Thursday, April 13, 2017

Welcome

April is now posted.

Check out the latest Bible Study on "Dispensations"

We will be posting the Glorious Gospel articles individually below. The previous month's publication will be found under the Archive tab as pdf's. We will begin posting some studies, as pdf's and as ebooks in the coming months.

There is audio from Grace Assembly Church services.

Loving Our Lord’s Appearing


Jack Davis



“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” II Tim. 4:6-8

There are so many important events in human existence. Many things that take place over the course of our lives are inter-related and share in importance. This is true both in the natural and spiritual realms. Between birth and death there are many special times. With our growth we experience graduations, promotions, there are weddings and parenthood, to name a few. But God would focus our affections especially upon one event with many related aspects.

AFFECTIONATELY ANTICIPATING: The scripture throughout and especially the  New Testament make it very evident that Jesus’ second coming is joyfully anticipated by the triune God. Oh, let us consider it well! Is this event just a passing fancy with us, or are we appreciating the fact? Let us, with joy, welcome His returning! God’s Word spells out for us many aspects of the attitude and actions of those truly loving our Lord’s appearing. Two predominate features of such motivation are the desire to take all that the Lord has for us, knowing that our Father yearns that we claim and enjoy it all. Then there is, also, the desire to bring our Lord all the joy and glory possible, even here and now.
The Apostle Paul’s life gave evidence of his love of the Lord, and His coming for him. For he fought a good fight of faith, and powerfully urged faith’s followers, sons in the faith to do the same in laying hold of eternal life (I Tim. 6:12). He also finished his course, completed his race. The Lord set a special race before Paul (Acts 20:24). He does the same for us. Paul’s race and our running affects others. Staying on course proves the sincerity of our love for the Lord’s appearing. Paul was indeed a great example to us in “keeping the faith.” He embraced the promises, maintaining a wholehearted trust. He faithfully held fast that which was omitted to his  trust. I am glad to realize that he continued in the faith and wasn’t moved away from the hope of the gospel (Col. 1:23). Thank God, we are divinely equipped to do the same.
A CROWN LAID UP: We read often in the epistles of things “laid up,” being “laid hold of.” We read in Col. 1, of the hope laid up for us in heaven and in Heb.  6:18,19 of the hope set before us being laid hold of. Then also, having that hope as an anchor of the soul. We show that we esteem something worth having by going after it. When we by faith, reach forth to apprehend that for which we are apprehended, we are also anchored or held on course. We have the high privilege of “keeping” the Word of our Lord and keeping the Word of His patience and “holding fast that which we have that no man take our crown” (Rev. 3:8-11). A crown is often given as reward, symbolic of one who is successful, victorious, winning the championship. In scripture, a crown also signifies authority, the right to reign. The crown of righteousness laid hold of by Paul is also offered to us. God’s Word makes it very clear that there are some well defined rules for crown winning.
“If a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (II Tim. 2:5). “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate  in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible” (I Cor. 9:24,25). The Apostle Paul continues with the thought of the possibility of being disqualified as a crown winner (Vs. 26,27). But with all the rules given for running, the predominate word given for motivation is our love for the Lord, and His return.
DENY HIM NOT: Some other outstanding characteristics of real crown winners may be seen in such quotations as; “Faithful unto death; Thou hast not denied my name.” “It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself” (II Tim. 2:11-13). Suffering, in identification with Him, will certainly be rewarded by reigning with Him. We are making a terrible choice if we deny Him the headship, Lordship of our lives. It is out of our deep love for Him that we do whatever we do, in His name, for His glory, giving thanks unto the Father by Him (Col. 3:17). But to deny Jesus the throne of our heart, is to have Him deny us a throne in heaven. Paul didn’t deny the Lord complete access to his life, nor complete control on his course (Phil. 1:20,21; Acts 16:6-11; 20:24). This must be true of us.
EXPECTANTLY EXERCISED: “Love” is an action word. Loving our lord’s appearing is something wherein we are to be spiritually involved. This being quite the opposite of being lax or indifferent. Motivated by the preeminent love, we greatly enjoy sharing the sweet memorials of our dear Lord’s shed blood and broken body and joyously glorying in His victorious resurrection.
PERSONALLY PREPARING: The preparations we make, the provisions we take prove what is more and most  important to us. Is it the love of our self, or of His person? Is it your pleasure or pleasing Him? Is it your comfort or comforting His people? When the Lord speaks of making up His jewels, in Mal. 3:16,17, those that will adorn His throne, He speaks of those that are thinking of and talking about Him. A woman truly in love spends most of her time thinking and talking about the man she is about to marry. The bridal company of believers have their minds stayed upon Him as they prepare for that glorious day. They are also submitting to the necessary “needlework” in putting on their wedding garment (Ps. 45:10-15). Personal preparation for that glorious day, in love of the Bridegroom’s appearing, has us assembling more frequently as we see the day approaching, and worshiping more fervently.

DILIGENCE


Roy Clark


“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him” –  Hebrews 11:6.

A thought sometimes overlooked in this verse is that of diligence. We know that the only way to please God is through faith, and that He is the rewarder of those that seek Him. But do we always bear in mind that it is diligently seeking Him that brings the results? The word “diligence” in this place means to investigate; seek out: or to scrutinize for oneself.

First of all then, God wants us to seek Him out for ourselves. He wants us to scrutinize and investigate for ourselves, not just taking another’s word and assuming that what they say about God is all that is necessary. It is only as we seek Him through His Word that our faith is established.

In I Peter 1:9-12, Peter speaks of the salvation which “the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come: and “searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ…did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven.” If the prophets sought diligently this salvation which was not for them but for us today, how much more we should investigate for ourselves this wonderful Gospel of the Grace of God.

In Acts 18:25, it is said of Apollos – “This man was instructed in the way…and being fervent in spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord.” This word diligently means “accurately: or exactly.” So we see the importance of an accurate understanding of the Word. We get this by studying the Word and asking the Holy Spirit to reveal it to our hearts.

We find another thought about diligence in Hebrews 6:11-12. “And we desire that every one of you do show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end: That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” This word means “earnestness: with haste or dispatch.” Surely we want to be running this race with all earnestness and eagerness and haste, utilizing our time and believing God to strengthen us as He continually reveals Himself to us.

What does the Bible say?




QUESTION: What kind of mansions will we have in heaven that Jesus promises in John 14:2?

ANSWER: We believe they are no doubt the glorified bodies of believers. II Corinthians 5:1,  “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” I Corinthians 15:49, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” II Corinthians 5:1 & 2, “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:” Philippians 3:20 & 21, “For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Also I John 3:2, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness.”
QUESTION: How do we use the Law lawfully as it says in I  Timothy 1:8?

ANSWER: Romans 7:12 says the law is holy just and good. We need to give the law the place assigned to it by the Lord. It’s office is to convict men of their sin. Romans 3:20, “by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Romans 5:20, “Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound.” The Apostle Paul told of his experience, that the law which was good, worked death in him. For it is spiritual but I am carnaL, sold under sin – Romans 7:13-15. The law does not make man righteous but shows up his disobedience, that he is ungodly, a sinner. It is like looking in a mirror and seeing a dirty face, but that does not wash your face.

II Corinthians 3:6 tells us that the law ministers condemnation and death. Romans 3:20, “By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” It cannot save us, but shows us we need a Savior. Galatians 3:24, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.”

Romans 8:3, “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh.” Romans 7:4, “ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Ephesians 2:8, “by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourself: it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”

I Timothy 1:9, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man,” for a saved person does not need the law. We died to it in our Substitute, Christ Jesus. When we receive Christ, we were joined to Him in resurrection and we live by the faith of Christ – Gal. 2:20

When a believer sins by yielding to the old creation (the flesh), we flee to our city of refuge, Christ Jesus. I John 2:1, For “we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We acknowledge our failure and weakness, confessing our sin, “He is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” – I John 1:9.

Romans 6:10-11, “For in that he (Christ) died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise Reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” May we follow His plan and have victory over the flesh. We will find that Christ will prove Himself to be our all sufficiency at all times. “Keep by the power of God through faith.”
Earlene Davis

Always The Same



Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.  Heb 13:8

We live in a world where things seem to be constantly changing. Technology changes at an incredible pace, to the point where it’s hard to know if you are up to date with what is going on. Some people keep up better than others.

I don’t mind technology, but generally speaking, I do not like change. For most people, change can be stressful and difficult. Unfortunately, in our world, change is certain; we cannot avoid it.

Maybe that is one reason this verse is very comforting to me. It is comforting to know there is someone that we can go to that is unchanging. It encourages me when things around me seem to be in constant flux.

However, there is an even more important reason for the comfort of this verse. Imagine serving a god who was constantly changing his mind. A god that changed directions at a whim. That reminds me of the Greek and Roman gods of mythology. They were capricious and changing all the time. It was impossible to know what they would be like next.

Fortunately, they are only myths. We serve the living God, who is unchanging. He is now just as He was in the beginning. What a great comfort. What He said, He will do. His Word never changes.

Because man is constantly changing his environment, and his way of thinking, He is not comfortable with an unchanging God. Man would like God to change His Word to adjust to man’s way of thinking. Convinced that he is becoming more intelligent and civilized, man believes that the truth must change to adapt to him.

I’m very thankful that God is not changing His truth. The truth is that while man thinks he is advancing, his heart has never changed. It is not God that needs to change, it is man that needs to change. It then follows that the only one that can change man is the unchanging God.

We can fully and completely rely on our unchanging Lord, because we know that He will not fail to do all that He has said, and He will not change His mind about His love for us. Take comfort in this verse daily.

Gordon Crook

RUTH


Pastor Debra Isenbletter

Springfield, Missouri


Ruth 4:4 – “And I thought to advertise thee, saying, Buy it before the inhabitants, and before the elders of my people. If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it: but if thou wilt not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know: for there is none to redeem it beside thee; and I am after thee. And he said, I will redeem it.”

Notice how Boaz begins his conversation with this other kinsman. Boaz says: “I thought to advertise (to) thee …” or “I thought to inform you” (NAS); or “I thought to bring the matter to your attention” (NIV). The word “advertise” mans “to reveal, to publish, to inform.” Boaz is very diplomatic, very careful, and very correct. Boaz is gracious and respectful to this other kinsman. He doesn’t come demanding, he comes politely, and he extends to this man every courtesy. Boaz also shows by this statement that he knows something that this man does not. It makes you wonder about this other kinsman. Has he even noticed that Naomi came back? Was he even aware of her poverty, seen in the necessity of gleaning in the fields? Did he ever go to check on her as a kinsman? As far as we know, he is never mentioned until this moment, it is Boaz who draws him out into the open for us to see.

What does Boaz ask this man to do with this parcel of land that is being advertized? Boaz asks him to: “Buy it.” This sounds more like a command than a request! Now we begin to see a change in the tone, Boaz begins to show his authority. He has made him aware that this property is available, that Naomi is selling it, and he is now telling him to exercise his right as kinsman to REDEEM this land.

The next thing we see is the emphasis on who is there at the gate, who will be witnesses to this conversation and there are more than those that Boaz has called. This conversation and this transaction will take place before everyone. Boaz tells him to “buy it” “before the inhabitants” and “before the elders of my people.” Before the “inhabitants” shows that this was public, that all that were there at the gate would see. These were the unofficial witnesses. The “elders” were those that had been summoned by Boaz. These were the official witnesses. This was a double witness! This was a public matter, not a private matter; all will be witnesses this day. All will know the need of Naomi and the need of Ruth. All will know the desire and ability of both these men. The legal transaction Jeremiah made redeeming the property of Hanameel, his uncle’s son is a vivid example of how this was done. It was public, not private; it was a right that Jeremiah exercised as a kinsman-redeemer. It was done before witnesses. (Jeremiah 32:7-15).

Boaz then gives this man only two choices: He can choose to redeem this land: “If thou wilt redeem it, redeem it.” He can choose not to redeem this land: “but if thou wilt not redeem it.” But whatever he chooses, he must tell Boaz: “then tell me that I may know.” Boaz already knows the choice this man will make, he knows what he is willing to do and able to do, and what he is unwilling to do and unable to do. He begins with offering him a choice to purchase the land, knowing that there is willingness but if he accepts it, he must later accept the rest of his obligation as redeemer. He cannot do one without the other. When Boaz says “tell me that I may know,” he is also say “Tell these witnesses, so they may know!”

Boaz goes on to tell this man why he must know, why he must tell Boaz what he chooses to do. Boaz says: “for there is none to redeem it beside thee,” in other words this man has the first right to redeem, he is the closest kinsman. Boaz tells him, and those present, that he has the right after him: “and I am after thee.” And then Boaz tells him and everyone present that he is willing to redeem: “And he said, I will redeem it.” We see his desire: “I will.” What willingness, what love, what a wonderful type of Christ! We see him acknowledge this man’s right to go first and that he must wait on him. If we look at this as a type, then we see that the Law was first, and then Grace. There was a dispensation of Law and there is now a dispensation of Grace. Under the first, man was condemned and under the second, man is redeemed. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17)

Boaz is basing this request upon Lev 25:25-28, where we see the law concerning the poor and the redeeming of the land. There was a redemption promised for the land and for the individual. God said: “ye shall grant a redemption for the land” (Lev 25:23). This is what Boaz begins with, the redemption of the land. The individual in need had several options available. He could ask a kinsman to redeem the land (Lev 25:25); he could redeem the land himself (Lev 25:26); or he could wait for the year of jubilee (Lev 25:28) and the land would return to his family. Naomi couldn’t redeem the land and couldn’t wait until the year of jubilee which came every 50 years. Redemption was needed now! And the word that is repeated five times in this verse is “redeem.” The responsibility of redemption is the subject of this conversation. That word “redeem” means “to redeem according to the law of kinship;” to “act as a kinsman redeemer;” to “be next of kin (and as such buy back property, marry a widow);” to be “a deliverer” (by purchasing, ransoming, redeeming).  The responsibility of redemption is the subject of this conversation.

ACTS OF THE APOSTLES


Verta Giddings

Sand Lake, Michigan



Chapters 8:1-25 – Gospel Work In Samaria

We can see what as active part Saul of Tarsus had in the death of Stephen – V. 1. Then he went right on entering houses and taking the believers off to prison. This caused the believers to be scattered abroad, but as they went they preached the Word of God. Of course this resulted in the Word going out from Jerusalem to other parts of the world. We remember that Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that they would be witness in Jerusalem, in Judea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth. Jesus had witnessed to the woman of Samaria and she had told others. The Lord used the persecution and the scattering to cause Philip to go to the city of Samaria – V. 5. There he preached Christ, and with great results. The people with one accord listened to what he had to say. Philip had been like Stephen, one chosen to wait on the tables. Like Stephen, also, he preached, and miracles followed his ministry. Unclean spirits came out of people. Healings took place, and all this resulted in great joy – Vs. 6-8.

Philip preached Christ, and exalted Him. In that city of Samaria, there was a man called Simon. He was into witchcraft, which is of the devil. He had everyone believing he was the great power of God. He just called attention to himself. Before the time when Philip came to Samaria, he had everything under his control – Vs. 9-11.

When Philip came to that city and preached the things about Jesus Christ, the people listened to him. We read in Luke 9:52-53 – that earlier on, Jesus sent messengers to Samaria, but they weren’t ready to hear His message. At this time (Acts 8) they believed Philip’s wonderful message, and were baptized both men and women. Now what was Simon going to do – for that would mean they wouldn’t believe him any more? Simon came and was baptized. He claimed to believe what Philip preached, and it even says he followed or continued with Philip, seeing the miracles and signs – Vs. 12-13.

The apostles in Jerusalem heard about what was going on in Samaria, and they sent two men – Peter and John – where Philip was. They prayed for these new Samaritan believers, laying hands on them to receive the Holy Ghost. They had not yet had that experience (the same as they had on the Day of Pentecost) under Philip’s teaching but they did when these men prayed for them – Vs. 14-17.

This brought out Simon’s true condition. He might have caused some to wonder whether he really did believe, or whether he was just going along with it because others did. Now he figured he could get in on this new teaching and still have the people think he was great. He must have seen that the power of God was greater than what he had exercised. He had already wondered at the results of Philip’s ministry, and now THIS. He tried to buy this gift (of having people receive the Holy Ghost) with money – Vs. 18-19.

Listen to Peter’s answer – “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased (bought) with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” – Vs. 20-21. Then Peter told him to repent of that wickedness and pray if perhaps the thought of his heart may be forgiven him. Peter could tell by the Holy Spirit, that Simon was in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity – Vs. 22-23. Then Simon wanted Peter to pray for him. I hope he got straightened out and really believed in the Lord.

Peter and John preached there for a awhile and then returned to Jerusalem. On the way they preached the gospel in other Samaritan villages.

From this lesson we learn that the message of Jesus was for all people. The Samaritans heard the Word, and we will find out that people in other places had the privilege of hearing also.

The Lord wants us to believe His Word about Jesus. It is never right to pretend to believe and just go with the crowd. The Lord knows the difference and so do others when the Holy Spirit shows them. God wants us to be real, to be genuine. Jesus love you and wants you to know for sure how you stand with Him.