Thursday, October 31, 2013

Advancing The Kingdom




Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word. (Acts 8:4)





God's first commission to man was to "multiply and replenish the earth". 

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.  (Genesis 1:28) 


The emphasis was on people. The goal was to fill the earth with men and women created in the image of God with a personal relationship with God. But in Genesis 11:1-9 we find the emphasis was changed by man.

At Shinar the emphasis was on building a city and a great tower instead of populating the earth. Projects rather than people had become the focus of attention. The purposes were selfish: To make a great name and congregate a great number of people.

At the tower of Babel God came to view the work of the people. God had not appointed their task, so He had to come see what they were doing. This is the condition of many of our churches. We have ignored the commission to extend the Kingdom and we are building great towers of denomination and membership. We are building great buildings. What would God think if He came down to view what we are doing?

The people of Shinar said , "Let us build a city." There is a difference between a city built by man and a city whose builder and maker is God. These people were building by self-effort to accomplish their own selfish desires.

God took action. He came down and confounded their language:  

Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore the name of it is called Babel: because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. (Genesis 11:7-9)

With everyone speaking different languages the project had to be halted.

We hear many conflicting voices in the Church today. When communication becomes confused, we should examine our tower. It may be that the projects we are working on are not of God. Sometimes, as in the case of Babel, extending the Kingdom of God involves tearing down instead of building up. But some people will not stop their own projects to extend the Kingdom because their work has become an idol.

Jesus commissioned the early Church to reproduce disciples throughout the earth, not build a great Church at Jerusalem. Yet we find the Church reproduced so rapidly that organization and administration systems were strained (Acts 6). They were creating a great mass of believers in Jerusalem instead of going out to the nations of the world as they had been commanded. Because of this, God allowed persecution to come and the believers were scattered:  

And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. (Acts 8:1)

Through this they returned to their original commission as ambassadors of the Kingdom:  

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the Word. (Acts 8:4)

When "great churches" are gone, God's people live on. The Kingdom of God will not be extended throughout the world by the building of great buildings. It will not advance through projects. It will spread by ambassadors bearing witness to the Gospel of the Kingdom and disciples reproducing disciples.

The parables of the talents in Luke 19 and Matthew 25 reveals that the Kingdom will be spread by wise use of the spiritual gifts and abilities.

The parable of the leaven revealed that the Kingdom would have a small beginning, but as leaven in bread it would continue to steadily spread. 

Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.  
 (Matthew 13:33)


The parable of the net cast into the sea revealed that the Kingdom of God will draw men and women of all nations.

The Kingdom is also spread as men cast the seed of the Gospel into the hearts of men and women. Like seed in the natural world, the Gospel of the Kingdom grows, although the growth process is not fully understood by the one sowing the seed 

And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;  And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.  (Mark 4:26-27)

We are promised:  

Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. (Luke 12:32)

There will come that great day when the Kingdom of God is permanently established and the Kingdom of Satan finally defeated:  

And I heard a loud voice saying in Heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the Kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. (Revelation 12:10)

Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. (I Corinthians 15:24)

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ: and He shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)

And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:33)

Until that great day you can claim this promise: 

And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (II Timothy 4:18)

And our final prayer for you is this, 

That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His Kingdom and glory. (I Thessalonians 2:12)

(Biblical Studies)


(07/23/14)

(07/27/15)

Church Relevancy




And Paul said , I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am , except these bonds.  Acts 26:29





In many cases, the modern Church has lost the emphasis of building and extending the Kingdom of God. We want to see our church grow in membership size but are we concerned with discipleship or son-ship of our members?  We build great churches, beautiful buildings, and large denominations. We emphasize the building of orphanages, schools, and hospitals.  While these things are good and a legitimate part of the ministry of the Church, they are not to be the central focus. Fund raising and construction are not our commission. The products of such can result in the building of personal kingdoms rather than the worldwide extension of the Kingdom of God.

Apostle Paul warned of this when he said...  

For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.  (Philippians 2:21)

Each ministry project considered should be judged by this question: 

How will this help fulfill the commission to extend God's Kingdom? 

We preach and teach on many subjects. . . marriage, family, prophecy, etc.  These are good subjects and much needed in our world today. We train great orators to fill our Church pulpits. But each message should be judged by this question: 

How does this message communicate the principles of the Kingdom of God?

Ask yourself these questions...

    ¨     How long has it been since I heard a message on the Kingdom of God?
     ¨     How is my Church fulfilling the commission to extend God's Kingdom?
     ¨     How am I personally fulfilling my role as an ambassador of the Kingdom of God?

Jesus taught that we are to focus our prayers on the Kingdom. We are to pray:  

Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.    (Matthew 6:10)

We are to seek the Kingdom as our highest priority in life:
  
But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)

But rather seek ye the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Luke 12:31)

The Church [body of Christ] was raised up by God as an instrument through which the Kingdom is to be extended to the nations of the world. Many churches have lost the vision of this calling. They have emphasized building their membership and denomination instead of building the Kingdom.  God is looking for quality over quantity.

Competition between pastors, churches, and denominations has broken the unity of the Body of Christ. We have lost the vision of one united Kingdom of God of which each local Church is only a part. Instead of helping one another in the mission to extend the Kingdom, we compete for greater buildings, larger membership rolls, and increased finances to build our own kingdoms.


The Apostle Paul, a great ambassador of the Kingdom during the period of the early Church, said:  

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (I Corinthians 2:4-5)

The first Church fulfilled the commission of extending the Kingdom of God not only by teaching and preaching. It was not extended by educated theologians, parties, programs, fundraisers, church membership drives or building great buildings. The commission was accomplished by combining the message of the Kingdom with the demonstration of the power of the King.

The extension of the Kingdom became the central purpose of the early Church. Despite persecution, believers continued to fulfill their commission as ambassadors of the Kingdom:

...And at that time there was a great persecution against the Church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions...

Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. (Acts 8:1,4)

Part of the follow-up plan for establishing churches was instruction regarding the Kingdom of God:  

...They returned again...confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:21-22)

The Kingdom of God was the message to the laymen of the Church:  

But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. (Acts 8:12)

The Kingdom of God was the focus of great leaders of the Church:  

And he [Paul] went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the Kingdom of God. (Acts 19:8)

The Kingdom of God was the central focus of Apostle Paul's ministry. Towards the end of his ministry Paul told believers:

... And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. (Acts 20:25)

In the final Biblical record of Paul he is continuing the extension of the Kingdom even though captive in Rome:  

Preaching the Kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. (Acts 28:31)

The plan of God is that the Church not only preach the Kingdom but that it should be a living example of the Kingdom. 

Are we meeting that challenge?

The Church needs to lose itself in a greater cause than its membership rolls. It needs to dedicate its efforts to more than building programs and membership drives. 

The Church needs to seek first the Kingdom of God which transcends denominational, cultural, and national boundaries.

If the Church will seek first the Kingdom, then all these others things will be added.



(Biblical Studies)

10/02/14

10/02/15
01/06/17

Die to Live Again







and they will mock Him, and scourge Him, and spit on Him, and kill Him. And the third day He will rise again."  Mark 10:34





Even as Jesus died on the cross for us so that our sins may be washed away and we may have our eternal home with Him, we are to die to the world and the things of the world.  When we are baptized in the name of Jesus, the bondage of sin is broken and we die to the world and emerge in new life in Jesus Christ; dead to the world yet alive in Jesus Christ!  Just as Jesus died in the world but emerged victorious through death to prepare our eternal home for us, so must we symbolically die to this world and emerge as agents for Jesus to help bring others to the realization of Jesus and what He accomplished for mankind.  Through the power of the Holy Spirit, we have new life here on earth!  We can live better lives as new creatures in Christ Jesus even as we await His return.

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  2 Corinthians 5:17


Jesus explained to the multitude that they who embrace Him are to be the salt of the earth:


Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew 5:13

Our seasoning should be so distinctive that it's very savor should attract others to taste of it.  This can't be possible if our seasoning is non-distinctive from the world.  When you look at the resurrection of Jesus; when He emerged on the other side of death, Mary Magdalene did not recognize Him.  And so, we too, as believers and followers of Jesus, should be distinguishable from our former self.


But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.  1 Peter 1:15-16


After His death by crucifixion, Jesus was buried but He did not remain in the tomb. The miraculous resurrection of Jesus is recorded in the books of Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20.


And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.  He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.  Matthew 28:5-6

And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.  Mark 16:6
Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.  And when he had so said , he shewed unto them his hands and his side. Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.  John 20:19-20

Through His resurrection from the dead, Jesus gained victory over physical death. Those who become part of the Kingdom of God not only experience physical death just like Jesus, but they will also experience resurrection from the dead as He did. Because our King is eternal, we are part of an eternal Kingdom and have eternal life.

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus appeared to many people. You can read about His appearances in Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20-21, and Acts 1.

After Jesus appeared to many people over a period of forty days, He returned to Heaven. He will remain there until time for Him to return and establish the visible Kingdom of God in final form. The return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ for His people to Heaven is recorded in Matthew 28:16-20, Mark 16:19-20, Luke 24:50-53, and Acts 1:1-11.

Just before He returned to Heaven, Jesus gave His followers an important commission to be ambassadors of the Kingdom throughout the world.

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  Matthew 28:19-20

The Bible reveals that Jesus will return to earth in great power and glory to set up the visible Kingdom in its final form. The set up of this glorious kingdom upon Jesus' return can be found in I Thessalonians 4:13-18. The account of the establishing of the Kingdom and the events preceding it is recorded in the book of Revelation. The Bible reveals that the Kingdom of Jesus will be eternal:  

And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:33)

Every kingdom of earth and the kingdom of Satan will be defeated by the King of kings. In the end an announcement will be made:   

And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 11:15)


We have much to look forward to at the return of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Until then, we are told to come out from among the world:


Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate , saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  (2 Corinthians 6:17)


Live a victorious life in Jesus after death to the world!  Die to this world so you can live this life to live again.


    
(Biblical Studies)

08/07/14 

01/31/15
03/21/16
04/18/17

The KING of kings, Do you know Him?






And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end.
(Luke 1:33)







I want to begin by saying that it is not what you know about the eternal kingdom; it helps, but in this case, it's who you know that gains you entrance. Take the opportunity to get to know who Jesus is and then get to know Him on a personal level.  

There is no kingdom without a king. A king is a sovereign ruler of a nation, tribe, or country. Applying the word "sovereign" to Jesus means he has the supreme power, highest authority, and is free from outside control.

In times past in the natural world there were many kings and kingdoms. In an earthly kingdom the king owned all the territory in the kingdom and had authority over everything in the kingdom including the people.

The king made the laws of the kingdom and residents of the kingdom obeyed these laws. The king had power over the people, including the power of life or death.

The greatest of all kings is the Lord, Jesus Christ. Paul refers to Jesus as the King of Kings:

Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords.
(I Timothy 6:15)

The book of Revelation calls Him King of kings: 

These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. (Revelation 17:14)

And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.  (Revelation 19:16)

Jesus is the King of kings because He rules over a Kingdom that is eternal and sovereign. The Kingdom of God will never come to an end. It will never be overthrown by revolution. There will never be another ruler who will succeed the King of kings.

The Bible tells the account of the King of kings. Part of that is the account of His life and ministry on earth. But Jesus existed before His earthly ministry; His pre-existence with God in John 1:1-18. where Jesus is referred to as "The Word".

The Old Testament contains many prophecies about the King of kings. A prophecy is an immediate word from God which reveals things about the future which cannot be known by natural wisdom.

These Old Testament prophecies reveal how, when, and where the King was to be born and many details about His life, ministry, death, and resurrection. The New Testament shows how Jesus fulfilled these prophecies.

The genealogy of the King of kings, Jesus, is found in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. The genealogy traces the ancestors of Jesus through His earthly father and mother. But remember, Jesus was really the Son of God born to the virgin Mary found in Matthew l and 2 and Luke l and 2.

Jesus was called by many different names, some of which reflect His ministry and purpose. Jesus has many, many names ascribed to Him, the King of Kings; [far too many to list here] from Adam, the Second (I Corinthians 15:45-47) to the Word of God (Revelation 19:13). The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John tell the account of the life of King Jesus. These books were written by three disciples of Jesus and a Greek physician turned Christian.

The ministry and teachings of Jesus are recorded in the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

Although there is much recorded in the four Gospels about the life and ministry of Jesus, John informs us:

And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. (John 21:25)

As far as natural ancestry, Jesus was born a Jew. He came as King to His own Jewish people first, but they rejected Him. He was questioned as to whether or not He was the expected King (Matthew 27:11; Mark 15:2). He was accused of being of Satan rather than of God (Matthew 12:25-28; Luke 11:17-20). On one occasion the people tried to take Jesus and make Him a king by force because He was not establishing the visible kingdom they desired 

When Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take him by force, to make him a king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone.  (John 6:15)

Only once was there public acclaim of Jesus as King. This was when He came into Jerusalem for the final time (Matthew 21:1-9). But the same people who honored him as king that day soon turned against Him. Many of those who cried "Hosanna" as Jesus rode into Jerusalem were shouting "Crucify Him" just a few days later. They were disappointed that Jesus did not overthrow the Roman government and set up a great earthly kingdom. Those who longed for release from foreign domination were angry when Jesus did not establish a visible, earthly kingdom.

Jesus was not the King which the Jews had pictured. He did not crush the Roman Empire. He did not set up the expected earthly Kingdom. He did not act as they thought a king should act. What they failed to realize was that before Jesus could assert His outward Lordship, He first had to rule the inner fortress of man's heart!

The greatest need of the Jewish people was not freedom from Rome, but release from the chains of sin. The key to the Kingdom of Jesus was repentance, not revolution.

Satan tempted Jesus to set up a visible earthly Kingdom (Matthew 4:8; Luke 4:5). Right up to the end of the earthly ministry of Jesus, the disciples longed for an earthly Kingdom (Acts 1:6). But the Kingdom of God was not to be set up at this time in visible form. Jesus said:

Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence(John 18:36)

So the King of Kings was rejected by His own people:

He came unto His own, and His own received Him not. (John 1:11)

Only a few people recognized Jesus as King. Nathanael, one of His disciples, was one of these:

Nathanael answered and saith unto Him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.
(John 1:49)

But to those few who accepted Jesus as King, a special relationship was extended:

But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name. (John 1:12)

All of life is based on relationship. It is not what you know that is most important, it is who you know. It is not what we know about the Bible or Christianity that assures our entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is who we know. You must know the King of kings in order to enter and maintain residency in the Kingdom of God.

Sinful man can not enter the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is different from all other kingdoms. It is a righteous Kingdom. Through the death of King Jesus, a way is provided for all men to become part of the Kingdom. Jesus did nothing worthy of death. He never sinned, but He died in the place of all those who have sinned. He paid the penalty of death for our sins:

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The King of King, Jesus Christ ensured our entrance into His kingdom with His final act of selflessness; His death.  (Matthew 26-27, Mark 14-15, Luke 22-23, and John 18-19)

(Biblical Studies)

06/01/15
08/02/16

Worldly Standards -vs- Biblical Principles





All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (1 Chronicles 28:19)






When we take up residency in the Kingdom of God we must learn the patterns and principles of Kingdom living. It is similar to learning the lifestyle of a new country to which we have immigrated.

The Bible is the written record of the patterns and principles by which the Kingdom of God operates. In order to follow these patterns and principles, we must understand their importance and know that this is not a mix and match package deal.  It is one way or the other.  Jesus told the disciples:

 He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.  Matthew 12:30

According to the standards of the world:

A pattern is an original or model of something created for the purpose of imitation. It is something designed to be copied or imitated. For example, clothing is created from patterns. A dress pattern is placed on material and the material cut according to the pattern. Many dresses can be created from the same pattern and they will all be identical because they came from the same pattern.

A principle is a truth, method, or rule adopted as the basis for action or conduct. It is a general truth composed of other subordinate truths. "Subordinate" truths are related to the general truth. For example, a basic principle of the constitution of the United States of America provides for freedom of expression. The subordinate truths include the rights to write and speak freely, conduct lawful assemblies, express beliefs, etc.

However, in order to imbrace kingdom living, we must understand from a biblical perspective:

A Biblical pattern is a spiritual model or example given in Scripture for purposes of imitation. For example, the life of Jesus Christ is given as a pattern or model which believers are to follow.

A Biblical principle is a spiritual truth taught in Scripture. Such principles often incorporate additional subordinate principles which apply to many different situations. For example, one biblical principle taught by Jesus is "Give and ye shall receive." Its subordinate truths apply to giving money, material goods, friendship, etc. In each of these, spiritual benefits are received as a result of the act of giving.

The passage below stresses the importance of patterns and principles. God established specific patterns for the nation of Israel to follow which included spiritual patterns of conduct as well as material patterns for their places of worship.

And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places.

In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them forever.

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them.

This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house. Ezekiel 43:7-12   


But Israel set up their own patterns. This is what God means when He says they have "set up their thresholds by my thresholds" and "their posts by my posts." Because Israel created their own patterns, they erected a wall of separation between them and God which stopped the flow of God's power. It prevented their worship and service from being acceptable to Him.

The prophet Ezekiel told the people to look at God's pattern and measure the pattern of their lives accordingly:

Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities; and let them measure the pattern.  (Ezekiel 43:10)

When people set up their own patterns of conduct, their own denominational, religious, or cultural rules, they set up a false standard of measurement. They begin to teach as Biblical doctrine things that are nothing but commandments of men.

Jesus said of such people: But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)

It is important to understand Biblical patterns and principles because otherwise your worship of God can be in vain.

There are many worldly standards of measurement. There are different patterns for worldly conduct and success which men pattern themselves after. Men measure themselves by other men instead of by God's standard. The Apostle Paul wrote:  

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. (2 Corinthians 10:12)

When Moses was given instructions for building the tabernacle, he was cautioned to do everything according to the pattern given by God:  

According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it...

And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount.
 (Exodus 25:9, 40)

Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. (Hebrews 8:5)

King David was careful to follow God's pattern when he planned for the construction of the temple:

All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (I Chronicles 28:19)

These men were careful to follow the pattern of God in the physical world. How much more careful we should be to follow the spiritual patterns and principles found in the Bible.

Jesus was the great example by which believers are to pattern their lives:  

For I (Jesus) have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. (John 13:15)

The lives of men and women of God are recorded in the Bible as patterns for us to follow:  

Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. (I Corinthians 10:6)

Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. (I Corinthians 10:11)

The record of the nations in the Bible provide positive examples for other nations to follow and negative examples to avoid:

And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. (II Peter 2:6)

Christian leaders are to be examples to their followers:  

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. (I Peter 5:2-3)

The Apostle Paul wrote:  

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (Philippians 3:17)

Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us. (II Thessalonians 3:9)

Believers are to be spiritual patterns themselves. They are to provide a positive spiritual example for others to follow:

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. (I Timothy 4:12)

If we are to provide a positive spiritual pattern for others, then we must understand and incorporate Biblical principles into our life.

So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  (I Thessalonians 1:7)

In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, (Titus 2:7)

Apostle Paul refers to the "first principles of the oracles of God." 

For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.  Hebrews 5:12

 He then goes on to list these principles:

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. And this will we do , if God permit. Hebrews 6:1-3

These patterns and principles differ from worldly standards and from the patterns and principles of the kingdoms of this world.   Believers are to fully embrace the patterns and principles of the Kingdom of God.

(Biblical Studies)

01/29/15

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