There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Tuesday, November 1, 2022
There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.
Why Know God’s Word?
“Now about the midst of the feast Jesus went up into the temple, and taught. And the Jews marvelled, saying, How knoweth this man letters, having never learned? Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.” John 7:14-16.
Jesus sent with good news and teaching from God the Father, came with such an exemplary attitude. What a wonderful safeguard against going off on some tangent. Here we find the secret of how to avoid teaching error. In other words, “What I teach did not originate with me.” It’s His that sent me. Our religious old nature is so quick to take credit for anything, would like to be provocative, proclaim something new, wow our hearers, get attention, a following.
Verse eighteen gives us a hint as to what is behind the doctrines of men. “He that speaketh of himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him.” John 7:18.
Seeking our own glory, we try to say something strange or different to make a name for ourselves. What should motivate us to know the Word? “If any man will do his will, he shall know the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” John 7:17.
Our Lord is no respecter of persons. There is no excuse for a believer remaining spiritually ignorant. Let us walk in all the truth we have, and we will receive more truth, and in all the light and enjoy more light.
Knowing God’s Word, understanding it’s teaching, or being able to tell others what God’s Word teaches, no matter how much we know or how well we know whatever we know, doesn’t tell the whole story. A willingness to know God’s Word, in order to understand God’s will doesn’t quite get it altogether either.
A willingness to walk in all the will of God, will produce the proper appetite, a deep hunger to take in, and assimilate it into our innermost being. In other words, this wilingness should cause such a craving, longing to have his Word become a part of us, even more…be productive in us for God’s glory. I Thess. 2:13.
Oh, yes, our lives may be conducted in obedience to our Father’s marvelous Word; Rom. 6:17-18, and thus adorn the doctrine. Titus 2:10.
We do well to ask the Lord from the depths of our being to strengthen inwardly, trusting Him to entirely engraft and make effectual His word in us. For we cannot afford to wrestle between His will and ours. It is so good for us to settle it in our hearts, and know without question that our loving Lord’s will for our lives is absolutely the very best.
Gordon Crook, PastorGrace Assembly, Wichita, Kansas
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18
In 1 Corinthians 15 we read about a coming change that will certainly be glorious as we are changed from this mortal to our glorified bodies. This is indeed a change that we anticipate, but often we fail to consider the change God wants to make in us right now.
God is not just in the forgiveness business, He is in the change business. Forgiveness of sins is just the beginning that makes it possible for us to be changed into something more glorious than we can imagine. That change is starting right here in this life, and will certainly culminate in the coming change to our glorified bodies someday.
When we are saved, we are given the Life of Christ and that begins the change in us. “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 5:17. The old creation that we are from birth is changed for a new creation. Only this new creation can be changed from glory to glory.
It was always God’s plan to provide a way that we could share in His glory. “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” Romans 8:29. It was our sin the kept us from sharing in His glory. “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23.
Paul speaks several times about this process, and it is a process. Daily we are in the process of being changed if we yield to the working if the Holy Spirit. “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.” Romans 12:2. The transformation is taking place as we take in the Word of God and allow the Holy Spirit to renew our mind.
Most of what we find in the New Testament is speaking to us about our attitudes. That is, the way we think and react to every aspect of life. The world has a way of thinking about things, and they have a way of reacting to the circumstances of life, and God is wanting to change ours to align with His.
As we take in God’s Word, and are yielding to the Holy Spirit, our thinking is being changed. We may not “look” different to others, but there should be a difference that is noticeable by the people we contact every day. We should be projecting in our attitude, the life of Jesus that is in us. “And have put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:” Colossians 3:10.
Because this is an ongoing process of change (from glory to glory), we must be willing to allow daily work in our lives. Satan is constantly trying to work on your life through the world to keep you in the old mindset of the old creation. If we decide we do not need to take in God’s Word or allow Him to work in our life daily, then we will come more and more under the influence of the world.
We are not capable on our own to change ourselves into that which pleases God and glorifies Him. Only He can do that, and He does that through His Word. “Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” Romans 8:7. “Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of [this] calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of [his] goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12.
These verses clearly tell us that our own effort to change ourselves will not result in the kind of change that God will do. It is true that some people change their attitudes or “improve” themselves in some way, but it is not the same as the change that God is making, because God is changing us in a way that will glorify Him forever. Any change we could make in ourselves, will only result in us glorifying ourselves, as man always wants to do.
Some people are afraid of change, and I admit to not liking change very much when it comes to the things around me, but this change that God is working is always good, and we should not only be OK with it, but should actively seek to have Him change our heart every day from glory to glory.
Diligence to Learn God’s Word
Anita Clark – Pastor Grace Chapel, Carbondale, Kansas
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” II Timothy 2:15.
The Word “study” in this verse of the Bible means “to be diligent; use speed; make effort; or be prompt or be earnest.” It is very important to desire to learn the Word of God.
Apostle Paul’s epistles are the most important part of the Word to learn and study. He wrote fourteen books of the New Testament. He is declared by God’s Word to be the Apostle of the Gentiles (all others except Jews). However, Paul said that “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17.
The Word of God is our Spiritual food. If we are to grow up in the Lord in all things, we must take in the Word. Romans 10:8, 14-15 says, “How shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” Also, Paul says “...it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (I Cor. 1:21). This is one way the student of the Word learns, through the teaching and preaching of God’s Word in the God directed meetings of the church.
Studying the Word is more than reading it. In studying, one looks at each phrase, each word, and even looks up references- other Scriptures to help to expand the meaning, and for better understanding. It is important to let the Holy Spirit teach us by expanding our viewpoint of whatever portion of the Word we are studying.
I Cor. 2:10-13 impresses upon us the importance of the revelation and teaching by the Holy Spirit, “Bur God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searches all things, yea the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knows no man, but by the Spirit of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches, comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual.”
There is power in the Word of God which actually changes a life. It brings in the light to our souls. It shows us the way to walk pleasing to God. It brings Spiritual growth into our lives.
Eph. 4:12-15 says that God gave different ministries to lead and teach the believers more depth of the Word of God. Verse 12 states, “For the perfecting of the saints. For the work of the ministry, for the edification of the body of Christ.” It tells us that God wants us to grow past babyhood, where we are unstable and are easily “tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.”
Verse 13 says, “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive, But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”
This is the only way we will learn to follow the true teachings of God (or doctrine) is to study and learn what that doctrine really is. This is called “being established in the Lord.” The Lord wants us to be an adult Christian, who follows the Lord, and is an example to others.
If you are young in the Lord and don’t understand how to study and want further explanation, feel free to ask an older Christian for help. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.” Eph. 6:10
Promised reward to Philadelphia.
Rev. 3:10-12, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world…Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast…Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God…and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven… and I will write upon him my new name.”
The overcomers are waiting and watching patiently for His coming and the Lord will keep them from the tribulation period. Like Smyrna overcomers, they have a crown. Also He will make them a pillar in the temple of God. To most of the others we read, “I will give.” But these overcomers become an established part of God’s sanctuary, because they have been established by Paul’s gospel and have been pillars, support, for other people to lean on. They grew and became strong.
Also “I will write upon them the name of by God” – identified with God as to His nature and person, having His family name. “And the name of the city of my God, New Jerusalem. Not only citizens, but they will bear the name of the city. Rev. 21:2, New Jerusalem “coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” “I will write upon him my new name.” Christ’s bride will bare His new name.
Laodicea overcomer’s reward - Rev. 3:21, “…To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.” When Christ sat down with His Father, He did not sit as an equal. Heb. 2:8, “But now we see not yet all things put under him.” Acts 2:34, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool.”
These saints will sit with Him, but not rule conjointly. It will cost these saints something to overcome the Laodicean condition. We see a distinction in the different rewards to these different groups. All are overcomers of the conditions in Christendom of their time, but some are full overcomers and He is not going to give the careless and indifferent the same reward as devoted ones. That would make Christ to be an unrighteous judge.
Seven times Christ has said to these churches, “I know thy works,” and seven time “will I” or “I will reward.” He will reward according to our works of faith out of love to Him. We read in I Cor. 15:41-42, “There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:”
I Cor. 15:22-23, “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.”
Debra Isenbletter, PastorChristian AssemblySpringfield, Missouri
Jonah 3:9 “Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?
In this verse we see a testimony of faith and hope, these two cannot be separated. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb.11:1) They were willing to believe the impossible, There were three different things that they hoped for that moved them and motivated them to take the actions they did, both individually and nationally.
First Hope: They believed God’s Compassion. “Who can tell if God will turn and repent.” They had a glimmer of hope. They did not “know” for certain how Jonah’s God would react or act because they had done something no one expected. They had expressed both sorrow and repentance. Jonah certainly did not expect it. It was completely unexpected, and it was unprecedented.
“if God will turn” shows that they thought that God might “turn” back from doing what Jonah had declared. That was amazing faith. It showed that they believed that judgment was certain. It showed that they wanted to believe that mercy was possible. “and repent” shows that they understood that Jonah’s God could feel compassion and pity, and that He could change His mind. They had repented, they had changed their mind because of fear of judgment. They hoped Jonah’s God would change His mind concerning judgment because of their faith in that judgment. They hoped that their faith would cause Him to feel compassion and pity for them. I do not know how the gods of Assyria were portrayed but it does not seem likely that they were known for compassion or pity. This idea that a deity might even feel compassion may have been a radical concept to them. That is an amazing amount of faith and hope from a pagan nation and a pagan heart.
Others have asked this question, “Who can tell” which reveals faith and hope. Three examples are David, Joel and Jeremiah. David fasted and wept and prayed when his child was dying and said, “Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me that the child might live.” (2Sa.12:22). Joel pleaded with God’s people to fast and weep and repent and turn back to God and his encouragement was “Who knoweth if he will return and repent and leave a blessing behind him” (Joel 2:12-14). Jeremiah boldly states that if a nation that has been judged by the Lord will repent and turn from evil that the Lord will do the same. He will withdraw that judgment, “I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them.” (Jer.18:8). In these examples there is a mutual turning away, man first and God next. In Jonah it is the Gentiles that do this not the Jews and they will later shame God’s people with their faith.
Second Hope: They believed in God’s Mercy. This is the next step of faith that hope lays hold of. It is that judgment might be averted. The phrase “and turn away” is also translated “turn back from (evil)” with an emphasis on the evil. Their hope is God will “turn away” or “turn back from evil. Of course the evil from their perspective is the devastating judgment of the city.
God could choose to step back from the point of no return. He will do this, but it will only be a temporary reprieve. The reason it will be temporary is that their repentance is only temporary, it did not last. But the fact that He does step back is a wonderful picture of His Grace and a lesson for Israel.
Nahum prophesies to Judah about the destruction of Nineveh. His prophesy is written more than one hundred years after Jonah’s ministry. The ten tribes had been conquered by Assyria, only the two tribes are left. Nineveh is just as evil, as when Jonah walked through the gates of the city and prophesied to them. They had a reprieve that lasted a long time. When Nahum prophesies concerning Assyria’s destruction, it is not to them, it is to Judah, God’s people. Nineveh had their chance with Jonah. Either those that had repented did not pass their knowledge on to their children or it only lasted for a short time.
God’s “fierce anger” shows the violence of His emotion and His judgment. It is a righteous anger against, their “wickedness” (1:1); their “evil way” (3:8) and their “violence” (3:8). His judgment equals that anger and it is hot. Sometimes God’s “fierce anger” reaches people when nothing else will. They knew why God was angry and they were afraid. It is a mystery that they understood that God’s anger could be turned away because Jonah did not seem to preach this. Israel understood that iniquity could be forgiven and their sins covered (Psa.85:2-3) but Nineveh did not understand or know this. Their sins had not been covered by a sacrifice. After they were spared we do not read that they asked Jonah to tell them about greater truths about his God. We do not read that Jonah even considered doing this. Yet God takes the knowledge they had and accepts it and spares them. That is Amazing Grace. They picture those that have a degree of faith, that repent briefly but not permanently. They have a conviction but did not seem to have a conversion. There needs to be both. Yet God spares them, gives them an opportunity and if they truly had a desire to know more, I believe God would have told Jonah to speak to them deeper truths.
Third Hope: They believed in God’s Deliverance. “that we perish not.” This was their greatest fear, that they would be destroyed. They are like the sailors in the storm that did not want to perish. They believed this would happen but they also believed that this might be stopped. Because of their fear they had a measure of faith that God accepted and that Jesus would use later to show Israel’s lack of faith (Mat.12:41). Grace accepts their faith though it did not last. Just because their faith was temporary did not diminish the value or importance of it. It is still a testimony of the power of the Word of God. This is an example of the power of faith and grace and it does not matter who shows it. Their faith and hope points forward to what the Gentiles would later do. Paul writes we are “saved by hope” (Rom.8:24) and that is hope in God’s mercy, and God’s sacrifice. This is the substance of Paul’s wonderful gospel of grace: That Gentiles who believe by faith receive mercy (Rom.9:25). That the Remnant who will believe by faith receive mercy (Rom.9:26-27). The offer is to all who believe, no matter how terrible their background, how wicked the sin. Grace offers mercy and in the last verse of this chapter we see a visible manifestation of God’s grace in action.
God’s Timing and Purposes – Ecc. 3:1-8
Pastor Vicky MootsKingman, Kansas
Ecc. 3:5b: “…a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” To “embrace” means to “clasp in the arms, usually in an expression of affection or desire, to hug.” It can also mean “to accept readily, to encircle with the arms or to cling to.” This can refer to embracing people, things, ideas or actions.
Let’s start with the thought of embracing people. We usually hug people whom we care about to show them that we love them. Currently, during this pandemic, we have been told to refrain from embracing and to practice social distancing to avoid spreading the virus. But I feel that this lack of closeness with other people has partially contributed to the mistrust and civil unrest that we have seen recently in our nation.
Jesus expressed His love for the little children who were brought to Him by their parents in Mark 10:16, where it says, “…he took them up in his arms, put his hands on them, and blessed them.” The disciples thought that Jesus would not take the time to be bothered by them, but He showed them that it was “a time to embrace” children because they were important to Him, and they should be important to us also. Our children need to be embraced and taught to embrace Jesus while they are young.
We find a more intimate type of embracing described in S.O.S. 2:6, which is a picture of the spiritual relationship of Christ and His bride: “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.” The Lord desires to be so close to us that there is nothing between us in our relationship with Him as He holds us securely with His strong right arm.
Oh, how we need to let His arms encircle us and embrace us tightly today in this troubled world so that we may be at peace. But we also need to seek that intimate place of closeness with Him as our Bridegroom. That is the place which the apostle Paul stated in II Cor. 11:2 was his desire for us as believers: “…for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.” Are you willing to accept that espousal? Now is the time to embrace Christ as your preeminent love, to cling to Him and His Word instead of the things of this world.
What other things should we embrace? Solomon instructs us in Prov. 4:7-8 to embrace wisdom: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom…she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.” True wisdom comes from above, not from man. We are to encircle wisdom with our arms and tightly cling to it. Jesus Himself is the personification of wisdom, and so is the Word, for Jesus is the Word. When we lay hold of God’s Word, it will bring us to honour and not to shame.
We can also embrace those things which we cannot see, but which God has promised. They may be future but can become real to us now by faith, as we read in Heb. 11:13: “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them…”
Many people today doubt that Jesus will come again, saying, “…Where is the promise of his coming...” (II Peter 3:4). But we can eagerly embrace it as if it were to happen today, as Peter tells us in II Pet. 3:8-9: “But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward…”
Now, what about the things that we should not embrace? When is it a time to refrain from embracing? Jesus embraced sinners, not with His arms, but with His love. However, He did not embrace their actions. He told them to “go and sin no more.” We should follow His example in embracing them with our love. We can associate with them, as He did, but we must be careful not to become associated with their lifestyle while we witness to them. We should socially distance ourselves from even the appearance of evil.
In conclusion, is there ever a time for Christians to refrain from embracing each other? We love to embrace our spiritual brothers and sisters at church and fellowship meetings, but we can be sure that Satan is looking for any opportunity to cause us to stumble or for our actions to be evil spoken of. Embracing the opposite sex can be looked upon by unbelievers as an intimate gesture and be taken the wrong way.
Embracing means any encircling of the arm which would include coming alongside a person and placing your arm around the back of their neck to their opposite shoulder. Even innocent physical contact can be construed as sexual in nature. This is one reason why Paul warned Christian men in I Cor. 7:1, stating, “Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.”
Billy Graham was so careful concerning this that he would not even enter an elevator if there was a woman in it alone, in order that he could not be falsely accused of touching a woman. He avoided slander of any kind in his ministry by following Paul’s advice.
The proper “time to embrace” is in the presence of other believers, and the “time to refrain from embracing” is any time or any place where the motive for your actions could be misinterpreted as more than just a friendly hug. Therefore, I would suggest to all Christian men that before you hug a woman at church, you should ask her permission first, and it should never take place in a room where you are alone with her.
By taking these precautions, you will be following Paul’s wise counsel in Rom. 14:16: “Let not your good be evil spoken of.”
Please be assured that nothing that I have said was intended to keep us from expressing our Christian love to each other by hugging. It is only to say that there is “a time to embrace” and “a time to refrain from embracing,” as Solomon had stated so many years ago.