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         14
      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

Titus


Alan
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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

I'm thankful for the bible studies here... everyone who contributes helps to clarify practical application in our lives.  I also have to say I've read Titus 2:10 countless times when I'm studying in Titus... and yet it never really dawned on me that YES... Paul wasn't just teaching on the right attitude a servant should have, but also the right understanding of DOCTRINE!

Sorry for skipping ahead here, but since it's only 3 verses away... verse 13 (one of my favorite/most comforting verses) :   "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;"  So if we don't have a right understanding of doctrine, that verse is not going to be understood!  

Just a little nugget... sorry if I interrupted the study, I just get excited when I get that "aha" moment... Thank you, Alan for helping bring that to light for me.  

 

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I am thankful also for the fine discussions thus far in Titus. I think all of our participants have enabled all of to enjoy Titus and to have a fuller understanding.

No problem skipping ahead. Titus 2:13 is one of my favorite verses in the Bible. The coming of the Lord will be a glorious appearing. Maybe today.

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Brethren,

I am very happy to hear that the study inTitus has been a blessing to all. Unless new discussions come up soon, I will be uploading the upcoming lesson in Titus 2:11-13

Titus 2:11-13 and 3:4-7, are some most encouraging portions of scripture in my heart. And, probably in the heart of a lot of the saints as Ronda has already expressed. I believe Paul, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, has purposely done so to express the importance of the Blessed Hope of the Glorious Appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

God bless you all.

Alan

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Titus 2:11 and 12

The Grace of God

     Verses 11 & 12

     (11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

     (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The eternal salvation of the soul; to escape the penalty of hell and enter heaven, is free. Our salvation was purchased on the cross of Calvary, through the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. All that is necessary for a person to be saved is too hear, have a heart repentance, and believe in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Salvation cannot be earned by any type of merit, or religious exercise. “And if by grace, then is it [salvation] no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Romans 11:6. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” Ephesians 2:8 & 9

The grace of God brings us salvation. God’s grace justifies us in His sight. Paul later on in Titus said, “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:7

God’s salvation is by grace. Grace is simply God’s unmerited favor. We cannot earn salvation through any means nor do we deserve salvation. All of us deserve to spend eternity in hell because we have sinned against a righteous and holy God. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23

The Lord Jesus left the glories of heaven, lived a perfect, sinless life and died on the cruel cross of Calvary, for us. Mankind has done nothing to deserve what the Lord Jesus did for us. “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9

Furthermore, His salvation has appeared, and is appearing, to all men. The Holy Spirit of God convicts the hearts of men in all countries. God’s grace teaches several things. They are:

     1. To Deny Ungodliness.

      God wants us to have fellowship and to be like Him. God is holy and He wants us to be holy also. “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16. It is also written, “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: ... ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” Leviticus 11:44 & 45

     After salvation, God wants to cleanse us from all of our spiritual and physical filth. This includes our sinful habits and our sinful thoughts. Once a person is saved he needs to realize that sinful habits, such as chewing tobacco (betel nut in the case of the Chinese), drinking liquor, smoking cigarettes or cigars, reading filthy books and magazines, cursing and other bad moral habits, are wrong and needs to be gotten rid of.

Also, since God’s motives and thought are pure and holy, we need to cleanse our motives and thought life. God wants us to cleanse ourselves from any ungodliness in our lives. Paul said it best in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

   2. To Deny Worldly Lusts.

     The devil is as a roaring lion seeking to destroy any and all the saints. One of the methods he uses is worldly or fleshly lust. Even though a Christian has the Holy Spirit to guide him into all the ways of righteousness, he still has his old nature to live with. The saint would do well to study Romans Chapter 6 & 7 in order to complete this study. Paul said in Romans 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, gave us a list of some worldly lusts in the book of Galatians. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21

      All of us are capable to do these lusts that Paul mentioned due to our sinful nature. Those who do these worldly lusts need to repent and deny, or get rid of, them. Brethren, we need to heed the advice of Peter when he said, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11

     3. Live Soberly.

     In verse 2, 4 and 6, Paul mentioned to Titus that all of us need to be sober-minded. Our lives, and thoughts, should be in a state of peace and serenity compared to the constant turmoil in this unsettled world and its desire for ungodliness and worldly lusts. Even though the world is in a hurry and unsettled in its thoughts and actions, the Christian should be sober and realize that God is in full control and that His will be done.

     Even though the world may be in turmoil around us, the saint who desires to follow the Lord can have peace of mind. Did not the Lord Jesus say, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

     4. To Live Righteously.

     God is righteous and He expects those who trust in Him to be righteous.

     Even though there are multitudes of people who sill steal, cheat, lie or use deceitful practices to get ahead in life, the Christian should not. We live in a world that uses every dishonest and unrighteous act in order to get ahead in life and to live in filthy pleasures. That is no excuse for us to do so. We should understand that God knows it is hard live a righteous live. And, we should realize (be sober-minded), that God will provide a way for us to live right.

     Paul told the Corinthian church, “There hath no temptation taken you but such is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. Paul knew, as every Christian should know, that the Christian has the power, in him, to resist fleshly desires and temptations.

     In the Old Testament God commanded His saints to do right. In the New Testament God’s grace teaches us to do right.

     5. To Live Godly.

     The grace of God teaches us that we should deny, or get rid of, any ungodliness in our lives, and live a godly Christian life in a midst of an ungodly world. The Lord Jesus lived a godly life in an ungodly world, said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16. God is in heaven and He desires our lives to be such like His that He will be glorified by the way we live.

 Conclusion of God’s Grace working in our lives

God’s grace not only saves us, but God desires, through His abiding grace, to walk with Him by faith and prepare us for an eternity with Him in Heaven. Paul correctly states that this world is only for the present. The Christian is a pilgrim and a stranger in this present world and our hopes, our aspirations, our desires are in heaven where we can live, and enjoy God.

“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country. And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from whence they come out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. But now they desire a better country, that is an heavenly: therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:13-16

 

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What's there is something I had so much confusion with and trouble understanding shortly after I was saved.

As I read the Bible, the few Christian books and booklets I could get a hold of, I found Christians are called of the Lord to live a certain way, to avoid certain things, to recognize sin and turn from it, etc.

At the time there were only a few Christians I knew of and even the "better" Christians, some with positions in churches, were not living as I saw Scripture call us to. Being a new Christian I tried talking with some of them about this and they all told me not all that stuff is meant for us, that some of that only applied to "back then", that we can do worldly things without sinning since we have our heart under control, that being a Christian is about "love" (which was typically a worldly definition rather than a scriptural version).

All of this so confused me. I would read the Word again and so much seemed so clear with regards to how we are to live. That got me wondering why anyone would want to even bother calling themselves a Christian if they didn't want to actually follow Christ, believe and live by the Word.

Even so, I kept seeing these other Christians living what seemed to be a worldly life with a thin coating of Christianity. These people were looked up to by those in their churches. Some were lay ministers, one did prison visitations, a few of them would go out handing out tracts, all with their pastor/church approval and yet they were living and even doing some of these things with so much worldliness.

I really struggled with this for a long time, until after a move the Lord brought a godly man into my life...and I've related that story here before.

Even today I encounter many Christians (I'm speaking of those who actually have a sound testimony of salvation and do seem to evidence being saved) who either don't bother to learn what Scripture says about living our lives or who outright dismiss things as being unrealistic for us, so only having applied to Christians back in the day.

Holiness, walking in righteousness, putting the things of the world away, living a godly life, there are so many contradictory views as to what these mean and it seems few Christians want to give much attention to this area.

This is part of the reason so many pastors end up in trouble when a sinful habit becomes public, and why some churches are filled with members living like the world around them which causes the lost to want nothing to do with Christianity.

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John81,

Your posting is a highly appreciated by all of us. Holiness is the inward character of the God, the Lord, and in our lives should also be our inward character. 

After I read your post Job 12:11 came to mind, "Doth not the ear try words?and the mouth taste his meat?" I had to pause and take stock of my own heart.

Thank you again for the fine post.

Alan

 

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You are so right "John 81"... there are many people professing to be "Christians" who live very worldly lives.  Now  we ALL struggle with sin, and whoever says they do not sin is a liar!  But once we turn to Jesus for salvation, we SHOULD have the Holy Spirit convicting us in our lives and causing us to see sin where we didn't see it before.  One verse that really "hits home" is 2nd Corinthians 10:15 "Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;"

So there we read we are supposed to take every THOUGHT captive! I don't know about the rest of you, but I am still working on that one! I try to live a life as pleasing to God as I can in deed and action.  I WANT to be able to truly take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  

Another verse tells us (in Ephesians 4:26) "Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath:"  So God knows we ARE going to get angry sometimes,  I pray that I "sin not" when  do get angry... that's another tough one, but I'm working on that too (With the Lord's help...I can do nothing on my own, the help comes from the Lord).

I've enjoyed many of the studies (like this one) here, and want to thank those who put the time and effort into these also.  I don't know how long I'll hang out here in this "IFB" site... but it was great getting to "meet" many of you!!!

 

 

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Ronda,

Thank you very much for your comments and thoughts. We do appreciate your participation in this lesson on Titus and are very happy that it is a blessing to your heart and life.

Alan

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Titus 2:13

The Blessed Hope

     Verse 13

     (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

 

Paul brings out three great doctrines that we can now know about in this passage.

1.        His Appearing.

2.        Jesus is not only God: He is the great God.

3.        Jesus is our Saviour.

The Appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ

The apostle Paul writes to Titus, and every believer, of the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. To the Christian, the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus is a blessed, or a wonderful, or a joyful, event. This event is called, ‘the Blessed Hope.’

The Lord Jesus said very plainly that He would come again to this earth in Acts 1:9-11. And, that we should expect Him as any time. Paul, and the early Christian Church, expected the Lord Jesus to come at any time.

Paul knew that there were no signs given to the church for the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ. All of the signs given by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24 and Luke 21 are for the Jews looking for the Messiah to deliver them from the 7 Year Tribulation period.

The Lord Jesus will return in the clouds as He stated in Acts 1:9-11 to take up, hereafter called the rapture, His church away to be with Him, 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and Revelation 4:1. The rapture, can take place at any time with no advance signs or warnings. This is when the Lord Jesus comes for His church, (both dead and live saints). It will immediately proceed the seven year Tribulation Period, Revelation 6:1-19:10

Escape Death & Obtain a Glorified Body

Another reason why the soon appearing of the Lord Jesus is called the blessed hope is that when the Lord Jesus comes those saints who are alive, like Enoch, will escape physical death. And, all of the bodies of the saints will be changed from a corruptible body into an incorruptible body.

“Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Like Enoch, Genesis 5:24, never saw death but was translated into heaven without dying, so shall those saints who are alive when Jesus comes never experience death. Glory Hallelujah!

Hebrews 11:5 says, “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death: and was not found, because God has translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.”

In the great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15, we learn that when the Lord Jesus comes He will change our corruptible bodies and give an incorruptible body.” Glory Hallelujah! No more pain, no more sickness, no more frail bodies, no more lame people, no more blind people, no more saints with MS or other debilitating diseases. Glory Hallelujah!

All of the above will take place, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52

“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17

The Judgment Seat of Christ

When the Lord Jesus appears in the clouds, the dead saints will rise first, and then the living saints will ascend up to the clouds. We will meet Jesus in the clouds.

The Lord Jesus said in Revelation 22:12, “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according to his work shall be.” When the Lord Jesus comes in the air, He is bringing His rewards with Him.

The apostle Paul wrote of this appearing, and rewards, taking place at the same time in 2 Timothy 4:1 and 8, “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom. ... Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Please take careful note that Paul called the Lord Jesus, “the righteous judge, “and that Paul, twice, said that at the appearing of the Lord Jesus he, and all the saints, would be judged. The kingdom Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 4:1 is also a reference when the Lord Jesus judges the Tribulation saints at the beginning of His 1000 Millennial Year Reign in Revelation 20:4

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10 Please see Romans 14:10

The Judgment Seat of Christ, for the Church Age saints, will take place in the air when the Lord Jesus appears. The soon appearing of the Lord Jesus is truly a blessed hope.

Revelation 19:11-21

The blessed hope of the soon appearing of the Lord Jesus is not to be confused with the coming of the Lord Jesus as KING OF KING’S AND LORD OF LORD’S as depicted in Revelation 19:11-21

In Revelation 19:11-21 the Lord Jesus returns to the earth with the church and overcomes the kingdoms of this world in a worldwide bloodbath. In Revelation 19:11-21 the Lord Jesus comes as a conquering King and slays all of His enemies and rules with a rod of iron in accordance with Psalm 2 and other prophecies in the Old Testament.

Appearing of the Great God

Paul brings out a great doctrinal truth concerning the person of the Lord Jesus. That He was God in the flesh. In fact, Paul here states that He was the Great God. To the Christian, the Lord Jesus is not only God; He is great. “Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.” Psalms 48:1 & 2

To those who are lost, unconcerned, reprobate, or a cultist, Jesus is not God, nor is He great. To them He may be a prophet, or He may just be a man, but He is not great. To the Christian who loves the Bible, the Lord Jesus is the great God.

Our Saviour

The Apostle Paul not only calls the Lord Jesus, he says, “our.” To Paul, the Lord Jesus was his personal Saviour. This is also the second time that Paul brings out that the Lord Jesus is our Saviour; see Titus 1:4 The Lord Jesus is the Saviour of the world. “And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” 1 John 4:14

Through the atoning death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, He can save all those who believe on Him for salvation. He saves us from an eternity in Hell so we can live in heaven for eternity. What a great Saviour is Jesus Christ our Lord! Throughout eternity we will marvel and praise His name for the greatness of His salvation.

 

“Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 1 Thessalonians 4:18

It is my hope that the above lesson on the blessed hope of the soon return of the Lord Jesus is a comfort and a joy for all of you.

 

Alan

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Our Lord is talking to me y'all!!!! Camp meet at church this week and preacher has us turn to Titus....Amen!!  I'm still learning but God is teaching me and helping me every day.....Just as it says....I'm feeling it and my conviction is stronger every day!! 

I gave a couple of questions. Since Jesus can come at anytime without warning as it says in the bible, is it right for us to look at the world and see "signs" of Him returning soon. Maybe it says somewhere that we will see some signs and I haven't got that far yet. Also, how can I feel so ready for the rapture yet feel burdened by my adult kids not being ready? I want more time for their sake but I'm so ready in my heart. 

Thank you Alan and everyone for everything you write....it is helping me a great deal. 

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Brother bjshuf,

We are very happy to know that the lessons in Titus has been a blessing to you and has helped you spiritual growth.  Glad to hear about the Camp Meeting at your church and that the preacher is using the book of Titus. The book of Titus has a lot of good material for the new saint. I will try and answer your two questions.

1. As I mentioned earlier the signs mentioned in Matthew Chapter 24 & 25, Mark 13 and Luke 21, 'The Olivet discourse,' are for the Jews. Since some of the events mentioned in the Olivet Discourse take a long time to develop and  some of the signs, or events, may, or may not be, evident before the the appearing of the Lord (the Rapture).

Let us look at one example. In Matthew 24:15-21 the Lord Jesus prophesied, "When ye therefore see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take ay thing out of his house." See also Mark 13:14-20 The above prophecy will take place in the 7 Year Tribulation period.

The Lord Jesus referenced Daniel the prophet and the abomination of desolation in the holy place. Please see Daniel 9:27, "And he [the anti-Christ] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [one week is in Daniel 9:25-27 is 7 years: this one week is the 7 Year Traibulation Period]: and in the midst of the week [the 3 1/2 year mark in the Tribulation Period]  he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consumation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." The above, Daniel 9:27, is the commencent of the 7 Year Tribulation Period as written in Revelation 6:1 until the end of the 7 Year Tribulation Period in Revelation 19:21

So, obviously, in order for the, "... abomination of desolation, spoken by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place..." to occur,  there must be a Temple built in order to have a holy place. In our age we have heard of many Jews give huge sums of money for a new Temple built. Some saints feel that because of this the rapture may be soon. Whether or not it is a sign is debateable, and if it is a sign, then it is a sign to the Jews and we (the church) can see the beginning of the end.

So, the church age saints may see some of the events that may indicate the  beginning of the Tribulation Period. But, the events seen are not to be taken as a sign to the church age saints.  

2. I understand your burden to see your kids and made ready for eternity before the appearing of the Lord, i.e., the rapture. I believe that the warnings in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21 for everybody to be ready for the Lord to come are not only applicable to the Jewish saints, but also to the Church Age saints. The Lord Jesus told all of those who wait for His appearing, "Watch therefore, for ye know either the day nor the hour wherein the son of man cometh." Matthew 25:13 We do not know when Jesus will come and there are no signs given to the church.

I would advise not puttting off tomorrow what can be done today. It takes wisdom and parience to wisely witness to our loved ones. Matthew 6:33 is still applicable to all of us.

I do hope that the above thoughts have been a help to you. If you have any more questions you feel you need to ask I would consider it a blessing to answer. Your participation is this study is welcomed and encouraged.

If you have any questions, or you would like to comment on earlier lessons in Titus, please feel welcomed to do so.

Alan

 

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Titus 2:14 and 15

The Cross of Christ

     Verse 14.

     (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The definition of redemption is as follows: (1) Act of redeeming, or state of being redeemed; ransom; deliverance; reclamation. (2) in religions generally, salvation; deliverance from what is regarded as evil; in Christianity, deliverance from the bondage and consequence of sin, as through Christ’s atonement.

Glory to God! Christ redeemed us from hell and the consequences of our sins! The Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, that He might save us. Who can imagine such love? “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16

“Who gave himself for us...” The cost of our salvation was tremendous. In order for the Lord Jesus to redeem us, to save us, He had to pay the penalty of our sins. The payment was His precious blood. The Lord Jesus had to die for us on the cross of Calvary and shed His blood in order to satisfy the holiness and righteousness of God. “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as a lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:18 & 19

“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” John 1:29 b.

“But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 9:11 & 12

The Lord Jesus died on the cross of Calvary in order to shed His blood as payment for our sins and then sprinkled it on the mercy seat in the presence of God, the holy place, and obtained eternal redemption for us. See Leviticus 16:15-17 as a type of our salvation. Praise the Lord! How can we ever thank the Lord Jesus enough for His payment for our salvation?

Brethren, the Lord Jesus not only obtained died for us to redeem us from an eternity in hell, He also redeemed us to follow Him. Paul now lists three items for all those who were redeemed to follow.

The Lord Jesus wants to take iniquity out of our lives.

     After salvation, God wants to clean up our lives. This includes getting rid of sin, bad habits, wrong motives, worldliness, corrupt doctrine, impure thoughts, lying, deceitfulness, idolatry, and other sins that defile us and dishonor God. “ Ye that love the LORD, hate evil. Psalms 97:10 a

     Why does God want us to take away our iniquities? Because we cannot have fellowship with Him, even after salvation, and have iniquity in our hearts and lives. Isaiah wrote, “But your iniquities have separated between you and God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:2 Iniquity in our lives will separate us having close fellowship with God.

Christ wants to purify the sin and worldliness out of our lives and make us a peculiar people.

It is the desire of God for His people to follow Him and not be worried about following the world and its philosophies, doctrine, attitudes and motives. We are supposed to be peculiar and not blend in with the world and its attitude towards God. God told the nation of Israel, “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the of the earth.” Deuteronomy 7:6. God’s people are different in their manner of living, doctrine, motives and actions.

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, and holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9. The Lord Jesus saved us from an eternity in hell, and spiritual darkness, we ought to serve Him.

We ought to be zealous of good works.

Some of the good works that Paul is talking about is; soul winning, giving, loving, cheerful, helping others, preaching and other spiritual works recorded in the Bible. We were saved to do good works. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath be- fore ordained that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10. God saved us to work for Him and not to sit around and do nothing.

As we work for the Lord, we ought to be zealous in our service to Him. A happy, cheerful, optimistic, and zealous attitude goes a long way towards helping others along the way in their service for the Lord.

Refuse to be intimidated

     Verse 15

     (15) These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.

Paul is now primarily exhorting Titus as a preacher of the gospel. Also, we need to remember that Paul felt impressed of the Lord to say the same thing to another preacher of the gospel, Timothy, due to other people intimidating them. “Let no man despise thy youth.” 1 Timothy 4:12 a

Whenever a man enters the ministry, there will some people who try to intimidate, hinder, interfere, discourage, or otherwise try to obstruct the preacher from doing what God wants him to do. We need to realize that there is a spiritual battle going on for the souls of men and that Satan will move his people to resist the man of God in His calling.

No matter what the opposition is to the man of God, he is to speak those things that God wants him to say. The man of God is to exhort people to be saved and exhort the saints to serve God. And, the man of God is to rebuke those who sin, to speak against sin, and to tell of the consequences to those who continue to sin. Oliver B. Greene in his commentary on Titus expresses it thusly, “God’s minister steps in the pulpit to preach sober, righteous, godly living-right here in this present world: and he does it with authority and without apology.”[23]

Paul is careful to add,“...with all authority.” Why? The word of God, the Bible, is our authority. The traditions of men, and the religious denominations of this world, are not our authority. Our authority to do the work of God is written down in the scriptures. This is why the proper title of our English Bible is not the King James Bible, but it is, “The Authorized Version of the Bible.”

 

 

 

[23] Greene, Oliver B. The Epistles of Paul the Apostle to Timothy and Titus. (Greenville, SC: The Gospel Hour, Inc., 1964) Page 467.

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Our Lord is talking to me y'all!!!! Camp meet at church this week and preacher has us turn to Titus....Amen!!  I'm still learning but God is teaching me and helping me every day.....Just as it says....I'm feeling it and my conviction is stronger every day!! 

I gave a couple of questions. Since Jesus can come at anytime without warning as it says in the bible, is it right for us to look at the world and see "signs" of Him returning soon. Maybe it says somewhere that we will see some signs and I haven't got that far yet. Also, how can I feel so ready for the rapture yet feel burdened by my adult kids not being ready? I want more time for their sake but I'm so ready in my heart. 

Thank you Alan and everyone for everything you write....it is helping me a great deal. 

Hi bjshuf,

Excellent question. I've read Alan's answer & consider it to be incorrect. 

Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13 & Luke 21 is giving signs relating to the AD 70 destruction, so that believers in Jerusalem & Judea would know when to flee the city before the destruction.

Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Jesus lists a variety of events that are NOT signs of the end - all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 

 

We have discussed at length in the debate section the interpretation of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. Simply understood it predicts the saving work of Jesus at Calvary, & the consequential destruction of Jerusalem & those who rejected their Messiah. The prophecy is fulfilled. Jesus second coming will be for resurrection & judgement, not for a complicated "end times" scenario. 

We must of course be concerned for our unsaved family members & contacts - our end times beliefs do not change the Gospel imperative - NOW is the day of salvation. 

 

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Hi bjshuf,

Excellent question. I've read Alan's answer & consider it to be incorrect. 

Jesus in Matthew 24, Mark 13 & Luke 21 is giving signs relating to the AD 70 destruction, so that believers in Jerusalem & Judea would know when to flee the city before the destruction.

Luke 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. 21 Then let them which are in Judæa flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.22 For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.

Jesus lists a variety of events that are NOT signs of the end - all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 

We have discussed at length in the debate section the interpretation of the 70 weeks of Daniel 9. Simply understood it predicts the saving work of Jesus at Calvary, & the consequential destruction of Jerusalem & those who rejected their Messiah. The prophecy is fulfilled. Jesus second coming will be for resurrection & judgement, not for a complicated "end times" scenario. 

We must of course be concerned for our unsaved family members & contacts - our end times beliefs do not change the Gospel imperative - NOW is the day of salvation. 

 

Brethren,

My earlier post on the prophcies of the Lord Jesus concerning Matthew 24:15-21, the Olivet Discourse, and the prophecies of Daniel 9:24-27 were entirely correct and doctrinally sound.

The above post by Covenanter is in doctrinal and historical error and does not represent the truth of Daniel 9:24-27. Pastor Markle was doctrinally correct in his conclusion that Daniel 9:24 to the first section of Daniel 9:26 was fulfilled at Calvary  at the baptism of Jesus, but the remining last week of Daniel's prophecy,the 70th week, Daniel 9:26 and 27 will be fulfilled as depicted in Revelation chapter 6-20. Therefore, the prophecy of Daniel 9:26 and 27 have not been fulfilled and Covenanter is in serious error. Also, the events that Covenanter discussed, Luke 21:20-22, was not a sign for the events in 70 A.D. and was not fulfilled in 70 A.D. Again, he is not only in doctrinal error but he is in historical error as well.

Very briefly.

Luke 21:20, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." In 70 A.D. there was only one army attacking Jerusalem: the Roman Army. The Lord Jesus plainly said, "armies." In Revelation the armies of the world attack Jerusalem. Some of these armies are mentioned in the prophecies of Ezekiel. Therefore, Covenanter is incorrect.

Luke 21:22, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." All of the prophecies in the Old Testament, including the detailed prophecies of Ezekiel, were not fulfilled when the Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Covenanter is again not doctrinally correct, nor historicly correct.

The current lesson is on Titus 2:14 and 15. I would like to request that all questions and comments by Covenanter be directed on the current lesson in order to keep continuity. I want to thank Covenanter in advance for his compliance in this matter. 

Alan

 

 

 

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Brethren,

My earlier post on the prophcies of the Lord Jesus concerning Matthew 24:15-21, the Olivet Discourse, and the prophecies of Daniel 9:24-27 were entirely correct and doctrinally sound.

The above post by Covenanter is in doctrinal and historical error and does not represent the truth of Daniel 9:24-27. Pastor Markle was doctrinally correct in his conclusion that Daniel 9:24 to the first section of Daniel 9:26 was fulfilled at Calvary but the remining last week of Daniel's prophecy,the 70th week, Daniel 9:26 and 27 will be fulfilled as depicted in Revelation chapter 6-20. Therefore, the prophecy of Daniel 9:26 and 27 have not been fulfilled and Covenanter is in serious error. Also, the events that Covenanter discussed, Luke 21:20-22, was not a sign for the events in 70 A.D. and was not fulfilled in 70 A.D. Again, he is not only in doctrinal error but he is in historical error as well.

Very briefly.

Luke 21:20, "And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh." In 70 A.D. there was only one army attacking Jerusalem: the Roman Army. The Lord Jesus plainly said, "armies." In Revelation the armies of the world attack Jerusalem. Some of these armies are mentioned in the prophecies of Ezekiel. Therefore, Covenanter is incorrect.

Luke 21:22, "For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled." All of the prophecies in the Old Testament, including the detailed prophecies of Ezekiel, were not fulfilled when the Roman Army destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Covenanter is again not doctrinally correct, nor historicly correct.

The current lesson is on Titus 2:14 and 15. I would like to request that all questions and comments by Covenanter be directed on the current lesson in order to keep continuity. I want to thank Covenanter in advance for his compliance in this matter. 

Alan

 

 

 

If I remember correctly correctly Pastor Scott agreed that the 69 weeks ended with the baptism of Jesus. 

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Invicta,

Thank you for your correction. I did check the debate in Daniel 9:24-27 and I did notice that Pastor Markle was in agreement that the 69th week ended at the baptism of Jesus and not Calvary. I corrected my post to show the disctinction in that respect. The remainder of my post, and the conclusion, remains the same.

Alan 

 

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Chapter 3

Exemplary Citizens

      Verse (1) Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.

Paul is now instructing Titus to preach to his congregation that we should obey the rulers that God has put over us and obey the various laws that are placed upon us by our leaders. This includes tax laws, driving laws, military draft laws, trade laws, and other laws. The Christian should be an exemplary example of a law-abiding citizen.

Paul, in the book of Romans, (Romans 13:1-7), carefully explained that the various governments of the world and their rulers are ministers of God for our good. Whether or not they are Christian is immaterial as God places men in power as He see fit. This was clearly brought out centuries ago with King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 5:21 states, “And he [King Nebuchadnezzar] was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointed over it whomsoever he will.”

God is the supreme ruler of the universe and He places the men in power that He wants to place in power for His reasons. It is our responsibility to pray for our leaders and influence them with our testimony for Christ.

The only time we are not to obey our leaders is when they go against the direct will of God as revealed in the scriptures. We have a clear example of this type of situation in Acts 5 when the religious rulers of that day told the Apostles to stop preaching in the name of Christ. Acts 5:29 says, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than man.”

When a ruler, religious or political, tells us not to do what God tells us clearly in the scriptures to do, than we are to obey God, not the ruler. As we do so, we must understand that we will suffer the consequences of our action. So, we had better be right and not just following our own will.

Remember, the Lord Jesus paid His taxes, obeyed the Roman government, and did not resist, in any way, Pontius Pilate when He was judged. At that time, the Roman government was probably more corrupt, cruel, worldly, and unchristian than most governments of our day. And, even as Paul was writing this epistle to Titus, he was in prison for his stand for Christ.

At those times when a Christian receives persecution, we are not supposed to grumble, nor unduly complain to the civil authorities, about the trials that the world brings our way. Did not the early church rejoice and give God the glory when they were persecuted for their faith? Acts 5:41 and 42 clearly show us that the Apostles rejoiced when they were persecuted for their faith in Christ. Did not Paul and Silas sing unto the Lord when the civil authorities put them in jail for preaching the gospel? See Acts 16:25.

People, who resist the government for their own personal reasons, or social agenda, are in error and God will judge them for their error. This includes draft dodgers, lawbreakers, murderers, thieves, speeders, reckless drivers, tax-dodgers, and other lawbreakers. In these last days, we are witnessing numerous people, social action groups, animal rights groups and other intentional lawbreakers encourage rebellion against civil authorities for their own personal agenda. God will judge rebellion against civil authorities in His own timing.

The Apostle Jude said this, “Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh [homosexuality and lesbian] are set forth an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.” Jude 7 and 8

Paul said, “... to be ready to every good work.” The context of Paul’s statement is in obeying the civil government. A good work for the Christian is to endeavor to work with, and possibly in, the government to do well. We need to remember Daniel. God gave Daniel wisdom, and natural leadership abilities, and was able to move into governmental leadership positions in the Babylonian government. Please study Daniel 1:17-21.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. ... For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same.” Romans 13:1 and 3

Evangelist John R. Rice, in his book, Dr. Rice, Here are More Questions, concludes this line of thought on obeying the government by saying, “Governments are ordained of God. People ought to obey the government just as children ought to obey parents.”[1]

As God ordained government for the protection of the people, it is our responsibility to obey its laws. This good work glorifies and honors God. The Lord Jesus said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

 

[1] Rice, Dr. John R. Dr. Rice, Here are More Questions (Murfreesboro, TN: Sword of The Lord Publishers, 1973) Page 528.

 

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