Archive for the ‘Spiritual Gifts’ Category

1 Peter 2:4

Hope. Everyone needs it to stay alive and live well. But for many people it’s nothing more than wishful thinking. Hope for the Christian is a confident expectation that is based on a promise from God who cannot lie (Titus 1:2). It enables us to live what has been called “The Faith-Rest Life” (Hebrews 3, 4). Yes, you can count on God to always tell the truth because He and His Word are truth (John 14:6; 17:17).

Basis. Upon who/what is your hope for the future based? Is it on the temporal things of this world that are passing away (1 John 2:15-17; 2 Peter 3:11) or is it resting on the “Jesus – The Solid Rock” and the eternal promises that He has given to us? With the impending earthquakes that California and other places may soon be facing, how secure are you? Do you have earthquake insurance? Are you hoping the government will bail you out if your house comes tumbling down? What if it can’t or won’t help you? Where will you be when the wrath of the Lamb (Jesus) is poured out on this earth (Revelation 6:16)? Are you a Christian who is planning to go through some or all of the seven years of tribulation (Revelation 6-19; Daniel 9:27)? Upon what are you basing your belief?

Foundations. Jesus spoke about two foundations. The wise man built his house on the rock. The foolish man built his house on the sand (Matthew 7:24-27). One house weathered the storm but the other one fell flat.

Stones. They come in all sizes and shapes. They are used for many purposes. When Jesus told Peter that He would build His Church (Matthew 16:18), He used a play on words to let Peter know that the Church would not be built on him (“petros” – a chip of a stone), but upon Himself (“petra” – a large massive rock).

Comfort. In his letter to some persecuted believers living far from the mother church in Jerusalem, Peter wrote a letter in which he reminded them of their personal relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ their Savior. His words also can bring comfort to us today if we’re true Christians.

A Living Stone. The believers to whom Peter wrote had already come to Jesus (who has the qualities of a living stone). They had been saved by grace through faith in Him as their personal Savior (Ephesians 2:8, 9). They were saved from the penalty of sin (Romans 8:1). Their present tense salvation and deliverance from the power of sin was taking place as they relied on God and His Word to overcome their three spiritual enemies: the devil (1 Peter 5:8; Ephesians 6:10-17), their own sin nature (Galatians 5:16; Ephesians 5:18), and the present world system (1 John 2:15-17; 1 Corinthians 7:31). Their/our future tense salvation involves the salvation of their/our bodies (Romans 8:23), and their/our souls – emotions (1 Peter 1:9). It will take place at the time of the Rapture of the true Church (1 John 3:2; 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). This event is imminent. No sign miracles precede it even though there are many indicators that seem to be pointing in this direction.

A Rejected Stone. When He came to this earth the first time, Jesus was rejected by His own people, the Jews who had Him crucified by the Romans (John 1:11; Acts 3:13-15; 4:27, 28). God counts all of us guilty of Jesus’ death (Isaiah 53:6; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). He fulfilled literally the predictions that were made about Him. He has extended salvation to all mankind, not just to the Jews (John 3:16; Romans 1:16, 17).

Return. But this same Jesus will return to this earth as He promised in two phases (John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11). Once the true Church, made up of Jewish and Gentile believers, comes to its completion (John 6:37), it will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air (raptured – 1 Thessalonians 5:16, 17). God’s time clock with the nation of Israel will start up again when the man of sin (Antichrist) signs a 7 year peace agreement with the Jews (Romans 11:25; Daniel 9:27; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12). The Church has not replaced Israel.

Holocaust. “The time of Jacob’s (Israel’s) trouble” will be the most horrific time in human history (Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:15-28). Over ½ of the world’s population will die within seven years (Revelation 6:8; 9:15). This event will take place shortly after the true Church has been taken from earth to heaven (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52; Revelation 6-19). (If you would like to receive a FREE chart of “Things To Come” please ask us for one.) At the end of this seven year tribulation, every nation will come against Israel in a place called Armageddon in northern Israel (Revelation 16:16; Zechariah 14:1-15). When the Jews are on the brink of being totally annihilated, the Lord Jesus Christ will return bodily to this earth (Acts 1:9-11; 2 John 1:7). He will save the believing, Jewish remnant who acknowledge Him as their promised Messiah and Savior (Matthew 23:39; 24:29-31; Romans 9:27; Revelation 19:11-21). He will crush His and Israel’s enemies (Psalm 2:9). My friend, you won’t want to be left behind when Jesus returns for the true Church at the Rapture.

Literal. Just as the prophecies concerning Jesus’ first coming were fulfilled literally, so the prophecies concerning His return will also be fulfilled literally. Don’t let those who allegorize and twist the Scriptures confuse you (2 Peter 3:16). (To learn more about Bible Prophecy, we invite you to read our other articles on this website).

Chosen Stone. God the Son, the second Person in the Godhead, volunteered to come down to this earth to reveal God to man (Hebrews 10:5-10; John 1:1-18; 10:15-18). He said to Philip in the presence of the other disciples, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Both Persons share the same essence (John 10:30). Jesus is NOT inferior to God the Father or God the Holy Spirit (Colossians 2:9). However, in time, they function in different roles as One subordinates Himself to the Others (1 Corinthians 11:3; Matthew 4:1; John 14:16, 17). Once eternity future begins (at least 1,007 years from now) their horizontal, equal relationships will again resume (1 Corinthians 15:26-28). (To help you visualize this, ask for our FREE “Dispensations Chart.”)

Precious Stone. A diamond in the rough may not look like it has much value, but once it’s carefully cut it becomes valuable in the sight of some people. Sows don’t value or appreciate diamonds or pearls (Matthew 7:6). God the Father referred to Jesus as “His only begotten Son” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). Christians can/should appreciate the Lord Jesus Christ who shed His precious blood so we could be saved (1 Peter 1:19; 2:4, 6, 7). Are you willing to lay down your life for the salvation of others as Jesus and the Apostle Paul did (John 10:17, 18; 2 Timothy 2:10)?

Unique. The Lord Jesus Christ – He’s certainly unique. He is the only One who can save mankind from eternal condemnation in the lake of fire with the devil and his angels (Matthew 25:41, 46; John 3:16, 18, 36). Is He your personal Savior? How do you express your love for Him? “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees His brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in Him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth” (1 John 3:16-18).

Convenient/Committed? Are you only interested in securing a “Ticket” to heaven, or are you interested in doing the will of God and the works that He planned for you to be doing while you are here on earth (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10)? Would you like to learn more about the spiritual gifts that God gives to Christians at the moment of their salvation? (Go to “Bible Basics” on our website for more information.)

Contact. If you have questions and/or comments, we can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has stimulated your thinking and has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. We’d ask you to share what you’re learning with other Christians who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2). To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation in 24 languages. http://www.kelseypeach.com/goodnews.htm

 

It is a well documented fact of history that Jesus Christ died on a cross as predicted in the Scriptures (Psalm 22). But why? The Word of God tell us that it was to pay the penalty for all of our sins once and for all (Romans 6:23; Hebrews 10:10). But thankfully He rose again bodily from the grave after being in the tomb for three days and nights (Luke 24:33-43). His resurrected body was different in that it had flesh and bones but no blood (1 Corinthians 15:50). Many people celebrate His resurrection but their lives have not been changed. They’ve never been born again from above (John 3:3-6; 1 Peter 1:23). But what is sadder, many people “believe in vain” by adding to or subtracting things from the Gospel and God’s plan of salvation (1 Corinthians 15:2-5; Revelation 22:18, 19). Consider what the “Lordship for Salvation” preachers and teachers do by making the requirements for discipleship (good works) the requirements for salvation.  How could one ever be sure of his/her salvation before they die?  They can’t be sure.

All three Persons in the Godhead were involved in the bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (The Father – Romans 6:4; The Holy Spirit – Romans 8:11; and Jesus Himself – John 10:17, 18).

As a result of this, many benefits were extended to those who would put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation.

A New Life In Christ. The natural, unsaved man is helpless, hopeless, and hell bound (Romans 5:6, 8; Ephesians 2:12). He doesn’t receive the things of the Spirit of God because of his spiritual blindness and rebellion toward God (1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 3:10-23; 6:23). He also has a Satanic blindness that hinders him from seeing his need for the Savior (2 Corinthians 4:4). Jewish people have a third blindness that is judicial (Romans 11:25). But God has the ability to lift these blinds after the “Clear Gospel” is presented to them (Acts 26:18). The FREE gift of God is eternal life (John 3:16, 18; 36; 1 John 5:12, 13). It is a present possession and not earned by any of our good works (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:5). Upon believing in Christ, the person is placed by Spirit baptism (dry) into the “Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:12, 13) and becomes part of a new creation known as “The Christ” – Jesus is the Head and true Jewish and non-Jewish believers in Christ are the Body (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15).

A Victorious Life. Sadly, most Christians live much of their entire lives enslaved to their old masters: the devil (2 Timothy 2:24-26), their own sin nature (Romans 6:14; 7:15-25), or the present world system (1 John 2:15-17). God doesn’t want His children to keep on sinning (1 John 2:1; 3:9, 10). He has made it possible for us to be victorious over our three spiritual enemies (Romans 8:37). We can find everything we need for life and godliness within the pages of the Scriptures (2 Peter 1:3). We don’t need to resort to the philosophies and wisdom of unsaved men which often contradicts the clear teachings of the Word of God (Colossians 2:8; James 3:14-16). Sometimes the unsaved counselors are able to detect the person’s problem, but they don’t have God’s solution to the problem. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Once a believer dies or is caught up to meet the Lord (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17), his spiritual battles on earth will be over. For the true Christian, to be absent from the body means being immediately with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8). We don’t have to go to some purging place to pay for our sins before we can go to heaven. The last victory that Christ will win is the one over physical death . He will do this by raising everyone who has died and bring him/her back to life to be judged by Him (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 15:26; John 5:22; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:11-15). Do you know in which judgment you will participate?

An Abundant Life. Some people can only identify with the physical and material side of life. The Jews in the Old Testament were promised earthly things and blessings for their obedience to God and curses for disobedience to the Mosaic Law (Deuteronomy 28). The Jewish people were told to “Bring all the tithes [not 10% but 23% of their total income] into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, If I will not open the windows of heaven and pour out on you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it” (Malachi 3:10). But confusing Israel with the Church leads to all sorts of problems. They are two distinct groups with different promises and different destinations. The Jews were promised the earth (Genesis 15:18- ; Matthew 5:5; Romans 4:13). True Christians are citizens of heaven (Philippians 3:20; John 14:1-3). Our spiritual blessings far exceed any physical blessings (Ephesians 1:3). Most Christians haven’t been taught about the 33 major spiritual blessings and things that transpired at the moment of their salvation. If you’re a Christian, how often do you set your deeper reflective thinking on things above, not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2ff)? Do you know how to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)? How does a Christian discover his/her spiritual gift and use it (1 Peter 4:10; Romans 12; 1 Corinthians 12-14).

A Useful Life. Everything that a Christian does should bring honor and glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31). God’s purpose is to demonstrate to His creatures who He is by what He says and does (Ephesians 1:6, 12, 14). Every Christian is called upon to abide (feel at ease) in Christ and bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (John 15:1-8). This fruit could be one’s Christ like character (2 Peter 1:5-8; Galatians 5:22, 23). It could be a life characterized by good works done for God’s glory (Colossians 1:10; Ephesians 2:10), or it might be by being a faithful witness for the Lord (Romans 1:13; 1 Corinthians 16:15), or a pair of lips that praises God (Hebrews 13:15), or it might be a believer’s generous giving to the work of the Lord and to those who preach and teach the Word faithfully without trying to tickle people’s ears (Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Corinthians 9:1-14; Philippians 4:17; 2 Timothy 2:2; 4:1-4). How much fruit are you bearing in your life?

Saving Faith. Do you merely know and believe the facts about Jesus Christ’s death for your sins and His bodily resurrection? That’s not enough to save you (James 2:19). Not until you transfer your faith from yourself, and your good works over to Christ alone are you saved. Salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Genuine faith manifests itself to other human beings by the good works we do (Ephesians 2:10; James 2:20-26). If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? If not, what needs to change? Our salvation from the penalty of sin is gained by a single act of faith in Christ. But for a Christian to enjoy a new, victorious, abundant, and useful life while here on this earth, he/she must live in a continual attitude of faith (Romans 1:17). If you know the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can sing “Because He lives, I can face tomorrow…”

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From the moment of our spiritual birth from above (John 3:3-6), the true Christian can/should be spiritual (i.e. rightly related to God the Holy Spirit). Of the seven ministries of the Holy Spirit, two are related to the unsaved people of this world, four are related to all Christians, and one ministry is to a believer who is rightly adjusted to God the Holy Spirit. – Dr. Lewis S. Chafer, He That Is Spiritual, p. 23. Let’s consider these important things He does and how they relate to you.

He Restrains. Have you ever wondered about the possibility that some day a mad man might push a  button and destroy every living creature on earth?  We’re told that many nations have within their arsenals enough chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons to destroy all life on earth several times over.  God who is all powerful won’t allow this to happen. Even though the social elites of this earth want to diminish the population down to about 500,000,000 people to make life more sustainable on earth, God won’t allow them to wipe all life from planet earth. The Scriptures tell us that during the seven years of the Tribulation over one half of the world’s population will be killed (Revelation 6:8; 9:15). Thankfully the Holy Spirit is currently restraining the lawless Antichrist (Daniel 7:24-26; 9:27; Revelation 13:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8) from taking over and ruling the whole earth until the appointed time.   This will happen after the Rapture of the true Church  (2 Thessalonians 2:1-12).

The Unholy Trinity. During the seven years of the tribulation (Daniel 9:27; Jeremiah 30:7) the unholy trinity, which consists of the Devil himself, the Antichrist, and the False Prophet (Revelation 13; 19:20; 20:10) will be allowed to rule over the whole earth. The Antichrist will be propelled into power by the Apostate Church (Revelation 17, 18) and the 10 kings from the revived Roman Empire (Revelation 13:1). This is a time when you won’t want to be here on earth. Do you know how you can avoid this period in human history without dying?

He Convicts. The Holy Spirit came to reside on earth on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3), after Christ ascended back to heaven and sat down at the Father’s right hand (Ephesians 1:20).  At that time He began to convict the ones whom the Father gave to the Son of three things (John 6:37, 44; 16:8-11). First, the sin of unbelief (John 3:16, 18, 36; Acts 16:31). This is the only sin that will keep a person out of heaven. Secondly, the Holy Spirit convicts these people of their need to have Christ’s righteousness to enter heaven (Romans 4:3-5, 16, 24, 25). This righteousness is imputed to the believer’s account at the moment of salvation. Finally, the Holy Spirit convicts of judgment to come on all those who reject God’s offer of salvation that is extended to all mankind (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2; Revelation 20:11-15).

He Regenerates. Those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior through the Gospel message that Christ died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day will be born again from above (John 3:6; Titus 3:5). These same people begin to participate in the Divine nature (1 Peter 1:4) and are enabled to please God (2 Corinthians 5:9). We become heirs and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17).

He Indwells. Prior to the Day of Pentecost, God the Holy Spirit came upon some men for special purposes but He could also leave them later at His will (Psalm 51:11).  But today the Holy Spirit can’t/won’t ever leave or forsake a true believer in Jesus Christ (John 14:17; Acts 5:32; Romans 5:5; 8:9). The Christian’s body is His temple (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; 12:13). We can’t get rid of Him. He goes everywhere we go and knows everything about us because He is omniscient and all powerful (Acts 5:3). By virtue of the fact that every true Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, he/she is also anointed by the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27).

He Baptizes. Scripture mentions several kinds of baptisms. Some are dry and others involve water where the believer gets wet by being immersed (1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27; Ephesians 4:5; Acts 8:38). The baptism of the Spirit places a believer into the spiritual “Body of Christ” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Those in the Body are expected to function with the spiritual gift that each one has been given (1 Peter 4:10) and do the good works that God planned for us to do while we are here on earth (Ephesians 2:10). If you’re a Christian, do you know what your spiritual gift is and are you using it with love (1 Corinthians 13)? Do you know which gifts are temporary and which ones are extant?

He Seals. Once we become legitimate children of God (Hebrews 12:5-11), we are safe and secure forever. Nothing can separate us from God’s love (Romans 8:35-39). We are in God the Father’s and God the Son’s all powerful hands (John 19:28, 29; Revelation 1:8). God the Holy Spirit also wraps us up and puts His seal on us.  It can’t be broken by anyone or anything (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22).

He Fills. This ongoing ministry of the Holy Spirit takes place in the lives of Christians who are not grieving (Ephesians 5:30) or quenching the Holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19) through sinful activities that haven’t been confessed to God and others against whom we have sinned (1 John 1:9; James 5:16). This ministry involves His making up in our lives where we are lacking and producing the nine parts of “Fruit of the Spirit” in our lives (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:22, 23). These qualities must be directed at the right objects at the right time. It’s possible for maturing believers to misdirect this fruit toward the wrong objects (1 John 2:15-17). God wants to live out His life through our lives (Galatians 4;19). Do others see God’s life flowing through you? If not, why?

Questions? Have you placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? Have you been born again from above? Do you know that the Holy Spirit dwells in you and that He baptized you into Christ for a reason? Are you delighted to know that you are sealed until the day of redemption? Are you being filled by Him on a regular basis? Do others see Christ living through you as you display the “Fruit of the Spirit” in your life?

Help. We’re here to assist those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17).  We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: http://www.kelseypeach.com.  To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

1 Peter 1:1

“The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.” – D. L. Moody. If you’re a true Christian who appreciates your salvation, have you presented to your body to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2)? Are you afraid that if you did this He might send you to some place you didn’t want to go or do something you didn’t feel qualified to do?

When I was much younger, my life revolved around playing sports until God changed the direction of my life by allowing me to have a back injury. Eventually this led to my doing what I’m doing today and loving it. I didn’t go to college and seminary to become a Pastor. I just wanted to learn how to live a meaningful life. You and I may not ever be significant in the eyes of the world, but the only One whom we really need to please is God (2 Corinthians 5:9). Jesus laid down His sinless life so we could be saved (John 10:15; Hebrews 4:15). Have you placed your faith in Him alone to save you? If so, are you continuing to live with an attitude of faith (Romans 1:17)?

Glory. Throughout history God has used and will continue to use people for His honor and glory. Even the wrath of man shall praise Him (Psalm 76:10). Joseph’s brothers meant evil against him, but God meant if for good (Genesis 50:20). God raised up Pharaoh so that His power might be demonstrated to this idolatrous, rebellious monarch and to the proud Egyptians (Exodus 9:16; Romans 9:17). No one can overthrow God and thwart His decree (Ephesians 1:11). Don’t try. You will lose. In the end, “every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord [God-man] to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). We will all face Jesus as the Judge someday (John 5:22; Hebrews 9:27).

Peter. This Apostle was, in many ways, like a lot of us. He was introduced to Jesus by his brother Andrew (John 1:41). He was a successful fisherman (Mark 4:18) and he was a married man (Matthew 8:14). But when he met Jesus, his life was transformed. Let’s take a look at this man who had a great impact on the world. He was –

Impulsive/Presumptuous. It seems like he often spoke without thinking first. Once, while he and the other disciples were crossing the Sea of Galilee at night, Jesus came walking to them on the water. They thought He was a ghost. When Jesus told them to be of good cheer and that it was He, Peter wanted the Lord to command him to come to Him by walking on the water. Peter did. But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink. So he called out to the Lord and Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him (Matthew 14:28). On another occasion Peter, James, and John accompanied Jesus up the Mount of Transfiguration. They were given a preview of things to come when Christ would come back to earth to rule as the King of kings, and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16; See Isaiah 9:6, 7). Jesus was transfigured before them and Moses and Elijah appeared with Jesus. Without much thought, Peter blurted out and said, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah” (Matthew 17:4ff). Why did Jesus tell them not to tell others about the vision they had just seen until He had risen from the dead? Why did Jesus postpone the setting up of His kingdom on earth (Matthew 23:37-39; John 1:11; 19:6)?

Tenderhearted/Affectionate. Before going to the cross to die for our sins…and rise again from the dead, Jesus told His disciples that all of them would forsake Him. Peter claimed that he would never do that (Mark 14:27-31; Luke 22:33, 34). But then he did deny Jesus and went out and wept bitterly (Mathew 26:75). Thinking that he was totally useless, Peter went back to fishing until Jesus made an appearance to him and offered him another chance. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him, Peter could only say “Yes, Lord, You know that I [have a fond affection] for You” (John 21:3, 15-17). Peter didn’t use the same Greek word for love (agape) that Jesus did. But Jesus instructed him to feed His lambs and sheep. Do you feel washed up and useless at times? Do you have un-confessed sins in your life? If need be, confess your known sins to God (1 John 1:9) and to others if necessary (James 5:16). Then claim His promise to forgive you and move on in life. Make yourself available to God to use you as He chooses (2 Timothy 2:19-26; Isaiah 6:8). He knows where we are and may choose to use us for His glory, not ours.

Contradictory/Agreeable. Peter was loyal to the Lord and wanted Him to set up His kingdom on earth quickly (See Daniel 2:44, 45; Matthew 6:10; Acts 1:6, 7). When Jesus told the disciples that He would need to go to the cross first, Peter rebuked Jesus for talking that way. Then the Lord rebuked the devil who was using Peter to try to thwart God’s plan of salvation for all mankind (Matthew 16:21-23). On another occasion when Jesus wanted to wash Peter’s feet, he said, “You shall never wash my feet.” But Jesus responded, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me” (John 13:8). When Jesus said this, Peter wanted Jesus to give him a complete bath. Jesus said that wasn’t necessary. The point He was trying to make was that we only need a full cleansing from sin at the point of salvation. We can only be saved once. But when we sin as Christians, we need to confess them to God so our family fellowship can be restored when we walk in the light as He is in the light (1 John 1:3-10). Don’t confuse judicial forgiveness (Romans 8:1; Ephesians 1:7) with family forgiveness (1 John 1:9).

Insightful/Dull. When Jesus asked His disciples what others were saying about Him, they told Him that some people thought He was John the Baptist, or Elijah, or Jeremiah. When Jesus asked them what they (His disciples) thought of Him, Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ [Messiah], the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). This is what a person had to believe before Christ’s death and bodily resurrection if he/she wanted to be saved (See John 20:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Acts 16:31). On another occasion Peter acknowledged the difficulty of some of the things Jesus said (John 6:60-69). He also said this about some of the Apostle Paul’s writings (2 Peter 3:15, 16).

Timid/Bold. While Jesus was being unjustly tried by the religious leaders, Peter was asked if he was Jesus’ disciple. He vehemently denied three times that he knew Jesus (Mark 14:67-71). But after he was restored to the Lord, he preached a powerful sermon to thousands of Jewish people on the Day of Pentecost and many believed on Christ and were saved (Acts 2:14ff; 4:19, 20; 5:29). Truly his life was transformed. Our lives, as Christians, can be changed too if we yield our bodies to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Peter 3:15). These are not preconditions for salvation as some “Lordship for salvation” teachers proclaim. We’re save by grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone. Our salvation is not of works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9).

Healer/Miracle Worker. As an Apostle, Peter had the ability to perform miracles (Mark 16:15-17). He healed a man who had been lame since he was born (Acts 3:7). He rebuked Ananias and Sapphira for lying to the Holy Spirit about the sale of their property which led to their premature death (Acts 5:5, 10). Many sick people were brought to Peter for healing. If his shadow passed over them, they were healed (Acts 5:15). He healed a man that had been bed ridden for eight years and who was paralyzed (Acts 9:34). He also resuscitated Dorcas back to life (Acts 9:40). We believe that these temporary spiritual gifts are not being given out to believers today (1 Corinthians 13:8-10). Do you know which ones are still extant? (See “Bible Basics” on our website for more information.)

Useful. The Lord used an ignorant fisherman like Peter to bring glory to God and for others to come to learn about the true and living God (Acts 4:12). He loves to use those of us whom the world considers to be foolish, weak, base, and despised to confound those who think of themselves as being wise, mighty, and noble (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). If you’re a true Christian, would you like to be useful to God? You can be. If you’re not a Christian, why not “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ right now as the One who died for your sins…and rose again bodily on the third day” (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4)? By one act of faith you can/will be saved.

Help. We’re here to assist those who aren’t sure of their salvation and to help believers grow in the Lord, serve Him and other productively, and reproduce themselves in this world. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If you’d like to receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.” We also invite you to listen to our messages on the Internet.

Can you identify yourself with my story?

Perhaps you have longed to go to heaven when you die and avoid hell. But maybe you’ve thought that you couldn’t be saved because you honestly don’t believe that you could meet all the impossible conditions you’ve heard from religious leaders such as: Follow Christ,” “Surrender to Him,” Be willing to obey Him,” “Commit yourself fully to Him,” “Turn from your sin,” “Be willing to sacrifice everything,” “Give everything up for the Kingdom,” “Deny yourself,” “Fulfill all the demands of discipleship,” or something else. 

Honestly, how could anyone know for sure if he/she had met all these conditions for salvation?  Is it any wonder that so few people are saved and have assurance of salvationMany people who call themselves “Christians” are trying to maintain their salvation by their good works?  My friend, from start to finish, Salvation is of the Lord (Jonah 2:9; Philippians 1:6).

I didn’t have assurance of my salvation until I was in my second year of college. At that time I came across a verse in the Scriptures that said, These things I [the Apostle John] have written to you who believe in the name [person and work] of the Son of God, that you may know [not wish, hope, or think] that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” (1 John 5:13). The word believe” stuck out in my mind. It is used about 100 times in John’s Gospel as the only condition for our salvation.

My friend, you can be saved the Scriptural way as I was many years ago. We must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ alone who died for your sins…and who rose again bodily from the grave on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4).  We’re not saved by our good works lest any of us should boast. Good works should/will follow salvation (Ephesians 2:8-10).  Without them we won’t be able to convince other people that we are true Christians (James 2:18-20). The good works that God want us to do are associated with the spiritual gifts that He has given to each Christian.  Would you like to learn more about them?  If so, ask.

Please don’t try to make the conditions for spiritual growth and maturity the conditions for your salvation.  If you do, you won’t have assurance of your salvation and you will confuse others who need and want to be saved. 

If you aren’t absolutely sure of your salvation, we’re here to help you if you’re willing to believe the Scriptures (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:15-17).  It is the final authority.

For additional articles to help you know, grow, serve, and share, we invite you to read some of our other articles at this site. If this one has helped you, please let us know how it has.  We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: http://www.kelseypeach.com.  Click on “Follow” if you’d like to receive future articles as they come out. 

 

New Commandment. “A new commandment I [Jesus] give to you [disciples], that you love one another [fellow Christians] as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another” (John 13:34, 35).

Love/Hate. “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother [or sister in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20, 21).

Application. “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him” (1 John 3:16, 17; See 2 Thessalonians 3:4-15; Proverbs 6:6).

Grace. In the “Dispensation of Grace” in which we live (Ephesians 3:2), one of the great privileges of each believer is Christian giving.  We all have time (24 hours each day), talents (spiritual gifts), and treasure (money).  Giving is just one of the spiritual sacrifices we may offer up to God (Hebrews 13:15, 16; Romans 12:1, 2).

O.T./N.T. In the Old Testament times, some of the Jews’ sacrifices were bloody while we, as New Testament priests, offer non-bloody sacrifices to God (1 Peter 2:5, 9). The Jews, under the Mosaic Law, were also required to pay three tithes amounting to 23% (Numbers 18:20-32; Deuteronomy 14:23-29) plus taxes.  “Tithing under the [Mosaic] law was mandatory, giving under grace is voluntary.”   – Dr. M. R. DeHaan

Guidelines For Christian Giving

l. It is to be exercised in a spiritual manner, preceded by the giving of self (Romans 12:1, 2), as exemplified by (a) the Macedonian believers, who “…first gave of themselves to the Lord…see that you abound in this grace also….” (2 Corinthians 8:5, 7), (b) the Lord Himself (2 Corinthians 8:9), and (c) God the Father (2 Corinthians 9:15).
2. It is to be done 
voluntarily and cheerfully“So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
3. It is to be performed with 
regularity“On the first day of the week let each of you lay something aside…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
4. It is to involve 
every person“…let each one of you lay aside…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
5. It is to be rendered on a 
proportionate basis. “…as he may prosper…” (1 Corinthians 16:2).

God has promised to reward those believers whose lives are marked by sacrificial devotion to Him and His work. “…He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully” (2 Corinthians 9:6).

Someone has said, Under grace, God doesn’t look at the amount on the face of the check, but on the balance left on the tab. “ The man who makes $10,000 a month and gives 50% to the Lord still has far more left than the widow who gives 10% out of her meager allowance of $800 a month.”  Grace teaches us that our giving as Christians is not a legal obligation, but is a blessed privilege and becomes a measure of our love for God and His children.  Whose child are you – the devil’s or God’s (1 John 3:8-10; John 8:44)?

Some Additional Thoughts

What our giving does:
1. It 
brings honor to God Who blessed us with all physical and spiritual blessings. Proverbs 3:9
2. It 
expresses our gratitude to Him. Ephesians 5:20
3. It 
brings spiritual joy. Philippians 4:4
4. It 
helps meet the spiritual, emotional, and physical needs of people everywhere. Philippians 4:15-19; 2 Corinthians 8:1-4
5. It will 
demonstrate our faith in God’s ability to provide for us in the future. Philippians 4:19; 2 Corinthians 9:8

Motives And Rewards

Only when one gives with a proper motive is it pleasing to God. The primary motive for giving should be the glory of God (2 Corinthians 8:19; 1 Corinthians 10:31). The secondary motive is for the welfare [love] of others, especially believers (Galatians 6:6-10; John 13:34, 35).  

A Christian’s giving should be made with (1) forethought (2 Corinthians 9:7), (2) regularity (1 Corinthians 16:2), (3) priority to the local church where one is being fed and cared for spiritually (Galatians 6:6-10; 1 Timothy 5:17,18), and (4) the Holy Spirit’s leading (Romans 8:14).

Note: Divine compensation for faithful stewardship doesn’t guarantee financial prosperity or robust health. But one can have true joy, peace, satisfaction, and hope which money can’t buy. God’s compensation plan is “out of this world.” (See Romans 8:18)

Action: Ask yourself, “What do I need to do with this information now?”  Read James 4:17.

Questions. Are you absolutely sure that you will go to heaven the moment you die? Why should God let you into His heaven? If you think you’re going to heaven, is there anything you could do or fail to do that could cause you to lose your salvation? If so, what would it be? If you’re saved, are you growing in the Lord (2 Peter 3:18), serving Him by serving others (1 Peter 4:10), and sharing the Gospel with the lost (Acts 1:8)?

Help. We’re here to help those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15; 3:16, 17). We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website: www.kelseypeach.com. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. Then please share it with someone else who could use the information too. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”

Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

Clear Gospel Audio: http://www.duluthbible.org/filerequest/9415

For more information about Christian giving, consult “As The Ushers Come Forward” by Herbert VanderLugt and “The Grace Of Giving” by Richard DeHaan. (Some of the information in this article was adapted from these publications.)

How utterly tragic it will be for many religious people to hear Jesus, the righteous Judge (John 5:22; 2 Timothy 4:8) saying to them one day, “I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:21-23). Sadly, they will end up forever in the lake of fire where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. It was prepared for the devil and his fallen angels (demons) but all unbelievers will end up there with them (Matthew 25:30, 41, 46). Perhaps without realizing it, you might hear those words said to you on judgment day (Revelation 20:11-15). “For is is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). This leaves no room for annihilation of the wicked or for reincarnation.

Prevention. To prevent this from happening to you or someone you know and love, we offer the following Biblical information for your careful consideration and examination. We want you to check things out for yourselves as did the Christians from Berea (Acts 17:11). “For what will it profit [you] if [you] gain the whole world, and [lose your own soul]”  (Mark 8:36)?

Warning. Jesus Himself warned others about following false Christs that would come (Matthew 24:5). The Apostle Paul said that there would be those who preach another Christ and/or another Gospel (2 Corinthians 11:4, 13-15). The Apostle Peter and Jude, the Lord’s half brother, also warned of false teachers (2 Peter 2:1ff; Jude 1:4ff). Is the Christ in whom you are trusting to get you to heaven the Christ of the Scriptures or a false Christ of the cults? [1]

Heresy/Apostasy. Heresy is one of the works of the flesh (Galatians 5:20) and it is a misapplication of the truth. Christians who participate in the divine nature at the time of their salvation (2 Peter 1:4) still have a sin nature even after they are saved. They still can be carnal, or be governed by their sin nature (1 John 1:8; Romans 7:15-25; 1 Corinthians 3:1-4; Galatians 5:16) [2].  They can be guilty of misapplying truth without being apostates. Apostates are those who once claimed to be genuine believers but who then go on to denounce the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and the Gospel they claimed to believe (1 Timothy 4:1, 2). A true Christian cannot be an apostate. Among the heretical teachings that do not line up with the Scriptures are “Limited Atonement,” “Lordship [in exchange for] Salvation,” and “Galatianism.”

Limited Atonement. [3] This is the belief that Christ died only for the elect. Those who espouse this teaching cannot honestly share the Clear Gospel [4] with others so they can be saved because they can’t be sure if the individual to whom they are witnessing is one of God’s elect. They cannot honestly say to a person, “My friend, Christ died for your sins…and rose again [bodily] from the dead on the third day…” And yet the Scriptures are clear that God the Father loved the whole world and gave His only begotten Son to die for all of our sins (once and for all – Hebrews 10:10) and rise again bodily from the dead (John 3:16; See 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:2). This includes the non-elect ones including the false teachers whom He purchased with His own blood (2 Peter 2:1 ).

Lordship Salvation. [5] This false teaching makes the requirements for discipleship the requirements for salvation. It’s like getting the cart before the horse. It makes good works the basis of one’s salvation and confuses the meaning of “true repentance” [6] from being a change of mind to a person’s having to do some good works before he/she can be saved. Those who hold to this false teaching can’t have assurance of their salvation while they are alive.

Galatianism. [7] This is the false teaching that a believer can mature spiritually in Christ by trying to live by rules other than “Grace Teachings.” Most often it involves one’s trying to live by the “Mosaic Law,” or “Kingdom Rules” [8]. Do you know where to find the “House Rules” for Christians, for the Jews living before Pentecost, and for those who will enter the Kingdom of the Heavens? Ask for our FREE “Dispensational Chart” to help you rightly divide the Word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

Gospel. “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you-unless you believed in vain. For I [Paul] delivered to you first of all that which I also received; that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again [bodily] the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He was seen by Cephas [Peter], then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once…” (1 Corinthians 15:1-6 ).

Grace. We’re saved by one act of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and not of works (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Acts 16:31; Titus 3:5). Once genuinely saved, the Christian is to live in an attitude of faith (Romans 1:16, 17) and do the good works that God planned for him/her to do (Ephesians 2:10). This involves using one’s spiritual gift with love (1 Corinthians 13; 1 Peter 4:10; Galatians 5:13). Do you know what your spiritual gift is? If not, we invite you to go to www.keleypeach.com and go to the section on Bible Basics” and then to “Spiritual Gifts” for more information.

Help. We want you and others to know for sure that you have eternal life” (i.e. God’s quality of life) right now and to enjoy the “abundant life” that can be yours (1 John 5:13; John 10:10) when you learn about the spiritual blessings that have been given to all Christians at the time of our salvation (Ephesians 1:3ff). Do you know how to live the “Faith/Rest Life” [9] by knowing and claiming God’s promises for Christians (Hebrews 3, 4)? Don’t try to claim the promises that were given to the Jews. We don’t believe in “Replacement Theology” [10]. We’re here for those who are teachable and willing to change (2 Timothy 2:2, 15) when presented with the truth from God‘s Word (John 14:6; 17:17) and to those who desire to grow in the sphere of grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). We want you to be illuminated by God the Holy Spirit (1 John 2:20, 27) and then put your faith into action. “…faith without works is dead” (James 2:20).

Contact. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or through our website.

Links. Disclaimer: By referring you to these links doesn’t necessarily mean that we agree with everything that has been written. But we believe that they are worth your consideration.

[1] Christ of the Cults: https://kelseypeach.wordpress.com/2015/01/07/which-jesus-saves/

[2] Christian’s Sin Nature: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/1natjm01.htm

[3] Limited Atonement: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/danger02.htm

[4] Clear Gospel: http://www.cleargospel.org/wp-content/uploads/English-Display-Pkg-2014.pdf

[5] Lordship For Salvation: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/doctrine/sbgrace.htm

[6] Repentance: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/salvatio/termsrep.htm

[7] Galatianism: http://www.gracelifebaptistchurch.us/publications.php

[8] Sermon on the Mount: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/dispen/sermon.htm

[9] Faith/Rest Life http://www.amazon.com/The-Faith-Rest-Life-R-B-Thieme/dp/1557640009

[10] Replacement Theology: http://www.middletownbiblechurch.org/reformed/replace.pdf

Every home has, or should have, clearly understood house rules if there is to be order and harmony in it. Too many children grow up in homes where the rules are constantly changing. They don’t know what to expect and are disciplined for violating rules that they didn’t even know existed. This causes many children to be needlessly provoked to wrath (Ephesians 6:4).

Dispensations. Far too many people are confused about dispensations. Some, within Christendom, think that a dispensation is the exemption from the immediate obligation of law in certain cases. Others think that dispensations are different ways of salvation. But briefly stated, they are simply the progressive house rules that God has imposed or will impose on some or all of mankind to test their obedience to Him (Luke 16:1, 2; Exodus 24:12; Ephesians 3:1-12). Each dispensation proves the fact that “The heart [of man] is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9; See Romans 3:10-23). This is why Jesus said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again (i.e. from above), he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). We need a new nature from God that is given to all true Christians at the moment of our salvation (2 Peter 1:4). Do you have Biblical assurance that you have been born from above (Romans 8:16; 1 John 5:13)?

Salvation. There is only one way of salvation (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 16:31). It is by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in the Christ of the Scriptures alone, and not of works lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8, 9). Today, we must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man, who died for our sins…and rose again bodily on the third day (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4; Luke 24:39). Once genuinely saved, we can/should do good works to let others know that we are true Christians (Ephesians 2:10; James 1:22; 2:18-20). Don’t “get the cart before the horse.”

Rules. When one interprets the Scriptures normally, historically, and grammatically, it becomes apparent that God has laid down different rules to test people during the past, present, and in the future. We understand the Scriptures to teach 7 distinct rules for living with three of them involving a large portion of the Bible. (Innocence, Conscience, Human Government, Promise, Law, Grace, Kingdom) It’s not too hard to see that the rules for the Jews living under the Mosaic Law (Exodus 19-Matthew 12:50) were quite different from the rules that are applicable to New Testament Christians. The rules that will be imposed on those living during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (Revelation 20:1-7; Isaiah 9:6, 7) will be intensified legal obligations with greater consequences to those who violate them (Matthew 5-7). Those who try to live by the wrong set of rules will not only be confused, but will not be able to come to spiritual maturity (Galatians 3:1-5; 5:1ff; Romans 6:14). Do you fit into this category?

Grace. The rules for New Testament Christian can be found, as a general rule, between John 13 and Revelation 3.  Jesus, in anticipation of the Dispensation of Grace, gave His disciples a new commandment that stood in contrast to the old commandment (John 13:34, 35). Under the Mosaic Law, the Jews were required to love their neighbors as themselves (Leviticus 19:18). Under Grace, the Christian is to love other Christians as Christ Himself has loved us. Jesus demonstrated His love by laying down His life for His sheep and for all mankind (John 3:16; 10:14-18; 1 John 2:2; 4:10).

Love. God’s “agape” love, that is produced by God the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23) in a Spirit filled Christian (Ephesians 5:18), can/should be demonstrated before others toward the right objects. (Yes, it’s possible for a maturing Christian to misdirect this love – 1 John 2:15-17) We need to be ready and willing, if necessary, to lay down our lives for the brethren by sharing our material things with those who are in genuine need (1 John 3:16, 17). Consider the Christian’s priority: “Therefore, as we (i.e. Christians) have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

Responsibilities. God wants all true New Testament Christians to grow in the sphere of grace (2 Peter 3:18), walk by faith (Hebrews 4:2; 11:6), be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18), maintain Christian unity (Ephesians 1:22, 23; 4:3), use their spiritual gifts (1 Peter 4:10), love other believers as Christ loves us (John 13:34, 35), witness to and evangelize the lost (Acts 1:8), and do all for God’s glory (1 Corinthians 10:31). Obviously, there are more requirements than these things. These can be carried out only by using God’s resurrection power that is available to all Christians (Philippians 3:10; 4:13).

Failure. If we’re honest, we would have to admit that when we’re not walking by means of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16, 25) we violate many of these rules on a regular basis. Are you failing to grow up spiritually (Hebrews 5:12-14), ignoring or doubting God’s promises (Hebrews 4:1, 2), dominated by your sin nature or the devil (Romans 7:20; Matthew 16:23), causing unscriptural divisions (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-9), failing to use or misusing your spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12-14), fighting, quarreling, and loving the present world system and its things (James 4:1; 1 John 2:9, 15-17; 4:20, 21). Are you timid, confused and ignorant (2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4)? Are you serving and exalting yourself rather than God (Romans 1:25; 2 Timothy 3:2-5). If so, confession is in order if you want to have your sins forgiven and your family fellowship and joy restored (1 John 1:3-9). God wants each of us to examine himself/herself before we participate in the Lord’s supper.  Failing to do so leads to dire consequences (1 Corinthians 11:28-32). 

Judgment. Even though God accepts all true Christians in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6), and graciously teaches (1 John 2:20, 27), disciplines (Hebrews 12:5, 6), empowers (Philippians 4:13), rewards (2 Corinthians 5:10), guides (John 16:13) and enables us to grow spiritually (2 Peter 1:2-4), many (perhaps most) Christians refuse to depend God the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:16) and carry out the responsibilities that He has placed on us.

Rewards. At the Bema Seat Judgment the Christian’s works will be evaluated to determine what endures the test of divine fire and what doesn’t (1 Corinthians 3:11-15). Christians have 5 crowns that can be earned. Do you know what they are and how you can secure them? Rather than our strutting around heaven with the crowns we’ve earned, we will have something to cast at Jesus’ feet while acknowledging that He alone is worthy (Revelation 4:10, 11).

Appreciation. It certainly seems appropriate for every Christian to respond to God’s grace by living his/her life with moral purity (1 Peter 1:15, 16) as we anticipate His any moment return for us (John 14:1-3; 1 John 3:3). This hope (i.e. confident expectation) will also make us truly happy (Titus 2:13), and bring comfort to those whose Christian loved ones have been taken from them to heaven through the door of death (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

Chart. Contact us if you’d like to get our FREE “Dispensational Chart” in an easy to understand format. It could revolutionize your life as it has mine. Phone: 805-238-3549 or visit our website at www.kelseypeach.com.

Help?  Can we count on you to help us get the Word out?  Share this article with a few of your friends and ask them to do the same.  Thanks.  Click on “Follow” if you’d like to receive future articles as they come out.

Quote. “Racketeers have always been a curse to religious movements.  They have been present from Old Testament days, they are with us today, and they will be here in the future.  In Old Testament times the magicians plied their trade among the Egyptians (Exodus 7-9).  In the New Testament Simon desired to buy the power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8), but he found that this was not for sale.  The Antichrist, during the Tribulation, will perform his arts with such skill (Revelation 13) that even the very elect will almost be taken in by this master deceiver (Matthew 24:24).”  – William Bellshaw

Hurt? Have you or has someone you know been hurt by such people?  Have you sent money to them hoping to be healed or to get rich?  Would you like to know what the Scripture says about faith healers, speaking in tongues, miracles etc?  If you are a Christian, do you know that you have a special gift (ability) that God wants you to use for His glory and the good of others (1 Peter 4:10)?  Are you teachable and willing to do some studying on your own to discover what God’s Word says (2 Timothy 2:2, 15)?

Help.  We recognize that not all Christians agree with us when it comes to the subject of “Spiritual Gifts.” But we would like to share with you our understanding of them and trust that it will help you and provide some Biblical answers for you and other believers who may have questions too.

Did some early Christians have the gift of healings? Yes, while the Scriptures were still incomplete or “in part.” 1 Corinthians 12:28; 13:9-12

Are all miracles from God? No. Satan’s agents also perform miracles. Exodus 7:10-12, 20-22; 8:1618; Matthew 7:21-23; 24:24; Revelation 13:3, 12; 16:13, 14

Why do many people go to “faith healers?” Perhaps it is out of desperation and a desire for good health. “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.” Job 2:4

Does God heal all who have faith? No. God sometimes uses sickness and pain for the good of His children. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (Babies, unconscious people, and the insane don’t have faith.)

Did Jesus or the apostles advertise and hold healing meetings? No. Their use of the gift of healing was incidental as a credential, rather than a feature of the apostle’s ministry. Acts 3:1-11; 5:12-16; 8:5-8; 9:32-35; 14:8-10; 16:16-18

What about claims of healing? They are very difficult to substantiate. Many people, desiring healing, are easily influenced by “faith healers.” Some use hypnosis to “heal” people. Today’s “faith healers” have a controlled environment, stage their way, and run according to their schedule. They don’t go to hospitals to heal people.

Does God heal today? Yes, if it is His will.  There are sins that can lead to physical illness and death for Christians. James 5:14- 20; 1 John 5:16

Is healing part of Christ’s atonement? We believe that Isaiah 53:5, 6 and 1 Peter 2:24, 25 are dealing with spiritual healing, not physical healing. Christ healed people physically before He went to the cross to prove that He was God. John 20:31

What should Christians do when sickness comes? (1) We should examine ourselves and pray (Psalm 139:23; 1 Corinthians 11:28-30). If sin is detected, confess and forsake it (1 John 1:9) (2) If not healed, call for the elders of the church to pray over you and use oil [medicine] (James 5:14; 2 Kings 20:5-7; 1 Tim. 5:23) (3) Check to see if the illness is emotionally related (stress). Apply Philippians 4:6, 7. (4) Then if you are not healed say, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Job 13:15

What are some reasons for sickness? (1) For God’s glory. (Job 1:6-2:10; John 9:3; 11:4) None of these people could be healed until God’s purpose was fulfilled. (2) To keep us humble. (2 Corinthians 12:7-9) God’s grace is sufficient. (3) A constitutional weakness. (1 Timothy 5:23). (4) Chastening from the Lord. (1 Corinthians 11:30-32; Hebrews 12:6-14)

Beware of “faith healers and miracle workers.” “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” Matthew 24:24.

Temporary.  It’s true, these “confirmatory sign gifts” and the “revelatory gifts” were essential while the New Testament was still incomplete. Within the 66 Books of the Bible we have all that we need for life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 2:15; 3:16, 17). All Scripture is for us but not all Scripture is addressed to Christians (Titus 1:9). Christians live in the “Dispensation of Grace” (Ephesians 3:1-12).  The Jews lived under the “Mosaic Law” (Joshua 1:8; Romans 6:14; Galatians 3:1-5; 5:1).  God is not giving out any new revelation or information today! Beware of those who add to it or subtract from the Scriptures (Revelation 22:18, 19).

Discover.  If you’re a true Christian, you have a spiritual gift that needs to be discovered and used with love for God’s glory and the good of others (1 Corinthians 10:31; 13).  To learn more about them, go to www.kelseypeach.com and then to “Bible Basics.” When you’ve discovered your spiritual gift, we’d like for you to share that information with us so we can encourage you to use it with love. See other blogs under “Spiritual Gifts.”

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Some material in this article has been adapted from literature and notes from W. G. Bellshaw, D. K. Spurbeck, H. L. Schafer.  See also   http://www.galaxie.com/article/bsac120-478-06

The testimony of a credible eyewitness is a powerful tool that can be used to determine the fate of another individual. Did you know that there were more than 500 eye witnesses of Christ’s bodily resurrection from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:6; Acts 1:3)? This assures us that we too will be resurrected some day, each of us in his/her own order (1 Corinthians 15:23). Do you know in which of the five resurrections you will be raised from the dead? Where will you spend eternity?

Witness. “A good witness does not attract attention to himself but to the person or facts which he represents. In order for John the apostle to introduce the Son of God historically, he had to first introduce John the Baptist. John [the Apostle] emphasized the function of [John] the Baptist, not his identity. [Doctor] Luke tells us much more about John the Baptist’s birth and life; John [the Apostle] focuses on why [John the Baptist] came and who sent him” – Ken Gangel

The Baptizer. Some people erroneously think that John the Baptist was the first Baptist and that from him all other Baptists have come. However he was one of the last Old Testament believers to die before the Day of Pentecost when the church had its beginning (Acts 2:1ff; 10:44-48; 11:13-16). Do you know why John baptized people including Christ?

Birth. Unlike the Word (God the Son) who had no beginning, John the Baptizer came into being according to the plan of God. There is a specific time for each of us to be born and a time for us to die (Ecclesiastes 3:2; Acts 17:26). We have specific roles to play in life? We also have “potential years” and “actual years” and God knows all about that too (1 John 5:16; 1 Corinthians 11:30).

Man. The Word (Communicator) was the God-man whereas John the Baptizer was a mere man who was controlled mentally by the Holy Spirit from the time of his birth (Luke 1:15) until he had some doubts about Jesus (Matthew 11:3). Jesus said of him, “…among those who are born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he” (Matthew 11:11).

Glory. God uses both human beings (Romans 9:17; Philippians 2:11) and spirit beings (Revelation 5:13; Isaiah 6:3) to glorify Himself (i.e. to make Himself known to His creatures). Are you a Christian who is bringing glory to God by what you eat, drink, or whatever you do (1 Corinthians 10:31)? If you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? If not, what needs to change?

Sent. Like the Apostles, John the Baptist was sent from God on a mission (John 1:6). His coming had been predicted by the Prophet Malachi (3:1). Even John’s name was selected for him by an angel who appeared to his father, Zacharias (Luke 1:13, 63). John the Baptist was Jesus’ cousin (Luke 1:36).

Purpose. John the Baptizer was not “The Light” but was sent to bear witness of “The Light” (the Word of God), who is both the Life and the Light (John 1:4). Concerning those who had walked in darkness, the Prophet Isaiah wrote, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light” (i.e. the Light of the world is the Lord Jesus Christ – Isaiah 9:2; John 1:4, 9; 9:5). And yet, even though the Light was in the midst of many Jewish people, most of them did not comprehend the Light (John 1:5). “[Christ] came to His own [things], but His own [people] did not receive Him” (John 1:11). What about you?  Have you placed your faith in Him as your personal Savior?

Lessons. God used John the Baptizer as a witness to validate the authenticity of the Word (Communicator) as the Son of God (John 20:31). God also wants to use every true Christian to bear witness to the world that He (the Lord Jesus Christ) is God manifested in human flesh and equal with God the Father and the Jehovah of the Old Testament (John 5:18; 8:58; 10:30, 31; Colossians 2:8). Jesus is the One who offered Himself as the Savior of mankind (Luke 19:10; John 10:15). “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God…” (1 Peter 3:18). However, His invitation to be saved from hell to heaven doesn’t guarantee that everyone will be saved. “Universalism” is not taught in the Scriptures. Neither is the annihilation of the wicked taught in the Bible (Matthew 25:41, 46; Revelation 21:8).  Only those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as the One who died for our sins…and rose again bodily from the dead will be saved (Acts 16:31; 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4). Have you done this yet? If not, why not right now?

Questions. Are you a true child of God? Are you one who is “believing in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:2; See Matthew 7:21-23)? Have you been born from above (John 3:3, 6)? Are you a partaker of the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4)? Do you have assurance of your salvation (1 John 5:13)? If you believe you’re saved, is there anything you could do or fail to do that would cause you to lose your salvation (Romans 8:35-39)? If so, what would it be? Are you depending on Jesus for your past tense salvation? What about for your present and future tense salvation? If you’re saved, do you know what part of you is saved now (1 Corinthians 6:17; Romans 8:16)? What part(s) of you will be saved in the future (Romans 8:23; 1 Peter 1:9)?  What is your understanding of future things and Christ’s imminent return (1 Corinthians 15:51ff; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18)?  Would you like a FREE “Dispensational Chart”?

Help. We’re here to offer Biblical help to those who want to be saved from eternal condemnation (John 3:16-18, 36; Romans 8:1) and to those who want to grow spiritually (2 Peter 3:18) and become more like Jesus as they display the “Fruit of the Spirit” in their daily lives (Galatians 5:22, 23). If you’re saved, are you using your spiritual gift with love (1 Peter 4:10; 1 Corinthians 13)? The Apostle Paul wrote, “…through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13). Do you know what your spiritual gift is? If not, ask for help. We’d also like to help you reach other people in your circle of influence. For whom are you praying?

Contact. We can be reached at 805-238-3549 or go to our website for more help: www.kelseypeach.com. We have God’s Simple Plan Of Salvation in 24 languages. If this article has helped you, we’d like to hear from you. You might like to pass it on to others if it has helped you. To receive future articles as they come out, click on “Follow.”