The Lighthouse Sentinel
So truthful, it hurts!
VOL. I NUM. VI
2015 HOLY SPIRIT ALL RIGHTS PRESERVED
NOVEMBER / DECEMBER
PAID IN FULL
In all things give thanks...
The word "thanks" is used 73 times in 71 verses throughout the bible. In the New Testament its used 15 times, 4 instances in Paul's epistles.
The word "thanksgiving" is used 28 times in 27 verses but is referenced 25% of the time or 7 verses in Paul's letters to the saints. Paul used the Greek word "eucharistia" that I think many people may recognize... The word means: to give thanks, be thankful and in Vine's Expository Dictionary there is a phrase that even talks about giving freely.
I think what Paul had in mind was an action behind the gratitude that would be in complete alignment with showing unconditional love which is certainly hard for us to do if we can be honest with each other.
I think we have evolved (hate using that word) into a culture of "takesgiving" the more we get, the more we want and as a result, we have lost sight of being truly appreciative and thankful to God for all that we have. If you compare what we have in this country, in our own domain with the other 7 billion people on the planet, we are actually in pretty good shape and might even be considered "wealthy". When I get frustrated with my own failures and internal struggles, prayer and reflection and taking the proverbial "step back" to assess things has certainly helped me put things in perspective....which brings us full circle back to a thankful spirit.
4 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 5 Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. 6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. - Philippians 4:4-7
Paul received revelaltions from Our Lord Jesus Christ after He gloriously appeared to him on many occasions (Acts 26:16). The core of these revelations had to do with "believer benefits" or what was accomplished by Christ on our behalf that was accredited to us!
This is one of the main reasons why Paul could tell us to "rejoice"! In fact, Paul repeated it like an exhortation...rejoice!..rejoice always in the Lord. Friends, always means always so I think that we were instructed or reminded to rejoice in the good and the bad times. And just in case you didn't realize it, Paul wrote this epistle....telling us to rejoice or be glad.....while he himself was in prison.
The apostle didn't tell us to rejoice or to be glad out of our own strength. He had already spent the better part of the first three chapters of this letter to the saints at Philippi telling them:
1:3 How he thanked God for every rememberance of them
1:4,5 Praying to God and thanking Him for their sustainable fellowship
1:6 How he was confident that knowing what God had started in their lives would be completed until the day of Jesus Christ (His return)
1:7 How they had a special place in his heart for their love unto him while he was in prison
1:8 How that God Himself was his witness to the love that he had for them (wow!)
1:9 How he prayed to God that their love would abound (literally grow without limits) in complete and perfect knowledge and judgement
1:10 How he prayed that they would "approve the things that are excellent", literally search the things that differ between what Christ told Paul about converning his cross accomplishment and great love for us with how God dealt with mankind previously.
1:10 How he prayed that we would be sincere and blameless as part of our testimony
1:11 Paul was thankful in the fact that we are "being filled" with the fruits of righteousness through Christ Jesus; (obviously a fact since we believed that Christ made us right with God!)
But Paul doesn't stop there friends; he goes on to say that:
1:12-18 he wants us to understand that the things that have happended to him (persecution and prison) have occured for the furthereance of the gospel of Christ and as a result he has been a witness in Cesar's palace as well as other areas! At the conclusion of chapter 4 we find Paul giving saluations to those in Cesar's household 4:22
2:1-2 Amazingly and with clear demonstration of his yielding to the Holy Spirit, Paul told the saints that HE would have joy if THEY could be likeminded, loving one another, and working together with a common purpose in Christ.
2:3-30 And after encouraging us to take on the mind of Christ (who being God in the flesh, didn't think He was being "short-changed" by being equal with God to the point that He submitted Himself, came to this planet as a servant and offered Himslef up nto death, even the death of the cross!), the apostle closes chapter 2 telling us about the demonstration of joy and thankfulness of Epaphroditus who literally almost worked himself to death.
Continued in the next Column "Thankfulness"
Created unto good works; not saved by them!
Pastor Rick Kurth
Every true believer knows we are saved by grace through faith, apart from good works (Rom. 4:5; Titus 3:5). This does not mean, however, that good works have no place in the dispensation of grace, for right after affirming that we are saved without works (Eph. 2:8,9), Paul quickly asserts that, as new creatures in Christ (II Cor. 5:17), we are created to walk in the good works He has ordained for us (Eph. 2:10). If you have ever wondered what kind of works God expects us to “maintain” (Titus 3:8,14) in our Christian walk, we hope the following brief study of the phrase “good work(s)” in Scripture will help.
For the Ladies
To begin with, in Acts 9 we meet Dorcas, a woman “full of good works” (9:36). She was evidently quite the seamstress, for her good works are later defined by a reference to “the coats and garments which Dorcas made” (v. 39). In those days, it could be said of many a virtuous woman that “she seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands” (Prov. 31:13 cf. vv. 22,24). Thus we know that when a Christian woman performs the many duties of a wife and mother, she is walking in the good works in which she was created to walk.
To this must be added the testimony of the Apostle Paul, who speaks of widows who were “well reported of for good works” (I Tim. 5:10). He then goes on to describe things like bringing up children, hospitality, and caring for the sick as good works with which godly women can adorn themselves (I Tim. 2:9,10).
For the Men
In the natural accompaniment to these instructions to godly women, Paul instructs the man of God to “labour, working with his hands the thing which is good” (Eph. 4:28). Well, if Christian men are told to work the thing which is good, wouldn’t going to work be a good work? You would think so, especially since God plans to reward men for “whatsoever good thing any man doeth” on the job (Eph. 6:8).
We doubt that most Christians consider these everyday responsibilities as good works, but God says they are. And if being good husbands and fathers and wives and mothers be viewed as good works, it is not a stretch to suggest that being a good citizen would also be found in that category, especially since we are told “to obey magistrates” and, in so doing, “be ready to every good work” (Titus 3:1).
For the Rich
Next, Paul told Timothy to “charge them that are rich…that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate” (I Tim. 6:17,18). Obviously the financial support of the Lord’s work and less fortunate brethren also constitute good works in God’s eyes (cf. II Cor. 9:6-8). While few of us are rich, all of us can participate in good works of this sort in some measure.
This then opens up a wide field in the category of good works, for we can give our time, our talent, and our efforts to the Lord’s work as well as our finances, and there are innumerable ways we can “do good unto all men, especially…the household of faith” (Gal. 6:10).
For Us All
In time past, rebuilding the temple was a “good work” (Neh. 2:18). Today God’s temple is found in the physical bodies of individual believers (I Cor. 6:19,20), and in the Body of Christ (3:16,17), and so you would think that building up believers and local churches would be good works today. If ministering to the physical body of the Lord was considered a “good work” (Matt. 26:6-10), surely ministering to the Body of Christ would be as well. If the Lord defined “good works” as feeding the multitudes, opening the eyes of the blind, and helping the lame to walk (John 10:32), then surely “to feed the church of God” (Acts 20:28) by opening the eyes of their understanding (Eph. 1:18) so they can “walk worthy” of their vocation (Eph. 4:1) would be good works as well.
Since “all Scripture” is given that we might be “throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16,17), then the reproof, correction and instruction of the saints mentioned here must also be considered “good works.” Of course, it goes without saying that “if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (I Tim. 3:1). In this passage, Paul is talking about the qualifications of a spiritual leader. Thus if a man is interested in doing good works, we believe the pastoral ministry tops the list of good works in which he can engage for the Lord.
So how about it, Christian friend? Are you walking in the good works you were created to walk in? It is your only hope of a happy, fulfilling Christian life. No creature of God is happy unless he is doing what he was created to do. Birds were created to fly, horses were created to run, and neither are happy when kept from doing what they were created to do. Your only hope for a truly satisfying Christian life is to be “fruitful in every good work” (Col. 1:10)! What’s more, it is the only way to please the One “who gave Himself for us, that He might…purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14).
3:1-3 As Paul begins to close out this letter of joy and rejoicing, he tells the saints to watch out for the "legalizers" calling them dogs (one with an impure mind; impudent) and evil workers. He refers to them sarcastically as "mutilators" which is a play on the word circumcision (a more precise cut).
3:4 Paul reminds his readers about the rejoicing of being in Christ Jesus having no confidence in the flesh as these evil workers would have the Philippian saints do.
3:5-6 The apostle then gives his own personal testimony of self-righteousness backed by his detailed qualfications including his lineage.
Although I cannot do this justice without doing a complete verse-by-verse through the rest of chapter three, Paul tells the saints that he counts all things but dung for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus Our Lord.
So my friends, we do not have to "force" our rejoicing or thankfulness as we have much to be grateful for. I challenge readers to think on these things and maybe even find other verses that contain similar words that would be edifying to your life as we give thanks to God through Christ Jesus Our Lord.
The Operation of God The Holy Spirit at Pentecost
1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, 2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: 3 To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God: 4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. - Acts 1:1-5
The Book of Acts accounted for over 120 disciples in the Upper Room. When compared with believers in God's past dealings with mankind, this group had been much like other's in this way; they had not all been equally spiritual or devoted, or faithful. Some certainly could have been more so than others, and where some had excelled in one virtue, others had excelled in another ways or in other gifts. However, the bible tells us now they were all FILLED with the Spirit, from the least to the greatest of them.
Why were all these believers now filled with the Holy Spirit? Was it, perhaps, because they, as a group, had been more godly than those before them? The gospel records prove this is not the case. Peter boasted, Thomas doubted, "Sons of Thunder" James and John sought personal gain, and when our Lord was taken prisoner, scripture tells us that “they ALL forsook Him and fled...”
Was it then because they had prayed long enough or earnestly enough for the Spirit to come upon them and take control? No way; for they had been instructed to go to Jerusalem, not to pray for the Holy Spirit to come, as some suppose, but instead they were to “wait for the fulfillment of the promise” regarding the Spirit (Acts 1: 4,5) — and right here is the answer to our question.
The believers at Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit, not because they had prayed long or earnestly enough for the Spirit to come, but because the time had arrived for the fulfillment of the divine promise. The Old Testament prophets and the Lord Jesus had promised that the Holy Spirit should some day come to take control of God’s people (Ezek. 36:26,27), and that day had come. They were filled with the Spirit because God, according to His promise, had baptized them with the Spirit (Acts 1:5).
As I read the above passages and ponder on the operation of God The Holy Spirit, I am thankful how blessed believers are today under God's special dispensing of grace!
Romans 8 is one chapter that comes to mind where a believer can reflect on the blessings he gives us:
No condemnation 8:1
Freedom from the law of sin and death 8:2
Righteousness of the law 8:4
Agreement & harmony 8:5,6
Peace with God (God is pleased with us) 8:8,9
Life because of righteousness 8:10
The increase of life (literally reserrection power) 8:11
Adopted sons of God 8:14,15
He is the witness to our rational human spirit 8:16
Friends , although these are a few I hope you find them to be a blessing to you in your walk with Jesus Christ.
Unanswered prayer and the secret of contentment.
Paul writes in Philippians 4:12-13
"I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want I can do everything through Him who gives me strength."
How did he learn the secret of contentment? Of being content even when "hungry" or "in want"?
It went back a number of years to an experience that he tells about in 2 Corinthians 12:7-8 when he had a need in his life. He pleaded with the Lord three times to remove that thorn in his flesh.
And the Lord's answer was ... No!
Instead of taking away Paul's problem, as Paul had prayed, the Lord said to him, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."
So Paul then says, "That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Corinthians 12:9).
In the administration of God's grace that the Lord Jesus revealed to the Apostle Paul, He does not promise to fix all our problems. There is no promise like in the gospels where the Lord promised Israel that "whatever you ask in faith you shall receive."
Read through all of Paul's letters where he writes about the administration of God's grace that the Lord Jesus revealed to him for us today, and you never read a promise like 'whatever you ask in faith you'll receive.' Here is the answer to the problem of unanswered prayers today. Claiming a promise that wasn't made to us.
Today, under grace, we have the promise of "grace and power" (2 Corinthians 12:8) sufficient for any problem in our lives, and the Lord Jesus wants us to learn this secret of contentment. Not that He will fix all our problems or "move all our mountains" out of our way, no matter how much faith we may have, but that He is our strength.
"I can do everything through Christ who constantly strengthens me!" Have you learned the secret? Do you know God's Grace For Today?
2 Corinthians 5:18-21
This Issue's Topic:
Who is really responsible for making "the mystery" still a mystery to the Body of Christ ?
But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. - 2 Corinthians 11:3
After giving this topic much consideration, I thought long and hard about the origination of the Adversary’s plan of evil in regards to who is most at fault.
While still understanding that the Adversary has successfully made "the mystery" a mystery to man, I pondered is it Satan and his deceptiveness or is it man? Who then is truly responsible for making "the mystery of the revelation of God" a mystery to the Body of Christ? As “free-will-agents” and stewards or managers of God, I have no right to blame anyone other than the man in the mirror!
Concerning sin, the bible tells us in 1 John :
1 John 2:16 - For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
The bible shows us that "lust" is used 43 times in 41 verses in the New Testament alone. We also know that mankind is more apt to be drawn to what pleases his fleshly desires. For some reason, this facet of our sin nature is not regarded when we think about personal bible study. We must all realize that even when we desire to study the bible, we are more drawn to embrace "what man says God said" rather than embracing what God says about man! When I read verses like the above passages and read about the failures of man in the Old Testament, the blame and fault always points to mankind.
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. - 2 Timothy 4:3,4
And I am sorry to say friends, that fact incriminates both you and me! With this being said, what has made the Devil so effective in making God’s dispensing of grace the “worst kept secret”? First as a believer, you should ask yourself the question; “How could the Adversary do any damage to me while knowing that I am already spiritually and physically destined for heaven?” He can damage us by convincing us to think something other than what we ought to think about ourselves and our relationship with Jesus Christ! You see, that my friend is where all of the attacks are focused on. It’s as obvious as successfully convincing a world-class weightlifter that they are as weak as a mouse! In a similar fashion, The Devil has successfully convinced believers that he himself is more powerful (and active) than God. He has done this through false teachers (angels of light) and through those who would not take the time to accurately study scripture as an approved apprentice for God. Secondly, man in his depravity, still wants to help God. Man still wants to be able to resurrect what the bible calls “the old man” while cleaning him up, shaving him, dressing him, sending him to church and assuring that he’ll be ready for the world. This is all fine and good except there is no mention of the Holy Spirit’s leading and pointing to the sufficiency of Christ to accomplish all these wonderful things! Men will then build big churches, corner the market on God and set the standard of salvation and service beyond what he himself is capable of achieving. This is also called religion. In churches across the land today, service, entertainment, public speaking, excessive music or long-winded, pious prayers take center stage versus sound biblical, doctrinal teaching according to the revelation of the mystery, also known as the gospel of the grace of God.
All of man’s attempts to please God actually do more to please himself and those around him. Being center stage is man’s biggest and most important accomplishment. Getting recognition and improving self-esteem are more important than getting approval from God. These truths do not absolve each believer as we are all individually accountable for what we learn and what we teach our loved ones (1 Corinthians 4). We have no right to stand before God to say, I really never understood about grace. Paul went on to say that it is us, who would be teaching angels about grace! How could God expect us to teach angels if He thought we would be incapable of understanding how He is dealing with us today?!?
Friends, I am not talking about salvation. This should be a done-deal for the believer. I am talking about the abundance and riches of God’s grace available to us after salvation for it is at this point where the Body of Christ has failed so miserably! In a practical sense, imagine a large line dividing a person from death and hell and the blissfulness of Jesus Christ and His heavenly kingdom.
Once a person repents (CHANGES HIS OR HER MIND, NOT CONDUCT) and takes God the Father at His word concerning the accomplishments of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, resurrection and his glorious justification on our behalf for their sins, God the Holy Spirit indwells and permanently resides with that person FOREVER. That person, figuratively for this illustration, crosses the line from death to hell. Unfortunately, for most Christians after they believe, they cross the line into life and that’s where they stay, right next to that imaginary line while forsaking the riches of God’s grace and the liberty that is in Christ!