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Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law! Part 2-9

       

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 258B

January 18, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law! Part 2


Colossians 2:9,10 – For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. [10] And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

John 1:16,17 – And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. [17] For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

John 10:9,10 – I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture. [10] The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

So if, when we are saved, we receive all of his fullness, are eternally sealed, and heaven bound, why can’t we just try with all our might and heart to keep the 10 commandments, believing by so doing we can obtain spiritual maturity, and then finally be able to live the abundant life? The answer is one that most believers do not accept. Their remaining life on this earth after they have trusted in Christ is one of failing to recognize their carnal nature is a hypocrite, and will be until the day it ceases to function. And, because of their unwillingness to accept this fact, they live miserable lives of guilt, or even worse, seal their conscience with a hot iron, and actually believe they can keep the Law of Moses now that they are saved. If you have overcome your carnal nature to the extent it is no longer a hypocrite, then you can live above sin, and perfectly keep the rest of the Law of Moses. Why do so many born-again believers live guilt ridden lives? – Because they keep on feeling guilty, even after they ask God to forgive them! If they could live above sin, then they would not keep feeling guilty for failing to do so for the rest of their lives. They simply don’t believe I John 1:8-10.

I John 1:8-10 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. [9] If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [10] If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

When I was a young man in grade school in Batesville, Arkansas, I ran around with two of the Redding boys. There was a pear tree on the block where they lived, from which I often took pears. I would take them when I could barely bite into them, and they were 100 percent pears. But I always waited to pick most of them when they were ripe, and my teeth could sink into their soft mature ripeness. They were 100 percent pears when they were first made pears by the tree’s juices, and they were 100 percent pears when they came to maturity. I was a 100 percent fully equipped child of God at the instant of my new birth, and I am still a 100 percent fully equipped child of God at the present time, and will be a 100 percent fully equipped child of God at the time I draw my last breath. Why? Because I have had the fullness of Christ in me from the instant I was saved! To let him live his life in us is the abundant life of John 10:9,10 – It is the daily going in and out in everyday life, and spiritually finding pasture as we allow him to live his abundant life in us. You cannot live it under the law!

So, is the abundant life our ability to perfectly keep the Law of Moses because we are saved? Is that spiritual growth? Do we reach spiritual maturity when we are finally able to keep the Law of Moses? And are we to constantly be on a guilt trip because we fail to do so? There is a very important principle in II Peter 1:3.

II Peter 1:3 – According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

We have received everything we need for life and his godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. That being the case, the Christian life is not starting out with Jesus and then graduating to something better. There is no such thing as a doctor’s degree for a believer. Every saved person begins his Christian life with everything he will ever receive to live it.

Remember the pears – they were 100 percent pears from start to finish. They were not too tasty when they were young pears, and they were hard as nails, but they were still pears. The nature of what they were would not change as they grew, nor would they gain anything that wasn’t already there. They would simply mature.

So what caused them to become mature? Life flowed from the tree to the fruit and the fruit matured. His Spirit flows through our new spirit to our saved soul to teach it understanding in its personal relationship with Christ, who produces his fruit in us. As our faith in the ability of Christ grows, rather than faith in our own ingenuity to improve on the methodology of his written word, then we let him produce his fruit his way, and we live our lives by his faith living in us.

John 15:5 – I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Galatians 2:20 –I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

If my spiritual growth to maturity is based on how well I keep the Law of Moses, then for what purpose is Jesus living in me? Is my righteousness determined by how well I keep the Law of Moses?

Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

So what is spiritual growth toward maturity in Christ? Even though we were given everything we will ever need at our spiritual birth, we still have a lifetime of growing in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and in understanding the riches, power, and life that he has placed in us in his person.

II Peter 3:18 – But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Where does one grow in grace and in the knowledge of their Savior, to give glory to God?

Ephesians 3:21 – Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ephesians 2:22 – In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:30 – For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Church members (branches) of his body (the vine) LET the knowledge of their Savior flow through them and grow in his grace. Without him they can do nothing!

So what is the abundant life? It is getting up every day, and going through it. When you sin, Christ in you let’s you know it – You confess it by asking him to forgive you, and knowing that he has – then you repeat that process until you go to sleep that night. As you grow in the personal knowledge of him from Scripture, you develop a personal relationship with him, and that ever deepening relationship produces more and more fruit.

 
       

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 259A

January 22, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 3


John 15:3 – Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 12:43-45 – When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none. [44] Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished. [45] Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. EVEN SO SHALL IT BE ALSO unto this wicked generation.

That “wicked generation” was the last generation of the Law of Moses.  Their forefathers had placed their faith in the Promised Seed of Genesis 3:15, which came by Seth through Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  However, the Law of Moses was given to teach the impossibility of a carnal man ever living up to God’s righteousness, and to drive Israel to faith in the Promised Seed as their only hope.  By the time of Christ’s arrival, the purpose of the Seed’s coming to save souls from hell had been changed to: “Messiah is coming to deliver Israel from Roman bondage to great material prosperity.”  Israel’s only hope for true rest of the soul was Jesus. The “last generation” had gone under the law alone, and their ability to keep it, as their only hope for rest, but there is no rest under the law.  The last generation was like a demonic spirit, who had been cast out of a man who was under the law, but rather than him receiving Christ to fill his vacant inner house and prevent its reoccupation by the demonic forces, he chose to remain under the law.  So, without the indwelling presence of Christ to hinder it, the demonic spirit returned with demonic spirits worse than itself, and they all indwelt him.  The state of Israel has been worse than was their condition before they rejected their Messiah.

Matthew 12:45 – Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.

They simply did not come to Christ as their only hope of eternal rest in this life, which Jesus came to give them, but chose to labor under the heavy burden of the law where there is no rest.

Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

John 5:39,40 – Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. [40] And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

I Peter 1:23 – Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

John 15:3 – Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.

Unfortunately, many of the saved today, who were saved by grace through faith, and can never lose their eternal salvation in Christ, also choose to go back to the law to add it to Jesus to insure their salvation and, even though they are heaven bound by his grace, live a life of bondage as a penalty for a lack of total faith in Christ.

If a saved person trusts in the works of his flesh to add to what Christ did on the cross, his trust is in the life he lives afterwards in his lifetime, and he is of all men most miserable.  He never knows when he has added enough to the cross.  His faith is not in the works of a living Christ resurrected from the dead without any additions, it is in his own ability to keep what God gave him as a free gift of his amazing work.  We were born spiritually dead in Adam.  We are made spiritually alive in Christ forever the moment Christ saves us, not by our works, but by the grace of God in him – Those professing faith in Christ, but who don’t believe this, are miserable.

I Corinthians 15:19-22 – If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. [21] For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. [22] For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

We are forever set free from the condemnation of God the moment we come to Christ to be saved from what we are from our conception in our mother’s womb, a sinful soul that must have a Savior after it passes the age of accountability.

John 3:7 – Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The new birth makes us alive in Christ, and Christ alive in us – we are instantaneously passed from death to life eternally, never again to come under condemnation.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and SHALL NOT come into condemnation; but IS PASSED  from death unto life.


SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 259B

January 25, 2006

Escaping by Grace, Only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 3A


An Exposition of Luke 17:3-19

LUKE 17:19 – And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Ephesians 2:8,9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

Verses 3 to 19 in Luke 17 involve a discourse comparing the fullness and completeness of God’s forgiveness with man’s inability to measure up to it.  It manifests the grace of God in Christ to save our souls by the faith we put in him, which is less than a grain of mustard seed.

LUKE 17:3-5 – Take heed to yourselves: If thy brother trespass against thee, rebuke him; and if he repent, forgive him. [4] And if he trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent; thou shalt forgive him. [5] And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

The disciples were flabbergasted.  They knew they did not possess that kind of faith, which is exactly what it was meant to teach them.  Only one human being, the God-man Christ Jesus has ever manifested that kind of faith.  God alone has the compassion to forgive us every day of just what Jesus was asking them to do.  God’s grace in his forgiveness of our constant daily sins is the root of my faith in Christ.  I have great sadness for all who repent toward God, put their faith in Christ Jesus, and are genuinely saved, but then immediately go back under keeping the Law to insure God’s forgiveness for their future sins.  They have been bewitched by false teachers who mentally drew them back under the Law after they had been genuinely saved by grace through faith.

Galatians 3:1-6 – O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? [4] Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. [5] He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [6] Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.

What does the expression “growing in grace” really boil down to?  It simply means this – The more the person, who has his faith in Christ alone to save him, studies the word of God, the more he realizes that God was much more gracious than he thought when he was saved.

I Peter 2:2,3 – As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

LUKE 17:6 – And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.

This is a form of hyperbole.  Again, it makes the point they do not possess this type of faith – only he does!  He never did any miracle without a purpose – Not once did he misuse his power as the Son of God to perform the kind of thing he has just described.  As a carnal man, I would misuse this type of power and, just to show how fantastic it was, I would do something spectacular like transferring a mulberry tree to the bottom of a salty sea.  The miracles of Jesus always had a distinct God- directed purpose that men might believe Jesus was the Christ.

John 20:30,31 – And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: [31] But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

We are to be rejoicing that our names are written in heaven, not because we are able to exercise the miracles of God, such as casting out demons.

Luke 10:17-20 – And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. [18] And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. [19] Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. [20] Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

We should serve God in thanksgiving because he has allowed us to be his servants, not to receive thanks from Jesus for our service.  Jesus will reward us for degrees of our service to him, but we are not God’s little helpers that he should thank us.  He does not need us – We need him!  We are to serve him and be thankful for his grace in promising us he will reward us, but the servant is not greater than his master, and we should serve him as our gracious master who has more than proven his love for us.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Luke 17:7-10 – But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? [8] And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? [9] Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. [10] So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.

The word translated unprofitable is achreios, which, in its basic root definition, simply means “not needed.”  His grace was not only in saving us from condemnation, but was also extended to us in his letting us serve him, even though we are not needed.  He graciously saves us, and then uses us in spite of what we are, even when he does not really need us to accomplish his purposes.

Colossians 3:23,24 – And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Faith in Jesus Saves and Seals Our Souls Eternally – but Grateful Faith Gives Glory to God by the Lives We Live in His Church, and It Preserves our Life’s Service!

Luke 17:11-19 – And it came to pass, as he went to Jerusalem, that he passed through the midst of Samaria and Galilee. [12] And as he entered into a certain village, there met him ten men that were lepers, which stood afar off: [13] And they lifted up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us. [14] And when he saw them, he said unto them, Go shew yourselves unto the priests. And it came to pass, that, as they went, they were cleansed. [15] And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, [16] And fell down on his face at his feet, giving him thanks: and he was a Samaritan. [17] And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine? [18] There are not found that returned to give glory to God, save this stranger. [19] And he said unto him, Arise, go thy way: thy faith hath made thee whole.

Ephesians 3:21 – Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

I Peter 2:4,5 – To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 10:19-25 – Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: [25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

   
     

SPECIAL PROPHEY UPDATE NUMBER 260A

January 29, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 4


It is impossible for a child of God to be blessed (happy) spiritually unless he understands that by grace God has imputed his Son’s righteousness to him without works.

Romans 4:6 – Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,

It is impossible for a child of God to be blessed (happy) spiritually unless he knows the shed blood of Christ has caused God to forgive all his iniquities (plural) and to cover all his sins (plural).

Romans 4:7 – Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.

It is impossible for a child of God to be blessed (happy) spiritually unless he knows God will never impute a sin to him that would place him back under condemnation from which he was once removed at the time of the new birth, when he was passed from death to life.

Romans 4:8 – Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and SHALL NOT COME into condemnation; but IS PASSED from death unto life.

A very good friend of mine, that was in my graduating glass at seminary, who is some nine years my senior, yet still actively preaches and teaches in a seminary, came out of a belief which taught if you sinned at any time after you were saved, you lost your salvation.  My friend had been truly saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ but, after his experience of salvation, he was immediately, and repeatedly, taught that by sinning he would lose his salvation.

Since he was genuinely saved, he lived a life of torment for some time, because each time he sinned he had to repent, and do good works to get back into a state of grace.  Finally, on a hot summer day, while traveling with his wife, the car had a flat tire and, while he was taking it off and putting on the spare, he experienced several problems, but finally got the spare tire in place.  When he let down the jack he discovered the spare tire was flat.  He kicked the spare tire and the worst curse word a man can use toward God rolled out of his lips. At this point his wife said, “Well, now you’ve done it, you have committed blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, it’s all over for you!”  He was awe struck, and cowered in great fear for some time.

He kept running back to his pastor time after time and down to the altar over and over, to get out of what his denomination called a “backslidden” condition, and to be restored to salvation.  This went on for several years.  His only real problem was that he had been genuinely saved, but falsely taught.  Finally, he went to his pastor in absolute desperation, and told him, “I cannot stop sinning – No matter how hard I try, I cannot completely stop sinning.”  He told me his pastor, who had dealt with his problem many times in the past, said, “Albert, can you live a month without sinning?”  He quickly replied, No sir, I cannot!  Then his pastor said, “Can you live a week without sinning?”  Albert said he thought for a minute or two, then answered, No sir, I cannot.  The pastor then said, “Can you go through a day and not sin?”  Albert mulled this over for more than two minutes before he replied, No sir, I cannot.  His pastor said, “Well Albert, how about an hour, can you go one hour without sinning?”  Albert said he took some time to think about one hour, and almost said he could do it, but the more he thought about, the more certain he became he could not, so he answered, No, I cannot.  Then the pastor issued his final question, saying to Albert, “Can you go just one minute without sinning?”  Albert thought seriously about it, and finally he said, “Yes, I believe I can?”  To which his pastor let out a yell, “Praise God, Albert; live the rest of your life one minute at a time!”  Unfortunately, this is not a joke!  It really happened.  It is tragic, not funny, because many live spiritual lives of misery because they actually believe it is possible to live above sin after salvation, if one tries hard enough.  They are not free from the great burden of sin, being buried up to their necks in it, and deceiving their own souls.  They do not believe that the one time blood offering of Christ was sufficient, acting alone, to cleanse them from condemnation for all sins, past, present, and future.  They believe it is possible to live a life without sin after they are saved, because they have the power to continuously control the flesh.

I John 1:8 – If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

Hebrews 7:24,25 – But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. [25] Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. 

The word translated as “uttermost” is “panteles,” and it means “to the last, to the extreme end” – which, in the context of this verse means to the end of eternity.  The only way I will ever go to hell is if Jesus dies, which will never happen because he “ever lives” to make constant intercession for me.  I am accepted in him forever.

Ephesians 1:6,7 – To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. [7] In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;

It was God who has made us accepted in Christ.  It is in Christ we have full redemption through his blood.  It is in Christ we have the forgiveness of sins (plural).  And it is all by grace alone, not by works before or after he saves us by grace through faith.

Galatians 2:21 – I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

Romans 3:26-28 – To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.

Titus 3:4-7 – But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5]Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Galatians 4:7 – Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.   (Do you want all or part of the inheritance?)

Revelation 21:7 – He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

SO WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH YOUR NEW FREEDOM SINCE YOU CANNOT LOSE YOUR SALVATION?  HOW CAN THE TWO FOLLOWING  SCRIPTURES BE RECONCILED?

Ephesians 2:8,9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.          

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES DO RECONCILE EPHESIANS 2:8,9 AND GALATIANS 2:8,9!

I Corinthians 15:36-38,41,42 – Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: [37] And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: [38] But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him. [41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption:

Revelation 21:7 – He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

There are two questions directly proportionally to each other that the believer should consider after he has been saved: (1) How glorious will the resurrection body be that the Lord gives me in heaven, and (2) How much of the inheritance do I want to receive.

If you have been saved by grace, then you will reap in your glorified body what you allowed Jesus to sow each day from it, and your degree of inheritance in heaven will be directly proportional to what you allowed him to sow from it.   


SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 260B

February 1, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 5


Luke 10:25-28 – And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? [26] He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? [27] And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. [28] And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.

Do you really think that Jesus thought it was possible for someone, other than himself, to actually do what he told the lawyer he had to do to receive eternal life?

Did Jesus lie to the man because he was tempting him?  Of course not!  He told him the absolute truth!  And he still says the same thing to all men and women today!  If you will do what verse 27 says, then God will give you the gift of eternal life, and you can live in heaven with him forever.  There are actually people on this planet today that are giving it all they have to do what Jesus said in order to escape hell, and go to heaven.  Are you one of them?

Perhaps an even greater tragic spectacle to observe is one in which many children of God actually believe they can do it after their soul is saved, while they still live in sinful flesh.  They truly believe that with Christ living in them they can muster up enough strength to completely control the flesh, and perform verse 27 before God in order to assure going to heaven, and they give it their all in their march to gain entrance to heaven.

So why on earth did Jesus tell the lawyer he could go to heaven by keeping the law, and why did he leave verse 27 for us to read?  Because he loves us more than we can imagine, and wants to teach us we cannot do what he alone could do, keep verse 27 perfectly before God while we still live in the flesh.  Why does God tell us to do something he knows we cannot do?

I Corinthians 15:50 – Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

Romans 8:7 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.

Galatians 3:24-26 – Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

Paul was one of the greatest Christians of all times, but he had a carnal mind before and after he was saved, and it kept functioning in his flesh until his soul left his body.  Listen to the cry of a saved soul led to give you an understanding of what will go on in the lives of all who are saved until the day their soul departs their bodies.  The “I am” in verse 14 is present indicative active, and has to refer to Paul at the time he wrote the epistle to the church at Rome – It cannot refer to the time when he was Saul of Tarsus.

Romans 7:14-24 – For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. [15] For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. [16] If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. [17] Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [18] For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. [19] For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. [20] Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. [21] I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. [22] For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: [23] But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. [24] O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?

As a born again believer, you are still living in the sinful body of your coming physical death.  Are you going to deliver yourself from it because you keep the law, or is Jesus, who saved you by grace through faith, going to deliver you from it?  Listen to Paul’s answer to his own question in verse 25, which was written for our benefit.

Romans 7:25 – I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.

Will Jesus Christ deliver you from your sinful body, even though you do sometimes serve the law of sin that is still in your flesh?  Is there that much grace in God’s love for you?   Yes!  That is why it is amazing grace!

What Paul describes in verse 25 is the Christian life set before all believers. To put it bluntly – It is a lifelong struggle against the flesh by the new Spirit, with you, a sealed soul, caught between the two in a never ending battle until your soul departs the flesh at physical death.  The battle is the Christian life with all its major battles and daily skirmishes.  Jesus has given us all that we need to fight the battle the instant we receive him, but we still have the rest of our lifetime to grow in grace by growing in our knowledge of the depthless grace that is in him, and what he has waiting for us in heaven.  Peter makes this teaching clear in his second epistle.

II Peter 3:18 – But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

The Christian life, whether it lasts one year or eighty, is a walk filled with valleys of deep depression and hills of high exultation.  Its one mandatory requirement is the willingness to endure in the faith that saved us through all of its ups and downs.  Jesus alone saves us – Not the Christian walk – But it does gradually give us a peace that is beyond all understanding in the midst of a world filled with uncertainty and problems.  It does not give peace in the flesh, but it does give great peace to a soul that daily struggles between the flesh and the Spirit.

II Peter 1:3-8 – According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: [4] Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. [8] For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 15:58 – Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

 
        

Special Prophecy Update Number 261A

February 5, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 6


Luke 16:27,28 – Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father's house: [28] For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment.

A desperate cry from the soul of a man in hell anxious to see his kin saved from hell.  I have heard this cry many times while ministering in Dardanelle for more than 31 years, but not from lost souls in hell.  It came from saved souls crying out to see their kin saved.  Is there something wrong with that?  Certainly not!  But it often puts pressure on children to be saved because dad and mom, grandma and grandpa, want them to trust in Jesus and be saved long before the Holy Spirit starts his wonder of the conviction of sin. The Holy Spirit leads to spiritual repentance only those souls he knows are able to repent toward God and place their faith in his Son.  Paul and the rest of the apostles certainly didn’t exhibit a preoccupation with salvation of children in their writings.  Child evangelism came into existence largely because children are much more inclined to do what the speaker and family say they should do, in order to get their favor for having done so.  This makes it a ripe field for overzealous soul-winners.  They get what they think are genuine professions of faith, and I am sure in some cases that is true, but it is very easy to lead a child down a path of seeking approval from the evangelist.

Acts 20:21 – Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

I have lost count of how many children our church has re-baptized because of overzealous evangelistic methods employed by well meaning preachers, teachers, and other born again believers, who were relentless in their desire to help the Spirit of God do his work.

The souls of those individuals led down the Roman road, long before the Spirit started convicting them, did not respond to him, but to the desire and will of the one or ones who drove them down it.  They go down a road of confusion believing they are saved, but do not have Christ, and keep trying to obey the commandments of God in the flesh.  Every time the Spirit does convict them, they just keep on saying to themselves, “Lord, I will do better,” over and over until they finally do experience salvation, or die and go to hell.  

They are like a young girl who has reached the ripe old age of 25 and never married.  Her parents, friends, and relatives stay on her like a duck on a June bug in many different ways, their efforts directed toward her getting a young man to the altar before she becomes an old maid.  She doesn’t get married because she needs to or wants to – she gets married because all her friends are in that state and everyone keeps telling her that is the thing to do – so, with all that peer pressure, she finally gives in and gets married to make everyone happy, and lives a miserable life ever after in a state far worse than being single.  Young children often do the same thing about being saved – they do it in response to human family and society pressures, and live a more miserable life than a lost man who rejected Christ.  There is nothing more miserable than a baptized lost man setting on a church pew.  Not only is he miserable – He makes those around him miserable.  He is like a person pretending to be in spiritual union with someone he never met.  He is like a man without Christ, with only a carnal mind, still attempting to please God – claiming to be in spiritual union with the God who says he is “none of his.”

Romans 8:7-9 – Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

There is a natural tendency in many churches today to characterize being saved as the end of something, rather than the beginning of a new relationship with the one who saved the individual.   Post salvation is meant to be a time of growing intimacy with the one who saved us.  It is the major eternal life purpose in a believer’s life.

John 17:3 – And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Philippians 3:10 – That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Philippians 3:13-16 – Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.  

Philippians 2:12-16 – Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. [14] Do all things without murmurings and disputings: [15] That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; [16] Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.


SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 261B

February 8, 2006

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 7


John 8:30-32 – As he spake these words, many believed on him. [31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Some believers do not continue in the word long enough to understand God’s grace, they never allow the word to make them his disciples (taught followers).  And, as a consequence they never learn just how free from his condemnation God has made them in Christ.  There are many believers at this moment who have either deceived themselves into believing they can keep the law because they have been saved, and another group living daily guilt ridden lives because they cannot.

Romans 7:14 – For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.

Perhaps the greatest challenge a saved man or woman faces in life is to accept that Christ died for what they are, and that they are saved sinners, not sinners who, if they try hard enough can completely stop sinning.  This is not to say they should stop fighting against sin, for that is to go on until the saved soul leaves the body, nor is it meant to imply that sin should not be decreasing as they are found walking daily by faith.  But it does mean they should not let the devil put them on a guilt trip because they keep on sinning, no mater how hard they try to stop or, even worse, actually convinces them they have finally reached their ultimate goal of no longer committing sin.  By far the most gracious thing I have discovered since I was saved is that God’s grace is so deep I cannot find the bottom of it.  Paul wrote of this great depth of grace and love he had found in Christ Jesus in his first epistle to Timothy.

I Timothy 1:14-16 – And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.

This was one of Paul’s latter epistles, so he was certainly not a young Christian at this time, and certainly more mature than I will ever become, and yet he states that he is, in his own mind, the chief of sinners.  The words “I am” are “eimi ego,” and they are present indicative active, which means that Paul was referring to himself at the time he was writing the epistle, not to his time as Saul of Tarsus.

Paul, like John, echoed the same principle of continuing in true to get to know the one that saved you.  I promise you, I like him a lot more now that I am getting to see the depth of his grace and love, and it is much easier to follow him than when I was first saved.  

I Timothy 2:3-6 – For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; [4] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

God doesn’t just want us to be saved and wait for him to come and get us.  God wants us to come to know his Son in the grace and love that is available in him!  As a babe in Christ comes to this knowledge of the truth, he understands that no one stands between himself and God other then Christ, and that it is God’s testimony the ransom price of his blood, when we accept it, covers all our sins, past, present, and future.  I am testifying that right now!  It is the record God gives us of him.

I John 5:9-13 – If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. [10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. [12] He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. [13] These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life,

II John 3-6 – Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.   [4] I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father. [5] And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. [6] And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

I Peter 4:8 – And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

John 13:35 – By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

   
   

SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 262A

February 11, 2005

Escaping by Grace, only to be Recaptured by the Law!  Part 8


DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE GRACE OF GOD!

From what source must any human obtain God’s love?

Romans 5:5 – And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.

Does a saved person have to return God’s love to him to go to heaven?  No   

If so, then salvation is not by grace!  

Can a saved man or woman go to heaven if they don’t keep the commandments of Christ?  Yes

Many saved men and women keep the law because they are afraid God will send them to hell if they don’t, but those who know he won’t, keep them because they love him.

John 14:21 – He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.

If a saved man does not keep his commandments, will he have constant fellowship in the immediate presence of Christ in this life, and in heaven?  No

John 14:21-24 – He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. [22] Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world? [23] Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. [24] He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.

Is returning God’s love what gets us to heaven and out from under his condemnation?  No

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and SHALL NOT COME into condemnation; but IS PASSED from death unto life. Jesus spoke the verses in John 13:34,35 and 14:1-3 to the remaining 11 disciples after Judas had departed the group.  They had all followed Jesus as his first New Testament church?  All of them had been immersed by John in the Jordan and then called out by Jesus to be his local church that followed him faithfully for more than three years.  They were faithful church members who kept his commandments.  Where do you think such people will live in heaven?  Do you think it possible that being baptized and being faithful in one of Christ’s local churches might determine “where” you live in heaven?

John 13:34,35 – A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [35] By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.

John 14:1-3 – Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [2] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. [3] And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

Where is his Father’s house in the final heaven age?

Revelation 21:1-3 – And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

Will Jesus live in that city with those men and women who kept his commandments because they loved him?

Revelation 22:14,1-5 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. [1] And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. [2] In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. [3] And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: [4] And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. [5] And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever.

Where will the saved live that did not love him?  

Revelation 21:24 – And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  

How far out of fellowship were some of those saved men and women living outside the city in this present life?

Revelation 22:11,12 – He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. [12] And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  

Don’t try and tell me a church member can’t live an unjust or filthy life.

Quickly is an adverbial modifier, used as a descriptive adjective.  It refers not to the “time” of his coming, but to the “manner” of his coming.  He will come in a split second, like the time it takes an eye to blink, and church members will be caught in whatever life style they are living at that moment.  That is why the word “still” is used four times.

Galatians 6:7 – Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

In the first chapter of Revelation the Spirit advises the reader that the entire book is written to churches.  In the second and third chapter the expression, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” is used seven times.  In the last chapter the following verse appears.

Revelation 22:16 – I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

The three following Scriptures identify what gets a person “to” heaven, and allows that person to remain there forever.

Acts 20:21 – Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 1:17,18 – For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. [18] For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

Ephesians 2:8,9 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.

And the two following Scriptures determine “where” he lives in heaven once he goes there.

Acts 2:41,42 – Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. [42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

Matthew 28:20 – Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

Church members found performing those two Scriptures will live in the city of the New Jerusalem.

Revelation 22:14 – Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.

Scriptural baptism and continuing faithful in one of his churches does not save you, but it does determine the place you will dwell in heaven.  Being baptized, after experiencing the gift of salvation in receiving the Holy Spirit, is a commandment according to Peter.

Acts 10:47,48 – Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? [48] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days,


SPECIAL PROPHECY UPDATE NUMBER 262B

February 15, 2006

Escaping by Grace, Only to be Recaptured by the Law?

Part 9


Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

In our society, it is not uncommon for a young man to get so far in debt that he goes to a loan shark to get enough to pay off his gigantic debt.  The loan shark lets him have the money, but he has to get an extra job to repay him.  And, even with the added burden of his new additional job, he is only to pay the interest on the loan monthly.  This pleases the lone shark immensely, since he will keep paying off the loan for the rest of his life at a much greater final cost, and will never pay it in full.  So, he keeps on paying on his debt month by month, year after year, and finally dies at age 80, without any of the actual debt being paid.

The loan shark is much like the Devil, who successfully keeps him paying all his accountable life, and he dies without every completing the payment.

The principle is the total debt he owes by law that says he must pay it.  He is a slave to the law that demands full payment.

The monthly payment is the great burden that hangs around his neck all his life, with each new payment reminding his conscience it is still unpaid.  He dies knowing his labor has not been sufficient to pay off the total debt.

People who come to Jesus alone for salvation receive it, and it is not a loan.  He pays the full debt and charges them nothing.  He paid their debt off completely and forever by his works and by his blood.  Saved people who go back under the law are paying interest on a debt they no longer owe.  It is a penalty they pay for not going on in the study of his word to understand Jesus paid it off forever.  If they continue in his word after he saves them, then they will come to understand how free he has set them from the condemnation of God to hell for all their sins, past, present, and future.

John 8:30-32 – As he spake these words, many believed on him. [31] Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; [32] And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Failure of a saved soul to know him more and more in a full relationship, as he reveals himself in his word, is the major reason many saved souls never find the second rest he defines in the verse following Matthew 11:28.

Matthew 11:29 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

The yoke of the Devil under the law is a heavy burden one carries all their natural life.  By comparison, the yoke of Christ we put on after we are saved is a zillion times lighter, because we have been removed forever from the condemnation of God for sin.

Matthew 11:30 – For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

One of the reasons that so many people will not submit themselves to God for service is this – They are still dealing with God on the basis of an unpaid debt, and live under the apprehension he is angry with them – it is only natural they will try to avoid him, much as the man who avoids contact with the loan shark because he still owes him the debt.

If believers continue in what his word will teach them about the character of the one who saved them, then they will eventually be convinced that what Jesus did on the cross was sufficient to forever deliver them from the spiritual death of being eternally separated from him in a lake of fire.  They will come to realize they will never again go back under his condemnation for sin, having been passed from death unto life.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, HATH everlasting life, and SHALL NOT COME into condemnation; but IS PASSED from death unto life.

Security of the believer is the start of a relationship with Jesus that becomes more and more personal as one gets to know him.  It is the beginning of a relationship that leads to the saved soul finding peace under a light yoke.

Matthew 11:29,30 – Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. [30] For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

The relationship with Christ is a journey in this life that is well documented by Peter.

I Peter 2:1-6 – Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings [2] As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: [3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ  [1] Are we attempting to do it in love?  [2] Do we desire his word?  [3] Have we tasted his graciousness?  [4] Do we keep on coming back for more of [2]?  [5] Are we serving in one of his local N.T. churches?