Were the Good Old Days Really Good? (Eccl 7:10)

Do not say, "Why were the former days better than these?" For you do not inquire wisely concerning this. (Ecc 7:10 NKJ)

There is a usual feeling among some that the older days were better. They think that, then, people were morally better, things were safer and more reliable, and the songs had more meaning than the songs sung today. It seems like the modern world has putrefied disgustingly. However, one doesn’t fail to understand that dirt doesn’t just come from nowhere. The sewage pipes of human nature were there all the time hidden beneath the refinements of culture. The vents were small and few, but grew larger and many as history thought it better to adjust culture to the vents of sewage than adjusting the vents to a non-justifiable culture. The reformers and repairers of the pipe either got weary of trying to stop the unstoppable or just flowed down with the seepage of dirt. It portends an imminent breakage of sewage and massive inundation of evil into history that the Bible calls as the Great Tribulation. But, we certainly, already now have a culture that increasingly adapts itself to the enjoyment of sewage – to just vent out everything and not act hypocritically. That is disastrous, of course; but, it doesn’t make the former days better as far as the existence of sewage is considered. The only difference is the uninhibited seepage of dirt.

Humanity then and now equally needs the removal of dirt from the inner human heart. The inner fountain must be cleansed and purified; or else, there is no hope. Transformation, NOT reformation, is the answer.

But, then, of course, the modern world is technologically and materialistically better than the former. For instance, communication is faster; which means on one hand that the harbingers of transformation have more pace and power at their disposal; but, it also means that sewage also has more pace and power at its disposal. So, the potent effect is equalized. Living conditions have certainly got better; but, not for all.

But, it is better to stop lamenting like a helpless fool who cannot handle the weeds from becoming a jungle.

Don't long for "the good old days." This is not wise. (Ecc 7:10 NLT)

One must become wise and learn to turn a chaotic wilderness into a beautiful garden. It needs equipment, sacrifice, and commitment. The goal is not to repair the broken sewers of culture; but, to purify the sources; certainly, a humanly impossible task. The goal is not to use the “good old days” case-story as the ideal; certainly not. We need to understand the principle of goodness and work accordingly in context of the present. God hasn’t sent the Spirit to restore the world to the good old days but to lead the children of God into the glorious liberty of the new creation. The Spirit-led don’t photocopy the 1920s to the 2020s. The Spirit-led simply obey the Spirit of true divine freedom.
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Tujko Miley Sari Mahima - Worship Song


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Perspectives

A taxi driver sees people standing on the pavements: they are waiting or boarding - passengers.

A medical doctor notices people of different shapes and sizes: they are either healthy or unwell - patients.

A vendor keeps his eyes fixed on someone nearing him: they are either coming to him or are just passing by - buyers.

An evangelist looks at people on photos, videos, or face to face: they are either lost or found - souls.

An adulterer follows women with his eyes: they are either appealing or unappealing - sex partners.

A prostitute gazes flirtatiously at men passing by: they are either wise or foolish - customers.

A child beggar looks at well-clad, well-fed humans passing by: they either are compassionate or too busy to think of her - privileged.

God's eyes range throughout the earth looking at people: they are either godly or ungodly - children.
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Denial

Denial means abnegation or nullification. It means to say "no" to or about something.
Denial of truth is rejection of truth. Confession is the opposite of denial. (John 1:20).
The Bible tells us that God will deny us if we deny Him (2Tim.2:12; Matt.10:23; Luke 12:9).

Denial of God can be done
1. In words (Prov.30:9)
2. In works (Tit.1:16)
(see also Jude 1:4; Rev.2:13)

The one who denies Christ
1. Is a liar (1Jn.2:22)
2. Is antichrist (1Jn.2:22)
3. Does not have the Father (1Jn.2:23)

In the case of Peter's denial of Christ three times, the Lord restored him because he denied out of fear and repented with great remorse (Matt.26:75). Also, he did confess his love for Christ after Christ's resurrection (Jn.21:14ff). Peter became one of the strongest witnesses of Christ's resurrection (Acts 5:29-32).

Jesus calls us to deny ourselves and follow Christ (Luke 9:23). To deny self means to say "no" to our own will and desires and to surrender in obedience to the will of Christ.
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Anxiety

Anxiety is
Worry about the seeming insecurities of life (Matt.6:25)
Insecurity about future (Matt.6:34)
Fear of the uncertain (Jer.17:8; Eze.12:18)

Anxiety causes
Depression (Prov.12:25)
Desperation (Dan.2:3)

Solution
Jesus taught us not to worry (Matt.6:25)
Worrying can solve not even the least of the problem (Luke 12:25,26)
We must not have an anxious mind (Luke 12:29,30)
We must believe that God takes care of us (Luke 12:25,26; Matt.6:26-31)
We must pray with thanksgiving and speak to God instead of worrying and murmuring (Phil.4:6)
Divine peace and consolation is the answer to anxiety (Phil.4:7; Psalm 94:19)
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Greed

Greed is
  1. Sin (Exo.20:17)
  2. The greedy desire to have more (Gk. pleonexia).
  3. Desire for unjust gain (Hb. betsa)
  4. Desire, craving, longing for what is forbidden (Gk. epithumia)
  5. To give one's self up to the love of money (Gk. oregomai, 1Tim.6:10)
  6. Eagerness for base gain (Gk. aischrokerdes, 1Tim.3:3)
To be without greed means to be without love for money or be content with such things as one has (Gk. aphilarguros)

Love of Money (or Possessions)
  1. Love of money is the root of all kinds of evil (1Tim.6:6)
  2. Love of money leads one astray from faith (1Tim.6:10)
  3. Love of money makes one unfit for the Kingdom of God (Lk.18:22,23)
  4. Love of money makes one unfit for ministry (1Tim.3:3,8; Tit.1:7; 1Pet.5:2)
  5. Love of money ensnares one into piercings of many sorrows (1Tim.6:10)
  6. Love of money causes trouble to one's house (Prov.15:27)
  7. Love of money leads to violence, wars, and oppression (Mic.2:2; James 4:1-3)
One who is greedy
  1. Will never have enough (Isaiah 56:11)
  2. Can never serve God (Luke 16:13)
  3. Derides Christ (Luke 16:14)
  4. Shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor.6:10; Eph.5:5)
  5. Has a heart exercised with covetous practices and is cursed (2Pet.2:14)
The antidote to greed is divine, sacrificial love (Rom.13:9-10; 1Cor.13).

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Faith

Faith is both propositional doctrine, teaching, way of belief (Rom.10:8) and personal  response to God's grace  (Rom.10:17)

Facts about Faith
  1. Faith can be seen (Matt.9:2; James 2:18; Acts 14:9)
  2. Not all have faith (2Thess.3:2)
  3. Whatever is not from faith is sin (Rom.14:23)
  4. The Gospel is the word of faith (Rom.10:8)
  5. Faith has specific intent (e.g. "to be healed", "to remove mountain") (Acts 14:9)
  6. Faith is active; it works (James 2:1720; 1Thess.1:3)
  7. Jesus can only act in accordance to our faith (Matt.9:29; Luke 18:42)
  8. The presence of faith is bound to bring results, even if it is mustardseed size (Matt.17:20)
  9. (remember that a mustard seed, though little, is a complete seed)
  10. Faith is prerequisite to receiving answers to prayers (Matt.21:22)
  11.  It is commendable to be full of faith (Acts 6:5; 11:24)
  12. Faith is personal (Rom.14:22)
  13. Faith is one of the three abiding virtues (1Cor.13:13)
  14. Faith can be increased (2Cor.10:15; 2Thess.1:3)
  15. The Resurrection of Jesus gives value and power to both our preaching and our faith (1Cor.15:14,17)
  16. Faith works through love (Gal.5:6; Eph.6:23; 1Tim.1:5,14)
  17. Jesus will look if people have faith when He returns (Luke 18:8)
What Faith Can Do
  1. Faith in Jesus can make a person physically well (Matt.9:22; Mark 10:52; Acts 3:16)
  2. Faith can move mountains (Matt.17:20)
  3. Prayer of faith will save the sick (James 5:15)
  4. Faith purifies hearts (Acts 15:9; 26:8)
  5. Faith edifies (1Tim.1:4)
  6. We receive the Spirit by the hearing of faith (Gal.3:2,14)
  7. God supplies the Spirit to us and works miracles among us by the hearing of faith (Gal.3:5)
  8. Faith is the shield that quenches the fiery darts of the devil (Eph.6:16; 1Pet.5:9)
  9. Faith is a breastplate along with love (1Thess.5:8)
  10. Faith overcomes the world (1John 5:4)
  11. We have boldness and access with confidence through faith in Jesus (Eph.3:12)
  12. Christ dwells in our hearts through faith (Eph.3:17)
  13. Faith brings joy (Phil.1:25)
  14. Faith serves sacrificially (Phil.2:17)
  15. Faith obtains the promises of God (Heb.11:33; 6:12)
  16. Genuine faith passes the tests (1Pet.1:6,7)
Faith, Grace, and Law
  1. We are justified by faith, not by the deeds of the law (Rom.3:28)
  2. Faith is an important aspect of the law (not against it) (Matt.23:23)
  3. We establish the law through faith (Rom.3:31)
  4. The law of righteousness was meant to be sought by faith and not by the works of the law (Rom.9:31,32)
  5. Faith receives God's grace (Rom.4:16; 5:2)
  6. Faith is related to God's promises of grace (Rom.4:16)
  7. The law was our tutor until Christ and faith came (Gal.3:23-26)
Sources of Faith
  1. Hearing God's word (Rom.10:17; Heb.4:2)
  2. Gift of God (Eph.2:8)
  3. Measure of Faith dealt by God to each (Rom.12:3,6)
  4. Spirit of faith (2Cor.4:13)
  5. One of the 9 Gifts of the Spirit (1Cor.12:9)
  6. Fruit of the Spirit (Gal.4:22)
We must have faith in
  1. God and in Christ (John 14:1)
  2. God's word and in His promises (John 4:50; Rom.4:20)
  3. The power of God (1Cor.2:5)
  4. Working of God (Col.2:12)
We are called to
  1. Stand by faith (Rom.11:20)
  2. Live by faith in Jesus (Rom. 1:17; Gal.2:20)
  3. Stand fast in faith (1Cor.16:13)
  4. Continue in faith (Col.1:23)
  5. Walk by faith (2Cor.5:7)
  6. Abound in faith (2Cor.8:7)
  7. Examine if we are in the faith (2Cor.13:5)
  8. Be rooted and built up in Jesus and be established in the faith (Col.2:7)
  9. Boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus (1Tim.3:13)
  10. Nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which we have carefully followed (1Tim.4:6)
  11. Be example in faith (1Tim.4:12)
  12. Pursue faith (1Tim.6:11)
  13. Fight good fight of faith (1Tim.6:12)
  14. Be sound in faith (Tit.2:2)
  15. Draw near to God with a true heart in full assurance of faith (Heb.10:22)
  16. Build ourselves up on our most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:20)
  17. Keep the commandments and the faith of Jesus (Rev.14:12)
  18. Earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3)
Qualities of Great and Strong Faith
  1. Believes the authority of the spoken word as irresistible (Matt.8:9,10)
  2. Is not willing to return empty handed (Matt.15:28)
  3.  Faith doesn't allow negative possibilities; it is positive about the possibilities promised by God (Matt.21:21; Rom.4:19,21)
  4. Faith doesn't waver at the promise of God through unbelief (Rom.4:20)
  5. Strong faith gives glory to God (Rom.4:20)
  6. Is fully convinced that God is able to perform what He promised (Rom.4:21; Heb.11:1)
Symptoms of Little Faith (i.e. inability to fully trust  equal to "no faith" Mark 4:40)
  1. Worry about food, drink, and clothes (Matt.6:30,31)
  2. Seeking worldly things first and above God's Kingdom and His righteousness (Matt.6:33)
  3. Fear of perishing (Matt.8:25,26)
  4. Doubt, Wavering (Matt.14:31)
  5. Inability to understand (bring into account), or remember the miracles of God (Matt.16:8-10)
Falling from faith
  1. Shipwreck of faith by rejecting faith and good conscience (1Tim.1:19)
  2. Departing from the faith  by listening to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons (1Tim.4:1)
  3. Denying faith by abandoning duties towards family (1Tim.5:8)
  4. Casting off faith by not standing firm on the commitment (1Tim.5:12)
  5. Straying from the faith in greediness and love of money (1Tim.6:10,21)
  6. Listening to those who have strayed from faith can overthrow faith (2Tim.2:18)
Helping Faith
  1. Jesus intercedes for His disciple so that his faith would not fail (Luke 22:32)
  2.  We can strengthen others in faith (Luke 22:32; Acts 14:22; 1Thess.3:10)
  3.  Doctrinal purity and wisdom strengthens the church in faith (Acts 16:5)
  4. We can encourage each other by mutual faith (Rom.1:12)
  5. We must not dispute over doubtful things with or despise the one who is weak in the faith, but must receive (Rom.14:1,3)
  6. Rebuking in order to help believers be sound in the faith (Tit.1:13)
Four Pillars of Faith
  1. Truth. (John 8:32). Faith without truth is blind; truth without faith is useless.
  2. Love. (Gal.5:6). Faith that lacks love is empty (1Cor.13:13). God honors love. A prayer of faith that lacks love is abomination.
  3. Patience (Heb.6:12). Patience is the durability of faith; it means holding on to faith (James 1:28)
  4. Works (James 2:17). Faith without works is dead.

Some aphorisms on faith from Explorations of Faith II. 
  1. Faith is the building block of life. One has to be grounded in the foundation of faith, covered with the shield or walls of faith, and build himself up in faith.
  2. If faith is the brick of our life, then love is the cement. Faith works by love.
  3. Life looks meaningless and empty when there is no faith. Even love cannot fill the infinite hollow within; because love cannot be quenched by many waters. However, a little bit of faith, just the size of a mustard seed, is enough to dash life with meaning.
  4. But, faith is not blind; even as love is also not blind. God commanded us to love Him with our mind, not just with our heart. Likewise, faith does not throw away the mind. A mindless faith is what God detests. Worship of idols as if they were living is an instance of mindless faith. God calls us to reason.
  5. Faith and Truth go together. People can believe in something that is false and that false belief can even be dangerous. For instance, some people blow up planes because they believe that doing that will earn them spiritual merit. That is an example of false belief that is dangerous to both self and society.
  6. Faith is when a person accepts the truth and applies it to his life.
  7. In the same way that truth cannot be self-contradictory, faith is also not self-contradictory.
  8. Truth that is not believed in is useless; belief that is not true can be dangerous!
  9. If somebody says that he doesn’t believe in God anymore, he either means that God doesn’t exist or that he can’t believe in what he thinks is God. Perhaps, his idea of God is wrong; because, once he has the right idea of God, he won’t be able to deny God. But, one can only say something like something doesn’t exist in the whole universe if someone has total knowledge of the entire universe – in other words, is omniscient, is God himself (which, by the way, is not the case here).

II
  1. Faith in God is of ultimate kind and is, therefore, both unique and absolute. Since it is not concerned with contingent things of this world it is also not like the belief in the contingent things of the world.
  2. Belief in God is foundational to our commonsense assumptions about this world as both moral and rational. Anyone who denies God must also deny the existence of absolute morals and absolute truth, for both lose their foundation if their foundation is found within this world itself. It would be like trying to place a ball on that ball itself.
  3. The unchanging nature and character of God is the foundation of true morality and His veracity is the foundation of all reasonability and truth.
  4. We believe in the present what we hope about the future; the future being invisible at the present. The future possesses the goal and meaning that integrates our present life and gives us a reason to move forward.
  5. False hope is hoping in things that are unreal in the sight of God; for instance, the hope of the demons to defeat God. This is a false hope because it is not based on a reality sanctioned by God. Their faith, therefore, lacks a solid basis and their hope has no real anchor. It is also, therefore, both useless and dangerous. Obviously, false faith leads to false hopes.
  6. Job did not flicker because he knew that though circumstances might change, the nature and being of God is beyond the shadow of a change, and that his faith was anchored not in the appearance of circumstances but in the constancy of God. His faith was not a response of the flesh that sought physical motivation to go on.
Faith is the ground or basis of things hoped for
  1. The faith that is not based on God’s Word is not foundational about the things of God. It leads to somewhere else. But the faith that is connected to God’s Word is the ground for experiencing the things of God.
  2. The faith of God is an act directly related to God and not this space-time world; therefore, it pierces through space-time and catches hold of the hem of God’s garment unleashing His power and blessings in this temporal frame.
  3. An act of faith connects to the will and power of God. Therefore, Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…nothing shall be impossible to you” (Mt. 17:20); for through faith what is possible to God is also possible to the believer.
  4. The experience of faith is the experience of divine truth. This is very obvious in the Scriptural assertion that the natural or carnal man cannot receive the things of God (1Cor. 2:14). They have no personal significance for him. There were many people who saw and heard Jesus during His physical ministry in this world; however, it was very few who really believed and, consequently, experienced Him.
  5. Knowledge is composed of truth; therefore, knowing something means also to believe in the truth about that thing.
  6. False belief doesn’t constitute knowledge; it constitutes ignorance and deception. True belief alone, therefore, is knowledge.
  7. Faith is the basis of spiritual experiences.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for
  1. Whenever we have faith we also have the things we hope for in the form of faith now. That is why Jesus said “Whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours” (Mk. 11:24). He doesn’t ask them to believe that they will receive it in future but to believe that they have already received it in faith.
  2. God is not conditioned by time but if something is “yes” in Him then it is eternally “yes” and the same in future, present, and past. Thus, it is not whether that thing will be real to us in the future but whether it is already real in the sight of God that is significant.
  3. That is faith: to know the future in the present as true.
  4. A man of faith doesn’t live his life regretting about the past or worrying about his present but he is elated by faith to see the hopes of the distant future as a timeless reality and lives his life in accordance to the reality of those facts in the sight of God (Phil. 3:710).
Faith is the assurance of things hoped for
  1. God is the foundation and terminal of faith since He is the Beginning and the End of all reality; for everything consists and subsists by Him (Isa. 41:4; 48:12; Col. 1:7; Rev. 21:6).
  2. This world cannot be the final source and end of faith since it is contingent and therefore not final in itself.
  3. Since we ourselves are part of this world, to trust in this world would amount to trusting in nothing (objective); for, it would be like a man trying to walk on his boots.
  4. It is the reality of God where the world finally collides and comes to an end. There is nothing conceivable by reason, experience, or faith beyond Him. Therefore, the faith of God is final.
  5. Since this faith is distinctive and final, being based upon the absolute and unchanging nature of God, this assurance is also unshakeable and final. That is the reason why a man of faith is at peace with himself; he is not alarmed at the appearances of contradicting situations because he knows that the thing he is hoping for is assured in the sight of God (Isa. 26:3).
  6. Fear is a sign of unbelief; that is the reason why cowards cannot inherit the kingdom of God (Rev. 21:8).
  7. The assurance of hope is stronger than hope alone. For in it hope is combined with confidence.
Faith is the Evidence of Things Unseen
  1. Faith doesn’t need further evidence for its existence than its presence itself. Since it is the final ground of the things hoped for, it is also the evidence of the things hoped for. It is not based on anything else. It is the basis for everything that we know and experience.
  2. Attempts to base faith on rational or empirical proofs, i.e. on logic or experience, adds nothing to it. These may help to justify beliefs but cannot be the source of faith. One must not search for evidence for faith. Faith itself must be seen as the evidence for everything else.
  3. There are, however, certain criteria to measure the authenticity of such faith since this could easily lead to superstition and false belief: (a) The believer must possess a sound mind, (b) Faith must be open to reason; in other words, open to verification and falsification or, at least, justification, (c) This faith must be connected with righteousness and peace; this is so because the faith of God cannot contradict the character of God, (d) It must not contradict the written Word of God, i.e., the Scriptures, which reveal God.
  4. Faith as voluntary act is the precursor to knowledge as Jesus said, “If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority” (Jn. 7:17, Amplified). Thus, the will-to-believe is the condition for the knowledge of truth. If anyone is unwilling to accept the truth, then all evidence is meaningless (perhaps detestable) to him.
  5. Faith is a choice, it is not automatically produced.
  6. When one encounters the revelation of God one has the choice of accepting it or rejecting it. The nature of both the encounter and choice is spiritual and not rational or physical. Therefore, the choice is also a moral one.
  7. The world has no substitute for the faith of God.
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Headship

But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. (1Co 11:3 NKJ)

The headship that Paul speaks about in 1Corinthians 11 concerns headship within a family. In a family, the head of a woman is her husband. Christ is the head of both the husband and the wife directly; however, the wife is also under the authority of her husband who is under the authority of Christ. This means that the wife has both the authority of Christ and her husband (who is under the authority of Christ) over her. But, the husband is not under the authority of the wife.

This also means that only the husband is the head of his wife. All men are not the head of all women. A man is the head of only his own wife; not somebody else’ wife. A woman doesn’t need to submit to someone who is not her husband. She is not under the authority of anyone else except her husband, as far as headship is concerned. For instance, the son of a woman is not the head of his mother just because he is male; but, she has authority over her son.

The headship of Christ applies to the Church as a singular body. In this case, there is no difference between male and female. Male members in a church have no advantage over women. The Spirit is not given through gender discrimination; but is poured out upon all singularly and equally. God does not give His Spirit by measure (Jn.3:34).

The headship of man also means that the wife should not try to assume authority over her husband as if trying to disciple him.

And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. (1Ti 2:12 NKJ)

She is to learn from her own husband in silent submission (1Tim.2:11; 1Cor.14:25).

1Corinthians 14:34 doesn’t imply that any woman is submissive to the males in the church. She only submits to the authority of her husband, and to the God-ordained authority in the church that every man and woman in the local church is equally called to obey. A woman who is in need of learning must ask her own husband at home. She is not permitted to speak (unintelligibly and opinionatedly (lalea –unintelligible talk) in the church. However, she can prophesy and pray (1Cor.11:5,13).
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Taking the Lord's Name in Vain

The third of the Ten Commandments is: "You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain." (Exo 20:7)

To take the name of the Lord in vain means to use it unnecessarily, wrongfully, falsely, disrespectfully, incautiously, and irreverently.

Examples are:
1. Using phrases such as "Oh my God!" and "Jesus" as an interjection (or worse, as an expletive, along with words such as "shit"). Usually, it is part of a person's language, but it must be consciously removed from speech (Matt.12:35-37; Eph.5:4)
2. Saying that God had said something when He had not said it. This applies to even wrong and twisted interpretation of God's word (Eze.13:6; 22:28; Matt.15:9)
3. Swearing by God's name falsely (Lev.19:12; Matt.5:33-37)
4. Saying that they are being led by God, when actually they are being led by their own lust (James 1:13,14). For example, one may say that God was leading him to marry a girl, or to go to some place, or do this or do that when actually he is being carried away by his own desires, presumptions, feelings, and emotions.
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Local Church

A local church is a group of believers in a particular geographical location.

A Local Church
1. Is NOT a linguistic group of Christians (Acts 6:1 - Both the Hebrews and the Greeks were in the same local church). The churches at Jerusalem and Antioch were never divided into separate Greek and Hebrew churches.
2. Is NOT a racial group of Christians - A Black Church or A White Church or A Dalit Church as a racial division in the same locality doesn't exist.
3. Is NOT a human leader-oriented group of Christians. (1Cor.1:12). No church could call itself by the name of a human leader, even if it were planted by him (1Cor.3:6).
4. Is NOT a classed group of Christians. The church was not divided into the Slave Church or the Aristocratic Church (Col.3:11).
5. Is a geographical group of Christians (Acts 9:31; 1Cor.16:19; 2Cor.8:1; Rev.1:20;2:1). It is only distinguished by its geographical location; however, the location must not become an ecclesiastical cult. For instance, members from a location, e.g., from Delhi, going to London are not supposed to start there a Delhite Church.

Planting of the Local Church
1. A local church is planted in a place when the Gospel seeds are sown there and people get saved. The sowing might be by an apostle (1Cor.3:6), an evangelist (Acts 8:5), or any disciple who bears the testimony of Jesus Christ (Acts 8:1,4).
2. The Holy Spirit guides the growth of the church in form and function (1Cor.3:6; Acts 9:31; 1Cor.12:4-11).
3. Apostles, prophets, and teachers (teaching-pastors) play important role in equipping the church qualitatively in the true faith of God (Eph.4:11ff; Acts 20:31,32). Evangelists, meanwhile, continue to proclaim the gospel to regions beyond.
4. The apostles or the ones given authority by Christ appoint elders and commend the church to the Lord (Acts 14:22,23; Tit.1:5).

Things to Note
1. The identity of a Christian doesn't come from the local church, but from Christ and from his/her belongedness to the universal church (Mark 9:41; Heb.12:22).
2. Being listed in the local church doesn't guarantee being listed in the Book of Life (Rev.3:5; 2:5).
3. In the modern context of multiple denominations and options to select which "church" to go to, one must not forget that the church is one body and all believers in Jesus Christ are one in the Lord. The only separatists are those who are either carnal, sensual, or unbelieving ones. The true believer will accept other believers as fellow Christians in the one body (regardless of which "church" one goes to). They are always keen for spiritual fellowship one with another whenever and wherever possible. (Jn.17:11; 1Cor.1:10-12; Jude 1:19; 1Jn.2:19; Eph.4:4-5; Col.3:15).
4. Opposition of the Way can justify withdrawal of disciples from a group that is not-Christian; of course, the church is a believing community and so is logically separate from a non-believing group (Acts 19:9). The Word of God is the solo authority and reason (Acts 2:40; Gal.1:8,9; 2Jn.1:10,11; 3Jn.1:9-10).
5. There can be several area-wise churches in the same region (therefore, we read about "churches of Galatia"). However, the church in a city is always referred to in the singular, except in the case of 1Cor.14:34, which is an instruction to the Corinthian church but gives instruction to "churches", probably referring to "church meetings" as some translators paraphrase. It is probable and not unbiblical for the church at Corinth to have different church meetings at different localities of the city, especially if the number of believers was great and all of them could not be accommodated in the same place at the same time. Certainly, we don't expect that the number of believers gathered together in Mark's house to pray for Peter were all the thousands of believers in Jerusalem. Of course the church was praying (Acts 12:5); but, only some of them (perhaps, as many could fit in there as indicated by the word hikanos (sufficient) used there for "many") were at the house of Mark (Acts 12:12).
6. If there is a truly believing community already in a place, the true apostle will never go and try to establish another denomination there, though he would love to visit that church; his goal is to reach out to places where Christ is not named (Rom.1:10-12; 15:20,22,23) (Acts 19:1; 11:22-24, 25-27).
7. Jesus warns churches that fail to keep themselves alive in His truth and love (Rev.2:5,16,20-23; 3:2,3, 16,19)
8. Numerical growth is visibly observed in the local churches (Acts 9:31; 16:5).
9. Being excommunicated by a tyrannical leader doesn't divide the local church. They may be forced to gather in a different place; but, the congregation is still one.(3Jn.1:9-10). Note that John says that he would come and deal with the situation. He had earlier written to the church, but the tyrannical Diotrephes was turning him off. So, he writes to another elder, Gaius. The solution was not division, but discipline.

Relationship between Local Churches
1. The churches in different locations are spiritually connected to each other (Rom.16:16)
2. Customs in the local churches in general become exemplary for particular churches (1Cor.11:16)
3. Experiences in the local churches in general become exemplary for particular churches (1Cor.14:33)
4. Churches must follow the example of other local churches in sending support for other churches in need (1Cor.16:1; 2Cor.8:1,2)
5. Churches can choose someone as their messengers to travel to various other churches to appeal for help and carry aid to the needy churches (Acts 11:29,30; 2Cor.8:18,19,23).
6. Local churches help the apostles carry the gospel to the ends of the earth (2Cor.11:8)
7. Testimonies from a church are carried to other churches to testify of the grace of God (2Thess.1:4; Rom.1:8)
8. Churches must appeal to the final authority of the Word of God with regards to matters of doctrine and practice. In certain cases, approaching an apostle or a council of apostles and teachers is needed (Gal.1:8; Acts 15:1ff; 1Cor.7:1). However, the Bible has final authority on all matters (Acts 17:11).

Offices in the Local Church (Phil.1:1)
Elders/Pastors/Overseers (Bishops)/Teachers (Acts 14:23; Eph.4:11; 1Tim.5:17; Acts 15:6; 20:28; Tit.1:5,7,8,9; 1Tim.3:1-7). While these are appointed by the apostles or someone sent by the apostle, it also seems possible that someone can aspire to be a bishop or a teacher (1Tim.3:1; James 3:1). They will give account to God and will receive stricter judgment (Heb.13:17; James 3:1).
Deacons (Acts 6:1ff; 1Tim.3:8-13)

Offices beyond the Local Church
Apostles (2Cor.11:28)
Prophets (Acts 21:10,11)
Evangelists (Acts 21:8)
Teachers (Acts 13:1; 1Cor.12:28)

A pastor's ministry goes beyond the local church when he ministers as apostle, prophet, evangelist as teacher; however, he is pastor only of the local church where God has appointed him.

A deacon's ministry goes beyond the church when he or she ministers as an evangelist or teacher.

A woman can only pastor along with her husband. If her husband is not pastor, she can be a counselor for younger women, but not pastor. However, a single woman can be a missionary.

Ministries in the Local Church  (Rom.12:6-8)

Responsibilities of the Local Church (1Tim.5:3ff; James 1:27)

Local Church as a Missionary Church (Acts 13:1ff)

Places of Local Church Gathering
1. House of a believer (Acts 12:12; 1Cor.16:19)
2. Hall (Acts 19:9)
3. Any place where the church can gather to worship.

Worship Service of the Local Church
Reading of God's Word (1Tim.4:13)
Exhortation (1Tim.4:13; Rom.12:8; )
Teaching (1Tim.4:13)
Singing (1Cor.14:26; Col.3:16)
Prophesying (1Cor.14:5,24)
Communion of the Lord's Table (1Cor.11:23ff)
Testifying (Acts 14:27; 15:4)
Praying (1Tim.2:1,8)
Collecting offering (1Cor.16:2)

Modern evils
Denominationalism (1Cor.1:11-13)
Rivalry (Phil.1:15; 2Cor.10:10)
Commercialism (1Tim.6:5; 2Pet.2:15; Jer.6:13)
Exploitation (2Cor.11:20)
False gospels (2Cor.11:3,4,13,14; Gal.1:8; 2Tim.4:3)
Self-seeking (Phil.2:21)
Monopolization (3Jn.1:9,10)
Aristocracy (Gal.4:17; Matt.23:5-7, 8-10; James 2:1ff)
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Authority of an Apostle

1. To appoint elders in the churches (Acts 14:23)
2. To address problems in a local church that the church is failing to handle (1Cor.1:10,11; Phil.4:1)
3. To execute discipline regarding moral issues in the church (Acts 5:1-11; 1Cor.4:21; 2Cor.13:10)
4. To authorize churches to execute discipline in the absence of the apostle (1Cor.5:3-5)
5. To answer doctrinal questions of a local church and to prescribe rules (1Cor.7:1,17; 8:1)
6. To charge the churches and individuals in office to do things important for the body of Christ (1Thess.5:27; 1Tim.1:3,18; 5:21; 2Tim.4:1,2)
7. To appoint and send trustworthy individuals to oversee local churches in a geographical area for growth, health, and proper order (Tit.1:5; 1Tim.3:1ff; Phil.2:19,25,29).
8. To give instructions for certain matters of contextual significance (the instructions are not universally applicable universally) (1Cor.7:12, 25).
9. To receive financial support for ministry (but, not to charge them more than is proper) (2Cor.11:8; Phil.4:15-18; 2Thess.3:8-9)
10. To instruct the churches regarding collection of offerings (1Cor.16:1,2).
11. To confront those who oppose the message of the Gospel (Acts 13:8-11; Tit.1:11)
12. To receive reports from churches established by the apostle (Phil.2:19; 1Cor.1:11; 5:1)
13. To receive and handle freewill contributions for all saints (Acts 4:35,37)
14. To be entrusted with funds for the saints who are in need (2Cor.8:1-4, 19; 9:12,13).
15. To deal with leadership problems in the church (3Jn.1:9-10)

Note:
--An apostle has no authority over the faith of any believer (2Cor.1:24)
--Apostles are not above the elders in the local church where they belong (Acts 15:6,7,13,22)


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Baptism

Baptism literally means "immersion" and "submersion". The picture usually is of a vessel immersed in water to clean it thoroughly.

5 Kinds of Baptisms
1. Baptism of Repentance (Mark 1:4; Acts 19:4)
2. Baptism of Regeneration, Resurrection, or New Life (Rom.6:4; Col.2:12; 1Pet.3:21)
3. Baptism of Suffering, Death, and Resurrection of Jesus (Luke 12:5)
4. Baptism of the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; Acts 1:5)
5. Baptism of Fire (Matt.3:11, i.e. judgment, Luke 3:17)

4 Dispensations of Baptism
1. The Age of Human Government - Noah and his family were baptized into a covenant of the promise of life (1Pet.3:21; Gen.9:13-16)
2. The Age of Law - The children of Israel were baptized into Moses (1Cor.10:2)
3. The Time of John - People were baptized into John's baptism (Acts 19:3)
4. The Age of the Church - Believers are baptized into Christ (Rom.6:3; 1Cor.12:13; Gal.3:27)

3 Baptizers
1. John the Baptist baptized with the baptism of repentance (Matt.3:1,2; Mark 1:4)
2. The Spirit baptizes us into Christ (1Cor.12:13)
3. Jesus baptizes us with the Holy Spirit (Matt.3:11; Acts 1:5)



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Slavery

Slavery is the practice of owning slaves. Though God permitted it in the Old Testament (See Permissive Will), He legislated laws to protect the dignity and individuality of the slave as a human created in God's image. According to the New Testament principle, however, slavery is inhuman, immoral, and evil.

People sometimes bemoan the fact that slavery was permitted in the Old Testament; but, what one needs not fail to recognize is that it was permitted for only a liberating purpose and with certain limitations. It was both limited and liberating.

Deuteronomy 15:12-18 underscores at least three laws about the practice of slavery:

1. It was to be VOLUNTARY
The Law specifies, - If a fellow Hebrew, a man or a woman, sells himself.. (Deut.15:12, NIV)
It was not to be a forced bond-labor. It had to be voluntary. When a person would be in so much debt that he couldn't pay it back anymore, he usually would prefer selling himself as a slave. In other cultures, such slavery would become permanent and for generations. But, the Bible didn't permit that, unless the servant voluntarily willed to remain with the master (Deut.15:16-17; Exo.21:5,6).

2. It was to be TEMPORARY
It says that when one has served for 6 years, in the 7th year - you must let him go free. (Deut.15:12; Exo.21:2)

Slavery couldn't spill over into the 7th year, which was the year of emancipation and rest. In that way, though a slave would not receive any hire wages for six years, except the food and basic necessities he needed, his debts would ALL BE PAID within just 6 years.

3. It was to be EMANCIPATORY
On the 7th year, the slave was not only released; the Law says, "And when you release him, do not send him away empty-handed. Supply him liberally from your flock, your threshing floor and your winepress. Give to him as the LORD your God has blessed you." (Deut.15:13,14)

The 7th year not only liberated the slave from ALL his debts, it was also the year of blessing for him. He could start his own business with all that he received from his master!

Protective Laws
1. For an escapee. There was a law that provided security for a slave who escaped from his master. It stipulated that the escapee slave should not be returned to his master, but must be allowed to live freely. (Deut.23:15,16).
2. For women. There were special laws for women that protected them from being exploited and dehumanized (Exo.21:7-11).

The Law again and again reminded the children of Israel that they were slaves in the land of Egypt (Deut.5:15; 15:15; 16:12; 24:18,22). Their redemption was an act of divine grace and mercy; and, they had no rights to deny that privilege to any human being at any cost (Matt.6:12).

That is why David said - I know, O LORD, that your laws are righteous- -  (Psalm 119:75).

In modern times as always, slavery is certainly an evil- in the Old Testament, it was only permitted as a lesser evil though with a seed of freedom implanted in it. However, today there are other more wicked ways in which people try to make slaves of people for life. When products are sold by using addictive mechanisms, when employees are forced into helpless subjection through manipulative methods, when banks and businesses force people into eternal and violent debts, these are more evil than the slavery that was present in olden days.

Bond-labor and forced bond-labor must be opposed; especially, bond-labor of kids: it is wickedness because the kids are innocent and not indebted to anyone: in fact, the world is responsible for the kids- welfare. When a state or nation incurs unjustifiable debts that are left unpaid, it forces its posterity into debt for what they didn't choose to have. Such practices are unethical for every reason and must be opposed.


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Boredom

Boredom is the sense of a drudgeful passage of time. It is the sense of monotony, humdrum, and tedium associated with the sluggish passage of time.

(Read Gen.29:20)

Characteristics of Boredom
1. Lack of challenge
2. Lack of pleasure
3. Lack of excitement
4. Lack of joy
5. Lack of satisfaction
6. Lack of motivation
7. Lack of a sense of mobility - Time seems to move very slow.

Boredom is
1. The symptom of a devalued existence (Eccl.2:17)
2. The symptom of a disengaged existence (1Thess.5:14; 2Thess.3:6,11).
3. The sense of wearisomeness and vexation of spirit (Eccl.2:17)
4. Connected with the sense of emptiness and meaninglessness. (Eccl.2:22,23)

Sources of Boredom
1. Separation from the presence of the Lord where there is fullness of joy (Ps.16:11)
2. Quenching of the Spirit or Lack of the Spirit (Jude 1:19; 1Thess.5:19)
3. Unwillingness to rejoice in the Lord always (Phil.4:4)
4. Unwillingness to constantly pray (1Thess.5:17)
5. Unwillingness to be thankful in every thing (1Thess.5:18)
6. Unwillingness to meditate on the Word of God (Psa.1:2)
6. Craving after sensual pleasures or sensual excitement (Num.11:6)
7. Craving for something new and strange always (Acts 17:21; Prov.5:3)

Overcoming Boredom
1. Refusing to be bored by committing to rejoice in the Lord always (Ps.9:2; 31:7; Isa.61:10)
2. Redeeming every moment of time to glorify God (Eph.5:16; Col.4:5)
3. Disciplining self to study, meditate, intercede, and minister (2Tim.4:2,5; 1Thess.5:17; 1Tim.4:13,14,15)
4. Avoiding the craving for some strange and new experience that is not granted by God. (Num 11:6; 2Tim.2:22)
5. Worshipping God in private and corporate worship (Col.3:16; Eph.5:19,20)

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Apostle

“And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers” (Ephesians 4:11)

The apostle is a gift given by Jesus Christ to the Church. Apostleship is a calling. There is a belief that the office of apostleship discontinued with the 12 apostles. However, the Bible doesn’t teach that.

The 12 Apostles
The 12 apostles (with Mattias as the 12th in place of Judas) were foundational to the early Church. The Bible tells us that the Church is founded on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ being the Chief Cornerstone. (Eph 2:20)

Therefore, faithfulness of the church was judged by their faithfulness to the apostles’ doctrine. (Act 2:42; 2Pe 3:2; Jud 1:17).

The 12 apostles along with the elders (among whom was James, the brother of Jesus) at Jerusalem had authoritative position in all matters of doctrine pertaining to the Church universal (Acts 15:2,4,6,22).

Though Paul and Barnabas were apostles who were first sent from Antioch, where they returned and remained, they came to Jerusalem when the dissension arose.

When Philip preached in Samaria, it was the apostles from Jerusalem who came and established things there (See Acts 8).

Paul, Barnabas, Silas and others
We read of Paul, Barnabas, and Silas are called prophets and teachers in Acts 13:1.

But, after the church had prayed for them and sent them according to the will of the Holy Spirit, they are referred to as apostles (Acts 14:4,14).

Paul makes it clear that an apostle is not ordained by any church. One cannot be ordained as an apostle. An apostle is Christ’s gift to the Church (Eph.4:11; Gal.1:1).

He refers himself as an apostle many times and talks of himself as an apostle to the Gentiles (Rom.11:13). He also talks about the signs of an apostle (2Cor.12:12).

The fact that the 12 Apostles were with Jesus didn't give them supremacy over Paul. But, they perceived the grace that Christ had given to Paul. (Gal.2:6,7,9; Rom.1:5). The Church is not an organization with a hierarchical structure. We are not bound in one administrative structure; but, we are bound together in one Body, one Spirit, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of all (Eph.4:4-6). Jesus made it clear to His disciples that He wasn't interested in a human organization (Mark 9:38-40).

Who is an Apostle?
An apostle is neither someone who claims by himself to be an apostle nor a title that someone can assume. It is a calling and the true apostle shall be known by their fruits (2Co 11:13-15).

How was Paul able to discern these as false apostles? Of course, by their fruits, their works. They were “deceitful workers”.

In contrast, we see the work style of Paul as a true apostle:
For our exhortation did not come from error or uncleanness, nor was it in deceit. But as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, even so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who tests our hearts. For neither at any time did we use flattering words, as you know, nor a cloak for covetousness–God is witness. Nor did we seek glory from men, either from you or from others, when we might have made demands as apostles of Christ. But we were gentle among you, just as a nursing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we behaved ourselves among you who believe. (1Thess 2:3-10)

1. An apostle is someone sent (Gk. apostolos) by Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit to bear witness of Him (Matt 28:18ff; Acts 1:8; 13:1-3; Gal.1:16). In Paul and Barnabbas' case, the Holy Spirit asked the church to separate them to Him Paul and Barnabbas to the work that He had called them to. The calling and the anointing preceded their being separated and sent by the church. (Gal.1:15; Rom.1:1; 2Cor.1:21). The church was only instrumental in sending them away, with prayer, fasting, and laying on of hands, through the Holy Spirit. The church didn't ordain them as apostles; the Holy Spirit called them as such.
2. An apostle possesses apostolic authority (Acts 5; 2Cor 13:10).
3. An apostle preaches the Gospel with the demonstration of power (2Co 12:12; 1Cor.2:4,5; Heb 2:3,4).
4. An apostle lays, with the authority of Christ, the foundation of a church through the expounding of the Gospel, the establishment of faith, doctrine, and order in the church (Eph 2:20; Act 15:41; Rom 15:20; 1Co 3:10,11; Heb 6:1-2). He may remain in a place for a very long time till the church there is fully established and till the Holy Spirit wishes him to move.
5. An apostle has the authority of a spiritual father over those who have been established in faith through him. He is the one whom the church imitates. (1Co 4:15-16). In that area, he is more important than ten thousand instructors or teachers who come and go.
6. An apostle has concern for the local churches (not one but many that he has founded) (2Co 11:28).
7. The apostle is known by his works. His work is the seal of his apostleship (1Co 9:1,2; 2Co 3:1-3).
8. Apostles represent churches for issues and needs that pertain to all churches (Acts 13:1-3; 14:27-28; 15:2,4,5,6)
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Humans

God created man on the sixth day as male and female made in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26-28). They reflected the honor and glory of God and were given dominion over all creation (Ps. 8:5; Gen. 1:28). God created man as a physical, personal, and spiritual being; thus, man is body, soul, and spirit (Gen.2:7; Job 32:8; Eccl. 11:5; 12:7; 1Thess. 5:23). The first man Adam sinned and through this brought sin and death into the world (Rom. 5:12). The Bible says that in Adam all sinned, therefore death passed on to all men (Rom. 5:12). This death was three-fold in nature: spiritual death (separation from and enmity with God), physical death (separation of spirit from the body), and second death (punishment in hell) (Eph. 2:1; Col. 1:21; Rom. 5:10; Rev. 21:8). Man became mortal through the condemnation of sin.

The Bible says that “flesh and blood” or unregenerate humans “cannot inherit the kingdom of God” since corruption cannot inherit incorruption (1Cor. 15:50). Therefore, the only way of salvation is through regeneration by the Spirit through faith (Jn. 3:5,6). When one accepts the Lordship of Jesus Christ, one passes from the condemnation of the old creation and becomes heir of God’s coming kingdom through the Lord Jesus Christ. The others are subject to the god of this world who is the devil (2Cor. 4:4; Eph. 2:2; 1Jn. 5:19).

Constitution of Man
Body  (2Co. 5:1; Dan. 7:15)
Soul - Intellect, Will, Emotion
Spirit - Intuition, Conscience, Communion (Num. 16:22; Num. 27:16)

The Image of God in Man
1.  Kinship with God (Acts 17:28)
2.  Moral Character (Rom.2:15)
3.  Reason (Eccl.7:25)
4.  Capacity for Immortality (Eccl.12:7; Luke 16:22,23)
5.  Dominion over the Earth (Gen.1:26)

The Fall
Men fell from the glory of God when he disobeyed God and sinned. Through Adam's disobedience, sin entered into the world and death through sin (Rom.12:12).

At Fall the image of God in man has been marred but not erased (Gen. 9:6; 1Co. 11:7; Jas. 3:9). Man has not lost his freedom of will and power of reasoning. However, they have been severely depraved by sin. Therefore, without the work of the Holy Spirit no man can be saved. No man can climb uphill to God (Ex. 20:26). God, in Christ, and through the Spirit, meets man where he is and reconciles him to Himself (Rom. 5:8; Gal. 5:16; 1Co. 12:3).
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Casting Lots

There are only three instances where casting of lots is mentioned in the New Testament: (1) When Zacharias’ turn came, by lot, to minister in the temple (Luke 1:9), (2) When the soldiers cast lots to divide the garments of Jesus (Matt 27:35), and (3) When Matthias was chosen by lot to take the place of Judas Iscariot as one among the Twelve (Acts 1:26). Following that, there is no mention of casting lots anymore in the Bible.

Scholars believe that this is so because we live in the Age of the Holy Spirit and every decision after Pentecost comes from Him.

In the Old Testament, however, God did command His people to decide a number of things on the basis of lots. For instance, the Scapegoat on the Day of Atonement had to be chosen by lot (Lev.16:8) and the Promised Land had to be divided among the tribes by lot (Num.26:55). In the book of Jonah we find that lots were cast to determine who the culprit was, and the lot rightly fell on Jonah. Lots were cast in serious matters where human capacities were exhausted and the only resolve was an appeal to the Higher Authority. It could never be done lightheartedly or with unbelief. The ones who cast the lots to make some decision couldn’t choose to doubt. Faith was integral to the whole procedure. They couldn’t, for instance, cast the lot and then say “Oh, let’s do it again. May be this just couldn’t be right. Anyway, it’s all a game of chance.” No, chance was a meaningless term here. Nothing happened by chance for someone who had faith. God was the one who held every element in the universe together. Therefore, it was declared: “The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the LORD.” (Prov.16:33).

The Old Testament was a world of shadows. Everything, including the material blessings and the various laws, pointed towards a higher reality: the sacrifices pointed to Christ, the Promised Land points to the True Rest, the material blessings point to the eternal inheritance of the saints. In the New Testament, faith and indecision can’t go together. If there is indecisiveness, we must ask God for wisdom (regarding what must be done) and the Holy Spirit is there to guide us (James 1:5). There is no need to cast lots anymore when it comes to matters of knowing God’s will. One must ask with faith without wavering and God will answer. In the same manner that one couldn’t doubt the decision of the lot in the Old Testament, one cannot doubt the guidance of the Holy Spirit and His control over our affairs when we surrender ourselves to Him in obedience to His Word. But, someone who wavers and keeps doubting and thinking “Oh, this might not be the right thing” and seeks other ways like trying to know what others think about this or that will never receive any wisdom from God. He will remain uncertain and doubt the whole thing, even if he did make a decision.

Of course, a carnal or an unspiritual person cannot understand the language of the Spirit.
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Glory of the Lord

The Hebrew word for “Glory” used in the Old Testament is kabod and it signifies “glory, honour, glorious, abundance, riches honour, splendour, glory, dignity, reputation, reverence”. The New Testament Greek word is doxa and signifies “splendour, brightness, magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace, majesty”.

The Bible talks about the glory of the sun, the moon, and the stars.
“There are also celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for one star differs from another star in glory.” (1Co 15:40-41 NKJ)

It mentions a woman’s hair as being her glory (1Cor.11:15) and says that the “glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head.” (Pro 20:29 NKJ)

However, all glory of creation is momentary and fleeting. But, God’s glory is eternal, immutable, and absolute.

God’s glory is revealed in His:
1. General Revelation (Psalm 19:1; Rom.1:20ff). His creation declares His glory.
2. Special Revelation. God’s Propositional Word (The Inscribed Word) reveals His Glory. God’s Personal Word (The Incarnated Word, Jesus Christ) is the final revelation of God’s Glory.

In the Bible, we find at least two aspects of the Glory of God:
1. The Essential and Intrinsic Glory of God. This is God’s Glory as He is in Himself. Generally, we know it as part of the Mystery of God and the Glory that is hidden; but, revealed in the last days in the person of God’s Son Jesus Christ who is the brightness of God’s glory (Heb.1:3).
2. The Manifested Glory of God. This is recurrently found  in the Bible in the form of the various Theophanies in which God’s glory appears as cloud, pillar of fire, and smoke.

With regard to Christ’s glory Himself, we know of at least:
1. Christ’s glory with the Father during His preexistence, before the Incarnation (John 17:5)
2. Christ’s glory revealed in the Incarnation as the glory of God’s only begotten Son (John 1:14).
3. Glories that were to follow after His passion (1Peter 1:11)
4. Christ’s ascension into glory (1Tim.3:16)
5. God’s glory in the Church through Christ Jesus (Eph.3:21)
6. Christ return in the glory of the Father (Matt. 16:27).
7. Christ’s glory in the New Jerusalem (Rev.21:23).

We also know the Mission of Christ to be at least two-fold:
1. To glorify the Father by completing the work He gave Him to do (John 17:4)
2. To bring many sons to glory (Heb.2:10; Rom.8:18-21)

The Old and the New
We also see that the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of God within us surpasses the glory revealed in the Old Covenant (2Cor.3). This doesn’t mean that the glory underwent progression; but, we only saw the true glory in the face of Jesus Christ now shining in our hearts through the Spirit of God (2Cor.3:18; 4:6). Thus, it is important for one to turn to the Lord so that the veil will be removed. It is also important to seek the Lord so that our eyes be opened to know the hope of our calling and the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. (Eph 1:18,19) The Old was only a shadow that pointed to the New.

1. In the OT, the glory of God had to be seen; in the NT, it has been seen, revealed already in Jesus Christ.
2. In the OT, the glory was external; in the NT, it is internal – Christ in us, the hope of glory.
3. In the OT, the glory was geographical, it filled the temple, a place; in the NT, the glory is spiritual – we worship Him in Spirit and in Truth and the glory is manifest inside of us.
4. In the OT, the glory was distant – they saw it afar off and feared to draw near; in the NT, it is closer than our breath.
5. In the OT, it was out there; in the NT, it is in here.
6. In the OT, the glory of God was a stranger – it evoked fear; in the NT, the glory of God is our friend – grounded in love.

The Manifestational Glory of God is often seen as manifested in Volume (filling the temple, and likewise) and/or Motion (moving in/out, standing), and Power (Rev.15:8; 2Thess 1;7).

We can find at least 12 distinctives of the Glory of God in the Church of the New Testament (2Corinthians 3,4):
1. Surpassing Glory (2Cor.3:10)
2. Unfading Glory(2Cor.3:11)
3. Open, Uncovered, Unveiled Glory (2Cor.3:18; 4:3)
4. Transforming Glory (2Cor.3:18)
5. Englightening Glory (2Cor.4:6)
6. Humble Glory (2Cor.4:7) – dwelling in earthen vessels
7. Precious Glory (2Cor.4:7) – treasure
8. Invisible Glory (2Cor.4:8-12) – cannot be crushed.
9. Adorable (2Cor.4:15)
10. Magnificent – far outweighing (2Cor.4:17)
11. Eternal (2Cor.4:17)
12. Invisible (2Cor.4:18)

Now, this glory is in relation to the Christian; which means that it also involves the subjective response of the Christian towards the Absolute Glory of God.

We find three aspects of God’s Glory operating in the life of the believer:
1. Glory that cannot be worked for – it is a gift (John 17:22)
2. Glory that works upon us, to transform us (2Cor.3:18)
3. Glory that is worked out of us (2Cor.4:17). When we are crushed (in suffering), His glory is squeezed out.

We can classify it into the three aspects of the Salvation table:
1. Positional Glory (Gift)
2. Progressive Glory (Changed from Glory to Glory)
3. Perfect Glory (Glorification of the Saints and Manifestation of the Sons of God)
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Lust

Lust is intense craving coupled with an insatiable appetite (Num.11:4; Eze.16:28; Phil.3:19). It leads to sin (James 1:14,15)

Characteristics of Lust
Various (2 Tim.3:6)
Harmful (1 Tim. 6:9)
Foolish (1 Tim.6:9)
Deceitful (Eph.4:22)
Fleshly (1Pet.2:11)
Worldly (Tit.2:12)
Ungodly (Jude 1:18)

Thrust of Lust
Lusts of Flesh (Eph.2:3)
Lust of Heart (Rom.1:24)
Lust of Eyes (1John 2:16)

Historiography of Lust
Lusts of Men (1Pet.4:2)
Lusts of your Fathers (John 8:44)
Former Lusts (1Pet.1:14)
Youthful Lusts (2Tim.2:22)

Experience of Lust
Temptation of Lust (James 1:14)
Drawn away by Lust (James 1:14)
Enticed by Lust (James 1:14)
Conception of Lust (James 1:15)
Looking in order to Lust – Active (Matt.5:28)
Burning in Lust (Rom.1:27)
Corruption of Lust (2Pet.1:4)

Consequence of Lust
Blindness (2Pet.1:9)
Bondage (2Pet.2:19,20)
Blasphemy (2Pet. 2:2)
Sin (James 1:15)
Death (James 1:15; Rom.8:13)

Deliverance from Lust
Flesh crucified with lusts – The Fact (Gal.5:24)
Partakers of Divine (Sinless) Nature by Promise (2Pet.1:4; 1John 3:9)
Do not allow sin to be king by obeying its lusts (Rom.6:12)
Put on Christ (Rom.13:14)
Walk in the Spirit (Gal.5:16)
Hold on to the Word of Life (Phil.2:16)
Present body to the Lord as living sacrifice (Rom.6:13; 12:1-3)
Possess body in sanctification and honor (1Thess.4:4)
Flee lusts (2Tim.2:22)
Abstain from lusts (1Pet.2:11)
Mortify deeds of the body by the Spirit (Rom.8:13; Col.3:5)
Make no provision for the flesh (Rom.13:14)
Pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2Tim.2:22)

Benefits of Overcoming
Fulfillment of God’s will (Rom.12:1-3)
Fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22-23)
Fearlessness and Confidence toward God (1John 3:21)
Rewards in Christ’s Kingdom (Rev.2-3)
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I AM THAT I AM

"I AM THAT I AM" is the Name by which God introduced Himself to Moses. The exact passage is:

And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you. (Ex.3:13,14)

This is the Name by which only God can introduce Himself.

If somebody asked me who I am, I might answer by telling that I am the son of so and so, or that my profession is such and such, or that I work at such and such, etc. My identity is dependent on a host of other things. The technical term is “contingency”. My identity is contingent upon a number of other factors.

However, God’s identity is not dependent on anything else. He is who He is! As Ravi Zacharias said, “God is the only being in existence, the reason for whose existence lies within himself.” God’s identity is absolute, independent, and final – He is the Beginning and End of all things. In the ultimate sense, in fact, it is from Him that all things derive their particular identity.

“For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:28)

He is self-sufficient, self-contained, and self-satisfied eternally – in need of nothing. He is the great I AM!
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14 Qualities of Friendship According to Jesus

Text: John 15:9-17

Friendship is God-ordained. It proceeds from God the Father – “as the Father loved me, I also loved you” (John 15:9)
Friendship is Christ-patterned. He is the one true example of a True Friend – “as I have loved you…” (John 15:9)
Friendship is a Sacred Tie/Bond. “keep my commandments” (John 15:10)
Friendship is a Choice to Love despite everything. “abide in My love… love one another as I have loved you.” (John 15:9,12)
Friendship is a Cup brimming with Divine Joy. “that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
Friendship is Self-less and Sacrificial - “to lay down one’s life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Friendship is Transparent and not diplomatic or formal. “No longer do I call you servants,… but,… friends…” (John 15:15)
Friendship is Sharing. “all things I have made known to you” (John 15:15)
Friendship is Proactive. “I chose you” (John 15:16) (John 15:cf. Prov. 18:24)
Friendship is Benevolent and Good Intentional. It wants friends to grow and prosper. “that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16).
Friendship is Fruitful. It brings friendly consequences and contributes to the friendship constructively – “that you should go and bear fruit” (John 15:16)
Friendship is Lasting. “that your fruit should remain” (John 15:16)
Friendship is Mutually Responsive. “You do whatever I command… Whatever you ask… He may give you.” (John 15:14,16)
Friendship is Mutually Caring.  “that you love one another” (John 15:17)
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Self-Control

Self-control (also called "temperance") is a biblical virtue. It means to have control over our desires, emotions, imaginations, passions, and conduct.

Self-control is something that can be lacked. In other words, it is something that one can lose or build up.

3 Areas of Self-Control
Body - In eating, drinking, sleeping, exercise, speaking, action, indulgence of the senses, and sexual purity. (Prov.23:21; Luke 21:34; 1Thess.4:3,4,5; James 1:26; 3:1-12)
Some rules: Don't overeat, don't oversleep, don't overspeak, don't overreact, observe cleanliness, eat properly, dress properly, etc..
Soul - In thought, imaginations, feelings, emotions, and turning of the mind towards things or ideas. Some rules: Don't allow vain thoughts, don't nurse evil feelings, don't set mind on flesh, don't worry, don't vent all your feelings but control them, meditate on God's word, cultivate pure thoughts, worship and pray with mind and emotions (Phil.4:8; Prov.29:11; 1Cor.14:15)
Spirit - In passion of spirit, maintenance of a healthy conscience, and in committing to seek the Lord always and not damp the spirit in things of the flesh. Some rules: Don't be disheartened, don't be timid, don't be discouraged, be slow to anger, pray in the spirit. (Prov.16:32; 2Tim.1:7; Jude 1:20)

Images of Self-control
1. Walls (Prov.25:28). Self-control is like the walls of a city.  Healthy walls are pictures of a spirit under control.
2. Capturing City (Prov.16:32). A man with self-control is better than the one who captures a city. It emphasizes the need of wisdom and power in order to keep self under control.
3. Fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:23). Self-control is a moral virtue produced by being grafted into the Spirit, becoming one with Him, and walking in agreement with Him.

Spectra of Self-control (2Pet.1:5,6,7,8)


Exercising Self-control in all things (1Cor.9:25; 2Tim.2:3,4).
1. Remember that self-control is holistic. We must exercise self-control in ALL THINGS. If we lose self-control in one area, we will soon lose control over the other areas. A breach in the wall is a danger to the city.
e.g. The Marshmallow experiment was conducted by psychologists in which kids were tested for self-control and endurance. Each were given a marshmallow and told that if they waited for 15mts and didn't eat it, they'll get another. It is said that the kids who waited also proved to be more successful and prominent in life later on.
2. Self-control has a purpose (1Cor.9:26). It is not a random routine of exercise or engagement in a wild-goose chase. Self-control has value. It prepares someone for the greater challenge to come (Jer.12:5).
3. Self-control involves discipline of the mind. It means to never allow imaginations and thoughts to break the boundaries established by God (Gen.6:5), but bring every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2Cor.10:4,5). It means to gird up the loins of the mind (1Pet.1:13), that is to fasten the belt on our mind to keep it steady and strong. It means to think and meditate on the virtuous and avoid all appearance of evil (Phil.4:8; 1Thess.5:21;Tit.2:12; Gen.39:10,11,12; 1Sam.30:22-24).
4. Self-control involves discipline of the body (1Cor.9:27). A lazy and carefree person who eats as he likes, sleeps as he likes, talks as he likes, and doesn't pay attention to the rigors of a disciplined lifestyle will never understand what self-control is all about. But, discipline must not be observed grudgingly, as if it is a burden. Discipline must be embraced with purpose, determination, and the faith that self-control protects the heart, mind, emotions, and the spirit against destroying elements and helps one focus on the mission and task of God (1Thess.4:4,5,7).
5. Self-control means to rule the spirit (Prov.16:32; 25:28). It means to not lose our bearing, to not swagger, to not slip, and to not fall. It means to keep the spirit meek and humble (Dan.5:20; Matt.5:3; Prov.16:19). It means to have a broken spirit before God always (Psa.51:17; Matt.26:39; Heb.5:8; James 4:10). Note that it should not be brokenness in itself, but brokenness before God (Prov.17:22). Ruling the spirit means to control our anger from explosion (Prov.16:32; Psa.4:4; Eph.4:26; Eccl.7:9). Ruling the spirit means to become strong in the spirit (Luke 1:80; 2:40). Ruling the spirit means to commit the spirit to God (Psa.31:5). It means to not be lax and slack in the spirit (Psa.32:2). It means to have a steadfast and stable spirit (not one swayed by circumstances) (Psa.51:10). It means to be patient in the spirit and not proud in the spirit (Eccl.7:8). It means to have the spirit in its right place, i.e. to seek God diligently (Psa.77:6; Prov.22:27; Isa.26:9; John 4:23).
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God's Will

God's will is His desire, intent, and purpose.

Five Aspects of God's Will
1. God's Personal Will - The will of God that He accomplishes and which is uneffected by what any volitional beings do (Ps.115:3; Heb.6:17,18).
2. God's Prescriptive Will - The will that God prescribes for us to follow (1Jn.2:17; 1Thess.4:3). This includes both God's mandatory and prohibitory will (things that He commands us to do and things that He prohibits us to do).
3. God's Preferred Will - The will of God that prefers something over another (1Tim.2:1; Rom.12:2)
4. God's Permissive Will - The will of God that permits certain things, though they are not preferred by Him (Acts 14:16).
5. God's Pliable Will - The will of God that can be changed through human responses (Gen.18:23ff; Exo.32:11-13,14; Jonah 3:10)

How we can abide in God's will
1. Seeking God (Prov.28:5)
2. Seeking Discernment (Prov.2:3,4,5; Col.1:9; James 1:5)
3. Repenting from sin (2Cor.3:16; 1Jn.1:6-8)
4. Obeying God's Word - His Written Will (1Jn.2:17)
5. Renewing the mind (Rom.12:2)
6. Being Spiritually minded (1Cor.2:14)
7. Praying in the Spirit (Rom.8:27)
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Tempting God

To tempt the Lord means to try to seduce or provoke Him to fulfill the tempter's wishes, which is impossible (Exo.17:2). God can neither contradict Himself (2Tim.2:13) nor can He be tempted to sin (James 1:13). The consequence is that it only invites God's wrath on the tempter who has actually sinned by contradicting God (Deut.6:16). God said that the Israelites in the wilderness tempted God 10 times (Num.14:22).

People can tempt the Lord by
1. Contending and complaining instead of trusting God in difficult situations (Exo.17:1,2,3). This questions God's goodwill for their lives.
2. Creating provocative situations and challenging God to act on their behalf  (Matt.4:5,6,7).  This questions God's centrality in their lives.
3. Misquoting, misrepresenting, and wrongly applying God's word (Matt.4:5,6,7). This questions the faithfulness of God.
4. Not paying attention to and disobeying the voice of God (Num.14:22). This undermines the seriousness of divine communication.
5. Conspiring to deceive God (Acts 5:8,9; Gal.6:7). This questions God's righteous and just nature; that He cannot overlook sin.
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Persistence

"To persist" means "to continue firmly in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure." To persist means to keep moving ahead in spite of wind, fire, and rain. To persist means to continue, to be constant, to keep pressing forward. To persist means to never stop.

Value of Persistence
1. Persistence brings answers to prayer (Luke 18:1-8; 11:8; 1Thess.5:17; Acts 12:5)
2. Persistence Inherits the promises of God (Heb. 6:12)
3. Persistence has a sure reward (Gal.6:9)
4. Persistence obtains the prize (Rev.12:11; 1Cor.9:25)

Key Elements of Persistence
1. Clear goal (Phil.3:14)
2. Strong determination (1Cor.9:24)
3. Faith (Mark 11:24)
4. Love of God (Rom.8:38,39; 1Pet.1:8,9)
5. Vigilance (Col.4:2; 1Pet.5:8; Lk.21:36)
6. Encouraging self (Jdg.20:22; 1Sam.30:6)
7. Avoiding distractions (2Tim.2:4)
8. Pressing on (Phil.3:12,14; Heb.6:1)

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Education

Christian education is a good that is encouraged in the Bible. Seeking after knowledge and wisdom is considered to be a priority (Prov.2:1-3). Understanding and skill is praised (Exo.36:2; Prov.31:19).  Solomon had knowledge of trees, insects, birds, and fish (1Ki.4:33). He was an accomplished poet, dramatist, and statesman as is evident from his writings. Ezra was a skilled scribe in the Law of Moses (Ezra 7:6) and one who had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel (Ezra 7:10). The four qualities of a scholar are already present in Ezra 7:6: preparation of faculties, study, practice, and communication. Certainly, these disciplines were what defined the vocation of Ezra as a skilled scribe. Paul was one who was trained at the feet of Gamaliel (Acts 22:3).

The New Testament indicates to us that lack of a scholarly attitude, appetite, approach, and aptitude lead to schisms, sectarianisms, and suffering within the Body of Christ. Gullibility is not a virtue (2Tim.3:6); mere “learning” without assimilation is folly (2Tim.3:7); ability to criticize and oppose doesn’t promise wisdom (2Tim.3:8-9; 1Tim.6:4). The call is to diligent, determined, and directed education. “Be diligent”, says Paul to Timothy, “to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” And, then he adds the caveat, “But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.” (2Tim.2:15,16). True scholarship will help to rightly interpret God’s word and to increase godliness. True scholarship highlights truth and furthers the cause of moral excellence. Even the so considered “unlearned” Peter stressed the importance of proper education for the proper interpretation of God’s revelation and our relation to God and His world. In his words, there are certain things given through revelation that are hard to comprehend, and it is the unlearned and the unstable who twist the Scriptures for their own destruction (2Pet.3:16); which implies that learning, conservation of knowledge, and practical application of the same define the proper approach towards true Christian education.

Elements of Good Education
1. Embodies truth (Psa.25:5; 2Tim.3:7)
2. Promotes godliness (2Tim.2:15,16)
3. Transmissable (2Tim.2:2; Prov.3:1)
4. Practical and followable (Matt.23:4; 11:29,30)
5. Open to reason and verification (James 3:17)
6. Helps to develop practical wisdom and skills for living (Eccl.7:12; Prov.8:15,16,18)
7. Helps one to become mature (Prov.8:5; 1Co.14:20).

Places of Education
1. Home (Deut.4:9,10; 2Tim.3:15)
2. Church (Mal.2:7; 1Tim.3:2; 2Tim.2:2)
3. God's Creation (Psa.19:1,2; Prov.6:6; Matt.24:32; Job 38-41)
4. School (Acts 22:3; 19:9)
5. Seminar and Conference places (Acts 17:19)

Media of Education
1. Personal Instruction (2Tim.2:2)
2. Writings (2Pet.3:15,16; 2Tim.3:15,16; 4:13; Esth.6:1)
3. Personal Meditation (1Tim.4:15)
4. Application and Practice (James 1:22,23,24; Matt.7:24)

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Authority and Power

The Greek word for authority is exousia and the word for power is dunamis.

Authority and power go together. Authority is backed by power. Authority uses and releases power.

1. Jesus had authority over diseases; but, He healed by the power of God (Luke 5:17; Mark 5:30).
2. Power is tangible; authority is official (Mark 5:30; Acts 4:31)
3. One can be filled with power; but, authority is delegated (Acts 6:8)
4. Faith releases the power of God (Eph.1:17,18,19; Mark 5:30; 9:23)

However, power of authority in politics differs from power of authority in the church and elsewhere. There is no authority greater than God since there is no power greater than God's - He is the Supreme Almighty.

1. Political authority uses physical power and force to enforce the law and execute justice (Matt.20:25; Rom.13:3-6)
2. Church authority has been given spiritual power to battle against spiritual forces of wickedness, to flash God's light, and to exercise the discipline of godliness in the Church (Luke 9:1; 10:19; 2Cor.10:4; Eph.6:10ff; 2Pet.1:3; Eph.3:20).


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Authority of Jesus

1. He had all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt.28:18)
    a. He always had it as God (John 17:5)
    b. He had authority from God and gave it to His disciples (Matt.8:9-10)
    c. After His resurrection, He was glorified and given all authority as the Second Man (Matt.28:18)
2. He had authority in teaching (Matt.7:29)
3. He had authority over demons and the powers of darkness (Mark 1:27)
4. He had authority over diseases (Matt.4:23)
5. He had authority to forgive sins (Matt.9:6)
6. He had authority over nature (Mark 4:39,41; 11:21)
7. He had authority over life and death
    a. Over His life (John 5:24; 10:17,18)
    b. To kill and to resurrect (Mark 10:28; Luk 7:14; 15; John 5:25)
    c. To give eternal life (John 17:2)
8. Authority to execute judgment (John 5:27)
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    Authority of the Church

    Those who have received Jesus in their lives have the authority to be called the children of God. They have God's authority given to them as sons of God.

    Anointing and authority are related. Anointing to an office gives authority of the office. 

    In the OT, priests were anointed to intercede for and to teach people the difference between good and evil. The church has the priestly anointing for intercession and to uphold the word of God (1Pet 2:9; 1Tim.2:1-4; Phil.2:15,16). Kings were anointed to lead, govern, protect, and give justice to people. The church is a royal priesthood and children of God are appointed as kings in God's kingdom with authority over all the powers of the devil and his kingdom (Rev.1:6; 5:10; Luke 10:19). They will judge angels in the kingdom to come (1Cor.6:2-3). In the OT, prophets were anointed to testify for God. In NT, the church is witness of Christ (Rev.19:10).

    The church has authority in Jesus Name
    1. In doctrine - To preach the Gospel and uphold the truth of God (Matt.28:18-20; 1Tim.3:15)
    2. On earth and in heaven - to bind and to loose (Matt.18:18)
    3. Over diseases and death - To heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead (Matt.10:8)
    4. Over demons  (serpents and scorpions) - To tread over them and to cast them out (Luke10:19)
    5. Over nature and situations (mountains, trees, creatures) (Mark 11:23; Matt.21:20; Mark 16:18)
    6. To pray and receive (John 15:16; 16:24,26)
       a. To pray for the people of God for their protection and for spiritual victories (Eph.6:18; 2Thess.3:1; Heb.13:18)
        b. To pray for all men (1Tim.2:1)
        c. To pray for political rulers and change political history (1Tim.2:2)
        d. To pray to receive what they need from God's resources provided for them
    7. To forgive or retain sins of people against them (John 20:23; 2Cor.2:7)
    8. To appoint people to office in the church and serve each other in submission, love, and humility (Matt.20:25,26; Tit.1:5)
    9. For discipline in the Church (1Cor.5:4,5,11; 4:21)
    10. For the execution of God-given responsibilities in the world (Mark 13:34)
    11. God-given authority in the Church must be honored (Heb.13:7,17; Jude 1:8)
    12. Church authority is pastoral, servant-minded, and ruled by love (1Pet.5:2,3,4).

    God will entrust more authority in the age to come to the one who is faithful to fruitfully use all the authority given to him/her here on earth today (Luke 19:17)


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    Authority of the Devil

    The devil has also some authority (exousia) in this world (Acts 26:18). There are authorities and rulers of darkness in the heavenly places (Eph.6:12), against whom the Church is engaged in a battle. The authority of the devil is called "power of darkness" (Col.1:13).

    These evil authorities have been disarmed by Jesus; so, they have no power over the church. (Col.2:15; Matt.16:18). The child of God is delivered from the authority of the devil and from the kingdom of darkness and is transferred to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ (Acts 26:18; Col.1:13). He is a citizen of heaven and is protected by the forces of heaven (Phil.3:20; Psa.91:11; Heb.1:14). The devil has no authority over the believer (1John 5:18).

    However, the world still lies under the wicked one (1John 5:19)
    The devil is called the Prince of the power (exousia) of the air, the spirit that now works among the disobedient (Eph.2:2; Job 2:2)
    He is called the god of this world or age (2Cor.4:4)
    His workings are known as the mystery of iniquity (2Thess.2:7)
    The devil will give great power and authority to the Anti-Christ during the 7-year Great Tribulation (Rev.13:2) (He tried to approach Jesus too, but failed (Luke 4:6,7).
    But, Jesus will bring the devil and his powers to an end (Rev.17:13,14; 19:20; 20:10).

    Sometimes, God allows the devil to oppress His servants; but, God controls the whole event and protects His servants (Job 2:6; 2Cor.12:7; 1John 5:18; 1Pet.1:5; 5:8,9; James 4:7)
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    Casting Out Demons

    • A believer has Christ-given authority to cast out demons (Matt. 10:1,8; Mk. 16:17). The source of this power is Christ alone.
    • Christ cast them out by the Spirit of God (Mt.12:28); therefore, a believer should have a Spirit-filled walk (Gal.5:25).
    • Prayer, fasting and total submission to God is important (Mk. 9:29; James 4:7).
    • The believer should seek the gift of discerning the spirits (1Cor. 12:10).
    • He should not talk with demons, as a general rule (Mk. 1:24). They are deceivers.
    • The believer should cast them out in the Name of Jesus (Acts 16:18).
    • Do not close your eyes when casting out demons: you are commanding, not praying; demons are sometimes seen to be physically violent (Matt.17:15; Acts.19:15,16).
    • The believer should not allow the demon to weaken his/her faith in God, His Word, and the power of Christ’s Holy Spirit. One of devil’s weapons is doubt (Gen. 3:1; Matt.4:3-10).
    • In every deliverance session, there must be order and discipline among the servants of God; let one minister in authority while the rest back him/her in prayer (1Cor.14:33).
    • All amulets, charms, fetishes, and occultic objects must be removed before any deliverance can take place. The possession of such things provide strongholds for demonic oppression. (Acts 19:19).
    • The delivered must be guided into confession, repentance, belief, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit to avoid serious consequences of demonic return (Matt. 12:44,45). A life of holiness and keeping in the will of God is imperative (1Jn. 5:18).
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    Choir

    The choir of Solomon's Temple was massive, elegant, very professional, dedicated, and provided strong leadership in worship through composing songs, music (various tunes as mentioned in the titles of the psalms). (2Chr.5:12; 1Chr.23:3; 1Chr.25:7), and leading the worship. It is understood that there were a total of 288 singers and 4000 musicians, each divided into 12 courses; so that, for each course there would be 12 singers and 160 accompanying musicians.

    In the New Testament, a massive temple-format is not seen. However, the worship service is commanded to be an ordered event, not a disordered one (1Cor.14:33). In massive events, the role of a choir to lead the Church in worship cannot be disregarded as God doesn't see the choir as disruptive of His glory but only glorifying Him (2Chr.5:13,14). Every act of worship must be done to strengthen the church (1Cor.14:26).

    Some Qualifications of the Choir
    1. They should have the calling and anointing for worship (Acts 6:3; 1Chronicles 25). Unless they have the calling, they cannot have dedication for service.
    2. They should be obedient to the Choir leader (IChr.25:6)
    3. They must be submissive to the Church authority (IChr.25:6)
    4. They must be trained and skillful in singing and/or in playing different instruments (IChr.25:7)
    5. They must be instructed in the songs of the Lord (not attracted by worldly music) (IChr.25:7).
    6. They must be dedicated to the service of the House of the Lord (IChr. 25:6). When it comes to Church ministry, availability is important and signifies dedication (1Chr.9:33).
    7. They should be full of joy and enthusiasm (1Chr.15:16).
    8. They should have discipline in dress, posture, and order (2Chr.5:12)
    9. They can be both male and female together (Ezra 2:65)
    10. They must be filled with the Spirit of God (Eph. 5:18,19).
    11. They should sing with grace in heart (Col.3:16).
    12. The musicians and the singers must play and sing in harmony (2Chr.5:13)
    13. The singing and playing must strengthen worship, not disturb it (2Chr.29:28)
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    Political Authority

    Political authority is from God and political authorities are appointed by God (Rom.13:1). In fact, God calls one of the secular political authorities as the anointed of God (Isaiah 45:1). A political administrator is called as God's minister or servant (Rom.13: 4,6). Political authority in the world is usually secular (Matt.22:21; 1Cor.5:12,13). The Bible teaches us that when the just and righteous are in authority, people rejoice; but, when the wicked rule, the people groan (Prov.29:2). Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Prov.14:34).

    Nature of Political Authority
    1. Temporal
      a. Began after the Noahic Flood (Gen.9:6)
      b. Will be brought to an end by Christ at the end of this age (1Cor.15:24)
    2. Rules by Fear (Rom.13:3,4)
    3. God-given and God-appointed (Dan.4:17,25; 5:21; Rom.13:1)
    4. Represents God's authority (Rom.13:2)
    5. Moral - Law and Rule appeal to Conscience (Rom.13:5)
    6. Secular - i.e., separate from religion (Matt.22:21; 1Cor.5:12,13; Rom.13:6,7)
    7. Has God-given power to execute temporal justice (Rom.13:4; Prov.16:14,15)
    8. Is not sovereign in itself, but accountable to and limited by God (John 19:10,11; Acts 12:21,22,23).

    Forms of Political Government Seen in the Bible
    1. Anarchy - anti-government; "might is right" versus rule of moral law (Gen.6:1,2; Jdg.17:6)
    2. Patriarchal - Rule by the Head of a family or clan (Gen.9:24-27; 14:22-24)
    3. Theocratic Judiciary- Mosaic Law (which included rule by Judges (Jdg.2:16-18). The main role of the Temple ministry was to educate the people in the Laws of God and to clarify questions regarding the application of law (Eze.44:23,24); but, the elders were executives of justice (Exo.18:21,22,25,26) ; temporarily sought in post-exilic period (Ezra 10:14)).
    5. Monarchy (1Sam.10:19) - There came a point when kings could interfere with the temple, but not against the Mosaic Law (1Kgs.8:17-19; 1Kgs.2:27).
    6. Oligarchy or Aristocracy (Prov.22:7)
    7. Totalitarian (Dan.8:23-25)
    8. Democracy (Matt.27:21,22 - Of course, the Roman government was not democratic, but the episode referred here has a democratic sense to some extent).


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    Judgment

    Divine judgment has two aspects:
    1. Temporal Judgment (Related to execution of judgment in this world) (Lev.10:1,2; Acts 28:4)
    2. Eternal Judgment (Related to execution of judgment on the Last Day) (Rev.20:12; Rom.14:10; 2Cor.5:10)

    Judgment grants either
    Rewards or Punishment (Psa.58:10,11; Isa.40:10; Matt.16:27; 1Cor.3:14; 2Thess.1:8-9).

    Final Judgment
    All moral beings will be brought to judgment before God in the Last Day of the world.

    Jesus gave the signs that precede the coming of this Last Day. They are: an increase of apostasy, of false prophets, the coming of the anti-Christ who will persecute the people of God and politically control the world, wars, earthquakes, famines, growing crime rates, rise of cults, and signs in outer space among many things (Matt. 24).

    After these things, the Son of God will appear in the sky with His mighty angels (2Thess.1:7). He will appear this second time for the salvation of His people and the judgment of the world (Heb.9:28). The dead in Christ will rise first and those disciples who are living will be caught up to Lord to be with Him forever (1Thess.4:16,17).

    The devil and his angels will be punished in hell (Matt.25:41; Rev.20:10). Those whose names are not written in the Book of life will be thrown into the Lake of fire (Rev.20:15) because they will be judged according to their deeds (Rom.2:5,6; Jude 15).

    The faithful in Christ will inherit the Kingdom of God (Rev.21:7).
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    Church

    The English word “church” comes from the Greek Kyriakon meaning “of the Lord”. The term used in the New Testament, however, is ekklesia (formed of ek, “out”, and kaleo, “called”), meaning the “called out”. Peter refers to the church as not a building made up of bricks or stones, not as a place or a physical structure, but as a people who are “called out” of darkness into God’s marvelous light. 

    The church is the community of the disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.  She is also known as the Lamb’s wife (Rev. 21:9; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 19:7), the body of Christ (1Cor.12:27), and the temple of God (1Pet.2:5,6; Eph.2:21,22; 1Cor.3:16,17). The church is the household of God, His family; therefore, there must be unity, cooperation, edification, and productivity in it (Eph. 2:19; 1Cor.1:10; Jn.13:35; Gal.6:1,2). The church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone” (Eph.2:20). Therefore, apostolic doctrine and prophetical edification are foundational to the church (Acts 2:42; 15:32). The church is a fellowship of fellow-believers. Therefore, Christians are commanded not to forsake assembling together ( Heb.10:25). The church is God's field and God's building (1Cor.3:9). 

    The church is both universal and local: i.e. it is the general assembly of all born-again believers all over the earth and in heaven (Heb.12:24); but, it is also local in the sense that believers in a particular place are one family - in that sense we talk about the church and the churches (Acts 9:31).

    The church was a mystery hidden in the Old Testament period (Eph.1:9,10); but, manifested in the world today. It is the mystery of the body of Christ, that there is no Jew nor Gentile, male nor female, slave nor free in Christ (Eph.2:14,15,16; Gal.3:8), and that in Christ God reconciles the world to Himself and gathers all things together both in heaven and on earth (2Cor.5:19; Eph.1:9,10).

    A Few More Names
    1. Church of God (Acts 20:28; 1Cor.1:2). The church belongs to God the Father.
    2. Church of the Firstborn (Heb.12:23). The children of God that bear the image of the Second Man, the Heavenly one (1Cor.15:47,48; 1Pet.1:3). Before His resurrection, Jesus was always referred to as the "only begotten Son"; but, after the resurrection, He is the Firstborn among many brethren (Col.1:15,18).

    The Church is not an organization, but a living body, an organism (1Pet.2:4). It is not a man-made ecumenical organization with a hierarchical structure. We are not bound in one administrative structure; but, we are bound together in one body, one Spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Eph.4:4-6). Jesus made it clear to His disciples that He wasn't interested in a human organization (Mark 9:38-40). However, this doesn't mean that there is no authority structure in the local church or in the church universal. (Heb.13:7,17; Acts 14:23; 20:28; 1Pet.5:2,3,4; Jude 1:8).

    The Lord Jesus Christ appoints apostles, prophets, evangelists, teachers, and pastors for the care and edification of the church (Eph. 4:11-12). The Holy Spirit gifts individuals with the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the edification of the church (1Cor.12). The church is called to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every nation, to make disciples out of them and teach them the teachings of Jesus Christ (Matt. 28:19-20). This proclamation is accompanied with signs and wonders that the Lord works to confirm His Word (Mk. 16:20; Heb.2:4).
    Now, while it is true that the church is not an organization, but a body whose head is Christ, the New Testament is not against organizing efforts for the propagation of the Gospel and ministry to the poor. Thus, we see that local churches choose persons and entrust them with ministry responsibilities (2Cor.8:18,19,23). Similarly, local churches consult with other churches on doctrinal matters (Acts 15). Also, they circulated the epistles of Paul (Col.4:16; 2Pet.3:15,16), which was a forerunner of the Bible distribution era. In modern times, organizing efforts in the form of  Bible Societies, theological seminaries, mass media communication of God's word, and social ministries are examples of such cooperation. Usually, it is local churches worldwide who support the work of mission; but, a great majority are also individuals. 

    The two ordinances of the church are water baptism (Matt.28:19) and the Lord’s Table (1Cor.11:23-29).

    Jesus Christ will return to this earth for His church. Then, the dead in Christ will first rise up and those who are alive will be caught up to Him in the clouds to be with Him forever (1Thess.4:16,17).

    In 1 Peter 2:9, the church is referred to as
    1. A Chosen Generation. This is in contrast to the Adamic generation that is considered to be crooked and perverse (Phil. 2:15). This generation is born not of the will of flesh but of the will of God. The church is an assembly of “born again” believers. She is a generation that is handpicked of God as a special treasure of His own. They have been chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (Eph.1:4).
    2. A Royal Priesthood. The church is not a religious system of priesthood, laymen, and priestcraft. Every believer in the Body of Christ is a priest unto God. The priesthood of believers is royal, coming from the heritage of Jesus Christ, who descended from David, of the tribe of Judah. It is Melchizedekian; not, Aaronic. The priests bear royal authority of the Kingdom of God.
    3. A Holy Nation. The church is sanctified by the faith of the Gospel, by the blood of Jesus Christ, and by the Holy Spirit. She belongs to God and is set apart and separated from the world by the Cross of Jesus Christ. It is a Nation made up of people who come out of many nations.
    4. A Peculiar People. The church is a special people, who possesses several special distinctives: Christ, the New Covenant, the Promises of God, Eternal Life, Eternal Inheritance. They have an identity that comes from God. They belong to heaven.

    The purpose of this being “called out” is to showforth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.

    Purpose, Task, and Rule of the Church
    -The purpose of the church is the glory of God (Eph 1:6; 5:27)
    -The task of the church is evangelization – making disciples (Matt 28:19,20)
    -The rule of the church is love – the command to love God and to love our neighbor as ourselves, which is true piety and religion (Matt 22:37-40; James 1:27).

    The purpose will be fulfilled, the task will be completed, but the rule of love will abide forever.

    The purpose must not be confused with the task. The task must not be confused with the rule. The Great Commission is to preach the goodnews to all people. The Great Commandment is to love God with our entire being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Social justice, liberation, mercy, and caring for the poor is an expression of who we are; salvation of souls, spiritual transformation, and discipleship is the reason why we are here on earth. Love is the motive of evangelism (2Cor.5:14).
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