Jul 07

THE WORKINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (3)

The workings of the kingdom of Christ are central to understanding the kingdom of Christ. Understooding that the kingdom is spiritual and not physical, and having briefly looked at the nature of, the authority and the organization of the kingdom of Christ, it is time to examine how this great kingdom works, as it is found around the earth!
A few questions might be helpful; with one king who is in heaven; how can a spiritual kingdom possibly work? How can this spiritual kingdom work without any worldly organization as in no hierarchy to direct it? Here is another question to help our thoughts: “Where is the headquarters for the kingdom of Christ?” It is freely admitted that most all denominational churches have state and national organizations, and a national headquarters, and this is how they work. The kingdom of Christ, has but one headquarters and it is in heaven, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. However, just what are the works and how do they work in this spiritual kingdom of which we write? If you should have time, you might try and answer each of the questions in written form! Just write down the questions and answer them; then, move on to the next one!
Take just a moment to answer this question: What is the first “work” of the kingdom of Christ? It is somewhat hard to think of it as a “work” but we are hard pressed to find another word; therefore, we will use the word “work!” As you enter the kingdom of Christ, having trusted the word of God, and having obeyed the gospel of Christ; thus, you were added, translated into the kingdom; other than rejoicing over being saved; just what was upon your mind? Did it ever occur to you that God should be worshipped, as your first act as a child of God; as you express your gladness in being saved? If not, you have missed a primary joy, which can only be expressed in worship of God! Some may be asking, “Why is this so natural?”
It is understood that you may not have given much, if any, thought to this question, but now you are called upon to think! What is the most natural thing for a saved person to do? It will help our study, if we approach our question with what Paul wrote: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). We have read and heard these words many, many times before, but did we get the fulness of the words? I think it very important that we look more closely at some of the words in this text, which are somewhat over looked by some. First, the word “for,” noticing that the verse starts with this word; as it stands before the words “by grace.” This little Greek word is very powerful. It is the Greek “gar” which is: “A primary particle; properly assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification” (Strong). Well, just what is the reason, that explains, which intensifies, what Paul wrote, “by grace are ye saved through faith?” The answer is found in verse seven: “That in the ages to come he (God, frw) might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. The reason being, by grace are ye saved through faith; …” Did you get that? The reason for God’s salvation “by grace through faith” is that he is showing “the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” When we are saved “by grace through faith,” we are experiencing God’s “grace in his kindness to us through Christ Jesus.” It is necessary that we keep in mind and in our thoughts, it is “to us through Christ Jesus!”
But, this is not all that we need to notice in Paul’s words. In the King James Version, we have “through faith.” The Greek Majority text has, “through the faith,” and this changes the general view of this text. The general view of this verse is that we have two parts related to our being saved: 1) God’s part, “grace” and 2) our part, our personal faith. However, if we use the diffiant article “the” before the word “faith,” it makes the words “and that not of yourselves” even more meaningful to us! As neither “grace” nor “the faith” is of man but of God! Therefore, being saved, “it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast!” Our salvation is not of ourselves! We had nothing to do with it; that is the means of our salvation! This does not negate, that man is responsible for “obeying the gospel” for all who do not “obey the gospel” are going to suffer what is beyond our comprehension! When Paul wrote of the coming of the Lord, he wrote: “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Thess. 1:8). The person who would tell you, that there is nothing that you must do to be saved is misleading themselves and you! Before leaving this text, it is also necessary that we notice another little word, this time, is the Greek word “ou” which is also a very powerful word. Strong says it is: “A primary word; the absolutely negative adverb.” A little more from Strong about this word: “objectively negates a statement,” “ruling it out as fact.” Just what is Paul “ruling out as fact” as an “objective negative,” in his use of the Greek word “ou”? Paul wrote: “Not, absolutely not of works, objectively not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9). Wherein is man able to “boast” in his salvation, when it is “by grace and the faith,” which are both of God and not of man? Not one man had anything to do with it! All boasting is out!!
Does anyone think that he has really done some great thing of his own, when he obeys the gospel? Or should he immediately worship God? He should fall upon his face before the great “I am!” And this is the first act that a saved person should do! Did you or do you understand that part of our worship is expressing our gratitude for our salvation which came by God through Christ?

Frank R. Williams

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Jun 30

THE WORKINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (2)

What is the nature of the kingdom of Christ? Without a moment’s thought, it can be said that the nature of the kingdom of Christ is spiritual and not worldly. Jesus made this very clear, when speaking to Pilate: “My kingdom is not (The Greek, ou, the absolutely negative, frw) 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” (John 18:36). The kingdom of Christ, as Paul wrote: “For we wrestle not (The Greek, ou, the absolutely negative, frw) against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12). With these two negative statements, the subject of the nature of the kingdom of Christ is settled; as in established! It is spiritual!
So, what does this have to do with our subject? It has everything to do with the nature of the kingdom of Christ, in how it must be examined; how it is to be looked at! You see, the kingdom is within you: the faithful child of God. Jesus said: “Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (Luke 17:21). If the kingdom is within us, and it is, just where is it in us? Is it in our foot, the hand; no, it is in the heart! By way of it’s nature, the kingdom of Christ, could not be anywhere else! Jeremiah wrote, which is quoted in the letter to the Hebrew Christians: “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 8: 10-12). Notice, “I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts!” Thus, with the law so goes the kingdom of Christ! To help with our understanding of this matter, looking at America, is it a land or a people? As the nature of America, it is both; but with the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ, the kingdom must be within the heart/mind of each of us!
Nevertheless, it will help us to view the kingdom of Christ in a physical manner, only to see it in her spiritual nature. The apostle Paul did this very thing: “For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him” (1 Cor. 12:14-18). Therefore, it is within the bonds of inspiration to us physical things to better understand the spiritual. With this in mind, we shall go about understanding the spiritual nature of the kingdom of Christ through physical things.
It is important that we have some conception of how the kingdom of Christ works! If we can view the kingdom as a series of small villages, which are autonomous, meaning each is under local leadership, who are called “elders,” “pastors,” “bishops” and “overseers;” the term “elders” referring to age and wisdom; the word “bishops” is an incorrect translation, as it should be translated “overseers.” It is the Greek word, “episkopos” and means: “1) an overseer 1a) a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly, any curator, guardian or superintendent” (Thayer). Also, the word “pastors” should have been translated “shepherds,” being the Greek “poimen” as Thayer gives this: “1) a herdsman, especially a shepherd.” The word does not refer to preachers as it so often is used today! These “shepherds” watch out for the “sheep,” as the “eternal purpose” of God is being done; as Paul wrote: “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:10-11). It must be noted that the words: elders, shepherds, and overseers, are used in the plural, meaning that no “village” is every overseen by one man!
These leaders are not without qualifications. Most of these qualifications are found in 1 Timothy, as Paul wrote: “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work” (1 Tim. 3:1), then, he continues with the qualities of the men who are to serve. Space will not allow a study of each qualification here.
With this before us, we are prepared to take up the workings of the kingdom of Christ, which will be done in the upcoming articles. However, allow me to ask: When you think of the kingdom of Christ, just what is her first work? This question shall be answered in the next article.

Frank R. Williams

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Jun 23

THE WORKINGS OF THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST (1)

After thinking about the subject, “The Kingdom of Christ,” it was determined that more articles should be written on a somewhat different view of the “the kingdom of Christ. Therefore, a few articles will be written with the view of showing how the kingdom works. Seeing the parts, is necessary, but the overall view is also necessary! With this, we shall start.
The first part is the kingship of Jesus Christ, “God’s dear Son!” Paul made it clear that “God’s dear Son” had a kingdom; therefore, he is also king of his kingdom: God “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13). It is also truth that if we are in the kingdom of Christ, we have been “translated” into the kingdom of Christ and out of the domain of Satan. The Greek here used by Paul, is “methistemi/methistano,” which means: “1) to transpose, transfer, remove from one place to another” (Thayer). If a person has not been “removed from one place: “the power of darkness,” into another place: “the kingdom of God’s dear Son;” then, this person has no relationship with Christ and continues to be lost! The only people who will be taken up into heaven, at the return of “God’s dear Son,” are those who are in “the kingdom of God’s dear Son!” As Paul wrote: “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. 1:24). This means, to be saved is to be a citizen of “the kingdom of God’s dear Son” and he who has not surrendered to the will of God through Christ is not saved!
The first view of “the kingdom of Christ” starts in heaven, at “the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3); as this is where the “King of kings and the Lord of lords” is seated upon his throne! From here he looks upon all his kingdom; it is from here that, he not only serves as King but also high priest over his kingdom. It is with great joy that we look upon the high priest: “Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.” The “high priest” acts in behalf of his citizens: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:15-16). No earthy kingdom ever had such a King who was also the high priest of his kingdom!
Second, as King Jesus, the anointed, has absolute authority; as he said to the eleven just before he departed this earth: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:18). Notice that his power is “in heaven and in earth!” His actions are according the law of the kingdom, as they were revealed by his “ambassadors,” (2 Cor. 5:20) the apostles of Christ! His law is unlike any other law, as it has within it, “the mind of Christ” (Phil. 2:5), “the spirit of Christ” (Rom. 8:9), and “the love of Christ” (Rom. 8:35). It also has within it: as Jesus said while introducing the Lord’s Supper, “this is my blood of the New Testament” (Matt. 26:28), “the gospel of Christ” (Rom. 1:16), “the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2), and “the teaching (doctrine) of Christ” (2 John 9). The law is complete and final, Jude wrote: “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). It was once for all time delivered, therefore, it has no additions and no takeaways! It was perfect then, and now!
There are warnings about changing the word of God! The Pharisees did it by adding, and even making their traditions above the word of God. Here is Jesus addressing the subject. He was asked: “Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread” (Matt. 15:2). It does not even take must study to see the problem with these words; it is only five words: “the tradition of the elders!” What was Jesus’ response? He said: “Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (verse 3). Clearly, their “tradition” transgressed the commandment of God! The Greek word use here is “parabaino” and means: “to go contrary to, that is, violate a command” (Strong). Thayer says: “1) to go by the side of 2) to go past or pass over without touching a thing.” The “traditions” of men neither touch any part of the commandments of God, top, bottom, or either side! Interesting that this is the same Greek word used by the apostle John, when he 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). To step beyond “the teaching of Christ” is to never touch it. This is much like Paul’s words to the Galatins: “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ” (Gal. 1:6-7). With Jesus, John, and Paul, we should understand, that anything not the word of God, call it what you might, it does not touch “the teaching of Christ!” And it has no, I repeat, it has no salvation in it!
Finally, just here, there are some today, who appear to think that they have the right to add to “the teaching of Christ.” They think, the historical record of Luke has no authority in it. Therefore, they are not bound by the account of action of the approved record of the apostles in the early church.

Frank R. Williams

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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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-kingdom-of-christ-3/

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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-kingdom-of-christ-2/

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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/the-kingdom-of-christ-1/

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

Permanent link to this article: http://okcsbs.com/jesus-6/

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/

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