Monday, June 29, 2015, 6:31 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song, “Your New Life.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Timothy 1 (NASB). Sincere Faith (vv. 1-5) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, according to the promise of life in Christ Jesus, To Timothy, my beloved son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers did, as I constantly remember you in my prayers night and day, longing to see you, even as I recall your tears, so that I may be filled with joy. For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well. What is sincere faith? It is genuine, honest, pure, unpretentious, unaffected (unpersuaded) by false (humanistic) teaching, and it is serious about God and his Word, trusting in the Lord Jesus with child-like faith. It believes that the Bible (Genesis-Revelation) is God’s God-breathed words to us, inerrant in its original form, and that the teachings of Christ and those of the apostles are the foundation for our Christian faith and practice, which believers in Jesus Christ must adhere to. It submits to God, takes God at his word, trusts in his promises, and seeks to know God in all his fullness. It hungers for truth, and it demolishes arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and it takes captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ (See: 2 Co. 10:1-5). For example, I am a believer in Jesus Christ because God ordained that I should be, i.e. because he chose me even before the creation of the world to be one of his followers. I am a believer in Jesus Christ because God the Father drew me to Jesus Christ, and because the Spirit of God moved me to obey my Lord and to believe in Jesus to be my Lord and Savior. I am a believer in Jesus because of God's grace to me (to all of us) in sending Jesus Christ, God the Son, to the earth to die for our sins, and to be resurrected to life so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his stripes I am healed! All glory, praise, and honor belong to God, and to God alone for my (for our) salvation. Although God uses us, his servants, to spread the good news of the gospel of Christ so that people can be saved, we are just servants, through whom people come to believe. We are not to be raised above anyone else, for we, as followers of Christ, are God’s fellow workers. One plants and another waters, but it is God who causes the growth, i.e. he is the one who makes certain the seed, which was planted, grows into mature faith. Our salvation is not of men, but of God. Our salvation is the working of the Spirit of God in our lives. In our society today, in the church, so many people make a big deal out of men (or women) who are the ones to “seal the deal,” i.e. to lead someone in a prayer to receive Christ, but God uses so many people in our lives to plant the seed and to water it, and we are all just servants of the Lord, so all the praise, honor and glory for our salvation belongs to God, and God alone. So, what this means is that I get my direction from the Lord Jesus, from his Word, and from his Spirit within me, and not from human beings. My faith and practice are not based off the teachings, practices and traditions of humans, but are based in the Word of God, in Jesus Christ, and in the witness of the Spirit within me, who has been given to me to teach me all things, and to remind me of all that Jesus taught when he was on the earth. Kindle Afresh (vv. 6-7) For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. Paul instructed Timothy to “fan into flame” the gift of God within him. The English translations do not specify what he meant by “the gift of God,” so I looked at other scripture references using that same exact phrase. In Romans 5, “the gift of God” is a reference to the Holy Spirit, to God’s grace, to Jesus Christ, his righteousness and to our salvation. In Romans 6:23 we learn that “the gift of God” is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. In Ephesians 2:8-9 we learn that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and this not from ourselves, “it is the gift of God…” In Eph. 3 Paul said he became a servant of the gospel by the gift of God’s grace. And, in Romans 12 and in 1 Corinthians 12 we learn about the gifts of the Holy Spirit, such as teaching, exhortation, healing, prophecy, helps, tongues, etc. I also looked up the Greek word in the Greek-English Interlinear. The Greek word for “gift” is “charisma: a gift of grace; an undeserved favor; xárisma (‘grace-gift’) divinely empowers a believer to share God's work with others, i.e. Spirit-empowered service to the Church to carry out His plan for His people; (but not limited to) ‘spiritual gifts.’ xarismata (the plural form) literally means ‘grace-endowments.’]” - http://biblehub.com/greek/5486.htm I wanted to understand the biblical role the laying on of hands played in the life and ministry of the church, too, as taught in scripture, so I did some research on the subject. I did a search on “laying on of hands,” and, although it is biblical, and it was practiced in the early church, and encouraged for the ministry of healing, I saw no directive in scripture requiring this in order for believers in Jesus to be saved, or to be filled, empowered and gifted of the Holy Spirit. As well, it did not seem to always be practiced or required, either, for healing or for filling of the Spirit, or in the receiving of gifting of the Spirit. So, although in the case of Timothy, where he did receive the gift of God through the laying on of Paul’s hands, this laying on of hands by a minister of the gospel is not required for us to receive the Spirit of God or to receive his anointing, empowerment and gifting. The Spirit of God is the one who has gifted me (all believers), as He determined, and it is God who has given me my assignment within the body of Christ, which he had chosen for me even before he created me. Sincere faith means that I am not a worshiper of man, but a worshiper of God. I give the proper respect and adherence to those in authority, as God designed I should do, but my allegiance (loyalty, devotion) is to God, and to God alone. It means I am a working part of the body of Christ, necessary, and needed, as we all are, and that I have something to add, as we all do, in ministry in the Spirit, one to another, to encourage and to strengthen one another in the faith. Yet, it also means I test what I hear, read and see against what I know of God, and of his divine character and will for mankind, and against His Word found in the Bible, and as witnessed to me by His Spirit, and that I don’t take the word of another human as gospel, unless I first test it against God’s word. There is a movement in the institutional church to raise men into positions of authority in the church to a level not intended by God, which places them almost at a level equal with God in that their words and actions are naturally assumed to be of God, and to be followed or adhered to, when they may or may not be of God. So, we must be very discerning of error, and not fall prey to following after humans, in place of following after God. We don’t owe our salvation, or our Christian heritage, or our gifting to the works of humans, but all glory, honor and praise belong to God for what he has accomplished in and through our lives by his Spirit. Men are not our God. So, we should not treat them as such. Not Ashamed (vv. 8-14) Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. When we stand on the truths of scripture, holding on to a sincere, child-like faith, which takes God at his word, and does not follow the teachings of humans, we will be persecuted, even within the church, because so many who claim to know Christ have left their first love to follow after humans and humanistic philosophy and the idols of humankind. They want us to join in with them in their dissipation, and when we don’t, they hate, disdain, ridicule and/or mock us for being out of touch with reality, or extremist, or holier-than-thou, etc. Yet, we are to stand firm in our faith, and not be ashamed to testify about Jesus Christ and his true gospel of salvation, even if it means our heads are on the chopping block. We are to retain the standard (pattern) of sound words (teaching) as was taught us by Jesus Christ and the apostles, which we can read in our New Testament, if we are blessed with having the word of God available to us, as we are in America presently. If we don’t have access to Bibles, but we are believers in Jesus, we have the Holy Spirit within us to teach us all things and to remind us of all that Jesus taught his disciples. We need to spend time in the study of God’s word, and in listening to our Lord speak his truths to our hearts, and not engross our minds in the philosophies of this sinful world or in teachings of men, much of which are twisting the truths of scripture to their own advantage. We must test what we hear, read and see against the Word of Truth and the nature of God, because not all that calls itself holy and of God is really holy or of God. This calls for much discernment. Obey your leaders as God directs us to do, in the realm of their authority over us, but don’t get caught up in false teaching, or in becoming followers of humans, or in raising human beings to godlike status to where we follow what they say without making sure what they are telling us to do is of God, or is required by God. And, never ever obey what is sinful. Your New Life / An Original Work Based off the Gospels / May 15, 2014 Go and make disciples of peoples, Teaching them to obey their Savior. Do not fear, but go where He sends you. Tell them all of what you have heard. The kingdom of God now is upon you. Come, and follow Jesus, your Lord. He will make you fishers of man. If the people Jesus desire, They must die to sin and to self-life. If they want to hold on to their lives They will lose them forevermore. Surely you heard that coming to Christ Means a new life in Jesus, your Lord. Follow Christ wherever He leads. Love the Lord with all of your heart, and Love your neighbors as you would yourself. Preach the gospel to all the nations. Do not worry what you will say. Proclaim the freedom for all the captives. Share the light with all who are blind. You are ministers of our God.