Vol. 38, No. 8 August, 2014
WHOSE WE WERE, AND WHY?
WHOSE WE ARE, AND HOW?
“And you hath He quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great Love wherewith He loved us. Even when we were dead in sins hath quickened us together with Christ, by Grace ye are saved. And hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
(Eph 2:1-6) Please take your Bible (KJB) and read the entire second chapter of the Book of Ephesians. This will only take a few moments. This is one of the richest chapters in the entire Bible. In our services at our Church our messages are mostly textual. We start at
the beginning of a Book and work our way slowly through that Book, and then
to another, and so forth. I like it that way. In this manner of preaching, we have to face every verse, even those verses that sometimes seem difficult. So with this thought in mind, I recently began a study in the great Book of Ephesians. I want to share with you some of the things we are learning. I am happy to greet our readers across the nation. I trust this lesson will be a help and encouragement to you.
WHOSE WE WERE, AND WHY. The Bible clearly says in verse 2, we were “ children of disobedience” We were “by nature, children of wrath.”(v3). Now, there is a teaching that says, “We are all God’s creation, therefore we are all God’s children.” This is the old teaching about the “Universal Fatherhood of God, and the Universal Brotherhood of man.” While it is true that we are God’s creation, we are not all children of God. Man sinned, and lost his standing with God. God set forth His plan of Redemption to buy back that which man lost. In order for us to be called “Children of God, we must be born into God’s family. We are born sinners, and we must be born again.(John 3). Now, let’s look at the “WHY” we were “Children of wrath” and “Children of disobedience.” As we study
the first Chapters of the Book of
Genesis, we clearly see that God created Adam and Eve. God placed them in a beautiful Garden to care for it and to enjoy it. One day, Satan came to Eve in the person of a serpent and had a dangerous discussion about the Word of God. “Yea, hath God said?” as he questioned the Word. Eve said, God hath said “Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it lest ye die.” Satan’s answer, “Ye shall NOT surely die.” But God had said, “In the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die.” Eve ate of the forbidden fruit, then gave it to her husband Adam and he did eat. Adam and Eve died that day, because God had said in the DAY thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die. They died that day. I am well aware of the fact that they lived hundreds of years, physically, but they died Spiritually the moment they partook of the forbidden fruit. As a result of that act of disobedience, Adam and eve incurred a sinful nature. That sinful nature was passed on to their children, and on to all mankind. “Wherefore as by one man (Adam) sin entered into the world and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” (Ro. 5:12). We are born sinners, born with Adam’s nature. We are NOT born sons of God, that’s why the Bible says, “ Ye must be born again.” We are sinners by BIRTH, by CHOICE, and by NATURE. Paul lists some of the results of being born “Children of disobedience” and “Children of wrath.”
(A) ENSLAVED BY THE WORLD “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world. The course of this world, meaning “the world’s system” or “ the world’s philosophy” or “the world’s direction.” A careful study will clearly show that the world system is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-Bible. At one time in our life, we walked according to however the world dictated. The world said, “do your own thing, get all you can, while you can. We were on the world’s Broadway that led to destruction, (Mt 7:13).
(B) EMPOWERED BY SATAN. We walked “ according to the Prince of the power of the air” (v2)Whatever Satan dictated, we did. That does not mean that we were drunkards, or thieves, or vile, or riotous, or one of a thousand other bad things we could list. We followed the directions of our father, the devil (John 8:44) The devil can use the self righteous deeds of the Pharisees as well as he can use the vileness of this world. I believe that Satan uses self righteousness more than he uses any of his devices.
Religion without Christ is empowered by Satan. (John 8:44)
Self righteousness is empowered by Satan. (Lk 18:10-14)
(C) ENERGIZED BY THE FLESH. “Among whom also we had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh fulfilling the desires of the flesh.” (v3). The flesh refers to the old nature we had before we received Christ. Whatever the flesh desired, we went for. Titus 3:3 describes us before we met Christ; “For we ourselves were also sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” The flesh is also sometimes known as the “Old Man” What we were before we were saved.
(D) EXCLUDED FROM PROMISES. “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world.” (v12). What is the worst possible condition a man may find himself in? The answer, “WITHOUT” The unsaved man is,
Without God…(v12) The Bible goes on to say that we were “AFAR OFF” Banished, expelled from the presence and promises of God.
(E) EXPELLED FROM GOD’S PRESENCE. V12, v17 state that we, gentiles, were “afar off” We had no access to God. Even in the Tabernacle worship there was a wall separating the “Court of the gentiles” and the “Court of the Jews”. There was a warning on this wall about death for a gentile who would enter the court of the Jews. “For He is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us.” (v14) This middle wall may refer to the wall separating Jews and Gentiles. There was a Legal wall, a Moral wall, a Spiritual wall. At His death on the Cross, the veil in the Temple was torn from top to bottom, that veil which separated God and man, and every wall between God and man, and between races, was torn down. The Bible clearly teaches us that there is “No difference”
(Ro 3:22) No racial, no social, no religious difference. “ALL have sinned.”
There is so much more. As I have said, please take time and read the entire chapter, slowly, allowing the Holy Spirit to teach you, “WHOSE WE WERE AND WHY.
2. WHOSE WE ARE, AND HOW. “NOW therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” (v19) We were aliens, strangers, foreigners, and at enmity with God, and with man. Now, by Faith in the Finished Work of the Cross, we are “Sons of God.” “Of the household of God.” “Joint heirs with Christ.” A few nights ago I was watching one of these “TV Preachers” He said in his message that “We are born again, but not yet sons of God. We have to grow into sonship.” I listened for awhile to see just how he might explain his doctrine, and of course, he never did. He could not use the Bible, (KJV) and explain such heresy. “NOW” the Bible uses that word over and over. “NOW are we the sons of God.” (1Jn 3:2). BY Grace, through Faith (v8-9) We belong to God, “NOW.” That’s WHOSE WE ARE, NOW, HOW?
“But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were afar off are made nigh by the Blood of Christ.” (v13). Thank God for the Pure, Spotless, blameless, Sacrificial Lamb of God. His Life was Pure, His Blood was Pure. Now, we are built upon the right Foundation.” That Foundation is Christ, (1Cor 3:11) Christ is the Cornerstone, (v 20, 1Pet 2:6). The building fit together in v 21 is His Church. We who are believers in Jesus Christ are stones placed where God wants us to be. The Apostles and Prophets built upon that foundation, which is Jesus Christ. Paul, in this chapter lists some of the Divine attributes of God as he explains “HOW” God did it all..
(A) MERCY, (v4) Sometime ago,we completed a lengthy study in the Book of Romans. We found in the first three chapters that man is a sinner. We saw how the gentiles got into sin, how the Jews got into sin, how the whole world got into sin. “The whole world is guilty before God, (Ro 3:19). That’s the verdict! We’ve been tried and found guilty. “The wages of sin is death.” But God did not leave us without hope. He is rich in MERCY! The MERCY of God is that attribute that keeps us from getting that which we rightly deserve. We deserve the worst, but He gave us the Best. “His MERCY is everlasting.” (Ps 100:5) Read the 136th Psalm and rejoice at the times when the Psalmist says, “His MERCY endureth forever,” MERCY keeps us from getting what we rightly deserve.
(B) LOVE, (v4) Paul refers it to “His GREAT Love.” John further writes, “What manner of Love the Father hath bestowed upon us?” (1Jn 3:1) What strange Love? What foreign kind of love is this? We all know about a Mother’s Love. How sweet, tender, far reaching a Mother’s Love is. But Paul is writing about a GREATER LOVE.
We know of a Father’s Love. A good Father works for his family. Sometimes he has to work two more jobs for his family, because of his love for his family. But Paul is writing about a GREATER LOVE.
We know about sweetheart love. We wish that sweet relationship would continue through the years, BUT, in reality, sweetheart love fails, some Father’s love fails, and some Mother’s love fails. But Paul is speaking of a “GREAT LOVE” “When my Father and my Mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.” (Ps 27:10) Some “loves” down here fail, but not His “GREAT LOVE.” “Greater Love hath no man than this, that a man lay down His life for his friends.”(Jn 15:13) Christ proved His GREAT LOVE as He freely gave His life for us on the Cross.
(C) GRACE, (v8) “For by Grace are ye saved.” The richest word in the language of man is GRACE. The unmerited favor of God. As His MERCY keeps us from getting what we rightly deserve, His GRACE gives us that which we do not deserve. We are forgiven of all our sin, freely, all at Christ’s expense.
(D) FAITH, (v8) Grace is God’s part, Faith is our part. The problem is, as a sinner, I do not have the faith. Here is the good part. God even provides the sinner the faith to believe, to receive Jesus Christ. “By Grace are ye saved, through FAITH, it, (FAITH) is the gift of God.” (v8) Saving faith is imparted through belief and trust in the Word of God.
WHOSE WE WERE, AND WHY? We were children of wrath, children of disobedience. And WHY? We were born that way.
WHOSE WE ARE, AND HOW? “NOW are we the sons of God.” God has “quickened us” or made us alive. We have a new station. We sit together in Heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Where Christ is, that’s where we are. Our hope of Heaven is settled. No matter where we may be, we are in Christ Jesus. Now, while we are here, we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. Let us be busy in our Master’s service. Ever witnessing, ever being good representatives of our Heavenly Father.
Perhaps this has not meant very much to you. You might have asked, “What has this to do with me?” Simply stated, If “WHOSE YOU ARE” is not Jesus Christ,That makes you “a child of disobedience, a child of wrath.” Jesus said, “The wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jn 3:36) In just a heartbeat, through Faith in Christ and His work on the Cross, you can change your “WHOSE YOU ARE, to “ALL HE IS” “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” “How do I receive Him?” The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Ask Christ into your life today. Tell God that you receive Him. Begin TODAY to live FOREVER!
BY GRACE ALONE, THROUGH
By Pastor George Mills
“For by Grace are ye saved through Faith and that not of yourselves, it is the Gift of God.” (Eph 2:8)
By Grace alone, through Faith alone,
Forever settled, the Work is done,
He paid for our sin, The Sinless One,
It is by Grace, through Faith alone.
Not a merit wrought by me,
The Blood of Christ, my only plea.
Nor by a race that I have run,
But by the Grace of God’s own Son.
Not a work of my own hand,
Only by Salvation’s plan.
Not a sorrow I may show,
Only Grace can make me know:
Sin forgiven, the stain is gone,
The Work is finished, Christ alone!
Nothing else could sin atone,
It is by Grace, through Faith alone.
Thank you for taking time to pray for this ministry. Every time someone stops by to tell me that they are praying for us, my, that does my heart good. Thank you for every letter, for every call, for every encouraging word. This ministry goes into places around the world where we could never go physically. Pray for the men and women we reach in prisons. Pray for their families. Let us remember to pray for our great nation. Pray for our President and Congressional leaders. Our power and influence in the world as the leader is rapidly vanishing we need strong leadership as never before.
On Thursday, June 19, 2014, our grandsons Tyler, (age 13) and Caleb, (age10) stood at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where President Lincoln stood in 1863 and from memory, recited The Preamble of the Constitution and the Gettysburg Address. Tyler, dressed as “Uncle Sam,” recited the preamble, and Caleb, dressed as Mr. Lincoln, recited the Gettysburg address.
This is after weeks of planning, studying, memorizing and tutoring by our Daughter-In-Law Ruth, and the making of their costumes by Mrs. Mills, THEY DONE GOOD!!!
We are very proud of these guys! What a wonderful time of learning and a great experience for them. We pray for God’s hand upon these young American men all of their lives.
Congratulations HOBBY LOBBY!!
A Great court victory for the right and dignity of human life!
SATANIC ATTACKS UPON THE WORD OF GOD NEVER CHANGE.
As it was in the beginning, so it is today.
“And the Lord God commanded the man saying, of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat. But of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen. 2:16-17).
God’s commandment was sure, plain, and simple. No debate. “ Thou shalt NOT eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge.” Now, let us go on to Genesis 3.. “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” The first thing Satan did was to cause;
DOUBT. “Yea, hath God said?” The first thing Satan did, in the very beginning was to cause a DOUBT. He questioned the Word of God. His tactic has not changed. Behind every new version are the words, “Yea hath God said?” “Did God really mean that?”
DILUTE. After he plants his DOUBTS, he goes further. He DILUTES by adding; “In reality, God is keeping back something from you.” “Your eyes shall be opened and you will be like God.” Satan, to bring this up to today’s arguments, said to Eve, “Have you read the latest commentary on that verse? A new version says something different. We checked the “originals.” And so it is with each version, just change a word here, and there, correct that. Let’s update, the language is archaic. Don’t you believe that lie. Don’t change the Bible, change your language. “Every Word of God is Pure.” And his next attack,
DENY. “Ye shall NOT surely die.” After Satan plants his DOUBTS, and then DILUTES by adding to, he continues his attack by DENYING the Word. And with every new version including the RSV, TEB, NKJV, NASV, NIV, Inclusive version, etc, the attack continues. A careful verse by verse comparison of these new “versions” with the Authorized King James Version clearly show entire passages omitted, added to, or edited. The KJV says in 1Tim 3:16, “God was manifest in the flesh.” The same verse in the NIV says, “He appeared in a body.” The question then is, “Who appeared in a body?” Buddha? Allah? Who? Hundreds of changes in the confusion of “Bibles” today started with changing just a little word. God is NOT in all of this confusion about the Bible.
DISOBEY. The door is open now. “ Go ahead Eve, partake of the forbidden fruit. Your eyes will be opened to glorious things.”
“Every Word of God is Pure, He is a shield to them that put their trust in Him. Add thou not to His Words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.” (Pr 30:5-6). We Disobey when we DOUBT, We disobey when we DILUTE, We disobey when we DENY, We disobey when we DELIBERATELY tamper with, change, or explain away.
A dear lady recently asked me, “My preacher’s Bible doesn’t read like mine, what should I do?” My answer, “GET OUT, Leave, find a good Bible (KJB) preaching Church. We DISOBEY the clear commandment when we listen to or go along with this for convenience sake. “From such, turn away.”
TEEN TALKS THAT MATTER
By Ashley Stevens
In The beginning God created the heavens and the earth. God created all that we have, all that we see, and everything that we are. After creation He took the time to rest. He sat back and looked at all He had created and saw that it was good. As you get older, life will get busier and busier, I can promise you that. Right now you have a few responsibilities, like high school, extracurricular activities, maybe even a part time job. As you grow older and older more and more responsibilities will fall into your lap. One day you may even have a full time job and a family of your own to take care of. You need to start now, if you haven’t already, to take time out to rest in God. Take the time out of your day when there are no distractions in the way and you can focus solely on your relationship with the Creator. Your day to rest in the Lord is normally on the Lord’s Day. This will give you an opportunity to take a break from the pressures of everyday life. By taking a day out of every week you are saying, “Lord, I trust you to maintain control while I spend this day to focus on Him. Regardless of how much remains on my to-do list, today Lord, I am going to rest my mind and body in your Presence.” I can assure you that this will not be easy. There will be so many things that will distract you and take you away from spending the day with God. However, when you take this time and give it to God, we will find out that it is easier to put our lives into perspective. Remember if the Creator took a day off and told us to do the same, it is safe to say that it is advice worth listening to and applying it to our lives.
FROM MY HEART
By Mildred Mills
OUR GOD FORGIVES
What a Wonderful and Mighty God we serve. He not only made it possible for us to be saved, He also promises to keep us after we are saved. When we become His child by trusting in the Death, Burial, and Resurrection of Christ, His Mercies do not stop there. He provided Grace and Mercy that will follow us all the days of our lives. He knew we would fall short in our Christian walk and we would need daily cleansing. We, as Christians not only do things that are displeasing to God. But we also fail to do the things we should, and this is also sin. Omission or commission, whatever the case may be, we need daily cleansing. I am so very thankful He promised to save us, keep us, forgive us, and to love us no matter what. I have always said if God saved me and said to me, “now you are on your own,” I would be in trouble, (and so would you). How many times we fail and Satan says to us, “you failed, so just give up, and sell out to me.” When this happens, God speaks to us through so many verses in His Word. “For Thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in Mercy unto all them that call upon Thee.”(Psa. 86:5). God tells us, “If we confess our sins, He is Faithful and Just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1Jn. 1:9). So, child of God, when things happen in your life that are not pleasing to Him, ask for His forgiveness and remember He is Merciful and full of Grace.
God asks that we do our best,
But He accepts us when we fail.
For no matter what we do,
His Love and Truth prevail.
God is a forgiving God!
ARE YOU SAVED FROM THE PENALTY AND POWER OF SIN? IF NOT, THEN, WHY NOT?
If you are not saved, it is not because there is not a need for you to be saved. “All have sinned and come short of the Glory of God.”(Ro. 3:23.)
If you are not saved it is not because there is no way for you to be saved. Jesus said, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.”(Jn. 6:37).
If you are not saved it is not because you do not have time to get saved. “TODAY if you will hear His voice harden not your heart.” (Heb. 3:15).
Christ is there, wherever you are, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. He will, at your invitation, come into your life, and make life worth living. Trust Him today, while you have today. The Bible says, “Ask, and ye shall receive.” Ask Christ to save you just now. He will hear the cry of the repentant heart.
Begin TODAY, to live FOREVER!!