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Archive for February, 2008

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Things To Come

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Things To Come

Some of the final words of the Bible say in Revelation 22v7 Jesus speaking “Behold, I am coming soon! To which the Apostle John replies in Revelation 22v20, “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.”

As Christian Disciples living almost 2000 years after Jesus spoke those words, this is our hope – to be with Him who is coming again. He who is the object of our faith, worship and life of discipleship! And not just Christian Disciples talk about the “end of the world as we know it”. There are a plethora of books written about it from all sorts of people, from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of opinions. But what does the Bible say about the time when Jesus comes again and how are we to respond to this fact? What does the Bible say about the future things to come, seeing as it is the authorative source for the Christian Disciple?

1. The Second Coming of Jesus

I will come back and take you to be with me (John 14v3). He will come back the same way He went to heaven (Acts 1v11)

When will He come?

  • No-one knows (Matthew 24v36)
  • It will be unexpected (1 Thessalonians 5v1-3)
  • There will be signs preceding His coming (Matthew 24)
  • When the gospel has been preached in the whole world (Matthew 24v14)

2. Our Response to Eschatological Prophecy


  • Be ready, waiting, watching and working (Matthew 24v42-44).
  • Be alert, self-controlled, sanctified and encouraging of each other (1 Thessalonians 5v6-8, 11)

3. Different Responses to Eschatological Prophecy

The three main schools of prophetic interpretation are Amillenialism, Postmillenialism & Premillenialism. These 3 views depend on whether the prophetic parts of Scripture are to be interpreted literally or figuratively (Spiritually). I wont tell you my opinion as to which I think is the correct interpretation, but let you decide that for your self!

  • Amillenial View – Primarily a figurative/spiritual interpretation. This view sees the O.T. promises to Israel are being fulfilled in the church. The Millennium is the reign of Christ in the Church – the new Israel. The Church is already experiencing tribulation.
  • Postmillenial View – Christ will return at the end of the millennium – a golden age of the Church.
  • Premillenial View – Christ will return to set up His kingdom on earth for 1000 years (Revelation 19v1-7). God promises to Israel of restoration, a future king and temple will await fulfilment. God has a separate programme for the Church

4. Second Coming of Christ

The Premillenial view sees 2 stages in the second coming

  • His coming in the rapture. This is when Jesus Christ returns to take His people to be with Him (1 Thessalonians 4v16). The dead in Christ are raised and the living are changed (1 Corinthians 15v51-54)
  • His coming to Earth (Revelation – parousia). He will return to the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14v4; Acts 1v11). He will come with power and glory (Matthew 24v30) and everyone will see Him.

5. Christ’s return to Earth

  • To judge the antichrist and his followers (Revelation 16v12-16, 19v11-16)
  • To bind Satan (Revelation 20v1-3) during the Millennium. Amillenialists see this as having already been done. However, Satan is still the ruler of this world (John 16v11).
  • To save Israel (Zechariah 14v1-3). Israel will repent, recognizing the One they pierced (Zechariah 12v10-13v1; Romans 11).
  • To judge the nations (Matthew 25v31-46; Joel 3v11-17

6. Premillenial return of Christ

Christ will come and set up an earthly kingdom for 1000 years (Revelation 20v2-7). Amillenialists see this as speaking figuratively about Christ’s current reign in the Church.

7. History of Premillenialism and Amillenialism

The view of the church for the first 2 centuries was of a literal millennial return of Jesus Christ after the Holy Spirit’s return. Early church fathers such as Papias, Ireneaus and Justin Martyr taught this, and these men were not far removed from the Apostle John. Origen promoted the figurative (spiritual) method of interpretation and Augustine developed an Amillenial view, identifying the Church with the fulfillment of the O.T. promises to Israel and this became official Roman Catholic doctrine. Many scholars returned to the Premillenial (literal) view after the Reformation.

8. Pre-tribulation Return of Christ

Rapture – The tribulation is a time of judgment for unrepentant men (2 Thessalonians 2v9-12). God’s people would be excluded from such judgment (1 Thessalonians 1v9-10; 5v9). The Lord will come suddenly bringing destruction, while people are saying ‘peace and safety’ (1 Thessalonians 5v1-3). These conditions will exist before the Rapture, but not at the end of the tribulation.

ResurrectionThe bodily resurrection of the dead, saved and unsaved, is clearly taught in Bible (John 5v28-29; Acts 24v15). Christ’s resurrection is the guarantee of our resurrection (1 Corinthians 15v20-22)


Christian Disciples

  • Like Christ’s glorious body (1 Corinthians 15v49; Philippians 3v21; 1 John 3v2)
  • Not flesh and blood (1 Corinthians 15v50ff)
  • Not partly spiritual (Luke 24v39; 1 Corinthians 15v42, 53)

Unbelievers

  • They will be resurrected (John 5v28-29) and cast into the lake of fire

Timing of the resurrection

  • 1st Resurrection – when Christ comes in the air to take Christian Disciples (1 Corinthians 15v23; 1 Thessalonians 4v16); some place resurrection of O.T. saints at the end of the tribulation.
  • 2nd Resurrection – Resurrection of the unsaved after the Millennium (Revelation 20v5, 11-13)

Judgment – Certainty of judgment – He will judge the whole world with justice (Acts 17v31). Man is destined to die once and after that to face judgment. (Hebrews 9v27)

The Judge – God is the judge of all the earth (Hebrews 12v23). The Father has given all judgment to the Son (John 5v22-27)

Judgment of Christian Disciples

  • Christian Disciples will not be judges for sin – this has been judged (Isaiah 53v4-6; 1 Peter 2v24)
  • ·Christian Disciples will be judged for their works. We will give an account of ourselves to God (Romans 14v10). We will be judged according to our works (2 Corinthians 5v10). The quality of our work will be tested (1 Corinthians 3v11-15). Our motives will be exposed either for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 4v4-5) or for our own glory.
  • We will give account of the opportunities and abilities entrusted to us (Matthew 25v14-30)
  • Rewards may be gained or lost (1 Corinthians 3v14-15)
  • Incorruptible crown (1 Corinthians 9v25)
  • Crown of glory (1 Peter 5v4)
  • Crown of righteousness (2 Timothy 4v8)
  • Crown of rejoicing (1 Thessalonians 2v19)
  • Crown of life (James 1v12)

Judgment of unbelievers

  • The Great White Throne of Judgment (Revelation 20v11-15).
  • After the Millennium (Revelation 20v11-15, 21v8).
  • They will be cast into the lake of fire with satan and his angels (Revelation 20v15; Matthew 25v41). This punishment is eternal (Matthew 25v46).

For more to think about please do. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.


Q1. Read 1 Thessalonians 5v6-11. How am I living out these Scripture in my life as a Christian Disciple?

Q2. Read 2 Corinthians 5v10. If I were to give an account of my work today, what would occur?

Q3. Read Matthew 25v31-46. As a Christian Disciple, how does this affect my urgency to tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you.

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Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Salvation 2

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Salvation 2

Romans 10v9-10 “That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”

Salvation Who decides the saved has been a question asked for centuries!! There are two extremist views in regards to salvation – there is “hyper-Calvinism” that says God has decided all things and there is nothing we can do about it. Then there is the opposite end, “universalism”, which says that God will grant salvation to all, regardless of creed, race or religion. But we need to see these two “isms” in the balance of Scripture. Firstly God does choose individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9) and He chooses those who are, or will be, saved (John 15v16). These chosen ones are called the elect. However, it is also His will that all people should be saved (1 Timothy 2v3-4) and that nobody should perish (2 Peter 3v9).

So in reading those two statements, it is imperative that we accept both these Scriptural statements as equally and absolutely true. When we use words about God with a time element such as ‘chose’, ‘elect’, we need to use these taking into God’s infinite time framework (timelessness), and not in our human finite time framework. So God offers salvation to all, and leaves the responsibility to take up the offer with humans.

As a Christian disciple you have taken up God’s offer of salvation! But now what? What happens after the decision to become a Christian has been made?

Philippians 2v12-13: “Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”

This “working hard to show the results of your salvation” involves four things: Repentance, Faith, Perseverance and Discipline.

1. Repentance is a voluntary change in mind, in which the person turns from a life of sin to living a life of righteousness. This is done in three spheres:

a) Mind (Intellect) – recognition of personal sinfulness and guilt before God (Psalm 51v3; Romans 3v20)

b) Emotional (Heart) – genuine sorrow for sin – Godly sorrow… leads to repentance (2 Corinthians 7v8-10)

c) Will – decision to turn from sin, self-pleasing and self-centredness to God.

The importance of repentance was central to the teaching of:

Jesus (Matthew 4v17; Mark 1v15); John the Baptist (Matthew 3v1-2); The Apostles (Acts 2v38; 20v21);

Commanded by God (Acts 17v30); God’s will that all people repent (2 Peter 3v9; 1 Timothy 2v4)

2. Faith is a confidence in the faithfulness of God which leads to reliance and trust in God and obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6). In salvation, faith is a voluntary change of mind and heart in the sinner in which the person turns to God, relying on and accepting His offer of salvation through Jesus Christ. –

FAITH = BELIEF + TRUST + ACTION.

a) Mind – recognition of our need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on our behalf and our need of forgiveness.

b) Emotional (Heart) – personal assent to the gospel – What must I do to be saved? Agree to make salvation a part of life.

c) Will – Personal trust.

· Surrender of the life to the Lordship of Christ (John 8v12; Romans 10v9)

· Reception and appropriation of Jesus into the life. (John 1v12; Revelation 3v20)

· Accepting His death on our behalf, and the forgiveness He offers.

3. Perseverance is the continuous operation of the Holy Spirit in the believer, by which the work of divine grace that is begun in the heart is continued and brought to completion.

  • They will never perish, no-one can snatch them out of my hand (John 10v27-29)
  • They have eternal life and will not be condemned, passed from death to life. (John 5v24)
  • He who began a good work in you, will carry it on to completion (Philippians 1v6)
  • Shielded by God’s power. (1 Peter 1v15)
  • Nothing can separate us from God/Christ’s love. (Romans 8v38-39)
  • The Lord knows those who are His (2 Timothy 2v19)
  • That you may know that you have eternal life (1 John 5v12-13)
  • Eternal life never depends on our feeble grip on Christ, but rather on His firm grip on us.

4. Godly Discipline Christian disciples are sometimes entangled by sin (Hebrews 12v1). God disciplines His children and “It is painful.” (Hebrews 12v11) Therefore if we are Christians, and we sin (remaining unrepentant and habitual), God will discipline (Hebrews 12v10). If we sin and are not disciplined, we are not His children (Hebrews 12v8).

The Practice of Sin – Habitual Sin – The Christian disciple cannot continue to sin habitually, willingly maintaining a sinful practice or attitude. That is why we are warned against falling away.

  • We share in Christ if we hold firmly to the end. (Hebrews 3v13-14)
  • It is possible to experience much of what God offers and not be a Christian e.g. The Pharisees (Hebrews 6v4-6)
  • Deliberate sinning after receiving the truth reveals a rejection of truth. However, God is merciful and will forgive if repentance is asked for!

Living as a Christian disciple is to be a life that brings glory to Jesus Christ. Part of that is a life of repentance, faith, perseverance and discipline. In doing these four things, the Christian disciple inevitably carries their own cross daily, so that Jesus the Master is honoured and glorified.

For more to think about please do read Philippians 2v1-16. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.


Q1. How am I working out my salvation?

Q2. How is God working in me so that He is glorified?

Q3. What am I doing to hold firmly to the word of life?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.

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Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Salvation 1

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Salvation 1


From the Book of Acts 16v29-34 – “The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God — he and his whole family. “

Salvation has two sides to it. There is God’s side, which may seem obvious. But there is also the human side of salvation. God provides the salvation but it is the human’s responsibility to take it. So for the next two discussions, hopefully that is going to be the topic: salvation..

Salvation includes several parts. Initially there is conversion, or as Jesus put it Matthew 18v3: “I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.” That means a voluntary change of turning from sin to God. That is the concept behind repentance. From there that point of beginning the life of a Christian disciple, it is a dynamic life and not to be passive. But what does this entail in regards to salvation?

SALVATION

What must I do to be saved is a question often asked in the book of Acts “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ” is the reply according to Acts 16v30-31. To believe does not mean just head knowledge; but believing in the heart (Romans 10v9), relying on the finished work of Christ for salvation. That is the human response to God’s offer of salvation. But what is God’s part of the deal?

God’s side of conversion

Firstly there is regeneration. Regeneration is the new birth, being born again, becoming a new creation. A regenerated person does not receive a new spirit or personality but the Holy Spirit recreates the moral basis of our character, setting it free to act according to God’s will giving the desire and ability to seek and follow God.

  • Being born again (John 3v3-6)
  • Washed by rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3v5)
  • New creation (2 Corinthians 5v17)
  • New person created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness – being renewed in the image of the creator. (Ephesians 4v24; Colossians 5v17)
  • Made truly alive (Ephesians 2v5)

Then there is Justification – our position before God. Justification is an act by which the sinner is acquitted and declared righteous in God’s sight (declared free from the penalty of sin). It is remission of sin and its penalty equals forgiveness.

  • Nailed the list of the Christian disciples sins to the cross (Colossians 2v13-14)
  • Clothed in a robe of righteousness (Isaiah 61v10)
  • Righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 1v7; Acts 13v38-39)
  • We receive the gift of righteousness. (Romans 5v17)
  • Righteousness from God through faith in Christ (Philippians 3v9)

Justification therefore is the result of being in Jesus Christ. The basis of this justification is Romans 3v26, whereby Jesus Christ is both Just and the Justifier. Because God is holy, sin must be dealt with, He cannot arbitrarily forgive sin. The judgment and penalty of sin, which is death, was poured out on Jesus Christ who is our substitute. Therefore justice has been done, because God is just. By faith in Christ we are declared righteous as free gift, and Christian disciples are therefore justified.

Then there is Sanctification or cleansed! We have been sanctified (Hebrews 10v10); washed clean (1 Corinthians 6v11) and have perfect holiness (2 Corinthians 7v1) and are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 3v18) and conformed to His likeness (Romans 8v28-29). We are to be living sacrifices, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12v1-2). This holiness is the pursuit of moral excellence, not just obeying the law, and is by necessity a high standard (1 Thessalonians 4v3)

Our condition before God is now

  • Set apart – separated from sin.
  • The attainment of moral holiness.

In principal, we are saints, and God has already declared all Christian disciples sanctified

  • We have been made holy (Hebrews 10v10)
  • We are washed and sanctified (1 Corinthians 6v11)

In practice, as growing Christians, we should be

  • Perfecting holiness, freed from the contamination of sin (2 Corinthians 7v1)
  • Process of becoming Christ-like (Romans 8v29; 2 Corinthians 3:v18)
  • Transforming of character by renewal of our minds (Romans 12v1-2)

The standard all Christian disciples are to attain and maintain is “Be holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1v16; 1 Thessalonians 4v3)

The Process by which this is achieved is by the Christian disciple devoting them self to righteousness (Romans 6v19) with a desire and choosing to be holy, submitted and consecrated to God. Christian Disciples are to put off the old nature – crucify the passions and desires (Ephesians 4v22; Galatians 5v24) and put on the new nature created to be like God (Ephesians 4v24) This is done by a work of God (1 Thessalonians. 5v23, Philippians 2v13). Being indwelt by God the Holy Spirit from the moment of conversions, Christian disciples are to ‘walk in the spirit’ (Galatians 5v16).

This is done by:

  • Desiring holiness, feed the new nature with God’s Word in order to renew our mind.
  • Communicating with God. Talk to Him!! By doing this sin will be starved.
  • Confess known sin immediately, consciously allowing Christ total control in all circumstances

For more to think about please do read Galatians 5vv16-25. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.


Q1. As a Christian disciple, how has my life changed since I started the Christian journey?

Q2. If I am now sanctified before God, how do I show I wear the robe of righteousness?

Q3. Do I exhibit the fruit of the Spirit to those who are not Christian disciples?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.


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Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Bible Covenants

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises –  Bible Covenants

He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? 2 Corinthians 3v6-8

 

Following on from the Edenic, Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants, comes the Covenant given to Moses.  But before we continue our journey in Old Testament Covenants, first an explanation regarding some nuances about them.

 

Covenants were common in all kinds of life, and not just between God and humanity.  For instance where a powerful nation had taken over a weaker nation, a covenant was in place to give benefits from the powerful nation to the weaker nation, such as protection as well as sanctions if the weaker nation rebelled.  There were covenants between equal partners in deals similar to contracts of law today.  The Covenant of the Old Testament had several things about them regarding the relationship between God and humanity.

  • Firstly, God always took the initiative – sometimes by surprise as in with Abraham or in Noah’s case, through his obedience.
  • Secondly, God has promised certain commitments and has given His solemn promise to fulfil His end of the bargain.
  • Thirdly, God waits for a response from humanity.  God does not coerce or force but waits for humanity to take the responsibility of replying and acquiescing to God’s covenantal promises.

1.  The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19v5-8)

This is the fifth covenant between God and humanity and also the second theocratic. It commences with the stipulation “Now if you will obey me and keep my covenant, you will be my own special treasure from among all the peoples on earth; for all the earth belongs to me.” (Exodus 19v5).  This covenant was to Israel in order that those who believed God’s promise to Abraham, could know how to live righteously.

 

This Mosaic covenant covered the three areas of life:

  • The commandments were given so they would know how to correctly relate socially to God  (Exodus 20v1-6)
  • The judgements were given in order that they could relate socially to each other properly (Exodus 21v1 – 24v11)
  • The decrees dictate their religious life so that God could be approaced by humanity on His terms (Exodus 24v12 – 31v18).

This Mosaic covenant however, does not replacethe Abrahamic Covenant, but rather as an addition (Galatians 3v19) to it until the Messiah Christ came and made the perfect sacrifice (Galatians 3v17-19). The Covenants pointed towards this momentous event.  The Mosaic Covenant was never meant as a means towards salvation.  It was given that they could realize their helplessness of their own efforts, and their need of God’s help.  Galatians 3v22-24 Explains that the Law was only a protective fence until  through the promised Messiah, humanity “could be made right with God through faith.“

6.  The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7v4-17)

This covenant is the sixth covenant and third theocratic covenant.  The Davidic Covenant promises three things :

  • A land forever (2 Samuel 7v10);
  • A dynasty without end (2 Samuel 7v11, 16)
  • A perpetual kingdom (2 Samuel 7v13, 16)

2 Samuel 7v12 predicts the birth of Solomon as David’s successor to the throne with his role being to establish David’s throne forever (2 Samuel 7v13).  We see this link to Jesus Christ, though the genealogies to both Joseph: a legal right to David’s throne (Matthew 1v1-17) and to Mary: a blood right to David’s throne  (Luke 3v23-38)

7.  The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31v31-34)

This covenant is the seventh covenant between God and humanity, and the fourth theocratic covenant.

Four features of this covenant are:

  • Regeneration – On the hearts of people, God will write His law (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Restoration  – God will be their God, and they will be God’s people. (Jeremiah 31v33)
  • Promised Holy Spirit – God will indwell people and they will be led by Him (Jeremiah 31v 34)
  • Justification – Sins will be forgiven and removed eternally (Jeremiah 31v34)

 

This new covenant is sealed only through the perfect sacrifice of the God-Man Jesus on the cross.  His blood ensures the truth of this New Covenant.  His death pays the penalty for the sins of all people who say yes to God and His New Covenant. This New Covenant is contrasted with the Old Covenant or the Mosaic covenant (Jeremiah 31v32; Hebrews 8v6-13) because this New Covenant finalizes what the Mosaic Covenant could only point to: the follower of God living in a righteous life  conforming to God’s holy character.

 

Through all these Covenants we see a God who is willing to interact with His creation and bless it. When first century Christians such as Paul, Peter and John checked all the events surrounding the life of Jesus, they searched their Scriptures (our Old Testament).  It was as the Holy Spirit illuminated their minds, that they wrote down and passed on the whole gamut of Old Testament promise which was fulfilled in God’s Messiah and the world’s hope: Jesus Christ and Him alone.  That is why it is important for us as twenty-first century Christian Disciples to read our Old Testament as well as the new.  For by reading the Old Testament, new light may be shed on our own understanding of the New Testament.

 

For more to think about please do read for yourself: Hebrews 9v24 to Hebrews 10v25. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them.  Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

 

Q1. What does Jesus Christ’s death and the New Covenant, mean to me as a Christian Disciple?

Q2. Why and how can I, as a Christian Disciple, draw near to God?

Q3. As a Christian Disciple, what and how can I encourage those I meet?

 

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk.  Thank you.

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Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Bible Covenants 1

Partake Module 3 – God’s Promises – Bible Covenants 1

How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance—now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. Hebrews 9v14-15

If we as Christian Disciples are now under what the writer to Hebrews calls the “New Covenant”, what were the Old Covenants that preceded it? Over the next two Podcasts we shall look briefly at these Old Covenants and also the New Covenant.

Old Testament Covenants

1. The Edenic Covenant (Genesis 2v15-17)

This was the first covenant between God and man. Adam is commanded in the Edenic Covenant to

  • Populate the earth (Genesis 1v28)
  • Subjugate the earth (Genesis 1v28)
  • Exercise dominion over animals (Genesis 1v28)
  • Tend and enjoy the garden of Eden (Genesis 1v29; 2v15)
  • Refrain from eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2v16-17).

When Adam & Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the Covenant was terminated and the consequence was their spiritual and physical deaths. This failure required God to make a new covenant with Adam.

2. The Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3v14-21)

This second covenant between God and humanity, is also titled the covenant with all of mankind, as it lay down the terms and conditions which hold until sin’s curse is lifted (Isaiah 11v6-10; Romans 8v18-23). Because of Adam’s sin, we are all born under the curse of sin.

The terms and conditions of this covenant include:

  • Satan is judged although- he will enjoy limited & temporal success (Genesis 3v15), but ultimately he will be judged (Genesis 3v15).
  • The first Messianic prophecy is given (Genesis 3v15)
  • Childbirth now involves pain and the woman is made subject to her husband (Genesis 3v16)
  • The ground is cursed and weeds will grow amongst man’s food (Genesis 3vv17 – 19)
  • Physical changes occur and now people sweat when they work all their life (Genesis 3v19)
  • Because of the sin and disobedience, people die spiritually, and inevitably physically. (Genesis 3v19).


3. The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9v1-19)

This is the third covenant between God and man given after the flood had wiped out earth’s population, apart from Noah and his family.

The terms of the Noahic covenant are

  • Populate the earth is reaffirmed (Genesis 9v1).
  • Subjection of the animals to humans is reaffirmed (Genesis 9v2).
  • Humans are allowed to eat animal flesh but are to refrain from drinking/eating the blood (Genesis 9vv3, 4)
  • Human life’s sanctity is established. (Genesis 9vv5, 6).
  • God promises to never to destroy the earth again by flood (Genesis 9v11). But as 2 Peter 3v10 tells us, God will destroy it by fire!
  • The rainbow is given as a symbol of this covenant and its existence (Genesis 9v12-17)


4. The Abrahamic Covenant
(Genesis 12v1-3)

Whilst the Edenic, Adamic and Noahic Covenants were universal covenants, the fourth Covenant is the first covenant which is theocratic or relating to the rule of God. It is dependent on God alone, who by means of grace in the “I will,”. to bestow promised blessings.

This Abrahamic Covenant is also the basis for the theocratic covenants which follow and provides blessings in three levels:

  • Personal level: “I will make your name great; and you will be a blessing” (Genesis 12v2)
  • National level: “I will make you into a great nation” (Genesis 12v2)
  • Universal level: “all peoples on the earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12v3)

Initially this covenant was in broad outline, but God later confirmed it to Abraham in greater depth (Genesis 13v14-7; 15v1-7, 18-21; 17v1-8). The Abrahamic covenant is a link to all of God’s activities and programs until the end of time, when Jesus returns to gather His people to Himself.

The personal aspects of the Covenant, particular to Abraham are:

  • father of a great nation (Genesis 12v1)
  • receive personal blessing (Genesis 12v2)
  • receive personal honour and reputation (Genesis 12v2)
  • He will be a source of blessing to others. (Genesis 12v3)

The aspects of the Abrahamic Covenant, pertinent universally are:

  • blessings on those who bless Abraham and the nation of Israel which comes from him (Genesis 12v3)
  • curses on those who curse Abraham and Israel (Genesis 12v3)
  • blessings on all the earth through the God’s coming Messiah, who is Abraham’s son and brings universal salvation. (Genesis 12v1-3 and Galatians 3v8)

The Adamic, Noahic and Abrahamic Covenants all look forward to the coming of the Messiah, as do the Mosaic and Davidic Covenants. All of history points to His coming. This was all part of Paul’s reasoning from Scripture with the Jews he came in contact with. Of course for Paul, as for us, the Messiah is Jesus Christ.

For more to think about please do read 2 Corinthians 3, ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.

Q1. As a Christian Disciple, how do the Old Testament Covenants fit together and apply to me?

Q2. As a Christian Disciple, how does God make me competent, and for what purpose?

Q3. As a Christian Disciple, what affect does the ministry of the Holy Spirit have on me?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. Thank you

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Partake Module 2 – God & Man – What makes us Human?

Partake Module 2 – God & Man – What makes us Human?

Paul writing to the Thessalonian church says: “May God himself, the God who makes everything holy and whole, make you holy and whole, put you together—spirit, soul, and body—and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

What is a human, and what do humans consist of? The atheistic and Naturalistic theory denies the existence of a spiritual world and claims that our thoughts and feelings, love, fear, hatred and guilt are physical or chemical in origin. However the Bible indicates that humans are composed of 3 parts – Body, Soul and Spirit. The spirit and soul are only separable in thought and are probably best seen as two separate dimensions of the non-material side of a person – the spirit relating to God, and the soul relating to earth. All three parts, spirit, soul and body have an important role to play in our human-ness.

  • The spirit is our spiritual system, which is seen in our consciousness of God and in our faith and conscience.
  • The soul is our psychological system, and is observed in our use of mind, emotions and will.
  • The body is our physiological system, and is seen in the five senses – Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch, Smell.

It is important to note that the whole person is valuable to God, not just the spirit as Paul explains the bible verse I read earlier. Other philosophies and religions have tried to portray the body as evil or irrelevant, and this has crept into some parts of Christianity, with the tradition of priestly celibacy and asceticism. A break down in any of these areas can cause imbalance in the other areas. For example, research has shown that sometimes, physical sickness can be caused through emotional turmoil. Studies have also revealed that mental illness may occasionally be caused through guilt or unforgiveness.

Underlying all this, mankind has an inherently sinful nature. A nature, being as it is in conflict with God, that is self-centred and self-pleasing rather than a nature that is God pleasing and God centred. The resulting violation of God’s spiritual order leads to many conflicts and imbalances. A prime example of this is observed when we have fits of rage, self-pity or worry.

For more to think about please read Psalm 139

.The audio for this can be found by clicking here

Partake Module 2 – God & man – The Trinity

Partake Module 2 – God & man – The Trinity

Jesus speaking: “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you.” John 14v15-17

What kind of God offers salvation? A personal God! Now a God who is personal, must be capable of having and sustaining relationships. A God who sustains relationships will also want to be known! We know that God is spirit, yet also a personal and infinite being (John 4v24). He is one in substance or nature and incapable of being divided “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.(Deuteronomy 6v4) yet also as we shall see, three co-equal and eternally existing persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We can say for certain however, that the inter-Trinitarian life of God is a mystery beyond our mortal comprehension, experience and language.


Having said that, the word that the Church historically has come to define the God-head is ‘Trinity’. The actual word “Trinity” does not exist in the Bible! Does that surprise you? The word “Trinity” or “Tri-unity” actually derives from the Latin word “Trinitas,” which is defined, as “three are one “or” the property of occurring three at once”. Whilst the word doesn’t appear, the principal behind it, most assuredly does! The Trinity is God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Opponents of this doctrine say that it is actually 3 gods, but that would be to say the Trinity is one plus one plus one and therefore equalling three… However the Trinity is 3 persons in one God, which is one multiplied by one multiplied by one equalling one.


There are principally two main errors when thinking about the Trinity. One is that the three names, Father, Son and Spirit are simply three different designations of the one God. The other is that God the Father is the true God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit are somehow inferior, and therefore not strictly God.


Whilst there are no explicit Scripture texts using the word trinity, the concept is explicit throughout Scripture. In the Old Testament “God said, Let us create…” (Genesis 1v26) and “Sovereign Lord, Spirit and Redeemer” (Isaiah 48v16). In the New Testament, at Jesus’ baptism the three persons of the Godhead were represented (Matthew 3v13-17); also in the Great commission “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28v19). Elsewhere baptism is to be in ‘the singular name, of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and not ‘the names (plural). God is One “and there is no other but Him” (Mark 12v32); and it is also in the Paul-ine Grace “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all” (2 Corinthians 13v14). The Lord Jesus also impressed upon the Twelve Apostles the distinction between the Father and Himself, and clearly taught about the Holy Spirit as being distinct yet again.

Indivisible – There is in God, one indivisible essence or substance of which God is made. God is expressed in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In each of these belongs the whole undivided essence of God. The totality of God exists in the Father, also in the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is self-conscious and self-directing. The three members never act in opposition to any other member, but always in union and harmony.

Precession – This endeavours to describe the relationship within the Godhead. The members of the Godhead are co-equal and co-eternal. However, there is an order of succession in their relationship but this does not imply superiority & inferiority. The Son is begotten of the Father (John 3v16) and does the Fathers Will. Both the Father and the Son sent the Holy Spirit “When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.” (John 15v26).

Relationship – There is a communal honour between the Trinity Persons (John 15v26; 16v13-15; 17v1, 8,18,23). In the work of redemption or salvation, there is a co-ordination in the Triune Godhead (Hebrews 10v7-17; Ephesians 4v4-6; 1 Corinthians 12v4-6). The Father ‘elects’ (Ephesians 1v4); The Son ‘redeems (Ephesians 1v7); and the Holy Spirit ‘seals’ (Ephesians 1v13-14). Between the three Persons, there is an eternal unison in active purpose and yet seemingly external distinctive between the Three members of the Triune Godhead.

This Godhead Trinity, with its inherent qualities of relationship shows that God is indeed love, and the work of salvation is an act of love from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If God was not a Trinity, then how could love possibly be shown, as love requires more than one Person for it to be active? As a Trinitarian being, love is an endemic quality of the Godhead. The Father loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit loves the Father and the Son. The God we serve as Christian disciples exhibits love and this God commands us, to love one another so that He will be seen (John 13v34-25). By showing love, we reflect the Trinitarian God, in whose image we are made.

For more to think about please do read Ephesians 1v3-14. Ask yourself the following questions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to them. Then why not share your answers with your spouse or a close friend, so that you can pray over any issues together.


Q1. How can the inter-relational aspects seen in the Trinity, be an encouragement to me?

Q2. How does each member of the Trinity individually help me?

Q3. How can I be thankful that I serve a God who is love, and knows love intimately?

As ever, if you have any comments to make on this, please do contact me at partake(at)hotmail.co.uk. I would love to hear from you and if these are making any difference at all to your continual Christian discipleship! Thank you.


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