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The Sufferings of Christ

The Bible declares that the believer will partake of the sufferings of Christ.  That this is in their best interests. That the believer will partake of the glory when they have also suffered like their predecessor Jesus.  Jesus has gone before us, we are to follow him.  Job declares that he knew of God, he had heard of him previously, but when Job suffered he stated he then saw God, gained understanding, and abhorred himself for his complaint against God.

Job suffered when he stood alone in his faith.  His friends contradicted him, his wife encouraged him to curse God.  Job experienced the loss of his family, his children, his friends, his possessions, his standing and respect in the community.  He stayed faithful to God, and afterward was richly rewarded by God in this life, and I am confident, in the life to come.  In the kingdom of God.  How could Job be happy with what God gave him after he had experienced such devastating losses?  God makes it possible.  Our further understanding makes it possible.  God’s work in us makes it possible.  The Bible says that with God nothing is impossible.

The New Testament says that we need to arm ourselves with this knowledge of the believer suffering.  It is happening in the world today and believers in the western nations don’t understand it.  Arm yourselves with this mind, the Bible says.  Christ suffered, and so you can expect that you will suffer as well.  Are you greater than your teacher, the Bible says?

Do we suffer in a vacuum away from God?  No, God is with us.  He makes it possible.  He provides.  It is not easy, but the suffering will end.  Paul states that if it is God’s will that you suffer for a period of time endure it like a good soldier of Jesus Christ.  These are teachings that are lost to the western church doctrines in our day.  It should open our eyes as to who is a true leader of God’s people in our day and times.

 

 


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What God Requires

Micah 6:8
He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

What must we do to work the works of God?  We need to implement justice, morality, and rightness, today in our own lives.  God is clear in his Word.  What we do in our lives, and how we do it, matters to us, and to God.  He has requirements of us. We need to do certain things in order to prosper spiritually and physically in our lives. We are told repeatedly throughout scripture that judgment from the Lord is coming.  That God will judge the just and the unjust according to their works. He will judge the nations and peoples of the world.  He will judge his own people.

Immorality and corruption are increasing in the environment where we live.  We need to be looking to God for the ability to refuse temptations.  Western governments and nations are rejecting God and his commandments today.   Lying and deceit are everyday occurrences with those we deal with in business and everyday activities.  We see this in the news about our financial organizations defrauding and deceiving their banking customers.

What are we to do?  It’s not going to be ok for us to participate and do business the same way as the world around us.  God has given us his commandments.  They are laid out extensively in his Word.  The ten commandments being the scaffold of what he requires of people.  His Word is what we must follow.  God has not left us defenseless as his people.  We do not have the old nature that powerless against sin.  We have choices as God’s people to do what is right.  How do we do this?

Through  the Holy Spirit. We need to be asking God for his Holy Spirit to be given to us in a measure that is responsive to what is happening today in our world and what is happening where we are living.  This is individual, and also corporate, for us as God’s people.  We are in a struggle and we need to overcome through God.  Western Christians are  experiencing opposition from their government leaders, education institutions, judicial legislation, and popular culture.  What to do?

Stand with God, and do his will.  Keep his commandments. Ask him to help you to do this.  He will.  Guard your heart, your mind, and do what is right.  Avoid and rebuke temptations in the power of Jesus Christ.  You will be richly rewarded in this life and in the eternal life that you will enter.  ‘Well done thou good and faithful servant’.

 


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Legalism

Legalism, in my view, is relying on the Mosaic Law for our righteousness. The Bible says that the law was good as it was originally given. The issue was that the hearts of men could not be changed by the law. If righteousness could have come through the law the scripture says it would have been done that way by God. Man needed to be reborn into righteousness after the fall of Adam and Eve. This was accomplished through Christ, a righteous man, dying on the cross and being raised again to new life. The Law was instituted as a tutor of righteousness until the appointed time of the birth of Jesus Christ. God’s requirements have not changed in Scripture. Beginning in the OT and then into the NT God teaches us about his requirements for right living, right thinking, and right hearts. What Jesus did was to make our transformation in these areas possible. We can now do through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit what we could not do under the Law. We can become a new creation in Christ. The scriptures teach us how we are to make these changes.

Today’s modern teaching on legalism has made it about overlooking God’s requirements for righteous living. That we have no choice but to continue to sin. This teaching denies the new birth in Christ. It puts believers in the camp of the unrighteous, with no real power, and at the control of sin. This is false teaching according to the Bible.


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Two Covenants meaning Hagar and Sarah

Galatians 4:21 begins a teaching about the two sons of Abraham. The story in the OT of the two sons named Ishmael and Isaac tells of how Ishmael and his mother Hagar were sent away by Abraham. In Galatians the apostle Paul says that we can look figuratively at the mothers of Abraham’s sons as representing two covenants, one of the natural, and one of the promise through the power of the Spirit. Paul clearly teaches that the present Jerusalem is of Hagar. She will not share in the inheritance of God. Paul declares that there is a Jerusalem that is above and that she is the mother of those who are in Christ.
Today we have many teachers and preachers who make errors in dividing the word of truth. They teach one part of the Bible as full and complete truth, but when other parts of the Bible are read their teaching is contradicted by other Scriptures. This means there is error in what they are teaching.
The present church system that we know of in North America does not have checks and balances. There is alot of control implemented in the majority of churches. We can be certain that this type of control of people and of what we are being taught is not of God. We seem to have a mishmash of teachings related to both Hagar and Sarah. On the one hand we have freedom in Christ, on the other hand we are subjects and children to these church systems. The Hagars of our day.


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A New Covenant

In the book of Hebrews  chapter 7 and 8 the Apostle Paul speaks about a new and better covenant.  This new covenant, or second covenant,  has made obsolete the first covenant of the Law given to Moses, for his people.   As with a second Will that a person makes to distribute an inheritance, so also this second covenant with his people that God made through Jesus, supersedes the Law of Moses. Because it was made after the first one, just like someone updating their Will, the updated Will is the one legally in effect when that person dies.  Hebrews chp. 8:13 says “In speaking of a new covenant,” he has made the first one obsolete.’

Hebrews 8:9 says that this new covenant is not like the first covenant.  Paul explains in these chapters of Hebrews that the Law was not able to deal with the consciousness of sin.  The Law revealed and exposed sin.  The Law dealt with sin through the outward rituals of the flesh.  Laws about drink, food, and washing of the body.  Atonement for sin was dealt with by the shedding of animal blood.  These rituals had to be performed continually to try to alleviate sin.

The sacrifice of Jesus in the death of his own body on the cross for the atonement of sin, was done once for all eternity.  Jesus will remain the High priest of God forever.  Jesus the Son, is the new covenant that God has established with his people.  God has made Jesus the way to himself.  Jesus states ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life’.  No one comes to God except through me. ‘