VOL.6 NO. 1 © 1997INTERNET EDITION
IN THIS ISSUE:
The Light of the World
The Kingdom of God, Part 1
by Charles Kimbrough
One of the most quoted scriptures in the Church today is Matthew 23:2-3, "The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses' seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works, for they say, and do not do." These two verses have caused more confusion (in my opinion) than any other two verses in the entire scriptures. This is because of the lack of understanding of what Moses' seat really is and where it is.
It is obvious that Christ did not observe and do what the scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees taught and observed. Would Christ tell us to do something that neither He nor His disciples were doing? Matthew 15:1 says, "Then the scribes and Pharisees who were from Jerusalem asked Jesus, Why do your disciples transgress the traditions of the elders?" Jesus' answer was, "Why do you transgress the commandments of God by your traditions?" Then Jesus goes on to explain how they broke the commandments by not honoring their father and mother. Then in verse 8 He quotes from Isaiah, "These people draw near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips" (more on this later) in verse 9 He said, "In vain they do worship me teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Read Matthew 16:6 "Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees." His disciples did not understand what He was talking about. They thought he was talking about bread. Then in Verse 11 and 12 Jesus Christ says, "How is it that you do not understand? I did not speak to you concerning bread but that you should be concerned and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees. Then they understood that they should beware of the Doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees."
There are many scriptures in the New Testament that we could quote from but take a closer look at Matthew 23 and ask yourself a question. Was Christ observing what the scribes and Pharisees were teaching and doing? Is He telling us to follow the Pharisees today? It is obvious that is not what He was telling His disciples and He was not telling us to follow the Pharisees today. When we understand what Moses seat is and where it is, the confusion is cleared up.
If you had gone to a synagogue in Jesus' day you would have seen and heard the scribes and Pharisees reading from the Torah, the Prophets, and the Psalms, and quoting it verbatim without comment. It was done in Jesus day and it is still done today. After all, it was the scribes who meticulously transcribed the scriptures flawlessly. They, the scribes and Pharisees, were sitting in the seat of Moses and had the authority to sit in the seat of Moses and read from the scriptures every Sabbath day. Most of the scribes were Pharisees. Think about this: this is why Christ said in Matthew 15:8-9 " These people draw near with their mouth and honor Me with their lips but their hearts are far from Me and in vain they worship Me teaching as doctrines the commandments of men." They did not teach and do what they read very Sabbath day from the scriptures.
In Acts 15:21, quoting James; "for Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day." The Torah, Prophets, Psalms and writings were being quoted accurately and James and all of the apostles at that time still went into the synagogues to hear the scriptures read.
In conclusion: Moses' seat is in the synagogues; Aaron's seat is in the temple which is another subject altogether. Christ was telling His disciples and us to follow the scriptures to the letter and spirit of the law. Christ gave no one the authority to change the Sabbath day, nor the observance of a Holy day, or to change and manipulate when they were to be observed. Jesus Christ did not give that authority to the Catholic Church nor to the scribes and Pharisees. And you may thank God for it.
We have a larger article and a sermon tape on this subject and they are free for the asking.
THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
by Jim Moffis
Christ, in His sermon on the mount, told His disciples in Matt 5:14-16 "Ye are the Light of the World. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick, and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven."
Question: How can we, as begotten children of God, be a better and brighter light to those with which we come in contact? Verse 15 makes it very clear that our light must be out in the open as on a candlestick and not under a bushel, and verse 16 tells us that our light should shine in a manner that others may see our good works, and glorify our Father which is in heaven.
Many ministers and churches hate and shun that little word called "works" and teach and preach that our works have nothing to do with salvation and that it is by faith only that we are saved. Yes, it is by faith, but it must be faith in action. In James 2:26, he states, "For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also." Yes, works are very important in the salvation process. Our works determine the brightness of our light; not just ordinary works ,but good works.
There are many Bible examples of good and bad works. There's the story of the good Samaritan as told in Luke 10:30-35, how a certain man who on his way to Jericho from Jerusalem was beaten and robbed by a group of thieves, leaving him half dead. No one offered to help this poor traveler, including a Priest and a Levite who were familiar with the Old Testament Scriptures. Scriptures which not only instruct us how to show our love for God but also for our fellow man and neighbor (Lev. 19:18). Instead of helping this poor man, they went out of their way, by crossing to the other side of the road, to avoid having to come to his aid. Finally, the good Samaritan came by, saw his predicament, had compassion on him and went out of his way to come to the man's assistance.
Then there's the story of the rich man and Lazarus as told by Jesus in Luke 16:19-31. Lazarus was a beggar who was laid at the rich man's gate. He was full of sores and begged for the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores (vs 21). The rich man knew Lazarus was at his gate. He probably walked past him every day and wished to himself that the man would move to another part of town to do his begging. There is evidence from the scripture that the rich man was an Israelite(verses 28-29) and knew God's instructions about helping the needy. He probably kept the Sabbath and the Holy Days, paid tithes and had a "seat" in the synagogue. He may have had the Ten Commandments carved on his doorpost and read them each time he left and entered his home. In his mind he was doing everything right, but in his heart there was no light, there was no love or compassion for his fellow human being.
We are admonished by James to help the needy in their time of troubles. James 1:27 says, "Pure religion and undefiled before god and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction (trouble) and to keep himself unspotted from the world." I'm sure that all would agree that we need to develop a genuine love for each other and for our fellow man. John tells in I John 2:9 " He that saith he is in the light and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and knoweth not whiher he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
Everything we do should be based on love. Even the Ten Commandments can be summed up in two great Commandments as pointed out by Jesus in Matt.22:37-40, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and Great Commandment, and the second is like unto it. Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two Commandments hang all the law and the Prophets."
Rom 13:10 tells us that love is the fulfilling of the law. We must have true and genuine love for God and show it by striving to obey his every command and by treating others the way we would want to be treated. But also notice in John 13:34, Christ gave us a new commandment, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another ; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another." How much does Christ love us?
Eph 5:25 tells us that Christ loved His church so much that He died for it. Now that's genuine love! He gave all He could give, His very life, and now He commands us to have that kind of love for one another, and be a light to the world and let it shine among men-a light based on love.
But is this really our light that is to shine forth or is this light from some other source? Is our light generated by us or does it depend on some other power? Notice what John has to say about this in John 1:1-9 (Good News version), "Before the world was created, the Word already existed; He was with God, and He was the same as God. From the very beginning the Word was with God. Through Him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without Him. The Word was the source of life, and this life....brought life to mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never put it out.
God sent His messenger, a man named John, who came to tell people about the light, so that all should hear the message and believe. He himself was not the light; he came to tell about the light. This was the real Light--the light that comes into the world and shines on all mankind." And in John 8:12 we read, "Jesus spoke to the Pharisees again, "I am the Light of the world", he said, "Whoever follows me will have the Light of life and will never be in darkness." (GNV.)
Jesus Christ is the true Light of the world and He is the Light of life--He is our Power source. Without Him we are nothing. It's His Holy Spirit that lights our life. It's Christ shining through us that makes us the light of the world. If we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we have that spark of life which will eventually lead us to eternal life and to become joint heirs with Christ. I John 5:12 makes this perfectly clear; "He that has the Son has life, and he that has not the Son of God has no life." It can't be any plainer than that!
The apostle Paul was aware of this fact. Notice what he says in Col 1:12-14,"Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet (fit) to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in Light: who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated (brought) us in the kingdom of His dear Son: in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sin."
God has delivered us from the power of darkness (Satan's power) through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christ died on the hill of Golgotha in order that we might, in this life, be a city set on a hill; a city that reflects His light and His love, not ours. We must constantly remind ourselves what the Son of God did for us and all mankind. If He had committed just one sin the whole world would be in terrible darkness today.
We have all sinned. We deserve to be in darkness--that outer darkness He mentions in Mat 8:12 the type of darkness that covered the earth for three hours as Jesus hung on the stake. He had to experience this outer darkness, this total separation from God the Father. Why? Because He was paying the second death penalty for you and for me! a hell-like death. He was bearing our sins and it's sin that separates us from God.
Listen to what Isaiah says about this in Isa 59:1-2; "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have separated between you and your God and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear."
No wonder our Savior cried out as He hung there on the stake, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me!" His heavenly Father did hide His face from His Son as He hung there in pain and torment. This is what we all deserve but Christ paid the penalty for us. We should thank God every day for not giving us what we deserve and ask Him to help us all be a light, powered by His Son living within us. All of us have been in darkness in the past before our heavenly Father called us out of that darkness. Most of the world is still in this terrible darkness and we, as God's people, are called to shine like stars during this dark night of evil. Evil brought on the world by Satan and his kingdom of unholy angels.
Satan's kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. But Daniel 12:3 tells us, "And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars fore ever and ever." Also note the words of Paul in Phil 2:14-15, "Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like the stars in the universe" (NIV)
We cannot do this on our own. The only way we can be a light to the world is to have the Spirit of Christ living within us. Notice what Paul says in II Cor. 4;6-7, "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, has shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the Power may be of God and not of us."
God has given each of us, who know His truth, a responsibility that we can't take lightly. He has given all of us a portion of His power to light up our lives and the lives of others. We must not hide this light under a bushel or bury it in the sand like the unprofitable servant. We must not let it go out like the five foolish virgins. We can't allow the winds of adversity to blow it out--instead we've got to keep it flamed and stirred up through Bible study, prayer, meditation and fasting.
II Cor.5:20 tells us that we are ambassadors for Christ. As His ambassadors, we are His representatives. Are we conducting our lives as He would have us to as His personal representative? Do we live as if we were Him? Do we control our tempers? Are we courteous to others, especially when driving? Do we spread cheer wherever we go? Are other people glad to see us arrive, or gladder still to see us leave? One sourpuss can spoil a party.
We must use Godly wisdom in everything we say and do. One "touchy" action is the consumption of alcoholic beverages. It is not a sin to drink a little wine or an occasional beer, but we must use discretion in so doing. It is true that the first recorded miracle that Christ performed was that of turning water into wine at a marriage celebration, however, some new individuals just coming into the truth (babes in Christ, 1 Cor 3:1) have been taught otherwise in their previous religious teachings and may be offended when they first witness other brethren partaking of alcoholic beverages. Mat 10:16 states that we must be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. We should have the attitude of Paul in 1 Cor 8 where he is discussing the consumption of meat which is being used as an offering to idols. Some of the brethren thought this was wrong, so Paul stated in verse 13, "If meat makes my brother to offend (trip or stumble), I will eat no flesh while the world standeth lest I make my brother to offend."
Not only should we be concerned about the "babes in Christ" in our use of alcohol, but also our own children. Here again, we must use Godly wisdom and caution. It behooves each one of us who are parents to set a good example before our children and to teach and train them in the way they should go.
I Thess. 5:8 states, "Let us who are of the day (light) be sober." "Sober" meaning to be sound in mind, self-controlled, discreet and temperate. The preceding verse (vs 7) tells us, "For they that sleep, sleep in the night, and they that be drunken are drunken in the night." Those that do this are not a light to the world, nor a city set on a hill. They do not reflect the light of Christ and shall not inherit the kingdom of God. (1Cor 6:10).
Everything we say and do must reflect our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We must constantly ask ourselves, "Would Christ do this" or "would He want me to say that?" After all, we are His representatives. How often do we pause and meditate on God's love and mercy--to think that He wants us to be in His very family, and that He has made it possible through His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
Look how Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, expressed God's mercy. It's found in Luke 1:76-79, "And you my child (speaking of John the Baptist) will be called a prophet of the Most High. For you will go before the Lord to prepare the way for Him, to give His people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the Rising Sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace." (NIV)
Jesus Christ is that "Rising Sun." He is that light wherever it leads. Christ leads us by His word, the holy Scriptures; "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path." (Psa 119:105) Rev 14 tells us that the 144,000, who were redeemed from among mankind, called to be firstfruits unto God and having His very name written in their foreheads, are those who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. (v 14) If we, as God's children are truly following the Lamb of God, then we are a light to the world and His church is like a city set on a hill. As such, we have the opportunity to be a part of a much larger, more beautiful future city. Revelation 21 describes that glorious city. In verse 9, one of the seven angels says to John, "Come hither, I will shew thee the Bride, the Lamb's wife." God's true Church is the bride and future wife of Christ and as such, we must make ourselves ready to meet the bridegroom and be prepared for the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev 19:7-9).
John goes on to describe that beautiful city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God (Rev 21:10-21). Now notice verses 22 and 23,"And I saw no temple there ;for the Lord Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof."
Each one of us must ask ourselves,"Am I living my life in a manner which reflects the light of the Lamb and will I qualify to be a part of God's Eternal City where His light will shine forever?" May God help us to remain faithful forever!
THE KINGDOM OF GOD, PART 1
by Charles Kimbrough
Many years ago, as a small boy, I remember my grandfather, who was a Primitive (hardshell) Baptist deacon, debating with the Church of Christ about the good news that was to be preached to the world. The debates went something like this. The Church of Christ preached that IF we did NOT go to the world and preach about Christ the lost would spend eternity in an ever-burning hell. The Primitive Baptist believed that it was up to God to save. The preached word was only to those whom God was Calling, that salvation was by grace and God had to grant that grace. They used scriptures such as John 6:44 which says "No one can come unto Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day." Who was correct, or is there a different answer? I would like to say I am not picking on the Church of Christ or the Primitive Baptists because there are a lot of good people in both churches. My point is, what does the Bible teach to us about what is the Kingdom of God, when will it be established and what is the message that we are to teach the world and why.
What is the Good News (the Gospel)? Is it about Jesus, or is it something else altogether? Most, if not all, Sunday Churches preach about Jesus. However, they do not teach the message that Jesus brought from His Father. Let's take a look at some simple scriptures and see if there is a bible answer to THIS most important question.
What is the Good News?
The book of Acts gives us a hint in the 28 chapter and verse 30. The apostle Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house and received all that came to him, verse 31, Preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching those things which concerned the Lord Jesus the Christ with all confidence, no man forbidding him. Here Paul is telling us that the good news of the kingdom of God was DIFFERENT than teaching about Jesus. Acts 20:25 And indeed, now I know that you all, among whom I have gone preaching the Kingdom of God, will see my face no more. Paul taught in the name of Jesus the Christ the good news of the coming Kingdom of God. The message that Jesus brought from His Father.
Before we go into the old scriptures, let's look at what Jesus came preaching. The 4th chapter of Matthew tells us what Jesus taught. Jesus was tempted by the devil. After a forty day fast, Jesus hungered. Satan asked Him if He was the Son of God to turn these stones into bread. Verse 4, Jesus said, "Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that precedes from the mouth of God." Then the devil tried to get Him to tempt God. In verse 7 Jesus said, "It is written again, you shall not tempt the Lord your God." Finally Satan offered to give Him all the kingdoms of the world if He would fall down and worship him. Then in verse 10 Jesus said, "Away with you Satan, for it is written, you shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." Then from that time Jesus began to preach and to say "Repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
Here we see that Matthew called it the Kingdom of heaven. Mark, Luke and John called it the Kingdom of God. Notice Mark 1:14-15, "Now after John was put into Prison, Jesus came into Galilee preaching the gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, `The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the gospel' (good news)." The Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Heaven are both the same. Matthew could have said the kingdom from heaven--which is where the Kingdom of God is coming from. A kingdom of necessity has a territory, laws, a King and subjects. Wait a minute I'm getting ahead of the story. Lets go back to the beginning.
Luke 1:26-29, "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, `Rejoice highly favored one, the lord is with you...' But when she saw him she was troubled at this saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then in verses 31-33 "And behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end." Let's first look at this unfulfilled scripture in Isaiah 9:6-7. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulder. And his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and Peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom..." Psalm 22:27-28 "All ends of the world shall remember and turn to the Lord, And all the families of the nations (gentiles) shall worship before You. For the kingdom is the Lord's And he shall rule over the nations (gentiles)." Here it becomes very obvious that this scripture was not fulfilled at his first coming.
Now I want to go ahead of the story to interject a prophesy which shows Christ fulfilled some things at his first coming and predicts others that will be fulfilled at his second coming. Luke 4:18-19, Jesus was in the temple on the Sabbath day and He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah Then he turned in the scroll where it was written "The spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because he has anointed Me to preach the Gospel (Good news) to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach the deliverance to the captives, and recover the sight of the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Then he closed the scroll with out finishing the total quote in Isaiah 61:1-2. What Christ left out was the last part of verse 2, which reads, And the day of vengeance of our God. He left it out because the last of Isaiah 2 will be fulfilled at his second coming and the establishment of the Kingdom of God on this earth.
Jesus talked about the establishment of the kingdom on this earth in fact he prophesied that the good news (gospel) would be preached to all the world before his return, Matt 24:14; Then the end would come.
There is hardly a country or village hamlet and almost all street corners of this world that Jesus has not been preached at one time or another. If the good news is just about Jesus the Christ, then why has he not returned? The answer is simple. The Gospel has to be preached in the name of Jesus. However, the GOOD NEWS is about the coming Government of God that will rule the world with a rod of iron. Jesus Christ the head, and the saints ruling with Jesus over the rebellious nations. Rev 5:9, And they sang a new song saying; "You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth."
Isaiah 2:2-4, "Now it shall come to past in the latter days that the mountain (Kingdom) of the Lord's house shall be established on top of the mountains (large nations) and shall be exalted above the hills; (small countries) and all nations shall flow to it. Many people shall come and say. ‘Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob He will teach us his paths.' For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord out of Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks, nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither will they learn war any more." Is it not obvious that this prophecy has not been fulfilled. It is a prophecy for the coming kingdom that Jesus will establish at His second Advent.
Next Issue; the Kingdom of God and all that is taught in the New Testament. It will be overwhelming in its content.
by Nadine Kimbrough
It was beautiful! Over a 135 brethren came from all over central Florida. At least twelve independent churches were represented and met together for Pentecost service at the 7th Day Adventist church in Kissimee, Florida.
Manuel Rojas first spoke on the history and things that were going on at the time of the first Pentecost when the Holy Spirit was given to the disciples.
These folks, all 120, were of one mind. They were a Christian sect of Judaism. They only had the Old Testament scriptures as the New Testament had not been written yet. They did not need to be taught the Sabbath, Holy Days, Unclean meats, etc, as they were already keeping these.
Daryl Watson took us through the book of Ruth, tracing the lineage of King David, who will be a king during the millennium, on down through the lineage to Jesus the Christ, who will be king over all. Both Daryl Watson and Manuel Rojas gave very good and very timely sermons. A covered dish dinner was enjoyed by all following services. But the best part of all this very enjoyable Holy Day was seeing brethren we hadn't seen in too many years. I pray that we make a real effort to continue this every year since we all keep Pentecost the same day. We need to stay in touch as long as possible as the scriptures tell us the day will come when we will not be able to meet.
The angels have smiled at the baptism of a new babe in Christ, Kenny Shimp.
Jim Moffis and Edie Lewis, both long time members of the church of God, were united in marriage in September, 1995.
Roy McClure lost his battle with cancer on February 6, 1997. Please remember his family and wife Kate in their grieving. The Knoxville, TN Church has lost a very beloved member and the McClure family must now endure without their husband and father. We all look forward to seeing Roy again in the resurrection!
We were very sad in May to lose a long time child of God, Art Redwanz. He leaves his wife Ruth and children and grandchildren. Mr. Redwanz was 82 years old.
John Humphrey, son of Arthur and Ruth Ann Humphrey, died suddenly. He attended Springdale Academy all through high school and was a member of the Church of God 7th day John lived in the state of Washington.
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