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  • Ron Thomas 10:00 am on December 15, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians   

    Some Thoughts on Ephesians 1 

    Introduction and greetings (1:1-2). It was customary for Paul to start his letters by stating from whom the letter (epistle) came. Paul was chosen by the Lord Jesus to be an apostle (one sent out, a messenger), proclaiming God’s will to many, including those who resided in Ephesus. Those to whom he addressed this letter were Christians, they were saints.

    The significance of belonging to the body of Christ (1:3 – 3:21). The spiritual blessings (1:3-14). In this section we have the great encouragement of God. All spiritual blessing are in Christ (cf. Acts 4:12). The clear implication is that there are NO spiritual blessings outside of Christ. This was the plan of the Father. Consider, briefly, from verses 1 through 14 what spiritual blessings Paul identifies. First, in Christ we are to be holy and without blame (Hebrews 12:14). Second, we have been adopted as sons of the Father. Third, we have redemption, that is, the forgiveness of our sins. Fourth, we have an inheritance. Fifth, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (cf. 2 Timothy 2:19). On this last, Curtis Vaughan said the seal represent three uses: to authenticate as genuine, to render secure, and to denote ownership. These indeed are spiritual blessings (1:1-6).

    Election and predestination (1:3-6). As mentioned there are no spiritual blessings outside of Christ; that is, with regard to heavenly rewards. God chose this to be that way for those that belong to Him, just as He had chosen those of Ephesus (and us) when they (we) became Christian. The idea of being chosen by God might be perplexing. After reflection, however, the perplexity can be set aside (hopefully). God chose, Abraham, He chose Jacob, and He chose Paul. Each one of these men could have refused God’s invitation (cf. Acts 26:19; Titus 2:11-14; Matthew 11:28). God also chose us to be of a certain quality, that is, to be holy and without blame in Christ (1:4). It is up to each of us to accept this invite or refuse it. Let me also say a word about “predestined” (1:5, NKJV). This English word is made of two words, “pre” meaning before and “destined” meaning to designate. The dictionary defines the word to designate, assign, or dedicate in advance. From the word we learn that God “predestined” us unto something. What was that something? He beforehand designated us unto adoption, as His sons. This is in accordance with His good pleasure. Now, the question that often results from a reading of chapter 1 is whether man had any role in his own salvation. In one respect, the answer is no; in another the answer is yes. Salvation is entirely of God; that is, without God’s offer of the free gift (salvation), man could not be saved. However, man has an obligation to hear and respond to that message of God in order that he would be saved, and in this respect, man has a role (cf. 1:13). God chose and predestined us to His glory, and His glory was (is) that we be saved (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4). He has made available to all men salvation; it is up to each to decide (cf. Joshua 24:15).

    The Son’s redemption (1:7-12). Since all spiritual blessings are in Christ, note Paul’s identifying of them. We have forgiveness, we have spiritual wisdom and prudence (insight, NET), and we have been adopted as sons. The significance of this is really explained in 2:1-6. Our Lord redeemed (bought, purchased) our souls for His own good pleasure when we accepted (trusted) in the Lord after having heard the message of hope. Whereas we were at one time captives to Satan’s hold, because we trusted in the Lord we have been redeemed from the clutches of Satan’s bonds. This which we have is made known to us by the coming and dying of the Lord Jesus. Without that, Paul would have no message to preach.

    The Spirit’s seal or down payment (1:13-14). So strong was Satan’s hold that there was nothing we could do to escape from it. However, with the coming of God’s Son (Galatians 4:4), the god of this world (2 Corinthians 4:4) lost his grip (2 Timothy 1:8-10). In order that Satan could not reach in and grab us (if you will) God closed up that “ark of safety” and placed a seal on those that belonged to Him (the church), as a king would seal a document and no one could open but those authorized by the king, God placed a seal on us and only He is authorized to open it (cf. 2 Timothy 2:19).

    Paul’s prayer (1:15-23). With such a lengthy expression of what it means to have all spiritual blessings in Christ, Paul is very grateful that those to whom he addressed this epistle are now among those saved by the blood of the Lamb. He is not only grateful for their response but he continues to pray that they would gain even more spiritual enlightenment in the knowledge of Him who saved us; that we would know the hope of His calling; and that we would know the greatness of His power toward us. “How do we receive a greater knowledge of God? In this context God supplies wisdom, in answer to prayer, to help His people understand and apply properly the truths in His revealed message” (Lockhart, p. 84). All this is found in the Lord Jesus, He who is seated above all that this earth presents and represents. In fact, all things of this earthly realm are in submission to Him, and He is the head of that holy institution called the church, which is His body, and only the church will be saved (1:22-23; 5:23).

    Particular doctrines worth notice.  We already mentioned something on election and predestination, but let us notice the word church in Ephesians. The church is the body, and only the body of Christ will be saved (5:23; cf. 2 Timothy 2:19). A number of facts pertaining to the church should not be forgotten: 1) the Lord built it and, thus, it belongs to Him (Matthew 16:13-19), 2) those who respond to the Lord’s invitation to be saved are placed in His church (Acts 2:47; cf. Colossians 1:13, 18), 3) those who are in the Lord’s church are called saints (1:1; there are no non-saints in the church), 4) there is only one body, thus there is only one church (4:4), 5) the plan for the church got its start in the Lord’s mind and even before time began (3:8-11), 6) only those in the Lord’s church will be saved (5:23). When we begin to think of the Lord’s church as a denomination we pollute the church with a man-made ideology. The church is an institution, but it is a divinely organized institution, and those who relegate it as something insignificant do so to their own peril. People make up the Lord’s church and whatever failings there might be in them, to leave the local church, to speak against the local church, to run down the leadership of the local church, to do anything that would cast a negative reflection on the Lord’s body—does that one thing he (she) will escape the Lord’s judgment!

     
  • James Randal 12:51 pm on September 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ephesians,   

    When a Bible verse waved at me 

    bible-verse-waveMatthew’s version of the Lord’s prayer presents a seven-element chiasmus. I’m still chewing on it, but the central element is the daily-bread request. Surrounding it are two “as” statements (elements 3 and 5). Then elements 2 and 6 include movement or direction. The first and last elements contrast God and the evil one, both perhaps containing the idea of separation: regarding the Name as sacred or special; being removed from the influence or danger of the evil one (don’t quote me on that, yet). I’m amazed to see this.

    I popped open my Bible Monday night in the car while waiting on The Missus and the MIL as they picked up a couple of items in the grocery store. The structure just waved at me.

    As did Mt 6.24, with a nice chiasmus as well. Note that the verbs in the middle two phrases are mirrored: hate/love and devoted/despise.

    • Here’s a short list of books recently received, purchased, or oogled. Only the last one is not by brothers in Christ.

    • Graceful Reason: Studies in Christian Apologetics, by Dick Sztanyo (Vienna, WV: Warren Christian Apologetics Center, 2012)
    • Practical Guide to Bible Study: An Easy-to-Use Outline Format, by Jon Gary Williams (LaVergne, TN: Williams Brothers Publishers, 2011)
    • Except One Be Born from Above, by Mac Deaver (Sheffield, TX: Biblical Notes Publications, 2013)
    • Concise Bible Commentary, by David S. Dockery, ed. (Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group, 2010)

    • For one who doesn’t like driving an automobile, I’m doing a lot of it and have been over the past several trips to the US. I’m thankful to be doing it, however, and grateful for those who have lent us vehicles. I would like driving a buggy and feeding and grooming a horse much less. All for the Mission.

    Some speakers, plus one, at the 8th annual Preachers Files Lectures

    Some speakers, plus one, at the 8th annual Preachers Files Lectures

    • At this link, a little lesson of mine, “You Can Be Sure of the Power of the Gospel,” delivered at the Preacher’s Files Lectureship this past Saturday. (The introductory text needs editing, and the brother says he’ll get to it.) The time at the Rodgers Springs congregation, just outside of Middleton TN, was a blessing. All sessions should be added online before long, including a Questions-and-Answers session hosted by Dick Sztanyo and myself. (More …)

     
  • Richard Mansel 12:36 pm on March 28, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians, , , ,   

    Posts on Grace 

    I appreciate all the good thoughts on grace! Thanks for taking up my question and making application.

    I have always liked the following: We cannot live in such a way to put God in our debt. Therefore, we will always be lost without His generous gift of grace. We are completely at His mercy until given an opportunity to serve. Even then, we will still require grace to enter heaven. Once again, God will never be in our debt.

    There are so many nuances that exist in the doctrine and emotion NEVER understands nuance. That is why we must remain sober-minded and focused so we can grasp the real meaning of Scripture.

    We have to tune out Satan’s doctrines found in those who teach error and not spend all of our time chasing them. That is part of Satan’s plan. We cannot always be teaching against something. We need to be proactive in showing the world and the brethren what Scripture DOES teach on grace and salvation.

     

     
  • Larry Miles 9:16 pm on February 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians,   

    Redeemed How I Love To Proclaim It! 

    In Eph. 1:7, Paul gives us  some great insights into the  love of  God for mankind. This  verse  mentions “redemption, forgiveness and  grace” among  other truths.  Verse 8  tells us that we  receive these things in abundance.

    Our Heavenly Father wants  us to live  a  full life in His  Son. We sing  songs like “There’s Power In The Blood.”  We must  never forget  how  powerful the  shed  blood of the Lord Jesus is. He  left the  splendor of Heaven to  come down to  redeem us.  He went  willingly to the  Cross and gave  Himself for us.

    -Larry Miles

     
  • Larry Miles 11:29 am on January 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians,   

    Thoughts from Ephesians 1:3 

    We Have Been Blessed With Every Spiritual Blessing

     

    Text: Eph. 1:3

    The Apostle Paul is writing this epistle to the Christians in the city of Ephesus. He has talked about grace and peace in Eph. 1:2. We know that the “grace of God” was manifested in the person of the Lord Jesus. That grace was also an action, whereby God showed forth His love for lost mankind and the Lord Jesus was the Redeemer who came down to Earth to die for the sins of man­kind. Since we are now “in Christ,” we can claim the blessings in the letter also.

    In Eph 1:3, Paul stresses first of all that we need to praising the Heavenly Father above all things. God wants to bestow, yea, even lavish his love and blessings on His children. He is not up there in Heaven blessing us sparingly. Jesus said that He came that we might have an abundant life in Him. We must desire all that He has for us. We must want to live the Christian life to the fullest, learning more about Jesus every day. We strive for this because we want to “grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus,” as well as encouraging our fellow believers in their walk and reaching the lost with the message of salvation.

    He has blessed us “with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places IN CHRIST.” The same Greek words rendered here “heavenly places” are translated “heavenly things” in James 3:12. Since we are “citizens of Heaven,” (Phil. 3:20) we must look to the things above and not things on the earth. Our spiritual mindset must be honed in on Jesus at all times. We are but pilgrims and strangers here on earth. We sing “this world is not my home…,” and rightly so. But we are as John says in I John 2:15-17 “in the world but not of the world,” we have to have a heavenly perspective in life. That perspective comes from believing the words of Paul here in Eph. 1:3.

     

     

     
  • Larry Miles 2:31 pm on January 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians,   

    Thoughts From the Book of Ephesians 

    I am going to  start a  series of   articles/devotions  from the Book of Ephesians.  I’ll try to  post a couple each  week more or less.  My aim is to teach  God’s Word and  make application for us today. Please  pray for these  lessons.

    The Writer and the Recipients (Eph. 1:1)

    When people wrote letters back in Biblical times they put their name at the beginning of the letter. We do just the opposite. This is called the “salutation.” The Apostle Paul, at the beginning of this epistle, lets his readers know who he is, what his credentials are for writing the letter and to whom he is writing the letter.

    All of this is included in Eph. 1:1. Verse 2 is his greeting. Paul was not one of the original 12 Apostles. His Apostleship is by special appointment from the Lord Jesus. He received this as­signment to be an apostle to the Gentiles. Thank the Lord that he took this privilege and honor seri­ously. If he and others whom he reached with the Gospel had not then we would not be here today en­joying the blessings of salvation.

    “…By the will of God.” It was and is God’s will that all mankind be saved and He has provided a way through His Son that all may be saved. But we all know that the majority of mankind, both past, present and future will not accept that way of salvation. Paul was faithful in his ministry (2 Tim. 4:6-8).

    Those whom Paul is writing to are named in the latter part of Eph. 1:1. The primary audi­ence of the writers of the Word of God was locally those in the first century, but we can share in these titles that Paul use for the Ephesian Christians on the basis of our faith and obedience to the Gospel.

    The recipients of Paul’s letter were the Christians in Ephesus. Ephesus was one of the largest cities in the Roman Empire. Paul give at least 2 names, perhaps 3 for Christians in verse 1. He calls them

    1.  “Saints
    2.  Faithful, and
    3. in Christ Jesus.”

    A “saint” in the New Testament, is not a sinless person, but a saved sinner. Faithfulness to the Lord is required if one wants to enjoy all that God has for him or her. Paul stresses that Christians are “in Christ.” As I said earlier in this devotion: Christians are saved by grace, through faith, in bap­tism, for good works. Let all of us strive to dedicate our lives to the Lord and His Church and help others find their way out of darkness into the marvelous light of the Gospel.

     
    • Eugene Adkins 6:21 pm on January 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Looking forward to reading more Larry. I enjoy the depth of Ephesians while appreciating the “surface value” that a person has to try and miss.

    • Larry Miles 11:45 am on January 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Eugene– thanks for the encouragement- just wrote the 2nd post on this series

  • James Randal 4:18 am on November 17, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians, , ,   

    Ephesians 5 

    Following the New Testament plan, today we read Ephesians chapter 5. Its content includes:

    • Imitate God in everything: love and light (5.1-14)
    • "Watch where you’re going!" (5.15-21)
    • Take it home: wives and husbands (5.21-33)

    That second point is my paraphrase of verse 15a. My parents had to tell me that a lot, and I still need hear it.

    The NET Bible’s divisions of the chapter, at the link above, are also nifty: Live in love; Live in the light; Live wisely; Exhortations to households.

    Next week, the plan starts Monday with the book of Revelation. Why not join us?

     
  • James Randal 8:51 am on November 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians, , spiritual death   

    Dead men walking: Walking (living) in sin means being dead (separated) to God. But there’s good news. Eph 2.1-2, 4-10

    The text: http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=188282048

    Quick Bible Truths

     

     
  • Ron Thomas 8:55 am on October 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians   

    Ephesians 1 

    Some thoughts from Ephesians 1. I am working on the book and making handouts for the Bible class Sunday morning. I think I will post them as I finish with them.

    Introduction and greetings (1:1-2). It was customary for Paul to start his letters by stating from whom the letter (epistle) came. Paul was chosen by the Lord Jesus to be an apostle (one sent out, a messenger), proclaiming God’s will to many, including those who resided in Ephesus. Those to whom he addressed this letter were Christians, they were saints.

    The significance of belonging to the body of Christ (1:3 – 3:21). The spiritual blessings (1:3-14). In this section we have the great encouragement of God. All spiritual blessing are in Christ (cf. Acts 4:12). The clear implication is that there are NO spiritual blessings outside of Christ. This was the plan of the Father. Consider, briefly, from verses 1 through 14 what spiritual blessings Paul identifies. First, in Christ we are to be holy and without blame (Hebrews 12:14). Second, we have been adopted as sons of the Father. Third, we have redemption, that is, the forgiveness of our sins. Fourth, we have an inheritance. Fifth, we are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (cf. 2 Timothy 2:19). On this last, Curtis Vaughan said the seal represent three uses: to authenticate as genuine, to render secure, and to denote ownership. These indeed are spiritual blessings (1:1-6).

     
  • Richard Mansel 2:49 pm on July 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bruce morton, deceiving winds, ephesians   

    Book Review of “Deceiving Winds” 

    Bruce Morton’s book, “Deceiving Winds” is a well-researched book that is primarily on the Church in Ephesus and the challenges that they faced and how they mirror our own times.

    In this book he asks, “Is the Church adapting to remain relevant to our culture or are we simply repeating the abuses of worship in ancient Ephesus?” Morton’s subtitle says: “Christians Navigating the Storm of Mysticism, Leadership Struggles and Sensational Worship.”

    Read my review of this book and see if it will fit your library.

     
  • Richard Mansel 6:43 am on June 15, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians, ,   

    Unity And God’s People 

    If all of God’s people spoke with the same voice, the sound would be deafening and the world would most certainly hear us. The only way we can all speak with the same voice is to speak the  Lord’s Words. Ephesians 4 calls for this very thing. Anyone interested in unity, must absorb this chapter and study it very carefully. The rewards are well worth the effort.

     
  • Larry Miles 9:12 pm on March 11, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians,   

    Enjoying The Heavenly Places in Christ 

    In Ephesians 1:3 Paul wrote these words, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” The Christian is a heavenly person. He is not “of this world.” Philippians 3:20 tells us that we are “citizens of heaven.”

    What does this mean to the Christian? It means that we do not let the things of this world, which is anti-God, dictate how we live. We have been called out of a kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of the Lord Jesus (Col. 1:2-14.). The Word of God is our constitution,especially the New Testament. We find in its pages how to live and act as “citizens of heaven,” and enjoy all the blessings in Christ!

    Jesus said that He came to give us the abundant life. We should desire all that the Godhead has for us. Paul told the Colossians that we should “seek the things that are above.” We must, therefore, strive to conduct our lives with a heavenly emphasis. We need to renew our minds spiritually.

    We have received these spiritual blessings so that we can praise God! The Lord has promised to equip us for service so that we can reach the lost and strengthen the saved. These blessings that we have as “citizens of heaven” are to help us grow daily in “the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

    We cannot live the Christian life by ourselves. We need the help of the Lord at all times. Satan is out there ” as a roaring lion,seeking whom he may devour.” Because of that, we need the assurance that “greater is He who in you than he who is in the world.”

    Christians should seek everything God has for us so that we can be equipped to live Him, always learning from the Word of God, and being active in His service while we look forward to the time when the Lord returns for His Church to take us home to the full reality of the Heavenly kingdom.

    While we have been promised all the blessings today, one day we will enjoy them on a higher scale when we see Him face to face. If we avail ourselves of all that He has for us and use the blessings to bring glory to Him, we will “let our light shine for Him.”

     
  • Daniel Haynes 6:09 pm on February 1, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians,   

    Christ Transforms Relationships 

    Because of Christ, wives respect and submit to their husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24).

    Because of Christ, husbands sacrificially love their wives (Ephesians 5:25-33).

    Because of Christ, children obey and honor their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3).

    Because of Christ, fathers do not exasperate, but nurture their children in righteousness (Ephesians 6:4).

    Because of Christ, slaves obey their earthly masters (Ephesians 6:5-8).

    Because of Christ, masters do not threaten, but are kind toward their slaves (Ephesians 6:9).

     
  • Richard Mansel 3:51 pm on January 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians,   

    My Mission Statement 

    My personal favorite verses for 2010 are also the motivation for my preaching and writing.  Ephesians 3:20-21, “Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

    This should be the mission statement of every Christian and congregation. If we seek, in everything that we do, to bring glory to Christ, the mission of our Lord will be empowered and will change the world!

    Always remember: This isn’t about us.

     
    • Tim Archer 4:07 pm on January 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I love those verses and particularly like the thought of using them as a statement of purpose.

      Grace and peace,
      Tim Archer

    • Nick Gill 4:12 pm on January 11, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent! Mine is:

      But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:57-58 ESV)

    • Shane Robinson 2:45 pm on January 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve always condered Colossians 1:28 as the Christian’s purpose statement: Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

      I consider 2 Timothy 2:24-25 to be the purpose statement of a minister of the gospel: And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but be gentle to all, able to teach, patient, in humility correcting those who are in opposition, if God perhaps will grant them repentance, so that they may know the truth.

    • Richard Mansel 4:50 pm on January 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for your input, Shane.

  • Richard Mansel 9:57 pm on January 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ephesians, , ,   

    A Study of Holiness 

    I am studying holiness, sanctification and our separation from the world. These are complex subjects that some touch on, but we do not see many in-depth studies of them. The Calvinists write about them quite extensively, as I am finding. But, who among us?

    We do a great job in the brotherhood of studying the major issues that divide us and in the areas where we are commonly attacked by those in the broader religious world. However, when we come to deep, foundation topics, we tend to shy away from them. I’m not sure why.

    We talk about salvation all the time. But, when I planned my first book, The Most Important Question, I realized the paucity of books that existed on the simple plan of salvation. We talk about baptism, but do we dig deeper into Scripture and see its roots in the Old Testament? Do we pursue all of the permutations of salvation and what it truly means?

    Will we dig deeper? Will we challenge ourselves?

    What thoughts do you have on holiness, sanctification and spiritual growth? Your input and any resources that you know personally, will be appreciated.

    I am drawn to these subjects very strongly. As I continue in my studies, especially in reference to Ephesians, may God be praised (Ephesians 3:20-21).

     
    • Daniel Haynes 11:01 pm on January 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Some may shy away from this subject because it uncovers their guilt before the Lord. I am tempted to say, if it be possible, that God’s greatest attribute, aside from his eternality, is his holiness. I am to be holy because God is holy. One hindrance to holiness is our way of thinking. Paul addresses this in Ephesians where he describes unbelievers thinking as “futile, darkened, ignorant and hardened” (4:17-18). But if I allow God to transform my spirit by putting off the old self and putting on the new self then I will walk in love, walk in light, and walk in wisdom, and in so doing, I will imitate his holiness.

      • Richard Mansel 12:10 am on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Daniel, I agree with you on why it isn’t addressed. Just like preachers may not address porn because they feel guilty themselves. I am fascinated by why people do things and this is a compelling one. Thank you for your input.

    • Daniel Haynes 11:08 pm on January 5, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, do you have “A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs” by David Bercot?

      • Richard Mansel 12:11 am on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        No, thanks for the tip. I think some Systematic Theology books may be one resource. I don’t have any, so I don’t know if they address these subjects.

    • Weylan Deaver 3:15 pm on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, I looked on my shelf and see that, in Norman Geisler’s “Systematic Theology, Volume II” (Bethany House, 2003), chapter 13 is on “God’s Holiness and Righteousness.”

      As to why it is not addressed more in sermons, could it be some preachers focus on issues rather than focus on God? Not to be misunderstood: I believe we must be on the right side of serious doctrinal issues. But if that is my driving goal, that is not good enough. Foremost, I’m supposed to want to be like God.

      This Sunday’s sermon is going to ask why we assemble in church. If we come to be with friends, that’s not good enough. If we come to have fellowship with brethren, that’s really not good enough, either. Even if we come to grow in our Bible knowledge, that is not enough. It seems to me our primary goal should be to give worship to God. The church is not merely a glorified Christian classroom; rather, it is the only place from which God can be worshiped in spirit and truth. Increased Bible knowledge and fellowship with brethren are icing on the cake. But we should not eat the icing and forget the cake!

      • Richard Mansel 3:30 pm on January 6, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Well said, Weylan. Holiness and sanctification are the foundation that takes us everywhere. If we do not have them, it doesn’t matter what else we are doing. We have people who teach truth but they are not sanctified and are therefore causing more problems than they solve.

        As I have said many times, we should not ask whether we “have” to be there on Sunday night or Wednesday night. Asking shows that we don’t understand. Holiness says that you shouldn’t “want” to be anywhere else. This is not about us, this is about God.

        If we get the holiness aspect right, everything else falls into place.

    • Richard Hill 3:54 pm on January 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Good morning, Richard. Sorry for the length. Since I had to wait for days to respond my reply kept getting longer! My Internet Provider did not get our internet working properly til today. I could not agree more with Weylan’s comment. Holiness is foundational to well rounded spiritual life. It’s a subject that has not received the attention it deserves in our brotherhood.

      Since Christians are saints, holy ones, and are in the process of being made holy, sanctification, we need to make holiness a priority. It seems difficult to come up with a clear definition of holiness. The idea of distinctiveness is primary. It is difference, not for the sake of being different, but difference with the purpose of being righteous–being like God.

      Holiness is a state of being. It becomes a part of who we are. God never tells us to act holy. He tells us to be holy. Acting holy is not necessarily holy just as acting sincere is not necessarily sincere. Holiness as sincerity can be nothing less than genuine. Regarding Christian life, words like core and integral come to mind.

      I need to be able to say, “I am holy,” yet I find it difficult to say it in that way. I feel it necessary to couch it with words like, I want to be, I’m trying to be. . . Since I know I’m not perfect how can I ever really be holy? Doesn’t true holiness require perfection? Alone I cannot be holy. Only by walking in the light as He is in the light, gaining access to His cleansing blood, can I or anyone else ever be holy. So holiness cannot just be what I am, but must include who I know. It requires relationship.

      A couple of books in my library include significant sections on holiness–especially Charnock’s work, _The Existence and Attributes of God_ (about 100 pages) and to a lesser degree, Packer’s _Keep in Step with the Spirit_. Sorry to say I have only referenced these books and have not read them through. I look forward to your final product. I hope to do more that reference it!

    • Richard Mansel 4:01 pm on January 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Excellent thoughts, Richard. I think this is the real key to Christianity. I appreciate the books.

    • jimnewy 1:51 am on January 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, one source on sanctification that may be of value since you are having a hard time finding anything written by brethren is from those affiliated with the Church of the Nazarene. I was associated with this denomination before becoming a Christian. They teach that sanctification is to be achieved as a secondary level after becoming a Christian (their way). You should be able to Google them. You will have to filter some things out of their writings as with any denominational theology. Just a thought.

    • jimnewy 1:56 am on January 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I want to thank you for bringing this subject up. Personally it has to do with my choice of 2 Peter 1:5-8 as my verse for 2010. My reason has to do with my own personal sanctification as I need to work on some of these graces.

      I also want to thank those that gave you some input and insight into the subject as I appreciated their comments.

      In brotherly love and encouragement,
      Jim N.

    • Richard Mansel 2:54 am on January 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Jim. Happy to do so. I am really being moved by the study. Tanks for your suggestions and thoughts.

  • Daniel Haynes 6:35 pm on December 14, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians,   

    Yesterday, the lesson centered on being imitators of God (Ephesians 4:25-5:2). While every Christian faces his or her own unique challenges, the challenge of imitating God is one that unites us together.

     
  • Daniel Haynes 4:16 pm on December 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians   

    I am usually drawn to whatever I am currently studying. Therefore, I am in agreement with Richard. I am in love with Ephesians. Simply put, it describes the wealth and walk of the Christian. It powerfully demonstrates how we should live in view of the cross.

     
  • Richard Mansel 3:40 pm on December 11, 2009 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ephesians,   

    My favorite book of the Bible is Ephesians because its beauty and depth. I have spent years studying the book and find it inexhaustible. Paul’s skillful writing fills every word with substance and there is no limit to the amount of good that could come from its pages. So many false doctrines of our day would be healed by a study of Ephesians and putting it into practice.

     
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