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WISE – Trinity

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Words In Scripture Explored – Trinity

G’day and welcome to WISE! The word for today is Trinity!

One of the problems that people tell me they have with the Christian God is the concept of God being a Trinity, asking “Why must God be a Trinity?” After all they say, the word Trinity isn’t in the Bible! And they are partly correct, insomuch as that there is no explicit Bible text using the word trinity. However, the concept is explicit throughout the Bible.

Trinity is Love

Love Indivisible – One of the main errors people make regarding the Trinity, is that the three names, Father, Son and Spirit are simply three different modes of the one God. However the Christian doctrine of the Trinity states that God, is made of one indivisible essence or substance, and this is expressed in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each belongs to the whole undivided essence of God. The totality of God exists in the Father, the Son and in the Holy Spirit. Each member of the Trinity is co-equal, co-eternal, self-conscious and self-directing. The three members never act in opposition to any other member, but always in complete union and harmony. The three members are always in complete union with the other.

Love Precession – This endeavours to describe the relationship within the Godhead. While, there seemingly is an order of succession in their relationship, this in no way means 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 (John 15v26).

Love 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.

If God was a single essence, as some people say, then how could love possibly be shown, as love requires more than one Person for it to be active? God is love. The Father totally loves the Son and the Spirit. The Son totally loves the Father and the Spirit. The Spirit totally loves the Father and the Son. This Trinitarian God exhibits love and commands His Disciples, to love one another so that He will be seen (John 13v34-25). When you show love, you reflect and reveal the Trinitarian God, in whose image you are made.

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ADD – God’s Purposes & Will

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God’s Purposes & Will

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“God has now revealed to us his mysterious plan regarding Christ, a plan to fulfil his own good pleasure. And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ — everything in heaven and on earth. Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan.” (Ephesians 1v9-11).

These verses tell us about the counsel of God’s Will (Ephesians 1v11). God’s Will is inextricably linked with the future and Things to Come. The future has us naturally wonder what are God God’s Purposes and Will? What are His decrees and how is Jesus interacting with us now?

1. God’s Purposes

What is the reason for creation? (Ephesians 1v3-11; Revelation 4v11). The glory of God – that God will be praised.

  • God’s purposes and plans are in eternity (Psalm 33v11)
  • God’s purposes originate in God’s wisdom and holiness.
  • God is free to do anything in accordance with His character. He cannot do anything contrary to His character.

2. God’s Will

  • Directive Will – Things God determines to come to pass. (Isaiah 14v24)
  • Permissive Will – Things God allows or permits to occur.

Sin and rebellion (not directive will). God is big enough to grant and cope with the free will He as given humanity.

Sin – God permits sin, but is not the author of sin. God made man with a free will, allowing for the possibility of sin. Although sin and corruption entered the world with great human loss, and the resulting death on the Cross: God thought freedom of will was worth giving to us. It is to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1)

SalvationElection – God chooses individuals to fulfil His purposes (Romans 9). God chooses those who are/will be saved (John 15v16). These are the chosen ones or the elect. However, it is not His will that any should perish (2 Peter 3v9), it is His will all men should be saved (1 Timothy2v3-4).

We need to accept both these 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 in God’s infinite time framework (timelessness), not in our human finite time framework.

3. Preservation – Doctrine of Continuance

God maintains the existence of all He has made. God has created but not left the universe while He watches from a distance (Islam/Muslim). This thinking is erroneous because it stipulates that God rules only by natural laws and simply observes its progress. However, the Bible tells us that God is actively involved in sustaining creation. For without His involvement, the universe would cease to exist. He does this in two ways.

Continuous Creation – God maintains the universe by continual creation.

Concurrence – God co-operates with all subordinate powers. Men retain their natural powers and exercise them but without God’s concurrence, no force or person can continue to exist or act. (Colossians 1v17; Acts 17v28; Hebrews 1v2-3)

4. Particular Names Of God reflect His Purposes and Will

  • Jehovah Jireh – (Genesis 22v14) – The Lord will provide
  • Jehovah Tsidkenu – (Jeremiah 33v16) – The Lord our righteousness
  • Jehovah Nissi – (Exodus 17) – The Lord is our banner / leader
  • Jehovah Shalom – (Judges 6v24) – The Lord is our peace
  • Jehovah Rapha – (Exodus 15) – The Lord is our healer
  • Jehovah Rohi (Psalm 23) – The Lord is our Shepherd

5. Sovereignty of God or His decrees.

The sovereignty of God dictates that God is in control at all times and nothing can occur outside of His control and will. God is not impersonal and He is involved with all creation. God loves His creation and cares for it. He has created all humans with the power to make decisions by them self. God wont deny our humanity when He deals with us. He speaks to our minds though the Bible and seeks us to respond to him with love and affection.

  • Sovereign decree: When God says “Eternal life is available for all. You may choose to accept or reject it. Those that accept it, I will call my children.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to trust and obey.
  • Conditional decree: When God says “I am willing to give you my opinion and help when you ask.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be read the Bible, to pray and talk with God.
  • Natural decree: When God has created a lemon tree, that lemon tree won’t produce potatoes.” Our reaction as Christian Disciples should be to plan ahead knowing the way the natural laws work..

6. How does Jesus interact with Christian Disciples?

Jesus interacts with us by faith in four ways: caring, praying, coming and helping.

Jesus cares and is concerned for us – We all go through storms and troubles. When we find ourselves in these situations, we have four assurances about Jesus as Christian Disciples.

  • By faith – He is praying for us – Jesus Christ is making intercessions for Christian Disciples (Romans 8:34). He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows our troubles now. He feels our cares and knows what we are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).

  • By faith – He will come to us – Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned. However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him. Paul, the great Apostle, also felt “burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life” 2 Cor 1:8

Jesus always comes to us through difficult times, although He may not come in the time we think He should come, because He knows when we need Him most.

  • By faith – He will help us to grow – Take the example of when the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33). The purpose of this incident was that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. Perhaps this is what he was thinking of when he later wrote in his letter “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12). This all helped Peter to grow in the knowledge of the Lord

  • By faith, He will see us through – Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him and walked to the ship. The other disciples must have encouraged by this. Seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles we are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus, for His praise and glory, will see us through.

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For more to think about please do ask your self 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 Colossians 1v15-20. How can I deepen my relationship with Jesus knowing these things about Him?


 

Q2. Read Acts 17v24-28. How is God reaching the nations through me?

 


Q3. How does knowing about God’s Purposes and Will affect my life as a Christian Disciple?


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WISE – Redemption

Partake – Words In Scripture ExploredRedemption

For some of us the only time we see or hear the word redemption is on a supermarket or magazine coupon, which unless used for its specific purpose, has a redemption value of 0.001p. In the Old Testament, the idea of a redeemer is found in the story of Ruth and Boaz, which climaxes with So Boaz took Ruth into his home, and she became his wife. When he slept with her, the Lord enabled her to become pregnant, and she gave birth to a son. Then the women of the town said to Naomi, “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family! May this child be famous in Israel” (Ruth4v13-14). That baby was Obed, the grandfather of David, an ancestor of Jesus Christ. Redemption was also a familiar word in New Testament times, because its main use was to refer to the buying back of a slave – the price paid to buy the slave’s freedom. A slave had no possessions of their own to sell in order to buy their freedom – they would always be dependent on somebody else to do that.

God’s Idea of Redemption

All humans are born into slavery to sin and alienation from God. Furthermore, no human is able to do anything to escape this slavery and alienation by them self. Redemption means that God has paid the price (1 Peter 1:18-19) so that humans can be freed from the slavery to sin (John 8:35 Romans 7:14). The price was the precious blood of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) on the cross at Calvary. As Christian Disciples, we are bought at a price, and we have a new position before God! We are bought out of slavery to sin, into glorious freedom where we are now slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:19); slaves to Christ (Romans 6:22). We are also Jesus Christ’s personal possession, for as Paul writes in (1 Corinthians 6v19-20 “You do not belong to yourself, for God bought you with a high price.”

Our Responsibility

But it is the humans’ responsibility to choose that way! God does not coerce forcefully – He leaves it as a choice for humans to make as individuals. For as one of the Church Fathers, Augustine, wrote: “For no one is redeemed except through unmerited mercy, and no one is condemned except through merited judgement.” Redemption is not just about looking back to the cross. It also means we are to live a life worthy of the cost paid by Jesus Christ. That means we are to actively live a life of total dependence upon, and total obedience to, God. That is the best way to show you have accepted God’s offer of redemption – a life being transformed into the very image of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

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WISE – Repentance

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Repentance

I wonder what you think the word, “Repentance” means.   The dictionary defines repentance as

·    Feel pain, or regret for something done or not done;
·    Change your mind, or conduct, because of regret;
·    Having sorrow or regret over an action or inaction.

And this is of course partly true!  But for the Christian, Repentance means more than these!

Repentance is a voluntary change in mind, in which the person turns from a life of sin to living a life of righteousness.  “Repent!”  Cried the Roman officer to his soldiers!  In other words, turn around now!

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)

Repentance 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.

Continual repentance

A question I often hear, is why do we need to continue to repent even though we are a Christian Disciple?

Firstly because by doing so regularly, we maintain the honour of His Holy Name.  Secondly, it keeps your relationship with God pure and your soul in good health.

Going forward in repentance.

When you realize you have sinned, ask God to forgive you.  Don’t give sin a chance to get hold!  It may take a second to commit some kind of disobedience against God, but it also only takes a second to ask forgiveness, which God will do, if you truly mean it.  For in the words of Martin Luther, “To do so no more, is the truest repentance”.

John Donne, wrote in the 17th century “Sleep with clean hands, either kept clean all day by integrity or washed clean at night by repentance.” That is good advice to take hold of.  Before you sleep, confess your sins to God asking Him to forgive you for the things you have done in that day that have offended him.

When you became a Christian Disciple, your sins were forgiven through Jesus’ death on the Cross.  That is when you had your “bath” as it were. That is the point when you were justified before God and declared His child. Having been justified already, you don’t need a bath anymore! But to maintain a healthy relationship with God, you do need the equivalent of a feet washing regularly and a cleansing of your sin when you confess it before your God and repent.

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WISE – Fellowship

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Fellowship

G’day and welcome to WISE. The word for today is “fellowship”.

I meet people who tell me they are Christians, but don’t want to go to a church anymore. But by not doing so, they are missing out on perhaps one of the greatest blessings of being a Christian: fellowship. One of the great things about belonging to a church is the act of fellowship, which results from walking with one another (1 John 1v7). God has created us for fellowship and Jesus Christ has redeemed us so that we can have this fellowship together (Colossians 1v3-5).

What is fellowship? This is rooted in the words koinōnia and koinōneō, which is a mutual sharing together, and not merely a mutual association. Fellowship is both in having fellowship and giving fellowship.

Why fellowship? When Christian disciples fellowship with each other, God is glorified as a result (Romans 15v7). It is as a collective body that the Church fellowship grows in grace and maturity together, overcoming by grace, the weaknesses of each individual member (Ephesians 4vv12-16). You are commanded to continue meeting others for fellowship, so that mutual encouragement “toward love and good deeds” can take place (Hebrews 10v25)! By this you can live a consistent godly life, particularly if sins are confessed to each other (James 5v16)!

Victory is also seen in the eyes of a fellowship, rather than singular individuality (1 Corinthians 15v57; 1 John 5v4). Whilst God deals with us as individuals, it is through fellowship that God strengthens you, for you are supported, healed and compensated by other Christians. These are all very good reasons why Christians need to find a Church to attend!

How do we fellowship? Biblical fellowship sees the church having common purpose (Psalm 133v1-3), belief (Acts 2v42), hope (Hebrews 11v39-40) and needs (2 Corinthians 8vv1-15). Just as Christians have fellowship with the Father (1 John 1v3), Jesus (1 Corinthians 1v9) and the Holy Spirit (Philippians 2v1), so do they have with each other (1 John 1v7). The things a fellowship shares are, but not limited to, possessions (2 Corinthians 8v4), sufferings (Philippians 3v10) and the Gospel (Galatians 2v9; Philippians 1v5). By participating in His suffering and having fellowship with Jesus through his own sufferings, Paul was able to enter a deeper relationship with Jesus.

How have you enjoyed fellowship this week and how will you enjoy it in the week to come?

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WISE – Faith

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Faith

People always say that faith is blind! However the Bible says that faith is a total confidence in God’s faithfulness, which leads to reliance, trust and total obedience to Him (Hebrews 11v6). We see this faith in the Godly obedience of those around us and from the Bible and church history.

Faith in Salvation

For 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.

  1. Mind – recognition of your need of salvation. Acknowledging Christ’s death on your behalf and your need of forgiveness.
  2. Emotional (Heart) – your personal assent to the gospel. You ask yourself, “What must I do to be saved?” and then you agree to make salvation a part of your life.
  3. Will – Personal trust in Jesus Christ.

Now as a follower of Jesus, you are to continue having faith in Him. Four things at least you are to have faith in Him for:

By faith – He is praying for you

Jesus Christ is making intercessions for His followers (Romans 8:34). He knew the disciples troubles (Mark 6:48), just as He knows your troubles now. He feels your cares and knows what you are going through (Hebrews 4:14-16).

By faith – He will come to you

Ever felt like God is far away? Well you aren’t alone! King David often felt God was far away and unconcerned. However he also knew God would ultimately rescue him. Jesus always comes to you through difficult times, although He may not come in the time you think He should come, because He knows when you need Him most.

By faith – He will help you grow

When the disciples were in the storm and Jesus came to them walking on the water (Matthew 14:22-33), the purpose of this incident was to show that Jesus would be leaving them soon, so they had to learn to trust in Him when He wasn’t physically present. Peter wrote later on in his life, “for the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers” (1 Peter 3v12).

By faith, He will see you through

At the same event, Jesus said “Come” and Peter went with Him. This must have encouraged the other disciples, for upon seeing Jesus’ power they worshipped him. Whatever troubles you are undergoing are temporary, and Jesus will see you through.

By faith, you have salvation. By faith Jesus is praying, will come to you, grow you and help you through troubles. By being obedient to God, you are showing others your salvation and showing that faith, is not blind, but active!

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WISE – Angel

Partake – Words In Scripture Explored – Angel

Gday and welcome to WISE! The word for today is Angel.

Lorna Byrne claims in a recent article in the Daily Telegraph, that for her, “seeing angels is natural”…

Bookshops are filled with books on Angels! But we must beware, for not all angels are good! We know from the Bible that there are good angels and bad angels.

Angels

From the Bible, we know that angels are created beings (Psalm 148v2-5) possibly created before humanity (Job38v7). We know that angels carry God’s message (Luke 1)

Hebrews 1v14 tells us that they serve humans who are inheriting salvation! They appear in human form, as in Abraham’s visitor (Genesis). Whilst they are genderless, they invariably when appearing to people have masculine names such as Michael and Gabriel. They do not die (Luke 20v36), or marry (Mark 12v25).

Being personal and intelligent, they communicate with humans. They have a will (2 Peter 2v4), are separate from humanity (1 Corinthians 6v3) and powerful yet also finite. There are large companies of angels (Revelation 5v11), which are organized into ranks! For example: Michael the archangel (Jude 9) and legions of angels (Matthew 26v53). God’s Angels constantly rejoice at God’s work (Revelation 5v11-12); and at a sinner’s conversion (Luke 15v10).

Bad Angels

Bad angels are often referred to as demons. The Bible says that some angels rebelled against God and were put out of heaven (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6; Isaiah 14:12-15; Ezekiel 28). Their leader is satan who has established his kingdom on earth, and is the “god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). They know Jesus and His authority and also know their eternal fate is destruction and torment (Matthew 8v29-31). Because of this, they want to take as many humans with them as possible. So they tempt humans to disobey God (Genesis 3); possess people (Mark 5) and give inspiration to false teachers (Galatians 1v8). They seek to hinder God’s program and hatefully oppose all God’s of work and God’s people (Mark 4:15; Job 2:4-5).

How can we know the difference between good angels and bad angels? We listen to what they are telling us. If what they say is bringing all glory to God and to Jesus Christ, and they are always giving the glory to God, then they must be from God. If everything they say or do doesn’t match this standard, then they cannot be from God.

Finally, the job of spreading the Gospel is not for angels. It is for Christian Disciples to do as commanded by Jesus (Matthew 28v18-20). God obviously thinks it is a much more efficient and effective method, than getting angels to do it! That method involves you – going to tell somebody else the glorious message of salvation through Jesus Christ alone.

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