Thursday, May 21, 2009

THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 4



Let's look at John 3:4 looking at the doctrine of being "born again".

John 3:4
Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

Here we see the spiritual blindness of Nicodemus, a supposedly spiritual leader of the people.

The best he can think spiritually is consider we go back into our mother's womb a second time?

God here in this verse is showing how spiritually blind one is unless they are born again!

Here is the state - the existence of anyone who has not yet been born again - they are spiritually blind!

They can be religious, they can be religious leaders, they can be sincere; but without being born again they are sincerely, religiously blind:

1 Corinthians 2:14
But the natural man (or woman; natural man= one who has not yet been born again) receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (judged)

This verse teaches us that one who has not yet been born again cannot know spiritual things ("Neither CAN he know them").

This is the case of Nicodemus and ALL who have not yet been born again. Nicodemus being called by Jesus "A master of Israel" (THE teacher - a religous leader) (John 3:10) was taught of the new birth in the Old Testament (before Jesus came):

Ezekiel 36:25
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.

Ezekiel 36:26
A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Ezekiel 36:27
And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.

The water here is the water of the Word - which we will look at more in John 3:5.

When one is born again - the WORD of God - the Bible becomes their spiritual food - not religion and rituals. Jeremiah- a prophet of the Old Testament who was born again said:

Jeremiah 15:16
Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

What is the Word of God mean to you?

To me?

I would like to make a testimony of God's work in my life: not to praise me, but to praise Him - for I had nothing to do with it - I was only a receiver of God's grace!

As a Roman Catholic for the first 23 years of my life I was religious, I performed the rituals of Roman Catholicism; but I never read the Bible, nor did I ever have ANY concern for the Bible.

I just went through my false religion of Roman Catholicism. But I praise God that in 1983 - God took me to the Bible and converted me to Himself (born again). Since then my WHOLE relationship with God is based on the BIBLE ALONE!

Praise Him! Praise Him!

How about you?

Have you been born again?

Jesus said: "Ye must be born again" (John 3:7).

Here's a promise from God:

Deuteronomy 4:29
But if from thence (right now) thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

God is absolutely sovereign in salvation; and God will never turn away anyone who desires salvation through Christ. Jesus said:

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

By Craig Miklosik

THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 3



This is the third in an eight part study titled: 'the born again experience'.
Let's do a quick review of this passage: A religious leader of Jesus' time named Nicodemus is talking to Jesus. Jesus now speaks in John 3:3,

John 3:3
Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

What does it mean to be born again?

Born again can be translated "born from above". To be born again means to be born from above spiritually. All mankind has been born once, but only Christians are born again, or born from above.

Being born again is not something that we decide to you, nor is it anything that any mere person can give you. Being born again comes directly from God. Speaking of those who have been born again we are told:

John 1:13
Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This verse teaches us that we are not born again of blood: by our parents; nor of the will of the flesh: not according to our "free will", decision or choice; nor of the will of man: someone didn't bestow it upon you; "but of God".

Christians are born again.........OF GOD!

The bible says: "John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven." (John 3:27).

God sends His Spirit to His people, and through His Word they are "born again" - born of God's Spirit: they by the Spirit and through the gospel (the good news about Christ) are born again and look to Christ alone for all their salvation!

Jesus teaches of the work of the Holy Spirit in the experience in being born again, or born from above:

John 16:13
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 16:14
He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Jesus tells us when we are born again that the Spirit will "glorify me" (Jesus). When one is born again, they will look to Christ for salvation!

1 Peter 1:23
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

God takes His incorruptible (non perishing) Word, and accompanied by His Spirit, sinners are born again and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for ALL of salvation!

Have you been born again?

Have I?

When one is born again, they know that the Bible is the Word of God and Jesus is the Saviour sent from God. We will for a few more studies continue to study this doctrine of being born again.

Or text today ends saying if we are not born again, we cannot see the kingdom of God.

What is the kingdom of God?

God plainly tells us:

Romans 14:17
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (it is not what you do or don't do); but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

The kingdom of God is when one is born again by the Spirit, they realize they can now have fellowship with God through His Word and brethren by Jesus Christ!

By Craig Miklosik

THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 2



Let's look at John 3:2

John 3:2
The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

Nicodemus, a teacher himself of the Jews, came to Jesus by night. Many believe he came to Jesus by night so he would not been seen by the religious leaders of that day; for the religious leaders of that day do not believe in Christ.

Nicodemus calls Jesus a Rabbi - which means teacher, even though Jesus never went through the formal training of the Pharisees as Nicodemus did. Nicodemus admits Jesus must be from God because of the miracles Jesus did- physical miracles of healing.

These healings were done to testify that Jesus was not only come from God, but that He was the Messiah - the Savior. Those of us who believe can read the scriptures and believe the testimony of the only Savior the world will ever know - the Lord Jesus:

1 John 5:13
These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

1 John 5:20
And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

Those of us who have been "born again" believe this testimony of Jesus. Nicodemus had been yet to been born again. If we find ourselves believing His Word, let us praise Him!

By Craig Miklosik

THE BORN AGAIN EXPERIENCE - PART 1



Today we we start to look at John 3:1-8 - 'the born again experience'. Even though this is only eight verses, it is a very important passage of scripture. May God be pleased to give us understanding as we study this passage.

Since this is so important a doctrine (teaching), I would like to expose (reveal) what religion teaches about being "born again" before the Lord Himself in this passage will tell us what being born again is. Roman Catholicism says that when you are baptized as an infant, you are born again in that baptism washes away "original sin" (sin we inherited from Adam); you are then born again and are clean from original sin, and then you must follow the sacraments of the Roman Catholic system to have your sins removed to get into heaven.

NONE OF THIS IS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE

Then some "protestant religions" will tell you that when you are baptized as an infant, you are "born again" and saved for heaven by your baptism (Martin Luther taught this heresy). Some say when you are baptized professing Christ as an adult you are "born again" through the baptism experience. Some will say when you "accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior" you are then "born again".

NONE OF THIS IS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE.

All of these "experiences" in religion I have mentioned as being the "born again" experience is salvation by works - salvation conditioned (depended upon) something you do. Hopefully in our studies, we have all learned that no one can be saved by works. Salvation can only be found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.

The born again experience we will see from the scriptures is a work of God, not a work we do!

I bring this up before we begin our short study because Jesus said in our study: "Except a man (or woman) be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

Let's begin our study.

John 3:1
There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

The Jews were the people whom God was pleased to reveal Himself through in the first century. God chose the Jews during this time when Jesus walked the earth to be the group through whom God's Word would come and through whom the Lord Jesus would come - through the earthly lineage as a man - a Jew.

Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews at that time - a "Pharisee". The Pharisees were Jews who were very religious and were given the Word of God whereby one could be taught to worship God. So Nicodemus was a religious leader of the Jews. He should have known the scriptures of the Old Testament; but as we will see in our study he was spiritually blind, and that he did not understand what it meant to be born again.

Praise God, Jesus, in our study will show us in His Word what it really means to be born again!

By Craig Miklosik

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION - PART 4



2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Let's take a close look at this verse in the final part of our study on 'the ministry of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For He (the Father) hath made Him (Jesus) sin for us (not a sinner - but a sin sacrifice for believer's), who knew no sin (Jesus never sinned - a perfect sacrifice); that we (Christians) might be made the righteousness of God (declared to be not guily of our sins; holy, just) in Him (in Christ).

God has a people. In the Bible they have many names:

"My people" (2 Chronicles 7:14)

"My sheep" (John 10:27)

"God's elect" (Titus 1:1)

"My church" (Matthew 16:18)

God charged (imputed) their sins to Christ (our text): "Hath made him to be sin for us."

Jesus was legally charged by the Father as the elect's sin bearer. Jesus was only charged with His people's sins legally - He never became a sinner Himself.

The Bible says of Christ, that he was : "Separate from sinners", (Hebrews 7:26)

and that he...

"Offered himself without spot to God". (Hebrews 9:14).

The Father charged - imputed His church's sins to Christ. The doctrine of imputation is rarely taught today because we live in a day of great apostacy (departure) from the truth about Christ.

Christ's perfect life and atoning death satisfied the justice of God on behalf of His people: concerning the church of God (not that building on the corner, but His people) it is said of Christ:

Acts 20:28
...the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

In Christ's perfect life, and in His atoning (sacrificial death), He secured, purchased, the salvation of His people!

When one is born again of the Spirit - they look to Christ alone for ALL of salvation.

As their sins have been charged (imputed) to Christ, Christ's righteousness is charged (imputed) to them.

Christ's righteousness is His perfect life and atoning death imputed/charged to the Christian.

God does not charge His people with their sins for they have been charged to Christ!

And Christ's righteousness (perfect satisfaction to God's law and justice) has been charged to them!

This is the great "transaction" described in our text - the wonderful doctrine of IMPUTATION!

If you find yourself beliving in Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation: it is because:

1) God chose you to salvation,

2) He sanctified you (set you apart for Himself) by the Holy Spirit,

3) and through the Holy Spirit caused you to believe on Christ by

4) calling you through the gospel - 'the ministry of reconciliation': These truths are declared wonderfully in God's testimony.

2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

2 Thessalonians 2:14
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our whole text (2 Corinthians 5:17-21) speaks of those who God has reconciled and called to serve as a representative for Christ with this gospel.

Does this include you?

Christ's promise to His people:

Matthew 11:28
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, (convicted of your sins and desiring to look to Christ for ALL of salvation), and I (Jesus Christ) will give you rest.

By Craig Miklosik

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION - PART 3



In the third part of our study titled: 'The ministry of reconciliation' we will look at 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

"To wit (that is to say) that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them;"

God was in Christ: Jesus IS the God-man, THE unique person in history:

1 Timothy 3:16
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest (revealed) in the flesh...

Jesus Himself said: "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9). God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself: God is already reconciled to His people through Christ's coming, living, dying, and His resurrection.

If you find yourself "saved" (born again, a Christian): you just found out about it in this life, but Christ saved His people living today before they were born: at the cross!

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath
through him.

Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

And in the mind and purpose of God we were saved before the world began:

2 Timothy 1:9
Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus (in Christ - saved....when) before the world began,

The "world" that our text speaks of is not the WHOLE world - the world He speaks of is His people: "not imputing (charging) their trespasses (sins) unto them."

God only sees two types of people in the world:

1) Those who our text speaks of: "not imputing their trespasses unto them" (those who are in Christ);

Romans 4:7
Blessed are they whose iniquities (sins)
are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

Romans 4:8
Blessed is the man (or woman) to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

and

2) Those who are not in Christ who will be charged with their sins.

Christians are not charged with their sins for they were charged (imputed) to Christ (which we will cover in verse 21 in our final study on this topic of 'the ministry of reconciliation').

The rest of our text tells us that those who are in Christ are given a calling: "hath commited unto us the word of reconciliation": which we looked at in the second part of this study - that if we are in Christ we have the gospel to spread!

Because of this our text closes: "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God".

Ambassadors: think of it: we represent Jesus Christ!

What an honor!

God uses His people to call the rest of His people who as of yet have not believed the gospel: we are to preach the gospel: the good news about Jesus Christ: "be ye reconciled to God".

God tells us to preach the gospel always!

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

God will do the rest - it's His Word, His gospel, and He will do with it as He pleases:

Isaiah 55:11
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

When the gospel was preached to the Gentiles (non Jews) we read:

Acts 13:48
And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

As God's Ambassadors we are to preach the gospel and as many as were ordained (predestinated) to eternal life will believe.

Who ordained them?

The Sovereign God of the Bible!

If God has revealed Himself to you through His Word (the Bible) and by His Spirit (His Holy Spirit): praise Him that He has given us this 'ministry of reconciliation' - service in the gospel!

By Craig Miklosik

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION - PART 2



In the second part of our study titled: "the ministry of reconciliation", we will look at 2 Corintians 5:18.

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

"And all things are of God", this means that all spiritual truth comes from God. Man apart from God would never know or seek Him:

Psalm 14:2
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

Psalm 14:3
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Jesus said: "For without me ye can do nothing" (John 15:5).

The nothing here means nothing spiritually pleasing to God:

"So then they that are in the flesh (not born again) cannot please God" (Romans 8:8).

This is why Christ had to come:

2 Corinthians 5:18
...Who (God) hath reconciled (to make an atonement/a sacrifice for) us (His people/the elect) to himself by Jesus Christ.

The Bible teaches that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23)

and...

"The wages of sin (our payment for our sins) is death (physical, spiritual, and if we leave this world outside of Christ and not IN CHRIST: eternal damnation) ." (Romans 6:23).

Christ came and lived a perfectly sinless life, which He offered up as a sacrifice/atonement - "reconciliation" for God's elect: those that the Father gave Him.

Jesus praying to His Father said: "That He (Christ) should give eternal life to as many as thou (the Father) hast given him" (John 17:2).

God chose them "in Christ" before the foundation of the world, and Christ came and saved them:

Matthew 1:21
And she (Mary) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people (the elect) from their sins.

The Father gave His elect, His people, the sheep, the church to Christ to save, and Christ saved His people. The Bible says Christ: "was raised (resurrected) again for our justification (to be declared righteous before God which we will study in our text in the third part of our study).(Romans 4:25)

What is this eternal life Christ spoke of?

Jesus tells us:

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they (God's people) might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

To know one is IN CHRIST is to have eternal life.

Do you know that you have this life "in Christ"?

Are you trusting in Christ ALONE for all of salvation?

God has promises for His people:

Deuteronomy 4:29
But if from thence (now!) thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

and...

Isaiah 55:6
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts (those who don't know if they are in Christ and want to be found in Christ): and let him return unto the LORD (seek reconcilment), and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

For those of us "in Christ" our text says God has: "given to us the ministry of reconciliation": the title of our passage. God has given Christians a ministry - a service to perform.

A service of reconciliation - the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified!

Christian service is to tell others about what Christ has done!

Those of us who have been called to this ministry have a greater calling than any politician, president, movie star, whoever is not "in Christ"!

Oh what a calling!

To be called into service by none other than the KING: Jesus Christ!

By Craig Miklosik

THE MINISTRY OF RECONCILIATION - PART 1



The title of our study will be "The ministry of reconciliation". The title means in service to the gospel of Christ which I will explain in some depth in our study.

Let's read our text, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21:

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:18
And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2 Corinthians 5:19
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2 Corinthians 5:20
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2 Corinthians 5:21
For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Today we will look at verse 17:

Ephesians 5:17
"Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new."

This is referring to the "born again" experience.

When one is born again - which is an act of God by His Word given and accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit: the born again sinner will see that up to that point, everything that they had done in their life in regards to God was evil.

It takes the light of the gospel in the hands of the Holy Spirit to reveal to an elect sinner that their works cannot save them or make them right before God, and that Jesus Christ is "The way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6).

Until we are born again (or born from above) we may be religous, we may be sincere, but we have to admit that we did not know that we were "in Christ" (verse 17).

To be in Christ means that through the new birth one comes to see that salvation is conditioned only on Jesus Christ alone!

What He has done for His people in His life, death, and resurrection.

Let's look at some verses to help understand our text: Until we are born again, until we realize we are in Christ and become a new creature (new creation), all we can do is bring to God our dead works which does not profit:

Romans 7:5
For when we were in the flesh (not born again), the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members (ourselves) to bring forth fruit unto death.

Until we come to believe in CHRIST ALONE for ALL our salvation (to know that we are "in Christ") - everything we did until then was dead works, fruit (efforts) unto death - evil.

But there is good news for sinners who look to Christ:

Romans 7:6
But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.

This means that if we find ourselves "in Christ" (quoted in our text) we no longer serve God in dead works, we no longer serve Him in a false religion or false gospel, but by the Holy Spirit.

Our text says if we are "in Christ" all things are new, all old things are passed away.

Does the "all" here mean everything?

No!

A born again sinner is still a sins, we still have to work and pay taxes!

All things new means all things SPIRITUAL are new, for we quit looking to our works or a religion or denomination, and see that to be "in Christ" - to look to Christ alone is salvation!

Are you "In Christ"?

Are you trusting in Jesus Christ + nothing else or no one else for salvation?

If so praise God for we experience being "In Christ" when we come to believe on Him.

But God tells us that His elect were "In Christ" before the world was formed; He is just pleased to reveal it to us in His time:

Ephesians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

(there's our text "in Christ")....but when?........

Ephesians 1:4
According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

All praise and glory to God for He alone is the author of salvation!!!!!

By Craig Miklosik

Monday, May 18, 2009

THE CALL OF GOD - PART 4



In our final part of this study on 'The call of God' we will concentrate on the inward (internal) call for this is the CALL OF GOD which results in the sinner realizing that they are in a state of justification (not guilty, righteous) before God ALL based on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Our text today will be 2 Peter 1:10.

2 Peter 1:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.

Our text is written to God's elect who:

2 Peter 1:1
...them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Our text is written to believers.

"wherefore, give diligence to make your calling and election sure": God is not making a suggestion here; God is giving a command: "give diligence" which means seriously make proof of, make haste to prove..........."your calling and election sure": this is written in legal forensic terms (like in a legal court case).

God is calling one to prove they have been called and elected by God.

What proof does one need that one has been elected?

The Bible teaches that God elected (chose) His people unto salvation.

Do you believe this?

1 Peter 1:2 tells how one is elect:

1 Peter 1:2
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification (to set one apart) of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

One is elect, not by following a religion, or rituals, or creeds; but because God chose them to salvation, Christ purchased their salvation, and the Holy Spirit applies this salvation through hearing the true gospel (THE CALL OF GOD) of salvation conditioned on Christ alone: "unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ".

Do you believe this?

Or do you believe you can come to God and be saved some other way than Christ ALONE?

If one finds oneself believing in Christ ALONE for ALL of their salvation it is because they are among God's elect, and in beliving the true gospel one can make their calling sure. So one can make their calling and electing sure as God commands in our text by looking to Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation!

And here is God's promise to those who do.

2 Peter 1:11
"For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ."

We end this study with God's promise to His people:

Romans 10:13
For whosoever (everyone that) shall call upon the name of the Lord (trust in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation) shall be saved.

By Craig Miklosik

THE CALL OF GOD - PART 3



In our third study on the subject, 'The call of God' we will focus on that internal (inward) call of the gospel accompanied by the Holy Spirit, where one is enabled by God to look to Christ ALONE for ALL of their salvation.

We will look at this doctrine (teaching) in 1 Corinthians chapter one:

1 Corinthians 1:18
"For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. "


When the true gospel (salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE) is preached ("the cross"; which is not a piece of wood, but the gospel) to those who don't believe it, it is foolishness unto them; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God through the Holy Spirit who enables us to believe on Christ. This is the internal "call".

1 Corinthians 1:21
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

God has chosen the true gospel preached as the means (way) in which God reveals Himself to those of us who believe.

1 Corinthians 1:22
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.

The Jews (religious people in Jesus' day to whom God revealed His Word to) needed to see something with their eyes - something physical; and the Greeks (the intellectual people of the day - the "thinkers") seek after wisdom. The Greeks had to reason everything out.

1 Corinthians 1:23
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;


Preaching the true gospel ("Christ crucified") is rejected by the Jews (religious people without the internal call), and the Greeks who have to reason everything out - the gospel is "foolishness".

1 Corinthians 1:24
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

The difference between those who believe, and those who do not is believers have received the internal (inward) call described in our text - "But unto them which are called". This is the subject of our study: THE CALL OF GOD!

1 Corinthians 1:26
For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:

Our text says "Not many wise men after the flesh"; these are people who the world sees as wise, but God sees them as foolish: "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise" and "The foolishness of God is wiser than men" (1 Corinthians 1:19,25).

Our text also says: "Not many mighty, not many noble are called": those who the world thinks highly of are rejected by God - Jesus says: "for that which is highly esteemed (the world thinks highly of - highly regarded by the world) among men is abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15).

The world looks up to many in the world considered wise and famous; but if they have not yet received the internal CALL OF GOD, God sees them as foolish!

But look at the rest of our text in 1 Corinthians 1:26: "For ye see your calling brethren" - being wise, noble, famous means nothing to God, but what is important is if you have received this calling - THE CALL OF GOD - where one hears the true gospel (salvation through Christ ALONE): this is the external (outward) call; and through the power of the Holy Spirit one is enabled to turn from any and all false religion (anything that adds to or away from the work of Christ ALONE for salvation), and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for ALL of salvation!

This is the internal (inward) call. If we have received this call and believe on Christ ALONE for ALL of our salvation, this is because of God's grace (undeserved favor); therefore: "That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:31).

Have you received this call?

God's promise to His people:

Isaiah 55:6
Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Isaiah 55:7
Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

2 Corinthians 6:2
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

By Craig Miklosik

THE CALL OF GOD - PART 2



To review, 'The call of God' has three points:

1) The call of the gospel.

2) The external call of the gospel.

3) The internal call of the gospel.

_______________________________________________

1) The call of the gospel - the gospel that's proclaims salvation conditioned on Christ alone:
"But God forbid that I should glory (have confidence in, trust in for salvation), save (except) in the cross (not the literal cross, but Christ's work) of our Lord Jesus Christ".
(Galatians 6:14)

2) The external (outward) call of the gospel - the true message about Jesus Christ that goes out into the world where God sends it: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15).

3) The internal (inward) call of the gospel - God taking His gospel, and through the Holy Spirit giving new birth to the sinner whereby they believe the gospel by trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation:

Romans 1:16
"For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it (the gospel) is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth".

1 Corinthians 12:3
"No man can say Jesus is the Lord, (trust in Christ alone for salvation) but by the Holy Ghost".

Today let's look at that internal (inward) call of the gospel - The gospel going out accompanied by the Holy Spirit in the new birth (being born again), whereby the sinner looks to Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation.

Let's look at God's Word.

2 Thessalonians 2:13
But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

2 Thessalonians 2:14
Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

"God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation": if you find yourself believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, make sure to give God all the glory for He chose you to that salvation.

Jesus said: "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you" (John 15:16).

"through sanctification of the Spirit": sanctification here means "to set apart". If you find yourself believing on Christ for salvation it is because God set you apart to Himself by the Holy Spirit:

Hebrews 10:14
"For by one offering (Christ on the cross) he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (those God has set apart for salvation).

"and belief of the truth": God takes His truth (the gospel), and through the Holy Spirit enables a sinner to believe the gospel:

2 Timothy 2:25
"If God peradventure (if God wills) will give them repentance (a change of heart) to the acknowledging of the truth".

"Whereunto he called you by our gospel": here is the gospel call inwardly in the new birth:

Ephesians 1:13
"in whom ye also trusted (Christ), after (NOT BEFORE) that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation".

"To the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ"

I'll repeat a previous verse:

Galatians 6:14
"God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ"

The call of the gospel continues to go out into the world:

Romans 10:13
"For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved".

By Craig Miklosik

THE CALL OF GOD - PART 1



In this study we will look at 'The call of God'.
In 'The call of God' I'm talking about the 'gospel call' - God's gospel proclaimed in the Bible.

There are two calls:

1) The external (outward) call: this is the call that goes out into the world: the gospel preached out to everywhere that God sends it.

2) The internal (inward) call: this is the call that regenerates (being born again): the gospel applied by the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth where a sinner is enabled by God to trust in Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation!

Before we proceed - I would like to make a definition of the gospel.

There are many false gospels out there which are called "another gospel" (Galatians 1:6): and is not the gospel of Jesus Christ.

The one true gospel is: God's promise to save a sinner, and entitle (priviledge) them to all of salvation, including the work of the Holy Spirit in them, and heaven their final resting home ALL based on Jesus Christ ALONE: What Christ accomphlished in His coming, living, dying, resurrecting, and now interceding (mediating) for them.

The true gospel is a simple message: salvation conditioned on Jesus Christ ALONE!

Religion either adds to or takes away from the work of Christ. If you are following a gospel (teaching, religion) that adds to or takes away from what Christ has done for a sinner's salvation, you are following a false gospel, and it is not the gospel of Christ.

The true gospel is the message (call) of salvation all accomplished by the God-man Jesus Christ - no one else and nothing else!

Our first text we will look at has both calls of God in it:

1) The external call to all who hear;

and

2) The internal call to God's elect (those who will believe) - Jesus said: "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14).

Jesus declares unto us the call of the gospel in this parable (earthly story with a heavenly meaning): you can read it (Matthew 22:1-14) and it is called "the parable of the Wedding Feast".

It is a story about Jesus Christ and Him crucified; and the gospel going out...

1) Externally as it is preached out;

and

2) Internally to those who have been born again. Jesus sums up the parable in our text: "For many are called, but few are chosen".

Jesus is saying that as the gospel (the good news about Himself) goes out:

1) "For many are called": this is the external call of the gospel - the message about Christ preached out;

and

2) "but few are chosen": this is the internal call of the gospel - the message about Christ which along with the power of the Holy Spirit gives new birth to the sinner where they believe on Jesus Christ for ALL of salvation!

This theme will be expounded further in the second part of this study.

By Craig Miklosik

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:23



Romans 6:23
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

"For the wages of sin is death": many of us work and receive a paycheck - a money payment for our work: these are our "wages".

The "wages" - payment that we deserve for our sins is death - eternal damnation - we (apart from God) are dead spiritually - the Bible calls this "dead in sins" (spiritually dead; read Ephesians 2:5).

Because of sin we all (unless the Lord returns first) will die, and everyone who lived before us has died:

Hebrews 9:27
And as it is appointed unto men once to die...

Unless the Lord comes first, all 6-7 billion sinners on the earth living today will die!

So apart from God's intervention in our life: we are dead spiritually and will die physically.

Do you have pains and problems in your physical body?

It's all because of sin. And apart from the "gift of God" we die what the Bible calls the "second (2nd by number not time) death" - which is not dead meaning you know no existence; it means never ending wrath (judgment without ANY mercy) from God - this is the wages due our sins:

Revelation 20:14
And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

Revelation 20:15
And whosoever was not found written in the book of life (amongst God's chosen elect) was cast into the lake of fire. (eternal death; eternal damnation)

"But": thank God for the "but":

"...the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
(Romans 6:23 - our text).

The gift God is speaking of is defined: "eternal life" - how?

"through Christ Jesus our Lord". God is clearly teaching that He gives a gift (it can't be earned - it's a gift)

What is the gift?

"eternal life".

What is "eternal life"?

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they (God's elect - read John 17:1-2) might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

How is this gift of eternal life given?

"through Jesus Christ our Lord" - Christ paid the wages of sin - death due His people's sins (those written in the book of life); and the Bible teaches Christ was resurrected again because He saved His people at the cross:

Romans 4:25
Who (Christ) was delivered for our offences (the wages due the elect's sins), and was raised again for our justification. (because He saved His people at the cross)

Our text is teaching: that the wages due sin is death - eternal damnation; but the gift of God is salvation through Christ ALONE!

I will leave you with one verse which points out that Christ finished salvation for His people- nothing needs to be added. It says what Christ has done in His atonement:

Daniel 9:24

to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness.


Salvation accomplished - by Christ ALONE!

Are you amongst God's people - His elect?

Am I?

His people are commanded to make sure:

2 Peter 2:10
Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure (that you have been chosen and called of God throught the gospel): for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

For those of us who are saved (servants of righteousness) we can enjoy this promise in the next verse:

2 Peter 1:11
For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

By Craig Miklosik


A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:22



Romans 6:22
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

"But now" - when? "Now" - since you have believed the true gospel.

The true gospel is God's promise to save His people (Matthew 1:21), entitle them to ALL of salvation, including the work of the Holy Spirit in them, the eternal forgiveness of ALL their sins, and all the glories of heaven to come, ALL conditioned (grounded, settled, accomplished, finished) through CHRIST ALONE: His coming and living a perfect life, His death that saved His people, His resurrection, His ascension in glory, His intercession for them.

The true gospel is salvation in Christ ALONE!

Christ plus nothing or no one!

"Being made free from sin": the believer is not CHARGED with their sins:

Romans 4:8
Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute (charge) sin.

"Being made free from sin": does not mean a believer no longer sins. If you are a believer, and live with yourself you can say with the saved Apostle Paul:

Romans 7:18
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.

A sinner who has been "made free from sin" is the one who is a Christian, one who God does not charge with their sins. Praise God they are charged to Christ, and the Christian is forgiven:

Romans 4:7
"Blessed are they whose iniquities (sins) are forgiven".

"and become servants to God": the believer is now willingly a slave to God:

2 Corinthians 5:20
"Now then we are ambassadors (representatives, servants;) for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God."

May this passage serve as the supreme testimony what it means to be a servant:

Philippians 2:2
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

Philippians 2:3
Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

Philippians 2:4
Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Philippians 2:5
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

Philippians 2:6
Who (Jesus Christ),
being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

Philippians 2:7
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Philippians 2:8
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

Christ became a servant to God so His people would be as our text says: "and become servants of God".

"Ye have fruit unto holiness": a servant of sin (unbeliever): their fruits (works) as we studied in our last verse are not accepted by God. But a servant of righteousness (one trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation): their fruits (works) are called: "fruit unto holiness" - the believer's works are acceptable to God because they are covered by the blood of Christ and are done in His Name.

His name represents all that Christ has done, is doing, and will do!

This "fruit unto holiness" is what we studied in verse 19: The walk (life) of obedience. The believer in Christ has repented that their works alone could ever save them, and they now do their works (servants to God) knowing that their works are acceptable to God - THROUGH CHRIST!

Even our prayers are accepted:

1 Peter 3:12
For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous (servants of righteousness, believers), and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

Even the prayers of believing sinners are cleansed by God:

Romans 8:26
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities (weaknesses): for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit (Holy Spirit) itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

God, because of Christ's work on their behalf, equipts (arms, supplies) the Christian with the ability to "have your fruit unto holiness": to have a walk (life) of obedience, to become "servants of God"!

"and the end everlasting life": What is everlasting life?

Ask a Jehovah's Witness if they have everlasting life: they will say "not yet".

The Roman Catholic system teaches: "no one in this present life can be assured of everlasting life".

All religious servants of sin are working FOR the HOPE of eternal or everlasting life. Our text "and the end everlasting life": is not something in the future, or at the end of time. The word "end" here means "result, outcome".

The believer experiences "everlasting life".......................NOW!

What is eternal or everlasting life?

God plainly tells us:

John 17:3
And this is life eternal, that they (God's elect: read John 17:1-2) might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

When one is born again of God, they come to know eternal life: They know the only True God, and they trust in Christ whom God sent for all their salvation!

Our text "everlasting life" is experienced "now" for the believer.

We will finish with these wonderful words from the lips of Jesus Christ:

John 6:47
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me hath everlasting life.
Are you a believer in Jesus Christ?

Am I?

If so, we have come to learn that ALL (past, present, and future) our sins are forgiven - IN CHRIST!

God now calls us to be a "servant", and a walk of obedience to Him; not to be saved, but because we already are!

If you are amongst God's people, and still unsure of your salvation, or know you are a servant of sin: hear a Word from the only Savior the world will ever know:

John 6:35
And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger (spiritually); and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. (spiritually)

2 Corinthians 6:2
(For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

By Craig Miklosik

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:21



Romans 6:21
What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.

"What fruit" (fruit is works) "had ye then" (when?: "then" - when you were servants of sin - see the previous study of verse 20) "in those things" (works) "whereof ye are now" (Now - a servant of righteousness) "ashamed? for the end" (result) "of those things is death." (will not save you).

Our text is teaching us that a saved person realizes that they have repented of thinking any works they perform could save them; they have been given our theme today: "Repentance unto life".

The servant of righteousness (a believer in Christ) realizes that when they were not believers ("servants of sin"): that all their works ("fruit") were nothing but sin. The believing Christian has been given "Repentance unto life".

Repentance means a complete change of mind in our thinking on a matter or situation. The servant of righteousness has come to repent of what the Bible calls "Fruit unto death" - saying the same thing the end of our text says: "For the end of those things (fruit=works) is death".

This is also proclaimed in Romans 7:5:

Romans 7:5
For when we were in the flesh (unsaved; a servant of sin), the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members (mind, emotions, will, body) to bring forth fruit unto death.

Trying to please God with our works outside of looking to Christ for ALL of salvation is dead works - "fruit unto death": they are unacceptable to God and only brings death - eternal damnation.

"Repentance unto life": is repenting (changing ones mind completely about a matter or situation) from ever thinking that our works apart from Christ could recommend (find us acceptable) us unto God. Repentance is part of the gospel and just like all other aspects (effects) of the gospel - to the believer it (repentance) is a gift from God (grace):

Romans 2:4
"Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?"

2 Timothy 2:25
...if God peradventure will (if God wills to) give them (one of His people) repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. (the gospel - what the Bible says about salvation through Christ ALONE)

Have you been given "repentance unto life"?

Have I?

Have we repented of ever thinking that any thing we did or didn't do apart from Christ made us perfect before God?

Is repentance necessary for salvation?

The Words of Christ: "Except yet repent, ye shall all likewise perish" (come under eternal damnation; Luke 13:3).

If you are a servant of righteousness - trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation: God has granted (given) you "repentance unto life"!

If so, praise God that: "ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God" (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

If you are among God's people and are still a servant of sin (not trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation) - Jesus Himself has a command for you: "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15)

Craig Miklosik

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:20


Romans 6:20
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Remember that "servants of sin" are those sinners who do not believe in Christ ALONE for ALL of their salvation.

"free from righteousness" means that servants of sin don't have any (FREE FROM) righteousness.

Our text is telling us that an unbeliever has NO righteousness of their own.

If you are a servant of righteousness (trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation), you have come to see what our text says: that before as a servant of sin you had no righteousness; but now as a servant of righteousness you look to Christ ALONE for ALL your righteousness - ALL your salvation!

No matter what ANY sinner does to try to be righteous before God apart from the work of Christ - God will reject them because God requires PERFECT RIGHTEOUSNESS - perfect, sinless, satisfaction to God's Law (His Word the Bible) and His Justice (Judgement based on His Law).

God requires perfection - Jesus said:

Matthew 5:48
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Do we see the STANDARD of perfection that God requires?

"...even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect".
(Matthew 5:48)

We can't give it: "For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not." (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

All by nature (what we are naturally - sinners) are cursed:

Galatians 3:10
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

God says no one can be saved by their works:

Romans 3:20
Therefore by the deeds of the law (our works or efforts to be righteous before God) there shall no flesh be justified (declared righteous) in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

Left to ourselves, we are just servants of sin on our way to hell. But God has a people He has set aside for Himself. Christ came and made an atonement (satifaction for sin) for them and saved them:

Isaiah 53:11
He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my (God's) righteous (perfect) servant (Christ) justify (save) many; for he shall bear their iniquities (sins).

God's people by the Holy Spirit will believe this gospel in God's time:

Psalm 110:3
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power,

Psalm 65:4
Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

God's own testimony tells us that even religious people cannot meet the standard of righteousness required by God: Jesus spoke of the scribes and Pharisees - the most religious people in His day:

Matthew 5:20
For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed (go beyond) the righteousness of the scribes (those who studied the Bible) and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus again said:

Matthew 7:21
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (declared God's Word) in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

What did they do wrong?

They thought they were righteous by their works (those who believe in the free will gospel believe this too as they believe that their decision makes the difference between salvation and damnation) and God rejected them.

So let's look again at our text:

Romans 6:20
For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

Apart from Christ there is no righteousness God accepts. Jesus said:

John 15:5
I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (nothing pleasing to God)

If you are a servant of righteousness: trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL your salvation, then God has given you what we will study in Romans 6:21 in our next study: "repentance unto life".

If you are still a servant of sin and are one of God's people: consider what it takes to enter heaven; we just read it in Matthew 7:21:

Matthew 7:21
...he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

What is the Father's will?

Jesus tells us plainly:

John 6:29
Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Those who BELIEVE ON HIM (Christ) do the Father's will and will be accepted by God.

By Craig Miklosik

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:19


Romans 6:19:
I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Our passage we are studying (Romans 6:16-23) speaks of the two classes of sinners in the world of 6 billion or more sinners. The two classes are:

1) servants of sin- those sinners who have no concern for God, or those who are "ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Romans 10:3); these are sinners who believe God will accept them by their works, their own righteousness.

Righteousness is perfect satisfaction to God's Law (His Word) and Justice (judgment based on His Law). The Pharisees were very religious people in the time of Christ's walk on earth. They thought that they were righteous in themselves by keeping God's Law (as they thought). This is what it means to "establish their own righteousness" in Romans 10:3.

God in Romans 10:3 is speaking specially about these Jews who thought their works, their obedience would save them. Christ rejected them; they were servants of sin.

2) The second class of sinners God speaks of in our passage is a servant of righteousness. This is a sinner who has heard the true gospel (salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE), and has repented (turn completely around in his or her thinking) of thinking their works could save them, and they look to Jesus Christ for ALL their salvation for they believe Christ is the only righteousness God accepts for sin and it's consequences.

The reason I bring this up is because this will be our theme for the next few verses: as a servant of righteousness - a Christian, a born again sinner: we are called by God unto a life of obedience (obeying God's will by way of commandment in the bible) - not in order to be saved, but because one is already saved, and desires to obey God because:

1) Of the work of the Holy Spirit in them to do so;


and

2) Out of their love for God for saving them. So verses 19-22 could be called: THE WALK OF OBEDIENCE.

Let's start with verse 19.

"I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh": God here through the Apostle Paul writing is speaking as a man realizing himself the infirmity of our flesh - our weakness, what makes up mankind. Christ experienced this yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15). In our weakness, sin affects our daily walk with God. In spite of this, God commands us unto a WALK OF OBEDIENCE with Him as we will see.....

"for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity": this is the life of a servant of sin - they give (yield) their memebers (themselves) over to all kind of sinful living. But if we are now a servant of rightouesness, God has called us unto a WALK OF OBEDIENCE.........

"even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness". God in verse 19 comes down to our level as mankind through Paul, and is teaching us that even though we are sinful creatures, if God has saved you, if you are a Christian, if you are now a servant of righteousness - God is commanding born again sinners to a WALK OF OBEDIENCE in their lives.

"Even so now": NOW that one is saved, NOW that one is a Christian........ "yield (give over) your members (your whole self: mind, emotions, will, and body) servants (slaves) to righteousness (looking to Christ for ALL of salvation) unto holiness (A WALK OF OBEDIENCE; walk here meaning one's lifestyle).

God commands His people who He has regenerated (given new birth to - the born again experience) to a WALK OF OBEDIENCE: a Godly walk (a life that reflects God's commandments in His Word): NOT in order to be saved, but because God has revealed to that sinner that they are already saved and bound for heaven as if they are already there - in Christ!

A servant of sin - an unsaved person: can be very religious, can try to be very obedient to God's Law (as they think they know it): but they are doing it to try to be righteous before God IN THEIR OWN SELVES.


This is what Romans 10:3 is speaking of that I mentioned earlier: this type of obedience is called by God "establish their own righteousness" - God rejects this sinner's obedience for in Romans 10:3 God says of these sinners that they "have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God".

What is this "righteousness of God"?

God tells us in Romans 10:4: "For Christ is the end of the law (the fulfillment) for righteousness to every one that believeth": the righteousness of God is Christ!

A servant of righteousness - a saved sinner, a Christian, has been taught by God that: "all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;" (Isaiah 64:6).

A servant of righteousness sees that all their efforts to obey God, all their obedience, all their works, APART (without) Christ are "filthy rags".

The passage in Isaiah can be literally rendered: our righteousnesses are as a pile of women's used menstral pads!

We have no righteousness of our own apart from Christ:

Psalm 14:2
The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

Psalm 14:3
They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.

Romans 3:10
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

If you think anything you did, do, or will do will recommend you unto God, you are still a servant of sin.

A servant of righteous will look to Christ as ALL their righteousness!

And upon instruction by the Holy Spirit, through His Word, the believer will see they have been commanded by God to a live of obedience to His Word; a WALK OF OBEDIENCE.

They will have repented (completely changed their mind to something) to thinking that anything they ever did outside of Christ was righteous. This doctrine of repentance will be our theme in verse 20 and particuarly verse 21 coming up.

A servant of righteousness will attempt to live a WALK OF OBEDIENCE even though they fall short due to their sinfulness. They will attempt to obey God's commands:

Colossians 3:5
"Mortify (put to death) therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence (desire), and covetousness, which is idolatry:

Romans 12:1
I beseech you therefore, brethren (servants of righteousness), by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Romans 12:2
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

A servant of righteous will be taught that this life, this WALK OF OBEDIENCE God has called us to is a war (read Ephesians 6:11-18), a race (Hebrews 12:1) - this WALK OF OBEDIENCE is a daily struggle - let us who are regenerated look to God for help: "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Hebrews 12:2).

A promise to God's elect who may still be servants of sin:

Isaiah 1:18
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

By Craig Miklosik

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:18

Romans 6:18
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

Let's review what we are studying in this passage (Romans 6:16-23): God is dividing the whole world of sinners into two classes.

1) A servant (slave) to sin: one who does not believe in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation;

and

2) A servant (slave) of righteousness: one who believes in Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation.

Today we will be looking at a servant of righteousness - a born again sinner, a saved person, a Christian.


"Being then" - when was a servant of righteousness "Made free from sin" - when?

Our text tells us: "Then".

When?

When one of God's elect believes the gospel, they "then".....are "Made free from sin".


When one believes the gospel they find themselves in a state of salvation: our previous verse explains the new birth - being born again (Romans 6:17): "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you".

"Made free from sin": Does this mean we are no longer sinners when we believe?


NO. Anyone who has been born again and lives with themselves knows that they are still sinners!


So what does "Made free from sin" mean?

It means that the born again sinner realizes they are no longer CHARGED with their sins. They see that the sins of the Christian are no longer CHARGED to him or her for they were CHARGED to Christ!

The Psalmist David experienced this:

Psalm 32:1
Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.

Psalm 32:2
Blessed is the man unto whom the LORD imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.

So our text: "Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." means that when one believes the gospel, "then" they come to realize in their mind that their sins are forgiven, and they become "servants of righteousness" - they have now become slaves to forever looking to Christ ALONE for ALL their RIGHTEOUSNESS!

Does one's believing the gospel save them?

Is the sinner who believes - is that the difference between them going to heaven or hell?

NO. CHRIST is the difference between one going to hell or heaven.

If one believes on Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation, if one is a Christian, if one is born again, if one has obeyed from the heart the gospel - this is not the ground or condition of their salvation - CHRIST is the ONLY ground or condition of salvation!

Salvation (which means deliverance; deliverance from our sins and the penalty due them) is four fold - has four parts (4 aspects to it): let's look at them.

1) Salvation from before the foundation of the world in the mind and purpose of God


If one finds himself or herself in a state of salvation - in beliving the gospel of salvation in and by Christ ALONE - it is because in the mind and purpose of God before the world was created He choose a people in Christ and saw them saved in Him: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:" (Ephesians 1:4).

Before the foundation of the world God saw His people IN CHRIST - in a state of salvation - He saw them "free from sin"; they were not charged with their sin!

God saw His people saved IN CHRIST before creation: "Who (God) hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began," (2 Timothy 1:9).

2) Salvation grounded or conditioned on the atonement of Jesus Christ

Objectively, salvation is conditioned entirely on the Jesus Christ and Him crucified - His perfectly sinless life and His offering this up as a perfect sacrifice to God in His atoning death for His people only. Objectively means that Christ is the object of our faith - Him as a person. Jesus Christ was given an elect group of sinners by the Father, and He came and made and atonement for them, and all that the Father gave Him He died for and saved them, and all the elect will come to believe on Christ for all their salvation! Jesus Christ Himself speaks of this work given Him of the Father:

John 6:37
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 6:38
For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.

John 6:39
And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.

John 6:40
And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.

In the atonement of Jesus Christ - salvation was SECURED for His people:

Romans 5:9
Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

Romans 5:10
For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.

Romans 5:11
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

Jesus Christ's one and only atonement was not offered up to the whole world for the sinner to then decide wether they want to be saved or not; the one and only atonement of Jesus Christ saved His people:

Matthew 1:21
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

3) Salvation experienced subjectively

When a sinner believes on Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation, "then" (as our text says) "then" they experience salvation subjectively. This means that when one is born again, and believe the gospel they "then" are "made free from sin"; they "then" come to know (experience subjectively) in their heart that they are saved from their sins; NOT because of any "decision" they made, or ANYTHING they did, but because they have come to experience subjectively (meaning in their own person - conscience - mind) this salvation planned, accomplished, and made known by God. This is the new birth - this is what the Bible calls being born again, this is what it means for one to be a Christian. They come to realize in their person (mind) that Christ made an atonement for them, and that is ALL their salvation!

4) Salvation from our bodies dying from sin

At the resurrection at the last day (John 6:39-44, John 6:54) God's people will be saved (delivered) from these bodies which one now has:

Philippians 3:21
Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

This is the salvation described in the Bible!

When an elect sinner is born again, they obey the gospel of salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE and believe on Jesus Christ for ALL their salvation. According to our text, they "then" are "made free from sin" - realize their sins HAVE been forgiven and become "the servants of righteousness" - they become slaves to the fact that Christ is THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS that God accepts!

Christ's promise to His people who have not yet experienced this salvation: "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, (realizing you are a servant of sin) and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28)

By Craig Miklosik

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:17

Romans 6:17
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin": by nature and by practice we are all servants of sin:

1) By nature: we were seen as sinners before we were ever born.

How?

We inherited the sin nature from Adam (the first man upon the earth): "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" (Romans 5:12).

2) By practice - we sin because we are sinnners: "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" (Romans 3:23).

"But God be thanked" because: "ye have obeyed from the heart": Obey means believe, trust. The heart here does not mean our organ which pumps blood; the heart here means our mind, emotions, and will. "ye": this is a personal, individual belief. "from the heart". Let's look at God's description of the heart apart from the Holy Spirit: "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9); the world says: "trust your heart", but God says: "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walketh wisely, he shall be delivered" (Proverbs 28:26).

God has to give His people a new heart: "A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh." (Ezekiel 36:26).

Praise God: "but God be thanked" that He gives His people a new heart: in the power of the Holy Spirit in the new birth (born again) - that mind, and emotion, and will looks to Christ for ALL of salvation!

"That form of doctrine": The Holy Spirit gives God's people the new birth which enables them to believe that form of doctrine.

"That form of doctrine" is the gospel!

What is the gospel?

The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on Christ ALONE: WHO Christ is, and WHAT Christ has done for His people.

The gospel is God's promise to His people that He will save them, keep them in a state of salvation, and entitle them to all inheritances in heaven ALL based on Christ and Him crucified!

Christ's coming, living, dying, resurrecting, and intercessing- the gospel is the good news of salvation in Christ and Him ALONE!

The gospel is:

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek (non Jews).

Romans 1:17
For therein (in the gospel) is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."

The gospel, accompanied by the power of the Holy Spirit shows the elect sinner that "The righteousness of God" is Jesus Christ!

"Which was delivered you": the gospel is to be sent out

1) Individually

and

2) Corporately (a local congregation).

Individually: "Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).

Corporately: Jesus said: "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15).

If one believes the gospel, they WERE the servants of sin (unregenerate, an unbeliever); but GOD BE THANKED they have obeyed the gospel and are now servants of righteousness (regenerate, a believer - trusting in Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation!

So which one are you: a servant of sin, or a servant of righteousness?

An unbeliever?

or

A believer?

God's promise to His elect who are still servants of sin (still in unbelief): "For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee." (Psalm 86:5).

If you find yourself a servant of righteousness - believing on Christ ALONE for ALL of salvation: "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." (2 Corinthians 9:15)

By Craig Miklosik

A STUDY OF ROMANS 6:16

Romans 6:16
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

In the world there are two classes of people: servants of sin, and servants of righteousness.
Servants of sin will sin unto death, and servants of righteousness have obeyed unto righteousness. This is what we will consider today.

The word servant means slave (what one is bound to). We are either slaves of sin, or slaves of righteousness.

1 John 3:4 tells us what sin is: "sin is the transgression of the law".

Transgression here means a legal violation, unrighteousness; Law means God's Word by way of commandment. So sin is not doing God's law: His revealed will by way of commandment (His Word).

The book of James tells us:

James 2:10
For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

God tells us we all have sinned:

Ecclesiastes 7:20
For there is not a just (righteous) man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.

We will see that we need "righteousness" - which is PERFECT (sinless) satisfaction to God's Law and Justice (what God says is right= righteous).

But is anyone righteous?

God tells us: "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Romans 3:10).

We will see in this passage that those who try to be righteous (trying to satisfy God's Law - His will by way of commandment in His Word) by their own works and efforts are called servants (slaves) of sin. And those who have been born again are called servants (slaves) of righteousness - for they look to Jesus Christ for ALL their salvation for He is: "The LORD our righteousness" (Jeremiah 23:6).

Let's look at our text for today:

Romans 6:16
Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Yield here means give yourself over to. Servant, again means slaves. God is telling us here that what we give ourselves over to to obey, we are it's slave.

"whether sin unto death": this is the person who is a servant of sin;

(1) They come into the world as sinners: "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me." (Psalm 51:5) - we were all born sinners. The servant of sin:

(2) Sins all His/Her life no matter what they do: "An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin." (Proverbs 21:4). This means that no matter what a servant of sin does- like farming his/her field for an example - all they do is sin for they are a slave of sin. The servant of sin:

(3) Dies as a servant of sin and will be under the wrath (God's judgment without mercy) forever: "For the wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). The paycheck a servant of sin will receive at death is eternal damnation. The servant of sin who dies in this state goes to hell; a servant of righteousness will be in heaven.

I want to take a moment to state there are two, and only two destinations for the soul at death: heaven or hell.

The Roman Catholic system has invented a God dishonoring doctrine called "Purgatory"- a third or intermediate state between heaven and hell. I will state that this doctrine of Purgatory is from hell itself because this doctrine is not taught in the Bible.

NO-ONE is in Purgatory for Purgatory does not exist. You're either on your way to hell or heaven. Purgatory is a Satanic lie.

"or of obedience unto righteousness": if one has been born again, if one has believed on the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation, they have obeyed (obedience) unto righteousness. This is a servant (slave) of righteousness; righteousness being perfect (sinless) satisfaction to God's Law and Justice (what God says is right).

For a servant of righteousness, they come to see that their believing (obedience-obeying) in Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation is not their righteousness, for righteousness is PERFECT (sinless) satisfaction to God's Law and Justice.

A servant of righteousness realizes they are still sinners, and have come to see that their righteousness is CHRIST!

Jesus Christ made a perfect sinless atonement once for the sins of God's elect - those who have been ordained to eternal life.

Acts 13:48
...and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

Christ did this as a perfect satisfaction to God's Law and Justice - RIGHTEOUSNESS!

His atonement was accepted by the Father as a perfect righteousness for His people - charged to them.

So are you a servant of sin?

Or a servant of righteousness?

These are the two classes of people who fill the earth - nearly 7 billion sinners.

A servant of sin believes they will be declared righteous by God by something or someone other than Christ alone. The servant of righteousness has obeyed the gospel and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ALONE for ALL their salvation.

Have you believed (obeyed) the gospel?

The gospel is the good news about Jesus Christ - the gospel is the good news for God's elect that salvation is totally in and by the Lord Jesus Christ - ALONE!

The gospel is the good news of God's promise to save His chosen people conditioned on the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ alone.

Jesus has a promise for His people (His sheep):

John 10:27
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

John 10:28
And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

By Craig Miklosik

Thursday, May 14, 2009

THE CHILDREN OF THE KINGDOM

In Matthew 8:5 we read the account of the Roman centurion who had a servant that was very sick. The centurion begged the Lord Jesus if He would please heal his servant. And promptly Jesus said:

I Will Come and Heal Him (Matthew 8:5-7)

Let us read the account, beginning in Matthew 8:5,

Matthew 8:5
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, ………

Why did Jesus do so many miracles in Capernaum?

Well, in Capernaum were the headquarters of the Lord Jesus. So Jesus was there very often. Capernaum means "the village of Nahum". And since Nahum means "comforter", Capernaum means "the village of the Comforter".

Can you see why the Lord Jesus chose Capernaum to be His home base?

In the Bible God the Holy Spirit is called Comforter, but the Lord Jesus Christ is also called Comforter. "The village of the Comforter" is a very appropriate name for the headquarters of the Lord Jesus.

But in Matthew chapter 12 the Lord Jesus condemned Capernaum for their unbelief. Jesus said "that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the Day of Judgment, than for Capernaum".

Were there so many unbelievers in Capernaum?

That was true, as we shall see. Let us read again:

Matthew 8:5
And when Jesus was entered into Capernaum, there came unto him a centurion, beseeching him,
Matthew 8:6
And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.

Matthew 8:7
And Jesus saith unto him, I will come and heal him.

What is a centurion?

A centurion was an officer in the Roman army who was a commander of at least 100 soldiers. This centurion was sensitive to human suffering. For the sake of his servant he was willing to submit himself to a Jewish Rabbi, and beg Him to come and heal his servant. The centurion called Jesus "Lord". The Greek word he used was "Kurios", which means Lord, or Master.

How sick was this servant?

The servant was paralyzed, and was in great pain. Dr Luke says that the servant was near death. He certainly needed some Divine intervention. This servant was a picture of someone who needs to be saved, and will be saved. Like Lazarus who was dead and was made alive again, the healing of this servant was an outstanding picture of salvation.

This servant was unable to go to Jesus, or to call for help to Jesus. This servant had no power at all to reach out to Jesus or to accept Jesus as his Lord and Savior. This servant had no power to do anything; he was paralyzed. If he was going to be healed it was all by grace. That is what salvation is.

And when Jesus said, "I will come and heal him", that man was as good as healed.

When Jesus said that He was going to do something, would it indeed be done?

What do you think?

What Do You Think of Jesus? (Matthew 8:8-9, Luke 7:1-5)

This centurion had a very high opinion of Jesus. He knew that this was a man of God, having great authority over sickness and health, and over life and death. He had more appreciation for Jesus than most of the scribes and Pharisees would ever have for Jesus. And this centurion also knew that normally Jews do not enter the house of a Gentile, because they would become ceremonially unclean. He did not want this man of God to become defiled. Therefore he said:

Matthew 8:8
The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.

Matthew 8:9
For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

This is a remarkable prayer coming out of this unconverted Gentile. With a slight variation, these are the words of someone pleading to Christ for salvation: "Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and Thy servant shall be healed".

This was a prayer that I learned when I was 8 years old.

From where did this centurion get such great faith in Jesus?

God gave it to him. He did not get this kind of insight from the Jews around him. The Jews around him had a far lesser opinion of Jesus. We find that from the Gospel account in Luke.

Please turn with me to the Gospel according to Luke, chapter 7. We find here the parallel account of this story beginning in verse 1. Here we read what most of the Jews thought of Jesus. Most of the Jews considered Jesus as a miracle worker, and perhaps even as a prophet, but not as someone Divine and having great authority over life and death. We read in Luke 7:1,

Luke 7:1
Now when he had ended all his sayings in the audience of the people, he entered into Capernaum.

Luke 7:2
And a certain centurion's servant, who was dear unto him, was sick, and ready to die.

Luke 7:3
And when he heard of Jesus, he sent unto him the elders of the Jews, beseeching him that he would come and heal his servant.

Luke 7:4
And when they came to Jesus, they besought him instantly, saying,

Luke 7:5
That he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue.

Here we get some additional information. The centurion did not personally speak to Jesus, but he sent the elders of the Jews. He sent the most notable ones of the Jewish community to plead with Jesus. They were his mouthpiece. They were the representatives of national Israel.

What Do You Think of National Israel? (Luke 7:6-9, Matthew 8:10)

Here we read about the religion of national Israel. The elders said of the centurion: "He is worthy". But the centurion said of himself: "I am not worthy".

Who is right in this case?

The elders did not even mention the man who was so sick that he was about to die. This servant really needed all the attention. But the elders said to Jesus: "he was worthy for whom he should do this: For he loveth our nation, and he hath built us a synagogue."

In their eyes the centurion was a man who is worthy to receive some special favors from God, because he has done many good works. He has done this, and he has done that.

See how good he is?

But is that good in the eyes of God?

Is this how God looks at us?

Is someone considered good because of the works that person does?

It reflects the religion of national Israel. Their religion is based on a system of good works. We find in other parts of the New Testament that they believe they deserve to get into heaven if they obey the Law and do good works. That is why they are striving to obey the Law, and that is why they have no need for Jesus. But the Lord Jesus said:
"No man cometh unto the Father, but by me".

What do you think of national Israel?

Can they get into heaven without repenting of this sin?

Does God owe national Israel any special favors?

No, God does not owe anyone anything. Let's continue:

Luke 7:6
Then Jesus went with them. And when he was now not far from the house, the centurion sent friends to him, saying unto him, Lord, trouble not thyself: for I am not worthy that thou shouldest enter under my roof:

Luke 7:7
Wherefore neither thought I myself worthy to come unto thee: but say in a word, and my servant shall be healed.

Luke 7:8
For I also am a man set under authority, having under me soldiers, and I say unto one, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

Luke 7:9
When Jesus heard these things, he marvelled at him, and turned him about, and said unto the people that followed him, I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Now the centurion sent friends to Jesus. This message has to be carried by friends of Jesus. This centurion believes that Jesus has authority over life and death. And he says: "Lord, say a word, and my servant shall be healed".

Lord, I understand what authority is, and I believe that Thou hast this authority.

Matthew 8:10
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Was Jesus surprised to find such great faith?

What does it take to surprise God?

What do you think of Jesus?

That Jesus is God is not doubted in this church.

But what kind of a God is He?

This God the Bible describes as the one knowing the end from the beginning.

Do we really believe that?

What Do You Think of the Bible? (2 Peter 1:20-21)

The Bible says of itself that it is the Word of God. The Bible says of the Lord Jesus that He is the Word of God.

If we worship Jesus, do we worship a Book?

No, we do not worship a Book, but we worship the God who gave us that Book, and who is described in that Book. God gave us the Bible so that we can learn who God is, and that He is a God who "declares the end from the beginning" (Isaiah 46:10). Not only does He know the end from the beginning, but He also makes it come to pass according to His will. God says there in Isaiah 46:11, "I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it".

Can there be any plainer language?

This is the omnipotent attribute of God, which we find all throughout Scripture. And this omnipotent God has condescended to feeble and fallible mankind to save out of them a people for Himself. To that end God has given us the Bible, His words.

God says that the words in the Bible are His words. God says in 2 Peter 1:20,

2 Peter 1:20
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

2 Peter 1:21
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Literally: Holy men of God spoke as they were carried by the Holy Ghost. The prophets, who were carried by the Holy Ghost, spoke the words that God wanted them to speak, and they wrote the words that God wanted them to write. And the message that God gave through His prophets is the message of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Bible is a very thick Book. My Bible has almost 2000 pages. That takes a lot of studying. But we live in a society that does more talking than studying. Many people have jobs where they are on the phone 50% of the time, or they are in meetings 50% of the time. They are on the phone when they drive to work and when they drive home. And when they arrive home most of the time is spent again in talking or in listening to the news on TV.

Internet chat-rooms are frequently visited.

Computer E-mail takes up a lot of our time.

And so on, and so on. Talk, talk, talk.

When do they have time to study the Word of God?

Almost never!

But this is really where we must spend our time. We cannot live our life saying: "This preacher says this, and that preacher says that; and now we can choose between this or that".

No way!

God speaks, and we must take time to listen.

God says in the Bible that all mankind comes into the world corrupt, in rebellion against God, and therefore all are on the way to their just retribution, which is Hell.

Do we really believe that?

Or do we believe that some people are "good people", because they have done so many good things, like the Jews were saying of this centurion?

They have not studied their Bible. That is why they considered Jesus only to be a good miracle worker, instead of Jehovah the Savior.

What do you think of Jesus?

Is He the omnipotent God?

Study your Bible. That really is a matter of life and death. The centurion spoke about authority. Legitimately we can ask the question:

Who Has Authority? (Matthew 28:18, Galatians 3:10-11)

After Jesus was raised from the dead, He appeared unto the disciples and He said in Matthew 28:18,

Matthew 28:18
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, "All power (Lit: authority)
is given unto me in heaven and in earth".

The Lord Jesus Christ has received all authority to save His people from their sins, and take them into God's holy heaven.

How can He do that if all mankind is corrupt and in rebellion against God?

Almost all mankind believes that man has authority to accept the Lord Jesus, even though the Bible says NO!

Man believes that he is a god and man decides what he can take out of the Bible.

Please turn with me to the Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 3. The centurion said: "I am not worthy to come in Thy presence".

Was he right?

He was absolutely right, because God says in Romans 3:10, "There is NONE righteous, NO NOT ONE". None of us are worthy to come in the presence of Jesus.

The Jews believed that they could come in the presence of God by obeying the Law. That is a self-righteous religion, because God says in Galatians 3:10,

Galatians 3:10
For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Galatians 3:11
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.

God says that all those who pursue their way to heaven by obeying the Law are under a curse, because if we fail to obey one thing from the Book of the Law, the Bible, then we will be cursed by God, and end up in Hell. No one can be justified in the sight of God by obeying the Law. God says in this chapter: "if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law".

If that were possible, the Lord Jesus Christ would not have come down to earth. But it is impossible. Therefore, to save even one person would require the grace of God. To save just this servant of the centurion required that the Lord Jesus Christ come down to earth.

How sick was this servant of the centurion?

He was so sick that he was about to die. Only by grace could he be saved. Jesus said to the centurion: "I will come and heal him".

Wasn't this nice of Jesus?

What did Jesus have to do to heal the servant of the centurion?

Would He lay His hand on that servant, and PRESTO, the servant would be healed. Think of it now. All those healings that the Lord Jesus did were pictures of salvation, because the Bible is a spiritual Book.

Did Jesus have the authority to declare that all the sins of this servant were forgiven?

Jesus Purchased That Authority (Galatians 3:13-14)

What did the Lord Jesus Christ have to do to get the soul of this servant completely washed from all his sins?

Jesus had to purchase that authority on the cross. To fulfill the righteousness of God, Jesus had to take all this man's sins upon Himself, and pay for those sins the full penalty required from this servant if he had to pay for his own sins. That penalty is to spend an eternity in Hell. The Lord Jesus had to pay the equivalent of an eternity in Hell in order to satisfy the righteousness of God. The Lord Jesus came under the curse of God for the sins that He bore. God says in Galatians 3:13,

Galatians 3:13
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.

God crafted that ceremonial Law in the Old Testament, specifically to point to the Lord Jesus Christ: Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree. Like everything in the ceremonial Law, it was pointing to the Lord Jesus and it indicated, when He was hanging on the cross, that He was under the wrath of God like the king of Jericho, and the king of Ai, and the five kings of the Amorites were under the wrath of God. Those kings will have to pay for their own sins in Hell. And Hell was what the Lord Jesus had to endure on the cross. Only if the full payment was made could there be forgiveness of sins.

Christ paid for the sins of all those whom He came to save. And God says in Galatians 3:14,

Galatians 3:14
In order that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

The blessing of Abraham was passed on to his seed, which is Christ (Galatians 3:16), and therefore the blessing also passed to all those who are in Christ. Since Christ passed with all our sins through the equivalent of an eternity in Hell, all those who are in Christ also passed through Hell with Him. The Bible says: We were crucified with Christ, we died with Christ, we were buried with Christ, we were raised with Christ, and we are seated with Him in the heavenlies. Since we have already passed through Hell in Christ with our sins, God will never demand that we pass through Hell again to pay for our sins the second time. But this is the only reason why "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus". This is how the blessing of Abraham was passed on to the Gentiles through Jesus Christ. This is why Abraham was called the father of all believers.

In order to make all this happen, the Lord Jesus Christ had to purchase the authority to wipe away our sins. He did not get this for free. But in addition:

The Lord Jesus Also Purchased a Kingdom (Colossians 1:12-14)

When Jesus said: "All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth", He referred to His Kingdom being in heaven and on earth. He is already King here on this earth, meaning that He is already reigning supreme on this earth. Jesus does not need to come down to this earth to establish His kingship in a thousand year kingdom. That is an unbiblical idea. Right now He is already ruling the affairs of man on this earth, both of the saved and the unsaved people.

The topic of the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is subject to much confusion. God speaks about the Kingdom of Christ primarily in two ways: First, when Jesus said to Pilate, in John 18:36,

John 18:36
My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.

Without question, the Lord Jesus was referring here to His Spiritual Kingdom, or His Eternal Kingdom. The angels in heaven, and the souls in heaven, and the souls of people on earth who have been saved are all those who are in this Eternal Kingdom of Christ, "and the whole world lieth in wickedness", meaning, the rest of the world lieth in wickedness. This Eternal Kingdom of Christ is in view when God gives us in Colossians 1 this grandiose picture of our status of salvation. God says in Colossians 1,

Colossians 1:12
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

Colossians 1:13
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

Colossians 1:14
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

The Father has made us partakers of the New Heaven & New Earth. The Father has delivered us from the kingdom of Satan, and has translated us into the Eternal Kingdom of Christ. We have been redeemed through His blood, which means we have been purchased by His life.

Secondly, the Lord Jesus also spoke of His Kingdom as an externally visible Kingdom, such as the nation of Israel in Old Testament times, from the time of Jacob until the cross, or the New Testament church, from the time of the cross until the Last Day. This is known as the externally visible Kingdom of Christ. Every visible church organization contains within a number of people who are not saved. They have been under the hearing of the Word of God, but God never opened their spiritual; ears. Corporately, both saved and unsaved people in the church are also spoken of as the Kingdom of Christ.

Now we come to the uncomfortable part of this passage in Matthew. In Matthew 8:9 Jesus acted surprised.

Why did Jesus act surprised?

Since He is God, He was not really surprised. He did it for our benefit, so that we do not take our faith for granted. When we come to this part of the story, we should ask:

Which Kingdom Are You In? (Matthew 8:11-12, Matthew 13:38)

The Lord Jesus does not make it easy for us. When we read verses 11 and 12 the Lord Jesus mentions both types of Kingdoms. He says in Matthew 8:11-12,

Matthew 8:11
And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 8:12
But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The Kingdom of heaven in verse 11 refers to the Eternal Kingdom of Christ, which will transition into the glorious New Heaven & New Earth. But the Kingdom in verse 12 refers to the Kingdom of the externally visible national Israel. The children of Israel were supposedly the children of the Kingdom. But this Gentile centurion shows more faith than all the elders of the Jews. And notice that the term "children of the Kingdom" also applies to the Kingdom of the externally visible New Testament. church. The Lord Jesus does this more often in His parables. For example, if you turn to chapter 13, you find there in "the parable of the wheat and the tares" that the Lord Jesus also speaks of two Kingdoms.

In Matthew 13, verse 38, the Lord Jesus speaks about His eternal Kingdom:

Matthew 13:38
The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;

Here the children of the Kingdom are all those who are the children of God, and the Kingdom is the Eternal Kingdom of Christ. But in verse 41 Jesus speaks about the unsaved in the church:

Matthew 13:41
The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity;

Obviously His Kingdom here refers to the externally visible church, containing both saved and unsaved people. Let's return now to Matthew 8:11-12, and let me ask again:

Which Kingdom are you in?

Is this an uncomfortable question for you?

The Lord Jesus specifically mentions that the children of the Kingdom shall be cast out.

This is a big warning from Christ, saying: "Watch out. Did you examine yourself? Are there found in you the signs of salvation? Certainly, this does not have to be an uncomfortable question, if we have examined ourself before".

But face it now:

Which Jesus did you put your trust in?

Did they send you to the wrong Jesus?

Did you put your trust in the Jesus of the Bible, and the Bible alone?

Don't study what the theologians have written. They are fallible men who contradict each other. Study the Bible, and if you have time, study it in depth.

And then ask yourself honestly: "Do I find within myself an ongoing desire to be obedient to the Word of God?"

Or do I find within myself the elements of besetting sin, so ugly that I cannot stand myself for doing that again and again. You know, if you say that you are following Jesus, that is no great sign of your salvation. We see in this story that:

The Children of the Kingdom Followed Him (Matthew 8:10, John 11:42)

We read in verse 10,

Matthew 8:10
When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.

Them that followed were the same people whom Jesus condemned with the city of Capernaum for having no faith in Him. These were the same people of whom Jesus said: "But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness". They followed Jesus, but they did not follow Him because He was their Savior. They followed Him because He was the miracle worker, and because Jesus always had something spectacular.

We see the same thing when the Lord Jesus stood at the grave of Lazarus. People followed Him because they wanted to see something spectacular. The Lord Jesus prayed in John 11:41 and 42, and He said:
"Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me".

"The people which stand by" were those following Jesus, but not because He was their Savior. We read that "some of them went their ways to the Pharisees, and told them what things Jesus had done". They saw Lazarus being raised from the dead. But even that was not sufficient to convince them that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

What would be sufficient?

How did the centurion get such great faith?

God gave it to him. Our faith is not an instrument toward our salvation. Our faith is a gift from God, given as evidence of our salvation.

And why did those who followed Jesus not have such great faith?

Because God had not given it to them. It is as simple as that, because the Bible says: "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him".

Could Jesus have given more faith to the Jews who followed Him?

Yes, But He did not do that. Can we understand why God is doing this?

NO!

But do we believe that this is so?

Yes, because the Bible says so. If we are saved, we trust the words of Jesus, we trust the words of the Bible.

What Are the Characteristics of the Saints (Matthew 8:13, Luke 7:10, John 9:41)

The saints love to do those things that are pleasing in God's sight, because they love the Bridegroom. We are the Bride and Christ is the Bridegroom. The saints love to read or hear the words from the Bible, because they love to hear the voice of the Bridegroom. The saints put their trust in the words of the Bible, because the saints trust Christ. If we can put our trust in the Bible, then God will not let us down. Look at the trusting centurion. We read in Matt 8:13,

Matthew 8:13
And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant was healed in the selfsame hour.

This does not mean that every time we are interceding for someone, that person would be saved. In this particular case it fit into God's program to heal this individual. But it does indicate that this unnamed centurion is a picture of a saint who brings the Gospel to a dying soul. He petitioned Christ on behalf of his servant. One of the characteristics of a saint is that he wants to intercede for those who need salvation, because we have been appointed as ambassadors for Christ. It has become our second nature to beseech God on behalf of others. It has become our second nature to put our trust in the Bible and to love to hear the words from the Bible. It has become our second nature to do those things that are pleasing in His sight. It is not a burden to us, "for it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure".

We are grateful that God has opened our eyes. At one time we were blind, walking on the way to Hell and believing the same way so many other "good people" believed. The Lord Jesus said unto the Pharisees, "If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth". Christ came to give sight to the blind, US. Those who say they see do not need Jesus.

But then came the time, by God's grace; He opened our eyes and suddenly we were no longer content to remain in the churches where we were fed only a half-truth.

Teach your children well.

Oh how they need it!

We do not know what the future holds, but we know that spiritually the world will be far worse than it presently is, because the Bible tells us so. Teach your children well, how to study the Bible. If Jesus Christ is our only foundation, then certainly the Word of God is the only trustworthy pillar we can lean on. Let us lean on His almighty arms, and let us walk as children of the King, in the Eternal Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

By Alfred J. Chompff