Where is the Kingdom of GOD?

Jesus Christ told the Pharisees long ago that the Kingdom of GOD comes not by observation, but that it is within you (Luke 17:20-21). What this does NOT mean is that the Kingdom of GOD is literally inside of you. What this DOES mean is that the Kingdom of GOD starts inside of you. Flesh and bone cannot inherit the Kingdom of GOD, because His Kingdom is incompatible with sin. However, His Spirit, which if you are elect, was placed within us before the world even came to be. We were all predestined by His Power.

Since the physical body cannot accept the Kingdom of GOD, then it is reasonable to say that: Our spirit is the receiver of the Kingdom of GOD – as in, it is a gift of GOD – and that gift is Eternal Life through Jesus Christ (No one comes to GOD, but by Jesus Christ). When His Spirit works with our spirit, our soul experiences miraculous things. When the physical body fails to operate, our soul and spirit ascend to Heaven where GOD appoints the elect spirit/soul to a new body (physically immortal).

We are made in the image of GOD, and became a son of GOD when we were elected to be with Him eternally (John 1:12-13).

The prophet known as Joel knew revival was coming

Joel said he was the son of Pethuel. Otherwise, he was a native to Jerusalem. He was a pious, godly, courageous preacher who came in the hour of opportunity to deliver a powerful Message from Yahweh to His People. He may have been a priest. His preaching centered generally on repentance of God’s People! Joel is known as The Prophet of Revival or Pentecost. The key Scripture is Joel 2:28-32, because a prophecy is given that God will pour out His Spirit on all flesh…to which, we see come in Acts 2 – and I’m glad for this, because it is because of this whole deal that we have His Spirit within us, and are able to also minister His Spirit unto others.

The burden of Joel’s Message is a certain fearful time of judgment which he mentions five times in three chapters – and refers to “the Day of the Lord.” The Key Verse helps explain it, “Alas for the day! for the day of the Lord is at hand…” This day is yet to come and will begin with the removal of the Church, as the Lord will judge and interfere in the course of world politics. Joel points out God’s dealing with people as the outcome of their own spiritual condition. Genuine repentance is at the foundation of real revivals, and this was Joel’s burden as he labored to produce revival. He cries out in 2:13, “Rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God; for he gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness.” A rent heart is followed by a rent veil, and access to God and Pentecostal Blessing follow true repentance.

Joel’s message contains the greatest description in literature of a locust devastation, but it also points out the invasion of locusts was only a type of another horrible invasion which was in swarms of heathen invasion in that day and will be further fulfilled in the last days or the days to come. He is scared for what may happen. His heart holds dear the people and his mind is in fear.

The Apostle Peter uses the passage Joel 2:28-32 as a powerful productive sermon on “The Day of Pentecost,” which was fulfilled gloriously in the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon those exercising true repentance and faith unto Salvation. We see Peter’s Message in Acts 2:16-21, “But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

The instructions and background of this book

There is a plague, to begin with, that many older people don’t remember. The whole countryside is bare, and Joel tells the people to tell the story of this to their children and grandchildren. Those that have lived greedily are punished, and they will no longer be drunk with wine, because the vineyards have been destroyed. The people are mourning in misery, especially because of the destruction and that the crops have fallen into ruin. Joel reveals the plague was no accident, but that it is a disaster/judgment from God, to which, the priests must now lead the nation in repentance.

Joel now sees a picture of the swarms coming and compares them to an enemy army. The locusts quickly consume farmlands and the people are helpless. The locusts turn toward Jerusalem in attack, and they swarm the cities and through houses. The clouds of insects brought darkness and made it clear that God’s judgment has come. God sent the judgment so that people would come to a genuine repentance. In repenting, God would restore their vineyards, and they will be able to worship Him again with their offerings. A trumpet is blown calling the people to the Temple to fast and mourn. God then accepts the people’s repentance and promises removal of locusts. Good harvests are to follow and will compensate for all losses. This should bring people into the knowledge of God better, and give people hope for a better future.

People naturally come to God in calamity and then turn away when things are great. Joel hopes that one day God will give His Spirit to each person, not just a few that do His tasks or other purposes and special occasions. This locust plague is only a picture of the last great judgment awaiting the people, to which, believers will be saved but sinners perish. Joel then pictures enemy nations gathering for a final attack to Jerusalem, but these nations don’t know that God brought them together, and He is going to execute judgment upon them for their crimes against Judah. The nations are guilty, wickedness is great, and therefore, they must die. The time of its occurrence is also the time of deliverance of Jerusalem, to which God protects His People.

His prophecy of restoration to Israel

Joel 3:16-17, “The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. So shall ye know that I am the LORD your God dwelling in Zion, my holy mountain: then shall Jerusalem be holy, and there shall no strangers pass through her any more.”

The Day of Darkness

Joel pictures the swarms of locusts as a person sees them in Jerusalem, and compares them to an enemy army. The swarms are so thick that they look like black clouds as they sweep over the mountains and farmlands. It appears that the swarm comes quickly like an uncontrollable bushfire and devours farmlands to barrenness. The locusts turn their sights to Jerusalem, attacking them in a cloud so thick that it blots out the sun and demonstrates to people that God’s judgment is upon them. This day was a day of darkness upon the people due to so much swarm of locusts.

Lessons Joel tries to express to all people

  1. Trials and other issues help to turn us back to God and prepare our minds to hear Him.
  2. Judgment day can mean either fear or glory depending on the attitude of our hearts.
  3. National calamities call for a nationwide prayer and repentance.
  4. God has blessings for those that yield their heart unto Him!
  5. You can either abide in Him or abide in the world – and either one will have to be the choice and not both. We are called to abide in Him only, for this will bring true repentance of heart. God knows us very well and understands the things that we do. He hopes that we will realize it and repent of our wrong.

Why Jesus Christ is God | Bible verses

There are many religions, cults, and other organizations (including books and other media) that say that Jesus Christ is not God, but they do not provide enough credible evidence. Apparently, about 30% of US Christian people say that Jesus is not God. However, we can, as Christians, prove that Jesus Christ is God, and the Bible along with historical/archaeological finds can help.

Jesus Christ is the Word and created the earth:

John 1:1 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:14 – And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 10:30 – I and my Father are one.

John 20:28 – And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.

John 8:58 – Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. (This references back to when God first said that He is called “I AM” in Exodus 3:14.

Jesus was to come upon the earth as an inhabitant inside of a man vessel, but still be fully God:

Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

Other info:

Acts 20:28 – Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Titus 2:13 – Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 1:1 – Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 1:8 – But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Jesus receives worship in the following verses, but did not tell anyone not to worship Him: Matthew 2:11; 14:33; 28:9, 17; Luke 24:52; John 9:38

If He were not God, the sacrifice for sins would not be possible (1 John 2:2). Only God could take on the sins of the entire world (2 Corinthians 5:21).

No fear in love; We Christians are sons of God | 1 John commentary

This first letter of John’s, written between 85-95 A.D., is one of a few letters by the apostle John. Overall, there are no greetings in this book, so it is unclear as to who this letter is addressed – however, we can safely assume he is addressing Christians, nonetheless. John presents a defensive against false teaching. He does this by instructing truth and righteousness.

John begins the letter by talking about the Word of Life being made to manifest eternal life into God’s people. He also explains, “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” He first addresses an issue in verse 8, where he says, “if we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” He goes on to say, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Next, John declares that Jesus Christ is our advocate, and that we should keep His commandments. That is, we should love one another, but not the world. We should not love the world, because the spirit of the antichrist dwells in the world. John warns the audience of those who deny the Son, Jesus Christ, and for His people to not be ashamed before Him at His coming.

Now, in chapter three, John puts out a couple ways Christians can classify themselves as children. To be children of God, it is important to be saved, as His people are under the “Spirit of adoption,” according to Romans 8:15. Also, in Romans 8:16, it says “the spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” After this, John identifies the children of Satan as those who disobey or transgress the law. It says in verse 8 that those who commit sin are of the devil, since the devil sinned from the beginning. The Father sent the Son to destroy the works of the devil. Now, John speaks again of the children of God and who they are. They are ones who practice righteousness, do not commit sin, and that they love one another.

Next, we learn several valuable things from John. One of them is that if you hate your brother, you’re a murderer – and no murderer has eternal life. In addition, whatever we ask, we shall receive from Him, because of keeping His commandments. We learn in the next chapter that “greater is He that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Next, John instructs that love be of God, because God is love. If we love on another, God dwells in us. We learn several other things about love. “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear” (4:18a). We learn throughout 1 John that God loved us before we loved Him. Also, that it’s because God loved us that we love Him.

In chapter five, John instructs about faith being so important, that the victory we have being born of God, we use to overcome the world by faith. It is because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we overcome the world. John acknowledges the trinity in verse 7 and 8, before stating that we have life through God’s Son. John then declares why he wrote this letter in verse 13, “that ye may know that ye have eternal life.” He then gives his audience assurance that “if we ask anything according to His Will, He heareth us.”

John then gives his final testimonies and instructions. We can be sure that we are of God, and we know the Son of God is come and given us understanding that we are in Him. He testifies in 5:20b, “this is the true God, and eternal life.” His final warning is to “keep yourselves from idols.” A lot of what John was hitting at is that the world is a slave to evil and wickedness, and that we must remain in Him, if we have hopes of surviving spiritually and being children of God.

Lessons and other notes from John

In the opening words, John states certain facts about Christ that are good to know: He is the eternal God who became a real man through incarnation. John mentions that few have seen Him, heard Him, or touched Him. He explains what God is like, as it pertains to His incarnation as Jesus Christ, that He is light, which means He is holy, true, pure, and glorious. Darkness cannot co-exist with light, so there is no darkness in God. People can enjoy fellowship with God, who is perfectly holy in every way!

John mentions it, so people can know God’s majesty (for John experienced it firsthand and just cannot get enough of it – he’s in so much awe that he talks about it a lot), and that people will stop misunderstanding Jesus as a false one and stop misunderstanding God as a hateful, angry God. God is impressing upon people to live good lives, and loves people much. He gives assurance of forgiveness, and John wants them to know that. John is the best one to give us a great example of who God is, which repeats after Jesus – not because Jesus was unsuccessful, it’s just people didn’t accept Christ very well. However, Jesus was intentional on giving us a good picture of who the Father was, what He was like, etc. so people would quit misunderstanding Him. John continued this, and kept proclaiming God’s Love and Kingdom so that people would understand and know that His Holiness can be imputed upon us and give us a new hope and outlook on a life of love.

The anointing that we have received of Him abides in us! The indwelling Spirit confirms the truth of Christ to us – for we know that the Spirit bears witness of Christ (1 John 5:6). Believers will learn then to reject teaching of the deceivers, and know that they have been taught, therefore, they do not need any new (false) teachers to come and give them anymore teaching (albeit false). He teaches us all things and we don’t have a thing to worry about. John is telling us that all that we need to know is in the writings of the past, and that no further things are necessary to teach us. He believes it is sufficient that the Spirit leads us into all truth as it was said to be doing anyway!

The reality and mystery of deity robed in flesh: This is God incarnate as the person of Jesus Christ – to which, we have fellowship and relationship with the Father. We see in 1 John 1:2 this explained, “For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us.”

How to test spirits to see if they are of God:

  • Try the spirits whether they are of God
  • Know the Spirit of God. Every spirit that confesses Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God
  • Every spirit that doesn’t confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is NOT of God!
  • He that knows God hears us. He that doesn’t know Him doesn’t hear us

It seems also that there are many evil spirits that attempt to influence us with lies about our faith, and telling us that we aren’t good enough for God. People teach wrongly about Christ, however, we don’t have to worry, because God’s Spirit is in us and will lead us into all truth. God’s People would rather listen to His Truth!

The dividing wall between Jews & Gentiles: The wall of partition has always been the “wall” between Jews and Gentiles – which still ‘seems’ prevalent today. In Christ, however, there is no longer a distinction between Jews and Gentiles, for all who believe are God’s People. All have equal status, and the New Temple is where all of our spirits dwell. It is built around and built into Christ, and therefore, there is no wall to Jesus, even if people define a wall.

What about those false teachers? The false teachers claim that knowledge is all-important, and that behavior doesn’t matter. John, however, contradicts this, point out that sinning breaks God’s Law. If people deliberately sin, they don’t know God, nor do they know Christ who takes away sin. John is not saying that Christians cannot sin; however, they should not sin as they like. There are many failures and mistakes, but sinning habitually should not occur. The behavior of people shows whether they belong to Christ or to the world/evil. You cannot belong to both, because they are opposed to each other. If you are a true Christian, you will have divine power that will fight evil so you don’t sin. Therefore, the admonition given is to stop the sin.

False teachers were everywhere creating problems, and this didn’t help, because people did not feel free to learn. John had to give them plenty of admonition to reject false teachings and know whether the spirits are of God or not. True Christians are self-disciplined (keeping away from sin) and obedient to God’s commands. His way of taking us on a journey to remind us of the love of God through living in the light, knowing the enemies of Christ, living a life of love overall, and the assurance of eternal life helped me a lot to understand the beautiful depth of the Lord’s Love!

Explanatory guide to the Gifts of the Holy Spirit

The first place in Scripture to see the existence of the Holy Spirit is in Genesis 1:1-2, where we see God speaking in the midst of the Spirit, who was present at the beginning of time. The usage of Spirit as it moved in Genesis 1:1-2 is “rachaph,” which means “to brood over.” The Holy Spirit brooded over and around God’s men and women. The usage of Ghost as it moved in 2 Peter 1:21 is “phero,” which means “to bear, bring forth, or carry.” I believe this New Testament usage means that the Holy Ghost carries, bears, and brings forth The Word of God, who is Christ.

An important prophecy: Joel 2:28-29 says, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.”

In life, you must find the fullness of the Holy Ghost, we follow Jeremiah 29:13, “And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.” Jesus called the Holy Spirit/Ghost four different titles, which include “Comforter,” “Teacher,” “Spirit of Truth,” and “Convictor.” The Holy Spirit comes and comforts me all the time, helping me through daily trials and teaching me about God’s Love. Whenever I hear lies, I consult the Lord, and He allows the Spirit of Truth to come and comfort me and tell me good things to build me back up. When I do wrong, He convicts me and tells me what I should be doing instead that would bring Him greater joy.

Jesus said that the Holy Ghost would come in power, as we see in Acts 1:8, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” We see the first time the Holy Ghost comes upon someone is in Jesus’ baptism, as we see in Matthew 3:16-17, “and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove…” Who shall receive it? To everyone, as we see in Acts 2:39, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

Personal benefits of the receiving of the baptism of the Holy Ghost include communication in worship, which involves praying directly to God in the Spirit. You also gain spiritual strength, which comes by knowing you’re a child of God. Intercessory prayer is also a benefit, which allows you to pray in a supernatural way so that the Spirit will pray through us the Will of God. It allows us also to have the mind of Christ when we pray. Another benefit is the boldness or spiritual power we gain, along with rest and refreshment. Another good benefit would be protection from the enemy, for we need protection from all forms of evil. We pray in the perfectness of the Spirit, which is in truth, and since the devil is a liar, we triumph over him with truth!

Spiritual gifts begin with the impartation of the Holy Ghost, so once you have received the Holy Ghost, you already have the start of them. Over time, you’ll understand each spiritual gift and be able to use them as the Holy Ghost helps. “The “Manifestation” of the Holy Spirit/Ghost is the VISIBLE evidence of Him dwelling with us – speaking in an unknown tongue.”

The nine types of “Manifestations,” which are found in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, include, The Word of Wisdom, The Word of Knowledge, Faith, Gifts of Healing, Working of miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of spirits, Divers kinds of tongues, and Interpretation of tongues. If an individual speaks in tongues in the Church in a solo manner, it is called, “a message in tongues,” and is in order if it is interpreted. An “interpretation,” involves making the meaning of the message in tongues known. Tongues used in our personal prayer life are for strengthening, empowering, edifying, and building up the Spirit within us. Tongues are a “sign” for the unbeliever, actually, as we see in 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.”

The fruit of the Holy Spirit is a part of our salvation, which helps us in our everyday activities – including troubles and trials. Love is the first fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the most important, because everything must be done in love. Everything and everyone is rooted in love, and also God is Love. Everything that comes from God is rooted in Love! We see in 1 Corinthians 13 why love is the most important, especially the first few verses, “1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

Now, we read what the fruit of the Spirit is in Galatians 5:22-23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” They are listed: -Peace -Joy -Longsuffering -Gentleness -Goodness -Faith -Meekness -Temperance.

Before we get too far, let’s answer contradictions:

“Doesn’t the Bible say, “Tongues shall cease?”” – This would be a true statement based upon 1 Corinthians 13:12, where it says, “…then shall I know even as also I am known.” This refers to eternity, when we have entered into Heaven. With this, we would be known by each other and will know all things. This would be the perfect state, a more all-knowing position, because we would be like Him.

“I can’t find in Scripture where Jesus spoke in an unknown tongue” – This is because all tongues were known to Him, for He knew all things. He was given dominion and glory, and a kingdom that all languages should serve Him.

“The Baptism of the Holy Ghost was just for the early Church” – Acts 2:39 says, “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” Ephesians 3:6 says, “That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”

“Tongues are of the devil” – This is not supported by Scripture or by experience. If it were true, the devil would use tongues, in opposition to Jesus, to curse Him. However, the Scriptures tell us this is impossible, and also the satan and his demons cannot understand tongues, as only the Holy Ghost has the gift of true interpretation.

“Tongues are the least of the Gifts” – Paul stresses the importance of sharing the Word, but he doesn’t demean the gift of tongues. His examples are in 1 Corinthians 14:5, 18, 39. In these verses, he says things such as, “I speak with tongues more than ye all…forbid not to speak with tongues…”

“It is emotionalism” – Emotion is very important, for God gave emotions to us. Love is the greatest of emotions. We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, and mind. We even see Jesus have many emotions, as we see in Scripture.

“Sure tongues are Scriptural, but I don’t need them for assurance that I have the Holy Spirit/Ghost” – he one manifestation that had satisfied the apostles and other disciples that a person had received the Baptism was speaking in an unknown tongue. Paul felt that praying in an unknown tongue had went far beyond an assurance of having receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is a need in our lives. He will strengthen us.

More Gifts of the Spirit

The Word of Wisdom: This is a portion of the infinite Wisdom of God, made known through the instrumentality of a believer. Jesus promised His followers in Luke 21:15 that He would give them a mouth and wisdom, which adversaries can’t gainsay or resist. The reason for this is in Luke 12:12, where we see that the Holy Ghost shall teach what is needed to say.

The Word of Knowledge: This is the revelation of facts that an individual didn’t know beforehand. The Bible contains numerous examples where men received knowledge of facts that could only have come from a supernatural bestowing. We see much foreshadowing of this gift in the Old Testament, and see Jesus display this gift in His Earthly ministry. We see it was used many times in the early Church.

The Discerning of Spirits: This allows people to know if something is divine or not, but it is not a judgmental, nor a faultfinder. One example is seeing a wrong spirit in someone. The danger of deceiving spirits prior to the return of the Lord were increasingly great. We know through this gift which spirit is at work.

Faith: This gift is necessary to the operation of the Gifts of Healing and the working of Miracles. It is a gift of the Spirit, and we all have a measure of it. However, it is a special power given for special occasion.

The Working of Miracles: This is a gift of power, which cannot be comprehended by humanity, for a miracle is an event or effect in the physical world that deviates from the known laws of nature, or transcending our knowledge of those laws. God uses those humble enough for this gift to work miracles upon people.

Gifts of Healing: In His Church, there is the potential for healing the sick, and the purpose of these gifts is to relieve the suffering of the sick.

Prophecy: 1 Corinthians 14:22, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.” Prophesying involves making known a future event that is to help build up the Church, so that the Church can prepare.

Divers kinds of Tongues: Tongues used in our personal prayer life are for strengthening, empowering, edifying, and building up the Spirit within us.

Interpretation of Tongues: If an individual speaks in tongues in the Church in a solo manner, it is called, “a message in tongues,” and is in order if it is interpreted. An “interpretation,” involves making the meaning of the message in tongues known.

Sins of the Spirit

Blasphemy is to utter abusive words against the Holy Spirit and to reject His conviction power of warning about your sins. (See more of the blasphemy of the Holy Ghost)

Believers can also sin against the Holy Ghost, though their sins are of a different nature. It grieves the Holy Spirit when we do something that brings a wrong reflection on the honor of God or Jesus, or when we are involved in things or conversations that harm our spiritual life. We would quench the Holy Spirit by being reserved or stifling His ability to move upon our lives. Quenching implies the illustration of fire, to which a fire is put out by taking away the fuel or by suffocation. When the Spirit finds no fuel of consecration and no atmosphere of prayer, worship, and praise, He cannot work for the fire goes out. The Holy Ghost came as tongues of fire and therefore wants our fuel.

Gifts of Ministry (Romans 12:3-8)

Teaching: The Holy Spirit will be my guide in wisdom so that I can understand the Bible more, and then distribute my knowledge out to people the same way He helped me.

Exhorting: He will help me proclaim the things of the Lord by instructing me, and providing me maybe Word of Wisdom or Word of Knowledge, for example, so I may exhort another.

Ruling: He will give us wisdom based on how His Kingdom is run, because He is interested in making things better through us.

Giving: We shall give with simplicity and as the Lord leads us to do so. He will direct us in how we give.

Showing mercy: He is gentle with us, and He teaches us to be gentle with others; therefore, showing mercy to them and helping them.

Helps: This allows us to learn hospitality from the way that Jesus may have been, or He will lead us on how to be hospitable to people better.

More Spiritual benefits

The Holy Ghost helps us pray as we see in Romans 8:26-27, by making intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. The intercession He makes for us is according to the Will of God, therefore, when we pray in tongues, it will be translated to God through His Will. When we pray to the Will of God, our prayers are much more effective!

The Holy Ghost is used as an instrument in praise and worship through praying, adoring, singing, and making melody in our hearts as we speak or sing to the Lord. Those that speak in unknown tongues speak not to men but unto God, as we see in 1 Corinthians 14:2.

The Sword of the Spirit is the word of God, as we see in Ephesians 6:17, “And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

Paul warns the Church at Thessalonica of the Return of Jesus Christ | 1 Thessalonians commentary

On his second missionary journey (which we also see a lot of info in Acts 15-18 about it), Paul entered Europe for the first time when he went to Macedonia. The first churches that he established were in Philippi and Thessalonica. Paul wrote this first letter to the Thessalonian people only a few months after the establishment of the Church. Paul is glad of their development of character and the faith, love, and endurance that can be clearly seen. They have proved themselves to be God’s People. They look forward to the climax of their salvation at the return of Jesus Christ.

Paul admits that he preached so boldly that he endured bodily harm, but he didn’t want praise nor money. Therefore, he gave to them to help them. He worked at tent making to make an income for himself. Otherwise, he did his preaching as he could. He only wanted to bring God glory.

The Thessalonians knew they had a Word from God, and that Paul is who he said he is. The Jews were trying to prevent the message of Jesus from reaching the Gentiles, but all the while, they were preparing a big divine judgment unto themselves. Paul faced many difficulties, trials, etc. through trying to preach to the Gentiles, however, he desires to revisit them soon, and talks about how well they have progressed in their faith and love. He seems overjoyed about the love they’ve cultivated.

He talks to them about marriage and work, but they don’t need to be overly dependent on each other, but rather, be ready to help others. Faults must be corrected so that they can continue as a church, and so they don’t have non-Christians criticizing them. After this starts the info about the Return of Christ. Some were worried that those who’ve died would not experience Christ’s Return, and therefore, they want people that are alive to join them, so together, they could meet Christ.

Paul said that no one knows when He will return, however, He will come unexpectedly as a thief would. He talks more about what Christ will do once He arrives, and told them to be self-controlled, strong in faith and love, and be confident in their salvation. Having unity with Christ means that they would escape wrath and enjoy Salvation to its fullest. They need to live in a way that is pleasing to God and one that encourages others.

Lastly, he sees minor difficulties have occurred, and Church leaders had the responsibility to solve such problems. Paul reminds the members to respect those who are in leadership and don’t be offended when they need to correct you. All Christians should be helpful, joyful, prayerful, and thankful. God alone can give strength to put this advice into practice, and that God wants His People to constantly progress toward greater holiness. Paul ends it by telling them to read the letter to the Church to full understanding.

Teaching Peter a lesson | Acts 10

Scripture: Acts chapter 10

Commentary: God wanted to teach Peter a lesson, so He gave him a vision to show him that the old Jewish food laws were of no use any further, and there was no distinction between the two. Therefore, Peter was free to eat all foods. God tells him to go to Caesarea to meet with Cornelius. He compared the issues of clean and unclean foods with the way that people are – that they are clean and shall not be called unclean. Peter then summarizes the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, and then concluded by repeating that forgiveness was available to people of any nationality. Cornelius and his household then received the gift of the Holy Ghost from God. Peter then saw that He clearly accepts Gentiles, and was also willing to baptize them.

Acts 10:38, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”

Peter is in prayer on the housetop and becomes hungry – and then falls into a trance. A sheet knit at four corners was let down from Heaven containing every kind of beast, bird, and more – Clean and unclean (four footed animals, wild beasts, creeping things and fowls of the air). A voice speaks to Peter; “arise, kill, and eat.” Peter replied, “Not, so Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.” This happens once and twice more. The next time the Lord speaks to Peter, he says, “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” Upon the third time, the sheet is received back into Heaven. Peter mused upon this with some doubt, Scripture tells us that behold, the messengers that Cornelius were not at the gate. While Peter thought on the vision, he was told by the Spirit, “Behold three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.”

Cornelius’ messengers arrive, and Peter invites them into the house and suggests that they spend the night and in the morning, he will go with them. Meanwhile, Cornelius has called in his friends and a kindred with great anticipation of Peter’s coming. Peter takes a trip to Caesarea, and reluctantly enters the house of Cornelius. Cornelius is quick to fall prostrate before him. He has been brought up in a pagan culture and did not know any better. Peter responded by lifting him up and speaking to him; “Stand up, I myself also am a man” meaning I am not a god to be worshipped. Peter already knew why they had sent for him – for “God had showed him.” He was not to call any man common or unclean. Peter asks what Cornelius’ intent was in sending for him then.

This time of the Holy Ghost falling upon the Gentiles was their own “Gentiles Pentecost” – Peter and his men are astonished, that the Gentiles also receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost. They speak with other tongues just as it was in the Upper Room experience on the Day of Pentecost – to which, they praise God. God would save them and baptize the Gentiles in the Holy Ghost.

Christians driven from Jerusalem; so many conversions | Acts 8

Scripture: Acts 8

Commentary: Part 1 (verses 1-3) starts when Christians are driven out of Jerusalem. With the killing of Stephen, persecution broke out against the Christians in Jerusalem. The Pharisees did not favor the Christians anymore, and Saul led the persecution. The Christians were attacked, imprisoned, or driven violently from the city, but they did not deny their faith. They went to the Temple daily before, however, they saw now the truth of Stephen’s teachings, and were prepared to suffer because of it. Only the Hellenist/Grecian Christians were driven away from the city. The other ones (probably the Aramaic speaking ones) were allowed to stay. This would only make Church growth more difficult.

Part 2 (verses 4-25) speaks about Philip, the Grecian/Hellenist, who appeared to have been the first one to teach or preach in Samaria. Because of his preaching and miraculous works, many Samaritans believed and were baptized. Simon, the local mage/magician, was quite impressed that he was baptized, as well. He did this to learn the secret of Philip’s power. When the Apostles in Jerusalem heard of so many conversions in Samaria, they had sent Peter and John to Samaria to pray that the Samaritans would receive the Holy Ghost. Apparently, the Samaritans did not receive the Spirit immediately on belief in God is because God probably wanted the Apostles to be convinced that the Samaritan believers shared similar privileges as Jewish believers. There was quite a hostility between the Jews and Samaritans, and therefore, they did not want that carried over into the Church. God demonstrated publicly then that the Samaritans were accepted into the Church, by using the Apostles to administer the Holy Ghost unto the Samaritans.

Part 3 (verses 26-40) talks about Christianity’s introduction into Philistia, to which, from Samaria, Philip headed south toward Philistia. On the way there, he had met another non-Jew who liked his preaching. The one who liked his preaching was a government official from Ethiopia, who was already a studious one on God. When Philip had explained the Scriptures to him, the man learned about Jesus’ death, and then became a believer receiving baptism also. He was overjoyed and continued to journey home; probably talking about Jesus along the way. Philip preached around the area of Philistia, and then moved north until he arrived in Caesarea.

“As for Saul…He made havock of the Church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.” This is explained as treating the Christians shamefully, injuring them, take revenge against them as a ferocious animal seeking its prey; dragging them out into the streets wither they be male or female, young or old, and forcing before the magistrates of the land. Romans could put them to death, but the Sanhedrin of which Paul was employed could not imprison them. Some were killed, but only by permission from the Romans. Paul admits his wrongdoing on several occasions.

Philip was one of the Twelve Disciples, and comes forward as the chief witness abroad after the death of Stephen. He journeyed down to Samaria. Revival broke out in Samaria with many miracles, signs and unclean spirits came out, and people with palsies and the lame were healed as well. Great joy came to this city. A Jew was preaching to the Samaritans and racial barriers were removed. In steps Simon the sorcerer/magician, for he used sorcery and bewitched people of Samaria. People gave tribute as if he had great powers of God. Simon decides to convert, however, and as the revival breaks out, they turn from Simon and believe Philip. They are baptized in water, and Simon believes also. Simon was captivated by the miracles and thus he had believed. He followed because of the miracles or magic in that moment. Simon then became baptized and also became a good friend of Philip. He wasn’t truly converted, however, for he wanted to pay for the gift of the Holy Ghost that he might use it for profit and publicity.

It was great to see that the Lord moved so well upon an area, and through time, many things were exposed as working and not working. One thing that obviously didn’t work is trying to buy a free gift, The Holy Ghost – but then to try and use it as profit and publicity was even more crazier. No wonder why it didn’t work.

In Samaria, we see the Holy Ghost being poured out upon people. However, first they were saved, but didn’t receive the Spirit immediately. Apparently, the Samaritans did not receive the Spirit immediately on belief in God is because God probably wanted the Apostles to be convinced that the Samaritan believers shared similar privileges as Jewish believers. There was quite a hostility between the Jews and Samaritans, and therefore, they did not want that carried over into the Church. God demonstrated publicly then that the Samaritans were accepted into the Church, by using the Apostles to administer the Holy Ghost unto the Samaritans.

Deacons being appointed | Acts 6

Scripture: Acts chapter 6

Commentary: There were two types of Jews normally, it seems, ones brought up in Palestine who spoke Aramaic, and ones brought up in other places (such as Jews of the Dispersion) who only spoke Greek. These were known as Hellenists or the Grecians. The Grecians were Hebrews with a background in Greek culture, and speaking Greek.

The Grecians felt neglected and demanded more provisions for their widows; to be equal with the Hebrews or those still following the Mosaic Law. The Apostles were having issues attending to those needs and trying to pray and preach. Therefore, they appointed seven deacons to help out with the everyday tasks (such as attending to the provisions table), while they, the Apostles, could attend more to prayer and preaching.

Qualifications of these deacons include: Men of honest report, Full of the Holy Spirit, Full of wisdom – which is application of spiritual truth, Men of conviction, and Full of faith. The seven deacons were: Stephen, Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas.

The anointing designated these men for office and representation of the corporate body of believers, which was similar to Moses’ anointing to Joshua in Numbers 27: 18-23, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Take thee Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the spirit, and lay thine hand upon him; And set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation; and give him a charge in their sight. And thou shalt put some of thine honour upon him, that all the congregation of the children of Israel may be obedient. And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall ask counsel for him after the judgment of Urim before the LORD: at his word shall they go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he, and all the children of Israel with him, even all the congregation. And Moses did as the LORD commanded him: and he took Joshua, and set him before Eleazar the priest, and before all the congregation: And he laid his hands upon him, and gave him a charge, as the LORD commanded by the hand of Moses.”

Stephen was preaching, and there were a large number of priests (not Sadducees) that bound closely in ties with the Temple. The preaching of Stephen saw those ties break soon, especially the Grecians. Stephen was one of seven men who administered the church’s work, and he was also a prominent preacher and miracle-worker. He saw that Christianity and Judaism couldn’t be together, and therefore, with Jesus’ death and resurrection, Judaism was finished. The Jewish Religious System, along with laws, ceremonies, priests, and the Temple had fulfilled its purpose and should now have something new (Christianity). When the Jews heard Stephen preaching (especially thinking he was preaching against them), they went and reported him to the Sanhedrin for preaching against Judaism. The Sadducees had an accusation that could gain popularity against the Christians, because they knew that the people wouldn’t tolerate his threat to their national religion.

Pentecost in the Bible (meaning) | Acts 2:1

The Bible mentions the day of Pentecost, and therefore, it is good to define what this means. Pentecost is a Greek word meaning “fifty.” Fifty days had elapsed from the Resurrection of Christ until the descent of the Holy Ghost. It comes from the Feast of Weeks mentioned in Leviticus 23:15-16, to which, the people waited fifty days/seven weeks after Passover (in which we commemorate that Christ was sacrificed, for He is the Passover lamb), and then brought a meat offering to the Lord. (It was 40 days from the Resurrection of Jesus Christ until He ascended into Heaven.)

The Day of Pentecost, similar to the Feast of Weeks, would celebrate the first fruits of Christ’s ascending into Heaven, similar to how the Feast of Weeks would celebrate the first fruit of wheat harvest, primarily to thank God for the blessings of the harvest. This was a day the apostles liked to celebrate (Acts 20:16; 1 Corinthians 16:8).