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Weekly sermons from the Raleigh congregation of the United Church of God.

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The Church of God In Today's World
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XM5Zc3SAQ3s/Wgh4jGdOK1I/AAAAAAAAAnI/h8QdAhnKUYsdYXBzBN1V3iv6KCQ2Gbp_QCLcBGAs/s1600/natalia-y-339474.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="900" data-original-width="1600" height="180" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-XM5Zc3SAQ3s/Wgh4jGdOK1I/AAAAAAAAAnI/h8QdAhnKUYsdYXBzBN1V3iv6KCQ2Gbp_QCLcBGAs/s320/natalia-y-339474.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Jesus promised He would establish an assembly of followers on a rock solid foundation and that assembly (church) would not die out. So, its reasonable to expect there to always be an assembly of His… active somewhere in this mixed up world. Can it be identified?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus also told us many imposters would come in His name, and they would lead many people astray. When they come before Him saying look what we did! His reply to them will be “<i>I never knew you. Get away from me you lawless people</i>”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 7:20-27</b> in that same section of His teaching Jesus tells us we can know the true from the false. His church will be an assembly of people who “<i>do the will of the Father</i>”. That is the rock solid<br /><a name='more'></a>foundation.</div><h2 class="western">Parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector Luke 18:9-14</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Pharisee is a man of obvious religious practice with an impressive list of good works. He tithes, he spurns injustice and immorality, he prays regularly, he fasts frequently, he is thankful to God for making him a righteous person.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The tax collector would have been a person despised by most people. Because of his profession people would naturally assume he was a greedy, corrupt, extortioner. Now consider how this man he sees himself. He sees his faults, how he appears in God’s sight, how much he has fallen short of God’s standards. With this realistic view of himself he seeks God’s forgiveness. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If you didn’t know what these men were thinking and praying, if all you could see was the clothes they wore and the badges of social standing they wore… you would probably make some superficial assumptions about which was most pleasing to God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But, Jesus uses the imaginative power of a parable to give you a God’s eye view of what the two men are thinking and praying:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">One is confident and self assured… convinced that his approach is correct… not examining his life for ways he needs to change but exalting himself before God.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The other comes before God, not expecting acceptance and praise, but asking forgiveness.</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">With this insight into their thoughts… which of these two would you imagine would be more willing to adjust his outlook, and his actions, to make the changes needed to please God… to really do His will?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Beyond the world of parables we don’t get to know what people really think, and pray, and feel. God does… God can enter into thought, mind, and feeling [1 Samuel 16:7 God looks into the heart]</div><h2 class="western">Paul Was a Real Live Pharisee</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Pharisee of the parable was a fiction. But Saul of Tarsus was a real Pharisee before his transformation into Paul an Appostleof Jesus Christ. What does Paul say?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Philippians 3:4-6</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 10:1-3</b> Paul says the religious Jews are fired up about God, <u>but</u>not according to proper understanding [<i>epignosis</i>]. Paul tells us part of their problem was they substituted their own ideas and religious practices in place of what God desires, or God’s will.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 1:12-13</b> super religious Paul, spoke evil of the church, did bodily harm to members of the church. Paul the Pharisee, and others like him, considered themselves righteous, zealously doing what they assumed was the work of God… Paul the Pharisee was sincere, but sincerely wrong. He says he did what he did because he did to not knowing any better, and did not believe the teaching of the Messiah. </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">People can be Very Religious But Lack Proper Understanding</span></span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Today, we live in a world where many know the general outline and purpose of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. Enough to be dangerous… We live in a world where many read scripture regularly and sincerely… but not according to proper understanding [epignosis]. Most have been tricked into ignoring obedience to God’s commands… yet sincerely convinced they are somehow doing God’s will.</div><h2 class="western">God Gives Credit Where Credit Is Due</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">People, nations, cultures that have contact with God’s word, whether in small measure or large measure, have an advantage by that contact and interaction. Those who practice even a part of what God’s word says have an even greater advantage. However, if we mix our good with evil then your blessings for good will be mixed with cursings for evil.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Scripture says that even those who have <u>no access</u> to God’s word yet do some of the things that are found in the word… are considered to have done good <b>Romans 2:14-15</b>. They will have an advantage when they rise up in the second resurrection.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But why not receive <u>ALL </u>the blessings and promises God has in store by making every effort to do <u>ALL</u> that God has commanded? … to do God’s will.</div><h2 class="western">Develop a Right Understanding Of God’s Word &amp; Will</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Proper understanding come through the power of God’s Holy Spirit in you. But, for your own part, there are some important areas to good hard look at:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about keeping God’s commandments?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about repentance and change?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does scripture teach about the purpose and goal of human existence?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the real message regarding the kingdom of God?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the meaning and process of salvation?</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is the truth concerning the church Jesus established?</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If you are confused about any of these and want some answers, here’s what to do. Ask God for understanding in prayer. We can help, we can teach, guide, instruct… but you need the understanding that comes from God, His spirit, and His word. Ask Him for it.</div><h2 class="western">Finding God’s People</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We learned earlier that Jesus said His true followers will be people who do God’s will. Are there other identifying features?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 13:34-35</b> here’s another clue for finding the people of God among the crowd. Yet this too is covered by a veil of deception because we often approach it with incomplete and therefore un-biblical definitions of love.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>What is love? </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> accepting others as they are, seeking to live in peace and harmony with them, having empathy, giving them a little cash when they need it. If you go seeking the people of God with this definition in mind… you’re going to end up in some weird places.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">All those things matter and with a few minor tweaks fit within a biblical definition of love [see 1 Corinthians 13 for example]. But as a definition of love its incomplete. A biblical definition of love is built on the firm foundation of God’s commandments.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 5:2-3 </b>to love one another is to regulate our interactions with one another according to God’s commandments. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 13:9-10</b> love does not replace the commands. Full biblical, godly love is accomplished through doing the commands and building on top of them with the fruits of the spirit [1 Cor 13 , Gal 5:22]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 22:36-40</b> this is not a revolutionary new concept never before revealed… Jesus is merely quoting OT verses [Deut 6:5, Lev 19:18].</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Treating others as God commands is love toward neighbor</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Treating God as He commands is love toward God</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s people will be an assembly of believers convicted through the power of the holy spirit to live differently. Convicted to actually do what God has commanded.</div><h2 class="western">The Church of God Will Be Filled With The Holy Spirit</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The power of the holy spirit makes living in Godly love possible. So… how does God go about dispensing His spirit? God gives His spirit to those who demonstrate a desire, a willingness, and a submission to changing… and conforming their life to His revealed will.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 2:38 </b>the ministry of Jesus Christ will instruct people to show evidence of their commitment to change and seek God’s will → then to be baptized → then to receive the holy spirit. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Believers accept the idea that they need to change, and that the change will take place within the guidelines of God’s commands. Otherwise, what does baptism really mean? The holy spirit would be like that river without any banks, flowing here and there with no forward movement or purpose… without banks to guide and channel it our river becomes a lake.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God does not give us His spirit to make us happy [its not spiritual Prozac or Zoloft]. God gives us His spirit so we might learn to do His will… so we might learn to live by His commandments… and build upon that with the other fruits of the spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 19:1-5</b> Paul re-baptized folks who had previously been baptized but lacked sufficient knowledge and understanding of what God actually wanted them to submit to [note: what was lacking in this case was a clear understanding of the truth about the person of th Messiah]. They had been immersed in the water but not received the holy spirit until Paul had properly counselled and re-baptized them. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God wants us to know exactly what it is we are committing and converting to before He gives us His spirit. </div><h2 class="western">How Does This Affect Our Quest For The Church Jesus Established</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We live in a world where billions have been baptized but without a clear comprehension of:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the need to change</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">the guidelines of what needs to change</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">a wide variety of false teachings on fundamental issues</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We live in a world where most are baptized into a wildly off-track understanding of God’s plan and purpose for humanity, without a clear understanding of the kingdom of God, not knowing the process of salvation. What exaclty have they been baptized into?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The great deception has gotten people to believe on Christ without understanding what it is He taught, what He practiced, or what He expects. Many in our world accept the idea of the bible being God’s word… while believing they can cross out the parts they don’t like about what it teaches. Worse yet, that humanity can substitute in our own ideas, or customs, and say they are of God. </div><h2 class="western">The Church of God Today...</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be people who believe, teach, and practice a change of heart regarding their previous disregard for God’s commands</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be people who’s way of thinking and acting is transformed by the baptism and the receipt of the holy spirit. Not without sin but committed to the ongoing process of conforming their lives in obedience to God</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people the living Jesus Christ uses to proclaim the truth of the kingdom of God, the truth about the family of God, the truth about eternal life</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people who wait in anticipation for a new heavens and new earth where righteousness dwells… righteousness built on the foundation of the law, the prophets, and the apostles.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">… Must be an assembly of people awaiting Jesus Christ’s return and the role they will play in assisting Him bring true change and salvation to the earth and all its people</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To fulfill their mission and maintain the unity of the faith these people of God will somehow have to band together. They will probably form physical organizations to pursue the very spiritual goals itemized above. The COG cannot fulfill it purpose without some form of organization.</div><h2 class="western">Your Final Clue...</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 10:24-25 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><b></b></span><b>Hebrews 4:9</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">There is a prophecy about the church of Jesus Christ in Revelation . The setting of the prophecy is just prior to the return of Christ at the end of this present age. It also provides a defining characteristic of the church…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 12:17</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You might also like to request our free bible study aid&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built</a>. It will help you find the answers you want from the pages of your own bible.<br /><br /><br /></div>We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/GUTLsNeWM48" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Falling Away From the Truth Begins
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ne7E2FeZtQI/WfnWSmutA3I/AAAAAAAAAmg/UaP74IZpyVQ3KVTLrCEwwt-N-iCESrZ_gCLcBGAs/s1600/patrick-hendry-249303.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-Ne7E2FeZtQI/WfnWSmutA3I/AAAAAAAAAmg/UaP74IZpyVQ3KVTLrCEwwt-N-iCESrZ_gCLcBGAs/s400/patrick-hendry-249303.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><span style="color: #00000a;"><br /></span> <span style="color: #00000a;">It has been foretold that a mighty deception will settle like a veil over human history. The veil will cover and hide the truth of God… the whole world would be led astray, the truth will be hidden, the way will be narrow and few will find it, many would hear the call of the message but few would be chosen. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Doesn’t this seems contradictory to the accepted world history of a church, a religion, aggressively spreading and progressively growing over the centuries. Spreading and growing until it reached a </span><br /><a name='more'></a><span style="color: #00000a;">position of domination on our planet. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">What the word of God foretells and what history reports and records appear to be very different. The record of history is not up for dispute… so did the bible miss the mark? Did the word of God underestimate the power of the message and how it would spread across the planet?</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Prophecies of a Mighty &amp; Powerful Church</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 4:1; 5:1-2, 5; 6:2 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">the 7 seals give us a foretelling of the general themes of human history from the time of Jesus death up to the time right before His 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> coming. [provide chart of parallel to Matthew 24] </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The first seal opened reveals a mighty figure riding a white horse wearing a crown of authority and rule. The white horse and rider certainly makes us think of Christ coming in great triumph </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 19:11-16</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">. But the rider released with the first seal in Revelation 6 is not Christ… but looks like Christ. Instead this rider is one who goes forth in the name of Christ to create confusion and deception. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The coming Christ wears the mark of royal authority on his head… a diadem. The rider of the first seal wears only the wreath of victory [stephanos]. The false rider is indeed victorious… but he is no king of kings or lord of lords.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The coming Christ of Revelation 19 wields the sword of God’s word to gain his victories. The rider of the first seal uses the bow, the military weapons of human warfare, subjugation and power.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In Matthew 24:5 Jesus prophesied saying “</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>many will come in my name proclaiming ‘I am the Christ’ but will deceive many</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">.” The prophecy of the 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> of the 7 seals tells of the same deception but reveals to us that this deception will actually prevail, and conquer. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Deception will be the winner and wear the wreath of victory. </span> </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Where Did The Rider of the First Seal Come From?</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>2 Peter 2:1-3</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the ride of deception begins in the Church of God… the very congregations formerly pastored by Peter, Paul, and John.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Note: Scripture predicts false teachings not only about ethical matters [sensual pleasure vs. the holiness of God], it foretells false teachings about the very nature of who and what Jesus Christ was and is. We are also told: </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><u>many</u></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> within the church will fall for it.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 John 2:18-19</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> a little over a decade later John reports that adversaries of Christ have risen up in the church. Sometimes they lead people off... presumably to create followings of their own. Sometimes they stay and later undermine the congregation they are part of.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>3 John 9-10 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">there is no specific indication of a doctrinal dispute. But John has written something Diotrephes does not want read or distributed in the congregation. Diotrephes even wants to put people siding with John out of the church congregation. Remember, John was an eye witness to the ministry of Jesus… but the church leader Diotrephes wanted to limit John’s influence in the church.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Church History Gets Murky After John’ Death…</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">If people like Diotrephes were getting the upper hand in local church congregations its plausible that true believers were losing control of the situation. Even to the point of getting forced out of their own congregations. Perhaps having to start up afresh somewhere else. Further and further to the fringes and then beyond the frontiers of the empire.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In the meantime a new brand of christianity began expanding rapidly. I would guess it had enough of the true message of hope to attract new believers… but it also had the additional appeal of confirming to deeply entrenched human philosophies and ideas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">After the death of John in the 90’s any written record of what was going on in the church gets murky and scarce. Its as if a dark cloak were spread over the church. Then about 150 years later the dark cloak is taken away… but what is then revealed is very different from the Church Jesus Himself established. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">One obscure example can be found of this period is found in the reference to Polycarp. He seems to be a true believer from Ephesus. Polycarp attended a sort of church council in 150 AD to discuss keeping Passover instead of the new easter celebration popular in Rome. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The report from the original council was friendly and collegial [they agreed to disagree]… but by 193 AD Polycarp was kicked out of the church for his faithfulness to what had been passed along to him by John.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">By 250-300 AD the visible church was filled with controversy and doctrinal disputes. But those who held fast to the teachings of the apostles and Jesus had become a small minority pushed to the outermost fringes of the empire. By this time they no longer had a place at any of the church leadership meetings.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The White Rider Emerges From the Shadows</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">During the decades of the early 300’s Diocletian became emperor of the Roman state. He greatly intensified persecution on this new religion called christianity. Diocletian’s persecution involved the burning all books, scrolls, manuscripts related to the church. This may account for the absence of information about the years from 100 AD to 250 AD.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">For example, the reference to Polycarp is a quote found in Eusibius’ history of the church. Eusibias is quoting from and earlier record of church history written by Papius. All Papius’ writings were destroyed. All we have are quotations of his writing referenced in other books. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">After Diocletian there was a 10 year period of political turmoil in the empire. Various factions fought what amounted to a small scale civil war to have their man placed on the throne. When the dust settled a guy named Constantine came out on top. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">During those challenging years the christians had not taken sides politically and retained at least some form of uncompromised moral authority.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine sees an opportunity!</span><span style="color: #00000a;"> </span> </h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Perhaps this unaffiliated but very popular religion could be used to unite the fractured society and culture of the empire. Constantine makes 2 executive actions:</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine legalizes christianity</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">2 years later, Constantine presides over the first of several church councils to resolve major doctrinal disputes. </span> </div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 0.5in;"><br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 0.5in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Note: to a man like Constantine such wrangling over words would only undermine the christian religion’s usefulness in bringing unity to the empire. Constantine himself presides over the meeting. He would provide the final judgment on which teachings would become the officially sanctioned doctrines of this church… backed up and enforced, if necessary, by police and military.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Constantine wasn’t even a believer, he wasn’t baptized, he still worshiped the mighty sun god. Constantine was a head of state looking for a way to provide social stability and unity for his empire. </span> </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The Church Hits The Big Time!</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In exchange for government support and sanction these leaders of the christian church allowed the government assume the role of deciding and enforcing doctrinal and administrative matters. With the support of Roman police, military, and financial resources a church presenting itself as the proclaimers of Christ would grow in power and influence.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In the 400’s millions… all across the empire... began pouring into this church. Probably drawn more by the appeal of state sponsored religion than by any type of spiritual calling. History also records that these new converts never really gave up their pagan ideas and practices… strange rituals and folk celebrations… philosophies of immortality, heaven, hell, even the very idea of who and what God is.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Church leaders, who had themselves already accepted a lot of error, were simply unable to counteract these customs and superstitions. They baptized people </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>en masse</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> figuring they could sort out all the craziness later. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>What was the result?</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">State approved christianity was a strange mix of beliefs, practises, and customs from many sources. To this day it remains hard to tell where paganism ends and biblical truth begins.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus’ Message to the Church</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Before the 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> seal is opened and the white rider is revealed, there comes a long message from the living and glorified Christ addressed to His church. Its written to 7 congregations in existence in the 90s when the revelation was recorded. The number 7 is most likely meant to be understood to signify completeness. The message was to be to the whole church and gave a full picture of the trends and divisions already beginning in the church at that time. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Trends and divisions that would become so great, it would result in 2 separate groups pursuing very different agendas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In His message, Christ makes note of obedience and disobedience… showing who He would bless and who He would reject. He offers praise where praise is due and criticism where criticism is due. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Christ compliments devoted members for their service, labor, patience, perseverance, endurance, and faith. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">His criticisms tell us a lot. </span> </div><ul><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">There is a wake up call to those who were spiritually weak, indifferent, and blind to their precarious and pathetic condition. </span> </div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">He has very harsh words for false teachers: those who followed the doctrine of Balaam, the practises of the Nicolatians, and those gave in to the allure of Jezebel. </span> </div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 2:18-29</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> “sexual immorality” covers all those who teach a misrepresentation of grace that encourages tacit permission to ignore God’s commands. “Food offered to idols” covers mixing false religious practises with true.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The “deep things of Satan”… that subject would require a lot more time than we have available. In this category I would put the horribly misleading teachings about the immortality of the soul, lawlessness, and the nature of God. Clearly, Satan had infiltrated the church on a fundamental level promoting deep, thought provoking, but misleading ideas.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">While some were plumbing the depths of Satan…. There were others who not put up with those ideas and the people who promoted them. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 2:2-3 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">in spite of Satan’s influence some remained strong and faithful</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 3:8-12</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the number of those who remained true and faithful was and is small</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Christ’s message to the church at the close of the age calls out two distinct religious approaches emerged from the days of the original apostles. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <span style="color: #00000a;">One that remains faithful to Christ… and teaches faithfulness to Christ.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">One that has become deluded… and teaches others that same delusion. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Conclusion:</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">A mighty deception has settled over the face of the earth. Most are fooled into believing this falsehood accurately represents the teaching of God through scripture. </span> <br /><span style="color: #00000a;"><br /></span><span style="color: #00000a;">Make it your goal to know the truth… and know that you know the truth.&nbsp;</span><br /><br /><br />We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 17.28px; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/VWaxiVPKHgI" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Winning Your Spiritual Battles!
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DcaBbHhUy10/W7zUcr7xlYI/AAAAAAAAA_o/AcL81p-Wp3kuvJ0kb0UmOB0WsRyE1xyugCLcBGAs/s1600/miguel-bruna-503098-unsplash2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="867" data-original-width="1600" height="216" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-DcaBbHhUy10/W7zUcr7xlYI/AAAAAAAAA_o/AcL81p-Wp3kuvJ0kb0UmOB0WsRyE1xyugCLcBGAs/s400/miguel-bruna-503098-unsplash2.jpg" width="400" /></a></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Another cycle of God's festivals have come and gone. After the Feast of Tabernacles a new spiritual year begins.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">I always come away from the Feast of Tabernacles with a plans to make a few positive changes in my life. The 8 days I spend away from my routine and my stuff allow me to step outside of myself... make a few critical observations... rather like new years resolutions.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Most new years resolutions die after a short burst of application. Then folks slide back into the pattern of life they are most accustomed to. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">We love changing our hairstyles, fashion, TV shows, maybe we'll strike out in a new direction by growing a mustache. But, changing our ideas, our habits, is a different matter. We resist change on these... To admit we're wrong and to make necessary corrections... makes us feels foolish, insignificant, and threatens our notions of self worth.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">A great deal of human reasoning is put to work to resist real change... by justifying, rationalizing, and plain old "making excuses".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">In the year that has passed we each received a lot of good information about eternal life, reward, and salvation. Resolve this year to be a Year of Change! Believe and act upon what you have heard!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">A New Beginning</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Corinthians 13:5 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Has the past year brought you to see yourself more clearly? As you really are rather than how you wish to be or be seen? As God sees you?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Have you sized yourself up by means of His word? Have you seen how you have fallen short or the glory of God?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Are you ready to surrender those strongholds in your mind rather than protecting them like a mama bear with her cubs?</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Common Strongholds: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">thoughts, music, substance abuse, perverted sex, occult, money matters, authority issues, psychological dysfunction (such as stress, anxiety, depression).</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Prevention is the best remedy... however, if a stronghold has already been established: </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Admit where you are: stop denial and self delusion ("its just entertainment", "I can stop anytime once I set my mind to it", "its not me its the system")</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Possibly share &nbsp;your situation with a trusted individual</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Seek help</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">4.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Change your environment (bad company ruins good morals)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">5.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Set your will to do the right thing (you gotta exert some effort)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">6.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Go to the source of the problem (what trigger gets you started)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 21.2500pt; mso-char-indent-count: 0.0000; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo1; mso-para-margin-left: 0.0000gd; text-indent: -21.2500pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">7.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Bathe your mind in the word of God - (it provides the only objective standard against which you can measure your current situation, then measure your improvement, and keep you oriented toward the right goals)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God gives favor to the humble... humble people are willing to change. God wants change, change that's permanent with no turning back!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">G</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">ive Yourself To God Completely</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Live by every word of God. Make this your goal above all else: above family, friends, even your own life. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Matthew 10:37-39</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;think of losing your life as letting go of those mental strongholds in your mind that are guarded, armed and ready to repel any intrusion by God. What good does it do you to hang on to what is temporary &nbsp;at the risk of that which is everlasting? Instead: "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">seek first the kingdom of God</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Everything Begins With Change</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Jesus gave His life to pay the penalty for your sins. But you </span><u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">access</span></u><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;the power of this salvation through a change of mind and thinking... "</span><i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">repent and be baptized so your sins may be forgiven and you may receive the Holy Spirit</span></i><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">".</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The changing of mind and attitude does not end at the beginning. The active renewing of your mind after the pattern of Jesus Christ continues throughout your whole life.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Winning requires ongoing effort </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Timothy 6:12; 1:18-19, 2 Timothy 2:3-4</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">A life successfully lived... is a battle won </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Timothy 4:6-8</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Godly Change Means Doing Battle With 3 Deadly Enemies</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Yourself - your human nature</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The world - </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Satan - the accuser, tempter, and liar</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1. </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Yourself</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Your flesh and blood mind has an instinct for reproduction and self preservation... neither of these is intrinsically bad. No one faults a moose for wanting to pass on his genes or putting his needs above others to preserve his own life. But God is not trying to prepare a moose for eternal life in the eternal family.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Human beings have a spiritual component built into them. This spirit is what sets us apart from animals. We are subject to a set of spiritual standards. They are not designed to suit the development, nurturing, and preservation of the flesh. These spiritual standards are </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">geared toward the development, nurturing and preservation of the spirit. God makes us aware of these standards through the revelation of His word and His Spirit.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">What's good for the flesh is not necessarily what is good for building the mind of God in this spiritual "work in progress" called human. Sometimes these two different sets of standard conflict </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 8:5-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">. Self preservation has very different goals and priorities than outgoing concern for others. The flesh is going to resist putting another person's needs before your own... the spirit needs to exert itself and prevail.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The flesh is a battle ground for the spirit. A battle that tests and strengthens the spirit...that tests and strengthens right priorities.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2 Corinthians 10:3-5</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;pulling apart and destroying all deceptive human reasoning and high falutin' thoughts</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">1.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God wouldn't really want me to do without that</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">2.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">That rule doesn't apply to me in this instance because... (x)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">3.&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">How could the vast majority of humanity be wrong on something so important etc, etc.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">2. The World - Culture, Society</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Galatians 1:4</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Most people in this present age either have not heard, not believed, or not completely accepted the set of spiritual standards for eternal living which God has made available. God is preparing only a small number of people in this age... He does this so that the larger work preparing all the rest of humanity [which takes place in the age to come] can be shared... God wants to have you work together with Him [like a Dad who wants to work on a project with his sons, even though he is perfectly capable of doing it all by himself].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">This present age is a product of the human mind and caters to the human mind. Built on a foundation of seeking and providing material needs, self preservation, reproduction etc. [but with a perverted twist we'll discuss in a few minutes]. Matters are evaluated on criteria such as: beauty, wealth, and intellect.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">... and its deceptive.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Human minds are wired so when we see a large numbers [perhaps even the majority] of people acting or thinking in a certain way our human reasoning says "there must be something to it"... "it can't be all bad'. Its basically a survival mechanism, herding. But that means if the vast majority of people have wrong ideas about sex, money, authority, music, drugs, dabbling with the occult... your natural mind is going to stop, listen, give it some consideration as valid based on sheer numbers. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">This can strengthen those strongholds which are against Christ... and in some cases create new ones you hadn't even thought of on your own.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Beware of your friends, beware of your school teachers, beware of singers, beware of your TV, your news-feed, your co-workers... everyone. The only sure thing you have in this world is God's word, and even there you must beware of false interpretation, false teachers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 18.0000pt; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Q: </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Should I move to some remote desert where I can be safe from the negative influence of other people?</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">&nbsp;No</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Physical separation from culture and society is not what God intends </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">John 17:15-18</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Que</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">stion </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">E</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">verything</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">!</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Question the world, friends, co-workers, celebrities. Question their values, question their motives.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Should you question God?</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;I think God is up to the challenge... if you know scripture you know that many times He lays down the challenge "prove me", "test me". If you do this with a willingness to believe you will get answers. If you pray for wisdom and understanding you will get answers.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">However, if you question God as a form of human reasoning... as a means to justify your bad behavior you will have accomplished nothing.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">It is God's desire that you become convinced in your own mind... that you see His way of thinking as the right way. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Don't Conform</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">!</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 12:2</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">When you truly question the world and its ways... when you won't conform... people aren't going to like or appreciate what you are trying to accomplish [so, you think you're too good for us huh?] </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Peter 4:3-4, John 15:18-20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">How should you then respond </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Romans 12:20-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">3. Satan - The One Who Is Against You</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">1 Peter 5:8-9</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">God lets Satan roam the earth and put humanity to the test [but only as much as God allows]. Satan is going to feed you lies, he is going to to accuse you of weakness and demand that you be tested, he is going to throw tasty temptations in front of you to lure you into disobedience... and keep you there.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Winning the battle in the coming year won't be easy. But it can be won!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">verse 10 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The Holy Spirit has been added to your mind so that you have the spiritual power to resist. It is there to remind you and of what is right and good.... it is there to point you in the right direction and prod you along. The Holy Spirit does not shield you from Satan's powers of suggestion... it helps you confront it.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">No one is forced to follow Satan's influence but to the unsuspecting his power is overwhelming. You however should not be unsuspecting... unless you're sitting there each week and not listening to what being taught. In the coming year those of us tasked with teaching, exhorting and correcting will do our part in reminding &nbsp;you of the lies, helping you address your weaknesses proactively [rather than waiting to be accused and tested], we will point out temptations to be resisted. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">#theresistance</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">Jesus gave us the playbook for confronting Satan and temptation: confront deception with the word, confront disobedience with humility and submission to God's instructions for life. Read Matthew 4.... Jesus confronted Satan with the word and with humility... and Satan had to retreat.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">James 4:6-7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">&nbsp;Satan has to retreat if you resist</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h2><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Prepare </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Y</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">ourself for </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">B</span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">attle </span></b><b><span style="color: #4f81bd; font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Ephesians 6:10-12</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The breastplate of righteousness [obey the commandments, live the fruits of the spirit, do good works}</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The shield of faith [believe and have confidence that the battle is worth winning and can be won]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The helmet of salvation [keep yourself properly oriented toward what the real goals are, eternal life in the family of God, know and understand God's plan and purpose]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">The sword of truth [the word of God, study it, do memory work, don't be passive]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Ephesians 6:18-20 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">persevere in prayer</span><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;">You can overcome --&gt; You can win your personal battles --&gt; You can make the year ahead of us a year of victory!</span></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot;; font-size: 14.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ZfB4HBBzTOQ" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Rise of Lawlessness
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6MxOmasKpC0/WfnT2oyVsUI/AAAAAAAAAmU/ms6tpCG0WukKH3YP2wY9bhrx7F9jZ7T1gCLcBGAs/s1600/83AF.tmp.png" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="639" data-original-width="1365" height="185" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-6MxOmasKpC0/WfnT2oyVsUI/AAAAAAAAAmU/ms6tpCG0WukKH3YP2wY9bhrx7F9jZ7T1gCLcBGAs/s400/83AF.tmp.png" width="400" /></a></div><br />Over a billion people consider themselves christian. Most often they are born into it. The family may be church goers… they may live in a society where bible and church are cultural norms... perhaps christianity is the state religion. Current data tells us christianity is still the largest religious group on earth. Somewhere between 1-2 billion are loosely categorized, christian.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This vast group of people have a wide variety of divergent teachings, but have some core teachings in common. But what this vast majority believe and teach is very different from what the Church of <br /><a name='more'></a>God, and groups like the United Church of God teach.</div><h2 class="western">The Differences Go Way Beyond The Sabbath</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Keeping the 4<sup>th</sup> commandment instruction to observe a Sabbath rest each 7<sup>th</sup> day certainly makes us stick out in a very visible way. But the differences between the Church of God and the vast majority are more than what you see on the surface. Consider these 3 weighty questions:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What is humanity? [immortal soul going to heaven or hell vs. finite being who must be raised to eternal life or remain permanently dead]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Who and what is God? [an expanding family vs. an unfathomable 3 sided box]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">What does God expect of humanity? [must we do as God commands or may we make our own decisions about what commands are valid]</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On each of these points you will get a very different answer here than you will from the vast majority of christian churches that dominate the world scene.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">People and churches that believe and teach like the United Church of God are so small, so few. To the human mind’s way of reasoning you would expect that teachings with greater numbers of believers are more likely to be true. Might makes right.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 7:13, 21-23</b> [explain <i>anomia</i>] not everyone who accepts, proclaims, or teaches about Jesus is a true follower. Jesus Christ does not recognize those who practice, or teach, a “no-law” message… no matter what else they say or do in His name [either good or bad].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The teachings and the prophecies of Jesus indicate that something would appear that looks deceptively like a church representing Him. This church would dominate human affairs up to the very end, yet this it would be a misrepresentation of what He actually taught. They would come with a message of lawlessness. Jesus has warned you about it in advance.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 24:4-5 </b>people will come forth in the name of Jesus and proclaim Him to be the Christ or Messiah… yet lead large numbers of people astray [verses 11-12 tell you how]</div><h2 class="western">Where Do Most Christian Churches Get Their Teachings &amp; Practises?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You would assume they get their teachings from God’s own word. What they say sounds very biblesque. But if you go back to the 3 core teachings mentioned earlier, immortality of the soul, a triad of co-equal God beings, the place of God’s law in your life… what you are really hearing is human imagination and reasoning, human desires and goals, and doctrines of demons. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Scripture is then distorted and read out of context to comply with these human ideas and philosophies. It sounds very biblesque… yet teaches an approach to life, an understanding of God, and false hope that are simply not found in scripture. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">I believe this is a very serous way in which humanity violates the commandment that warns “do not use my name in ways that are false, empty, and worthless”? Don’t attach my name to your worthless ideas!</div><h2 class="western">What Are Churches Supposed To Teach?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 28:20 </b>we are to teach what Jesus taught</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 19:16-17</b> obedience to God’s commandments leads to eternal life</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This is the same message taught by the apostles and the Church of God!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 1:15</b> teach the obedience that comes from faith [<b>Romans 3:31</b>]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Colossians 2:6-8 </b>stick with this and don’t be fooled by deceptive philosophy [human reason, human imagination and ideas]. </div><h2 class="western">Error, Confusion, and Deception Are Always At The Church’s Door</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Peter, Paul, John and others went forth filled with zeal, faith, and truth. The church of God grew rapidly and spread out all over the Roman empire. <u>Those were the days</u>! </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A golden age… you knew where you stood… church leaders could all be trusted… the teachings were undisputed… everyone marching shoulder to shoulder under a shining sun… Really?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Alas, that has never been the case. Read the epistles to the churches again. At all times error, confusion, and deception waited crouching at the door, creeping through the windows, desiring to overtake the church, demanding that we confront it and prevail. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 16:17-19 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 20:29-31</b> Paul’s farewell the local leaders of the Ephesus congregation</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Titus 1:10-11 </b>[that’s why we need good teachers and leaders to pass along the true teachings verses 7-9]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The circumcision group Paul is referring to represents the first major battle against doctrinal error. The teaching that the Jewish religion was still the right way and had merely been purified and added to by Jesus Christ. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Apostles [especially Paul] had to spend a great deal of time explaining that much had indeed changed. Jesus Christ’s death had put and end to the era of the old covenant. The living Christ had now assumed the title, the role, and the functions of the high priest. With this change in the priesthood came a necessary change in the ordinances of sacrifice, temple service, and the civil authority of the levitical priests.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Paul’s explanations of how all this worked were grossly distorted and wrongly applied to the commandments themselves! The idea took root that obedience didn’t matter… what mattered was vague notions of spirituality.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 2:18-21</b> Peter is talking about the church here [3:14-16 Paul’s words distorted]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 3:4 </b>towards the end John tries to set the record straight</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 5:3 </b> teachers of lawlessness represent God’s holy commands as a burden. John seeks to set the record straight.</div><h2 class="western">Satan: Master of Deception</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The no-law concept enters the human imagination easily. Lawlessness appeals to human vanity, feelings of self importance, assumptions we have all the information needed to decide what is best for us. No-law also appeals to our pleasure centers. How can something that feels so good possibly be wrong?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 8:7 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><b></b></span><b> 1 Corinthians 2:14</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Most people accept some of God’s laws… restrictions on murder, theft, adultery, respect for parents. These seems sensible ways to preserve our lives, our property, our families. But other laws like covetousness, no sex outside marriage, worshipping God when and how He instructs don’t seem so sensible to our human reason.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>James 2:8-11</b> God wants us to keep ALL His commands. Not just the ones we consider worthy.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;">Lawlessness is also a teaching [or doctrine] of demons…</span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">”Eat from the tree, decide for yourself what laws you will keep or not keep… you know you want to”.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Corinthians 11:3-4, 13-15</b> the great deceiver uses people to mislead people and redirect them away from the truth. This happens within the church as much as it does in the world at large. Notice that once again the scriptures are talking about people who represent themselves as working for Christ, ministers of righteousness… yet leading people astray.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: Paul is here addressing the original false teachings about circumcision here… but the same principle applies to the subsequent false teachings of no-law [lawlessness], non-biblical teachings about the immortal soul [which also go back to the serpent], and strange human philosophies and speculations about the nature of God[a different Jesus, a different hope, a different spirit].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 1:3-7 </b>here is an exhortation closer to the end of Paul’s ministry where he clearly targets this wider variety of false teachings.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The motive of human pride and vanity is addressed… “I want to be a teacher”, “I want to be considered your intellectual or spiritual superior”, “I know stuff you don’t know”. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The vast pool of churches presenting themselves as: Christ centered and bible based, may sincerely believe what they teach… but on many, if not most, of the core teachings of God’s truth they are sincerely mistaken.</div><h2 class="western">Lawlessness in Prophecy</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:7 </b>the no-law deceptions were at play in the church from the very beginning but also have a place in end-time prophecy.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Lawlessness is to be kept on a short leash until the end time [the restraining force here is God Himself acting through angels assigned to nations and to the church(es)]. If lawlessness among humanity were not restrained we would probably destroy ourselves long before the time appointed by God for Christ’s return.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:8-11</b> toward the time of the end all restraint on lawlessness will be removed.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 24:11-12</b> Lawlessness in the end time increases</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Disobedience appeals to human nature, vanity, self importance. Satan exploits this and uses it to accomplish his own goals of deception and sabotage.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We have looked into the rise of false teachings within the church and focused mainly on lawlessness with brief mentions of other major threads of error: the immortality of the soul, and the nature of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Next time we will learn how false teaching came to dominate and overtake the visible church. To the point where the falsehoods and deceptions are what most people think of when christianity, the church of Christ, or the bible are mentioned.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our commission is to carry forth the truth of God and make disciples of all nations. Wrong ideas about what God has to say about the weightier matters make our job more difficult. To effectively explain the true hope to others it helps to be aware of some of the wrong ideas people bring to the discussion and why.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>It is also good for us all to remember that controversy and deception have always been part of the reality of life within and without the Church. The Church has never been a walled garden which you enter into as a refuge from all the troubles of the human condition… God has not willed it to be so.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Bad stuff is crouching at the door and lurking by the windows seeking opportunity to get in.</div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Members of the body of Christ must be prepared, they must have the mental toughness to endure, to persevere, to prevail over pressures both within and without.<br /><br />We have created a 3 part sermon series to help you take a good look at this important subject:<br /><ol style="text-align: left;"><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-rise-of-lawlessness.html">The Rise of Lawlessness</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-rise-of-lawlessness.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/falling-away-from-truth-begins.html">The Falling Away From The Truth Begins</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-falling-away-from.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li><li><a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-church-of-god-in-todays-world.html">The Church of God in Today's World</a>&nbsp;transcript |&nbsp;<a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2017/11/listen-to-message-church-of-god-in.html" target="_blank">podcast</a></li></ol><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s1600/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="438" data-original-width="300" height="200" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-QIG2vA7Qvgs/WhQwxvomcaI/AAAAAAAAApM/_6TY20ds5_EKrrXLqhMGC5QQMl5os9JQQCEwYBhgL/s200/The-Church-Jesus-Built.png" width="136" /></a>If you want to explore this subject as a personal study of your own, request a copy of&nbsp;<a href="http://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/p/how-should-we-understand-meaning-of.html">The Church Jesus Built&nbsp;</a>and start finding the answers in the pages of your own bible.<br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 17.28px; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /></div></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/CNr9s0nc3XA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Training To Be A Priest In The Age To Come
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"></div><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">When we think of priests in the bible we think of the levitical priesthood God instituted in Israel as part of the old covenant. That priesthood has been replaced by the priesthood of the resurrected Jesus Christ in the order of Melkizadek.</span><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 6:20</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus has become a high priest in the order of Melchizedek. The scripture also says that He is our forerunner. Meaning He goes first implying we are to follow Him. We too are to become priests of the order of Mechizadek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cTAPnq3q5k4/W6RxQ_KGHqI/AAAAAAAAA_I/kSQU-jeihssYar7lB_iZsSdnNP46NxTyQCLcBGAs/s1600/clique-images-547959-unsplash2.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1062" data-original-width="1600" height="212" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-cTAPnq3q5k4/W6RxQ_KGHqI/AAAAAAAAA_I/kSQU-jeihssYar7lB_iZsSdnNP46NxTyQCLcBGAs/s320/clique-images-547959-unsplash2.jpg" width="320" /></a><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: large;">That means: You are training now to act as a king and priest alongside Christ when He establishes the rule of God on earth at the time of His return.</span></span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">What Do We Know About The Order of Melkizadek?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 7:1-3 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">the order of Melkizadek:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Combines the office of King and Priest in a single entity. Everyone who is a priest after this order is also a king [the office of king implies judgment and leadership in non-religious areas]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Such priest kings posses character that is righteous and peaceful</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Such priest kings possesses eternal life</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 7:15-17</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;the priest of this new order is appointed as such because He is a Son of God (see also </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 5:5-10</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">)</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l1 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt; font-weight: bold;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 8:1</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;such a priest sits down at the right hand of the throne</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">When you are resurrected you too will have these attributes of priest after the order of Melchizedek. A spirit born child of God, &nbsp;with eternal life, a mind of Godly character both righteous and peaceful. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Revelation 3:21 </span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Just as Christ has taken his seat beside the throne of God, you will sit down at the right hand of Christ on His throne [as priests/kings reigning together with Christ our rank will be subordinate to Christ].</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">What do we know about the activities of a priest?</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests manage the offering of gifts &amp; sacrifice</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests maintain personal holiness and cleanness</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests protect and maintain the household of God</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests make judgments on religious matters... clean vs. unclean, acceptable vs, unacceptable, </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests proclaim the sacred assemblies [plan of God]</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l3 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Priests teach, interpreting God’s expressed will &amp; word</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Teaching</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In Israel the priest taught the people from God’s word, ensuring people knew what was required of them… what it means... how to apply it </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Deuteronomy 33:8-11, Malachi 2:7</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Christ, our high priest, acted as a teacher during His days in the flesh and continues His priestly function as our teacher: through the ongoing work of the Church [of which He is head], and through the power of the Holy Spirit... His very living presence in you. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Future priest/kings will also teach people the ways of God during the 1,000 year rule of Christ…. that’s what priests do!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Question</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">: if you were going to teach a class in pottery design or auto-mechanics, what do you need to do first? </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Answer</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">: to be an effective teacher you have to learn the material first yourself.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Future Priest Kings are training today. Training their mind with the knowledge of God and His ways. through study… but especially through application. Head knowledge about pottery or auto-mechanics doesn’t lead to effectively teaching. You have to throw clay on a wheel or pop open the hood of a vehicle!</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Knowing and DOING what God’s word says is training for your future role as king and priest after the order of Melkizadek.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Judgments on Religious Matters</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Levitical priests applied judgment on the clean vs. unclean, the acceptable vs. unacceptable regarding food, sex, methods of worship to name a few. Some things are acceptable to God... some things are not. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In this Church age, the resurrected Christ, our high priest, helps us distinguish what is clean and acceptable and what is not. We have a written record of His teachings but also His convicting presence within us through the power of the Holy Spirit. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">He taught that the actual eating of something unclean was not what truly defiled a person. If something unclean goes in your mouth, it’ll come out the other end and into the toilet. What really defiles a person is unclean deeds, talk and attitudes of the heart. Yes, we continue to make distinction between clean and unclean food but we do it as a physical discipline that points us to the spiritual goal which is to clean up our words and attitudes. If we were as scrupulous on matters of mind, heart, and speech as we are on avoiding unclean meat like pork then we’d have really accomplished something.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The priest/kings assisting Christ will teach these same spiritual lessons and move people from the obvious physical observances to the spiritual realities they point towards. You are learning the subject material now… so you can better teach others then.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The Priests of old were charged with the proclamation [and enforcement] of what constituted acceptable worship practice. That covers a lot!. Let’s consider the Sabbath and Holy Days as a prime example.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Leviticus 23:2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">. These are physical observances that point us toward and keep us focused on high level spiritual realities.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Weekly Sabbath</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;- points folks to the spiritual rest God promises, and acknowledging God as creator. </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Annual Sabbaths</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;or holy days - outline God’s plan to move finite, physical, created beings through a process of salvation, sanctification, and resurrection to a fully formed eternal spiritual creation.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Flesh and blood people of the 1,000 year rule will need instruction about God’s purpose and plan for them. The priesthood in the age to come will proclaim &nbsp;and enforce &nbsp;these days so people don’t get off track and wander off according to their own imaginations </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Zechariah 14:16-19.</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The removal of Satan from the scene does not end all resistance, questioning, or doubt. Think of your own children… compliance and going through the motions doesn’t mean they buy in to, or understand, the spiritual reality behind the observance. People will need to be persuaded. Forcing someone to obey is not the same as winning their heart.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoBodyText"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Who better to win their heart than someone who has walked the walk, talked the talk, and buys in with their whole heart. Your personal conviction regarding the Sabbath, the holy days, God’s plan for salvation will be very important in your future role as priest and king.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Managing Offerings &amp; Sacrifices </span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Leviticus 1:2-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Under the old covenant a person needed to sacrifice the life of an animal to atone for sin, also to have fellowship with God, and to cover offenses committed in ignorance. The average man would bring his sacrifice to the entrance of the tent, confess his sins over it, kill it, gut it, skin it, etc but he did not take it into the tabernacle. At that point the priest took over, brought the animal flesh into the tabernacle compound, burned it on the altar, dealt with the ashes or cooked meat depending on what sort of offering it was. The worshipper did not go in there.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The priest is an intermediary, a go-between ensuring the worshipper did not bring any uncleanness into the area of the tabernacle… God’s abode. Priests had to maintain a high level of personal holiness and cleanness so that they could safely draw close to the presence of God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In the new covenant there is no sacrifice of animals. However, even in the present age of the new covenant sacrifice still remains 1</span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">&nbsp;Peter 2:4-9</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">In the present age, once you have laid claim to the power of Christ’s blood to atone and to cleanse you… it is possible for you to come personally before the throne of God… and when you do, you bring spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 9:14 → &nbsp;Hebrews 10:14-25</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Romans 12:1-2</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;you offer yourself... </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">in acts of service according to the gifts God has given you within the body</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="15" style="margin-left: 36.0000pt; mso-list: l0 level1 lfo4; text-indent: -18.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">·&nbsp;</span><!--[endif]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">which create in you, and demonstrate, the creation of a new way of thinking</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Paul goes on to discuss these acts of service and the mind your spiritual sacrifice causes to develop… that's what verses 2-21 are about. We’ll come back to that in a few minutes.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Sacrifice in the Age to Come</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Prophetic scripture indicates some form of sacrifice during Christ’s future earthly reign. Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Zechariah all mention it. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">The age to come will be filled with the knowledge of God, with ready access to the Spirit of God. But that does not mean there will be no transgression, no rebellion, no doubt. You will likely serve as priest to a mixed group of people with varying degrees of spiritual development and at different stages on the path of salvation. People will still have free will and at any given point some will have accepted Christ as their savior… and some will have not decided. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Sin that does not come under the blood of Christ will have to be addressed somehow.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Could the age to come hav</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">e sacrifice along the lines of Leviticus to address the sins of those not yet in Christ? Or are we simply addressing spiritual sacrifice along the lines of 2 Peter 2 or Romans 12… the spiritual sacrifices of those who have come under the blood of Christ? We don’t know with certainty.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Either way sacrifice remains as a means of maintaining a right relationship with God. You as a priest serving with Christ will help Him on behalf of the people bringing sacrifice before God that is acceptable. That’s what priests do.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><h3 style="margin-left: 0.0000pt; mso-list: l2 level3 lfo1; text-indent: 0.0000pt;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"></span><!--[endif]--><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;">Characteristics &amp; Qualities That Will Make You More Effective</span></b><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot;; font-size: 14pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></b></h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 5:1-3</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;in Israel the priest served as a representative of the people in matters pertaining to God, offering gifts and sacrifices for &nbsp;sin, ideally he was to be able to deal gently with who didn’t know any better or are going astray because he too was fallible and mortal.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Hebrews 4:14-16</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;Jesus is an eternal being but its able to empathize because He has experienced life in the flesh… &nbsp;although without fault or sin.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">This same principle applies to the priests of the age to come. You will be better able to help people struggling with various problems… you will be able to empathize because you have gone through the same experiences.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">I put it to you that more than empathy is needed! You will also need other aspects of the mind of God encourage them and lead them to the higher ground.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Let’s go back to Romans 12 now...</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">Following Paul’s exhortation that we make spiritual sacrifices and submit to the process of transforming our mind… &nbsp;he talks about some of the qualities of that renewed mind </span><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Romans 12:9-21</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">These are qualities of mind and character that will make you a more effective priest. Let me put them in my own words:</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Joyful</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– empathy gets your foot in the door but the goal is to move to that higher ground. You will need to stay focused on the positive outcome laying in store for who ever you are working with… energetic and diligent… showing them the goal is worth making the extra effort.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Humility</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– even in a millennial setting the people you are trying to help will respond better if you are not exalting yourself… having respect for them as thinking creative minds with amazing potential will go a long way… your personal submission to the authority of Christ… even thought you too are in a glorified state and have indestructible life will help show them the goodness of God’s way of peace.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Affection</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– you will be a more effective priest if you are easy to get along with… if people see you have a genuine affection and concern for them as individuals… that you want to share this life with them. The family of God is not cold and emotionless… rather it is filled with love and generosity toward one another. As a priest, intercessor, teacher you will guide them in that direction. </span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Obedient</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– know the law, do the law, be the law. Godly living and true worship will have to be maintained and enforced. You will have to be firm and committed fulfilling the commandments in love… to act justly and fairly towards all.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12pt;">Mercy</span></b><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">&nbsp;– people in the millennial setting will stumble they will need to be set back on their feet. You must no be vengeful or rash… you must be patient yet firm… with all the power and glory Christ entrusts you with you must be forgiving and gentle.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">This is the mind a priest/king needs to be an effective helpmate to Christ… in the time of His earthly rule as king of kings and the high priest of the universe. You are training now to act as a king and priest alongside Christ… your trials, your suffering, your overcoming, your works of service according to God’s gifts have a great purpose.</span><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><o:p></o:p></span></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;">To the one who is faithful in these few small things God will grant authority over many things … come share in our lord and master’s happiness!</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation serif&quot;; font-size: 12.0000pt;"><br /></span><br /><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col style="width: 43.25pf;" width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody><tr height="19"><td class="et2" height="19" style="background: #00B0F0; color: black; font-size: 10.0pt; font-style: normal; font-weight: 400; height: 14.25pt; mso-pattern: #99FFFF none; mso-protection: locked visible; text-align: general; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: bottom; width: 42.75pt;" width="57" x:str="">Read<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>this<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>message<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>at<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>our<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>blog<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>📘<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>&lt;br&gt;&lt;a<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2018/09/training-to-be-priest-in-age-to-come.html<span style="mso-spacerun: yes;">&nbsp;</span>"&gt;A Priest After The Order of Melchizedek&lt;/a&gt;</td></tr></tbody></table></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/rHMruIVHXqw" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Resurrections - From Here to Eternity
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tFsi2qSGGXI/Wk_1Jb_TzrI/AAAAAAAAAt8/-4yGEb78dWsXm-HYSp93vjg3aPUUA3C5QCLcBGAs/s1600/cristian-alvarez-355423.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1200" data-original-width="1600" height="240" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-tFsi2qSGGXI/Wk_1Jb_TzrI/AAAAAAAAAt8/-4yGEb78dWsXm-HYSp93vjg3aPUUA3C5QCLcBGAs/s320/cristian-alvarez-355423.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Will science ever find a way to allow us to live forever? With all that humanity is able to accomplish the hope that we may one day eliminate death seems almost possible. Each year new breakthroughs and technologies are introduced in our search for ways to prolong life and perhaps even to live forever. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The dream of living forever is part of how we humans think. Our creator has put this notion of eternity into our minds. But He has not built into us the knowledge or power to make eternal life happen (<b>Ecclesiastes 3:11</b>). The eternity we long for can only come from God our Father who does have the knowledge and power to make eternal life happen.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The good news is God your Father very much wants you to have life everlasting. He wants you to go from here to eternity.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 6:23</b>Yes, eternal life is a gift God wants to give to you. All He asks is that you trust Him and work with Him through the process He has planned for you. It’s a process designed to get you from here… to eternity.<br /><a name='more'></a></div><h2 class="western">Getting from here to there</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When moving from one place to another place you often must go through a passage way to come out on the other side... like a door, or a hallway. And for a short period of time you are no longer in the place you started nor are you in the place you are headed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In the same way you can imagine God’s process for getting you from here to eternity. The here is your temporary life that lasts only a short while then ends… the destination is eternal life that never ends. To get to your destination you leave where you are and begin moving towards your destination.</div><h2 class="western">What is that passage way?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To get from your dead-end life to an eternal life you must enter into something else. You must pass through a life under the judgment and careful assessment of God. Judgment is a bit of a dirty word these days so it warrants a bit of explanation:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Discuss Krisis (evaluation)… and Krinos (v)/Krima (n) (decision or verdict) <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> use analogy of test driving a sports car</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Possible verdicts would be to condemn or find guilty (katakrino) or to acquit… to find not guilty (dikaioo) or justified.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are two ways you can enter into this process… one is by invitation and it is happening now… the second is offered to everyone and occurs much later – in fact not until after Christ returns and reigns on earth for 1000 years. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The first and best way to get started is to receive and accept God’s invitation now. God calls and draws you to Him by the power of His Holy Spirit. You can accept His invitation through repentance and baptism. After baptism and the laying on of hands you will receive the power that makes eternal life possible… God’s Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Peter 4:12-17</b> the members of God’s household have entered into their time of judgment with the most holy God…. See also <b>1 Corinthians 11:32-33</b></div><h3 class="western">Living a life under judgment</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">With God’s empowering Holy Spirit and the knowledge from His word you will live out your days. God will watch you, evaluate you, test you, guide you and determine if you are willing to live by the principles of eternal life found in His word. If you demonstrate through your way of living that you can be trusted with eternal life and remain faithful to its principles… then you have an everlasting future. God will confirm the gift of eternal life He has begun in you through the life giving Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Colossians 3:1-10</b>… verse 1 risen (baptism/physical resurrection)… appear in glory (resurrection to a glorious spiritual body)… read more about it in 1 Corinthians 15</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This first option will place you among the blessed and holy who share in the first resurrection to eternal life <b>Revelation 20:6.</b> It’s the better option and offers many positive rewards. So, if God is calling you now you should respond!</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s Holy Festivals teach us about the steps in His plan of salvation for humanity and this day when Christ returns to resurrect the firstfruits and bring them into the fullness of their inheritance in the family of God is pictured by the Feast of Trumpets.</div><h2 class="western">What happens to everyone else? Can they go from here to eternity?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Clearly many people do not answer God’s invitation in this life and the vast majority of people do not even receive God’s invitation in the first place… He does not call them... He does not draw them to himself. But that does not mean God does not care about them or that He never gives them an opportunity to choose eternal life. For those who never hear and answer God’s call in this life there is still hope.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">After the first resurrection a second option remains. It occurs much later than the first resurrection… You can read about it in <b>Revelation 20:5, 11-12</b>. </div><h2 class="western">Everyone must appear before the judgment seat of God</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Like option one option two is an entry into a period of judgment and assessment before God. All people who have ever lived will be resurrected to physical life and appear before God to begin their time of judgment and assessment. We do not know how long this resurrection to physical life lasts but it must last at least long enough for God to make a fair and just assessment.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>John 5:28-29</b>Jesus also speaks of more than one resurrection. Note: you have already been raised to a physical life lived under judgment… that occurred when you were baptized.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The translation “condemnation” is a poor choice that reflects the theological biases of the translators. The underlying word here is Krisis (the trial or evaluation part of judgment)… </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">During this process knowledge from God’s word will be opened up to all these people (<b>Isaiah 11:9</b>) plus they will have access to His Holy Spirit to provide understanding (<b>Ezekiel 37:13-14</b>). God will watch over them with His loving eye evaluating, testing and judging each person. He will determine if they are willing to live according to the principles of eternity and have their name written into the book of life.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If you have lost a loved one, a parent, or perhaps a child and wondered what will become of them this true teaching from the bible should give your heart comfort. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s Holy Festivals teach us about the steps in His plan of salvation for humanity and this wonderful final step in God’s plan for humanity is no exception. It is pictured in the final Holyday of the biblical calendar called simply “the eighth day”.</div><h2 class="western">Will everyone achieve eternal life? Do we all go from here to eternity?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s desire is that every person be saved and that all will choose to live the way of life that is required for eternal happiness… but there is also a plan for those who ultimately reject God after they have been given every opportunity to succeed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Those who reject eternal life will cease to live and they will be no more. There will be no more thoughts, no anguish or sorrow… just nothing (<b>Revelation 20:15</b>). All trace of them will be permanently erased. This is the not so happy part of the eighth day… but if you meditate upon it… a great relief.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">But more importantly…</div><h2 class="western">Your journey to eternity can begin today</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God your Father wants you to have life everlasting and the good news is He also wants very much for you to have a part in that <u>first</u> and <u>better</u>resurrection. That resurrection pictured during the Feast of Trumpets.</div>Find out more about how you can get started on your journey from here to eternity… today.<br /><br /><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody><tr height="19"><td class="et2" height="19" style="background: rgb(0, 176, 240); font-size: 10pt; height: 14.25pt; vertical-align: bottom; width: 42.75pt;" width="57" x:str="">Read&nbsp;this&nbsp;message&nbsp;at&nbsp;our&nbsp;blog&nbsp;📘&nbsp;&lt;br&gt;&lt;a&nbsp;href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2018/02/the-resurrections-from-here-to-eternity.html"&gt;The First Resurrection - From&nbsp;Here&nbsp;to&nbsp;Eternity&lt;/a&gt;</td></tr></tbody></table><table style="border-collapse: collapse; height: 19px; width: 57px;"><colgroup><col style="width: 43.25pf;" width="57"></col></colgroup><tbody> </tbody></table></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/yl9esBP6pps" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Jesus Went To the Feast of Tabernacles
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2>First lets lay some groundwork...</h2><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 3:15</b> – what does this mean? To believe in Him?</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l1 level1 lfo1; text-indent: -.25in;"></div><ol><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe in the historic existence of Jesus Christ</span></li><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe that Jesus Christ was who He said he was (son of God)</span></li><li>·<span style="font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; font-variant-numeric: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span><span style="text-indent: -0.25in;">Believe that He died for your sin. And because He was who He said he was His death can pay the death penalty for every human who has ever/will ever live.</span></li></ol><!--[if !supportLists]--><br /><div class="MsoNormal">Many stop there… with a message about the person of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice, teaching that is all you need to know and believe. A good beginning but grossly insufficient.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John3:10-12</b> To believe in Christ also means to believe the words He taught, about how salvation is achieved, prophecies of what is to come, and His instructions on how to live… all of which relate in one way or another to the good news of the Kingdom of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">People talk a lot about Jesus… <u>but</u> the commission of the Church is to carry on His work… to carry on putting the message of the Kingdom of God out there… to witness, instruct, encourage. Therefore we should know what Jesus <u>taught</u> and what Jesus <u>did</u>.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Matt 28:19-20</b> we have Jesus words (commands) and we also have His example to pattern our lives after. “I have set you an example that you should do as I have done”… “ Christ suffered for us leaving us an example that you should follow” ... “follow me as I follow Christ”. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Jesus went to the Feast of Tabernacles </h3><div class="MsoNormal"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RWZd_UP7maw/W5v5uGts7BI/AAAAAAAAA-U/JgX01wtiomUYa6EZAc8JJs4t3Hh1f-ZSQCLcBGAs/s1600/amanda-sandlin-10508.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-RWZd_UP7maw/W5v5uGts7BI/AAAAAAAAA-U/JgX01wtiomUYa6EZAc8JJs4t3Hh1f-ZSQCLcBGAs/s320/amanda-sandlin-10508.jpg" width="320" /></a><b>John 7:1-10</b> He had every reason to stay home, avoid trouble etc. but clearly He went in spite of this. It was His top priority to follow the commands of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Going to the Feast of Tabernacles each year looks crazy in the eyes of the world. It may cause you trouble, it may be a time of testing an trial (job, school, marriage)… but if you look to Jesus’ example you will go anyway. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>FOT Instituted For All People at All Times</h3><div class="MsoNormal">God put the Feast of Tabernacles in place as a lesson, a marker, a reminder meant for all people (all nations, races, genders, not just Jews) and meant for all times (past, present, future).</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b>Genesis 18:18-19</b> these things given to Abraham and descendants were intended for ALL</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]--><b>Galatians 3:29</b> at this time and in this age that means YOU</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l2 level1 lfo2; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Jesus … the mediator of the new covenant… set the example that you should follow. So, it is important for you to know… <b>He kept the Feast of Tabernacles</b>!</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">When Jesus rules as King of kings (millennium) He will instruct people to observe the FOT. <b>Zecharaiah 14:16-22</b> Why? Same reason we have today… as a lesson, a marker and reminder of what stage they are at in the plan of God. It is also meant to be a special time of teaching… because flesh and blood does not know the way to live… the way of peace. They have to be taught. And teaching requires discipline.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Isaiah 2:2-4</b> at that time all will <u>learn</u> His way… just as we are to be learning His way now. The FOT is very much about the learning of God’s way… prophetically and presently.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Back to Jesus at the FOT…</h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:12-13</b> Consider the reaction to Jesus’ teaching and example. It was a mixed bag. Some people even called Him a deceiver… that He was leading the poor simple folk astray.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">If people said this about Jesus… and about the doctrine He taught… does it seem strange that people in our own day would say the same about us… and the things we teach. Such as teaching people to believe and obey God’s instruction to observe these annual Sabbaths, holy days, feasts… To many think we too are leading people astray… back into bondage etc.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Folks don’t want to hear what’s plain in the scriptures. They prefer their own ideas to the revealed instructions of God. <b>John 3:16-19</b>… why not read your own bible and find out just who is deceiving who?</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>Jesus Taught At the FOT</h3><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:14-15</b>people marveled… why? Because He was not a scholar. He didn’t have a lot of letters after His name. In our day we’d say He doesn’t have a doctorate in theology, He hasn’t studied 4 years in a university and gotten the right credentials… &nbsp;Stick around long enough and you’ll hear this sort of charge leveled at the ministry of the Church of God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Peter/John&nbsp; just regular guys ran small businesses etc.</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpFirst" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><!--[if !supportLists]--><span style="font-family: &quot;symbol&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family: Symbol; mso-fareast-font-family: Symbol;">·<span style="font-family: &quot;times new roman&quot;; font-size: 7pt; font-stretch: normal; line-height: normal;">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; </span></span><!--[endif]-->Note: Paul &amp; Apollos were learned men (apostles to the Gentiles) But as Paul said of himself… he did not learn the truth of God from other men. What he had he learned directly from Christ. All the stuff he had gained from his previous life he counted as dung.</div><div class="MsoListParagraphCxSpLast" style="mso-list: l0 level1 lfo3; text-indent: -.25in;"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">The scholars of our time are going to teach you that there is no need to keep the FOT.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:16-18</b>Jesus told everyone that His teaching was not of himself but from the one who sent him. The fact that the message was not His own didn’t matter because He was in complete 100% agreement with it. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Part of putting off all the glory that He had previously shared with the Father… living in the flesh like you and me… meant that Jesus was limited… He was indeed human (and not just God inside a human body) so he had to take in what He knew of the world through His senses… eyes, ears, taste &amp; touch.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">What made Him the perfect human was that His spirit was completely in sync with, lead by, powered by… the spirit of God working within Him.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">His teaching was not something He cooked up from His own flesh and blood powers of observation, deduction, induction, or rationalization. Now, these are all powerful tools to understand our world.&nbsp; To explain and manipulate the gases, minerals and solids which make up our universe… to unleash the power ofneurons, electrons, electricity and so forth… to understand animals and plants and work with them.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">But regarding spiritual matters those human faculties are not very useful for gaining knowledge. Take for example: <b>the way of peace</b>. Human beings don’t know it, don’t have it, and cannot figure it out. Because it’s a spiritual matter and the answer also is spiritual. And that spiritual answer comes to us from God.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><h3>How do you learn this spiritual type stuff? </h3><div class="MsoNormal">By hearing God’s will and doing it.</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><b>Psalm 111:7-10</b>&nbsp; 1) All commands/precepts (not just some)</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 2) For all ages (FOT not just for the past and the future…. But for today)</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing">&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; 3) Doing His will/commandments leads to understanding</div><div class="MsoNoSpacing"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">Like Jesus I am not here to preach my own opinions. On my own I don’t know very much. I might be good at coming up with a turn of phrase or such… but whatever wisdom there is in what I say is not my own. I have received the truth from the Church of God, I have checked it out by reading the scriptures, but I really began learning it by doing it. John7:17 said “To Do His Will”.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">A prime example of learning by doing is the observance of the Feast of Tabernacles. I was told about it, I checked it out, I read the testimony of Jesus’ own example, and I started doing it. In the process of doing it… I began to learning about that elusive way of peace… and so can you.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 15:9-10</b> as He has received from the Father He has passed on to us and our commission is to pass it on to others.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Titus 1:16</b> There are people out there who teach you that you should not keep the Father’s commandments including His instructions to keep the feast of Tabernacles. They are and will remain clueless about vast chunks of God plan of salvation.</div><div class="MsoNormal">And so the world does not have peace… nor will it have peace. Because it either does not know God’s will, or knows about the instructions and the example of Jesus Christ but refuses to obey. But doing the will of God is the only way you have any kind of a shot at learning the way of peace we all desperately need to know.</div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>John 7:25-30, </b><b>John 7:37-38</b> While teaching at the FOT Jesus refers to a prophecy in <b>Isaiah 55 </b>which is about establishing universal and permanent peace through the word of God and the teaching of God’s ways to everyone. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal">All people must learn this vital information from God about peace and how to live the way that leads to peace, and prosperity, and joy and much more. YOU can start learning it now!</div><div class="MsoNormal">Jesus Christ walked in God’s way as an example for us. Including keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. He did this as one example of how to do the will of God, to walk with God and thereby learn His ways. </div><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div><div class="MsoNormal"><b>Deuteronomy 31:9-13<o:p></o:p></b></div><div class="MsoNormal">The FOT pictures a coming time of peace… when all people will learn the way to live, the way of peace. But for us today it is also a time to begin learning that way to live, that way of peace NOW!</div><br /><div class="MsoNormal"><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/bkUcnuzIadc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Why Does God Heal Some People But Not Others?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DgsNQZWMoXE/Wzkal82DVoI/AAAAAAAAA7E/UEpjJLbs9lcdfsSvFcqSMDZ1ojpz099IwCLcBGAs/s1600/rawpixel-com-472352-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-DgsNQZWMoXE/Wzkal82DVoI/AAAAAAAAA7E/UEpjJLbs9lcdfsSvFcqSMDZ1ojpz099IwCLcBGAs/s320/rawpixel-com-472352-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>Our Creator can, and does, heal. But not always. Many times God deliberately chooses not to heal.<br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Why would God ever choose not to heal a person? </b>Isn’t health and wholeness in this life what He wants for us? </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Does He withhold healing because we have unrepented of sin? </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Or is it because we lack faith? </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Or is it because we have simply not asked?</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Any of these factors can, and often do, lead to a situation where healing is withheld. But what about situations where none of these are a factor? Consider Paul’s prayers for his own healing<b> 2 Corinthians 12:7-10</b>. God’s reasons for answering “no” were not because of sin in Paul’s life or some lack of faith. God said “no” because He had something much bigger and much better in mind for Paul that could only be achieved through perseverance in suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For believers, that bigger and better goal God has in mind is to be transformed into a new type of person who thinks and acts like Jesus himself <b>Romans 12:2, Ephesians 4:12-15</b>. That transformation is what makes us fit to receive God’s gift of eternal life. If we were to received that gift of eternal life without having first undergone this transformation in the way we think and act… eternity could end up being a very unhappy place.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s purpose was that Paul be moved forward towards this goal through physical suffering. Even in this physical suffering Paul was following the example set down before by Jesus Himself <b>Hebrews 2:10</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><i>Note: the word translated perfect is teleos, it means complete or a finished product. In common English usage perfect is used to mean without flaw, defect or deficiency. Jesus did not have any flaw or deficiency… He was without sin, He was not lacking in faith… yet He was made perfect… meaning He became everything God intended and willed for Him to be… a king, a priest, the firstborn of many brothers… this is the perfection God want</i><i>s</i><i> you to achieve… which will only be complete when you are resurrected.</i></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As with Paul’s life, our present lives with all their trials and suffering should be viewed as a training ground. Preparing us for a future that is bigger and brighter than anything we might enjoy in our present physical lives. </div><h3 class="western">Why then does God choose to heal some people?</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We cannot possible know all the reasons why God chooses to heal or not to heal. However, two broad categories shine forth in the scriptures: </div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God heals because He is compassionate. He desires to act with kindness and gentleness towards all human beings. In the greater world around us human disobedience, indifference, and disbelief often disrupt the flow of His compassion.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God heals to demonstrate His power to perform works in this world <b>John 9:2-3</b>. He often heals for the purpose of building and strengthening newly budding belief in Himself either in the person being healed or ones looking on.</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">By contrast Paul’s strong faith was tested and strengthened when he was required to persevere through the trial of <i>not</i> being healed. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Only God, who knows the heart, can properly assess a person’s life. Only God can know whether to heal, or not heal will best move the person forward to His goal of building the mind of Christ in them. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The just must live by this faith.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.08in; margin-top: 0.17in; page-break-after: avoid;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>4 Reasons People Get Sick/Injured/Damaged</b></span></span></div><h3 class="western"> 1. Punishment for sin</h3><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 11:27-34</b> (personal)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers</b><b> 12:1-15</b> Miriam opposes Moses and is punished with leprosy, Moses pleads that she be healed, God heals her after 7 days (social)</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Samuel 24:10-16</b> David disobeys God’s instruction not to perform a census. The nation of Israel is stricken by plague for 3 days (personal and social)</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In these cases confessing your sin, repenting and changing your ways, and a plea for God’s mercy would be the best course of action. Please make not that in each of these cases the root issue was PRIDE.</div><h3 class="western">2. Bad Decisions</h3>A bad decision might be to disobey God’s law [for example a fornicator who contracts some form of STD], but it doesn’t have to be. It could simply be a mistake, or based on faulty or lacking information. For example: <br /><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person decides to take a job in a coal mine, gets lung cancer. Not knowing any better a person follows a poor diet and gets sick. A football player plays hard and gets a concussion In each case the decision was not a matter of sin but the person is still reaping the consequences of the decision they made.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person lives in a community where misguided civil engineering leads to water contamination and they get sick. Someone involved in city planning might have made their decision as a result of sin [such as greed], or they might just not have known any better. Either way, the person who gets sick is not at fault… but they are still sick.</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In these cases personal sin is not the root of the problem. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person might do a lot of soul searching thinking their sickness or injury is punishment for sin in other areas of their life. It might be, but it doesn’t have to be. If so, then confessing and repenting of sin… while god for the soul… may have nothing to do with the affliction. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Seeking God’s merciful intervention and healing makes sense. But, I think He would also expect you to change your behavior [diet], or circumstances [where you choose to live, whether to continue playing football].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Which leads us to...</div><h3 class="western">3. Time &amp; Chance</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 9:1-</b><b>3</b> the disciples were part of a society that saw every sickness and affliction as part of a grand scheme of sin <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> punishment <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> repentance <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> healing. Jesus clearly told them “nope, sometimes stuff just happens”… see also<b> Luke 13:</b><b>1-</b><b>4</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Personal Observation:</b> God has purposefully designed the universe with little random events [quantum level anomalies] that create physical reality that is less 100% predictable. Stuff happens.</div><h3 class="western">4. Affliction &amp; Testing</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We have already mentioned Paul’s affliction, another example is Job.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Job was afflicted with terrible loss and sickness for no other reason than to see what he would do. I do not consider this to be some sort of amusing game God was playing with this righteous man. The affliction served a purpose and left Job a better, wiser, more faith-filled man than before!</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You could say Job was transformed in his way of thinking to better reflect the mind of Christ… and in this way he was “perfected” or completed through suffering.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Notice again that the target is matters of the heart and mind… and the resulting attitude is humility </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Job 42:1-6</b></div><h3 class="western">How Does Sickness Transform A Person?</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Wouldn’t it make a lot more sense for God to give me a nice long life so I can do lots of bible study, learn and grown in knowledge. Wouldn’t a longer life give me more time to put on the mind of Christ?</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>2 Corinthians 12:7</b></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"> </span></span><span style="color: black;"><u><span style="font-weight: normal;">humility</span></u></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">… it was God’s power not Paul’s intellect or personal righteousness that forever changed the world. God doesn’t need you, He wants you. </span></span> </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 5:8 </b><u>obedience/submission/trust </u>even if he does not deliver you. Think of <b>Daniel 3:16-18 </b>where <span style="color: black;"><span style="font-style: normal;">Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to King Nebuchadnezzar:</span></span><span style="color: black;"><i> “we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us[c] from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if He does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”</i></span><span style="color: black;">.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>1 Peter 4:19</b></span><span style="color: black;"> </span><span style="color: black;"><u>perseverance,</u></span><span style="color: black;"><span style="text-decoration: none;"> </span></span><span style="color: black;"><b>James 1:2-4</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>Psalm 119:67 </b></span><span style="color: black;">to learn to avoid sin… affirms that choices have consequences</span></div><h3 class="western">Conclusion:</h3><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: black;"><b>1 Peter 1:6-7</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><br /><br /></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/t6eI-PMsZX4" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Humble Yourself Today: Day of Atonement
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N8Fsr1pjvDc/WUQUO5ZcqoI/AAAAAAAAAf4/bWpJ3KNeBSUdCBo8eKcTNk0OyNXngnyCgCLcBGAs/s1600/anger.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="270" data-original-width="480" height="180" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-N8Fsr1pjvDc/WUQUO5ZcqoI/AAAAAAAAAf4/bWpJ3KNeBSUdCBo8eKcTNk0OyNXngnyCgCLcBGAs/s320/anger.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">At Christ’s return the people of the earth will not be humble and willing to learn... they will be be angry and defiant. That needs to change If He is to create a joy filled world ruled in peace. But it won't change while the driving force behind their way of thinking is still functioning. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The governments, societies, religions, economies, sports of earth are still under the authority of Satan until he is removed.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ's return begins a transfer of power and authority. Satan is the god or spiritual force over this world… he has this only at the pleasure of God, and only for an allotted time. When it ends God has decreed that all power and authority be given to the son of man… Jesus Christ. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This transfer of power is not the result of a long struggle between competing powers [God vs. Satan]. This transfer of power is a scheduled event. That matter has already been decided by God. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>[example of new pres – elected November 2… but president Obama will still be in office until it is officially turned over January 20th]</i></div><h2 class="western">A Change of Leadership</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 7 annual holy days reveal how this change of leadership comes to pass. </div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The spring Holy days outline the 1<sup>st</sup> harvest. Over a long period of time before Christ's return a preliminary group is called, prepared, and trained to join Him. to work together with Him as He rules the nations of the earth. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The fall Holy days outline God’s plan for bringing salvation to all humanity… even those who long ago lived and died in darkness.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The 5<sup>th</sup> annual Holy Day prophesies the deposing of Satan. The next necessary step after the events of Trumpets [the 4<sup>th</sup> Holy day].</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">Jesus Christ [the new ruler] has demonstrated His worthiness to rule. </h2><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He submitted and obeyed the Father</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">He lived perfect humility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">His sacrificial death was the supreme representation of these qualities</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ's rule will reflect this character. The violence, corruption, and competition we see now… will be replaced with the way of peace and cooperation.</div><h2 class="western">Christ will not rule alone</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ’s government will extend over all the nations and peoples of the earth. He will also have some who rule with Him and assist. Most people would assume this would be angels… <i>but it is not to angels that God has subjected the world to come</i>. Christ will be assisted by the spirit born children of God… those who are called, committed, trained to take up positions of leadership under Him. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">That life training mirrors Christ’s life… submit yourself to God, obey Him, and practice humility <b>Mark 10:42-45</b>.</div><h2 class="western">Everyone Must Learn Humility At Some Point</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our world is filled with pomp, pride, and self importance… because they are deceived [They don’t know it and won’t admit it but they are anyway]… they are spiritually drunk with false religious teachings…. they will not obey and are cut off from God.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Satan the one who blinds the minds of humanity must be (and will be) removed [hurled into the bottomless pit and locked up] before the world can even begin to change. But you are not deceived… instead you are called by Him to develop the mind of Christ <b>Philippians 2:3-8, Colossians 3:12-13</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">All humanity will be humbled either willingly or unwillingly. Without that change of thinking they will never be able to have a positive relationship with God. <span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 11pt;"><b>Proverbs 16:5, </b></span></span><b>James 4:4-10</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The GOOD NEWS is that you CAN begin to humble yourself before God NOW! Instead of waiting for that future time when He will make it happen –<b> 1 Peter 5:5-7, Luke 14:7-11</b></div><h2 class="western">Why Fast on The Day of Atonement?</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting on the Day of Atonement is a vivid reminder of the state of mind you need to have if you are to rule with Christ at that pivotal time in human history. The mind of one called to serve with Christ must be like His:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One of humility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Godly sorrow</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Hunger and thirst for righteousness</div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Other Atonement Instructions</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 23:28-32 </b>The Day of Atonement has an extensive listing of instructions for observance. Some of these we carry forward into the NC and some we do not.</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Sacred assembly [no work] – still practiced</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting – still practiced</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Leviticus 16 provides the functions of the High Priest who make sacrifices and cleanses the tabernacle. These elements of the DOA are obsolete and have been replaced by the sacrifice and high priesthood of Jesus Christ.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The goat in the wilderness – not practiced, we have no earthly High Priest to perform this</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Today the Church of God practices only the two ordinances that were not limited to the priesthood… ALL gathered for the assembly… ALL fasted. These two practices have not been replaced through the work of Christ and the changes to the law that were enacted as a result of the new covenant <b>Acts 27:9</b>. Note: we do extensively discuss the cleansing of the temple and the goat which is cast out because they are prophecies of events yet to come.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Leviticus 23:32</b> To afflict yourself through fasting means to deny yourself food and water… for a 1 day period from sunset to sunset. This year the fast begins at sunset 10/11/16 at sunset and ends Wednesday 10/12/16 at sunset. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Exceptions [those who don't fast]:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Babies do not fast… so don’t force them too</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Nursing mothers may be able to fast but may very likely need to keep up their strength</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Children are not expected to fast (although they often want to join you and every one else in this way). Parents might want to start teaching children about fasting with a shorter duration like a half day to start and work them up as they get older</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">People who need to take medication</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Diabetics (may be able to fast for a shorter duration but should carefully monitor themselves and not do anything to endanger their health)</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting is a spiritual exercise for developing humility… the mindset of a Godly leader… the mindset that will replace the proud, vain, greedy, arrogant way of the previous administration [Satan et al]. Your practice of fasting is not limited to the day of Atonement only. It is an important part of our spiritual growth. Most examples of fasting in scripture are not related to the Day of Atonement.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Resisting Satan</div><div align="left" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 John 2:16</b> Satan accomplishes his work in humans through the desires of the flesh… our desires for self preservation and pleasure. When fasting you deny yourself the basics necessities of food and water… you are denying your flesh what it desires. Fasting is both:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">a symbolic act of removing his influence from our lives</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">a real exercise in exerting control over our desires and appetites</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ezra 8:21</b>fasting helps develop a way of thinking… an attitude of humility which must replace the attitude of pride... just as Christ's rule must replace Satan's. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 5:5-6</b>the earth and the future will not given over to the proud, arrogant, or oppressors. The earth, the world of tomorrow will be given to those who are meek and humble...who's hunger and thirst is not for food and drink but for righteousness.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">With the backdrop to the fall HOly days in mind lets end with </div><br /><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Zephaniah 3:6-13</b> During Christ’s rule all people will be taught the way of humility, cooperation, and peace. I expect the same goal will apply to those who arise in the general resurrection. It makes sense… God is not going to offer eternal life to those what are proud.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Qw1mI2TaUr8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Prophecy Is For All Nations And Peoples
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The prophetic portions of God’s word give the nation of Israel a lot of attention. Is He playing favorites? Is He ignoring all the other nations and people on earth?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">3,500 years back people believed gods were local. Such gods had jurisdiction only over a particular territory or a particular race. When you went to a different place you had better make an effort to appease the god of that section of country to gain their favor. A mindset that even Israel struggled with.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2qtIj4UjKEg/Wclt-lBaLhI/AAAAAAAAAjg/1lgXaPorZ549AkJ2yHQFa93uvpqj4XqyQCLcBGAs/s1600/liam-desic-1180.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-2qtIj4UjKEg/Wclt-lBaLhI/AAAAAAAAAjg/1lgXaPorZ549AkJ2yHQFa93uvpqj4XqyQCLcBGAs/s320/liam-desic-1180.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (the God of scripture) is the Creator/Ruler/Father of ALL nations… not just Israel. He is the God of all the earth, not just a patch of land in the middle east. The prophecies He has caused to be recorded affect all nations and peoples of the earth.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b></b><br /><a name='more'></a><b>Genesis 12:3</b> Israel’s mission was to be a blessing to ALL the nations of the earth.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Exodus 22:21 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 10:17-19</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Deuteronomy 27:19 </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ezekiel 47:22</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">These scriptures give us the mind of God on the matter. He loves those of other nations and wants the people He has chosen to think and act the same way. God judges each person by how they respond to His instructions. Some have received a lot and some have received very little.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 9:4</b> Israel received a lot. In return God expects a lot from them. The same equation is at work in the church, the spiritual nation, the Israel of God. “<i>to whom much is given, much is expected in return</i>”. Therefor this principel is at work for you and me also.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In the days of the Old Covenant God used Israel as a sort of middle-man. He delivered His word directly to them… they were to take it to the rest of the world, living it, speaking of it in their streets and homes. The same equation is at work in the church, the spiritual nation, the Israel of God… to speak, to teach, and to reach.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">It may be that Israel’s shortcomings kept their neighbors from seeing the light of God’s commands. It may be that the shortcomings of the church keep others from seeing the light of God’s truth. [woe unto us if that be the case].</div><h2 class="western">Israel is First in Line</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The physical descendants of Abraham may have been the first to received the good things of God. They are also first in line to receive His discipline and punishment. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 21:20-24</b> when the Day of The Lord comes Christ will deal out punishment and discipline to all the nations of the earth… Israel is also to be punished and disciplined. But their punishment and discipline comes even before the Christ’s return.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Before Christ’s return there is a time of great tribulation. God will punish Israel for their rebellion and rejection by allowing the nations to have their way with Israel. The results won’t be pretty. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God completely removes all protection from Israel, they are viciously attacked by al the other nations with Satan goading them on. The descendants of Abraham are killed in huge number and the rest are taken as slaves. It is “the time of Jacob’s trouble’<b>Jeremiah 30:6-10</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: Jesus uses same terminology [pain of childbirth, no time like it in history] in His long prophecy in Matthew 24: 6-8 [painof childbirth], 21 [no time like it]. Very likely one of the prophetic writings He was referring to was the time of Jacob’s trouble.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So… the time of Jacob’s trouble comes right before the return of Christ when He will forcefully discipline all nations, all cultures, and people… but the process of punishment will have already begun with Israel.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God starts with Israel: He revealed Himself first to Israel, Israel is punished and disciplined first, and Israel is the first nation and people to be restored when the Kingdom of God and the 1,000 year rule of Christ begin.</div><h2 class="western"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="__DdeLink__6949_2070021982"></a>God Does Not Forget Rest of Humanity</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 66:18-23</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 10:34-35 </b>The church began with a remnant of believers drawn out of Israel, Peter, John, the 120 disciples, the 5,000 baptized on Pentecost, Paul… and on that base God is drawing to Himself people from all nations. The situation in this verse is referring specifically to the church. But is also a template for how Christ will operate during the 1,000 year rule.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 3:9 </b>God wants all people to come to Him. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 56:1-8 </b>God wants all people to come to the way of life He made known to Israel all those centuries and millenia ago. The way that He has made known to you through His word and the active power of the Holy Spirit in you.</div><h2 class="western">God Works With People Based On How They Respond </h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To the eunuch or the nations who choose what is pleaing to Him… good stuff.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>An example: </b>God sent Jonah to Ninevah with a warning to repent or die. They repented and God changed His intention based on how they responded.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>A not-so-good example: Nebuchadnazzer </b>Have you ever asked yourself “why did God give Nebuchadnezzar the king of wicked Babylon dreams of the future?”. People like Daniel, solomon, Isaiah make sense but why Nebuchnazzer? He was bad.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">After Judah was finally destroyed for their rebellion against God. There was no longer any model nation on the planet. Meanwhile, Babylon was a huge player on the international scene... Influential, powerful, with a sophisticated culture. Was God offering Babylon, through Nebuchadnezzar, the opportunity to be a nation God could perform a work through?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:19-26</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:27</b> was God saying through Daniel “repent and be great Nebuchadnezzar!”. What then was Nebuchadnezzar’s response?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 4:28-30</b> “I don’t need God. I’m already great!” </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Compare Nebuchadnezzar’s response to Abraham, who heard Gods voice and obeyed, or even the people of Israel who heard the commandments from God at Sinai. When God asked “will you live by these rules?”… the people of Israel responded “yes, we want to go for it”. Israel may have failed in the end… but at least they would try.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God works with people based on how they respond... What is your response to God?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Nebuchadnezzar’s arrogance and vainty was a bad response. So lhe was was struck down for 7 years as promised. Afterwards, he was willing to acknowledge God’s awesome power, His authority over earth. But, as far as we can tell he never changed his ways like Daniel advised.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God has shown and human history has shown: Leaders, people’s, and nations [Israel and all the rest] are unable to consistently follow and obey <b>Romans 3:9-12</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This will remain the situation until Jesus Christ returns to bring the rule of God to earth and the power of the Holy Spirit is poured out upon the nations.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a>Only then will all nations, peoples and cultures be convinced of what is right, and be committed to <u>doing</u> what is right. Only then will righteousness, justice, mercy, love, peace, and the joy of eternal life sweep over the face of the earth. </div><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Beginning with Israel… but extending to everyone who is willing to say YES to God and to Jesus Christ.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/U6dQTV-nocM" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Why Fast on the Day of Atonement?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gi_0d1Wzo7U/W463R6d42UI/AAAAAAAAA-I/CYnlUeNUSQo4DNt7uWJpd-jFDBdf1gxvACLcBGAs/s1600/tan-erica-438857-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1334" data-original-width="1600" height="266" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-gi_0d1Wzo7U/W463R6d42UI/AAAAAAAAA-I/CYnlUeNUSQo4DNt7uWJpd-jFDBdf1gxvACLcBGAs/s320/tan-erica-438857-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2 class="western">Fasting on the Day of Atonement</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 23:26-32</b>/ <b>Lev 16:29-31</b> commanded to <i>afflict yourself</i> on the Day of Atonement</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Afflict ~ Anah occurs about 80 times in OT is most often translated “humble or affliction”. Used to describe harsh and painful treatment… Egypt afflicting Israel for 400 years… for Sarai dealing harshly with Hagar… to take a woman sexually by force… Frequently the verb expresses the idea that God sends affliction for disciplinary purposes: "... the LORD your God has led you these forty years in the wilderness, that he might humble you, testing you to know what was in your heart..." (Deut. 8:2)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">And in the Day of Atonement observance to <i>afflict oneself</i> is <u>understood</u>to mean to fast, to deny oneself food and water for the entire day. But how do we <u>know</u> that is what Anah means with regards to the Day of Atonement? Couldn’t it be referring to some strange sort of self inflicted penance?</div><h3 class="western">We get the answer from scripture:</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There is no word for fasting in the first 8 books of the bible. But as the Hebrew language continued to develop and expand the started to use a separate word for what we know of as <i>fasting</i> (possibly to avoid confusion). That word is <i>tsome</i> (meaning to cover the mouth ie. not let food in). Tsome is always translated fast, fasted, fasting etc. </div><h3 class="western">So, how do we prove that to afflict yourself means to fast?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">There are three places in scripture that use the ancient term “anah / affliction” in association with the newer word “tsome / fasting”… <b>Ezra 8:21, Psalm 35:13, Isaiah 58:3,5</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">One last point… How do we know that means no food or water? <b>Esther 4:16</b></div><h3 class="western">What are the spiritual implications of fasting on the Day of Atonement?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Grief:</b> Not wanting to eat is a natural response/symptom of grief/loss… it’s a form of mourning/sorrow (use example of Liz Porter). In a religious setting fasting is a conscious act meant to demonstrate or bring forth a sense of grief… especially over sin.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Self Discipline:</b> Fasting is also an expression of spiritual self discipline… exercise in mastery over the flesh (this is how a Buddhist would understand fasting)</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Humility:</b>While the newer word <i>tsome / fasting</i> is more descriptive of what is actually done… the ancient word anah is better at drawing our attention to the state of mind the activity is meant to induce. When we afflict ourselves on the Day of Atonement we humble ourselves before God.</div><h3 class="western">Why Fast on the Day of Atonement Rather Than Any Other Holy Day?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Don’t we always want to present ourselves as humble before God? Why then is fasting only commanded on the Day of Atonement rather than another of the Holy days?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>First, some back-story:</b> In the grand scheme of God’s plan of salvation the Day of Atonement comes after the return of Christ as king of kings… and before the 1,000 years of Christ’s rule on earth. Atonement marks the occasion of Satan’s future removal from his current position of “God of this world”.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To prepare for the 1,000 year rule of Christ, Satan will be completely removed from the scene. He will be bound in a manner that stops him from influencing humanity for the entire 1,000 year period. Without Satan’s influence Christ’s government will be a demonstration of God’s way in action before the final stage in God’s plan (the 8<sup>th</sup>day).</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">So, why fast on Atonement?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The spiritual qualities of fasting… humility, grief over sin, and self discipline are key elements to God’s instructions for putting Satan out of our personal lives. And perhaps while we look ahead to Satan’s real removal on that day we should also be thinking of the need to remove him from our lives today in preparation for our future role in the rule of Christ.</div><h3 class="western">God’s Instructions For Driving Satan Away</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Satan is more powerful than you and standing up to him can seem impossible… but Jesus Christ is stronger by far… and if He is with you and in you there is nothing to fear. However we must also do our part in driving Satan out. (use NIV from here on)</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 4:1-3a</b> Jesus personal example for resisting Satan was to begin with fasting. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>James 4:6-10</b> Humble yourself… weep and mourn over sin (Godly sorrow leading to purity)</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>1 Peter 5:5-10</b> humble yourself… sober, vigilant, steadfast in the faith (self disciplined)</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Humility… grief over sin… self discipline</div><h3 class="western">What Does Humility Do To Drive Satan Away?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To humble yourself before God is to see yourself as lowly in comparison to Him and to submit yourself to Him. I admit that I am nothing with God… I do not have life within myself… I do not have power on my own… I do not have knowledge on my own. What life I have is given to me by Him and sustained by Him… what power I have comes from Him… what knowledge I have comes from Him. </div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to Him even through suffering… I know He is in control wanting only what is good for me</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to Him to be my guide and teacher in life… I know He is truthful</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">I submit myself to His judgments… I know He is just and merciful</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Psalm 25:8-9 / Dan 10:12</b></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">This is the opposite of Satan’s grand delusion “I will be like the Most High”</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">This is the opposite of Humanity’s delusion “you will be like God knowing good and evil”</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><br /></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Isaiah 57:15</b>To humble myself is also an invitation to God to dwell with me and within me</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 12:22-29</b>Satan driven out by a power greater than his own… God’s Holy Spirit moves is Satan moves out!</div><h3 class="western">How Does Fasting Humble Me?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting quickly makes us realize how totally dependent we are upon God your creator. He has stocked the earth with fresh water, plants, fruits and selected meats for you to eat. But without that food + water He has provided our flesh will die.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fasting therefore reminds us that our present life here on earth is limited… it is physical and temporary. Our real goal is life eternal spirit life. But without the power of His Spirit and His word we die spiritually.</div><h3 class="western">How Does Self Discipline Drive Out Satan?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">In James 4:8 we read: </div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">clean your <u>hands</u> from sin… change the way you act using God’s law as your guide</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">purify your <u>thoughts</u> from double mindedness… (di-suchos) meaning wavering between two spirits… the spirit that is now at work in the children of disobedience… and the spirit of God that is now at work within you. </div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matt 12:42-43</b>we clean our house to make room for God to dwell there… if we don’t let Him fill us up… if we stay empty... then all the bad stuff we got rid of will come back.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Fill yourself with the word of God… fill yourself with the spirit of God… leave no room for Satan.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 6:11-17</b> truth / righteousness / gospel / faith / salvation / spirit … to put on the armor of God is to fill you mind with these thoughts… and fill your days with these actions.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The self discipline that drives out Satan is a combination of commitment to and practice of moral behavior as defined by God’s law’s statutes and judgments. It is also a commitment to and an understanding of doctrinal truth… understanding the big picture… the truth… the plan of salvation… the good news of the KOG.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Self discipline that drives out Satan is a combination of head knowledge… to know and know that you know… and hand knowledge… to know and to do.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>I Cor 9:24 -10:7</b></div><h3 class="western">How Does Fasting Teach Discipline?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Going without food and water goes against our most basic instincts… the self preservation of the flesh. Your mind might say… I’m going to go without food or water for an entire day… your flesh cries out saying WHY? Why do you want to do this to me?</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Successfully fasting shows you that you <u>can</u> exercise control over your desires, wants and passions. Mastering your appetite for basic sustenance gives you greater confidence that you can move forward in controlling those passions and desires that lead you into sin.</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>Consider:</b> The first sin was one of desire</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;">… a lust for something to eat “it was good for food”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">… an appeal to vanity and pride “desirable to make one wise”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We must be in control of the desires of our flesh and of our mind.</div><h3 class="western">What about Fasting as an act of grief and mourning?</h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A person does not decide to cast off pride and vanity unless they are convinced that a change in their thinking needs to happen… they are grieved over their foolish vanity.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">A person does not begin the difficult course of self discipline that seeks to control the desires which lead to sin… unless that are convinced that a change needs to happen. Unless they are grieved over their sin.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>2 Corinthians 7:6-11</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Lev 16:29-30</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">This day of atonement let’s fast to remind ourselves of God’s instructions for driving Satan out… humility… Godly sorrow over sin… and self discipline.</div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Gs_aEfxcQtA" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Be Reconciled To One Another
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sph1NZIWYZw/WKoIzj_es8I/AAAAAAAAAY0/3UWlTROYbLQ6RpOC5iXHu06997uia2e0gCLcB/s1600/Handshake.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Sph1NZIWYZw/WKoIzj_es8I/AAAAAAAAAY0/3UWlTROYbLQ6RpOC5iXHu06997uia2e0gCLcB/s320/Handshake.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even though we have all rebelled against our Father creator, disregarded His commands… to the point where we all were considered His enemies… God is graciously willing to offer everyone forgiveness and reconciliation. He makes peace with us so we are no longer to be considered enemies, and He grants us access to the divine nature and eternal life. This happens because of God’s forgiving nature and His loving desire to see us develop our full potential:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To grow into the fully mature mind of Christ</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To receive life everlasting</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Growing into the fully mature mind of Christ means we have to change the way we think… to think with the mind of the spirit instead of the mind of the flesh… and change the way we act... to live by His commands and do the things that are pleasing to Him. If we don’t make these changes we’ll never move forward to receive the gift of life everlasting. To indicate our willingness and determination to do so we pass through the waters of baptism and receive the power of the Holy Spirit.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God’s willingness to reconcile with you and me is an example He wants us to imitate… to make peace, to be friends instead of enemies… to forgive and be reconciled to one another. In most ways we imitate God in this pursuit of reconciliation BUT in one very important way we do not. </div><h2 class="western">How We Should NOT Try To Be Like God</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God, the righteous, all knowing, all merciful creator requires all humans to change the way we think and act… but WE cannot require this of OTHERS. We must offer forgiveness to our fellow human beings without any requirement [or expectation] that the other party, confess, repay, or change… whichis hard.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>Q: </i><i>Should I forgive a person and then go on as if nothing happened? It </i><i>doesn’t seem</i><i> fair.</i></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness doesn’t mean ignoring or erasing God’s standards of right and wrong.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness does mean that you and I give up our need to:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Be declared, proven, or acknowledged as right</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To be approached rather than approach [I want them to come begging me for forgiveness]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To have my emotional needs met</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To control the situation, control the actions of others</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">For example: to obsess over getting an apology, the tone of the apology, the sincerity… or obsess over punishment, how severe, how swift, how public… etc.</div><h2 class="western">Forgiveness Means We Desire Emotional Peace</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We might think our “forgiveness” is something we give to another. Sometimes other people care, most often they don’t really. But if an offense has occurred and you are withholding forgiveness for whatever reason… the other party isn’t suffering. You are.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>When we </b><b>DON’T</b><b>forgive two bad things happen </b><b>to us</b><b>:</b></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We create a barrier between ourself and God [He does not like pride which is usually the underlying reason forgiveness is withheld]. This very real barrier is a problem for you not necessarily the other person. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Some offenses involve violation of God’s law… most don’t. Instead they often matters of misunderstanding, hurt feelings, pride, frustration etc. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Either way… withholding forgiveness hurts <u>your</u> relationship with your Father God.</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You become trapped reliving, and reliving, and reliving the emotional moment of the offense.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Everytime you bring to memory that incident, that conversation… you relive the same emotional response. You are re-experiencing the pain [and knowing how the mind works, probably making it more intense each time you bring it back into your thoughts]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">As the emotional pain builds and reinforces itself your desire to be declared right or for the other party to get punishment becomes stronger.</div></li></ol></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>When we </b><b>DO</b><b>forgive two good things happen </b><b>to us</b><b>:</b></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have peace with the other party [sometimes they don’t even know about it]. This also provides you with internal emotional peace.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have Peace with God</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Follow God’s Example</b></span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God initiates peace and reconciliation with you through Jesus Christ. You then pay it forward. This is 1) pleasing to God 2) necessary for maintaining that peace with Him.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To forgive is to give up the need to control others [demand for apology, to see they are truly sorry]. To forgive is to give up the need for personal vengeance [that they are punished as much as we think they should be]. Both of these we give over to God for many reasons... such as:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our inability to judge with perfect justice and mercy</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our lack of perfect and complete knowledge</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 12:17-21</b> – you do your part, leave the rest to God 2) Seek peace – don’t wait passively for it to come to you, neither can you demand peace… you have to make it.</div><h2 class="western">When You Are The Offended Party</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Ask yourself… why am I offended? Is it an insult to my sense of dignity or my ego? Is it a frustration of my personal desires {promotion, esteem from others, my sense of superiority, entitlement]? Is it an emotional over-reaction based on incomplete facts? What part have I played in creating the problem? <b>Matt 7:3-5</b></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Especially ask… is this legitimate, based on God’s standards… or mine? </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Steps to Take</b></span></span></span></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Take the initiative</b> - that’s God’s example for you. This doesn’t mean you become confrontational. Be careful about taking the issue to the other party. Remember… you are seeking peace. Not personal satisfaction!</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Be wary of personal anger</b>:</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:26</b> righteous anger is over a moral principle… most of our anger is ego driven… our assumed rights have been violated, our self image threatened, our pride has been hurt.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Righteous anger is short lived and doesn’t lead to retaliation [which is a place where sin can enter]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Righteous person is not looking for a fight <b>Proverbs 11:23, 14:29, 16:32, 19:19</b></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:27</b> exert emotional control so you are not manipulated by Satan [think of the retaliation angle here]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Bitterness is another way of describing a state of mind rooted in unresolved anger</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Don’t s</b><b>preading discont</b> – when you have been wronged you want to share [seeking vindication, to prove yourself right etc.]</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Seeking advice and counsel from close/trusted people is one thing… but all too often we open it up to anyone who is willing to listen… to get our side of the story out there first. The biblical word for this is backbiting </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 4:29-32</b></div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Persue humility</b>: life is not about winning. Its about learning</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">When You Are The Offending Party</h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 18:6-9</b>Jesus has strong words for those who cause others to give up or mess up. He’s talking mostly about brethren. Some offenses involve sin… I would be willing to say that most do not. Most offenses seem to relate to emotion, pride, or misunderstanding.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Just because someone <u>feels</u> wronged doesn’t mean they were. But a broken relationship is not pleasing to God. Real sin [commandment level wrongdoing] is clearly more serious, but sin or no-sin TRUE reconciliation between the parties involved is what pleases God who “<i>opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble</i>”</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Steps to Take:</b></span></span></span></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek reconciliation</b> <b>between you and God</b> [a lot of this is for cases where a sin or real injustice has been done]. Apply to other situations as you deem appropriate.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When you are right with God then the self justification that blocks reconciliation melts away. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">When we sin against another our sin is against God. This puts up a barrier between us and God. <b>1 Peter 3:7</b> here is an example where disrespect towards another interferes with your relationship with God. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we refuse to acknowledge our wrongdoing we remain in conflict with our creator.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take responsibility for what happened or was said. Don’t blame others, circumstances… or justify yourself… “that’s just the way I am”. Acknowledge your offense – in prayer to God, in words to other people.</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Give up the need to control</b> – for example don’t say something like “I was wrong… but you shouldn’t have done what you did”. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Acknowledge the offense and ask for forgiveness. Don’t just say I’m sorry, show that you understand what it is that you have done so they see that you understand... What motivated you, or that you were ignorant/unaware etc.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Take responsibility and make restitution if appropriate</div></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek Godly solutions</b> – rather than the outcome which satisfies you own personal desires and expectations.</div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Listen to the other party’s complaint rather than seek to justify yourself. </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Consider options:</b></div><ol type="i"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Was I just ignorant or in a situation where ignorance abounded</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Was I being malicious</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">How must I take responsibility</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">What lessons can I learn</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Am I being defensive? [feeling threatened]</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Am I angry? [Pride hurt]</div></li></ol></li></ol></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Seek humility</b> – because pride is the major obstacle to reconciliation. </div><ol type="a"><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">It is difficult to see ourselves as the one in the wrong… it threatens our high opinion of ourselves-→ So, our reflexive reaction is to protect our self, our ego… by blaming others</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Humility begins by recognizing ourselves as deeply flawed individual who desperately needs God’s help if we ever want to achieve that great and eternal potential that God our Father sees in us. </div></li></ol></li></ol><h2 class="western">Forgiveness is essential to our Eternal lives… </h2><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">it is only because of God’s willingness to forgive that we have access and opportunity to become His children and receive the gift of eternal life. Forgiveness is a way of thinking and acting that God wants us to learn and practice if we are to be His children.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Forgiveness restores peace with our Father, personal emotional well-being, and right relationships with others whom God has created in His own image.</div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We seek peace… We leave judgment with God. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we are offended we seek peace. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">If we find that we have offended we seek peace. </div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i> Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God.</i></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/c9YnSXwG0yU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Listen To Message: The Feast of Trumpets Is The Day of The Lord
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="500" src="https://castbox.fm/app/castbox/player/id1094811/id89372492?v=4.0.19" width="100%"></iframe></span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The final trumpet signals the return of Jesus Christ, it is also the time of the resurrection and rewarding of the saints. <a href="https://ucgraleigh.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-day-of-lord-is-feast-of-trumpets.html">The seventh trumpet</a> is the 3rd woe the final phase of worldwide warfare. Nations and peoples crazed with power seeking will not meekly accept the rule of Christ.<br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: large;">Request a FREE copy of our bible study guide:&nbsp;</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: large;">The Book of Revelation Unveiled</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/booklets/the-book-of-revelation-unveiled">The Book of Revelation Unveiled</a></span></span></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">👓 Find UCGRaleigh 👓</span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Share this video: <a href="https://youtu.be/24QHr3hNIW8">https://youtu.be/24QHr3hNIW8</a></span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Subscribe to this channel: </span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=UCGx5BY50CSiEWOdNMDJ2gNw">http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=UCGx5BY50CSiEWOdNMDJ2gNw</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Find a UCG church near you: </span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="http://ucg.org/congregations/">http://ucg.org/congregations/</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Follow UCG Raleigh</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://www.facebook.com/UCGRaleigh.main.page">https://www.facebook.com/UCGRaleigh.main.page</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ <a href="https://twitter.com/UCGRaleigh">https://twitter.com/UCGRaleigh </a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span> <span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Subscribe to the UCG Raleigh podcast on</span></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ iTunes <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/united-church-of-god-raleigh/id1315758270">https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/united-church-of-god-raleigh/id1315758270</a></span><br /><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">➤ CastBox <a href="https://castbox.fm/channel/Weekly-Sabbath-Sermon-id1094811">https://castbox.fm/channel/Weekly-Sabbath-Sermon-id1094811</a></span><br /><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RTA1LCIBOew/W4tPKdUXI1I/AAAAAAAAA98/vL90t3CQQQkiAcmfgllkMTrTjkKtuNhdQCLcBGAs/s1600/Trumpet-blank.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="720" data-original-width="1280" height="180" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-RTA1LCIBOew/W4tPKdUXI1I/AAAAAAAAA98/vL90t3CQQQkiAcmfgllkMTrTjkKtuNhdQCLcBGAs/s320/Trumpet-blank.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/A1xP3xBDl5s" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Role of Promises in Biblical Prophecy
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Pda0De_E2rU/WcBzpAFeNmI/AAAAAAAAAiA/2t78OvHLqFcfWoToY7EPohIzhr4H8-apQCLcBGAs/s1600/liane-metzler-30296.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1200" data-original-width="1600" height="150" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Pda0De_E2rU/WcBzpAFeNmI/AAAAAAAAAiA/2t78OvHLqFcfWoToY7EPohIzhr4H8-apQCLcBGAs/s200/liane-metzler-30296.jpg" width="200" /></a></div>A promise from God is a prophecy from God. If God says He is going to do something you can be sure He will do it. Not only is your Creator faithful and reliable… He wants you to enjoy the feeling of security in His faithfulness… and He wants to enjoy your confidence in Him.<br /><b><br /></b><b>Trust &amp; Confidence:</b> the foundation of a healthy relationship.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s word speaks His promises to you [and to all humanity]… from beginning to end.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 3:15</b> God’s first promise to humanity is a prophecy directed at the adversary… the serpent… the morning star Lucifer who by his own choice became God’s enemy.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God promises a solution to the problems and suffering humanity have brought upon themselves. A choice to go their own way apart from God. A choice with no good future.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God tells Satan [the serpent] that from the descendants of Eve there will come a “Seed” or descendant who would step/stomp on his head and crush it. Satan would be permitted to attack the foot of the “Seed” and temporarily disable, harass and impede His work [a reference to the execution of the Messiah and the 3 days in the tomb, also a reference to the continued harassment of the present body of Christ as they bring the true gospel to the world]. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But the end is decided and certain. Satan gets stomped.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Scripture begins with a promise:</b> God will send a “Seed”, a Son of Man, a descendant born of woman, to restore humanity from the pain, suffering, and death they chose… He will crush and replace Satan, and take charge of the course of humanity on earth. The rest of prophecy expands and elaborates on this promise.</div><h2 class="western">Promises to Abraham</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God calls Abraham and sets him apart. And He makes some promises to Abraham that show how the original promise from Genesis 3:15 will happen.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 12:1-3 </b>from Abraham will come a nation through which God will bring good to all humanity</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 22:18</b> from Abraham will come the “Seed” or descendant who will bring good things, and the promise of a brighter future to all humanity.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Through Abraham God reveals a new pathway for humanity. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On one hand we have the path set by Adam, to follow our own heart, our humanly devised sense of what is right and true. Its the way of all physically created beings, but it has no future. Physical life comes to an end after about 75 to 90 years. Without God there is nothing to look forward to. Just nothingness. [there is a way that seems right to a man but the end is death]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On the other hand we have the path set by Abraham, to believe God, have confidence in His promises and to live by His word [obey His voice] because of that confidence. This is the way of spiritual creation. To have the mind of God built in you… a way with a bright a glorious future beyond those 75 to 90 years… a hope of eternal life in the family of God. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The promise to Abraham is an example of one prophecy fulfilled in multiple ways [duality]:</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Messiah would be born as a descendant [or seed] of Abraham</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Abraham’s millions of descendants would become a nation. God would make known a better way of living through that nation… His commandments, judgments, and statues… a way of mercy, faith, holiness and righteousness</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">All who believe God and follow the path of faithful obedience would be of the same spiritual family as Abraham <b>Galatians 3:16</b></div></li></ol><h2 class="western">The Nation of Israel</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When Abraham was old enough to be a great grandfather, and his wife was decades past menopause, they had a son Isaac. Isaac had two sons: Esau the oldest son &amp; Jacob the younger. Against all tradition and precedent Jacob [the younger] was chosen to receive the promise over Esau [the elder]. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">These children were the beginning of God making good on his promises. The circumstances sent a message about how God works: </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God starts things small and causes them to grow larger. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s blessing is a miracle… over-riding the laws of physics and biology. Isaac was a miracle baby</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Passing the promises along to Jacob was God’s choice. It was not deserved or earned. However, God does expect a positive response from us in return</div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jacob’s 12 sons became the 12 tribes <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> Jacob’s name was changed to Israel <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> The 12 tribes became the nation of Israel <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> a line of human born kingship in Israel was established through David… and Israel did achieve a certain level of greatness during their centuries of nationhood.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But God’s promise of greatness was not limited to the possession of territory, or having the written revelation of God, or the possession of a great and noble line of kings. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 4:13 </b>God’s promise to Abraham was everything… the world… the <i>Kosmos</i></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s promises a positive outcome to human existence… a promise made to Adam, to Eve, to Abraham, to Jacob… an outcome never fulfilled by Israel. Even with the huge impact the tiny nation had on human history they never even came close. However, through them God demonstrated His power, showcased His laws statutes and judgements. Through the prophets of Israel He provided further details of the glorious future He has in store for humanity. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So… through Israel, God has indeed provided blessings for all humanity but there is so much more.</div><h2 class="western">A Spiritual Nation</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Israel was established as a nation on the world stage with a purpose: to become a blessing to all nations. They were given God’s commandments, statutes and judgements so that the nations around would see the goodness and good things that come from following God’s plan for living and want to imitate them <b>Deuteronomy 4:5-8</b>. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Israel didn’t deliver. But God keeps His promise.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Ephesians 2:11-13</b> the Messiah was born into Israel as the “Seed” and descendant promised to Eve, and to Abraham. Through Him the promises of blessing for all humanity opened up and blossomed. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Israel had failed because they lacked the convicting and empowering Spirit of God. Now through that power of God at work a new spiritual nation would be formed. A spiritual Israel <b>2 Peter 2:9</b>.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 11:13-21 </b>now non-Jews were to be brought directly in the spiritual nation of Israel because they have faith and show the results of faith… like Abraham. Note: those brought into this spiritual nation were subject to certain qualifying conditions. God expects a positive response from those he chooses… “to obey His voice”.</div><h2 class="western">Is God done with the physical descendants of Jacob? </h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">No! And understanding this point is essential to understanding many of the future prophecies concerning Israel… prophecies that only take place after Christ returns to establish the rule of God on earth. Not understanding this point leads many to believe and teach that the prophecies about Israel and the fulfillment of them are a thing of the past.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 9:4-6</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 11:1-2</b> not rejected</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 11:3-6</b> a remnant of Israel was drawn out to form the beginnings of the church of God, the spiritual nation of Israel [Peter, John, Paul etc]. They would form the base which the non-Jews would then be grafted into.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 11:7-12</b> tripped because they cannot see and understand the work of the Messiah, that His coming is 1<sup>st</sup> as a redeeming sacrifice… then to come again as a conquering king].</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Verses 25-27</b> Even though Israel failed in their mission, and failed to recognize the Messiah, God has not cast them aside forever. He will fulfill His promise made to Abraham to the utmost degree. Abraham’s physical descendants will be redeemed and rehabilitated. The Messiah will make this come to pass after His 2<sup>nd</sup> coming. The promise does not fail.</div><h2 class="western">Israel During Christ’s 1,00 Year Rule</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The physical descendants of Abraham will have a special role to fulfill when the Messiah returns as King of Kings. The 1,000 year rule of the Messiah on earth will re-establish Israel as a model nation. Through them other nations will learn the way of God. This truth is essential to understanding many of the prophecies related to the rule of Christ on earth [<b>Isaiah 2:3-5</b>, 45:19-25, 60:3-6, 66:18, <b>Joel 3:1-2, Zechariah 8:20-23</b> etc]</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: entrance into eternal life and the family of God comes only through Christ… the promised “Seed” and firstborn of the faithful. But, as spelled out in the prohecies about the world under Christ’s rule the spiritual work of God takes place in a physical world. In dealing with that physical world as King and ruler Christ fulfills God’s promise to Abraham in working through Israel as a blessing to all nations. </div><h2 class="western">Promises of Kingship</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On his deathbed, Jacob prophesied of what would come of each of his 12 sons. To his son Judah he made a promise of kingship and rule. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 49:10</b> Judah was promised rulership. Remember that God had promised Abraham a “Seed” who would be a blessing to all humanity. The Messiah, the king of kings, would come from Abraham’s descendants. Of all the grandchildren this promise would be fulfilled through Judah. This gives us another key to understanding the unfolding of biblical prophecy and the fulfillment of God’s promises.</div><h2 class="western">God’s Promises of Kingship Pass to David</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">After several centuries of turmoil and trouble a line of human born kings was established in Israel. This line of kings began with David… a descendant of Judah.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Samuel 7:8-16 </b>God promised David that his family would be an everlasting dynasty of kings. This promise is partially fulfilled by his physical descendants [for example Solomon]. But certain aspects of what God is promising can only be fulfilled by the Messiah.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 1:31-33</b> Jesus Christ is the heir to the throne of David. This helps us understand the many prophecies about kingship made long after David died that have not yet been fulfilled. For example: <b>Isaiah 9:6-7</b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This promise of perfect righteous rule was never achieved by any restoration of king Hezekiah, or king Josiah. It is a promise waiting to be fulfilled by the “Seed” promised to Eve [and through her to all humanity]. The descendant who will crush the head of the serpent and restore the rule of the earth to its rightful place.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The same “Seed” promised to Abraham. A descendant through whom a better and brighter path will be opened up to all nations… and an eternal future opened up to the faithful.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus Christ is the descendant and heir promised to David who will establish a rule and kingship that is everlasting.</div><h2 class="western">Conclusion:</h2><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Biblical prophecy is built upon the promises of God. And God keeps His promises. </div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A solid understanding of these promises is the beginning to understand biblical prophecy.</div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> Understanding prophecy is to understand your Creator’s plan of a better future for you, and for humanity</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/jwl3k9qPCYc" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Enemies of God... Who Are They?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gR8A3chKLts/WlJ_kBveHaI/AAAAAAAAAuM/fvZDTPp1j3ENI5ej9AzgJgc17Q2TOFRHACLcBGAs/s1600/neonbrand-428982.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1333" data-original-width="1600" height="166" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-gR8A3chKLts/WlJ_kBveHaI/AAAAAAAAAuM/fvZDTPp1j3ENI5ej9AzgJgc17Q2TOFRHACLcBGAs/s200/neonbrand-428982.jpg" width="200" /></a></div>If I ask you, “does God have enemies” you might think first of Satan, who popular imagination presents as God’s arch enemy, but what about people? Are there human beings who are God’s ENEMIES!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">That might conjure up an image of some fiendish villain like Adolph Hitler, or perhaps an angry atheist media celebrity sputtering forth with accusations, demeaning jokes, or sarcasm. The painful reality is that there are far more enemies of God than you could have ever imagined.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 8:7</b> the mind of flesh is hostile toward God. It does not allow itself to be ruled by the law of God… nor is it even able to. <u>Let that sink in</u>…it means that every human being … by their very nature, by the very way their mind operates is an enemy of God!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><i>Cuz, Baby you were born that way</i>… [Note: you were not born a wrong doer or under a penalty for crimes you had not yet committed, but you were born with a mind made of flesh that cannot and will not submit itself to the laws of God… so you quickly wandered off into disobedience to God’s laws… and the penalty for that is that you are cut off from eternal life]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Your whole way of thinking and acting is a state of conflict with your creator God. Its a core conflict… it doesn’t just stay in your head… it’s a way of thinking and acting that creates the war, violence, oppression we see in the world. Divorce, anger, bitter disagreement, and resentment are everywhere… even reaching into the church of God.</div><h2 class="western">How Do I Fix This Way Of Thinking?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">First, your relationship with God your creator must be fixed. You and God are enemies until that hostility begins to be addressed. But, before God can get to work on you... we have to deal with the penalty stuff [cut off from God, cut off from eternal life]. That’s what the Passover… and baptism are all about.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Colossians 1:21-22</b> our hostile relationship with God can be set on a path toward, friendship, love, grace, peace… good stuff like that. After that we move to fix our relationships with our fellow humans. But, it begins with Christ. He takes that penalty away… and you are no longer cut off from God. That free access opens up all kinds of wonderful opportunities.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 5: 8-10</b> - God is the peacemaker. God makes the first move. He sets an example for us of proactive reconciliation which we can [and must] then use to repair and maintain our human relationships.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Matthew 5:9</b> God’s goal for us is that we become like Him. We become peacemakers at work, in our neighborhoods, in our marriages, in our church, among our friends.</div><h2 class="western">How Can I Identify This Way Of Thinking?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The way of thinking that leads to hostility with God and conflict with others builds on top of our natural needs and desires… but does so in a way that leads to bad results. </div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Pride</b> – an exaggerated view of self… to see the rightness or wrongness of a situation by how it affects me, how others are treating me… rather than how am I contribution to this problem or how do I treat others. The only acceptable outcome of a proud mindset is that I get what I want… I win. But, where does that leave the other party? Whether God or man.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Emotional need</b> to have others heal me and my feelings rather than take the process of reconciliation into our own hands. Who will say I’m sorry first. Combine this with point #1 and you have a you could have a standoff… someone has to make the first move.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Quest for happiness</b> – looking for others to provide us with feelings of happiness, or emotional satisfaction, a sense of stability and justice…</div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Problem because other people fall short of our expectations… and we end up in conflict</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Think of the love languages… you express love through gifts, so you are expecting and wanting gifts. She expresses love through acts of service. She shows you love in a way that is important to her… you are disappointed because you are expecting gifts.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The emotional needs are legit… but how we seek to fulfill them can drive conflict. Because we start to see that other person as an obstacle in the path towards <u>our</u> personal fulfillment… which we seek by getting <u>our</u> desires met.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Even God is NOT WHAT WE EXPECTED… God is not providing me with happiness in the way I expect to receive it</div></li></ol></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Control Issues</b> – we get an enhanced feeling or personal security [ or just ego tripping] when we feel in control of a situation, or maybe a relationship.</div><ol type="a"><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I think we are wired to seek control, the Genesis account indicates humans were designed to have dominion over the physical creation. Control over other people, or relationships is where it gets messy.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Our life experience is filled with things we cannot control… we can’t control the circumstances we are born into, like who our parents are, our nationality etc…. we can’t control the weather, the economy, our neighbors. We don’t get to control much in life so what we can control we tend to go overboard with to compensate.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Control is a way to protect/project our deeply rooted sense of who we are… and it works side by side with pride, emotional neediness, our happiness quest etc.</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">BUT… others around you seeking to exert control too… which leads to CONFLICT.</div></li></ol></li></ol><h2 class="western">Conflict With God</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">These emotional issues plays out in our inter-personal relationships, in marriage, at work, friendships, with our kids, among our brothers and sisters in the church. This short listing and elaboration also serves as a deeper probe into the mind of flesh. How it establishes priorities.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">The pride… the need to get rather than to give… the need to be in control… are the mechanics of how our conflict with God develops. The central theme it is: I, Me, My. What I consider just, what I consider good, what I think necessary proceed from me or from within me. Outcomes, relationships are fair, or good, or necessary depending on how they satisfy me… my physical needs, my emotional needs, my ego needs.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Proverbs 14:12</b>; 16:25 you can follow that way of thinking and living… you’ll live your allotted number of years then you will die. It does not lead to anything everlasting… it does not lead to life everlasting.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Genesis 3:6</b> Eve bit into the fruit after she was told not to. Why? It appealed to the senses: it was nice looking, it held forth the promise of good sensations on the tongue and satisfied feelings in the tummy. But there is more packed into that verse. The prospect of eating it against God’s specific instructions appealed to something else… let’s call it self-determination.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">“<i>I will decide what is right for me based on my priorities, my needs, and my desires. Your instructions might be good but I am going to do the opposite just to show my independence!</i>” Anyone who has ever raised a child has seen this operation of the mind of the flesh at work. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">That is why the mind of the flesh is an enemy to God. Anyone who sets themselves up as the decider of what is good and what is evil puts themselves in the place of God… or in competition with God… and is hostile to God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Can’t God handle competition? Why the conflict? Why can’t God let it be?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Those first humans took the prerogative to know good &amp; evil. And we all have the same problem. A mind that will not… and cannot remainsubject to the commands of God. Our thoughts and actions built on a foundation of pride and selfishness… that leads to disastrous results. </div><h2 class="western">Problem: With God There is No Mixture</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">God does not want those bad things you bring along with you in His Presence… in His plan for the eternal future has no place for conflict… our eternal relationship with Him has no room for hostility… there is no place for alternate lifestyles in eternity. So, we are excluded from the presence of God and from partaking of eternity until we can admit that. </div><h2 class="western">Changing Our Human Nature</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 2:1-3</b> I am designed to have a relationship with God my creator. But I’m fundamentally hostile, furthermore, I am excluded from His presence and excluded from His plans for eternity. I’m stuck, because of the way I think [my desires and thoughts] and because of what I have done as a result.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">I want God to love me and help me but I also want to do according to what seems right to me… pride, control issues, desire for God to make me feel happy… it’s a broken relationship, we are in conflict [ we are children of wrath], something has to change. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Most humans want God to change to suit them [that’s how the mind of the flesh works]… change your law to suit me, loosen up those sex rules to match my desires, be flexible about the Sabbath to suit my schedule, fulfill my emotional needs, pronounce social justice on my terms. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Change is going to happen in a completely different manner. Better. More Positive. Everlasting.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Ephesians 2:4-10 </b>God makes the first move [also the <u>right</u> move] to reconcile us to Himself, to bring peace to the relationship. Note: grace is God taking the initiative in a positive, life building direction which establishes an excellent model for us to follow in our human relationships [more on that in the near future].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You’re guilty, you’re hostile… and God says, let’s fix this thing! </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>Christ’s Sacrifice Starts a Process</b></span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">That’s the process the Passover and baptism kick into action… and for those of us already baptised its a reminder and a renewal of what has already begun in us.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Christ’s sacrifice cleans us up and allows us back into the presence of God so He can begin to teach us and build a new mind in us which is a very different nature than the one we were born with. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">We were banished from His presence because of our pride, dishonesty, evil thoughts, disobedience. Not only were we banished from His presence, we were cut off from the tree of life. Without access to that life force we will die in the flesh and live no more. That was our penalty.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You have full access to that life force [the holy spirit] when you commit to change and are baptised.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">To remove the penalty God and Christ do not overturn the principles of judgment… law is not abolished… rather the penalty is paid by Christ. Christ’s death satisfies the need for justice in the universe… simply that evil deeds be punished. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Justice is satisfied by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ … but that change of status from guilty to innocent does not change your human nature. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: 13pt;"><b>How Does My Human Nature Change?</b></span></span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">Your change will be the result of a life long process made possible by Christ.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 10:14-15</b> first, you have to be told about it. You have to receive the “gospel of peace”. That’s a big part of what the church and its ministry is here for. We spell it out for you… we teach… but the will to act upon it is yours.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Romans 8:9-11 </b>the holy spirit works in you leading you into righteousness. Conviction of what is right, courage to do it, commitment to stay the course. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><b>Hebrews 2:14-18</b> through Jesus Christ God seeks to understand... so He can better help you along the way. another important step in the process of ongoing reconciliation and one that we can use in our human relationships as well. </div><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;">You do not have to be an enemy of God. For His part, God wants to count you as a friend. To make that happen we have to deal with the obstacles in the way… the mind of flesh that is hostile to God… the way of thinking that leads to conflict with God and man… and for some, the unpaid penalty that puts a barrier between you and God… and the tree of life.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/1iPLYd-ZYjk" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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What Will Eternal Life Be Like?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/--ZkmDEef6hE/W4Mb1RTFj1I/AAAAAAAAA90/yDAR_xnoyc4JlltrpDQ1iE69-z6bUTUgwCEwYBhgL/s1600/michael-jasmund-581395-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1200" data-original-width="1600" height="240" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/--ZkmDEef6hE/W4Mb1RTFj1I/AAAAAAAAA90/yDAR_xnoyc4JlltrpDQ1iE69-z6bUTUgwCEwYBhgL/s320/michael-jasmund-581395-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h1 class="western">Life that is truly life, life that is full, abundant, joyful… is the gift that God wants to give to you.</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Life with no further fear of death, no sorrow, no tears for all that is lost… is the future that awaits you.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Life that is firmly set in a warm fellowship of justice, righteousness, love is… is the promise for the children of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You who have been drawn to Christ through God the Father, who have entered into a newness of life, You who have received the Holy Spirit, the down payment, the seed, the guarantee of God’s gift… have been given a glimpse, a foretaste, a sneak peek at what lays ahead.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You have been very blessed.<br /><br />View this message on YouTube -&nbsp;<a href="https://youtu.be/K0XCQVhZytM">What Will Eternal Life Be Like?</a><br /><div><br /></div></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:50</b> but you cannot experience, fully know, or possess what is promised except beyond the grave. Let’s read <b>verses 51—58</b> Death is not meant to be the conclusion of human existence. Death is an enemy introduced through the deception of Satan and the disobedience of man.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But for those who are in Christ it is the final putting off of the old man, the corruptible, the temporary, the needy, the dependent, the vulnerable, the deceptive. We long to put all these weaknesses and pains away. We long to put on the new… to take on eternal life, to come into the fullness of son-ship in the family of God. </div><h1 class="western">What We Are Given to Know</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We hear about people who have died… then come back. They say stuff like, “I saw light”, “I felt great peace”. There is a certain fascination about reports like this. In my opinion these can largely be attributed to the final neural activity of the brain as it shuts down after the heart stops beating and sending blood to the brain. I am convinced by scripture that the dead know nothing and have no consciousness. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">These stories are human imagination at work. They tell us nothing about the quality or nature of the life to come. But humans are curious and they want to have something to look forward to, even if they have to make stuff up. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our only true source of information about the life to come is through what God has given us to know from scripture.</div><h1 class="western">The Quality of Resurrected Life</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 13:12 </b>our greatest source of knowledge about the quality and nature of the life to come is through our knowledge of God our Father, through Christ the Son. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We can know something of what we will be like because we know what God is like… and we know that we shall be like Him. For example, consider the context:</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">we know God is love</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">we know love is patient, love is kind… etc read verses 4-7</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">so we know that our life to come we are kind, patient, humble, not rude or selfish, rejoicing in truth.</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Knowledge of, understanding of, experiencing of these qualities of God are a form of knowing, understanding and experiencing the life to come. There is much more to be said on this.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Resurrection Body</span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?</span></i><span style="font-weight: normal;"> </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">Paul’s answer to this question is basically… that’s a silly question. Then He goes on to give an analogy that says the relationship of our present physical body to our future body is like the relationship between a seed and a fully sprouted plant.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:47,49</b> we will be raised to bodies like the resurrected Jesus</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:45 </b>we will have a spiritual body that has the power of life built in! </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We are resurrected to <u>a body</u>, we are not some form of energy or mind floating around. We put off the physical body, our spirit returns to God but it is not alive, at the time appointed by God we will be raised to life with a new body with different qualities and attributes. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Without some form of body there is no life, no reality of existence. The spirit that returns to God does not have a body, it does not live. Why does this matter? Why do I keep coming back to this point?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Eternal life retains your individuality, your person-hood, your unique identity and existence. You are not like a line of code in a vast computer program, you are not like a cell in a body that is greater than you.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This ongoing person-hood or identity is expressed through the reality of a body with a distinction between what is you… and what is not you.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Corinthians 5:1-5</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In case you think I am getting overly abstract let me give you an example from popular culture: <i>May the force be with you</i>. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The movie Star Wars has used this idea of an active force in the universe... But the idea of an impersonal force that somehow governs the universe is an idea that has been with us for a long time. For some the force is logic or math, for some the force might be love, for some it is life or will.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Thinking people recognize there is a force at work in the universe, but they don’t want it to be personal… because they don’t want it to judge them. We have a built in sense of shame about the idea that we might be judged and found guilty or inadequate. Some people convince themselves that the force we perceive in the universe is somehow non-personal, non-judging, and in so doing they sear their conscience.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God the creator is personal. He is separate from the creation. He has thoughts, plans, He judges matters. AND He presents Himself to us as having bodily form… limitless in power, in knowledge, in presence, but also distinct, separate, and unique.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The Resurrection Status</span></span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 John 2:28-3:3 </b>we shall be like God in character… but also when the glorified Christ appears we shall be like Him, the context here is appearance</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 8:29-30</b> two concepts are used together here to describe this appearance:</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We shall be like Him in His glory</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We shall be like Him as a brother</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Both these concepts tie together character, appearance, and status. </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Member of the Family </span></span></span> </h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We will never be able to say we existed eternally. But, we are elevated to a plane of existence where we are called children of God and brothers of Christ. We are raised to a place in a family setting with the Father and the Son. Therefore we have a particular status in the universe.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Our status within the family is further explained by describing us as the bride of Christ. Our status within the family will be that we are subject to the authority of Christ just as a wife is to be subject to her husband in marriage. </div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Sharing the Divine Glory &amp; Dominion of Christ</span></span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Christ in all His glory means in the full splendor of His being, His righteous character, His full dignity &amp; authority, the fullness of His power, position, and possessions. [a daffodil, a valiant warrior etc]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Romans 8:16-19</b> the glory of His dominion and possession</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Corinthians 3:18</b> the glory of His character which is being formed in you right now</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Thessalonians 2:14 </b>we share Christ’s glory with Him</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 1:1-3, 2:5-9</b> Christ’s glory is also the glory of God, the family of God. It is above the glory and status of angels.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 1:14-16</b> power with the look of like a nuclear reactor standing next to you.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Scriptures tell us that we too will share in that… radiating power, life, dignity, righteousness, power position, possessions <b>Daniel 12:2-3</b>.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">Working Together With Christ</span></span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Sharing in the glory of Christ means so much more than being shiny. It means we are raised to stand beside Him working together with Him in God’s ongoing project of creation.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Romans 8:17 <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> Revelation 21:7 <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> Colossians 1:15-20</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Resurrected spirit life will be active and engaged… not a life of contemplation, gazing endlessly into the face of God. Yes, we will enjoy Him and His presence… like a bride enjoys her husband… but by doing things together!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We already know about the first project lined up for us: to help with the 1,000 year roll-out demonstration of the rule of God established on earth. A demonstration of how God’s way looks when actually applied in the physical world.</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Rebuilding the infrastructure</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Participating in the spiritual development of the people alive during that time. God has plans for them as well.</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 20:4 </b><span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"><b></b></span><b> Revelation 5:10</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 40:28-31 </b>as spirit born children of God we will never tire. We will not need to refuel our bodies. Energy, power, and life will be in us. In a sense we will be a source of energy with no need to be upheld or sustained by any exterior force <b>1 Corinthians 15:41-44</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">As a priest you will teach → As a king you will judge and enforce.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 2:26; 3:21</b></div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">God’s Invitation To You</span></span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">All this can be yours… if you respond to God’s invitation. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The invitation is not extended to everyone in this present evil age <b>Matthew 13:11</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The bible speaks of and elect or chosen… people who are drawn to Christ by the Father and called to understand these things now. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Peter 2:9</b> the church is this chosen people… called to be Christ’s bride, His help mate… to become kings and priests in the coming age which directly follows the return of Christ as king of kings and lord of lords.</div><h3 class="western"><span style="color: #1f3763;"><span style="font-family: &quot;liberation sans&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;">The 1,000 year rule of Christ is only the beginning</span></span></span></h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 3:9 </b>the offer will be extended to everyone in time, according to God’s purpose and timeline.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Revelation 21:4,7 after the 1,000 year rule of Christ… the plan continues. There will be a new heaven and a new earth… a new reality.</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The future beyond is not limited to earth</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The future beyond is not limited to the 1,000 years</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God will share this very real future world with those who are willing to believe, to repent, and to take hold of the promise through baptism, laying on of hands, and the receipt of the holy spirit.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For those who have not yet decided: the time to decide is now</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> God wants you to live with Him in the abundance and fullness of life… forever. He will make it happen if you let Him. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">And for those of you in whom God has already begun this good work… He will see it through to the end… if you will.<br /><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Q7ZWzDo4r0M" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Guidelines For Understanding Biblical Prophecy
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h2 class="western">What is the point of prophecy?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On one hand people don’t like uncertainty… where will I get the money for rent next month?... will the stock market crash and wipe out my retirement savings? … will my son get home safely tonight?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">On the other hand many of us dislike the idea of a future where everything is already decided. Statements like: “I have no choice in the matter”… “its inevitable”… “I can’t change anything”, are statements of despair not confidence.</div><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JiUGU873igM/WaWHxLiX2PI/AAAAAAAAAg0/QCYXiME00eI3jmBnALBryFFt1QFqXwAwQCLcBGAs/s1600/revelation-bible.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="455" data-original-width="720" height="202" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-JiUGU873igM/WaWHxLiX2PI/AAAAAAAAAg0/QCYXiME00eI3jmBnALBryFFt1QFqXwAwQCLcBGAs/s320/revelation-bible.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s word gives us a way of understanding life that is a balance between a future that is reliable and true and a future that is changeable based on the choices we make. For example:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Kingdom of God – the coming rule of God on earth and in the universe is set and will not change.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Salvation &amp; Reward – your relationship to the Kingdom of God is based on the choices you make. </div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Both these aspects of the future are addressed by the word of God.</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s word shines a light on the path you must actively choose if you want to live, and receive reward in the kingdom of God.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s word provides you with prophecies and promises of the certain and inevitable future. Note: by definitions that future has not yet happened. SO…</div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; margin-left: 1in;">&nbsp;God’s word also provides contains prophecies of events that happened just as they were foretold…<u> </u>Knowing these “past prophecies” gives you greater confidence in what has not yet come to pass.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Timothy 3:16 </b>– anyone can claim their writing is supernaturally inspired. Telling about a future event and then making it actually happen is what makes an audacious claim like “this is the word of God” believable. You will not find fulifilled prophecy in other supposed holy writings (Koran, Mormon, Hindu or Buddist literature, etc.). Prophecy and fulfillment is what sets the word of God from Genesis to Revelation apart. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 46:9-11 </b>the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob not only claims to reveal the future… He proves Himself by demonstrating the power to make it happen.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Peter 1:19-21</b> … its in your best interest to give propehcy attention!</div><h2 class="western">Prophets</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A prophet is one through whom God speaks to humanity. There have been many prophets throughout human history… the greatest of all the prophets sent by God is Jesus <b>Hebrews 1:1-2</b>. [Luke 13:33 refers to self as a prophet].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus’ teaching was about the kingdom of God. It had the elements of certainty and choice:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">a kingdom of God way of living you must choose</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">a sure outcome of human history ie. the rule of God on earth.</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Note: Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection is also the most extensive and greatest fulfillment of events foretold centuries before in the word of God. Both Scripture and human history speak to the credibility, and reliability, of scripture. A sobering thought when consideringthe future...</div><h2 class="western">Gut check: What is You First Reaction to Prophecy?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You might see only strange beasts, cryptic coded messages, riddles, or confusing chronologies… unappealing and unrelated to life as we know it. How does prophecy help me find personal happiness? How does prophecy help me become a better person?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">If you take time to study and understand the prophecies of scripture they can give greater personal clarity as to <u>why</u> the life decisions you make <u>matter</u>. And help you see the choices you make as incremental steps toward a very positive future.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To get this kind of perspective on prophecy lets step back and take a big picture view of scripture. What are the consistent (an persistent) core messages… what are the consistent threads of events found in scripture? How do these interact with history?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We’ll get to those in coming weeks… but today let’s go over nine guiding principles to help us to understand prophecy:</div><h2 class="western"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="__DdeLink__4725_709305221"></a>Guiding Principles of Prophecy</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Role of the Messiah</b> – the key player in almost all prophecy is the Messiah and His intervention in human affairs… what He <u>has</u>done, and what He is <u>going to do in the future</u> <b>Luke 24:44</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Kingdom of God</b><b> </b>– almost all prophecy is in some way related to the establishment of the Messiah’s rule over humanity on earth <b>Daniel 7:13-14</b>. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 8:1 </b>When Jesus talked and taught about the kingdom of God He was speaking as a prophet concerning future events. The hope and goal of all the prophets has always been an end to the problems mankind creates for themselves. That hope is the Kingdom of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>This is Satan’s Age</b> – <b>2 Corinthians 4:4, Ephesians 6:12, 1 John 5:19 </b>understanding Satan’s influence on this world is key to understand prophecy. God’s word contrasts the present age and the future age:</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Present age (Satan’s) –<b> </b>Messsiah has not yet exerted is suthority over the earth</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Future Age (Messiah’s) – a time when humanity will be free of Satan’s influence</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a><b>God’s Objective: Redemption &amp; Salvation</b> – prophecy is a promise of judgment and justice. We might see judgment as gloomy and foreboding. That might be because God’s word forces us to see that at our very core we too are “unjust”… we too are part of the problem. <b>Isaiah 29:13, Ezekiel 36:26-27</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A promise of justice is by nature a predicton of judgment. For those of us paying attention its a call to change our ways and thoughts to prepare for the future of the kingdom.<b> </b>The church carries forward the Messiah’s message of coming judgment to all humanity.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Some change in the here and now… most only change in the age to come, after the Messiah’s return.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Duality in Prophecy</b><b> </b>– a prime example is the 1<sup>st</sup> and 2<sup>nd</sup> coming of the Messiah. He came first right in the middle of the present evil age as a teacher and prophet. He will come a second time to initiate the “new age” a.k.a the kingdom of God.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Jewish teachers of the scriptures knew the prophecies of the coming Messiah but because they did not accept the principle of duality… they did not accept the 1<sup>st</sup> coming. “He’s doing lots of Messiah type stuff but the messiah is supposed to restore Israel… so how can we accept Jesus as the Messiah?..and they didn’t. Answer: that part of the Messiah’s work would happen at His 2<sup>nd</sup>coming [duality]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Where di we get that idea from? Jesus taught the principleof duality:</b></div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 17:11-12 </b>referring back to a prophecy from Malachi 4:5, Jesus identifies a dual fulfillment.</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Matthew 24 Jesus talks about an abomination of desolation that was <u>yet to come</u>. He was referencing Daniel [circa 530 BC]. That prophecy had already been fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes in 167 BC. Yet, in <b>Matthew 24:15-16 </b>Jesus taught that there would also be a future fulfillment of the abominationof desolation. </div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Specific Dates Are Rare</b> – <b>Matthew 24:3</b>, <b>Acts 1:6-7 </b>God’s word foretells events… but in such a way that we do not [may not] know in advance the date they will be fulfilled. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When prophecy is fulfilled we are then able to look back and see historic events and dates line up [for example the 70 weeks prophecy of the Messiah’s first coming]. God wants us to able to recognize prophecies that have come to pass to assure us of the reliability of prophesied events yet to come.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Daniel 12:6-9 </b>[signs would become more apparent as the day approaches]. Verses 11-12 times stamps are provided so that when the prophecy has been fulfilled we will see how it unfolded according to plan <b>John 14:29</b>.</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For past prophecies… we can see how the dates and events line up </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For future prophecies… we do not know the dates</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Cause &amp; Effect</b><b> </b>– <b>Galatians 6:7-8</b> [applies collectively as well as individually] Our Father Creator allows humanity to experience the results of our bad choices. Unconverted hearts make bad choices and reap bad results. This provides teachable moments… sometimes painful lessons [again this applies individually and collectively.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Overall, human nature is rather predictable. He made us, He knows us, and He can accurately predict trends and resulting outcomes [law of large numbers].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But God does not simply leave the universe to unfold according to the law of cause and effect, action and reaction. He is actively pursuing His program to bring many children into His family. God does intervene… to protect, or to punish as fits His purpose. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 9:15-16 </b>all nations, not just Israel</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Prophecy is Related to Human History</b> – the purpose of scripture is not to dazzle and amaze with spooky predictions of supernatural interventions. Prophecy searches out and exposes attitudes and behaviors … and gives God’s own view on what humanity has been up to. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Prophecy plays out in the context of the story of humanity, or “history”… biological, ethnic, human governments, etc. If there was no connection between secular human history and prophecy it wouldn’t be very compelling, persuasive, or instructive.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So, if you want to better understand prophecy you should invest at least a bit of time and effort into learning about the human story… in other words, history.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>The purpose and future of humanity</b><b> </b>– humans were created for a purpose: to rule over all created things <b>Genesis 1:27-28</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s plan is to go beyond the planet earth as we know it <b>Hebrews 2:6-11</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus Christ is the first to step over that threshold, the firstborn, the author, the pioneer… but the intent is that we are to follow. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 3:21</b></div><h2 class="western">Conclusion:</h2><br /><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Prophecy is so much more than trying to figure out when and how the end of the present age comes. It helps us understand God has an organized lthoughtout plan, it affirms theauthority of scripture as reliable and authoritative, and it is a call to action for those of us with eyes to see and ears to hear. &nbsp;</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/U4Uf7TWh4MU" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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God’s Promise of Life: The Truth of the Resurrection
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lf1wPCZJaEM/W3ToWdw4wII/AAAAAAAAA88/_tDP3BiIZ6oWiK76JR73LRDK0H3Y1NSUgCLcBGAs/s1600/boris-smokrovic-211468-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lf1wPCZJaEM/W3ToWdw4wII/AAAAAAAAA88/_tDP3BiIZ6oWiK76JR73LRDK0H3Y1NSUgCLcBGAs/s320/boris-smokrovic-211468-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Job 14:14a</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> People wonder about what happens after this life is over. Humanity as a whole has come up with a wide variety of speculations ranging from grim to absurd. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">What does your bible say about the possibility of life after death… AND why should you take it any more seriously than the other ideas that are out there? </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Job 14:14b-15 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">trials, patiently waiting for the change [</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>khaleefaw</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">], calling, answering, God’s desire to accomplish greater purpose in you… it all there. But not explicitly.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Daniel 12:2</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Biblical answers begin in the old testament but they remained obscure until Jesus Christ came. He provided additional teaching and clarification. Plus, though His own death and resurrection He provided an object demonstration of human resurrection unto eternal spirit born life </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>John 11:25, John 14:19</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The apostles He commissioned to follow after Him carried forward that teaching and provided a witness/testimony to Jesus’ resurrection </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:22-24, </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">without it what is the point</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>? verses 13-14</b></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">A Fundamental Church Teaching</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Hebrews 6:1-2</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Teaching and proclaiming God’s promise of resurrection through Christ was [and still is] what set the Church of God apart from all other religious alternatives in the world. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Acts 23:8</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the Jews were in disagreement on the matter. Those who did believe it couldn’t explain it.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Greeks and Romans had beliefs that held out little hope for the dead. A disembodied soul living in a murky twilight existence like a ghost. Others held the idea of being absorbed into the consciousness of the universe… which is just a fancy way of saying you cease to exist as an individual.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Acts 17:32 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">when Paul preached the resurrection to the intellectual class they scoffed. But for others in the Greco-Roman world it was a breath of fresh air in a hopeless and suffocating world. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Acts 2:22-24 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">the hope of the resurrection was the teaching that launched the church… and on this simple formula the church grew by the thousands:</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Accept Christ to save you from your sin and its consequences</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Repent, be baptized, receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Wait and prepare for resurrection</span></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Acts 2:38; Romans 8:11</b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 Timothy 6:19</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> the Apostles teaching was not unto some disembodied half-life or loss of person-hood. Note: we begin on the path to abundant living now, but the fullness of it takes lace at the resurrection </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>John 10:10.</b></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Purpose For Life</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">In the Apostles time there was lots of confusion on this subject… yet we today are in the same situation!</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Atheism and agnosticism have left their mark… eastern religion and new age theories are everywhere… Catholic, Muslim, and Protestant teaching undermines scriptural truth and sidetracks people from the scriptural teaching on the resurrection. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Anxiety and hopelessness hang over us like a shadow. People need the truth of the resurrection as much as ever!</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;"> Resurrection: A Historical Fact</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Q: Why should anyone believe in a resurrection? What separates this teaching from mere wishful thinking and speculation?</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">A: The reality of Christ’s resurrection and the promise that we are to follow in His footsteps</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus resurrection is a biblical and historic event. It has all the necessary ingredients of a confirmed fact of history. Note: at other times in the year we spend sermon time going over the authenticity and authority of the scripture… history, archaeology, fulfilled prophecy and so forth. The purpose of all those messages is to confirm the truth and reality of Jesus life, His death, and His resurrection. All these point back to this pivotal purpose… confirming the reality of Jesus resurrection.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus was executed, put in a sealed tomb, and after 3 days and nights His body had disappeared. Even those who wanted to refute His resurrection could not explain away the empty tomb.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:6</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> His resurrection was confirmed by many witnesses. many of these people were still alive when the new testament scriptures were recorded and could be called upon in necessary to verify or refute what the NT scriptures were presenting as a record of the events.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Acts 5:30-32</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> this personal testimony was part of the Apostle’s preaching</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Order of Resurrection</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Scripture describes more than one future resurrection!</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>1 Corinthians 15:20-24 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">this reference to first fruits indicates other fruits are to follow</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Christ</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> – the resurrection that has already occurred</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Those who are His at His return</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> – the 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> resurrection to come</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Then the end – </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">this must be a reference to a 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> resurrection to come since Paul says ALL will be resurrected. Logically the ones being resurrected here are those who are not His at the time of His return. Their resurrection comes at some later time</span></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Heaven and hell believers struggle with the scriptures indicating that relatively few will be saved and resurrected unto life. Such as Matthew 7:14 “</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>narrow is the gate and difficult the way that leads to life, and there are few who find it</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">”. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">If you know the scriptural outline of the order of resurrection … then you know that in a scripture like this Jesus is describing what happens </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>in the present evil age</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">… </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Galatians 1:4 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">scripture makes a distinction between the present evil age and a future age to come</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 12:9</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> in this present evil age most are deceived and only those whom God draws to Himself are called out this darkness and into the light of truth </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>John 6:44.</b></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Resurrection</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 20:4-6 </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">the scripture specifically says the </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>rest of the dead</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">. Clearly, there is another resurrection. This is another reference to the resurrection of all those who were not in Christ at the time of His return. </span> </div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Why Are Non-Believers Resurrected?</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Non-believers are resurrected for a time of judgment. </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 20:11</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> speaks of a </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>great white throne</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">… indicating a time of judgment.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Logic: </b></span><span style="color: #00000a;">Why would God bring the rest of the dead back to life only to condemn them for the deeds of their past life and then destroy them? Why not just leave them in the grave? They failed… so let’s move on. Let’s recall what we just read from God’s own word:</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">They were deceived</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">They were never drawn by God into an understanding of the truth</span></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Logically something else must be happening at the time when this great white throne is set up.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">But that’s human reasoning you might say… You can’t decide doctrine based on logic. We rely on revelation. God can do what ever He wants… fair, unfair, doesn’t matter.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Let’s look at what scripture reveals about the resurrection of the </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>rest of the dead</i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">:</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Revelation 20:12</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> books are opened… now they are given understanding!</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">Judgment is more than a final decision to reward or condemn. Judgment is the process that leads to the verdict. Judgment of a matter takes place over a period of time. It’s a process that comes before the final decision is made!</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">The 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> And 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Resurrections Are Substantially Different</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The 1</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>st</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> resurrection is unto everlasting life. Those who are part of this resurrection are no longer subject to death. They are given bodies composed of spirit that do not age, die and rot. The 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> death has no power over them [also read 1 Corinthians 15:35-55].</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> resurrection is a resurrection to temporary life. </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Ezekiel 37:1-14</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> they are resurrected and given physical bodies like they had before… still subject to death, and destruction. The 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> death does have power over them.</span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #00000a;">Jesus Spoke of This 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Resurrection Period</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Matthew 10:9-15</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Jesus spoke about this 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> resurrection period to the disciples. He starts with a warning that some would hear and reject the message He sent them out to proclaim. Then He says something very significant:</span></div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The people of that day [about 28 A.D.] would come up in a time of judgment along side the notorious sinners of Sodom… so multiple generations would be raised to physical life at the same time.</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">The sinful and deceived people of Sodom would find their circumstances </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>more tolerable </i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">than the </span><span style="color: #00000a;"><i>nay sayers </i></span><span style="color: #00000a;">of Galilee. Tolerable here means they will be able to bear up, to endure, to stand in the time of judgment. Why? Because they will be willing to hear and repent. </span> </div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Matthew 11:20-24</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> Tyre, Sidon, Sodom had never heard the truth and had an opportunity to repent. But, in the time of judgment, when the rest of the dead arise… they will hear the truth and they will have the opportunity to repent… it will be more tolerable for them because they have a repentant attitude.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;"><b>Matthew 12:41-42</b></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> another verse to emphasize – people from all eras will be resurrected to life at the same time… unto a time of instruction [Queen of Sheba serves as the example here], and a call to repentance.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">This is not a 2</span><span style="color: #00000a;"><sup>nd</sup></span><span style="color: #00000a;"> chance… this will be their first opportunity to hear and repent based on a clear understanding of God’s word. </span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #00000a;">God will offer salvation to all who have lived and died. All will be called at the time appropriate for them.</span></div><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <span style="color: #00000a;">For those who will not repent? As discussed last time, they will be destroyed permanently and the will be no more memory of them.</span></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ASTyeKcI8fo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Patience of God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tHp-EvWqxRo/WKcedPwfl2I/AAAAAAAAAWs/eHB9uxZzHbQLUypmPGc9fnhxfmRM-FCjwCLcB/s1600/patient.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-tHp-EvWqxRo/WKcedPwfl2I/AAAAAAAAAWs/eHB9uxZzHbQLUypmPGc9fnhxfmRM-FCjwCLcB/s320/patient.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">We tend to think of <i>patience</i> as a human virtue, generally expressing a disposition towards some thing or some expected event that we cannot change… which encompasses a lot because we human beings have very limited power over the universe, time, or other people. However, like most good things we understand <i>patience</i>through knowledge of God, the patience of Jesus Christ and the Father are the source… and pattern for your <i>patience</i>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Goal: Why Should We Seek To Understand and To Practice Patience?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Our Outline: Definition<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>Examples<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>Meaning and Purpose</b></div><h2 class="western">What does the word Patience mean?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Patience – there are 2 words that are translated “patience” in the KJV and NKJV…</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i><b>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o</b></i><i> – slow to anger, willingness to delay judgment</i></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i><b>hoop-om-on-ay'</b></i><i> – courageous and hopeful endurance/perseverence in expectation of God’s action</i></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">The NIV and most other more modern translations render <i>makrothoomio</i>as patience and <i>hoopomonay</i> as perseverance or endurance – more in keeping with the actual meaning of the word and how it is used in scripture.</div><h2 class="western">Examples of Patience (categories)</h2><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o – the patience of God</i></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o – the patience of Mankind</i></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i>hoop-om-on-ay' – the endurance of the Saints in persecution</i></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i>hoop-om-on-ay' – perseverance in doing good (not growing weary)</i></div></li></ol><div><i><a href="https://www.ucg.org/files/sermons/patience_word_study_handout.pdf">download PDF word study sheet</a></i></div><h3 class="western">The Patience of God</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">An attribute or quality of God that is repeated over and over through the OT like the chorus of a pop song: “God is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness”</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Numbers 14:18</b> <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Joel 2:12-13</b>(Israel)</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Jonah 3:5-4:2</b> <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span> <b>Nahum 1:3</b>(Gentiles)</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">God’s patience or “slowness to anger” does not <u>dismiss</u> His judgment or the execution of punishment, His patience <u>delays</u>His wrath… His patience provides opportunity for, or calling to, repentance. It is very important not to misuse this display of patience on His part. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">The FOOL says: “there are no consequences to what I have done” (no lightning from the sky, so what I have done either doesn’t matter or is OK)… the WISE MAN recognizes the opportunity to repent and seeks reconciliation with God while there is still time.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">OT phrase “slow to anger” was often translated<span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o in Spetuagint which is the translation of God’s word used by the early church.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>II Peter 3:9-15</b> (consistent approach in NT)</div><h3 class="western">God’s Patience Is A Pattern For Us to Follow</h3><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Matt 18:23-35</b> Parable of Unforgiving Servant… (v24) the King (<i>God</i>) does not give up His right to call the servant (<i>you</i>) to a reckoning (v32-35). He has merely given him <u>time</u> <u>to</u><u>repent</u>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Your responsibility for righteousness is not set aside… the fact that God does not smack you down immediately when you go astray is not because He does not care… likewise for those who might have done you wrong… God’s <i>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o </i>allows time for repentance… and even though He is “<u>slow</u> to anger” the day will come… and it won’t be pretty.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>I Timothy 1:16</b> – Christ is patient toward Paul, giving Him the opportunity to repent</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>II Timothy 3:10</b> – Paul in turn becomes an example of patience to others, instructing them to practice great patience </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>II Tim 4:2</b> – even here patience (slow to anger) provides opportunity for repentance/change </div><h2 class="western">Patience of Mankind (Christians)</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Gal 5:22</b> – a fruit of the spirit / an element of God’s mind and character</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Galatians 5:24</b> patience is something you are “obligated” to put on… “<i>For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God</i>”</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Note: H.S. does not “make” you patient… rather it strengthens you so that you can put on patience. For example: the H.S. helps you to understand the truth, to see the big picture of the plan of God both for you and all of mankind… BIG PICTURE thinking is an essential element of patience… </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in; margin-left: 0.6in; text-indent: -0.6in;"><b>Example</b>: you don’t fire an employee after one mess up because you and see the long-term benefit they will bring to the organization once they learn what they are doing</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Godly patience, <i>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o</i>, slowness to anger,<i> </i>helps you deal with the irritations, upsets, disappointments coming at you every day… because you keep the big picture in mind with the longer term goals that come from the mind of God</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Col 1:11</b> – comes when one is strengthened by the power of God</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><b>Patience affects how you treat others…</b></span></span> helps you deal with others in a way that is more:</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><u>Loving</u> – <b>I Cor 13:4</b> patience is the first thing said about the workings of love</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in;">You are more focused on their long term success that the short term pleasure of passing judgment on them, getting revenge, vengeance belongs to the Lord.</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><u>Humble</u> – <b>Col 3:12 </b>(repeats the exhortation to “put this on”)</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in;">Placing their long-term welfare above the pleasure of exerting your will over them – it pleases a parent when a child begins to figure out doing good for themselves</div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in; margin-left: 0.5in;"><br /></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>I Thess 5:14-15</b> Godly patience, <i>mak-roth-oo-meh'-o </i>delays judgment and anger, it does not repay “evil for evil” /” wrong for wrong”… does not mean tolerance for evil, or dismissal of laws…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><i>Key verbs: warn / encourage / give them time</i></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><span style="color: #4f81bd;"><span style="font-family: &quot;cambria&quot; , serif;"><b>Mankind (You) Must Be Patient toward God’s Promises…</b></span></span> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Where is God and what’s taking Him so long?</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Discuss the example of Abraham… this is taking too long, I am wasting my life <b>Heb 6:15</b></div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Already touched on this in II Peter 3:9… passing judgment on God, He doesn’t care, He’s not coming… result, let’s eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die!</div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Example of farmer sewing a crop, waiting for the yield… <b>James 5:7-10</b></div></li></ul><h2 class="western">The Endurance &amp; Perseverance of the Saints</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">The word used is <i>hupomone</i> – also translated patience in the KJV and NKJV but is really a different word. Modern translations usually translate <i>hupomone</i> as:</div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Endurance</b> in face of trials, tribulations, persecutions <i>and</i> </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Perseverance</b> in doing good (not growing weary through loss of hope)</div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">Courageous endurance during trials and tribulations is obviously more a part of the human condition rather than a Godly prerogative set forth as a model for us to emulate. God being all “powerful” is not affected by trials. He can do what He wants, when he wants, where he wants etc.</div><h2 class="western">Jesus Experienced Suffering, Endurance &amp; Perseverance</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">The member of the God family known as the Word/Logos has experienced trials and tribulations by coming in human form… Jesus Christ! And having done so is better able to understand and relate to the suffering, trials &amp; weariness that are part of the human experience… “<i>in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God</i>” </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;">In the same way that makrothumio is especially related love, hupomone is related to hope </div><h2 class="western">Endurance… based on your hope and confidence in God’s promises</h2><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Romans 5:3-4</b></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Romans 8:18-25</b> we wait with eager longing… not apathy or fatalism (we inherit universe)</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Roman 12:12</b></div></li></ul><h2 class="western">Endurance When Persecuted for the Word of God</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Rev 1:9; 2:2-3 </b>– loss of friends, loss of opportunities etc.</div><h2 class="western">Perseverence… not growing weary in doing good</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Romans 2:7 </b>persistence in doing good… <u>even when you don’t feel like it</u>, </div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Obedience</b> to God’s commandments, </div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Seeking your reward… </b> generosity, serving others, forgiveness, humility, self-control, leading others to repentance, enduring persecution, prayer, fasting, earnestly seeking God</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Walking in the spirit</b>… love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><b>Psalm 37:1-13</b></div><br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.08in;"><br /><br /></div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/rpn6MOvaJ0I" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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What Does Your Bible Actually Teach About Hell?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7ztkqYAryEY/W19quoQPiBI/AAAAAAAAA8k/vbtN__omwbYzGqRW4_O1WXHnkfEdSHxnQCLcBGAs/s1600/grasping%2Bhands%2Bhell.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="720" data-original-width="1080" height="213" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-7ztkqYAryEY/W19quoQPiBI/AAAAAAAAA8k/vbtN__omwbYzGqRW4_O1WXHnkfEdSHxnQCLcBGAs/s320/grasping%2Bhands%2Bhell.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>In the old testament the word <i>hell</i> is from the Hebrew <i>sheol</i>. It refers to the place where dead people go… which is the grave. A hole dug in the ground into which a body is placed then covered up. It could also refer to a tomb or a burial cave. <i>Sheol</i> is found in the old testament 65 times: 31 times its translated <i>grave</i>, 31 times its translated <i>hell</i>, and 3 times its translated <i>pit</i>.<br /><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The new testament gets interesting… there are 3 different Greek words that have each been translated <i>hell</i>. Each of these has a different meaning… </div><h2 class="western">#1 The Grave</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The first Greek word which is often translated <i>hell</i> is <i>hades</i> which refers to the place of the dead. <i>Hades</i> is the closest Greek equivalent of <i>sheol</i>… the place of the dead, the grave. The Greeks had all sorts of their own ideas about afterlife which were attached to the word (<i>Hades</i> is the name of the Greek god of the underworld for example)… but if you were going to write in Greek about a hole in the ground where dead bodies were buried… <i>hades</i> was the word. It means the same thing as <i>sheol</i>, the place where dead people go.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The writers of the new testament worked with a version the old testament that had been translated from Hebrew into Greek. Its called the Septuagint. Here’s an example of how the Hebrew word <i>sheol</i> was translated using the Greek word <i>hades</i>: </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 2:27</b> the word here is <i>hades</i> (hell in some older translations like KJV). Modern translations now often simply insert the actual Greek word <i>hades</i>… but the meaning is grave. This verse is part of a quotation from the old testament referring to the grave. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Psalm 16:10</b> the word here is <i>sheol</i> (hell in some older translations like KJV). Modern translations now often simply insert the Hebrew word <i>sheol</i>… but the meaning is the grave. This verse was a prophecy speaking of Jesus’ death… </div><h2 class="western">Where did Jesus go when He died?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Luke 23:46 </b>His spirit returned to God like it does for all humanity upon death.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">His body went into a tomb, a burial cave, a form of grave. <b>Matthew 12:40</b> Jesus referred to it as a place in the “<i>heart of the earth”</i>… a hole in the ground where dead bodies are put. He would stay there for 3 days and 3 nights.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Also, if hades, or hell, meant some place of torment under the crust of the earth… then you are saying that’s where Jesus was sent when He died. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">When He died late that afternoon Jesus’ was put in a tomb and He stayed there for 3 days and 3 nights fulfilling the sign of Jonah. He was not alive in heaven, He was not alive in hell… he was dead, until he was raised back to life through resurrection.</div><h2 class="western">#2 The Place of Restraint for Demons</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The next word to consider is <i>tartar</i> which is found only once in the new testament in <b>2 Peter 2:4 </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">and usually translated </span><i><span style="font-weight: normal;">hell</span></i>. In Greek literature <i>tartaroo</i> is the name for a mythical abyss where rebellious gods were confined. Under the inspiration of the Spirit of God, Peter uses this word a name for the place where Lucifer and the other rebellious angels were restrained, or imprisoned. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Seems appropriate… but where is that place of imprisonment?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Isaiah 14:12 </b>[cut down to the earth], <b>Revelation 12:7-11</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The place of imprisonment is not some dark netherworld… they have been cast out and are confined to earth! Scripture tells us that Satan and demons are active and present on earth. Multiple real encounters with evil spirits on earth are recorded – Matthew 4:1-11; 8:6, 28-33;9:32-33. Satan is spoken of as the ruler of this present age John 12:31, 14:30, 16:11.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><i>Tartaroo</i> appears in scripture once and only applies to demons, not humans. </div><h2 class="western">#3 The Fires of Gehenna</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-style: normal;">The 3</span><sup><span style="font-style: normal;">rd</span></sup><span style="font-style: normal;"> word found translated as hell is </span><i>Gehenna. Gehenna</i> is a Greekified version of the Hebrew phrase <i>Gai Hinnom</i>, meaning <i>Valley of Hinnom</i> located to the south of old Jerusalem. Today it’s a park. During the times of the kings in Judah the place was used for idolatry and horrible practices like human sacrifice. King Josiah made a point of desecrating the place during his attempt to reform the nation of Judah <b>2 Kings 23:10, 13,14</b><span style="font-weight: normal;"> [defiled with human bones]</span>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In Jesus’ day [probably following the same idea of desecration] the valley of Hinnom was used as the city dump with a constantly burning fire… dead carcasses of animals would be thrown in there… bodies of despised criminals were thrown in there to be burned up. Jesus referred to this place in His teaching as an example or analogy of the fate that awaited the wicked who refused to repent.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>For example:</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Mark 9:43-48</b> Jesus is quoting from <b>Isaiah 66:23-24</b>. The bodies being talked about are dead bodies… not living beings in the throes of torment from fire and worms. Jesus is saying… if you don’t repent you will be like bodies of dead animals or cursed criminals thrown on the garbage heap where you will be totally consumed.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Immortal worms?</b> No. If a dead body is left exposed what happens? Flies land on them and lay eggs → The eggs hatch into maggots which feed on the dead flesh → The maggots grow into flies → if there is still meat on the bones the flies will lay more eggs. The worms won’t stop until the entire dead corpse is consumed.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Everlasting fire? </b>This simply means the fire will continue burning until all the combustible material is consumed. It will not be stopped, or quenched. See <b>Ezekiel 20:45-48</b>.</div><h2 class="western">When Will This Burning &amp; Consuming Happen?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Jesus, the Messiah will return and establish the rule of God on earth as a demonstration of how God’s way of living works. At the time of His return, those who are His will be resurrected from the grave to eternal life, with bodies composed of spirit. They will work side by side with Christ establishing the rule of God on earth. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 20:4-5</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This amazing demonstration of God’s rule on earth only lasts for a fixed period of time which scripture says is 1,000 years. At the end of the allotted time two further events occur:</div><ol><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 20:7 </b>Satan is released for one last round of deception… then He is thrown into the lake of fire.</div></li><li> <div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 20:11-15 </b>all the remaining human beings who have ever lived will be raised to life. Not eternal life but temporary physical life in a temporary physical body which can die. For the first time they will know the truth of God [the books will be opened to them] and they will see the marvelous fruits of Gods way. </div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">During this period of judgment, they too will be asked to make a decision… to choose life [to be written in the book of life] or destruction [thrown into the lake of fire]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Some will not choose life. Their punishment will be complete and permanent destruction.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 10:28</b> The lake of fire is the ultimate destruction of the wicked who will not repent. It is a complete destruction of the entire person, soul and body. Even whatever record of them God kept to be used in order to resurrect them is destroyed. There will be no further memory of them <b>Isaiah 26:10-14</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Malachi 4:1-3 </b>uprooted like an unproductive tree and tossed on the fire. Burned up until nothing remains but ash.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 21:8</b> teachings about universal salvation are false. Not everyone will be saved unto everlasting life… there is a second death after which there is no further hope or promise of life or resurrection. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 21:1 </b>after all this takes place then the entire earth will be transformed through a fire that consumes everything that was… and there is a new beginning, a new heavens and a new earth. The earth, purged by fire, is transformed into a suitable place for the righteous to live <b>2 Peter 3:10</b>.</div><h2 class="western">Conclusion:</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s word says the wicked person who refuses to repent will be punished with destruction in fire. Not the mythical Hell of humanity’s imagination but an all consuming fire that will burn until every last scrap is consumed. [PAUSE]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>God is love</b>… many have a hard time reconciling this declaration with the idea of God throwing people into everlasting torment. How could such a God be worshiped or admired? But the human traditions regarding Hell are not found in the bible. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>God is merciful</b>… those who will not live according to His way of love and outgoing concern for others will die but they will not suffer forever. They will be consumed by fire and forgotten. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>God is righteous and just</b>…</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Eternal life is a gift. God wants to grant it to you. He wants to grant it to as many as are willing. But He’s only going to give it to those who follow Him. </div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The lake of fire… in the final analysis is an act of mercy</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The lake of fire… in the final analysis is and act of righteousness</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Any other alternatives would be a plan for sorrow and anguish.</div><div align="left" class="western" style="line-height: 107%; margin-bottom: 0.11in; orphans: 2; widows: 2;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> <b>Psalm 19:9</b></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/z7g_zxngiDo" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Why Do People Believe in the Idea of Hell?
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UIP7L6itpl4/W0z6NUqSuiI/AAAAAAAAA8Y/9WN2ZUrNqikW9ABUGKwpcfE5sXsAnGfdwCLcBGAs/s1600/ian-espinosa-177961.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-UIP7L6itpl4/W0z6NUqSuiI/AAAAAAAAA8Y/9WN2ZUrNqikW9ABUGKwpcfE5sXsAnGfdwCLcBGAs/s320/ian-espinosa-177961.jpg" width="320" /></span></a></div><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">People don’t latch on to the idea of hell it because it’s a feel good notion…</span><br /><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><br /></span><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>My Proposal: </b>Humans believe in the idea of hell because they have to! Hell is the only way to hold on to two other cherished beliefs of humanity.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Traditional beliefs about “hell” are the logical outworking of a basic root error... assuming and believing the human soul is immortal and lives on after death. The error is at the core of most religious systems: Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist etc.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif; letter-spacing: -0.5pt;">Where Did Such an Idea Come From?</span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Genesis 3:1-3 </b>the big lie of human immortality was introduced into human thinking by Satan… and it began very early in the human time line. </span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some part of every person lives on after they die (error)</span></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">On to this error that some part of every person lives on after the death of this body we’ll add a true observation obvious and apparent to all humanity: some people act in a good way and some people act in a bad way. Note: we might have differing opinions about what defines good versus bad… but we all see a world where some are good and some are bad.</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some part of every person lives on after they die (error)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some act in a good way and some act in a bad way (observation/truth)</span></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Next, we add something else that is true: justice is a force in the universe. This is a spiritual understanding that flows from the person of God the Creator of the universe. Humans have an innate desire for justice because they are created in God’s image.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">For Christians, Muslims, Jews, this is judgment by a personal Creator God involving punishment or reward. For other religions this punishment vs. reward is an impersonal force called karma [how karma is enforced is very vague and confusing, involving the collective mind of the universe and stuff like that].</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some part of every person lives on after they die (error)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some act in a good way and some act in a bad way (observation/truth)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">There is justice [punishment/reward] in the universe (spiritual truth)</span></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">If the human soul lives on, if some are good and some are bad, and if there is justice in the universe… you need an explanation for where all those bad people go after death that is in some way different from where all the good people go and provides payback for all their badness. </span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some part of every person lives on after they die (error)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Some act in a good way and some act in a bad way (observation/truth)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">There is justice [punishment/reward] in the universe (spiritual truth)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">There must be a form of eternal punishment in a living and conscious state (error)</span></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The idea of the immortality of the human soul does not flow naturally out from the reading of scripture. The idea that you do not really die is found on the lips of Satan, the father of lies. It’s an idea that humans want to be true… and then desperately try to insert back into the scriptures. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The immortality of the soul is the biggest lie ever told.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Why would humanity want to insert such an idea into scripture?</b> To use the obvious authority of God’s word to some how validate this wishful thinking.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Opinion: it’s a lie that also serves Satan’s larger purpose by presenting the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as cruel &amp; unfair.</span></div><div style="letter-spacing: -0.5pt; line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif; font-size: medium;">How Did This Idea Find it Way Into Christian Teaching?</span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The immortal soul concept is as old as human history. But how did it creep into what we call Christianity? By that I mean Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, or Protestant teaching.</span></div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Human immortality is not part of the religion of Israel</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Human immortality is not part of the 1<sup>st</sup> century apostolic teaching</span></div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">It crept into biblical teaching through theologians and learned men who love praise and pre-eminence. In their won culture Greek philosophy was highly regarded and offered the possibility of worldly acceptance. Leaders &amp; thinkers who had gained control over the church wanted to make God’s word more “respectable” by synchronizing or reconciling the Greek system of thinking about life and death with what was presented in the scriptures. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Greek and other humanly devised ideas about the afterlife are worthless so I don’t want to spend time discussing their ins and outs… but here’s a basic concept found among the Greeks:</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Greek philosophy teaches that a soul will be free from the restraints of the physical body after death. The body dies and goes to the grave while the soul floats away to live elsewhere. The body is seen as a sort of prison into which the soul is placed. Life’s suffering must be endured and escaped so the soul might take its proper place with some higher form of existence… “to take your place among the stars” for instance.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Question</b>: do you want to build your belief and faith starting with the pure teachings that come from scripture and Jesus Christ… or do you want to build your belief and faith starting with speculative assumptions from philosophers and self proclaimed priests?</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">John 17:17</span></b></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>2 Peter 1:20-21</b> it is not for us to dream up our own ideas about life and death and then force them into the pure word God has given us.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Colossians 2:1-8</b> this stuff has always been around</span></div><div style="letter-spacing: -0.5pt; line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif; font-size: medium;">The Soul in the Hebrew Scriptures</span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">In the portion of scripture written in Hebrew “soul” is a translation of the word <i>nephesh</i>. The word <i>nephesh</i> does not mean a spirit entity within a human body… <i>nephesh</i> refers to the entire living being: the flesh, the spark of life, the spirit… everything all wrapped up together. In the Old Testament humans are referred to as <i>nephesh</i> over 130 times. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Genesis 2:7 </b>a living soul</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The word <i>nephesh</i> is also used to describe animal existence Genesis 1:21 [living thing/creature = nephesh]. It is used for birds verse 30, insects &amp; reptiles verse 24-25. <i>Nephesh</i> is also used to describe dead bodies Leviticus 22:4, Numbers 5:2, 6:11, 9:6-10</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The idea of a soul as something existing apart from the body is not derived from Old Testament scripture. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Genesis 2:17 </b>two living souls named Adam &amp; Eve are told they will die. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Question: does this mean Adam &amp; Eve HAD immortality and LOST it because of disobedience? See <b>Genesis 3:22-24</b> they would not have eternal life unless they ate of the tree of life.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Genesis 3:19</b> return to the dust <b>Ezekiel 18: 4,20</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">A soul is identified as a living being with a body not as something with a separate existence that lives on after the body dies. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Ecclesiastes 12:9 </b>The spirit is described as returning to God who gave it. However, it has no conscious awareness (or anything else we would call life) apart from a body.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Ecclesiastes 9:5 </b>the dead have no conscious awareness.</span></div><div style="letter-spacing: -0.5pt; line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: x-large;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif; font-size: medium;">Soul In The New Testament Scriptures… Greek</span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The new testament portion of the bible is written in Greek rather than Hebrew. Greek was the language of the masses, plus it was also more linguistically precise than Hebrew with a larger vocabulary.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The word translated soul in the NT is <i>psyche</i>, body is <i>soma</i>, spirit is <i>pneuma</i>, flesh or way of flesh is <i>sarx</i>.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The teaching of the New Testament is consistent with the Old and offers some clarification on the concepts of justice and immortality.</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The wicked who refuse to repent will die permanently</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Humans do not possess immortality</span></div></li></ol><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>Truth #1</b></span><span style="font-size: small;"><b> </b></span>The New Testament contains multiple statements confirming that the wicked who refuse to repent will die permanently. This is the truth about God’s justice in the universe.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Matthew 7:13-14 </b>Jesus does not merely say that the justice of the universe leads to punishment of wicked people… He says DESTRUCTION. Jesus says choose life, the alternative is destruction. The options are not a happy life after death in place A versus an agonizing life after death in place B.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Destruction is given 2 qualifiers: It is complete, and it is everlasting</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Matthew 10:28</b> that destruction is complete, it encompasses both body [soma] and soul [psyche] in the fire of Gehenna.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>2 Peter 3:7</b> complete destruction (the whole person not just part of you)… again referring to the fire of destruction.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>2 Thessalonians 1:9</b> that destruction is everlasting, meaning permanent non-existence.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The time of that complete and permanent destruction is mentioned in Revelation 20 as coming 1,000 years after the return of Christ. There are several important other details of that time which we will go into in a future message.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><b>Truth #2</b></span><b> </b>The new testament teaches that we do not already possess everlasting life [ie. immortal soul]. This is the truth about the present status of your personal existence.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Romans 6:23</b> God has to GIVE us everlasting life, we don’t already have it</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>1 Timothy 6:16</b> God alone has immortality</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><b>Galatians 6:8</b> here are both ideas presented together in a single statement. Corruption is another way of saying destruction.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Reaping corruption/destruction is the logical opposite of reaping eternal life. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">The scriptures do not present the alternatives as eternal life in a bad place versus eternal life in a good place. The alternatives are everlasting life or permanent destruction.</span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri light&quot; , serif;"><span style="font-size: medium;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif; letter-spacing: -0.5pt;">Conclusion</span></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> The bible clearly states that we do not possess immortality but must put on immortality. For the first fruits that putting on takes place at a distinct point in human history… the resurrection, when you are raised up with a new, different, and everlasting body. Until then you [your body, or your soul] have no more permanence than a blade of grass. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">Through these same scriptures God presents you with a comprehensive program through which you can have everlasting life. </span></div><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-family: Trebuchet MS, sans-serif;">So, get with the program and don’t let yourself be confused by the biggest lie ever told.</span></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/ClnX7tviZcg" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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God's Purpose For His Creation
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><h3 style="text-align: left;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The Establishment of the Heavens and Earth</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IPGnnDoDwDE/Wzw7cUzOhLI/AAAAAAAAA7c/oV-a3ottxNMZniu2yOpnx-Ib0wL6q4P8gCLcBGAs/s1600/andreas-p-30199.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="982" data-original-width="1600" height="196" src="https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-IPGnnDoDwDE/Wzw7cUzOhLI/AAAAAAAAA7c/oV-a3ottxNMZniu2yOpnx-Ib0wL6q4P8gCLcBGAs/s320/andreas-p-30199.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">We cannot exist without an incredible array of features to operate properly… and not just properly but nearly perfectly in order for us to survive for the next 4 minutes. Elements that we consider so simple, oxygen, temperature, gravity to name a few. Take a longer view like 4 days and you might want to throw in water or solar energy. Simple… yet each of these is highly complex and moreover interact in ways that compound the complexity in a manner that can dazzle even the most jaded materialist.</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Where did all these elements, physical laws, atmospheric and biological systems come from? Why do they work so beautifully together to support life? With all our amazing tools: microscopes, particle colliders, and space stations, our great minds of materialist science provide us the profound answer… “well, they just do” </span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">What about the phenomenon we call life?</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">If we were to accept the premise that the physical universe is just a lucky accident of atoms that have luckily arranged themselves into a universe of galaxies, solar systems, planets and so on… a question remains that is just a big as the origin and organization of the universe. </span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Why would such a universe of atoms and molecules, photons and energy waves… generate living things? From simple self-replicating virus, to the more genetically complex plants, to animal life and finally sentient, self-aware humans with the capacity to love or hate, cry or laugh, to create beautiful music or deadly concentration camps…</span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot; , serif;">The Will to Live… </span> </span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">All life forms from the lowly virus, plants, animals, humans share something in common, something that cannot be explained by anything that can be measured or observed in the material universe. That something is the desire to survive. A will to continue living and a goal to pass that life on to a new generation that will carry on and repeat the pattern. To anyone who has not hardened his heart and darkened his mind… this desire to live and survive found in all living creatures demonstrate will and purpose in the universe.</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Teachers of evolution end up explaining all the various facet of life, animal or human, good or evil, as some form of survival mechanism. Giraffes were lucky enough to be mutant antelopes with extra long necks allowing them to access new sources of food in the tree tops. Even your belief in God is seen by such people as a quirk of the human mind that helps humans to survive in a hostile environment (social cohesion, grouping together for mutual benefit and protection etc). </span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Clever explanations like this are still built upon the assumed existence of will in the universe, but don’t even attempt to explain how this will came to be. Because it’s simply not measurable… like the spirit we can see the effects of it but we cannot see <u>the power or force I am calling will</u>.</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">A fish develops a fin that allows it to crawl out of the ooze to seek new sources of food… a better chance for survivial… what drives it… what moves it forward to preserve and pass on its life… why does it desire to continue living, and where does it come from?</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The only answer you are going to get from science is… “they just do”</span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">How Would Life Emerge From Non-Life?</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><b>Prebiotic Soup theory</b> – the idea that the earth was covered with warm lakes filled with enzymes and proteins simmering away at just the right temperature until SURPRISE they are struck by lightning! This random spark triggers freak combinations of enzymes, proteins etc that build and snowball, combine and recombine until they produce… XXXXX</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The statistical probability of such a sequence of events… are astronomical. The mathematical improbability of that happening it so huge that some credible scientists ave turned to alternate theories such as the idea that life came from out-space… mars, asteroids whatever. However, the soup theory remains the most popular and still finds itself in school text books. </span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">The soup theory has problems:</span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">For one, it cannot be reproduced in a laboratory setting. If you remember from high school, scientific theories and hypotheses are supposed to be proven by demonstrable and repeatable experiments. Generating the supposed building blocks of life by electrocuting hot soup has been tried and tried but… nope, it doesn’t happen.</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Perhaps this is because a theory such as this one flies in the face of another scientific observation that has been tested and proven. That life does not spontaneously develop from non-living stuff.</span></div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Mice from dirty shirts?</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Bacteria in covered and uncovered petre dishes etc</span></div></li></ul><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">In face of scientific contradiction and the monumental mathematical improbability of it all, when asked the question: How or Why life could or would emerge from non-life the answer once again is… <b>Well somehow it just did!</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Science prides itself on supposedly being based on observation, proof, evidence… a hypothesis leads to experiments that provide proof… <b>where is the proof for life coming from non-life?</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">People choose to doubt, or disbelieve, God exists often citing the <u>absence of any proof</u> that He does. But isn’t it amazing what other things humans choose to believe with even less evidence or proof to go on.</span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-family: &quot;calibri&quot; , serif;">What About The Theory Of Evolution </span> </span></h3><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Evolution is not really a theory of origins but it is treated as such by many and has been heavily promoted in schools and popular entertainment. So we need to include it here.</span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Evolution is the idea that creatures gradually developed out of other creatures through advantageous genetic mutation. So, wouldn’t we expect to find an abundant fossil record of all the intermediate varieties of creatures? The answer is NO. Darwin did not base his theory on proof or evidence from the fossil record… </span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><u>The Origin of Species, 1859, Masterpieces of Science, 1958,pp. 136-137)</u> – <i>Why [he asked] if species have descended from other species by fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? … Why do we not find them embedded in countless numbers in the crust of the earth?</i></span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><u>Continuing… pp 260-261</u> <i>The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely gradated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record” </i> </span></div><div style="line-height: 115%; margin-bottom: 0.14in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><i>Niles</i><span style="font-size: x-small;"> Eldredge, curator in the department of invertebrates at the American Museum of Natural History (</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Reinventing Darwin: The Great Debate at the High Table of Evolutionary Theory, </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">1995, p. 95)</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">“<span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long,” [he wrote.] </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>“It seems never to happen. </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change—over millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. “When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution”.</i></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Steven Jay Gould (the late Harvard Paleontologist), “</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>the history of most fossil species includes two features particularly inconsistent with gradualism: [1] </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Stasis. </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Most species exhibit no directional change during their tenure on earth. They appear in the fossil record looking pretty much the same as when they disappear; morphological change is usually limited and directionless. “[2] </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>Sudden appearance. </i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i>In any local area, a species does not arise gradually by the steady transformation of its ancestors: it appears all at once and ‘fully formed’”</i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"> (“</span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><u>Evolution’s Erratic Pace,” </u></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><i><u>Natural History, </u></i></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><u>May 1977, pp. 13-14</u></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">).</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">With no real hard evidence why do evolutionists consider the theory to be fact?</span></h3><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Darwin was a member of the clergy and like many of his clerical contemporaries collected and studied plants, animals, insects and rocks. Ironically the naturalist movement that spawned Darwin and his theories on evolution theory has its roots in a faith driven inquiry into the wonders of God’s creation by churchmen with a lot of time on their hands. </span> </span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">Darwin (and those who follow in his ideas) sought to explain the obvious relationship linking all living creatures. USE EXAMPLE OF A HORSES SKELETON BEING VERY SIMILAR TO HUMANS. They reasoned that the relationship was because they shared a common ancestor. The real and more obvious answer is that they are similar because they are the work of the same creator. God. </span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>Romans 1:18-25</b></span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">The theories that life spontaneously generated out of non-life and gradually developed into more complex creatures are simply not true. Far from being proven fact their basic assumptions contradict what is proven and known and observed.</span></div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">The idea that the random interaction of matter results in increasingly complex systems violates the law of entropy – one of the basic things you should have learned in high school</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Based on all observable criteria life only comes from pre-existing life – another basic fact you learned in high school (remember the petrie dish experiments)</span></div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Based on the actual fossil record living creatures appear as a distinct species and stay within the basic parameters of their species or kind with no evidence that they migrate gradually into a different kind</span></div></li></ol><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Organization &amp; Complexity in the Universe</span></h3><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>Colossians 1:15-18</b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"> the interaction of matter in the universe is not based on random collisions. The observable organization of matter, classification of both matter and life forms and will in the universe (as seen in the drive to live and reproduce) are evidence of God’s power, plan, purpose… </span><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>and existence</b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">.</span></span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">God is the Pre-Existing Life Giver</span></h3><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;">Where did God come from? Aren’t we just pushing back the question of the origins of life like the guys who try to explain that life came from outer space?</span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>John 5:26</b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">… I Am That I Am</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>I Timothy 1:17; 6:16</b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"> – God has no beginning… that’s hard for us to grasp (because we are finite)</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>Hebrews 11:3 </b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">–for things beyond our grasp we must trust God’s revealed truth</span></span></div><h3 class="western"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;">Life is Classified According to Kind</span></h3><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;">The fossil record takes us back to a time on earth prior to the time recorded in Genesis 1 (refere to previous sermon). But as we read earlier the actual fossil record shows that living creatures appear or are created according to their kind and pretty much stay within their kind.</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>Genesis 1:20-26</b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;"> –God’s renewal of life on earth follows the same pattern of Kind. Which has tremendous implications for what read in verse 26! You are created or more accurately in the process of being created accordin to the God Kind.</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><span style="font-size: x-small;"><b>I John 3:1-3 </b></span><span style="font-size: x-small;">we will children of God, made in his image, after His Kind in his image. But not according to the body you now have but something else… filled with holy righteous character and eternal life</span></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif; font-size: x-small;"><b>I John 5:11-13</b></span></div><div style="line-height: 100%; margin-bottom: 0in;"><span style="font-family: &quot;trebuchet ms&quot; , sans-serif;"><br /></span></div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/m-vaKtkNxCs" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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Love & Loyalty
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-I6f3Fs8hhY0/WzVLbkS3xNI/AAAAAAAAA64/F2UgyVt2yZYOz9MdKxnsgoCN-a2RNIVqACLcBGAs/s1600/omar-lopez-296937.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1067" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-I6f3Fs8hhY0/WzVLbkS3xNI/AAAAAAAAA64/F2UgyVt2yZYOz9MdKxnsgoCN-a2RNIVqACLcBGAs/s320/omar-lopez-296937.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Do you value loyalty? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Are you loyal to others? Are you loyal to communities? How do you show loyalty? </div><ul><li><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Are there people or groups you should not be loyal to? </div></li><li><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Are you loyal to those who have authority over you? Are you loyal to God?</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Loyalty definition: unswerving allegiance to a person or institution. </b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To support, or align your priorities in accordance to… to look out for and have concern for their well being… someone who is loyal who will treat you right even when they have reason not to… maybe you’re inconvenient, maybe siding against you would be to their personal advantage. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For example; imagine a loyal friend who will pick you for their team even though you’re not the best player because they don’t want to see you embarrassed. A person who can be trusted and relied upon in small things and with regard to the big things.</div><h1 class="western">Is loyalty a biblical concept?</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Hebrew word would be <i>hesed</i>. In English bibles <i>hesed</i> is generally rendered “faithfulness”, although you will occasionally see it translated as loyalty, kindness, friendship, even mercy.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-style: normal;"><b>God’s loyalty to us: </b></span><i>Hesed</i>, or faithfulness is one of the many ways God describes Himself to us. He is faithful to His promises. He is faithful and loyal to His people. Looking out for them, concerned about their well being</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Our loyalty to God: </b>When <i>hesed</i> [faithfulness] is used to describe how we respond to God it means we are committed to, we support, we are aligned with Him. When describing our relationship with our Creator loyalty also includes obedience.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">So, if loyalty is unswerving allegiance to a person or institution... the scope of that definition changes depending on the relationship of the parties involved.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For example; a person put in charge of a department at work can [and should] be loyal to those who work under him But that loyalty does not involve obedience. If I am one of the persons working under the department head loyalty for me would include obedience. Loyalty is also possible between two peers where obedience is not part of the equation.. although mutual submission would be essential. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">My point is: loyalty is not identical to obedience.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A person might be obedient through fear of punishment and have no trace of loyalty.</div><h1 class="western">Loyalty is an Attitude of the Heart</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 13:20-22</b> to many, God’s love for David is a riddle. David committed adultery, he orchestrated a murderer, he was a warrior who had killed many men, elsewhere God calls David “a bloody man” and because of that wouldn’t let David construct the Jerusalem temple.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We too struggle with the enigma of David. There were other men who come off as very righteous, scrupulous people, Noah, Job, or Daniel. <b>Why did God love him so?</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Yet God saw qualities in David such that He called him a “<i>man after my own heart</i>”. One of the traits God saw in David was loyalty… to commitments, to people, to Israel and all it stood for in God’s plan. Loyalty matters because it is a basic attribute of God’s own character. And as any Father would, God delights in seeing himself reflected in His children: in you… in me… in David. </div><h1 class="western">The Importance of Loyalty</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God’s plan is to grant everlasting life, position, and authority to those who are in Christ at His return. Does it make sense that He would give all that to someone who does not demonstrate the character trait of loyalty? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">How do you prove your loyalty except through a life of temptation, trial, testing, even suffering? </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Consider your own life experiences: how would you ever REALLY know your friend is loyal except by seeing and experiencing what he or she does when they have compelling reasons not to be loyal? Loyalty is proved in response to challenges.</div><h1 class="western">The Loyalty of David</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">I found loyalty abstract and difficult to define. God helps us understand concepts through the written example of others… such as the example of David. One way we learn about David’s loyalty is through the contrast drawn between him and Saul. </div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David was loyal and devoted to God Himself; did what God asked</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David was a loyal and subject to his superiors; how he treated Saul</div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David was loyal to those whom he ruled over; how he treated subordinates and subjects</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The same record shows Saul to be a man devoted to himself and his own interests. A man unable to do as he was told. A man of authority ever-ready to throw his subordinates under the bus. Saul was not loyal towards his superior [God Himself was Saul’s superior] nor was Saul loyal to his subjects.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">At times we can see ourselves in both these men and ask… Am I loyal? Can God trust me? Does He see me act with loyalty toward the people in my life… my superiors, my subordinates, my peers?</div><h1 class="western">Saul Had The Look of a King</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 9:2 </b>Saul was tall and good looking, came from a good family. He was the sort people would naturally look to because people put a lot of stock in appearance. He had a head start and could have been a very effective instrument in God’s hands. But, Saul failed… because he could not be trusted. His first loyalty was to himself. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 15:3 </b>Saul was given specific and important instructions [this was an opportunity to fulfill prophecy. See Exodus 17:14-16, Numbers 24:20]. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 15:7-23 </b>Saul failed to carry out the instructions as directed. Worse yet, when confronted with the failure blamed it on the people. He did prove himself to be loyal to the one above him, or to the people who served under him. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Verse 12 Notice how Saul focused on himself [what he accomplished] → verse 15 notice how he blames others <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>verse 20 allows soldiers to take items devoted to God presumably to win favor in their eyes <span style="font-family: &quot;wingdings&quot; , serif;"></span>verse 23 arrogant in placing His priorities over God’s [<b>now read verses 24-35</b>]</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">A similar failure happened at Gilgal Saul blames the soldiers, he blames Samuel for being late, he was concerned about how events would affect him [the philistines will come against me] <b>1 Samuel 13:13-14</b> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The man after God’s own heart who was selected and anointed to replace Saul… was David. </div><h1 class="western">The Rest of Saul’s Reign</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God did not strike Saul down, He simply said: your son after you will not inherit the throne. After Saul the kingship would go to David. In this way God showed Himself to be loyal to Saul. God had commissioned him as king… and let him remain king. But He did not add the blessing of a lasting dynasty to Saul.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Saul reigned for many years as king until he committed suicide on the battlefield. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Early in Saul’s reign David had been anointed as his successor. Through what appears to be God’s hand, David was brought into the royal courts where David served Saul as a loyal subject. As David grew in fame as a warrior Saul became jealous and at some point connected the dots… this was the man who would replace him as king over Israel.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 18:6-15 </b><span style="font-weight: normal;">treachery towards his subordinate</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Saul went crazy with jealousy. He tried several times to kill David. He sent him on a suicide mission hoping that David would be killed. David had to run for his life and lived in hiding for years. Yet even through those difficult years David showed himself loyal to this man… because of who he was and what he stood for: Saul was still the king of Israel.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 22:13-16 </b>takes out his wrath on anyone who helps David. How could you say Saul was loyal to the greater cause? The cause Saul is loyal to is SAUL and his fame.</div><h1 class="western">David’s Loyalty to Saul</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David had every reason, every excuse, and to the carnal mind, every right, to kill Saul first... if he ever got the chance. Beyond pure survival David had an added motive: he would be king in Saul’s place.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David actually had opportunities to kill Saul. But instead of running a spear through his chest, David used both opportunities to try and prove his loyalty.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 24:1-13</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Samuel 26:8-11, 18-20</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">David was loyal to the king until the day of Saul’s death. He was aware of Saul’s sins and had every reason to revile him as a man… but when Saul died the first thing David did was write a song praising and expressing thanks for what Saul had accomplished as a military commander and Israel’s king appointed by God.</div><h1 class="western">David Punishes Disloyalty</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Some men killed Saul’s surviving son [who could stand as a rival heir to the throne to David]. They figured they had done David a favor and came to collect their prize David wouldn’t stand for disloyalty! <b>2 Sam 4:10-12</b></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Samuel 9:1 </b>note the use of the word hesed [kindness=I will show my self loyal]. David took care of the lame son of Jonathan [Saul’s grandson]. Giving him a place of honor at the dinner table in the royal household. David does this to demonstrate loyalty to his friend Jonathan and the vow he made to him.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Samuel 10:1-2</b> note the use of the word hesed {kindness=I will show myself loyal]. To show loyalty to his allies.</div><h1 class="western">Is There Ever a Reason Not to Be Loyal?</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Yes, there is a loophole, an honorable reason that over-rides the Godly virtue of loyalty!</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Obedience to God: if a person or an institution ever tries to coerce you into violating the commandments of God. You must go with your higher loyalty which is to God. Just be careful you don’t use this as a crafty way to excuse disloyal behavior.</div><h1 class="western">Examine Yourself For Loyalty</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Before you can be seated with Christ. Before you can be granted position representing the family of God, its values, its priorities, and its goals... you must learn [and demonstrate] what it means to be loyal. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">For some that means you deal faithfully and loyally with those you have rule over – your wife, your children, your staff at work: For most of us it means you deal faithfully and loyally with those who have authority over you - Are you loyal to your parents? Are you loyal to your boss? Are you loyal to the company you work for?</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Are you loyal to God’s Church? Are you loyal to one another?</div><h1 class="western">Conclusion</h1><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">I found defining loyalty challenging. I came to the conclusion that loyalty looks and sounds a lot like love.</div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/Q74ASqdd3d8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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The Laying on of Hands
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-T7rZV9gH6jE/Wx_3cSDIH5I/AAAAAAAAA6c/XFq2F62E5t8GTz-szbtfVsgggia_4jkjQCLcBGAs/s1600/marc-scaturro-264165-unsplash.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="1068" data-original-width="1600" height="213" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-T7rZV9gH6jE/Wx_3cSDIH5I/AAAAAAAAA6c/XFq2F62E5t8GTz-szbtfVsgggia_4jkjQCLcBGAs/s320/marc-scaturro-264165-unsplash.jpg" width="320" /></a></div>The laying on of hands is listed in scripture as one of the most basic, foundational, and fundamental doctrines of Christ. Yet, to many it is an obscure practice… you don’t hear about it in many sermons, nor is it a subject that a lot of people ask to have explained, or have questions about.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Hebrews 6:1-2 </b>here is the listing I just referred to. These are what scripture considers the foundational teachings. Therefore this is a list of what the Church of God considers the foundational teachings. In order to build the mature mind of Christ we must be sure that the foundation is firmly in place. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Within the biblical and church context the laying on of hands is a physical act meant to picture a spiritual reality or spiritual event taking place. It is hard to provide a public witness and testimony to stuff happening on the spiritual level without a physical act. Human beings are simply not wired to commune with one another on a spirit level. We connect with one another through words and actions. God has limited human beings in this way… probably for our own protection.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>John 3:8 </b>Jesus offers us an analogy: we don’t see wind, but we know the wind is there because we see the leaves are moving, or we hear the sound as it moves through the tree. In the same way the laying on of hands provides testimony to something spiritual happening.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Here are 4 spiritual transactions accompanied by a laying on of human hands:</div><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Conferring blessings</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The transference of sin from one party to another. </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Acceptance of authority</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The receipt of the Holy Spirit</div></li></ol><h2 class="western">Conferring Blessings</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Genesis 48:14 </b>Jacob’s hands had no power to make these prophetic/future blessings happen. The power of the almighty God did that.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Matthew 19:13-15 </b>Jesus blessed them through the laying on of his hands and prayer. Even with Jesus it was not His flesh and blood hands that had power in them, or transferred power through them… it was the power and will of the Father at work. Jesus words and actions [specifically the laying on of hands] gave testimony to the blessings only the Father could give <b>John 5:19-23,30</b>.</div><h2 class="western">The Transference of Sin in Old Covenant Examples</h2><ol><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Leviticus 1:2-4 – </b>the spiritual consequences of sin </div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Leviticus 16:21 – </b>the spiritual blame/guilt for sin </div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The priest’s hands had no special power in them, nor is it necessary to think the spiritual energy had to flow through the priest’s hands like water through a hose or electricity through a wire. The laying on of hands is a physical act testifying to a spiritual event or transaction.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Like the wind… you cannot see forgiveness, but you can see the sign God offers to testify to it.</div><h2 class="western">To Give Authority [Both Civil &amp; Religious]</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God uses the laying on of hands to ordain/appoint His servants to positions of responsibility and authority within His chosen assembly.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Numbers 27:18-23</b> it was not Moses who put Joshua over Israel. Moses laid hands on Joshua for all Israel to see with their eyes. A spiritual transaction is taking place. God was appointing Joshua to a position of responsibility within the congregation in the wilderness. The laying on of hands was a physical act, a symbol, of the fact that God placed Joshua in that office.</div><h2 class="western">New Testament Examples</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">There are many examples in the early records of the Church of God of official roles within the body conferred upon someone through the laying on of hands.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 6:4-6 </b>deacons</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 13:1-3</b> God chose these men and made it known through the prophets and teachers by the visible laying on of hands</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Timothy 1:6 </b>it was God who gave Timothy the gifts but it was testified to by the laying on of hands</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>1 Timothy 5:22 </b>there is a human element in the process… God allows us to make choices &amp; mistakes</div><h2 class="western">Recognition of [And Submission to] Authority</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">We saw that the laying on of hands was used to witness to a person being tasked with a responsibility and granted authority to carry it out. But the laying on of hands is also a public witness of submitting to authority. Their authority does not exceed what is necessary to get the job done. A person ordained is not them an authority unto themselves. They operate within a larger body.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">You and I submit ourselves to the authority of the Father. He alone has the power to raise us to everlasting life. We submit ourselves to His judgment in this matter… as to whether we are fit and prepared to receive the full rights of son-ship and inheritance when Christ returns. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Father has given the authority to judge to His Son… Jesus Christ. He has also made Christ head of His Church. Within the Church Christ has designated some to be hands, some feet, some eyes, ears, mouth or perhaps the stomach. Acting together the Church bears the responsibility to prepare those whom God calls to receive everlasting life and inheritance.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Timothy did not proclaim himself a minister of God… it came through the authority of the Church… and whatever authority there is in the Church is given by Christ <b>Ephesians 4:4-13</b>. He does this so that we may be fit and prepared to receive the fullness of eternal life.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Timothy had hands laid upon him by Paul… who in turn had hands laid upon himself by apostles and elders who were commissioned by Jesus Christ <b>Acts 13:1-3, Acts 11:25-30 </b>[prophets and teachers from Jerusalem].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Yes, Paul had his road to Damascus experience… he was called and instructed by the living Christ. Paul was very clear about this in his writings. But, he also worked within [or submitted himself to] the structure of the Church. If ever anyone had reason to believe they could best serve God by breaking off and doing a work on their own it was Paul. But he did not operate that way <b>Galatians 2:1-2</b>.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God wants us to work together through the Church.</div><h2 class="western">Laying on of Hands as Applied to Healing</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="font-weight: normal;">The purpose of laying on of hands in healing is also tied to the recognition of and submission to authority.</span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Mark 6:4-5; Luke 4:40 </b>– Jesus healed by the laying on of hands. Besides offering a display of His personal compassion and love. Healing was one of the many signs that He was the promised Messiah… to whom power authority and dominion were given.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 28:8 </b>Paul healed by the laying on of hands. This offered a testimony to who he was and the validity of his commission to preach to the non-Jewish world.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>James 5:14-15 </b> </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The elder’s hands have no special powers… there is no power in the oil. The power of the Holy Spirit does not have to flow though the hands of that man like water through a hose of electricity through a wire. The healing is God’s through the power of the Holy Spirit. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Yet through the laying on of hands, God continually points you back towards the flesh and blood reality of His Church… a body of human beings: fallible, imperfect, a source of great joy, a source of great sorrow, perhaps frustration… yet Jesus Christ works with you through His Church.</div><h2 class="western">Why the Elders?</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To come to the elders, who anoint, lay hands upon you, and pray is a physical act in which you submit yourself to God’s authority… to His will… to His perfect righteous decision on the matter.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God gives physical procedures as a demonstration of your submission to His authority over your life. God wants people to come to him in the manner He instructs. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>2 Kings 5:6-15</b> the power was not in the water… the power was in the submission… the washing in the water was only visible testimony to a spiritual transaction… submit yourself to God.</div><ul><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Why jump in the Jordan instead of the rivers of Damascus?</div></li><li> <div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Why come to the elders instead of the person sitting next to you?</div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">God gives physical procedures as a demonstration of your submission to His authority over your life. God wants people to come to Him through the Church. That is why you come to the elders, who lay hands upon you, anoint you, and pray.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The Father calls and draws a person to Himself through the Son… Jesus Christ. Christ is the door. He is the way. The scriptures are also very clear that the Church acts in this age as the body of Christ… His flesh and blood presence in the world at this time. He is the head of the body… He is the head of the Church. </div><h2 class="western">Receiving the Holy Spirit</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 8:15-17</b> – the hands of the person [Peter or John] don’t transmit the Holy Spirit… only God can place the Holy Spirit within you. Only God the Father can make you a begotten child.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">But, God has given us the example of the laying on of hands as the outward sign of this amazing spiritual transaction taking place. A physical procedure which gives a witness and recognition of the human instruments through whom our Father, and His Son have chosen to work through.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 9:17-19</b> Paul/Saul had a direct encounter with the risen Christ. Yet when it cam time for Paul to receive the Holy Spirit, God sent a man. A disciple named Ananias to lay hands upon him and baptize him. Later on, as much as a maverick as he was, Paul worked through the structure of the Church.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Acts 19:5-6</b> Paul continued the process of laying on of hands for the receipt to the Holy Spirit.</div><h2 class="western">Summary</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><a href="https://www.blogger.com/null" name="_GoBack"></a> The laying on of hands is considered in scripture to be among the most fundamental teachings of Christ and therefore of the church. It is a simple physical procedure meant to draw our attention to, and provide a witness to the very spiritual work that God our Creator is doing in us… through His Church… in this age.</div></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/NT80FEZhh0Y" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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You Can Be A Pillar In The Church of God
<div dir="ltr" style="text-align: left;" trbidi="on"><br /><div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0WinYbk8HN8/Ww4LI4ei-_I/AAAAAAAAA54/1C2G7E6zh8Ah2hri35-QeolYySYzvYSzACLcBGAs/s1600/JustRight.jpg" imageanchor="1" style="clear: left; float: left; margin-bottom: 1em; margin-right: 1em;"><img border="0" data-original-height="478" data-original-width="597" height="256" src="https://2.bp.blogspot.com/-0WinYbk8HN8/Ww4LI4ei-_I/AAAAAAAAA54/1C2G7E6zh8Ah2hri35-QeolYySYzvYSzACLcBGAs/s320/JustRight.jpg" width="320" /></a></div><h2 class="western"><span style="font-family: Calibri, serif;">A Pillar in the Church</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To call someone a pillar, for example: pillar of society, pillar of the community, pillar of the church… has been a well used idiom of the English language since medieval times. It basically means such a person is an active and respected member of a group of people… local society, community, or church.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Like many such phrases we hear this one is used less often than in the past. Discussions of old-fashioned or quaint idioms of the language are not our purpose here [that would be better suited to a course in philology]. We are going to discuss this particular phrase because its origin is biblical which probably also explains why it is falling into disuse and beginning to sound out-of-date.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">In construction a pillar would be a firm, upright, support for a larger superstructure; for example a steel or marble column that holds up a cross beam.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">This construction context is way we can explore the biblical use of the concept.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Revelation 3:12</b> here we have a prophecy of your future position in the household of God. To be a pillar in this grand and holy building project God is working out. I ask that you consider your present circumstances in God’s Church as training for that future role. </div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">To be, or work towards becoming, a pillar in God’s Church, is training to become a pillar in the temple of God. A temple not made of human hands, stone, or steel, or glass… but a temple composed of the family of God <b>Revelation 21:22</b>… the Father, the son, and his many children who stand as pillars in that creation.</div><h2 class="western">A Pillar As A Metaphor/Analogy</h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The primary function of a pillar is to provide support, and strength… to bolster, brace, prop-up, or sustain. We can easily picture what that means in a construction project… imagining those functions in a community, a society, or a church requires some additional thought and application.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><b>Galatians 2:1-2, 9 </b>Paul goes to the home church in Jerusalem to make sure he is working in harmony with the rest of the church. He talks with James, Peter, and John… who were considered pillars in the church.</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">The KJV and NKJV uses the word “seemed” which in modern English casts a shadow of doubt… “it seemed like a good idea at the time, but it wasn’t”… [supposedly pillars as opposed to known as pillars].</div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><b><span style="background: #fdfeff;">NIV</span></b></span><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;"></span></span><span style="color: #001320;"><i><span style="background: #fdfeff;">James, Cephas and John, those esteemed as pillars</span></i></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><b><span style="background: #fdfeff;">NLT</span></b></span><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;"></span></span><span style="color: #001320;"><i><span style="background: #fdfeff;">In fact, James, Peter, and John, who were known as pillars of the church</span></i></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">What made these men pillars was not their physical strength, it was their reputation. Meaning others could look to them to uphold, support, strengthen, or sustain the church… through the example of their actions, their attitudes, and their words.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">There are people today who others point to as pillars within the church... people who inspire confidence, stability, and a feeling that this all makes sense. So I hope you are asking… How Can I Be A Pillar?</span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">A Pillar Needs A Solid Foundation</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">In a construction setting a pillar can only do its job properly if its set up straight and put on a firm foundation that doesn’t shift around, cave in, or wash away </span></span><span style="color: #001320;"><b><span style="background: #fdfeff;">Matthew 7:26</span></b></span><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">Because of this a pillar can withstand adversity. A pillar sticks with it. A pillar it there week after week, year after year.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">That statement from Jesus comes at the end of the sermon on the mount. His teachings were not some new thing. His teachings are built upon the already existing written word of God. The new testament explains the old testament, it does not replace it.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">So a pillar knows God’s word and knows it well. But there much more to it than knowledge. There are plenty of people who know the word well but are not considered pillars.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><b><span style="background: #fdfeff;">Ephesians 2:19-22</span></b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #001320;"><b><span style="background: #fdfeff;">1 Peter 2:5</span></b></span><span style="color: #001320;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">quotes psalm 118:22, a prophecy</span></span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #2f5496;"><span style="font-size: small;"><span style="background: #fdfeff;">The Importance of the Cornerstone</span></span></span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">The&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">cornerstone</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">&nbsp;(or&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">foundation stone</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">&nbsp;or&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">setting stone</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">) is the first stone set in the construction of a&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: blue;"><u><a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Masonry"><span style="color: #5a3696;">masonry</span></a></u></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: blue;"><u><a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundation_(engineering)"><span style="color: #5a3696;">foundation</span></a></u></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">, important since all other stones will be set in reference to this stone, thus determining the position of the entire&nbsp;</span></span><span style="color: blue;"><u><a href="https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Construction"><span style="color: #5a3696;">structure</span></a></u></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Christ is that rock. We build our lives around Him by following His example, giving heed to His teaching, and accepting His authority over our lives. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Christ’s life death and resurrection </span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">– without the reality of those events all the words are of no value. Through them the penalty of sin is paid and the down payment of eternal life [the holy spirit] is made available to us. Without Christ there is knowledge… but there is no life.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Doctrine</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">– trustworthy teaching based on scriptural record… revealed by God and encoded in a text format</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">1 Timothy 3:15</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="font-weight: normal;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">acting together the church the church as a whole is also a pillar which upholds and s</span></span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">ustains the truth of God in a world that is constantly shifting. The analogy becomes circular… but the church as a pillar sustains the truth that allows you as an individual determine what constitutes a firm foundation… and then build your life upon it.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Let’s get back to you as a pillar within the overall structure of the church</span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">A Pillar Provides Support</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Earlier we spoke of a pillar as bolstering, propping up, sustaining, and supporting a larger superstructure. A pillar plays a part in holding up something greater than itself. We can apply this in two areas:</span></span></div><ol><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">How it applies to our personal relationships one to another; within the Church</span></span></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">How it applies to our personal relationship with the Church when considered as a whole</span></span></div></li></ol><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Supporting One to Another</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Physically</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">: to offer help in times of need; like offering a ride to services, taking a tray of food to someone in times of stress and trouble, visiting one another, showing personal hospitality and fellowship to others… including those who are alone. At the some time using discernment to not force yourself on others when they need space.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Spiritually</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">: pray for one another. </span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Hint:</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">don’t wait for someone to fall sick before you consider them in your prayers. Encourage one another. Try not to fellowship an opportunity to complain. If you find this hard then try to do things together instead of just talking.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Talking</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">: to have positive and uplifting talk you have to guard your thoughts and keep your own mind focused on the big picture of the work God is performing. We all care about the church and are very focused on what it is up to… I have always found that conversations with a lot of “the church should do this”, “the church should do that” … can be very engaging [because I am highly invested in the overall project]… but, such conversations usually leave me deflated and depressed. We in the ministry fall prey to this as much as anyone [negative nostalgia].</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Talking bible:</span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">this is a double edged sword. Talking about areas of controversy, or where there are multiple interpretations are definitely more interesting. These are the topics we naturally gravitate towards. Talking bible can be helpful… and sometimes it can be harmful. Very often people who get fixated on their own personal interpretations of some verse find themselves gradually getting more alienated from the body until they float out the window on a gentle breeze like Forrest Gumps feather.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Ephesians 4:11-16</span></b></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Supporting The Whole Body</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Let’s hearken back to the construction analogy: a pillar standing alone does not fulfill its intended purpose … its nothing more than a decorative stone. In a construction project, like building a house, or a temple a pillar must be joined properly to the overall structure to serve its purpose and function. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">For example:</span></span></div><ol><li><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"> <span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">if one pillar is higher than the others then the whole weight of the cross beam falls on that pillar. </span></span> </div></li><li><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"> <span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">If its too short then its either not really supporting any weight, or its causing the entire superstructure to sag</span></span></div></li></ol><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Either option weakens the overall structure. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">The overall structure we are considering here is the Church.</span></b></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">A pillar does not try to set itself apart from others, exalt its own importance, its not pushy, not seeking its own way. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">A pillar does not shrink back when it is called upon to support… “why is the Church doing that?” … “don’t ask me… no one asked my opinion… if it all comes crashing down its not my fault… I’ll just be standin’ over here”. If you have ever found yourself saying stuff like that… join the club.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">We all struggle with the same conflicting currents of the human heart. But we must </span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">persevere. </span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Tone</span></span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">You can say the same thing in a variety of different ways. You might have a concern and express it in a way that comes across as complaining, or you might say it in a way that is criticism, or you might say it in a manner that is perceived as constructive criticism. [Spider on the wall]</span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Prayer</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">We spoke a bit earlier of praying for one another: I ask that you also pray for the ministry. For example: year after year I have heard lamentations about sermon content: we need more prophecy, we need to focus on the fundamental doctrines, I need encouragement to get through the trials and temptations of my life, I want to be encouraged and uplifted [</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><i><span style="background: #ffffff;">note: I have never heard anyone say </span></i></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">“I want correction”</span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><i><span style="background: #ffffff;">, although I have heard people say</span></i></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">“I want that other person to be corrected”]. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">I ask you to pray about the messages you hear in Church. Ask for God’s inspiration, ask for those answers you need, ask for the encouragement you need.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Hebrews 13:17-18 </span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><i><span style="background: #ffffff;">Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.&nbsp;Pray for us: for we trust we have a good conscience, in all things willing to live honestly.&nbsp;</span></i></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">The KJV NKJV translations definitely have an authoritarian spin [add background on 1611 KJV]. Do a word study on this verse and I think you are likely going to see OBEY is not the way the word is usually translated. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><i><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">My translation:</span></b></i></span><span style="color: #222222;"><i><span style="background: #ffffff;">Work together with/trust/be persuaded by your leaders and let them win you over as those who are tasked with providing you spiritual instruction and who know they will be held responsible for it by God. Help make their work a joy and not a burden of grief. Pray for us, we truly are trying to do what is what is best, in an honest/honorable manner. </span></i></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Financial Support</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Be faithful in your tithes and offerings. They are a clear and obvious way in which each of us supports the overall structure, the church, fulfill its commission to preach the gospel and make disciples of those who respond. </span></span></div><h2 class="western"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Reward</span></h2><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><b><span style="background: #ffffff;">Revelation 3:12 </span></b></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">a pillar in God’s temple is an analogy that points to our reward</span></span></div><ul><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">A pillar of perfect Godly character, straight, tall and true with position and place in God’s house… His family… His universe ruling structure</span></span></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">You will remain close to Him forever… not going out</span></span></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">You will bear the family </span></span><span style="color: #222222;"><u><span style="background: #ffffff;">name</span></u></span><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;"> FOREVER</span></span></div></li><li><div style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">You will be living and working at God’s universal headquarters for all eternity</span></span></div></li></ul><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Jesus Christ, the chief cornerstone, who sets the foundation, wants to share His office and administrative duties with us… with you. </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">As pillars we will extend the strength and support to billions of others when they too are resurrected.</span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;"><span style="color: #222222;"><span style="background: #ffffff;">Part of your training for that amazing future and glorious reward begins now in the humble setting of His Church… </span></span></div><div class="western" style="line-height: 108%; margin-bottom: 0.11in;">Be the person others can look to as a pillar in the Church. One that endures and remains standing, supporting, and sustaining. </div><br /></div><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/UnitedChurchOfGodRaleigh/~4/qggOPmzrej8" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>
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