Outline For Building-up And Equipping The Body Of Christ

BCIcon

This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.

Site Navigation:This left-column outline contains links to website pages and sources pertaining to helping the Body of Christ gain the potential for which God designed it. The menu below pages down to the individual sections of this outline from which you can navigate to other web pages. There is a fourth level to some of the third level or decimal elements of this outline that is hidden, to view this level click on the symbol in the outline; to hide the fourth level, double-click upon it (I found out, the last time I checked, that Mozilla's Firefox browser doesn't support this fourth level expansion feature, sorry).

  • First Section
  1. Basic Spiritual Instruction for God's People
  1. Introduction to our Spiritual Growth series
  1. Spiritual growth is very important, not only to us but also to our Lord Jesus Christ. He has made adequate provisions in our behalf by giving special gifts and abilities to individual members of His body to accomplish this much needed task. Click to see, Introduction To Building Up And Equipping The Body Of Christ.
  2. Click to see, Explaining The Use And Expansion Of The Growth Outline.
  3. Click to see, The Importance God Places upon Spiritual Growth.
  1. The Godhead
  1. In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and) created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
  2. Jesus is right now seated at the right hand of God the Father, reigning and ruling with Him. Click to see website page, Jesus Exalted At The Right Hand Of The Father.
  1. The Holy Spirit was sent to the church to continue the education of the Body of Christ that Jesus had begun, and to empower them for the work that God’s people are to do. "But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you" (John 14:26).
  2. With all of man’s supposed wisdom and acquired knowledge, he has never been able to know or understand what life is, but God does, because He created it and has revealed what we need to know about it in His Word. This is what we will be exploring in this section concerning spiritual growth. Click to see Growth page, What Life Is All About, And God's Original Plans
  3. True Unity: "Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace. [There is] one body and one Spirit--just as there is also one hope [that belongs] to the calling you received--[there is] one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of [us] all, Who is above all [Sovereign over all], pervading all and [living] in [us] all" (Eph 4:3-6).
  4. The old hymn Living For Jesus, exemplifies our required commitment, and the article to see to acquire it is, Our Top Priority In Life.
  1. Living for Jesus a life that is true; striving to please Him in all that I do. Giving allegiance glad hearted and true; this is the pathway of blessing for me. Oh Jesus Lord and Savior; I give myself to Thee. For Thou in thine atonement; did give Thyself for me. I owe no other master; my heart shall be Thy throne. My life I give; henceforth to live. My God for Thee alone.
  2. This is a life-style of Trust and Obey; for there's no other way to be happy in Jesus; than to Trust and Obey!
  1. Dwelling in Christ by faith for victorious living
  1. Chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John contain some of the most intimate and informative teachings of Christ, and are a good starting point for learning about spiritual life.
  1. It is not an easy task to change the way that people have been accustom to think, reason and believe, nor can it be accomplished in a short time; but this was one of the main reasons of Jesus' earthly ministry. The transition from the old covenant to the new, or the Law to Grace, or the physical to the spiritual all speak of or refer to the same thing. This transition is still in process and must be understood from a Biblical perspective or it becomes very confusing and difficult. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 1.
  2. It is interesting to recognize, not only in others, but in our personal lives just how long it takes for the facts we know to become a living reality to us, the time it takes is determined by the quickness and the quality of our spiritual growth. This is illustrated by the fact that those closest to Jesus during His earthly ministry failed to grasp the spiritual meaning of much of what He lived and taught. Therefore, about two years after His resurrection Jesus personally revealed Himself to Paul and then took him into Arabia (Gal 1:17) where Paul apparently spent about the same amount of time as the other disciples being instructed of the Lord regarding our further spiritual development. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 2.
  1. Chapters five thru eight of the book of Romans explains in greater detail what Jesus introduced in chapters fourteen thru seventeen of the Gospel of John.
  1. It will help us to understand spiritual progression if we keep in mind these three points. (1) It was Jesus that first introduced new spiritual life and how it should develop in the normal Christian; (2) It was the apostle John that faithfully recorded the words of Jesus, about sixty years after the resurrection of Christ, in the book that we call the Gospel of John; (3) it was to the Apostle Paul that Jesus, about 2 years after His resurrection, personally revealed more details of how further spiritual development should take place in the Body of Christ (Gal. 1:11-18). No other writer of the New Testament speaks of the Church as the Body of Christ, and the many other details concerning spiritual life as does Paul. Therefore, the logical places for us to look for information about spiritual life is the books of the Apostles John and Paul, and the person we should appeal to, to guide us, is the Holy Spirit. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 3.
  2. ROMANS 8:1-4.... THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.] For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], [Lev 7:37.] So that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit]. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 4.
  1. Parts 1 thru 4 of Dwelling In Christ took us from the physical ordinances of the Old Testament that God first began to use to reveal His salvation plan for mankind, to the spiritual dimension that replaced the old physical ordinances. In part 5 we will consider another transition from how Christians are to live now, before the rapture, to how we might live during the Millennium and on into eternity. This gives a brief description of what we can expect and look forward to now and throughout eternity, don’t miss it.
  1. Most of us have wondered, probably on many occasions, what living with God in heaven is going to be like. Not so surprisingly, there is a great deal of information regarding this subject, but the following short article only makes use of a few, but very important and interesting portions of Scriptures available. Click to see Growth page, Dwelling in Christ, part 5.
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The essential teaching that is neglected in most Christian churches is that of dwelling in Christ Jesus by faith. For victorious Christian living this is not an elective, but an absolute requirement. It is very likely that most truly born-again Christians spend the majority of their time living by their own ability rather than the power and ability that the Holy Spirit makes available to God's people. This is the reason for failure and discouragement, and the reason that we are making this a priority study. Click to see website page, New Life In Christ And How To Live It.
  2. If Jesus has become our everything as described in 1 Cor. 1:30, why does it sometimes not seem true of us? Click to see website page, Perfect Righteousness Is Ours Only By Dwelling In Christ.
  3. What provisions has God made available to us to make freedom from sinful living a reality in this life? Click to see website page, Freedom From Sinful Living.
  1. Having learned how to Dwell In Christ, let's make sure that we stay there!
  1. There are three main books to study with regards to persevering in our faith in Christ: The books of Romans and Galatians, both written by Paul the apostle, and the book of Hebrews, possibly written by him also.
  1. There has been a long-standing disagreement among Christians of all ages, as to whether a true believer in Christ can fall away or lose their salvation; the Scriptures that we will present, seems to indicate that this is a real possibility. Click to see Growth page, Persevering In Our Faith In Christ.
  1. What provision has God made to prevent Christians from continuing to indulge in sin?
  1. Has God made it possible, through Christ Jesus our Lord, for us to live as Jesus lived when He was here in a human body that is, filled with the Holy Spirit and sinless? Click to see Growth page, How Can We Who Died To Sin Live In It Any Longer?
  1. A vital element of retaining our relationship to God is communicating with Him. God has provided the way for this communion to take place, and as usual Satan has his counterfeit substitutes; we will briefly examine these two opposing ways and means in this article. Click to see Growth page, Communion With God.
  • Second Section
  1. Practical Christianity from the book of First Corinthians
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-4:21 <> In section one we learned about basic spirituality, in this section we will concentrate upon how we are to walk and conduct ourselves with this new spiritual life that God has given to us through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Therefore if any person is [ingrafted] in Christ (the Messiah) he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!" (2 Cor 5:17).
  1. The blending of our new life in Christ (spiritual) with our every-day walk (practical) presents us with some new issues to consider. The Bible teaches that Christianity is a relationship, not necessarily a religion, religion expresses itself by what we believe and the way we outwardly respond in our relationship with Christ Jesus and one another. Our religion can sometimes get in the way and hinder our spiritual progress.
  1. Click to see Growth page, Our Religion Can Hinder Our Spiritual Progress.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:1-9 <> The spiritual, but not necessarily the practical, condition or state of the Corinthian believers
  1. To affirm what we have already learned about our spiritual condition when we are dwelling in Christ, Paul states in 1 Cor 1:2a; "To the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God's people)."
  2. Evidence of God’s Devine grace 1 Cor 1:5; "[So] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination."
  3. 1 Cor 1:7a.... That you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace
  4. 1 Cor 1:8.... And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah).
  5. 1 Cor 1:9.... God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-4:21 <> In this section Paul instructs the people about the problem they were having with dissensions, factions and divisions among themselves; in the process he uses and touches upon several important issues or subjects that help to illustrate how the many details interrelate to give a better understanding of the overall picture.
  1. 1 Cor. 1:10-18 <> The preaching of the Gospel is proclaiming the message of the Cross of Christ, not about the group we belong to.
  2. 1 Cor. 1:19-31 <> The wisdom of God in contrast to the wisdom of men which is foolishness with God. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in the article below declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world’s wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God’s truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World’s Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  3. 1 Cor. 2:1-5 <> Paul uses himself as an example of how the Gospel should be presented and what it contains. "As for myself, brethren, when I came to you, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony and evidence or mystery and secret of God [concerning what He has done through Christ for the salvation of men] in lofty words of eloquence or human philosophy and wisdom; for I resolved to know nothing (to be acquainted with nothing, to make a display of the knowledge of nothing, and to be conscious of nothing) among you except Jesus Christ (the Messiah) and Him crucified. And I was in ( passed into a state of) weakness and fear (dread) and great trembling [after I had come] among you. And my language and my message were not set forth in persuasive (enticing and plausible) words of wisdom, but they were in demonstration of the [Holy] Spirit and power [a proof by the Spirit and power of God, operating on me and stirring in the minds of my hearers the most holy emotions and thus persuading them], so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men (human philosophy), but in the power of God."
  4. 1 Cor. 2:6-13 <> The Wisdom of God and how it is received and communicated
  5. 1 Cor. 2:14-3:4 <> The carnal or unspiritual Christian: Click to see website page, What Makes A Person Spiritual?, or Click to see website page, The Difference Between Spirituality And Human Effort.
  6. 1 Cor. 3:5-15 <> The way a faithful minister of the Gospel should be understood, and how he should function.
  7. 1 Cor. 3:16-23 <> Christians are God’s temple, and it should not be corrupted with the foolish wisdom of men.
  8. 1 Cor. 4:1-5 <> Paul gets back to the subject on the divisions that they had allowed to develop among them, and defends himself against those who improperly judge him.
  9. 1 Cor. 4:6-21 <> Paul shows that the real, basic problem is that the Corinthians think too highly of themselves, and secondly, that they are thinking of men contrary to the teachings of Scripture.
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-6:20 <> Sexual immorality and lawsuits among Christians
  1. 1 Cor. 5:1-13 <> From what Paul says in this chapter the Corinthians were tolerant of sinful practices and those that committed them and were proud of it, instead of being ashamed and doing what was needful. They may have been this way because of ignorance, but now we know better because we have God’s Word to go by.
  1. We know what Jesus expects of us, but do we really want to live this way, and, do we understand how we can? Have you ever read what is commonly called the Sermon on the Mount (chapters 5-7 of Matthew), or a similar account that may have been given at a different time (chapter six of Luke), and thought to yourself that it was impossible to live that way? Check out the following web pages to summarize the ground we have already covered concerning how to live for Christ. Click to see Growth page, Jesus Made It Possible For Us To Live As He Did, But, Do You Really Want To?, or Click to see website page, Human Authority And Christian Responsibility.
  1. 1 Cor. 6:1-20 <> This is an interesting chapter dealing with the subject of judgement, and is related to chapter five where they failed to practice proper judgement in regard to the person who was living with his stepmother. In this chapter they are reminded six times, "Do you not know or see," of things that they ought to know or be aware of; the last three are –
  1. 1 Cor 6:15-20.... Do you not see and know that your bodies are members (bodily parts) of Christ (the Messiah)? Am I therefore to take the parts of Christ and make [them] parts of a prostitute? Never! Never! Or do you not know and realize that when a man joins himself to a prostitute, he becomes one body with her? The two, it is written, shall become one flesh. [Gen 2:24.] But the person who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him. Shun immorality and all sexual looseness [flee from impurity in thought, word, or deed]. Any other sin which a man commits is one outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is the temple (the very sanctuary) of the Holy Spirit Who lives within you, Whom you have received [as a Gift] from God? You are not your own, you were bought with a price [purchased with a preciousness and paid for, made His own]. So then, honor God and bring glory to Him in your body.
  1. 1 Cor. 7:1-40 <> Marriage relationships
  1. The departure from the Biblical fundamentals of family life opened up the way for many of the destructive forces that have followed.
  1. The areas that we are going to touch upon in this article are highly contested in society today. We cannot expect those who have been indoctrinated into the present world mind-set and accustomed to this life style to quickly agree with what we are about to present, but if correction and restoration are to come, the truth of God’s Word must be faithfully and accurately proclaimed in order that new converts may learn the right way, and hopefully the older ones will come to their senses and gradually make the change back to a Biblical world-view. Click to see website page, Marriage, Sexuality And Authority.
  1. 1 Cor. 8:1-10:33 <> Food offered to idols, and the precautions required
  1. 1 Cor. 9:1-27 <> Paul defends himself against accusations
  1. 1 Cor 9:1-3.... Am I not an apostle (a special messenger)? Am I not free (unrestrained and exempt from any obligation)? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you [yourselves] not [the product and proof of] my workmanship in the Lord? Even if I am not considered an apostle (a special messenger) by others, at least I am one to you; for you are the seal (the certificate, the living evidence) of my apostleship in the Lord [confirming and authenticating it]. This is my [real ground of] defense (my vindication of myself) to those who would put me on trial and cross-examine me.
  1. 1 Cor.10:1-33 <> Paul warns the people further about idols by reminding them of what happened to the Israelites when they indulged in idolatry.
  1. 1 Cor. 11:1-34 <> Church order and the Lord’s Supper
  1. 1 Cor 11:1-3.... Pattern yourselves after me [follow my example], as I imitate and follow Christ (the Messiah). I appreciate and commend you because you always remember me in everything and keep firm possession of the traditions (the substance of my instructions), just as I have [verbally] passed them on to you. But I want you to know and realize that Christ is the Head of every man, the head of a woman is her husband, and the Head of Christ is God.
  1. 1 Cor 11:20-21.... "So when you gather for your meetings, it is not the supper instituted by the Lord that you eat, for in eating each one [hurries] to get his own supper first [not waiting for the poor], and one goes hungry while another gets drunk." So what is the proper way to celebrate the Lord’s Supper? Click the red C to see.
  1. 1 Cor 11:23-29.... For I received from the Lord Himself that which I passed on to you [it was given to me personally], that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was treacherously delivered up and while His betrayal was in progress took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke [it] and said, Take, eat. This is My body, which is broken for you. Do this to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. Similarly when supper was ended, He took the cup also, saying, This cup is the new covenant [ratified and established] in My blood. Do this, as often as you drink [it], to call Me [affectionately] to remembrance. For every time you eat this bread and drink this cup, you are representing and signifying and proclaiming the fact of the Lord's death until He comes [again]. So then whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in a way that is unworthy [of Him] will be guilty of [profaning and sinning against] the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man [thoroughly] examine himself, and [only when he has done] so should he eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discriminating and recognizing with due appreciation that [it is Christ's] body, eats and drinks a sentence (a verdict of judgment) upon himself.
  1. 1 Cor. 12:1-14:40 <> Spiritual gifts and administration
  1. 1 Cor 12:1.... Now about the spiritual gifts (the special endowments of supernatural energy), brethren, I do not want you to be misinformed.
  1. 1 Cor 12:7-11.... But to each one is given the manifestation of the [Holy] Spirit [the evidence, the spiritual illumination of the Spirit] for good and profit. To one is given in and through the [Holy] Spirit [the power to speak] a message of wisdom, and to another [the power to express] a word of knowledge and understanding according to the same [Holy] Spirit; to another [wonder-working] faith by the same [Holy] Spirit, to another the extraordinary powers of healing by the one Spirit; to another the working of miracles, to another prophetic insight ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose); to another the ability to discern and distinguish between [the utterances of true] spirits [and false ones], to another various kinds of [unknown] tongues, to another the ability to interpret [such] tongues. All these [gifts, achievements, abilities] are inspired and brought to pass by one and the same [Holy] Spirit, Who apportions to each person individually [exactly] as He chooses.
  2. 1 Cor 12:27-31.... Now you [collectively] are Christ's body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]. So God has appointed some in the church [for His own use]: first apostles (special messengers); second prophets (inspired preachers and expounders); third teachers; then wonder-workers; then those with ability to heal the sick; helpers; administrators; [speakers in] different (unknown) tongues. Are all apostles (special messengers)? Are all prophets (inspired interpreters of the will and purposes of God)? Are all teachers? Do all have the power of performing miracles? Do all possess extraordinary powers of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? But earnestly desire and zealously cultivate the greatest and best gifts and graces (the higher gifts and the choicest graces). And yet I will show you a still more excellent way [one that is better by far and the highest of them all--love].
  1. 1 Cor. 13:1-13 <> The spiritual gifts of God only function properly when they are administered in love!
  1. 1 Cor 13:1-8.... If I [can] speak in the tongues of men and [even] of angels, but have not love (that reasoning, intentional, spiritual devotion such as is inspired by God's love for and in us), I am only a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), and understand all the secret truths and mysteries and possess all knowledge, and if I have [sufficient] faith so that I can remove mountains, but have not love (God's love in me) I am nothing (a useless nobody). Even if I dole out all that I have [to the poor in providing] food, and if I surrender my body to be burned or in order that I may glory, but have not love (God's love in me), I gain nothing. Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God's love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. Love never fails [never fades out or becomes obsolete or comes to an end]. As for prophecy ( the gift of interpreting the divine will and purpose), it will be fulfilled and pass away; as for tongues, they will be destroyed and cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away [it will lose its value and be superseded by truth].
  1. 1 Cor. 14:1-40 <> The proper use of God’s gifts, and how our church services should be conducted
  1. 1 Cor 14:1.... Eagerly pursue and seek to acquire [this] love [make it your aim, your great quest]; and earnestly desire and cultivate the spiritual endowments (gifts), especially that you may prophesy ( interpret the divine will and purpose in inspired preaching and teaching).
  2. 1 Cor 14:26-35.... What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all. If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said]. But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God. So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said. But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent. For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged; for the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker's control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary], for He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God's people), the women should keep quiet in the churches, for they are not authorized to speak, but should take a secondary and subordinate place, just as the Law also says. [Gen 3:16.] But if there is anything they want to learn, they should ask their own husbands at home, for it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].
  3. For a more detailed study of this chapter, see our website page, Action Required To Achieve Spiritual Maturity.
  1. 1 Cor. 15:1-58 <> A reminder concerning the Gospel and the resurrection
  1. 1 Cor 15:1-8.... And now let me remind you [since it seems to have escaped you], brethren, of the Gospel (the glad tidings of salvation) which I proclaimed to you, which you welcomed and accepted and upon which your faith rests, and by which you are saved, if you hold fast and keep firmly what I preached to you, unless you believed at first without effect and all for nothing. For I passed on to you first of all what I also had received, that Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one) died for our sins in accordance with [what] the Scriptures [foretold], [Isa 53:5-12.] that He was buried, that He arose on the third day as the Scriptures foretold, [Ps 16:9,10.] and [also] that He appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve. Then later He showed Himself to more than five hundred brethren at one time, the majority of whom are still alive, but some have fallen asleep [in death]. Afterward He was seen by James, then by all the apostles (the special messengers), and last of all He appeared to me also, as to one prematurely and born dead [no better than an unperfected fetus among living men].
  1. 1 Cor 15:12-15.... But now if Christ (the Messiah) is preached as raised from the dead, how is it that some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not risen; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is in vain [it amounts to nothing] and your faith is devoid of truth and is fruitless (without effect, empty, imaginary, and unfounded). We are even discovered to be misrepresenting God, for we testified of Him that He raised Christ, Whom He did not raise in case it is true that the dead are not raised.
  1. 1 Cor 15:21-24.... For since [it was] through a man that death [came into the world, it is] also through a Man that the resurrection of the dead [has come]. For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive. But each in his own rank and turn: Christ (the Messiah) [is] the firstfruits, then those who are Christ's [own will be resurrected] at His coming. After that comes the end (the completion), when He delivers over the kingdom to God the Father after rendering inoperative and abolishing every [other] rule and every authority and power.
  2. 1 Cor 15:34-36.... Awake [from your drunken stupor and return] to sober sense and your right minds, and sin no more. For some of you have not the knowledge of God [you are utterly and willfully and disgracefully ignorant, and continue to be so, lacking the sense of God's presence and all true knowledge of Him]. I say this to your shame. But someone will say, How can the dead be raised? With what [kind of] body will they come forth? You foolish man! Every time you plant seed, you sow something that does not come to life [germinating, springing up, and growing] unless it dies first.
  3. 1 Cor 15:51-55.... Take notice! I tell you a mystery (a secret truth, an event decreed by the hidden purpose or counsel of God). We shall not all fall asleep [in death], but we shall all be changed (transformed) in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the [sound of the] last trumpet call. For a trumpet will sound, and the dead [in Christ] will be raised imperishable (free and immune from decay), and we shall be changed (transformed). For this perishable [part of us] must put on the imperishable [nature], and this mortal [part of us, this nature that is capable of dying] must put on immortality (freedom from death). And when this perishable puts on the imperishable and this that was capable of dying puts on freedom from death, then shall be fulfilled the Scripture that says, Death is swallowed up (utterly vanquished forever) in and unto victory. [Isa 25:8.] O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? [Hos 13:14.]
  1. 1 Cor. 16:1-24 <> Closing comments
  1. 1 Cor 16:21-24.... I, Paul, [add this final] greeting with my own hand. If anyone does not love the Lord [does not have a friendly affection for Him and is not kindly disposed toward Him], he shall be accursed! Our Lord will come! (Maranatha!) The grace (favor and spiritual blessing) of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love (that true love growing out of sincere devotion to God) be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen (so be it).
  1. 1 Cor 16:1-2.... Now concerning the money contributed for [the relief of] the saints (God's people): you are to do the same as I directed the churches of Galatia to do. On the first [day] of each week, let each one of you [personally] put aside something and save it up as he has prospered [in proportion to what he is given], so that no collections will need to be taken after I come.
  2. 1 Cor 16:13-14.... Be alert and on your guard; stand firm in your faith ( your conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, keeping the trust and holy fervor born of faith and a part of it). Act like men and be courageous; grow in strength! [Ps 31:24.] Let everything you do be done in love (true love to God and man as inspired by God's love for us).
  • Third Section
  1. Church administration
  1. God has shown us in His Word how He intends to rule over His creation. If we have surrendered to His sovereignty, then we should examine His Word to see how we are to conduct ourselves in this world and as heavenly citizens. The word theocracy originates from Greek words meaning "the rule of God". This in turn derives from (theós, from an Indo-European root occurring in religious concepts), meaning "god," and (krátein), meaning "to rule."
  1. Policies that God has established in His Word that we are to adhere to:
  1. The way that God rules, and what He expects of us. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Theocracy.
  2. There has been so much religious froth and foam added to modern-day church policy and practice that many have become totally unacceptable to Christ; God’s policy regarding the format of our church gathering, and how it should be conducted is one of them. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Service Format.
  3. Many Christian groups and organizations have chosen the incorrect pathway of pleasing the people in contradiction to God’s Word, and have substituted the humanistic social gospel to try to correct the problem they helped create when they chose to please the people in the beginning; it’s a vicious cycle that goes round and round and never solves anything. Click to see our Growth page, Church Policy - Discipleship Versus Human Affection.
  4. How did various Christian groups and denominations get started? Let’s examine a few passages of Scripture for a clue as to how this happened, and, if it should have happened. Click to see our Growth page, The Origin Of Christian Denominations.
  5. This is a sequel to the above article explaining the cause and the cure for this present world of darkness and confusion. Click to see our Growth page, Our Only Hope In This Darkened World.
  1. Other Website pages to refer to:
  1. Contending For The Faith Or Gospel is required by church leaders. Click to see website page, Basic Instruction For The Local Church
  2. Our prayer is for the local shepherds, that God would give them wisdom and discernment in their charge over and feeding of their flocks, and the strength to resist what does not line up with His Word. Click to see website page, The Debilitating Effect Of Tradition.
  1. See the books of First and second Timothy and Titus
  • Fourth Section
  1. Keep the church informed about the dangers Christians face
  1. One-World Government, or New World Order, or Global Governance; they all mean and promote the same thing, the attempt by Satan to gain full control over the whole world.
  1. Do not neglect to familiarize yourself with the deception that is engulfing the whole world. Click to see Growth page, Only Jesus Can Dispel The Darkness That Is Engulfing The World.
  2. Sources to refer to:
  1. There are three sources of information or knowledge available to us: (1) That which God has revealed unto us in the Bible or His Word; (2) the lies which Satan tries to deceived us with; and (3) that which is derived from human investigation either from God's Word and God's creation, or from human investigation into the forbidden demonic spiritual realm. Obviously, to believe or put confidence in anything connected with Satan is the height of foolishness since Jesus has exposed his true character, "He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a falsehood, he speaks what is natural to him, for he is a liar [himself] and the father of lies and of all that is false" (John 8:44b). So anyone who believes what God has said should naturally dismiss Satan as a true source of information. Click to see Growth page, Global Governance Exposed.
  2. "The only global government authorized by God and His Word will be when Jesus Christ returns to planet earth at the second advent and rules the world with a rod of iron from Jerusalem. All other global government, no matter how "benevolent" its intention, is frowned upon by Scripture. Yet, the Bible teaches that God will allow evil to form a global government for three and one-half years during the second half of the tribulation for the purpose of our Lord's global judgment just prior to the second coming of Christ and the establishment of His global rule for 1,000 years upon earth. Thus, current moves toward globalism are preparation for antichrist, not for Jesus Christ, and should be opposed by Bible-believing Christians." The Emerging Global Community, by Dr. Thomas Ice. . . . UPDATE: The above was written in 2005 by Dr. Ice, so he might have a slightly different opinion at the present (Oct. 23, 2010) regarding when this World Government will commence because some information indicates that this system has already been formed, it has just not been fully implemented.
  3. Gary Kah?s book, En Route To Global Occupation, by Huntington House Publishers - 1992
  1. Rival religions, cults, movements, false teachings and practices
  1. 2 Cor. 10:3-6.... For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one), being in readiness to punish every [insubordinate for his] disobedience, when your own submission and obedience [as a church] are fully secured and complete.
  1. Whenever God starts something, Satan immediately attempts to infiltrate, corrupt, weaken, and eventually destroy (ICWD) it. Shortly after God created all that is, the enemy began his ICWD plan; you can read about it in the third chapter of Genesis. As soon as Jesus began His earthly ministry, the enemy unsuccessfully tried his ICWD plan on Him (Lk. 4:1-13); and as soon and since Jesus established The Church, Satan has been aggressively using his ICWD plan to infiltrate, corrupt, and weaken, with an intense desire to destroy it. Click to see our Growth page entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan.
  1. The previous page to be added to our website was entitled, How The Present-day Church Has Been Deceived By Satan. This page attempts to explain how Satanic deception can be avoided by being of the same mind, and how that can be accomplished. Click to see our Growth page entitled, A Christian’s Proper Manner Of Life.
  1. Gal. 1:1-14; Rev. 2:6, 15, 20-23
  1. Evolution, psychotherapy, (New Age, Purpose Driven and Emerging Church movements), the Positive Confession or Faith movement
  2. Eastern religions, Islam, the Roman Catholic Church, the cults and the occult
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. It is hoped that this article will be a convenient help to enable God's people to recognize and avoid the deception and bondage that Satan intends to bring upon the unwary. Click to see website page, Satan's Vast Network Of Deception & Opposition
  2. When we turn from trusting God to equip us to live, and rely instead on the schemes of men, no matter how educated and well meaning, we have rejected the path to true wholeness. Click to see website page, The Christian's Battle Against Gnosticism
  3. Basically, we could say that Biblical Christianity believes, trusts and relies upon what God has revealed to us in His Word; while Secular Christianity puts more confidence in human ability and understanding, and feels free to disregard or explain away the Word of God. Click to see website page, What Is Biblical Christianity?
  4. "In the 1930s, the reality of influence in the schoolroom spurred John Dewey, the father of American progressive education, to write My Pedagogic Creed. In it, Dewey depicts public education as a massive behavior-shaping tool. Dewey knew that you could sway the beliefs of a whole generation in the classroom and thereby alter the course of a nation." Click to see website page, The Battle For Truth Is Almost Lost
  5. Satan's attacks upon our minds come to us from all directions, but modern twentieth-century psychological counseling/therapy with its roots in occultism has been one of Satan's most potent schemes to lead people away from the truths and help of God's Word. Click to see website page, Spirit, Soul And Body Under Siege
  6. Never before, in the history of mankind, have there been so many and varied themes and schemes for distracting and conforming or shaping the minds of men, that mold or shape our character, or the person that we become. Click to see website page, Who Or What Are You Being Shaped By?
  7. The revealed Word of God that we will look at in this article declares that the wisdom of this world is foolishness, but what does this world's wisdom consist of? Basically it can be described as any wisdom or knowledge that is not based upon, or departs from, or is contrary to the revealed Word of God! Another words, any wisdom or knowledge that is based upon, and remains true to, and is according to the revealed Word of God is actually God's truth and not something of our own making. Therefore, in order to distinguish between truth and error we simply check to see what God, in His Word, has to say about the subject in question. Click to see Growth page, This World's Wisdom Is Foolishness.
  8. See the website series on "Developing A Biblical Worldview"
  1. Individuals
  1. It is hardly ever pleasant to contend, not even for the faith delivered to us by the Lord Jesus Christ, but it is absolutely necessary and here are some Scriptures that verify the practice. 1 Tim. 1:18-20; 2 Tim 2:15-18, 4:14-15; Titus 1:10-14; Rev. 2:2, 20-23; 3 Jn. 1:9-10
  1. By T.A. McMahon: "The history of the social gospel is, in nearly every case, a sincere attempt by Christians to do those things that they believe will honor God and benefit humanity. In every case, however, the practical working out of "benefitting humanity" has compromised biblical faith and dishonored God. Why is that? God's Word gives no commission to the church to fix the problems of the world. Those who attempt to do so are starting out under a false premise, "...a way which seemeth right unto a man," not God's way. So where can it go from there? "The end thereof are the ways of death," i.e., destruction (Proverbs 14:12). Furthermore, the problems of the world are all symptoms. The root cause is sin." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Shameful Social Gospel.
  2. By T.A. McMahon: "Why am I making an issue of this? Because the world and, sadly, much of the church are caught up in a temporal delusion: clinging to this earth rather than hoping for heaven. It's part of Satan's strategy to deceive the world into building his kingdom. For thousands of years, he has seduced both professing and true Christians into joining his labor force, with the goal of establishing his own religion, which will be headed by his puppet ruler, the Antichrist. As the intensity of his program increases in these last days, particularly in Christendom, the leaven of this apostasy has been deposited in all theological camps: charismatics, Calvinists, conservatives, liberals, Pentecostals, Baptists, left-leaning Christians, supporters of the Emerging Church Movement, promoters of the "social gospel," et al." Click to see the internet page from The Berean Call, The Temporal Delusion.
  3. The choices we make direct our path and our life toward a particular destination for either good or evil. God’s Word tells us the right choices to make, but unfortunately, some people and organizations, who are recognize or believed to be Christian, have compromised God’s Word and have brought confusion and deception into the Church. Click to see Growth page, Our Choices Can Tremendously Effect Our Life.
  4. How can we possibly hope to have confidence and be committed to Jesus unless we are convinced that we can completely rely upon Him and what He has declared. To find out, click to see Growth page, We Need To Know Him, In Order To Trust Him.
  5. The apostle Peter’s second letter gives us some good advise about what to be aware of and watch for when we attend church. Click to see Growth page, Peter’s Warnings And Encouragement.
  1. Retain Biblical Basics
  1. Spiritual rebirth, God’s salvation plan
  1. What Spiritual rebirth is; why it is needed; what it accomplishes; and how is it gained.
  2. There is nothing surer in all heaven than the salvation of every person who believes what God has declared in His Word, and trusts and relies upon Christ Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior; thus having the death penalty that he deserved payed for and cancelled by Jesus on the cross of Calvary (1 Cor. 1:30), and justified, declared righteous and put into a right relationship with God by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead (Rom. 4:25). We can forsake and forfeit this salvation (Heb. 6:4-8; 10:26-31; 2 Peter 2:20-22), but God never will (Rom. 8:28-39). I’m a born-again child of God only through faith in the salvation provided by Jesus when He shed His blood on the cross to pay for my redemption and rose from the dead for my justification (Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Rom. 3:24).
  3. Click to see, Spiritual Rebirth.
  1. Stand firm and true to God's Word, Jesus and the Gospel
  1. To prepare God’s people to stand up to this kind of last-days deception that we presently face, our churches and or personal lives need to be patterned after the model that Jesus and Paul established. Click to see our Growth page entitled, Stand Up For Jesus.
  1. How to understand and cope with todays Generational Mindsets?
  1. With each individual and each generation their mind-set will depend upon what they are taught, and largely that depends upon how well they know what God has revealed to us in His Word. Without a firm and correct knowledge of God’s Word, one cannot know the truth for sure, and will end up using and relying upon the wisdom of the world that God calls foolishness (1 Cor. 1:18-25; 1 Cor. 2:9-16; 1 Cor. 3:1-4; 1 Cor. 3:18-20). Click to see our Growth page entitled, Understanding and coping with todays Generational Mindsets.
  • Fifth Section
  1. Church History, present condition, and Future destiny
  1. The Church that Jesus is building, and its offshoots. In an endeavor to dispel some of the confusion that has caused much concern among God’s people, we will in this series of articles examine God’s Word for some understanding and answers to such questions as: (1) the pattern Jesus gave us to follow when gathering together as His Church; (2) why there are so many offshoots of the original pattern; and (3) what is the basic cause for all the deception and conflicting opinions?
  1. Examine from Scripture how God designed the Church and meant it to be and function. Consider how a church is formed; also who God entrusted with the most information about the Church, and how he received it. Click to see website page, Jesus Said, I Will Build My Church
  2. Learn about the spiritual basics of Biblical Christianity and the invisible Church; how we can learn to live this way; how this enables us to rule and reign with Jesus now; and church structure and functions. Click to see website page, Biblical Christianity And The Invisible Church
  3. Consider some of the many branches or offshoots we have of the originally designed invisible Church that now constitutes the visible churches, and some of the problems this has created. Click to see website page, Offshoots Of Biblical Christianity Or The Visible Churches
  4. Examine a modern controversy, and how and why it developed. Click to see website page, The Basic Cause For Deception In The Churches
  5. See how God will respond to the choices we make, and also the example Paul gave us to live by. Click to see website page, God Makes His Appeal To Us Through The Apostle Paul
  1. Church History
  1. Most church history merely reports the facts known about that segment of Christianity that attached itself to the Roman Empire and then became apostate, and the Reformation that followed. But we need to be aware that there were groups of Christians that refused to go along with the false teachings and practices of the Roman church and remained true to Christ, and then, not only to know but learn to interpret the history of all these groups in light of the Word of God.
  2. The book of Acts
  3. Sources to refer to:
  1. Today there are numerous religions, cults, protestant denominations, movements and written agreements that are moving us back into the failed policies of the dark ages, once again world leaders, secular and religious, are attempting to bring the Church into an allegiance with world government. Click to see Growth page, A Brief Survey of Church History
  2. This is a much longer article, briefly mentioning the whole of history from the very beginning. Click to see website page, The Bible, History And Western Development
  1. Present Condition
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. By reading what Jesus had to say to the seven churches in the book of Revelation, we can better understand what He expects from us. Click to see website page, Evaluating The Churches
  2. We are very reluctant to consider or attempt to do anything about the truth that many Christians no longer believe in true Biblical Christianity or have walked away from it all together. Click to see Growth page, Why People Are Leaving The Churches
  3. Jesus came to make us law-abiding citizens of His heavenly Kingdom, but most Christians today are trying to apply our spiritual heritage to this earthly realm. Click to see Growth page, What Is The Composition Of American Christianity?
  1. Future destiny
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. Have you ever wondered what this life is all about and what living with God in heaven is going to be like; this is what we will briefly consider in this article. Click to see Growth page, The Reason For Our Present Earthly Existence
  • Sixth Section
  1. Eschatology or end-time events
  1. Daniel chapters 2, 7-12
  2. Matt. chapter 24
  3. 2 Peter chapter 3
  4. Revelation
  1. One world government, economy and religion under the antichrist
  1. Rev. chapters 13-14, 17-18
  1. The thousand-year Millennial reign of Christ
  1. Rev. chapters 19-20
  1. The Eternal state
  1. Rev. chapters 21-22
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. In the following article we will try to establish where we are in this plan of God's, and some of the details of it. Click to see website page, How Far Along Are We In God's Plan?
  2. The very first thing that Jesus mentioned that will be characteristic of this period leading up to and including the end is deception. Click to see website page, The Beginning Of The End
  3. The events leading up to the Antichrist's end-time exploits. Click to see website page, The Role Of Antichrist
  4. Prophecy is a very difficult and imprecise discipline, but since about one-quarter of the Bible is prophecy and we have every reason to believe that God gave it to us to understand and be encouraged by, we should spend a corresponding amount of time in an attempt to discover the true meaning of it. Click to see website page, A Brief Look At The Book Of Revelation
  • Seventh Section
  1. Obedience to God can bring trouble and persecution
  1. Matt. 10:21-39, 24:9-13; Mark 13:9-13; Jn. 7:7, 15:18-25
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The Roman Empire persecuted the early Christians mainly because they refused to participate in their religious activities and worship the gods of the empire; the global system being formed today will do the same thing for the same reasons. Click to see website page, The Reasons Christians Have And Continue To Be Persecuted
  2. As people increasingly become as Jesus described in Matthew 24:9-14, it will become extremely difficult to live as the Lord would have us to. It is easy to love kind and generous people, but when they begin to malign, deceive, cheat and mistreat you it is much more difficult. Click to see website page, Prepare Yourself For Difficulties
  1. Comfort and encouragement in difficult times
  1. Sources to refer to:
  1. The way that we learn to trust and be comforted is to read and meditate upon what He has promised us until it becomes a firmly held conviction in our heart that dispels all fear because we know that God is in complete control and nothing escapes His notice, and that He does indeed care about us affectionately. Click to see Growth page, Comfort In The Midst Of Difficulties


Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done

What Is The Kingdom Of God Like?

Jesus taught that His Kingdom was not a part of, or like this world’s kingdoms. Because the differences are so great, we need to learn God's ways of interacting with those around us and with the world itself. For instance He taught that His kingdom citizens must live in this world, but they do not belong to it, "I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world" (John 17:14). There is to be no fighting or dominion, one over the other, in Christ’s kingdom. Unless Christ instructs us personally and to the contrary, it appears to be permissible for God’s people to fight for a just cause while living in this world, but not in an attempt to establish God’s kingdom on earth; God does not force people into His kingdom. Ours is a heavenly kingdom and it is already established and secure. "The Lord will certainly deliver and draw me to Himself from every assault of evil. He will preserve and bring me safe unto His heavenly kingdom" (2 Timothy 4:18).

JOHN 18:36.... Jesus answered, My kingdom (kingship, royal power) belongs not to this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My followers would have been fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here (this world); [it has no such origin or source].

MARK 10:42-44.... But Jesus called them to [Him] and said to them, you know that those who are recognized as governing and are supposed to rule the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority and dominion over them. But this is not to be so among you; instead, whoever desires to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be most important and first in rank among you must be slave of all.

JOHN 17:1-12.... When Jesus had spoken these things, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Glorify and exalt and honor and magnify Your Son, so that Your Son may glorify and extol and honor and magnify You. [Just as] You have granted Him power and authority over all flesh (all humankind), [now glorify Him] so that He may give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life: [it means] to know (to perceive, recognize, become acquainted with, and understand) You, the only true and real God, and [likewise] to know Him, Jesus [as the ] Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), Whom You have sent.

4I have glorified You down here on the earth by completing the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me along with Yourself and restore Me to such majesty and honor in Your presence as I had with You before the world existed. I have manifested Your Name [I have revealed Your very Self, Your real Self] to the people whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed and kept Your word. Now [at last] they know and understand that all You have given Me belongs to You [is really and truly Yours]. For the [uttered] words that You gave Me I have given them; and they have received and accepted [them] and have come to know positively and in reality [to believe with absolute assurance] that I came forth from Your presence, and they have believed and are convince that You did send Me.

9I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You. All [things that are] Mine are Yours, and all [things that are] Yours belong to Me; and I am glorified in (through) them. [They have done Me honor; in them My glory is achieved.] And [now] I am no more in the world, but these are [still] in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep in Your Name [in the knowledge of Yourself] those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We [are one]. While I was with them, I kept and preserved them in Your Name [in the knowledge and worship of You]. Those You have given Me I guarded and protected, and not one of them has perished or is lost except the son of perdition [Judas Iscariot — the one who is now doomed to destruction, destined to be lost], that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

JOHN 17:13-26.... And now I am coming to You; I say these things while I am still in the world, so that My joy may be made full and complete and perfect in them [that they may experience My delight fulfilled in them, that My enjoyment may be perfected in their own souls, that they may have My gladness within them, filling their hearts]. I have given and delivered to them Your word (message) and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world [do not belong to the world], just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world (worldly, belonging to the world), [just] as I am not of the world. Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by Truth; Your Word is Truth.

18Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth. Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, that they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.

24Father, I desire that they also whom You have entrusted to Me [as Your gift to Me] may be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory, which You have given Me [Your love gift to Me]; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O just and righteous Father, although the world has not known You and has failed to recognize You and has never acknowledged You, I have known You [continually]; and these men understand and know that You have sent Me. I have made Your Name known to them and revealed Your character and Your very Self, and I will continue to make [You] known, that the love which You have bestowed upon Me may be in them [felt in their hearts] and that I [Myself] may be in them.

JOHN 16:33.... I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have [perfect] peace and confidence. In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer [take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted]! For I have overcome the world. [I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.]

Notice the distinction the Lord makes between the world and God’s people, and the world’s opposition to all that belongs to God. Notice this oneness and unity that Jesus has and had, even before the world was formed. And now Jesus is praying, from the world to the Father in heaven, that all those throughout all the ages that believe Christ’s message may experience this same joy, and oneness, and unity. Here is our High Priest interceding for us just prior to offering Himself as our sacrifice and redeemer. What a tremendous prayer, what a tremendous salvation, and what a tremendous and magnificent Savior!

Also notice that Jesus makes it very clear that we can expect tribulation, trials, distress and frustration while we are here in this world. But if we dwell in Him, as He taught here and the Word of God teaches throughout, we will be kept in perfect peace and confidence by the power of His dwelling presence.

God rules over His invisible kingdom within our hearts

Jesus did not come initially to set up a visible Kingdom, which eventually He will establish, but to recruit disciples for a kingdom that already existed by reigning in their hearts (Lk. 14:26-35; Lk. 17:20-37). We cannot have a part in God’s kingdom by our own efforts (Matt. 11:12), nor can we be a part of it unless we abide by its constitution. It is foolish to think that God will allow us in His kingdom if we refuse to be law-abiding citizens. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation of Your throne; mercy and loving-kindness and truth go before Your face" (Psalm 89:14). It would not be loving or right of God to allow people who are not committed to Him and His Kingdom into heaven — look at what happened to planet earth. God is not so foolish as to allow it to happen all over again in heaven. The Bible is God’s history book and the constitution of His kingdom.

It is interesting and blessed to see Jesus’ unveiling and revealing of The Kingdom of God as recorded in the Gospel according to Matthew. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord by calling people to repentance because the kingdom of heaven was at hand (Matt. 3:2). Before Jesus began His ministry He was baptized by John and led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness where God allowed Him to be tried and tested by the devil. We can only assume that God intended for these two antagonists to face one-another at the outset of this great spiritual battle, which is still continuing and growing in intensity, in order to try out their spiritual weapons and strategy (Matt. 3:13-4:11). Jesus began His ministry by preaching, "Repent (change your mind for the better, heartily amend your ways, with abhorrence of your past sins), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matthew 4:17). Then He chose and began to train disciples to accompany Him. "And He went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news (Gospel) of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every weakness and infirmity among the people" (Matthew 4:23).

The kingdoms of this world are not yet a part of God’s kingdom as they shall be (Rev. 11:15). This world has rejected Christ as King and He does not yet rule over all of it, but He will when He comes back at the close of the tribulation period, and at that time His servants will fight (Rev. 19:11-21). This is why the Dominionists, Reconstructionists, and Kingdom Now movements are wrong — there is not to be any fighting to set up Christian rule over any people until Jesus accomplishes it after the tribulation. This has been the basic failure of the Church ever since A.D. 325; when the Church and State (world power) banded together under the emperor Constantine, and by about A.D. 381 they were, together, trying to physically enforce Christian rule. This is also a part of the abundant evidence that the Roman Catholic Church is not a part of the true Church, but is actually Satan’s false counterfeit church. Satan is the prince of this world (Jn. 14:27-31), and as such he exercises great authority, power and control over it; Jesus came to destroy that power and control over all who have repentance [that is due] to God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 20:21). We need to examine the evidence that the Bible and Church history provides us, in order to decide for ourselves concerning our participation in these kingdoms.

Some Kingdom of God Benefits

MATTHEW 5:3-12.... Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous—with life-joy and satisfaction in God’s favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions) are the poor in spirit (the humble, who rate themselves insignificant), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed and enviably happy [with a happiness produced by the experience of God’s favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of His matchless grace] are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted! Blessed are the meek (the mild, patient, long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth! Blessed and fortunate and happy and spiritually prosperous (in that state in which the born-again child of God enjoys His favor and salvation) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (uprightness and right standing with God), for they shall be completely satisfied! Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy! Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God! Blessed are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God! Blessed and happy and enviably fortunate and spiritually prosperous are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven! Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and say all kinds of evil things against you falsely on My account. Be glad and supremely joyful, for your reward in heaven is great (strong and intense), for in this same way people persecuted the prophets who were before you.

In this discourse recorded in chapters five through seven, that we traditionally call the sermon on the mount, Jesus first makes mention of what and who are most blessed in this life. It is most assuredly not what the world believes and seeks after: thinking little of ourselves, grieving over sinful conditions, patient and longsuffering, longing for righteousness, showing mercy, longing for purity, living peacefully, doing that which is right even though it may bring suffering upon you, remaining true to Jesus no matter what people think, say or do. To live in this way causes us great joy and peace, even now, but the fulness of it all will only be realized when we go to be with Jesus.

Some Kingdom of God Responsibilities

MATTHEW 5:13-16.... You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste (its strength, its quality), how can its saltiness be restored? It is not good for anything any longer but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a peck measure, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence and your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds and recognize and honor and praise and glorify your Father Who is in heaven.

Having told us in verses three through twelve how living His way would bring great blessing to our lives; He now tells us that it is also our responsibility to live this way in order to promote righteousness and glorify God. Our lives should be an example, and have a purifying and preserving effect upon those round about us. In fact, it is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in God’s people that prevents Satan from taking over the world completely. While we’re here, we are to warn people to flee from the penalty of sins committed before it is everlastingly too late. God expects us to live this way, and we are warned not to turn back from this pathway of life, lest we lose our effectiveness and become worthless for any good purpose.

MATTHEW 5:17-20.... Do not think that I have come to do away with or undo the Law or the Prophets; I have come not to do away with or undo but to complete and fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished. Whoever then breaks or does away with or relaxes one of the least important of these commandments and teaches men so shall be called least important in the kingdom of heaven, but he who practices them and teaches others to do so shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you, unless your righteousness is more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

It may sound like Jesus is saying that we should live by all that the Old Testament Law taught. But we must keep in mind that the revealing of God’s way for us to live was a progressive revelation. Paul says, "Likewise, my brethren, you have undergone death as to the Law through the [crucified] body of Christ, so that now you may belong to Another, to Him Who was raised from the dead in order that we may bear fruit for God" (Romans. 7:4). For the Church, the called out of this world people of God, the ceremonial law has ceased; Jesus fulfilled all their types and established a new covenant with us.

The indwelling Holy Spirit enables God’s people to live right

Jesus warned the people that it is not enough just to know and quote Scripture, like the scribes and Pharisees, but that we must also live by it. He said that our conduct and way of life must be better than that of the religious leaders. This may seem like Jesus is requiring too much of us, but it’s not — He will provide! If ever a well-equipped man with good intentions tried to live according to the Law, it was Paul, but in the seventh chapter of Romans he exclaims his total failure to do so. No man in his own ability can live a righteous life, but God has enabled all those who have received Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, to do so, by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit; we are thus equipped to live as Jesus instructs us here. This is how Jesus’ righteousness is imputed to us; our supply of personal righteousness was completely empty, when we believe in Jesus’ sacrifice in our behalf, He places His righteousness in our account. Isn’t that a wonderful thing for Him to do? When we truly believe this in our hearts, we will be eternally grateful and will be enabled to respond with loving obedience. See also: Rom. 3:19-31 and 1 Cor. 1:30-31.

MATTHEW 5:21-26.... You have heard that it was said to the men of old, you shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court. But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, you cursed fool! [you emptyheaded idiot]! shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell of fire. So if when you are offering your gift at the altar you there remember that your brother has any [grievance] against you, leave your gift at the altar and go. First make peace with your brother, and then come back and present your gift. Come to terms quickly with your accuser while you are on the way traveling with him, lest your accuser hand you over to the judge, and the judge to the guard, and you be put in prison. Truly I say to you, you will not be released until you have paid the last fraction of a penny.

Scripture says that God is love (1 Jn. 4:8), and that He has no desire that anyone should perish (2 Peter 3:9). Hatred and ill-will toward anyone are so contrary and inconsistent with the nature of God that we are unable to maintain fellowship with Him if we harbor these things in our hearts (Mat. 6:15). Jesus emphasizes that our primary concern should not be what men say, but what He personally taught and has been recorded in His Word!

MATTHEW 5:27-30.... You have heard that it was said, you shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who so much as looks at a woman with evil desire for her has already committed adultery with her is his heart. If your right eye serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, pluck it out and throw it away. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell. And if your right hand serves as a trap to ensnare you or is an occasion for you to stumble and sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better that you lose one of your members than that your entire body should be cast into hell.

Jesus is not commanding or suggesting that we should discard our physical eye or limbs, but is emphasizing the drastic measures we should employ in the effort to rid ourselves of any word, thought or deed that would corrupt and infect our heart or mind. Jesus repeatedly shows us where it is that we really live from; it is from within our heart or soul. God formed man’s body from the dust of the earth, breathed into this body His breath of life, and man became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). It is the interacting between our spirit and body, with the world around us, that our soul is developed into the person we are. What we become is of such primary importance that nothing should be allowed to spoil or ruin that image of God that He created us to be (Gen. 1:26). The following Scripture shows us the importance of keeping our heart in good condition: "Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life" (Proverbs 4:23).

MATTHEW 5:38-45.... You have heard that it was said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, do not resist the evil man [who injures you]; but if anyone strikes you on the right jaw or cheek, turn to him the other one too. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your undershirt, let him have your coat also. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who keeps on begging from you, and do not turn away from him who would borrow [at interest] from you. You have heard that it was said, You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy; but I tell you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, to show that you are the children of your Father Who is in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the wicked and on the good, and makes the rain fall upon the upright and the wrongdoers [alike].

When Jesus tells us to love our enemies He is referring to personal enemies, not those who are knowingly trying to destroy the Gospel or present a different gospel; for the apostle John tells us, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine [is disloyal to what Jesus Christ taught], do not receive him [do not accept him, do not welcome or admit him] into [your] house or bid him Godspeed or give him any encouragement. For he who wishes him success [who encourages him, wishing him Godspeed] is a partaker in his evil doings" (2 Jn. 10-11), and Paul tells us, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to and different from that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)! As we said before, so I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received [from us], let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)!" (Gal. 1:8-9)

Most commentators agree that Jesus is here referring to relatively small matters and not to anything that would jeopardize our lives or livelihood. This has to do mainly with the laws of retribution which were designed to take vengeance out of the hands of private persons and commit them to the magistrates. But instead of confining it to the magistrates, the Jews had extended it to private conduct, and had made it the rule by which to take revenge. They considered themselves by this rule to inflict the same injury on others that they had received. Our Savior remonstrates against this. Adam Clark says, "He that seeks revenge or avenges himself must lose the mind of Christ. . . . Do not repel one outrage by another. . . and thus the spirit of hatred and strife are fostered. . . . We are great gainers when we lose only our money, or other property, and risk not the loss of our soul, by losing the love of God and man." The J. F. & Brown commentary says, "It is the preparedness, after one indignity, not to invite but to submit meekly to another, without retaliation. . . rather than raise quarrels."

Most would agree that discretion regarding the circumstances and desirable outcome must always be taken into account in these very touchy situations, as Jesus and Paul demonstrate. "Jesus replied, if I have said anything wrong [if I have spoken abusively, if there was evil in what I said] tell what was wrong with it. But if I spoke rightly and properly, why do you strike Me?" (John 18:23). "Then Paul said to him, God is about to strike you, you whitewashed wall! Do you sit as a judge to try me in accordance with the Law, and yet in defiance of the Law you order me to be struck?" (Acts 23:3)

The law of love is to rule over all that we think, speak, or do. There should be a readiness to suffer a wrong, rather than to make a bad situation worse; a desire, above all else, to be right with God, and as much as it depends upon us, with our fellow man also.

MATTHEW 7:13-20.... Enter through the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and spacious and broad is the way that leads away to destruction, and many are those who are entering through it. But the gate is narrow (contracted by pressure) and the way is straitened and compressed that leads away to life, and few are those who find it. Beware of false prophets, who come to you dressed as sheep, but inside they are devouring wolves. You will fully recognize them by their fruits. Do people pick grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? Even so, every healthy (sound) tree bears good fruit [worthy of admiration], but the sickly (decaying, worthless) tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear excellent fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and cast into the fire. Therefore, you will fully know them by their fruits.

If good seed has been planted and watered in good soil it will produce a good tree, and a good tree will produce good fruit. When we were born into God’s kingdom, He implanted His Divine nature into us and the Holy Spirit waters and nurtures it. "No one born (begotten) of God [deliberately, knowingly, and habitually] practices sin, for God’s nature abides in him [His principle of life, the divine sperm, remains permanently within him]; and he cannot practice sinning because he is born (begotten) of God" (1 John 3:9). Jesus will expand upon this theme in chapter thirteen, and this is what James meant when he said, faith without works in dead (James 2:17). True faith will produce good works!

Commitment to God’s kingdom required

During the days that followed Jesus healed many who were sick and cast demons out of those who were under their control. The training of the disciples progresses as Jesus sends them out ahead of Himself to minister to those in distress (Matt. 9:36-10:15). Jesus warns them to expect difficulties, hardship and rejection (Matt. 10:16-31). Discipleship requires a commitment to the king above every other relationship. Jesus empathetically states that we cannot compromise this commitment even for the sake of family members and that this commitment may cause our family to turn against us (Matt. 10:32-39; Lk. 14:26-35).

MATTHEW 7:21-27.... Not everyone who says to Me, Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name and driven out demons in Your name and done many mighty works in Your name? And then I will say to them openly, I never knew you; depart from Me, you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands]. So everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts upon them [obeying them] will be like a sensible (prudent, practical, wise) man who built his house upon the rock. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not do them will be like a stupid (foolish) man who built his house upon the sand. And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell — and great and complete was the fall of it.

JOHN 8:31-32.... So Jesus said to those Jews who had believed in Him, If you abide in My word [hold fast to My teachings and live in accordance with them], you are truly My disciples. And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.

It’s the height of folly to think that we can live contrary to God’s Word and still have access into His kingdom. The only people who are really free are those who are totally committed to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. A true disciple spends time every day in the Word of God and at the feet of Jesus and learns of Him (Matt. 11:28-30). As he learns of Him Who is the Truth, he is kept free from the bondage of sin and this world. Jesus said, "I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you]" (John 15:1-3). God uses His Word to keep us free from sin, when we apply it. We risk the danger of a heart lead astray by sin, the world, and the deceitful tactics of the devil, if we neglect this time spent with the Lord and in His Word. We must learn to use God’s Word to weigh and evaluate everything that we are exposed to. Only in this way will we be able to counteract the harmful influences of the enemy, and live as we should.

MATTHEW 11:1-15.... When Jesus had finished His charge to His twelve disciples, He left there to teach and to preach in their cities. Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples and asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one? And Jesus replied to them, Go and report to John what you hear and see; the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at Me and finds no cause for stumbling in or through Me and is not hindered from seeing the Truth.

7Then as these men went their way, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out in the wilderness to see? A reed swayed by the wind? What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings. But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] superior to a prophet. This is the one of Whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You. Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he. And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize — a share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion]. For all the prophets and the Law prophesied up until John. And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom]. He who has ears to hear, let him be listening and let him consider and perceive and comprehend by hearing.

Many today believe that people were drawn to Jesus by His appearance and presentation, but Scripture says, "For [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender plant, and like a root out of dry ground; He has no form or comeliness [royal, kingly pomp], that we should look at Him, and no beauty that we should desire Him. He was despised and rejected and forsaken by men, a Man of sorrows and pains, and acquainted with grief and sickness; and like One from Whom men hide their faces He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or have any esteem for Him" (Isaiah 53:2-3). Jesus warned the people that their personal likes, dislikes, preferences, and prejudices could prevent them seeing or comprehending the Truth.

Jesus uses this inquiry by John’s disciples to begin to explain, here and on through chapter thirteen, some of the things pertaining to the kingdom of heaven or of God. He wants them to know what the kingdom of God is like and what will be required of those who desire to be a part of it. The questions and comments that He addressed to these people are well worth our consideration. Three times Jesus asked them, "What did you go out to see"; what is motivating your search and curiosity? In order that we might not seek the kingdom of God for the wrong reasons, Jesus informs us that His kingdom is not like the kingdoms of this world (Lk. 22:24-30). Like John, kingdom of God soldiers are not swayed by every wind of doctrine (Eph. 4:14), or rumors that God is working over here or over there (Matt. 24:23-28); they stay on the battle line where they’re put; they are not moved by the popular in-thing, the majority vote or the threats of the people; they are not concerned about the latest fashions and the things that the world calls important and strives after. Jesus said, If you went out to see a prophet, know that he is that and much more; of all those who have been once-born (of woman), John is the greatest, but all of those who have been twice-born (of the Spirit) are greater than he. This has nothing to do with the quality of men; Jesus is speaking of the superior quality of the new covenant that He was about to establish with man. The reason that men under this covenant and in this kingdom will be greater is because God Himself, as we shall see, will be their power for living. From the time that John first began to announce the coming of the kingdom, men began to try to force their way into it (Lk. 16:16). If a kingdom here on earth is desirable, how much more a heavenly one? The Law and the Prophets of old were for the nation of Israel and an earthly kingdom, but the kingdom that Jesus came to establish in our hearts is a heavenly one and we must hear well what Jesus is saying if we expect to have a share in this kingdom!

After the above discourse Jesus begins to accuse and reprove the people of His generation. He finds them to be like little children — no matter how the Truth is presented to them they cannot receive it. He then declares that the work that He had done among them should have caused them to turn away from a life of sin and an acceptance of Him as their Savior, but it didn’t (Matt. 11:16-25). Then Jesus reveals the reason for their unbelief — God has hidden these things from them because of their pride or reliance upon their own reasoning ability, but has revealed them to those who are teachable (Matt. 11:26-27). He has much more to say concerning their lack of acceptance as we proceed through this study.

Kingdom Of God Parables

MATTHEW 11:27-30.... All things have been entrusted and delivered to Me by My Father; and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Son except the Father, and no one fully knows and accurately understands the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son deliberately wills to make Him known. Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will cause you to rest. [I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.] Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart, and you will fine rest (relief and ease and refreshment and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls. For My yoke is wholesome (useful, good — not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant), and My burden is light and easy to be borne.

Here is the most gracious and blessed invitation ever extended unto man. Those who truly come to Jesus will be introduced to the Heavenly Father, and Jesus will be their ever-present help in time of trouble. Jesus is the Christian’s tranquilizer and they have no need or desire for the devil’s substitute (Prov. 3:1-2; Jn. 14:19-27; Jn. 16:33).

Why Did Jesus Use Parables?

MATTHEW 13:10-17.... Then the disciples came to Him and said, Why do You speak to them in parables? And He replied to them, To you it has been given to know the secrets and mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For whoever has [spiritual knowledge], to him will more be given and he will be furnished richly so that he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is the reason that I speak to them in parables; because having the power of seeing, they do not see; and having the power of hearing, they do not hear, nor do they grasp and understand. In them indeed is the process of fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah, which says; You shall indeed hear and hear but never grasp and understand; and you shall indeed look and look but never see and perceive. For this nation’s heart has grown gross (fat and dull), and their ears heavy and difficult of hearing, and their eyes they have tightly closed, lest they see and perceive with their eyes, and hear and comprehend the sense with their ears, and grasp and understand with their heart, and turn and I should heal them. But blessed (happy, fortunate, and to be envied) are your eyes because they do see, and your ears because they do hear. Truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous men [men who were upright and in right standing with God] yearned to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

The question that the disciples asked of Jesus was not for an explanation of what He had just said, but why He had spoken to them in parables instead of clearly telling the people what He meant. Have you ever wondered why the Lord didn’t, except on rare occasions, just come right out and tell the people who He was and what He had come to do? Well, Jesus answers these questions throughout the remainder of this thirteenth chapter, and it’s very important for us to clearly understand the reasons that He gives.

We must have a desire for God and His ways in our hearts

As Jesus begins to answer their question, He first informs them that there are many secrets and mysteries to God’s kingdom, and that they are given or revealed to some but withheld or concealed from others. He explains that statement by saying that these secrets are given to those who already have some knowledge of God and His kingdom. He then states why He spoke to the people in parables. It is because they all have the ability to see and to hear, but they won’t do it. Then He uses the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. 6:9-10) to explain why the people won’t see and hear; it is because their hearts are so full of everything else that they have no desire or room for the things of God. Notice that Jesus says the people themselves have tightly closed their eyes; it is not God keeping the Truth from them; they have no heart for the Word of God! And notice that the way to repentance is by perceiving with the eyes, to comprehend by hearing, and grasp and understand with the heart, and thus to be healed. It is with the heart that we understand, believe, and are saved (Rom. 10:9-10). This is why we are told to be careful what we allow in our hearts (Prov. 4:23); because what’s in our heart directs the course of our life. Do we fill our hearts with a knowledge of God and His will so that He can reign there, or are they stuffed with selfish desires and the garbage of this world?

Then Jesus tells His twelve disciples that their eyes and ears are blessed because they do see and hear — not that they understand everything, but they are learning, and that was the difference between the twelve and the other people. Desiring, seeking, learning and applying — that’s what makes a disciple (Jn. 8:30-32), and that was why Jesus could say that their eyes and ears were blessed, and why Jesus went on to explain to them the meaning of the parable. Remember Jesus’ words, "Do not give that which is holy (the sacred thing) to the dogs, and do not throw your pearls before hogs, lest they trample upon them with their feet and turn and tear you in pieces" (Matthew 7:6). We can see by Jesus’ actions here that He practiced what He preached! He did not give the precious truths about God and His kingdom to those who had no appreciation for them; those who would only ridicule and turn upon those who proclaimed them. They were given only enough to know Who to turn to when they were really interested in and had a heart for knowing the Truth. "If any man desires to do His will (God’s pleasure), he will know (have the needed illumination to recognize, and can tell for himself) whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking from Myself and of My own accord and on My own authority" (John 7:17).

We can now better understand God’s dealings with king David, because God Himself said that David was a man after His own heart — David had a heart for God! "Be careful therefore how you listen. For to him who has [spiritual knowledge], will more be given; and from him who does not have [spiritual knowledge], even what he thinks and guesses and supposes that he has will be taken away" (Luke 8:18). This is a frightening Scripture, this should shake us and wake us up! The following Scripture says that the Israelites missed out with God because they did not prepare their hearts to know Him. "And might not be as their fathers — a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation that set not their hearts aright nor prepared their hearts to know God, and whose spirits were not steadfast and faithful to God" (Psalm 78:8). The condition of our heart is our own responsibility; we must eat the right spiritual food and learn to exercise faith in God to be strong and spiritually fit; and when we neglect these endeavors we will lose the health and strength we previously gained.

To show them just how blessed or privileged they were, Jesus tells them that many of God’s Old Testament saints yearned to know more about God’s plans for the future, but were not allowed to. Not necessarily because they were not worthy, but they really had no need for it. Remember that Jesus said that up until John there was the Law and the prophets (Matt. 11:13). But now God is doing a new thing, and a new covenant has been given wherein God indwells us, and reigns in our hearts by His Holy Spirit in preparation for the Millennial reign of Christ and the Eternal Kingdom of God.

Seven Kingdom Parables

Jesus gives us a total of seven parables in this chapter. In God’s Word the number seven usually designates completeness, such as, in seven days God finished all of creation and rested. So with these seven parables Jesus reveals to those who have ears that really hear, a general-over-all picture of what the kingdom of heaven or of God is really like. We can be sure that Jesus will give us additional information as it is needed. It’s important that we know these truths, in order that we might be saved from a lot of un-necessary trouble or difficulties as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God.

A parable uses that which is common knowledge to compare and illustrate truth that the hearer does not yet understand. The validity of the common knowledge is meant to be proof of the truth presented. Whereas, an allegory usually contains, in itself, the proof and explanation of what is being presented (Jn. 15:1-10). An allegory seems to be more descriptive and explanatory.

MATTHEW 13:18-23.... Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: While anyone is hearing the Word of the kingdom and does not grasp and comprehend it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the roadside. As for what was sown on thin (rocky) soil, this is he who hears the Word and at once welcomes and accepts it with joy; yet it has no real root in him, but is temporary (inconstant, lasts but a little while); and when affliction or trouble or persecution comes on account of the Word, at once he is caused to stumble [he is repelled and begins to distrust and desert Him Whom he ought to trust and obey] and he falls away. As for what was sown among thorns, this is he who hears the Word, but the cares of the world and the pleasure and delight and glamour and deceitfulness of riches choke and suffocate the Word, and it yields no fruit. As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the Word and grasps and comprehends it; he indeed bears fruit and yields in one case a hundred times as much as was sown, in another sixty times as much, and in another thirty.

Spiritual heart conditions

Jesus wants us to know that the result of the preaching of the Gospel, if it is proclaimed accurately (2 Tim. 2:15), does not depend upon the preacher, but rather upon the desire or heart condition of the hearer. This is why Jesus said, "Be careful therefore how you listen" (Lk. 8:18). Jesus says that the seed is the Word or teaching of the kingdom that is sown in the soil of individual hearts that will, if properly attended, produce the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22-23); etc., etc.. Now here are some of the heart conditions that we will encounter, in ourselves and others, that will cause crop failure.

The first hearer (the roadside heart that is hard and not capable of penetration) does not welcome, accept, or allow the seed to enter his heart, and so the devil just snatches it right out of his mind. Therefore he does not understand the meaning or the value of it, and he is not benefitted by it. This ground will require some preparation or plowing before the seed can penetrate.

The second hearer (the thin, rocky soil) rejoices in the thought of being a part of the kingdom of God and the benefits thereof, but has no heart or desire to endure the hardships. This hearer is desiring a spiritual welfare program; he is not interested in working in the kingdom of God.

The third hearer (the thorny soil) has an interest in the kingdom of God, but he is more interested in the things of this world. So not being able to love or serve two masters he puts his effort and labor toward a fleshly, worldly crop, and produces no spiritual benefits. He probably still attends church and may even be a real born-again child of God; the tares so resemble the real wheat that we cannot know for sure, but God does.

There is no greater failure than the one who gains the whole world, but loses his soul; he worked all his life for nothing but a miserable eternity. With the fourth and last hearer the crop failures stop, and the produce begins to come forth.

The fourth hearer (the good soil) desires to know the whole truth concerning the kingdom of God, because he wants to spend his life working for something that is truly worthwhile and lasting. Some good ground produces more than others because there is good, and then there is better.

The Lord is going to enlarge upon all these things as He continues, because He wants the disciples to know what they are up against, and how to conduct themselves when He sends them out to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom.

MATTHEW 13:24-30.... Another parable He set forth before them, saying, the kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while he was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed also darnel (weeds resembling wheat) among the wheat, and went on his way. So when the plants sprouted and formed grain, the darnel (weeds) appeared also. And the servants of the owner came to him and said, Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? Then how does it have darnel shoots in it? He replied to them, an enemy has done this. The servants said to him, then do you want us to go and weed them out? But he said, no, lest in gathering the wild wheat (weeds resembling wheat), you root up the [true] wheat along with it. Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will say to the reapers, gather the darnel first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary.

In this second parable, which Jesus explains later in verses 37-43, He wants us to realize that the devil will always follow the preaching or sowing of the Gospel Seed with his lies and pretenders. Don’t be surprised or discouraged because of people in the Church who profess to be Christians, but their produce is not fit for food. God does not expect us to endeavor to identify and remove the pretenders, unless specifically directed (1 Cor. 5:1-8), because we could ignorantly injure or destroy a true child of God. We should not go looking for trouble, but should always hold fast to the Truth of God’s Word, and not give in to those who distort the Truth and thus endanger the spiritual lives of God’s people.

MATTHEW 13:31-33.... Another story by way of comparison He set forth before them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field. Of all the seeds it is the smallest, but when it has grown it is the largest of the garden herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and find shelter in its branches. He told them another parable: The kingdom of heaven is like leaven (sour dough) which a woman took and covered over in three measures of meal or flour till all of it was leavened.

Conditions in the kingdom of God

These two parables, the third and the fourth, were spoken to the crowds, see verses 34-36. The presentation of the kingdom of heaven had a small, humble, seemingly insignificant beginning. Neither Jesus nor John the Baptist were men of renown who established themselves in the economy of this world in order to be leaders of some new movement or government. But the end result of this humble beginning will be bigger and better than any other, and whosoever will, may come. The Kingdom of God will have a representation and accompanying effect upon every generation right up until Jesus comes, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!

MATTHEW 13:37-43.... He answered, He Who sows the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed means the children of the kingdom; the darnel is the children of the evil one, and the enemy who sowed it is the devil. The harvest is the close and consummation of the age, and the reapers are angels. Just as the darnel (the weeds, the wild wheat) is gathered and burned with fire, so it will be at the close of the age. The Son of Man will send forth His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all causes of offense [persons by whom others are drawn into error or sin] and all who do iniquity and act wickedly, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth. Then will the righteous (those who are upright and in right standing with God) shine forth like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears [to hear] be listening, and let him consider and perceive and understand by hearing.

At the request of the twelve disciples (36), the Lord explains the meaning of the second parable in this series concerning the darnel in the field. The seed in this parable, instead of being kingdom principles sown in the hearts of individuals as in the first parable, are people who have become children of God and belong to His kingdom. Since the field is the whole world, we understand that Jesus has His people, and the devil has his people at various places throughout this planet. The reason that the devil deliberately planted these counterfeits is to cause problems and hindrances that cause people to stumble and fall, or to remain blind to the salvation that God has offered in Christ Jesus. And this is the reason that God must deal with them as Jesus explained.

MATTHEW 13:44-46.... The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found and hid again; then in his joy he goes and sells all he has and buys that field. Again the kingdom of heaven is like a man who is a dealer in search of fine and precious pearls, who, on finding a single pearl of great price, went and sold all he had and bought it.

In the fifth and sixth parables, Jesus endeavors to show us the immense value and benefit of having a part in His kingdom; there is nothing in all the world of greater value! It reminds me of Jesus’ answer to the rich young ruler who asked the question, "What shall I do to inherit eternal life? . . sell all that you have . . . and come follow Me" (Lk. 18:18-22).

MATTHEW 13:47-50.... Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a dragnet which was cast into the sea and gathered in fish of every sort. When it was full, men dragged it up on the beach, and sat down and sorted out the good fish into baskets, but the worthless ones they threw away. So it will be at the close and consummation of the age. The angels will go forth and separate the wicked from the righteous and cast them into the furnace of fire; there will be weeping and wailing and grinding of teeth.

This seventh and last parable conveys the same truth as the second. Farmers could relate to the second parable because they hate weeds in their crops. This seventh parable was spoken and explained to the disciples, many of whom were fishermen, and they could understand and have a feeling for working hard at pulling in a heavy net only to have to throw away a bunch of uneatable fish. But they would also realize the necessity of having to go though that process in order to get some good fish that were fit to eat. The necessity in both parables is to realize that there will be a harvest and a separation; those who have been a hindrance instead of a help in God’s kingdom will be cast into the furnace.

Kingdom of God Training

MATTHEW 13:51-52.... Have you understood all these things [parables] taken together? They said to Him, Yes, Lord. He said to them, Therefore every teacher and interpreter of the Sacred Writings who has been instructed about and trained for the kingdom of heaven and has become a disciple is like a householder who brings forth out of his storehouse treasure that is new and [treasure that is] old [the fresh as well as the familiar].

Jesus has used these parables to set before us, as with the nation of Israel, a blessing and a curse; and we must choose which we prefer and act upon it. Feed God’s people well-balanced meals from the whole of God’s Word! Peter, do you love Me? . . . Feed My sheep (Jn. 21:17). See the Scripture below to see something strikingly new, but based upon and proceeding from the old.

ROMANS 1:1-7.... From Paul, a bond servant of Jesus Christ (the Messiah) called to be an apostle, (a special messenger) set apart to preach the Gospel (good news) of and from God, which He promised in advance [long ago] through His prophets in the sacred Scriptures — [The Gospel] regarding His Son, Who as to the flesh (His human nature) was descended from David, and [as to His divine nature] according to the Spirit of holiness was openly designated the Son of God in power [in a striking, triumphant and miraculous manner] by His resurrection from the dead, even Jesus Christ our Lord (the Messiah, the Anointed One). It is through Him that we have received grace and [our] apostleship to promote obedience to the faith and make disciples for His name’s sake among all the nations, and this includes you, called of Jesus Christ and invited [as you are] to belong to Him. To [you then] all God’s beloved ones in Rome, called to be saints and designated for a consecrated life: Grace and spiritual blessing and peace be yours from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

How Should KOG Citizens Live and Function?

JOHN 14:9-18.... Jesus replied, have I been with all of you for so long a time, and do you not recognize and know Me yet, Philip? Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. How can you say then, show us the Father? Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in Me? What I am telling you I do not say on My own authority and of My own accord; but the Father Who lives continually in Me does the (His) works (His own miracles, deeds of power).

11Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me; or else believe Me for the sake of the [very] works themselves. [If you cannot trust Me, at least let these works that I do in My Father’s name convince you.] I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, if anyone steadfastly believes in Me, he will himself be able to do the things that I do; and he will do even greater things than these, because I go to the Father. And I will do [I Myself will grant] whatever you ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM], so that the Father may be glorified and extolled in (through) the Son. [Yes] I will grant [I Myself will do for you] whatever you shall ask in My Name [as presenting all that I AM].

15If you [really] love Me, you will keep (obey) My commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, and Standby), that He may remain with you forever — the Spirit of Truth, Whom the world cannot receive (welcome, take to its heart), because it does not see Him or know and recognize Him. But you know and recognize Him, for He lives with you [constantly] and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, desolate, bereaved, forlorn, helpless]; I will come [back] to you.

Our ability lies in our identity and union with Christ

Jesus is preparing us to realize that power and effectiveness lie not in ourselves, but in our identity and union with Him; just as His power and effectiveness sprang from His identity and union with the Father. In verse ten Jesus said that the very words He was speaking were from the Father that was living in Him. And in verse twelve He says that we shall be able to do the things that He has done, when we believe in Him. He was going back to heaven, and there needed to be someone here to tell the people about God’s salvation. To truly ask in the name of Jesus is to ask knowing who Jesus is, and that He is in us and we are in Him; just as the Father lived in Him and He in the Father. Jesus tells us, in verse twenty, that when the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in us we will know that all these relationships are so; and in verse twenty-one He says that this awareness is only for those who show their true love for God by their obedience. In the following verses in John 15:1-10, Jesus reemphasizes some of the same truths; when God speaks twice, we ought to pay special attention!

JOHN 15:1-10.... I Am the True Vine, and My Father is the Vinedresser. Any branch in Me that does not bear fruit [that stops bearing] He cuts away (trims off, takes away); and He cleanses and repeatedly prunes every branch that continues to bear fruit, to make it bear more and richer and more excellent fruit. You are cleansed and pruned already, because of the word which I have given you [the teachings I have discussed with you].

4Dwell in Me, and I will dwell in you. [Live in Me, and I will live in you]. Just as no branch can bear fruit of itself without abiding in the vine, neither can you bear fruit unless you abide in Me. I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in Me and I in him bears much fruit. However, apart from Me [cut off from vital union with Me] you can do nothing. If a person does not dwell in Me, he is thrown out like a [broken-off] branch, and withers; such branches are gathered up and thrown into the fire, and they are burned. If you live in Me and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

8When you bear much fruit, My Father is honored and glorified, and you show and prove yourselves to be true followers of Mine. I have loved you, [just] as the Father has loved Me; abide in My love [continue in His love with Me]. If you keep My commandments [if you continue to obey My instructions], you will abide in My love and live on in it, just as I have obeyed My Father’s commandments and live on in His love.

Having explained, in chapter fourteen, the vital union and relationship required for the kind of life that Christ expects them to live; He now reinforces that with additional information by the use of the example or parable of the grape vine. There is only one Vine that can give the life energy necessary for the branches, and that is Christ. God is carefully watching this relationship between Christ and the branches, and He cleans and prunes these branches so that they will produce good fruit. Any branch that does not bear fruit is cut off. We are informed that the way we are kept clean is through an application of the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. Then we are reminded of the absolute necessity of abiding in Christ, for without that attachment we can’t do one blessed thing that is acceptable to God, and we would be in danger of being cut off permanently. There are three things required of us if we expect Jesus to help us when we ask Him in prayer: We must be living vitally united to Him, we must know His Word, and it must be alive and activated in our hearts. Living this way guarantees fruitfulness, honor to God, and proof of our discipleship.

The way we are to abide in His love is to obey His commandments; this will result in productive and effective service and answered prayer. Jesus reminds us that this is the only way that we can experience His personal joy and gladness — perfect submission, perfect delight (Blessed Assurance).

JOHN 16:7-15.... However, I am telling you nothing but the truth when I say it is profitable (good, expedient, advantageous) for you that I go away. Because if I do not go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I go away, I will send Him to you. And when He comes, He will convict and convince the world and bring demonstration to it about sin and about righteousness and about judgment: About sin, because they do not believe in Me; about righteousness, because I go to My Father, and you will see Me no longer; about judgment, because the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world [Satan] is judged and condemned and sentience already is passed upon him.

12I have still many things to say to you, but you are not able to bear them or to take them upon you or to grasp them now. But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future]. He will honor and glorify Me, because He will take of what is Mine and will reveal (declare, disclose, transmit) it to you. Everything that the Father has is Mine. That is what I meant when I said that He [the Spirit] will take the things that are Mine and will reveal it to you.

In this section and in several other portions throughout chapters 14 through 17, Jesus speaks of the absolute personhood of the Father, Himself and the Holy Spirit, and substantiates the oneness and unity of the Godhead or Triune God. These four chapters are unique and priceless, giving us the most blessed and precious information and instruction ever uttered by our Lord; there is a rich, deep well of living water here.

Jesus was getting ready to leave this world and to go back to the Father, and the Holy Spirit would be sent to indwell God’s people, especially the disciples, to enable them to effectively proclaim Jesus as Savior. There were three things that the Holy Spirit came to convince mankind of: That sin has separated us from God and the only way that we can be reconciled back to Him is through believing that Jesus paid the price for our redemption; the Holy Spirit would take the vacated place of Jesus to demonstrate the righteousness of God through the disciples; judgement upon all the ungodly is certain, there will be no exceptions or excuses, not even for God’s highest angel, the anointed cherub – Satan (Ezek. 28:14). Jesus informs them that there is much more for them to learn, and that the Holy Spirit would take up where He left off in their education and guide them into all that we need to know about Jesus. Jesus reinforces what He had said about being One with the Father, by stating that they both possess the same qualities and things.

Power is Available to those Who Dwell In Christ

There is only one way to live a successful Christian life; by the power and ability that the Holy Spirit gives to those who love and obey God!

ROMANS 8:1-4.... Therefore, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life [which is] in Christ Jesus [the law of our new being] has freed me from the law of sin and of death. For God has done what the Law could not do, [its power] being weakened by the flesh [the entire nature of man without the Holy Spirit]. Sending His own Son in the guise of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, [God] condemned sin in the flesh [subdued, overcame, deprived it of its power over all who accept that sacrifice], so that the righteous and just requirement of the Law might be fully met in us who live and move not in the ways of the flesh but in the ways of the Spirit [our lives governed not by the standards and according to the dictates of the flesh, but controlled by the Holy Spirit].

GALATIANS 2:20-21.... I have been crucified with Christ [in Him I have shared His crucifixion]; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life I now live in the body I live by faith in (by adherence to and reliance on and complete trust in) the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself up for me. [Therefore, I do not treat God’s gracious gift as something of minor importance and defeat its very purpose]; I do not set aside and invalidate and frustrate and nullify the grace of God. For if justification (righteousness, acquittal from guilt) comes through [observing the ritual of] the Law, then Christ died groundlessly and to no purpose and in vain. [His death was then wholly superfluous.]

When we trust these promises of God to be true and set our minds upon being obedient to the Spirit, Christ lives His perfect life in and through us by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit. If we do not believe God in this way, as Paul says above, we set aside, invalidate, frustrate and nullify the grace of God in our behalf.

EPHESIANS 2:4-7.... But God — so rich is He in His mercy! Because of and in order to satisfy the great and wonderful and intense love with which He loved us, even when we were dead by shortcomings and trespasses, He made us alive together in fellowship and in union with Christ; [He gave us the very life of Christ Himself, the same new life with which He quickened Him, for] it is by grace (His favor and mercy which you did not deserve) that you are saved (delivered from judgment and made partakers of Christ’s salvation). And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus. He did this that He might clearly demonstrate through the ages to come the immeasurable riches of His free grace in kindness and goodness of heart toward us in Christ Jesus.

COLOSSIANS 3:1-5.... If then you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, thus sharing His resurrection from the dead], aim at and seek the [rich, eternal treasures] that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. And set your minds and keep them set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things that are on the earth. For [as far as this world is concerned] you have died, and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, Who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in [the splendor of His] glory. So kill (deaden, deprive of power) the evil desire lurking in your members [those animal impulses and all that is earthly in you that is employed in sin]: sexual vice, impurity, sensual appetites, unholy desires, and all greed and covetousness, for that is idolatry (the deifying of self and other created things instead of God).

These are accomplished facts; when Jesus said — "it is finished" — it was done; it was a completed and a full and an adequate salvation that fully satisfied the just requirements of God, and made available to us His power to live by!