Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Church of Ephesus

Revelation 2:1-7

Christ's Introduction: One who holds the 7 stars (angels of the churches) Rev 1:20 and One who walks in the midst (Rev 1:13) of the 7 candlesticks (the 7 churches) Rev 1:20
Reveals: Christ's protection and control of the churches

Affirmations: good works, perseverance in labors, patience, endurance, abhorrence of evil, tested and exposed false apostles, hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes (name means: to consume the people) Rev 2:2,3,6

Faults/Sins: left their first love, fallen from a higher standing or relationship w/Christ, lost zeal of service and commitment Rev2:4,5

Penalties & Instructions: Remember prior relationship/commitment, Repent (change direction), Do first works- Return to prior level of service/ put back in order Rev 2:5
Failure to do these things will result in the removal of the church from Christ's presence.

Promises to overcomers: Access to the Tree of Life which is in Paradise/eternal life in the place of fellowship w/Christ. Rev 2:7

Link- intro w/penalties & promises: He who holds the angels of the churches and walks in the midst of the churches, determines the eternal position of the same.

Application: True love and worship can be lost in the wake of service/works. Works will never replace relationship.



This church could be characterized as a traditional church complete with programs yet lacking love. With out love, this church had lost it's vitality; it could be called a 'has-been' church. One that had replaced true Christian service with man's traditions, much like the scribes of
Matthew 15:6..."Thus you have made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition."




Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Getting Started

For the purpose of this study as well as most found on this site; I have used the following reference material: The Bible- various translations, Strong's Concordance, Nave's Topical Dictionary, and The Expositors Bible Commentary by Zondervan.

I am neither a prophet or theologian. I hold no ministerial degrees or credentials. I am however called by God to be both student and teacher of His Word. I believe the Word of God can be understood by those who have an earnest desire to understand and a willingness to spend time in prayer and Bible study. The material presented on this site is not meant to be considered as exhaustive by any means. Rather it is my intent to give basic exposition of the scriptures and whet the reader's appetite for more of the Word of God.

And unto the church.......

The message of Revelation is relevant to today. "Blessings to those who read, hear, and keep the words of this prophecy, for the time is at hand." Rev.1:3 and Rev. 22:7

The message given to each of the 7 churches of Asia was not for that church alone, it was for "He who hath an ear, let him hear....."

The promises of good things are made to the ones who triumph over the failures and sins attributed to each church. "To him who overcomes...."

The faults of 5 of the churches are mentioned as things that God holds against them. The remaining 2 churches had faults as well, although they are a bit less obvious in the text. Scripture also reveals the penalties for the sinful acts and negligence of each church.

Christ's introduction to each church reveals certain characteristics of His power to deliver both the penalties and promises to each one.

Monday, March 26, 2007

One Critical Flaw

Why are the Ten Commandments being taken out of our courtrooms? Why are detention centers filled with young people? Why does the teen pregnancy rate continue to climb? How did one woman get prayer taken out of our schools? How can a homosexual relationship be considered a sacred union and be called a marriage? How can Islam be the fastest growing religion in the United States?

The obvious answer is sin. No fluff, no hype, no sugar coating, just plain sin; sin in the world, sin in the government, sin in the streets, sin in our homes, and sadly, sin in our churches. What is not so obvious is how sin gained such a foothold in a country which was founded upon biblical principles by godly men.

The answer can be found in the first three chapters of the book of Revelations. True it is a prophetic book containing the mysteries of the apocalypse, but much of it is relevant to the world today. While John records the characteristics of seven distinct churches, I believe they had one common fault. That fault is the same one that plagues the church today. That fault is without question, the reason the church has removed herself from the fight. It is why she can not even muster a good argument against the evil practices that proliferate in our society.

Can you name that one characteristic, that one flaw, that one sin, that has given rise to the degradation of our nation? Your comments are welcome, but be brief. I need something left to post concerning this matter. Actually, I have planned a couple of installments.

For a post related to the removal of the 10 commandments from U.S. courthouses, see Voice of Vision: Patriotic Pietism

Monday, March 19, 2007

C.O.D.

For this discussion C.O.D. stands for 'cause of death' not 'cash on delivery'. However the idea of payment due upon receipt can be applied in a sense.

As this post unfolds I hope to show how it relates to the question presented in my last post: "What is God willing to accept from me/you?". The text is found in Leviticus 10:1-3, using the immediate context of chapters 8,9,&10 and an expanded context of Exodus 28,29,&30.

Leviticus 10:1-3
1)Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command. 2)So fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them, and they died before the LORD. 3) Moses then said to Aaron, "This is what the LORD spoke of when he said: "'Among those who approach me I will show myself holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.'" Aaron remained silent.

Basic info: Aaron was the high priest. Nadab and Abihu were his sons. God had commanded Moses to consecrate them for the priesthood. The pattern for this consecration is recorded in Exodus chapter 28 and was followed in every detail in Leviticus chapter 8. The ordination ritual included ceremonial washings, putting on the appropriate clothing including undergarments, and the application of blood to various body parts. The duties of the priests were also clearly outlined.

Clearly scripture states that the fire offered by Nadab and Abihu was unauthorized. It does not say they were unauthorized to use fire. As sons of Aaron they were of the lineage chosen by God to be priests. By the physical ordinances, they had been consecrated/sanctified by following Moses' instructions. One of their duties was to keep the fire burning at all times. Fire in a censor was the means of lighting lamps and incense. However this time, the fire offered was not as God had commanded. The problem was not with the fire alone, it was with the priests who offered it.

Some insight as to the condition of Nadab and Abihu may be gleaned from the words the Lord spoke to Aaron in Leviticus 10:8-10. 8) Then the LORD said to Aaron, 9) "You and your sons are not to drink wine or other fermented drink whenever you go into the Tent of Meeting, or you will die. This is a lasting ordinance for the generations to come. 10) You must distinguish between the holy and the common, between the unclean and the clean, and you must teach the Israelites all the decrees the Lord has given them through Moses."

The death sentence was not put upon them because they were drunk, disorderly, or confused about what they were doing, although I believe they were all of those things. They died due to what came before being drunk, disorderly, and confused. They were consecrated on the outside, but not in their hearts. They were appointed by God, they were dressed right, they had been sprinkled with blood, they were in the right place, they had the right tools, but they did not reverence God. Why else would Moses remind Aaron of what God had spoken? (see verse 3 of our text)

For sake of space and time I'll cut right to the application of this passage. A person may be saved, called, and appointed by God. He/she may be properly instructed on required duties, and may be following orders to the letter. He/she may be dressed appropriately and fully equipped for service. But, their service will not be blessed if there is no reverence of God in their heart. The inner man must be clean in order to properly hallow the Almighty.

As my pastor would say,"now I'm going to meddle a little bit". It does not matter how holy you look, act, or talk. It doesn't matter how well you teach or preach. It doesn't matter how many gifts of the Spirit you operate in, or how many fruit of the Spirit you think you have, if you heart is not clean your service is merely a strange offering. Instead of ushering in the blessing of God you will only bring reproach upon yourself. Continuing in this deceitful charade will certainly hasten your spiritual death and perhaps even your physical death.

God will accept no offering without purity, no service without holiness, no action that does not honor Him. What is God willing to accept? Obedience and that with a clean heart.



Although I don't actually feel deserving, someone dear to me thought I was. My prayer is to be a blessing and encouragement to all who stop by. God bless you all.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Question to Ponder

I am currently working on a post about the death of Nadab and Abihu. Actually, it is more about the cause of their death. If you would like to get a head start on the post, you can be reading Leviticus chapters 9 and 10.

Today, I want you to ask yourself a question that was once posed to me. The question came from a local pastor in response to the question I had brought to him. The question I had asked was one everyone asks at some point in their lives. While I won't be specific at this time, the question was this: what am I supposed to do about ______?

At first I was stunned with what he asked me. I could not answer immediately. We prayer together and I left. A counselling session that took all of 15 minutes has made an eternal impact on my life. After some time of meditation, prayer, and reflection on God's word, the answer came. I don't know how many times I have used this encounter to counsel with others who have come to me with questions concerning choices that had to be made. Thank God for a wise pastor.

The question he posed? What is God willing to accept from you?

I am sure you would like to know more about the pastor and Crossroads Assembly of God. Stop in and let him know you got the link here.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Gone Exploring: Will Return Soon

When I began this blog I intended to revamp and record previous studies. Somehow in the process of choosing which studies to post, I have jumped off on various tangents. These have led me into new studies all together. I believe the better the preparation the better the presentation. I would rather skip posting a few days than to put out some sloppy excuse for a post.

If you are disappointed with today's post or lack there of, please visit some of the folks in my sidebar. If you prefer something meaty in the Word; check out Voice of Vision
or Lessons from Life. If you just need a peaceful encounter, click on the Psalms 23 Movie and relax.

One of my favorite picks for a devotional is The Upper Room. You can link to it through my sidebar too. Eventually, I will learn how to put those links right in here with the post. lol
I may be one of those self-taught, do-it-yourselfers but I can get the job done given enough time. My daddy always told me there was nothing that I couldn't do. My Bible tells me, I can do all things with Christ. Amen.

P.S. Thanks to Even So for the tag pointers.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Study Helps- Example

*******Warning: Lengthy Post******
This post is to provide an example of the study helps given in a previous post. While it is not exhaustive, it will give you an idea of how to get the most from the text. Look for the local/cultural, temporal, details as you read the passage. You may need to read the entire chapter to get a complete picture. You will have to fill in the blanks, I don't always write out complete sentences. ( That is why I didn't make an "A" in my Principles of Teaching class). I would make abbreviated lesson plans when the prof wanted a complete 'how to' lesson.

Genesis 26:12-35 (New International Version)
12 Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the LORD blessed him. 13 The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy. 14 He had so many flocks and herds and servants that the Philistines envied him. 15 So all the wells that his father's servants had dug in the time of his father Abraham, the Philistines stopped up, filling them with earth.
16 Then Abimelech said to Isaac, "Move away from us; you have become too powerful for us."
17 So Isaac moved away from there and encamped in the Valley of Gerar and settled there. 18 Isaac reopened the wells that had been dug in the time of his father Abraham, which the Philistines had stopped up after Abraham died, and he gave them the same names his father had given them.
19 Isaac's servants dug in the valley and discovered a well of fresh water there. 20 But the herdsmen of Gerar quarreled with Isaac's herdsmen and said, "The water is ours!" So he named the well Esek, [a] because they disputed with him. 21 Then they dug another well, but they quarreled over that one also; so he named it Sitnah. [b] 22 He moved on from there and dug another well, and no one quarreled over it. He named it Rehoboth, [c] saying, "Now the LORD has given us room and we will flourish in the land."
23 From there he went up to Beersheba. 24 That night the LORD appeared to him and said, "I am the God of your father Abraham. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bless you and will increase the number of your descendants for the sake of my servant Abraham."
25 Isaac built an altar there and called on the name of the LORD. There he pitched his tent, and there his servants dug a well.
26 Meanwhile, Abimelech had come to him from Gerar, with Ahuzzath his personal adviser and Phicol the commander of his forces. 27 Isaac asked them, "Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?"
28 They answered, "We saw clearly that the LORD was with you; so we said, 'There ought to be a sworn agreement between us'-between us and you. Let us make a treaty with you 29 that you will do us no harm, just as we did not molest you but always treated you well and sent you away in peace. And now you are blessed by the LORD."
30 Isaac then made a feast for them, and they ate and drank. 31 Early the next morning the men swore an oath to each other. Then Isaac sent them on their way, and they left him in peace.
32 That day Isaac's servants came and told him about the well they had dug. They said, "We've found water!" 33 He called it Shibah, [d] and to this day the name of the town has been Beersheba. [e]
34 When Esau was forty years old, he married Judith daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and also Basemath daughter of Elon the Hittite. 35 They were a source of grief to Isaac and Rebekah.

Footnotes:
a Genesis 26:20 Esek means dispute .
b Genesis 26:21 Sitnah means opposition .
c Genesis 26:22 Rehoboth means room .
d Genesis 26:33 Shibah can mean oath or seven .
e Genesis 26:33 Beersheba can mean well of the oath or well of seven .

Local: Gerar in the land of the Philistines

Temporal: O.T. days, during time of famine

Details: Who- Issac, Rebekah, Abimelech, Philistines
What- Blessings on Issac, Envy of the Philistines, wells of Abraham
When- time of famine Where- Gerar
Why- Issac's blessings due to God's covenant w/Abraham

Universal: Famine/lack can happen any where, to any people group

Timeless: Blessings from God, jealousy, and hindrances can occur anytime.

Principles: God can bless you at anytime, anywhere, anyway. What He promised that will He do. The enemy will notice your blessings and will try to steal them.(Actually he does not want them, he just don't want you to have them.) When God is for you, you will fulfill His purpose despite the attack of the enemy.

The Philistines did not want the water/wells they just didn't want Issac to have them. = enemy

Issac followed the path Abraham had travelled before him. = Follow after godly examples

Issac moved from well to well as the Philistines strove w/him. = Keep moving ahead in God, put disappointments behind.

Abimelech finally decided to make peace w/Issac. = your enemies will eventually see the need to join in your blessings instead of hindering them.

There is so much in this passage that can be applied to our everyday life. Your insights/comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Mobile Inspiration

If you like inspiration on the go, or available on your cell, check out the following site:
www.mworship.net I'm sure it won't be anything like what you find here, but it will be pretty good stuff. I haven't tried it though, I don't have a cell. I wouldn't want to get too modern too quick. ha ha ha Thanks for stopping in, will resume regular material with next post.

I recently received the following in an e-mail from a co-worker.

CELL PHONE vs. BIBLE


I wonder what would happen if we treated our Bible like we treat our cell phone? What if we carried it around in our purses or pockets? What if we flipped through it several time a day? What if we turned back to go get it if we forgot it? What if we used it to receive messages from the text? What if we treated it like we couldn't live without it? What if we gave it as a gift to our kids? What if we used it when we traveled? What if we used it in case of emergency? This is something to make you go....hmm...where is my Bible? Oh, and one more thing. Unlike our cell phone, we don't have to worry about our Bible being disconnected because Jesus already paid the bill. Makes you stop and think "where are my priorities?" And no dropped calls!

Bear with me, I'm still trying to learn the "how to's" about this blogging stuff. I meant for this button to be somewhere else. Oh well, it is still a nice button, don't you think?

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