Jun 16

Attitudes in the Stands That Should Be in the Pews

It’s football season again—high school, college, and professional football teams all over the nation are [continuing] their yearly quest for a championship. This football season, millions of fans will cheer for their teams. Those who fill the stands possess certain attitudes that are needed in the hearts of those who fill the pews.
Knowing the Facts: Fans buy magazines, go online, and do the research to get all the info on their team and opponents. They know their team’s stats, what years they won championships, what numbers are on the jerseys of their favorite players, what their team is ranked in the polls—all kinds of information! Why? Because they love the sport!
If we love the Lord, there are many things we should know. Just as a football fan can tell you all about his favorite players, we should be able to tell people about the men and women of the Bible. We should know all about Job, Esther, Paul, Peter, Matthew, Noah, Moses, David, Daniel, and many more—but especially Jesus.
Just as a football fan knows the rules of the game, we should know the rules of Christ-ianity. We should be able to give the plan of salvation (1 Pet. 3:15). We should be able to tell someone how to worship in spirit and in truth. We should be able to tell someone how to live faithfully and we should know the penalties for breaking the rules (Ro. 6:23; 1 Jn. 3:4).
Instead of watching sports most of the day on a Saturday, how many chapters of the Bible could have been read during the duration of just one football game? The average college football game lasts “about 3 hours” (Answers.com), and the average adult reads between 200 and 300 words per minute (wpm). Those who enjoy reading typically read above 400 wpm. Many folks read at speeds above 800 wpm with excellent comprehension.
Therefore, during the time it would have taken to watch one football game, at an aver-age rate of 250 words per minute, the sports fan could have read Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st Thessalonians, 2nd Thessalonians, 1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, 1st Peter, 2nd Peter, 1st John, 2nd John, 3rd John, and Jude, and still have over 35 minutes remaining! (based on the number of words per book; biblebelievers.com). That would be 76 chapters of God’s Word, and he would still have time to include 1st Corinthians, for a total of 92 chapters in three hours! That’s 19 out of the 27 books in the New Testament! Granted, one may read more slowly and want to spend more time in each book for deeper study, but the point is clear—people have time to study God’s Word! Paul wrote, “…give attendance to reading…to doctrine” (1 Tim. 4:13).
Talking It Up: I know a lot of people who love to talk about football. A lot of joking goes on about which team is better and who will win, and the conversation can go on for a really long time. Why do they talk about it? Because they love the sport! If we love the Lord, we should be talking about Christianity to others. Perhaps we do not like to discuss it, because we have not studied it as we should. If that is the case, what should we do? Study (2 Tim. 2:15), because “talking about Christianity” is commanded by God (Matt 28:18-20; 2 Tim 2:2).
Willing to Part With Money: At a college or professional football game, the tickets are overpriced, the food and drinks there are overpriced, the souvenirs are overpriced – everything is overpriced! That money goes toward the stadium, paying the coaches, and all kinds of expenses. The die-hard fans are willing to shell out the money because they love it.
We need to be willing to part with our money if we love the Lord. That money is used to carry out God’s will. It is used to spread the Gospel and help others in need, which is much more important than any game (1 Cor. 9:14; 16:2; 2 Cor. 8:1-9; 9:6-7; Gal. 6:10; Jms. 1:27).
Willing to Spend Time to Be There: When I was growing up, we would sometimes get up at 2 A.M. on Saturday mornings to go to college football games! People will go to great lengths in preparation for “tailgating,” but what about worshiping God? How many will not even get up early enough to drive five or ten minutes and assemble with the church at 10 A.M.? Again, the average football game lasts about three hours. 80,000 people or more will sit there for three hours on a hard metal seat in the heat, rain, or snow without complaining. What about the nice padded pews in an air conditioned building? Is it too much to ask for someone to sit in a pew for an hour or two? Most churches only meet four hours out of every week. There are 168 hours in a week, so faithfully assembling would only take up about 2% of our week! How can we say we are 100% dedicated and “bearing our cross daily,” when we will not even give God 2% of our time? “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is…” (Heb. 10:25; cf. v23-31; Luke 9:23; 14:33).
Not Upset About Overtime: When a football game goes into overtime, that is a great thing! Why do fans see it as a great thing? Because they love the sport! If we love the Lord and His Word, then a worship assembly that goes into overtime will not be something to get upset about. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight” (Acts 20:7).
Loyal, Even When Surrounded By the Other Team: At football games it is usually more difficult to stand up and cheer for your team when you are surrounded by fans of the opposite team. The same concept applies to Christianity. When in the church building, it’s much easier to be a Christian, but what about when we are outnumbered? Do we still stand up for Christ, or do we compromise? (Dan. 3:10-18; Esther 2:2; Mark 8:38; Matthew 10:32-33; 1 Pet. 4:1-4, 12-16).
Excited About Victory: Some of the greatest memories I have of going to football games are when I think about the end of the games that we won. I remember my dad and my uncles jumping up and down giving everybody around them high fives and yelling. I’ll never forget that feeling of victory, but the feeling of victory one gets from winning a football game (or even the national championship or Super Bowl) is nothing compared to the feeling of victory faithful Christians will experience when the Lord returns in the clouds! (1 Thess. 4:16-17; 2 Tim. 4:8). That is something to get excited about! Don’t lose sight of the excitement of Christianity, and remember, whether your team won the championship will be the least of your concerns on the Day of Judgment. (1 Cor. 15:57-58).
Jason Hilburn, preacher for the Baker church of Christ, in Baker, FL.

(Editor’s note: For nearly fifteen years I have written an article for the Barnes bulletin, but this week I simply am physically and mentally unable to write. These are sad words to me, but it does mean that I have written about 780 articles.)

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Jun 09

THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (4)

The fourth article, which is written under the title, “The Kingdom of Christ,” will address: “A Mass of Land.” Of course, these words are from a physical kingdom point of view and we are addressing a spiritual kingdom. Therefore, the question comes before us; what equals “a mass of land” in the spiritual kingdom? Jesus said in answer to Pilate’s question: “Art thou the King of the Jews?” Do you remember Jesus’ answer? Jesus said: “Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” (John 18:33-34). Pilate clearly understood Jesus’ answer, therefore, Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence” (verse 36). Therefore, the kingdom of which Jesus serves as King is not physical but spiritual.
This brings us to the question, now that we know that Jesus’ kingdom is not physical but spiritual, just what is “the mass of his kingdom?” There is a thought that runs through the Bible and it is: “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Pro. 4:23). Whatever we may be, it is first in the heart/mind, then, it produces the outward actions. Here is a good place to look at one of the “Beautiful Attitudes;” where Jesus said: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8). Now, just what do these words mean? A “pure” heart is a single “heart,” a heart that is singularly devoted. The idea being singularly devoted to the will of God! Jesus expressed this type of heart in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” Mark 14:32) and then Jesus “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Within the words of Jesus’ prayer we find a heart that is singular; devoted to one will, the will of God, the Father! Where else would we go to find a “pure,” singularly devoted heart than to Jesus?
Now that we know, it is the heart, the singularly devoted heart, that is the “mass of land” which the kingdom of Christ is made of; it is time to see how this works. On that great day of Pentecost, Peter preached and there the question was put forth by some of those who heard: “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37). The word, “pricked” is the Greek, “katanusso” and Strong says this: “to pierce thoroughly, that is, (figuratively) to agitate violently.” The “pricked” heart was a violently agitated heart; and it produced the question: “what shall we do?” They knew their heart was wrong, separated from God and that a change was necessary. They knew they had been wrong, and they were ready to make the necessary change of heart!
Paul addressed our subject, when he wrote: “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” (Rom. 12:2). Paul used a most interesting word, “transformed” which is the Greek, “metamorphoo” and means: “to change into another form.” But this does not reveal the complete action of the change. This word may best be seen in the change, the metamorphosis of a caterpillar, which radically transforms its body, into a beautiful butterfly! It may be noted just here, if you look at the butterfly, you would have no knowledge that it was once a caterpillar! This is what Paul is saying, when he wrote: “by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” This change, the metamorphosis, cannot be done without the gospel of Christ, an honest heart, willing to obey the gospel. Notice Paul’s words, as he gives one reason for “renewing your mind:” “that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Without the “metamorphosis,” we would have little to no interest in proving “what is that good, acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”
It is the heart, which is the same as the mind, that must be “pricked,” agitated violently; to cry out for salvation, the forgiveness of sins! Remember Paul’s words: “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). Therefore, the “mass of land,” figuratively speaking, is the hearts, that have been agitated violently, brought to repentance, and obedience to the gospel. There is the kingdom of Christ!

Frank R. Williams

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Jun 02

THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (3)

As we continue to look at the nature of “The Kingdom of Christ,” we will be studying the second point: “the authority of the king.” It would be unthinkable to conclude that the king, who has a kingdom; 1) would be without authority and 2) that the king would be without a written law! Otherwise, how would those who are members of the kingdom know what they: 1) had to do, 2) what they were not to do, and 3) what they were free to do. These are the first three areas of authority which would be revealed to those under the king.
First, we shall seek out who gave the authority to the king. The king may receive his authority in more than one way. It might be inherited from his father, who was king before him; he might be elected to serve as king; and he might receive his authority from his father, as the father bestows on him. As we look at Jesus, the Christ, we will learn that he was given his authority by his Father. Matthew reveals this truth in the words Jesus spoke to the eleven after his resurrection: “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). The word “power” is the Greek “exousia” and it means: “the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed);” though Thayer gives over uses, this one is the best that describes the authority which Jesus received. Therefore, all those in the kingdom, are under this type of authority. However, the question remains, who gave Jesus, the Christ, this authority? Paul will answer our question: “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power” (1 Cor. 15:24). First, from this verse let us notice that two words are used: “authority” and “power.” The word “authority” is the same as used by Jesus in Matthew 28:18; while the second word, “power” comes from a different Greek word. This Greek word is: “dunamis” and means: “1) strength power, ability 1a) inherent power, power residing in a thing by virtue of its nature, or which a person or thing exerts and puts forth.” Now there is a third word that should be looked at; this is the word “rule,” which is the Greek word, “arche” and means, “1) beginning, origin.” This is a little confusing to the reader, therefore, it needs attention. There was a beginning to the “rule” of Christ; thus, there was an “origin” to the rule of Christ. Let us move down to Thayer’s third point: “3) that by which anything begins to be, the origin, the active cause.” The “active cause” in the “rule” of Christ is God, the Father, who gave it to Christ. Remember Jesus’ words: “All power is given to me.” He came to this earth to be King, and after his death and resurrection, and at his ascension he “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” Heb. 1:3). Thus, the beginning of his “authority” and “power.” However, “Then cometh the end,” at which time Jesus shall return “all authority” to God, the Father.”
Now, going back to the thought, who gave the “authority” to Jesus? It is he who was never under the “authority” of Christ, even God, the Father! Paul put it this way: “For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him” (1Cor. 15:27). You see, there is one who is not subject to the “all authority” of Jesus and it is he who gave Jesus “all authority,” “God, the Father.”
In conclusion, we have learned that God, the Father, gave to Jesus “all authority” at a certain point in time or when a certain event took place in heaven; thus, it had a “beginning” and that point was when Jesus “sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high!” It is through this “all authority” that Jesus governs his kingdom! The rules of his kingdom are called by different terms and phrases; such as the gospel of Christ, as it relates to entering the kingdom, the New Testament as it to identifies that the Old Testament has ended and there is now a New Testament which sets the limits by which all citizens must live; and finally, “the teaching of Christ” which reveals what the citizens must do, what they may do, and what they must not do.

–Frank R. Williams

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May 25

THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (2)

In this second article, “The kingdom of Christ,” we will look at the King of the kingdom. It is my purpose to study with the reader each of the points identified in the first article. Just to remind the reader, those points are: 1) the king, 2) the authority of the king, 3) the law by which the kingdom is governed, 4) the heart being the place of the constitution, “the teaching of Christ” is directed, and 5) the citizen army. Let us turn our attention to the King of the kingdom.
It is without question, that the “kingdom of God’s dear Son” exists today, just as it did in the first century! As Paul wrote: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col 1:13). God’s “dear Son” had and does have a kingdom and serves as its only King! This truth was in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies, such: “I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. (14) And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed” (Dan. 7:13-14). A few words about this text is necessary. The words, “the Son of man” refers to Jesus, who was both the son of man and the Son of God. He was as John wrote: “And the Word (was God, see verse one, frw) was made flesh, and dwelt among us, …” The angel of the Lord told Joseph: “… for that which is conceived in her (Mary, frw) is of the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:20); therefore, through Mary, he was the son of man and as Mary “conceived” of “the Holy Spirit,” he was the Son of God. The scene viewed by Daniel is the return of “one like the Son of man” to heaven as he comes before the “Ancient of days” (God the Father, frw) whereby he was given “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom.” Then, as Daniel continued: “his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” Thus, there was given, in Daniel “vision,” to “one like the Son of man” a kingdom, over which he would have “everlasting dominion!” Daniel is describing a King and the King is receiving a kingdom. It is very important to notice when “the Son of man” would become king! It was after he returned to heaven; as he came “with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days.” Jesus was not to become King on this earth and he would become King after his death, when he came before the “Ancient of days.”
It is necessary that we understand that the physical kingdom of Israel would no longer exist when Jesus ascended to the right hand of almighty God! Then, at the destruction of Jerusalem it physically ended for all time. When Pilate asked Jesus: “Art thou a king then?” (John 18:37), Jesus answered in these words: “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world,…” (John 18:37). Therefore, if we believe Jesus, and I certainly do, he said that he came into this world to be king! Then, in the highly figurative book of Revelation, he is called “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.” Highly figurative but true, as Jesus really is the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS?!” Then, there are the words of prophecy given by Zechariah: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zech. 9:9). So, what about these words? Let us hear Matthew as he wrote: “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, (5) Tell ye the daughter of Sion, Behold, thy King cometh unto thee, meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an ass” (Matt. 21:4-5). Matthew, the apostle of Christ, has here quoted the words of Zechariah and applied them to Jesus, as he came into Jerusalem. Now, some like to say that Jesus was rejected by the Jews, that even though he came to be king, he was never appointed to be king. Nevertheless, Matthew writes that not long before Jesus was to be put to death, at the call of the Jews, he did that which Zechariah said the one appointed king would do. John covered the actions of Jesus and wrote: “On the next day much people that were come to the feast, when they heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, (13) Took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord. (14) And Jesus, when he had found a young ass, sat thereon; as it is written, (15) Fear not, daughter of Sion: behold, thy King cometh, sitting on an ass’s colt” (John 12:13-15). Therefore, not only did Matthew quote the words of the prophet, but so did John and both applied the words of the prophet to Jesus as he was to be king. Either Jesus was the coming king as he rode into Jerusalem, or else one must conclude that the prophecy of Zechariah failed; thus, the Bible is untrue!
We must accept that Jesus is the “King of kings, and Lord of lords,” or reject the Bible as being inspired! Which leg will you take: 1) that the Bible is inspired and true, or 2) that the Bible is not inspired, therefore, it is not true? Those who deny that Jesus is king over his kingdom at this time, must also deny that the Bible is inspired; therefore, it is not true. Therefore, I ask, why are we discussing the subject at all?
My friends, Jesus is King! He now reigns at “the right hand of the Majesty on high!”

Frank R. Williams

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May 18

THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (1)

Just what do you know about the “kingdom of Christ?” Now, as I like to say, “Put on your thinking cap,” and think! It seems like a small enough request! If we think in physical terms, a kingdom requires a “King,” a law, a mass of land, citizens, and an army to keep the kingdom intact! Let us now take these same kingdom requirements and apply them to a “spiritual” kingdom. For Jesus said: “My kingdom is not of this world:” (John 18:36) and “the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21).
First, who is the king of this spiritual kingdom? Paul answers: “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). Looking at the point in this text, Paul’s first word is “Who,” which refers back to verse twelve and the words, “the Father,” as in God the Father. The word “Father” reveals a relationship and is seen in the last words of the text: “of his dear Son.” The King of the spiritual kingdom is God’s “dear Son,” who, of course, is Christ Jesus!
Second, the King has authority and this authority is exercised in law! Only hours before God’s “dear Son” was “taken up into heaven,” he told the eleven: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). Therefore, the King was given “all authority” by God the Father, and this authority is over everything save one, as Paul wrote: “And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all” (1 Cor. 15:28). Therefore, the one being who is not under the authority of Christ is God the Father who gave “all authority” to Christ. Please notice just how all embracing this authority is; as Jesus: “in heaven and in earth!”
Third, the “all authority” is located the law of Christ. There are some who “like” to believe that there is no “law of Christ,” but the inspirited apostle Paul wrote: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). It is true that Paul is addressing the obligations of bearing the burdens of one another, but this does not remove the fact that Christ does have a law by which the citizens of “the kingdom of God’s dear Son” are subject! Here is a definition of the word “law” is as given by John Austin: “A law, in the most general and comprehensive acceptation in which the term, in its literal meaning, is employed, may be said to be a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being, by an intelligent being having power over him.” According to Austin, “A law,… is employed, may be said to be a rule laid down for the guidance of an intelligent being, by an intelligent being having power over him.” Christ being one intelligent being and the citizens of his kingdom are the “intelligent beings” and the rules through which Christ is said to be rule over them is “the teaching of Christ” (2 John 9) to which all subjects are guided as they serve King Christ Jesus! John would also write: “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous” (1 John 5:3). Please notice the words “commandments” is plural both times it is used by John. This would refer to the individual “rule” in the set of “rules.” These laws, rules are set on all four sides and serve as limitations in which one must abide; as John wrote: “Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). The person who does not “abide” within “the teaching of Christ” has removed himself from fellowship with both the Father and the Son! Thus, it might truly be said that the Constitution of “the kingdom of God’s dear Son” is “the teaching of Christ!”
Fourth, the mass of “land” which is under the “Constitution” of the kingdom of Christ is the heart of each citizen! Each citizen has freely yielded himself to the law of the kingdom, as Paul wrote: “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Rom. 6:16). This “yielding” is done in “repentance,” which is the surrendering of the heart/mind to the law of the kingdom and the putting to death the old manner of life. Here Paul also has introduced us to a new word in this study, it is the word “righteousness,” which is another word for “rule” as yielding to it brings one into “the teaching of Christ!”
Fifth, and finally in this first article on the subject, “The Kingdom of Christ,” is the citizen army. Paul reveals both the purpose and the armor also; first the purpose: “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand” (Eph. 6:13) and second, identifies each part of the armour: 1) the loin are to be girtted with truth, 2) the breastplate of righteousness, 3) feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, 4) the shield of faith, by which we are to “quench all the fiery darts of the wicked,” 5) the helmet of salvation, and 6) the sword of the Spirit. (Eph. 6:14-17).
Therefore, “the dear Son of God” does have a kingdom and has all authority within it!

Frank R. Williams

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May 11

JESUS (6)

In this last article in this series about Jesus, our effort will be to show the “man,” Jesus Christ. Like many others, I have taken a text too far in its real conclusion. Take the text of First Timothy chapter two, verse five: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” The Greek word used by Paul for “men” is “anthropos” and it means: “1) a human being, whether male or female 1a) generically, to include all human individuals” (Thayer). This is also the word used the second time as Paul writes: “the man Christ Jesus.” This requires a study and so we begin!
In Paul’s “the man Christ Jesus,” he is addressing a certain person out of all human beings and it is “Christ Jesus!” This also reaches back to John’s words, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, …” There was a point in time when Jesus was not, but there was a point in time when he begins to be. This is the meaning of the Greek word which is translated “was made.” The Greek word is “ginomai” and Thayer says: “to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being.” The man, flesh and blood, Jesus came into existence! This is the “man Christ Jesus” of Paul words in 1 Timothy two and verse five: “the man Christ Jesus!”
As we study, it is understood that thinking about Deity and conceiving of the idea of Deity is beyond our human abilities! It might surprise some to realize that Deity is some how able to be seen! John wrote: “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” (1 John 3:2). The word “see” is the Greek “optanomai” and means: “1) to look at, behold 2) to allow one’s self to be seen, to appear” (Thayer). Now, how can Deity be seen? The question becomes more difficult as we understand what this John wrote: “God is a Spirit: …” (John 4:24). We generally think a spirit is invisible and this is true, but Heaven holds something different when it comes to one spirit looking up another spirit. But Paul in 2 Timothy 2:4, as he wrote, “the man Christ Jesus.” We fully understand that we flesh, and blood beings are very observable.
Jesus was very visible, as he was flesh and blood just as we are. In fact, it was necessary that he be so; otherwise he would not have been able to give himself as a ransom for our sins! Keep in mind, Deity does not have flesh and blood but the “man Christ Jesus” did. Just here, notice these words: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil” (Heb. 2:14). “The man Christ Jesus” became, begin to be, what Deity is not! He did, so “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” This was done, the destroying of the devil, by means of the “man Christ Jesus!” I am sure the reader is asking, how did Jesus “destroy him that had he power of death?” The Greek word used here is “ katargeo” and means: “1) to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative 1a) to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency 1b) to deprive of force, influence, power” (Thayer). When sins are forgiven through “the man Christ Jesus” he is serving as our “mediator between God and men.” The devil, Satan, has no power to undo the forgiven received by men through “the man Christ Jesus.” Satan is totally “inoperative,” he is “deprived of force” to undo the forgiveness of our sins!
Look now at “the man Christ Jesus” as he prayed, with the cross only hours before him: first, he speaks to Peter, James, and John: “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me” (Matt. 26:38). Then, “the man Christ Jesus” “… went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt” (Mark 14: 35-36). Was this Deity praying, or was it “the man Christ Jesus?” It was “the man Christ Jesus” who was to taste death for every man!
To write that it is hard to understand Deity, as this is one thing, but it was also hard for those who walked with Jesus upon this earth, to understand Deity in a flesh and blood body. So, it is with us, but we must not give up but keep on studying!

Frank R. Williams

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May 04

JESUS (5)

In this article we will be looking at one of the more difficult passages in the New Testament. The diffculty is because of the subject and the subject is God becoming man! It is difficult to understand because; first, the subject starts with God and God is so far above man, that we humans just naturally have trouble understanding God. Men have tried through the years to make God into the image of man, as we understand man to a point. We try to bring God to our own level. This is a real problem when it comes to sin. God hates sin! Yes, even the sins I commit. You see, it is not so great a problem when it is your sin but when it is my sin, then, I have a real problem saying it is sin!
So, first, we have a real problem understanding God! Second, we have a major problem when, as we like to say, the second member of the Godhead; “the Word,” (John 1:1) “was made flesh” (John 1:14). Can God really become man, as in flesh and blood; be temped as man is and yet, not sin? Just think of this, can you get a handle on Enoch? Let Moses tell us about Enoch: “And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah: And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Gen. 5:21 – 24). Do we not have trouble really getting a handle on Enoch? He lived in such a manner, “Enoch walked with God,” that “God took him,” as took him out of the worldly elements. Do you know anyone who so lives today? The answer to this question is why we have so much trouble understanding Enoch.
Then, Paul wrote this: “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:7). Paul is writing about God! God took “upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” The “likeness” is the Greek “homoioma,” and means: “that which has been made after the likeness of something” (Thayer). In the case before us, the “something” is men; as in God “was made after the likeness of men!” Like you and I; as in human! How can God be made in “the likeness” of men? Do you understand how? The inspired writers spell it out, to help us but we are so weak, so prone to sin, how can God be made in our “likeness” and still be God? In this awesome event, “the Word was made flesh,” we have a tendency as we are more likely to just read over it and go on our way. But, this is less than Paul, through the Holy Spirit, would have us to do! It may appear to us, that this is really an impossibility; for James wrote: “… for God cannot be tempted with evil…” (James 1:13); while at the same time in Hebrews we read: “… was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). Do you get the idea, that Jesus was one awesome being? Yes! He was us but not us! You see we sin but he did not sin! Yet, he “was made in the likeness of men!” Men, that is us! If we are amazed at Enoch, who “walked with God” so that God just took him out of this world. Then, there was Jesus! A flesh and blood being, within whom God was; yet this flesh and blood being was tempted as we are tempted but not one sin committed!
So, Paul wrote: being “equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Phil. 2:6-7). This being is seen in the garden praying: “O my Father, if this cup may not pass away from me, except I drink it, thy will be done” (Matt. 26:42). Just who is praying? Jesus! Yes, but look more closely and see the one who was made in our “likeness,” but wait, look again. What do you see? The one who was God but was also made in our “likeness” having the same problems we have and here he is praying. What was he praying about? First, he said: “if this cup (his death upon the cross, frw) may not pass away from me, except I drink it (suffer death, frw). Second, he said: “thy will be done.” How much agony was Jesus in, as he uttered the words: “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:42). Notice the words of Jesus, “nevertheless not my will.” Whose “will?” The humanity of Jesus! Not his Deity for Diety agrees with Diety, but his humanity! Here is Jesus, surrendering his humanity to the will of God; even his Father!
Do you see Jesus? How beautiful the words of the old song: “They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where he pray; They led him through the street in shame; They spat upon the Saviour so pure and free from sin; They said crucify him he’s to blame; He could have called ten thousand angels to destroy the world and set him free. He could have called ten thousand angels but he died alone for you and me.” There is Jesus!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/jesus-5/

Apr 27

JESUS (4)

What could the “fleshly” Jesus do that God could not do? The answer is in these two verses: 1) “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man”(James 1:13); and 2) “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of oaur infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). This is no small point but a major issue in understanding Jesus!
It took sinless blood to be offered for our sins! That is that our sins could be forgiven! Clearly, it being the case that the blood of animals could not take away even one sin: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” (Heb. 10:4). But why was it the case, or reason, “that the blood of bulls and of goats” could not take away sin? At least one reason is clear, though there might be more than one; but the blood of animals is less than human blood. For instance, animals are for man, not man for animals! What does this mean? This is a major mistake that many make today; as some believe that animals are on the same level as man! However, God made it very clear, that animals were to be eaten; thus, they would be killed and eaten: “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things” (Gen. 9:3). However, the words in regard to man reveal that killing is forbidden: “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Gen. 9:6). This also proves that the blood of man is greater than that of animals; as it was/is lawful to kill, it fact, God makes it most clear that this is one of the reasons for animals; but it is forbidden that one shed the blood of man!
Now, what about the blood of man in general? Was there ever, a case where the blood of man in general, that it might be shed in behalf of man and the forgiveness of sin? No! But why is this? Is there a reason that the blood of man, in general, would not be able to be offered for the forgiveness of sin? Once more, Yes! No man, save one, had blood that was without sin! Read Paul on this subject: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10) Paul continued with: “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Rom. 3:12). Then, Paul concluded: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Here Paul is writing of both the Jew and the Gentile; as this is the way the world was divided. Therefore, no blood of man was fit to be the sacrifice for sin! Now, it is imperative that we understand it was for this reason that “the Word was made flesh” (John 1:14). Read with great care these words: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man” (Heb. 2:9). The subject is Jesus in the flesh, as he “was made a little lower than the angels (heavenly angels, frw).” But why was Jesus so made? It was for “the suffering of death” that he “should taste death for every man.” Here the writer continues the subject: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood.” Let us stop right here for a moment. Did you get it? “The Word was made flesh” in as much as “the children are partakers of flesh and blood!” Why was it necessary that “the Word” be made flesh? Let the inspired writer put the point, so powerfully to us: “he also himself likewise took part of the same” (verse 14). Please read with care these words: “that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (verses 14-15). “The Word was made flesh” so “he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.” It took flesh and blood to “destroy him that had the power of death!” Animal blood could not do it and neither could angels, as they have no blood, but “the Word” who “was made flesh and blood” could do it. Therefore, it took the blood of man but not just any blood of man! It took the blood of one who was temped in all points as we are; yet without sin!
This one is Jesus! God has no blood, therefore, “the Word” (God, John 1:1) “was made flesh (and blood, frw), to be temped like as we are but this one had no sin (1 Pet. 2:22). Here is a good place to read the heart wrenching words of Jesus, as he faced death on the cross: “Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done” (Luke 22:44). Now let Luke descried the agony Jesus suffered as he prayed: “and more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground” (verse 45). There is “the Word” that “was made flesh (and blood, frw), “a little lower than the angels; that our sins can be forgiven!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/jesus-4-2/

Apr 21

JESUS (3)

It is a biblical fact, that Jesus is our salvation; we may write it: 1) in him, 2) by him, 3) through him, and 4) by means of him. One fact stands clear in the New Testament, that without Jesus there would be no salvation for even one person!
As Paul wrote, with the Jew and the Gentile in mind, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). Earlier, Paul had quoted from the Old Testament these words: “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Rom. 3:10, here Paul is referring to Psa. 14:1-4 and Psa. 53:1-4). That mankind was and is in need of a savior is without question! So, who would be the savior of lost mankind? It would be he of who John, the apostle, wrote: “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 1:14). Mankind’s savior would be, that flesh and blood body in which Deity dwelt and his name is Jesus (Matt. 1:21). Now, think on this; if Deity without the flesh and blood body of Jesus, could have saved mankind, there would not have been any reason for the reality of “the Word” being “made flesh!” It appears that there were two reasons for “the Word” (Deity) being “made flesh:” 1) that he would be the means of salvation for mankind, and 2) that he would declare God unto mankind. Having already pointed out the name given “Jesus” means salvation (Matt. 1:21), we turn our attention to the second point: that “the Word was made flesh” to declare God to mankind. John wrote: “No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him” (John 1:18). Here we take a little time to notice the words “at any time,” (Greek, popote). Strong gives us this: “at any time, at no time.” This is a very strong negative, as in an absolutely not! Thus, without Jesus God would have continued to be a total unknown in the areas which Jesus would “declare!” John’s words are pointing to the character, the nature of God. Without Jesus how would mankind have ever known of God’s love, of God’s kindness, of God’s compassion, and how would mankind have ever known of God’s desire to save mankind? Before leaving this verse, let us look at the word “declare.” It is the Greek “exegeomai” and Strong says it means: “to consider out (aloud), that is, rehearse, unfold: – declare, tell.” Jesus would unfold in his words the beautiful nature of God and in Jesus’ action, as he walked among men, he would speak aloud in his actions the character, the nature of God. Thus, Jesus came to declare God to mankind!
In the above, we come to God’s desire to save mankind; and it is God’s desire to save mankind! Hear Paul as he wrote: “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth’ (1 Tim. 2:4). Paul ties being “saved” with “to come unto the knowledge of the truth!” Jesus also addressed this subject, when said: “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). Coming to “the knowledge of the truth” requires studying and learning; through this means man can “come unto the knowledge of the truth!” Allow me to just add this thought, many read, some even learn some “truth,” but this is not, Paul’s “to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” Why is this true? It is in the word “knowledge” that Paul used. He used the Greek word, “epignosis” and this word means: “precise and correct knowledge” (Thayer). “Knowledge” as used by Paul does not mean a little, or incorrect knowledge, but “precise and correct knowledge!” This is the “knowledge” that is in Jesus’ “and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free!”
This brings us to God’s desire. How would God go about fulfilling his desire? Paul continues: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (verse 5). Notice the words “the man Christ Jesus.” Here Paul has pointed out, there is but “one mediator between God and men” but who is he? Please read with care these words: “the man Christ Jesus” The words, “the man,” is the Greek “anthropos” and Strong gives this: “manfaced, that is, a human being: – certain, man.” So, just who is this “certain, man?” Paul answers: “the man Christ Jesus.” Therefore, we have, “the Word was made flesh,” who is the “certain, man;” who is the anointed savior: Jesus! Now, looking with care at Paul’s next words: “Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Many people miss the true meaning of the word “ransom.” Thayer gives: “what is given in exchange for another as the price of his redemption, ransom.” Jesus did not take our place, but he was the “price” required for our freedom from Satan, who held us in bondage. In our sin, we were the servants of Satan, in bondage to Satan! The “certain” man Jesus, who was “the Word was made flesh;” thus, he was all that was required to be our “ransom.”
It is now required that we understand how Jesus was qualified to be the “ransom” of mankind. Peter will tell us: “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 222-23). No other member of mankind was perfect, as in being without sin; therefore, Jesus, the seed of woman, the flesh, as in “the Word was made flesh,” could be “the ransom” for mankind. Jesus stood by himself, as the one on the cross, shedding his blood as he paid the “ransom” for our sins! Jesus did not take our place on the cross, as we are unqualified to be upon the cross!

Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/jesus-3-2/

Apr 14

JESUS (2)

As I start this second article with Jesus as the subject, allow me to make a distinction in the words used to identify the second member of the Godhead, in the flesh. This is important because “seed” of the woman in Genesis, chapter three and verse fifteen, is a fleshly seed. We generally understand this, but do not think of it. In the “seed” of the woman was to be both Deity and flesh! So, just what do we mean when writing the name “Jesus?”
To start with, we turn to John, the apostle, who wrote: “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 1:14). The words, “the Word,” relates to who? Let John answer the question: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). Here “the Word” is God; he is Deity. But, “God” “the Word” was “made flesh.” Now, what do we call this “the Word,” who “was made flesh?” Yes, we could answer, We call this being “the only begotten of the Father.” It is necessary that we look at the words, “was made flesh.” The Greek word is “ginomai” and means: “to come into existence, begin to be, receive being.” (Thayer). Prior to the conception in Mary, this being did not exist! He had a beginning, totally unlike “the Word” who had no beginning; as he is Deity! But, clearly there was a change, as a being “was made flesh,” and begin to be at a point in time! Before this point in time, the conception of Mary, “the only begotten of the Father” came into existence, he begins to be! But here is our question: What do we call him?
Why not call this new being, “Jesus,” as the Holy Spirit said he should be called? Here we turn to Matthew: “And she (Mary, frw) shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Jesus is the one who had a beginning, as he “began to be.” He is the “seed” of woman, the promised “seed” in Genesis chapter three, verse fifteen. The name of the “seed” of the woman is Jesus! He is “the only begotten of the Father!” While we are here, we shall allow the Holy Spirit to speak, in answering the question: Why was “the Word” who began to be “the only begotten of the Father,” called Jesus? Once more we turn to Matthew: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). Why was “the only begotten of the Father” called Jesus? Notice the words of the Holy Spirit here: “for he shall save his people from their sins.” The word “Jesus” is the Greek “Iesous,” and means: “Savior” and is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament.” Joshua saved the children of Israel from the wilderness wanderings as he led them across the Jordon River into the promised land! This salvation was physical, but the salvation of Jesus is spiritual.
It is most important that we keep in mind, that Deity does not have flesh and blood, but Deity, “the Word,” “was made flesh!” And with that “flesh,” Jesus came into existence, he began to be; therefore, the blood by which we are saved, became a reality. It is imperative that we keep in mind, that Deity does not die, Deity cannot die! But Jesus, the son of the fleshly Mary did die, and Peter calls his blood; “the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you” (1 Pet. 1:19-20). Peter’s subject is “redemption” and he tells us it was by the precious blood of Christ,” the anointed one, that we are redeemed! Keeping in mind, that God, Deity, does not have blood but “the only begotten of the Father” did have blood through Mary! He is the anointed One, the anointed Jesus, the savior!
As we concluded this article, we return to the “seed” of woman in Genesis. It is by the blood of the “seed” of woman that we are redeemed; that we are saved! The words of the song come to mind: “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus; What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” And the Refrain: “Oh! precious is the flow; That makes me white as snow; No other fount I know, Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

— Frank R. Williams

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/jesus-2-2/

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