 Likewise, you also have those who hold to the teaching of the Nicolaitans. 16 Repent therefore! Otherwise, I will soon come to you and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. 17 Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches? To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it. 
Let me ask you, do not these verses teach that the Church is being warned against tolerating those who teach false doctrine, and not to have fellowship with them? should we in the spirit of forbearing one another in love put aside false teachings in the body of Christ, for the sake of unity in the church?) 
That is what is really behind the current teachings within the emergent church movement. Did Christ ever walk contrary to His Fathers will? Did Christ ever teach something different from His Father? The answer to these questions is No. Would you agree that the present divisions into separate denominations today is a direct  result of unfaithfulness toward God as expressed in beliefs, teachings, and living, on the part of both individuals within the body and the leadership that go contrary to the Word of God? 
How then can we in the body of Christ maintain the unity of the Spirit? Is Christ divided? Do we not read in the word of God that. 

1 There is one God and Father of all. There are not many gods, and no trinity. Since there is one God, there is also only one true way to worship Him, and live our life's.
2 There is one Lord. Which is Christ. So the one true religion cannot be subdivided.  There is only one way to be saved, "I am the way the truth and the life" 
3 There is one Body, (The body is made up of believers)” all those who will believe in Christ by the doctrine of the apostles.” This would be someone who believes in Christ according to what His Apostles taught. The body is indivisible. There is one body, not two or two-thousand, one and only one body. We must not make the mistake by confusing the many churches with the one body. 
4 There is one Spirit. "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God"  Since there are Church’s for example, that don’t teach proper Biblical doctrine, would it not be fair to say that anyone who holds firmly to the dogmas and sacramental of that church, has excluded themselves from being one in spirit, no matter how well they may get along with each other.
5 There is one Baptism.  In the name of Christ, not in the name of father, son and holy spirit, and only by  total immersion, not sprinkling, or pouring water on head.  The symbol of our “outward sign” of accepting Jesus as our savior  
6 There is one Hope. Hope in Scripture is not the world's definition of "I hope so," Hope is defined as a desire for some future good with the expectation of obtaining it. Hope is always an expectation of something good as well as descriptive of something for which we must wait for; "Thy Kingdom Come"  Hope is a desire based on a promise of God. Our hope is eternal life.
7 There is one Faith. There is only one standard of truth. For example. The word of God tells us to "take and eat, take and drink"  he does not say take "dip and eat", so we see that there is only one way we are to take of the lords supper, any other way is not according to Gods word, so one would not be walking in unity with Christ.

Faith is the conviction that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things as well as the giver of eternal salvation through Christ. Our faith as it relates to Christ represents a conviction that Jesus is the Messiah, through whom we obtain salvation and entrance into the Kingdom of God, Eternal salvation comes only through belief in Jesus Christ and no other way. Galatians 1:6-8, 6“I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that confusing you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” There is only one gospel. 
The Word of God forever defines “the gospel” in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 1“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

 You may be asking yourself at this time, do not a lot of Church’s believe that Jesus died, was buried and resurrected? Yes, they most certainly do. But the truth is that in spite of that very fact the reason why they are not walking in the unity of the Spirit and are, “cursed” as the Bible teaches, is because they have added to the gospel, and by doing so they are teaching, another gospel. 
Some church’s require the keeping of “certain sacraments” to get saved. This heresy is known as “sacramental salvation.” One of the teachings (added to the gospel) that fall’s into this category is the false teaching that you have to be water baptized to be saved, this is called “baptismal regeneration.” Biblically, water baptism is simply a sign of one's profession of faith, or you could say,water baptism is the outward testimony of the believer's inward faith. You become a new creation; some call it (born-again) by the Spirit of God in response to your faith in the Word of God (the gospel). The gospel is the good news that Jesus DIED, was BURIED and RESURRECTED for our sins. Some do not believe in a resurrection, but rather believe one goes to heaven upon death,(immortality of the soul)  but God's word does not teach that. Only our Creator is immortal. We are dust, and that is where we return at death. Read first three chapters of Genesis.
The many teachings of the emergent movement is causing individuals to doubt the authenticity and inspiration of the scriptures. (Taking away our need for Faith or Hope.) The emergent movement is a tool that Satan is using in preventing people from accepting the fact that there is a truth that can be determined from the word of God. If Satan can convince us that we cannot identify truth, then no one can label anything as sin. If we cannot determine sin, then Satan has accomplished his purpose. (there is no need for the sacrifice of Christ ). 
How has Satan gone about to do this? He has convinced man that “the faith” (Jude 3) cannot be determined. He has convinced people to accept that we cannot agree on what the Bible teaches, and therefore the many differing churches are all just pursuing their own understanding of the Bible, and no one ought to question the other, or “pass judgment.” Satan wants men to just accept sincerity without any emphasis upon doctrine. (thus eliminating the need of the one Body.) Thus we hear such phrases as “there are many different roads to salvation and that we are all traveling a different road, and they all head to the same place.” (eliminating the existence of one God and Father). Let’s just take a look at the following passages and see if indeed sincerity without regard for doctrine will suffice. Matt. 7:13-14 “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads unto life, and few there be that find it.”

So ask and answer for yourself. If it doesn’t matter which ‘way’ you live your life, as long as you are sincere, why bother trying to “find” the narrow way? Does not this verse suggest that there really is only one truth  and that it does matter what one believes and practices as to their faith?
There is a reason why Paul wrote to Titus concerning false teachers, telling him in Titus. 1:11-16, Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.” Paul went on to tell Titus how to deal with false teachers. “Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.” Why would Paul need to bring this point up if it did not matter what we believed?
How can one turn from the truth if one can’t define what truth is? Paul also warned Timothy in 2 Tim. 4:1-3, 1I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. 3For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine. What I read from the above verses is that there is a unity of Spirit that we are to hold on to. 
What about people’s attitude toward ‘sound doctrine’ today? It seems that many don’t want to hear ‘sound doctrine’ preached? What about ‘sound doctrine’ on abortion, homosexuality, gambling, drinking, etc.? Does the Bible contradict itself on these matters? Are there those today who want a preacher who will not condemn their ungodly lifestyles for the sake of unity in a church? Are there also preachers who are afraid to preach ‘sound doctrine’ on these matters for fear of loss of employment? The passages read above also clearly teach that truth can be known, therefore if it can be known, then it can be understood, and if it can be understood, it can be agreed upon! That is true unity of Spirit.
False teachers existed in Jesus day, they existed in the apostles day, and they exist today. That is why doctrine matters! It is why we must teach only what Jesus commanded to be taught in order for sins to be forgiven. This is what it is to be in the unity of the spirit.
 1 Timothy 2:5, 6."For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all"  II Tim. 4:3-4."I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 
At issue is the true nature of Christian unity. Are we unified by God’s work of grace that converted us, giving us the unity of the Spirit with all true Christians, or are we unified only organizationally with the corporate “vision of worship”?  
Those who hold the teachings of the emergent church have labeled those who resist the movement away from gospel preaching and Bible teaching as “divisive” and are the ones declared to be judgmental and selfish “Pharisees” and are told that they should be more loving toward others. So it is those who hold on to the truth that are the ones considered “troublemakers”. But the truth is that the word of God tells us very clearly that “The Devil is walking around like a roaring lion, seeking those whom he may devour” and calls the false teachers wolves.
In the world there are many faiths because people want to believe something different from the one faith that was delivered to the saints once and for all (Jude 3). Outside the one faith, division prevails. The unity of the Spirit exists only among those who have the one faith of the one Lord, those who have been baptized by the one Spirit into the one body, the body of .   We are to "Preach the Gospel to every creature"  Not adapt the Gospel to every century.

"There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all"    Christ tells us what true unity is like in John 17:11"Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we  are"    
Also see article.  You Will Be Hated for Speaking the Gospel.

May you all grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

HomeArmor of God Is anyone thirsty?Walking in unityRooted in TruthGrow in understanding

It is rather unfortunate that those who teach about Walking in Unity focus more on the physical and psychological aspect of unity between church members and differing church organizations, rather, than on the spiritual aspect of unity. The term “Unity” most of the time seems to be understood or spoken of in terms of human wisdom rather than Godly wisdom. But in order for anyone to live and walk in unity, Christ must first be in us. It is only with Christ living in us that we are able to grow in true understanding of what Godly unity is.  How can one have unity if one does not have a clear understanding of what true unity of the Spirit really is? 

The doctrine of judgment is one of the basic teachings in Christianity. 

Be not deceived there is a dangerous teaching that focuses exclusively on God's love and mercy and ignores his justice and wrath. This teaching is called Universalism, it is the false belief that ultimately all people will be saved (reconciled to God) through the atonement of Jesus, regardless of what they believe and regardless of whether or not they accept Jesus Christ. This belief violates an essential doctrine of the Christian faith, namely that salvation is only obtained by faith in Jesus Christ.
The main argument for universalism is that a good and loving God would in no way condemn anyone, even those who willfully reject Christ. Universalists hold to the idea that those rejecting Jesus will receive the same benefits (Salvation) as those who accept Him. However when we read Mt. 7:13-15: we read a totally different teaching then what universalist teach. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.” Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus is not saying all will make it, not even many. He said at another time making it even clearer “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able” Some Universalists believe that after death, people will be resurrected and have another opportunity (second chance, or first chance) to choose God. Universalism which is also called The Gospel of Inclusion,” presupposes that salvation can be given to a person who has not heard the gospel or of Jesus Christ. Those who hold this view teach that God grants salvation to those who are sincere in their religious beliefs, no matter how false those beliefs are.  
Whenever we are confronted with a teaching from the word of God that just does not seem right we must ask ourselves where is this teaching coming from, is it coming from an honest misunderstanding from the person teaching it, or is it coming from a person who is really a deceitful worker?
2 Corinthians 11:15 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. Deception, of any kind, is a form of mind control, it goes by the name of witchcraft, it is meant to influence people, so as to fall under their spell and false leadership by making them think they need what they are teaching. We are warned of this in
Colossians 2:8-10 “Beware lest any man spoil (ruin) you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. 10And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.
One of the things I see happening in the spiritual life of many professing Christians, is the lack of a clear understanding as to the reality of what is taking place in the spiritual world and not truly understanding the influence that the spiritual world really has on us. Isaiah 14:12-15 brings this reality to light.
Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 
14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. 
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” 
As you read those verses did you see the five “I”‘s of Lucifer? Some time in eternity past, Lucifer, who is now called Satan, appointed himself to be “like the most High.” This same attitude is exactly what these self-appointed ministers of today do as they seek to wield their manipulation over the people just as Lucifer did. If Lucifer was able to succeed in influencing a third of the angels in Heaven to join him in rebelling against God (Revelation 12:7-12), can we think for a second that he would stop there? No! Satan wants it all. One way that satan is at work in the lives of mankind is through the act of deception.
The teaching of universalism is the current attitude held in many churches that we should not be judgmental of any religion, idea, or person. By refusing to call anything right or wrong, Universalists not only cancel the need for Christ's redeeming sacrifice, but also ignore the consequences of un-repented sin. 
These views run counter to the Bible. Jesus Christ taught that those who reject him as Savior will not be given salvation. Please read and judge for yourself what the word of God instructs concerning this matter.                 Matthew 10:28, Matthew 23:33, Matthew 25:46, John 3:3

May you grow in the Grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

This teaching called Universalism
Also on this page
Walking in Unity of the Spirit

In Matthew 26:56 we read "All the disciples forsook him and fled." 

Where do we stand? How well do we understand the word of God? How much of God’s word do we believe? What is it that would cause us to forsake God? Can we discern a truth from a lie? Does it really matter?  
For anyone of us who desires to live by the word of God in a world that is so willingly walking in the other direction will soon find that we may have to stand alone. Standing alone in defense of God’s word may be a hard place for some to be in, will the pressure of having to stand alone cause you to follow the crowed? In Matthew 26:56 we read that the disciples walked away from Christ, my understanding for them doing that was because of their lack of understanding as to who this man, Jesus they were following really was. They were not able to connect Jesus with the prophesied coming messiah as one that was going to die on a cross for them. In effect, they were walking the way of the crowed of their day. But ounce they came to understand the truth they were willing to go against the crowed and die themselves for that truth. They came to find out very quickly that all who are determined to obey God, rather than man were going to travel alone, and maybe die. We can be encouraged by what Matthew 24:13 tells us. "He who stands firm to the end will be saved." The truth has never been in fashion since man first acted upon the lie that was given in the Garden of Eden.  
We read in Ephesians 3:20 “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us.” This verse teaches us two very important truths. The first one is that God can do more than seems possible for us to even imagine. 
And secondly, what God will do in our lives is very much dependent on the power at work within us. What is that power? It is the power of His word.  
If we have come to see the word of God as the world sees it, as just a book written by humans and containing the same degree of authority and wisdom as any other self-help book, than it will  of course have very little effect on our lives. The sad thing is that there are so called men of God who teach from the word of God as if it was a self-help book and are denying the power of God to work in the lives of their listeners. In all of my own personal study of God’s word I have never yet come across a scripture where Jesus mentions anything about doing what is easy. 
What  than is the root cause in our lives that prevents us from standing alone with God? Is it fear? lack of understanding? Pride? Is it not true that it is easy for someone to ride the tide of public opinion, than to follow the Spirit of God, and suffer the pain of a betrayed friendship, the loss of loved ones, or the heartache of being misunderstood? After all our loving God could not possible be asking you to do that, would He? So let me ask, should we stand with the crowd, or should we if need be stand alone with God?
What does it mean to "stand alone"? Could it not have the meaning of upholding righteousness for the glory of God? As a believer, it is likely that a time will come during our life that we will be challenged to stand alone, to be in a situation that forces us to decide if we will obey God or “follow the crowd.” Our decision will either glorify God or give the enemies of God an opportunity to scorn Him. 
The life of Daniel provides an outstanding example of one who was willing to stand alone. When faced with the choice to either forsake his allegiance to the Lord or be thrown into a lions’ den, he chose to face the lions. Daniel was willing to forfeit his life rather than abandon his convictions, convictions based on truth. and face the lions, but God sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths, and Daniel was not harmed in any way! As a result of Daniel’s willingness to stand alone, to be faithful to God and His ways regardless of the pressures to abandon righteousness, God received praise and honor. God desires both men and women to understand the truths of Scripture and have purposed to uphold them, to obey them, regardless of the cost. When you choose to stand alone, you can greatly influence others and bring glory to God.
Standing alone requires courage. Courage however is not the absence of fear, but rather a decision based on confidence in something or someone greater than the emotion of fear. To stand alone, one must have confidence that obedience to God results in a superior way of life. 
As a result of their confidence, conviction, and courage, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego brought glory to God. When God protected them in the furnace, not a hair of their heads was singed, their clothes were unharmed, and they didn’t even smell like smoke! Daniel 3:27.
To be willing and ready to stand alone we must first know the truth of God’s Word. Truth is our most powerful weapon against evil. The Apostle Paul in Ephesians 6:10–11, 14, 17 encourages us to “Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth And take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” Jesus emphasized the necessity of knowing God’s Word in Matthew 4:4 pointing out that our need for God’s Word is just as critical as our need for physical sustenance. He said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God”   We must know the truth in order to stand alone for truth.     (Read article Armor of God

Psalm 56:9–11, 13 "When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me, In God will I praise his word: in the Lord will I praise his word. In God have I put my trust: I will not be afraid what man can do unto me. … Thou hast delivered my soul from death: wilt not thou deliver my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of the living?”
Are we willing to stand alone for Christ’s sake? Put our trust in God, and walk before Him with courage and f aith?
Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 1:9 words of encouragement for us to focus on concerning difficult things we may have to go through, , “But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead”. When times are confusing and uncertain, we need to as Proverbs 3:5 says "trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding" What we are being taught here is that we cannot depend on our own strength, resources, cleverness, or human institutions. 
If we are to trust in the Lord in this way, we need to know, beyond a shadow of doubt, who God is, and what our relationship to him is. We need to have a clear faith, and to stand firm in that faith. in a world which tells us that there is no absolute truth, no absolute morality, and no absolute good or evil, we need to be quite sure of what we believe and what we stand for.

May you grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Alone with God
    Matthew 4:19   Come,Follow me
If we go our own way are we following Christ?

Every human being is made in the image of God and every person is invested with dignity and worth regardless of ability. Geneses 1-27-28 Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
 But today it seems that appearances and abilities are viewed as the standard as to how a person is judged, and are very quick to judge in a negative way anyone that falls outside the social range of normal. In the eyes of the world a person’s worth is many times determined by what they can accomplish, how much their contributions can improve the wealth of others or business, and how much cost they may add to the bottom line to a company or sociality. These abilities that are judged are not just in physical abilities, but also emotional and psychological. 
 Human sufferings come in many shapes and forms but it comes to everyone, even to the point of a change in life plans. For some in a life changing situation, one may ask. “Why?” Why, would God allow the suffering? Why would God take a person to a place and leave them there? Why would God take away plans, hopes, dreams, and everything that has been worked for? This suffering can become the focal point in one’s life, rather than focusing on God, and anything that absorbs the heart and imagination more than God is nothing but an Idol. An Idol is anything you seek to give you what only God can give. An Idol is a counterfeit god that you make central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. Could it be true that we may spend greater effort trying to change circumstances in our life, than working on changing our perspective? 
 It is interesting to note that during the ministry of Jesus as presented in the word of God, Jesus focused much of His work on the lame, blind, and deaf. We read in both Mark 1:41 and Luke 5:12 of the healing of a leper, this man lived many years with a disease that made him a social outcast. God allows disabilities so that we might need Him more desperately, trust in Him more explicitly, and God knows that people with a disability can be used in the ministry. It may be that God is using them to perform an even greater miracle. Our disability can lead one to experience depression, which leaves the person feeling guilty about anything and everything, and cause doubt towards God, you are not alone, the prophet Isaiah 40:31 addressed this situation clearly “Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.” If we have faith and hope in the Lord Jesus Christ, He will renew us. We may not be healed, but His grace and mercy is sufficient of any situation. Nothing has ever taken God by surprise, Philippians 2: 13 For it is God who works in you to will and to act on behalf of His good pleasure. 
 When Jesus comforted His disciples with these words in John 14:1-3 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe in Me as well. In My Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and welcome you into My presence, so that you also may be where I am. Jesus was not sitting on a Galilean stream on a sunny day, He said these words to them as He stood near the gates of hell. God’s timing is always perfect. It is important to remember that no matter what situation a Christian finds themselves in, they are a minister of and for Christ. Let us all run the race we have been given well, and preach the gospel. The goal set before us is finish line, where we will hear the words for Jesus, Matthew 25:21 21 His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Enter into the joy of your master!’

May you all grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Made in the image of God

God has been pleased to give us the revelation of His mind and will in words. It is therefore necessary that we should understand not merely the meanings of the words themselves, but also the laws which govern their usage and combinations. When applied to words, a figure denotes some form which a word or sentence takes, different from its ordinary and natural form. This is always for giving additional force, more life, intensified feeling, and greater emphasis. Today when a passage of God’s Word is quoted, it is met with the cry of “Oh, that is figurative” implying that its meaning is weakened, or that it has quite a different meaning, or no meaning at all. But the very opposite is the case. The most important point to remember when it comes to the word of God, it is not by fleshly wisdom that the “words the Holy Spirit teaches” are to be understood. The natural man cannot understand the word of God. It is foolishness to him. “The words of the Lord are pure words” therefore it is important that we study every word. Jeremiah 15:16 -17 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.”
The fact is that translators and commentators, as a rule, have entirely ignored the subject. It is however a difficult study for the general reader, and deter many for taking up the subject. It is my hope that this word study will be of benefit to all who desire. One of the figures of speech involves omission, “ellipsis” is the Greek word for “a leaving in”, and “to leave” The figure is thus called because some gap is “left in” the sentence which means that a word or words have been left out or omitted, words which are necessary for the grammar, but not necessary for the sense. Matthew 10:14 we read that the Lord Jesus “gave the loaves to His disciples, and the disciples to the multitude” There is no sense in the latter sentence, which is incomplete, “the disciples to the multitude” because there is no verb. The verb “gave” is omitted by the figure of Ellipsis for some purpose. If we read the last sentence as it stands, it reads as though Jesus gave the disciples to the multitude! This serves to arrest our attention; it is to help us note the figure employed; we learn from this to observe the emphasis; to learn the intended lesson. What is that lesson? We are asked to dwell on the fact that the disciples gave the bread, but only instrumentally, not really. The Lord Jesus Himself was the lone giver of that bread. The sentence is structured in a way that helps us to direct our thoughts on Christ, and not the disciples. Let’s look at one more example, Geneses 39:6 And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favored.” Here it is not at all clear which it was of the two who “knew not ought he had” If we understand it to be Potiphar, it is difficult to see how he only knew the bread he ate: if Joseph, it is difficult to understand how he knew not ought he had. If the “Ellipsis or Omitted word” is rightly supplied, it makes it all clear. “And he (Potiphar) left all that he had in Joseph’s hand: and he (Potiphar) knew not anything save the bread which he was eating, And Joseph was beautiful of figure, and beautiful of appearance.” All difficulty is removed when we remember that “the Egyptians might not eat with the Hebrews, for it was an abomination unto the Egyptians” Geneses 43:32. Everything was committed by Potiphar to Joseph’s care, except that which pertained to the matter of food.
 May we grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

 Figures of Speech in the word of God    # 1.

We continue with looking at figures of speech used in the word of God, there are of course hundreds of different kinds of figures of speech that are used and it would be impossible to cover them all. We started by looking at what is called “Ellipsis” meaning “Omission” the omission of a word or words in a sentence. But where the omitted word or words are to be supplied from the nature of the subject, context, or by repeating them.
 It is the habit for many when doing a bible study to read verses or chapters without the knowledge that these figures of speech exist, and the result is that many do not get the full benefit of the richness of God’s word, and is also the result of taking scripture out of context and falling into error, it is I believe ignorance of them that has been the result of error and false doctrine, even among God’s people. The result of this lack of understanding is that in explaining Gods word they figuratively explain away passages that should be taken literally. It is my hope that through these articles, though some might find to be a dry subject “so will make every effort to keep them as short as possible” will gain a greater value in personal bible study, we are after all looking at God’s word. Also, are we not instructed to teach the whole council of God. Acts 20: 27 “For I did not shrink back from declaring to you the whole will of God.” 
Jeremiah 26:2 "Thus says the Lord, stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak to all the cities of Judah who have come to worship in the Lord’s house all the words that I have commanded you to speak to them. Do not omit a word! 
 Psalm 40:10 “I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth from the great congregation.”
What than is the purpose of a figure of speech? It is to call to our attention some specially designed emphasis, and help us if we so choose to examine the figure and discover the truth that is being emphasized. The use of ellipsis is of three kinds: 
 Absolute: Where the omitted word or words are to be supplied from the nature of the subject alone. 
 Relative: Where the omitted word or words are to be supplied from, and are suggested by the context.
 Repetition: Where the omitted word or words are to be supplied by repeating them from the clause which precedes or follows.
 Within these three groups there are sub-groups, so you can begin to see why not everything will be covered, but hope to highlight just a few points to help you get a better sense of the depth of God’s word.
 In 2 Samuel 24:1 we deal with the Absolute: Where the omitted word or words are to be supplied from the nature of the subject alone. 
 Let’s take a look at 2 Samuel 24:1 “And again the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, "Go, number Israel and Judah." In understanding this verse the word “moved” is the point of focus. We know that “someone” moved, but it is not clear in this verse who did the moving. But we do read in 1 Chronicles 21: 1 “Satan rose up against Israel and incited David to take a census of Israel.” So, it now makes it clear that the word Satan, or the Adversary, is to be supplied. And now we know it should read…” And again, the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and “Satan” moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah” let’s take a look at one more example.
 Proverbs 22:27” if you have nothing to pay, why should one {the creditor} take away your bed from under you?” by suppling the missing words “the creditor” which fits within the context and helps in it’s meaning, we have taken the time when reading the word of God, to pay closer attention to details and get more out of our study. 
 May we grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
Figures of speech #2

In the first two articles, we looked very briefly at a few examples concerning the effects that “omission” of words have in reading and understanding Gods words, as it can affect the sense of the sentence. Before moving on to the next figure of speech, there is one more example to look at that deals with “omission” and that is the use of “sudden-silence” as a figure of speech. The effect of using this sudden-silence creates a sudden breaking off of what is being said, to impress upon the mind of something, wonderful, solemn or awful for words, it is used to bring to our attention what is being said, and to impress upon us its importance. Exodus 32: 31-32 Then Moses returned to the Lord, and said, "Alas, this people has committed a great sin, and they have made a god of gold for themselves. "But now, if You will, forgive their sin—(a break in thought) and if not, please blot me out from Your book which You have written! 
 It seems like Moses was about to promise something on behalf of the people, but did not know what promise to make, or how far he could go in making a promise. 
 Luke 15: 21 The son declared, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’’ This effect can show us two things, the first is, that it seems like he was broken down by grief and could not continue to say what he said in v 19 “Make me like one of your hired servants”. Or second, it shows us that the Father does not wait for the us to have to finish what we want to say, but still bless us. as we read in v 22 -24 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his  Bring the fatted calf and kill it. Let us feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again! He was lost and is found!’ So, they began to celebrate.”

This is something that happens to all of us when we pray, we fumble our words, lose are train of thought, yet our Father still understands what we want to say, or going to say. Psalms 139: 3-4 “You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O Lord, You know it all.” 
Let’s look at one more example. Hosea 9:14 “Give them, O Lord— “what will You give? Hosea is lost for words, so he goes back to his thought in verse 11 and says “Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.”
Sometimes we may feel that it is difficult to talk to our Heavenly Father because we lack the words to express our thoughts. But remember that He is very aware of this human short coming.

Many we grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savor Jesus Christ.

Figures of Speech #3 
It is my hope that this short section below on figures of speech will be of some benefit in  building a deeper foundation of understanding of the word of God. It is also my hope that you will be motivated in doing a more complete study on this topic. You will be richly blessed for your efforts.
May you be  richly blessed by the word of God 

 I write this as a reminder to all followers of Christ, that we must never forget that we are the sheep, and Christ is our shepherd, the only one that we must follow. We must also remember that we have an enemy that is hard at work manipulating circumstances that may and could cause us to wonder away from the flock and abandon the shepherd, so be alert. We need to be very careful that we don’t under estimate the enemy when it comes to deception. Satan is not just half deceived, or in error on just a few teachings, satan is fully deceived, and his goal is to fully deceive others. The challenge for us is that we can lose focus as to where the battle ground is, thus opening the door to false teachings which lead to more false teachings, which leads us future away for Christ. We must never forget that our battle is not against flesh and blood, as we are taught in Ephesians 6:12, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” It may not always seem like we are in a war as we go about our daily activity, but we are at war every day, a spiritual war. Because of this spiritual war no one can take their walk in Christ for granted or become complacent.
God’s word is clear about the effects of deception taking place towards his people, consequently, let us be very careful to compare everything we see and hear concerning God's Word, and not believe everything that is offered by men as truth. We are wise to take the message from the Apostle Peter to heart. 1Peter 5:8. “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Satan is not hard at work trying to deceive unbelievers, he is going after believers. How close to deception are we, if we think that spiritual deception cannot happen to us? Satan is at work to deceive from the very start to remove the seed of truth given to someone.
Just consider how often the New Testament warns against spiritual deception. Romans 7:11 and 16:18, 1 Corinthians 6:1, 1 Corinthians 15:33, Galatians 6:7, Ephesians 5:6, 2 Timothy 3:13, Titus 1:10. These scriptures plus others demonstrate that spiritual deception is real, and no one is immune to its influence. 
To ignore these warnings, to dismiss them, or to minimize their importance in warning any of us today is irresponsible and dangerous, to our faith. How many followers are there that don’t see themselves in a battle because they have not taken 1 Peter 5: 8 to heart? If our loyalty is towards a man, a movement, or a denomination, then we have been putting God second, and giving the enemy a foothold.
What God is looking for is a person “after His own heart” 1 Samuel 13:14, and wholly devoted and loyal to Jesus Christ and the Word of God. It is Christ that died on the cross for us, not a leader of a man made denomination, or movement. 
Matthew 24:4-5 “And Jesus answered and said unto them, take heed that no man deceives you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many” Jesus reference to “take heed” and “deceived many” is not talking about those outside the faith, he is talking to followers. One fact that we need never forget, is that this world is not gospel friendly, and also this world and the things of this world will pass away, but the things of God will last forever.
One lesson the Word of God teaches us who are followers of Christ is very clear, we cannot serve man and God at the same time. Matthew 6:24 “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” The emotion of fear and uncertainty may well be the driving force when one is confronted with the need to confront a situation of whom to serve. Follow Christ and be willing to lose family and friends and life or follow the ways of the world and its false teachings. What action ends up being done may be to compromise, deceiving ourselves in believing we are really serving God. 1 Corinthians 3:18 “Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.” Not only can we be deceived by external influences, we can deceive ourselves. A follower can deceive himself by human wisdom. The word “deceive” means to deceive thoroughly.  
Our enemy satan knows this as well, for he too knows scripture, and so do his agents described as demons, principalities, and powers. We are warned in Luke 21:8 “And he said, take heed that ye be not deceived.” Yes, we can still be followers of Christ and have error in our understanding of portions of God’s word, error and deception or not the same thing. Remember satan’s goal, to move a follower of Christ away from Christ, by deception.
2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition” Some will teach that Christ’s return will happen in a way other than what is written in God's word, and will be believed. Some have claimed that it has already taken place. 
Who are the ones who seek to “deceive”? Scriptures teaches us about false Christ’s, deceitful workers, false prophets, false brethren, deceivers, wolves, false shepherds, false teachers. We as followers of Christ will come into contact with any one of these deceivers. So be alert. One tactic that the enemy will use to get one to wonder from the flock, is to mix a little truth and a little lie together and presented it as the full truth of God, hoping someone will take the bait.
In Matthew 7:22, Jesus says that “Many will say to Me in that day, Lord! Lord, was it not in Your name that we prophesy, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name do many wonderful works? Then I will say to them, I never knew you. Depart from Me, workers of iniquity." These deceivers will think and say that they are doing God’s work, and some who follow Christ will be convinced their work is true and from God and will become followers of these deceivers. God’s word clearly states that some followers will abandon the faith in later times; giving heed to these deceiving spirits and teachings of devils. 1Timothy 4:1.
The apostle Peter warns of the same: 2 Peter 2:1-2 “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in destructive, untrue teachings, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their destructive ways; by reason of whom the way of truth will be defamed." 
Ephesians 5:6 “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”
1John 3:7 “Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.”
God says “Let no man” Do we understand what these words mean, these are words of instruction, they teach us that there is an alternative outcome to being deceived and is conditional, the outcome is dependent upon what you do or permit to be done, it is an action based on your free will or the omission of action by your will that will be the cause for you to be deceived. When we were called, God did not take away our free will. Lucifer had free will, he chose to rebel against God, now is he after followers to use their gift of free will to change sides.  
Deception will come at us in many forms, in many ways and for many purposes. But, one of the ways is through men who wear sheep’s clothing but are the hidden wolves’ underneath. Matthew 7:15. So be alert.
God would not be warning his followers not to be deceived, if it were not possible. What we as followers must realize is that we are in a spiritual warfare with an eventual eternal outcome. 
Rev 2:7 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.”
Rev 2:11 “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.”
Rev 2:26 “And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:”
Rev 3:5 “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”
Rev 3:12 “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
Rev 3:21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.:”

                                                     May we grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Be on the Alert

This writing comes on the heals of my past post on “Debating, (in which opposing arguments are put forward) where we came to understand by Gods word that the act of debating (believer v unbeliever) things about Gods word does not and will not convict someone of the truth of His word, because, their worldly wisdom will not appear to be darkness in their minds but light. Romans 8:6 “For to be carnally minded is death; (without God) but to be spiritually minded is life and peace”. (eternal life) It is only by and with God’s gift of His spirit that one can learn about truth and walk in that truth. Those who do not have God’s spirit can not see that there is a purpose and plan that God the Father is working out, and Jesus birth and sacrifice is part of that plan. Those who have been called are given His spirit of understanding, so they may know the work that is being accomplished, by God the Father through Jesus. And just like back then, so to today, many do not really know who Jesus is. Matthew 16:13-14 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, “Whom do men say that I the son of God am? And they said, some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets” He then asked the disciples. “But whom do you say I am? Simon Peter answered, you are the Christ, the son of the living God.” It is only by the spirit of God that we come to understand who Jesus is. So, let God’s spirit be our teacher. Please compare. Luke 1:35/ John 6:27. Luke 2:11/Psalm 90:2, -- Matthew 4:1-25/ James 1:13-14, --Hebrews 4:15/Matthew 5:48—Philippians2:9/Psalm 24:1—1 John 1.1/1Timothy 6:16—Matthew24:36/1 John3:20—Acts 2:23/1 Timothy 6:16—Acts2:24/Acts 2:24—Acts 2:33/Psalm 103:19—Acts 1:11/Psalm 139:7-16
1Corinthians 2:10-14 “But God has revealed them to us by His spirit, (referring to verse nine, “The things which God has prepared for those who love him”.) for the spirit (Gods spirit not mans) searches all things even the deep things of God. (by studying of his word and prayer) For who among men understand the things of man except by the spirit of man which is in him? In the same way also, the things of God no one understands except by the spirit of God. (trying to understand god’s holy character with human reasoning will not work ) Now we (followers of Christ) have not received the spirit of the world, but the spirit of God, (we have a different way of thinking and seeing the world we live in) so that we might know the things graciously given to us by God; which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, (theologians like Augustine, Aquinas, Pelagius). but in words taught by the holy spirit in order to communicate spiritual things by spiritual means. (followers of Christ speak a different language) But the natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, (they don’t take God word seriously) and he cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned” (blind in understanding Gods perspective of right and wrong, because they do not have His spirit to teach them) 
Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (You can’t fool God he knows our intent)  
Hosea 14: 9 “whoever is wise, (let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them” (A wise and discerning person knows that the way of the Lord are right, and lives by them)
In Ephesians 4:17-19 Paul speaks about people who are without Christ, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them (a willing ignorance). With out Christ in one’s life you can’t have spiritual wisdom, with out this wisdom one will be susceptible to any spiritual deception.
 We read in 2 Peter3:3-5 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, where is the promise of His coming? (they have heard the word of God) For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. (they use human reasoning and measure time from a human perspective, not Gods. (2 Peter 2:8 a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like a day) For this they are willingly ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water.” (Peter is referring to the genesis account of creation, they know the truth but scoff at the truth, because they consider themselves to be wise) 
Hosea 4:6 teaches “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” the reason for this lack of knowledge is the people actively rejected it, this lack of knowledge was not mere ignorance, but active sin against God, Hosea 4:1-2. Yes spiritual ignorance is a serious matter. This ignorance unfortunately is also true of those who claim to be Christians today.
So, the end of the matter is this 1 Corinthians 2:14 the person without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit.

                                                       May we grow in the grace and understanding of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  

By the spirit only