Lay Apart

James 1:21 Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls

So many warnings are written in the Word of what we should not be guilty of or partake in, but so many excuses contradicting God’s Word are still used for those who chose to remain in sin (Rom. 6; 1Jn. 3; 5:18).

We MUST lay apart all moral filthiness and wickedness, impure and unholy affections, baseness, vileness and depravity. Only then can we receive the engrafted Word. It is by the Word of Truth inborn and implanted in the soul that one is saved and begotten (Jas. 1:18; Eph. 5:26). The Word is called seed (1Pet. 1:23; 1Jn. 3:9). When it is implanted in the soul it germinates and springs forth into eternal life. Only the seed that fails to be sown on properly prepared soil and cared for, will fail to bring forth fruit (Matt. 13:3-30).

Be Slow to Speak/Wrath

James 1:19-20 Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God. 

The wrath of man cannot work the righteousness that God requires. For example, no zeal of doing anything out of anger can be justified before a just God. Therefore, we have been given two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.

One of God’s attributes is that He is slow to anger (Psa. 103:8; 145:8; Joel 2:13) and we are warned that a wrathful man stirs up strife: but he that is slow to anger appease strife and that he that is slow to anger is better than the might, and he that rule his spirit than he that takes a city (Pro. 15:18; 16:32). The usage of the tongue is the one thing we are warned of the most in the Word of God and something we should all be sufficiently aware of (See Pro. 18: 7; 20-21; 1Pet. 3:10; Jam. 1:26; 3:1-12).

Begotten by the Word

James 1:17-18 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures. 

Whatever is good comes from God who never changes; whatever is evil comes from satan and fallen man who are bent on doing whatever gains a selfish and sinful end.

God is the Father of Lights, which refers to Him as the creator of that which give light: the sun, moon and stars, which causes changes in the seasons of the year. But there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning in God, He is always – in every season – the same and does not change like the shadow of a sundial (Heb. 13:8).

It is God’s will that all people be saved – begotten by the Word (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9). The Word of Truth is one of the agents that make men new creatures (John 3:5; 1Pet. 1:23; Eph. 5:26).

Do Not Err

James 1:13-16 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempted he any man: But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it brings forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bring forth death. Do not err, my beloved brethren. 

After using the word temptation in the sense of trial, it is now used in the sense of solicitation to sin. God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does He tempt any man with it. Evil temptations come from evil, not from good. Do not be deceived by supposing that God is the author of sin or that He impels any man to commit it.

Temptation starts with us being tempted in our thoughts of evil, thereafter we are drawn away with strong imagination and lust or delight in viewing whatever we put our minds on. We are being enticed as our wills are weakened and lust conceives as we yield and a sinful act is committed. The result of actual sin is death.

Fade Away

James 1:9-11  Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withers the grass, and the flower thereof falls and the grace of the fashion of it perish: so also, shall the rich man fade away in his ways. 

A poor Christian must rejoice in his hope of heaven, but the rich one in his humiliation, for both are here only for a short while (Ps. 90:10). Lives burdens are compared with the burning heat of the sun that withers us away as we age.

The rich man who is outside of Christ fades away like a flower. Riches in Scripture are considered the cause of much sin and rebellion against God; and, for this cause, there are many warnings to men, especially converted men, to shun all covetousness of such (Mat. 6:19; Luke 6:24; 12:15-20; 1Tim. 6:9-18).

Ask in Faith

James 1:5-8  If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that give to all men liberally, and upbraid not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that waver is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

If you need answers, advice or wisdom in any situation: ask God! Don’t be as quick to turn to others for council (Ps. 1:1) or to operate from your own understanding (Pro. 3:7; 26:12). Pray to the Father who gives to all men liberally (Mat. 7:7-11) without finding fault, in the name of Jesus by the Holy Spirit, having a full understanding of your rights and privileges (Jam. 4:3-4) in harmony with the Word (John 14:13), ask in faith, nothing doubting (Heb. 11:6), with praise for the answer (Php. 4:6).

He who doubts is like a wave that is rising one moment, sinking the next. One minute he believes; another he does not. He says yes and then no to what God has promised, never making up his mind which way he believes. He staggers like a drunken man, helpless in prayer. It is as certain that a doubtful man will not get an answer as it is that the man of faith will get an answer. The term ‘double-minded’ was used by the Jews of a man who attempted to worship God and still loved the creature; who wished to secure both worlds. He would not give up the world here and yet was loathe to give up heaven: one torn between carnal and spiritual things.

Count It ALL Joy

James 1:2-4  My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith work patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 

Be joyful when you are going through a trial since it will produce the right fruit IF you choose to keep on trusting and relying on God (Heb. 11:1) instead of looking at your circumstances and reacting to what you feel or see.  Remember that we are tempted by the enemy to sin against God, thus guard your heart against complaining. Trials test religion and faith and the man who stands true in them proves his religion sound and his faith genuine. Tests work patience and patience works perfection (Jas. 1:12; Rom. 5:3-5; 1Pet. 1:7).

Two blessings come of perfect patience: personal perfection in the knowledge of the gospel and the will of God which will have a direct effect of you being without spot or blemish when you are perfect in your actions and reactions (Mat. 5:48; 2Tim. 3:17); and personal completeness in all graces and gifts of God.

Rightly Dividing Truth

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  2 Timothy 2:15 KJV

The Word of God must be studied so that our love may abound more and more in knowledge and in all judgment Php. 1:9 and should be read slowly, prayerfully, frequently, reverently, meditatively, searchingly, perseveringly, believingly, and obediently.

The Greek word orthotomeo means to Rightly Divide the Truth, to set straight and handle right. It means not only to give the true meaning, but also the correct application to the various times and classes of people. Truth must be divided dispensationally, prophetically, historically, and with regard for classes and subjects. The chief fundamental principle of interpretation is to gather from the Scriptures themselves the precise meaning the writers intended to convey. We must exercise common sense and reason, applying the same principles and grammatical rules to the Bible as we do to other books. One should take the Bible literally wherever it is at all possible. When the language cannot be taken literally, we know it is figurative. We should then get the literal truth conveyed by the figurative language.

The word Interpret means to state the true sense of God’s message as He expresses it; that is, give to the reader the exact statements of Scripture without change to prove every question discussed; to state exactly what God says and where He says it. The science or art of interpretation and explanation is called Hermeneutics and comes from the Greek ermeneuo, meaning “to explain,” “to expound,” and “to interpret”. It is the science that establishes and classifies the principles, methods and rules by which the meaning of the author’s language is ascertained.

The interpretation of any piece of literature will depend upon the nature of the work under consideration. Poetry, history, fiction, and each form of human expression require a different set of rules. The rules of writing when interpreting a work of fiction would not be suitable for history. Accordingly, the rules that govern Bible interpretation depend upon the character of its separate kinds of writings, just as is true of different kinds of writings in other books.

The Word of God should not be changed to be understood, there is no mysteries, secrets, or hidden meanings veiled in spiritual language and scriptures does not have many different meanings and different interpretation as some tend to claim.

The modern way of interpreting the Bible is to change the meaning of what is written to suit one’s fancy and to harmonize the Bible with one’s own theories. It transgresses every known sensible principle of true interpretation and places man as the authority above God concerning the Bible.

For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book,  If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.  Revelation 22:18-19 KJV

Since the Bible is like other books in that it is written in human language, it must be interpreted like all other literature. If heavenly, supernatural, and spiritual truths are written in human language, we must understand such truths on this basis. One must understand the words and expressions in the Bible the same as if they were found outside of it. There can be no special Bible logic, rhetoric, or grammar. The laws of grammar apply to the Bible as they do to other writings.

Christ and His disciples prove this method of interpretation. In about 400 quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament, the phrase “It is written” is held as all that is necessary to prove the sense of God’s message. This will settle every point of doctrine today if we are to be Christ-like. Not one example is found in Scripture where the plain literal sense of Scripture was done away with by the allegorical, mystical, speculative, spiritualizing, and symbolizing methods so prominent today. We must lay aside all such methods if a true knowledge of the Bible is to be gained.

The Bible is clear in itself when all traditions, wrong interpretations, manifold changes, and spiritualizing of Scripture are abandoned. The average person is blind to many simple truths of Scripture because they have been overlaid with so many human traditions and interpretations designed to serve a church, a party, or some personal fancy.

The Bible is an inspired revelation Rom. 16:25; Col. 1:26; Rev. 1:1 from God; a revelation is an uncovering or unveiling so that all can see alike what was previously covered or hidden. The only excuse any man would have for not seeing something that was uncovered for him is his willful refusal to look. Anything that is revealed is clear, or the purpose of the revelation has failed.

How that by revelation He made known unto me the mystery; Ephesians 3:3 KJV

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness 2Timothy 3:16 KJV

 

 

The First Principles of Christianity

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. Heb. 6:1-2 KJV 

Paul reprimanded the Hebrews that have been professed Christians (see Heb. 5:12-14) that they have been teachers long enough, but because of their laziness and dullness in grasping the truth, they must be taught the first simple doctrines of Christ for a second time. He reproofs them in the fact that they are still unweaned babes 1Cor. 3:2; 1Pet. 2:2 and have not grown at all. Milk-feeding was a metaphor used by many writers, both sacred and profane, to express the first principles of religion and science. They applied sucking to learning; infant to every beginner; and meat to those who had learned the first principles of truth.

In view of their lack of progress, he advised them to leave the infantile stage of the Christian experience and to become adults:

‘…leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection…’

Two things manifest Christian maturity:

  1. To leave the first principles, thus to cease to remain in the state of babes
  2. To go on to perfection, to never rest until you are an adult capable of taking strong meat, of being a teacher, and of exercising all senses in righteousness 5:13-14; 6:1

The ‘go on’ is the Greek word phero that means to be borne along as a ship driven by a wind. Acts 27:15-17 The Spirit is the power that moves believers forward.  2Pet. 1:21; Rom. 8:14

Unto perfection’ is the command that we must be perfect as taken from the Greek word teleios meaning that which has reached maturity; is complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun) completeness: – of full age, man being perfect. So many times we are charged in the Word that we should reach this perfection, Mat. 5:48; 1Cor. 2:6; 2Cor. 13:1; Eph. 4:12-13; Php. 3:15; Col 1:27-28 which always refers to the perfect life of Jesus Christ 1 Pet. 2:21-24; Heb. 5:9 that we are commanded to follow:

But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. Jas. 1:4 KJV

But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you1Pet. 5:10 KJV

Many seek to find out how many imperfections, failures, and carnal traits are allowable in religion, but few seek to bring Christians to the height of the gospel standard and to the unlimitations of the promises of God. The measure of the stature of the fullness is seldom mentioned much less demonstrated, while the stature of littleness, emtiness, and powerlessness of Christianity is often emphasized and demonstrated.

Paul warned them against laying again the foundation…. where the Greek word for laying is kataballo which means to cast down or overthrow. Thus the warning to not cast down or destroy the foundation already laid, of the six fundamental doctrines of Hebrew 6:1-2 from which the Hebrew Christians were supposed to understand by then and be able to teach others.

These six fundamental doctrines are the first principles of Christianity:

  1. Repentance is described by the Greek word metanoia, which means a real change of mind and attitude toward sin and its cause, not merely the consequences of it. Mat. 3:8, 11; 9:13; Luk. 24:47 It means to renew our minds 12:2; Eph. 4:23 and to meditate upon God’s Word Col. 3:2; Php. 4:8 and not to entertain the enemy in our thoughts. 2Cor. 10:3-6
  2. Faith in God through Christ whereby we trust in Him fully for all that was promised in His Word, this is not just to believe in His existence but a wholly dependence on Him for all our needs in this life and thereafter. 15:1-8, Heb. 11:1
  3. Baptisms
  • Baptism ‘into Christ’ is essential to salvation: the most important baptism that saves the soul and brings one into the body of Christ at repentance and the new birth; where dying to the self is essential, and to be washed of the old man (nature of sin) so that one can become a new creation in Christ Rom. 6:3-12; 1Co 12:13; 2Cor. 5:17; Gal. 3:27; 5:24; Col. 2:11-13
  • Baptism ‘into water’ is essential to obedience and to a “good conscience” after one is saved and ‘in Christ’ Mat. 28:19; Mar. 16:16; Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16, 36-38; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15, 33; 18:8; 19:5; 22:16; 1Co 1:13-17; 1Pet. 3:21; 1 Jn. 5:6-10
  • Baptism ‘into the Holy Spirit’ is essential to receiving power for service. It is the immersion or burial of the believer in the Spirit at which time he receives the Spirit in his life in all ‘fulness’ and ‘without measure’ and is ‘endued with power from on high’ to do the works of Christ. Ma 3:11, 14; 20:22-23; Mar. 1:8; 10:38-39; Luk. 3:16; 24:49; Joh. 1:33; 7:37-39; 14:12-17; Acts 1:4-8; 11:16; 19:2-3
  1. The laying on of hands: When blessing others, 48:14 making offerings, Num. 8:10 ordaining people, Num. 27:18, 23 imparting the Holy Spirit, Dt. 34:9 blessing children, Mt. 19:15 healing the sick, Mk. 6:2,5; 16:18; Lk. 4:40; 13:13; Acts 5:12; 28:8 performing miracles, Acts 19:11 imparting Holy Spirit gifts 1Tim. 4:14; 2Tim. 1:6; Heb. 6:2 and imparting the Spirit baptism. Acts 8:17-24; 9:17; 19:6
  2. The resurrection of the dead is described in 1 Corinthians 15 where Christ is refer to as the firstfruit of the resurrection, 1Co 15:4, 12; Rom. 14:9; 2Cor. 5:15; 1Th. 4:14 the beginning of the resurrection as He was the first to be resurrected from the dead and to enter into immortality of the body. Then all reborn Christians will follow at the time of the rapture “Afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming.1Cor. 15:23, 51-54; Joh. 14:1-3; Luk. 21:34-36; 2Cor. 5:1-8; Eph. 5:27; Php. 3:11, 20-21; 1Th. 2:19; 3:13; 4:13-17; 5:9, 23; 2Th. 2:1, 7 Everyone in Christ, dead or alive, will be translated at this time.
  3. The eternal judgment refers to the White Throne judgment as described in Rev. 20:11-15 Mt. 25:46; Rev. 14:9-11; 20:11-15; Isa. 66:22-24  when all people of all ages who have died in sin, will be sent to eternal hell where their worm will not die and the fire will not be quenched. Mar. 9:43-49

The Parable of the Talents

For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.  His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.  Mat 25:14-30 KJV

The last parable of Matthew 24-25 illustrates another truth concerning the kingdom of Heaven (not the Church) and is connected with the parable of the ten virgins and the literal coming of Christ. After warning people in the kingdom of Heaven at His return to Earth to “watch” for they would not know the hour of His return, Christ gives this parable illustrating diligence in view of the hour of His coming. In other words, He explains the necessity of watching and being ready for the day of His appearing, at which time He is to judge His servants as to their faithfulness during His absence from the Earth.

Just as the man in this story went into a far country and trusted his servants with his goods until he returned, so the Lord taught that He was going to Heaven for a period and then return to test His servants as to their faithfulness while He was away. Just as this man returned and judged his servants as to their faithfulness, so the Lord will come again at an unexpected time to judge His servants. The ones that prove faithful will enter into greater responsibilities, but the ones who fail will be cast into Hell fire. This is the same judgment as the judgment of the nations.

The Judgment of the Nations (Mt. 25:31-46)

The judgment of the nations ends the Age of Grace and begins the Millennium. This description of judgment at the end of this age was the last part of the answer to the third question of the disciples “and of the end of the age?” This description of judgment tells us what Christ will do when He comes to Earth to set up His kingdom. This judgment will end man’s sixth probationary period and will end man’s sinful rule on the Earth. Jesus Christ in person, along with the resurrected saints of all ages, will reign on Earth for a thousand years to put all enemies under His feet and re-establish the universal kingdom of God. When the kingdom of God is fully established Christ will reign forever. This judgment will determine who is worthy of entrance into the kingdom of Heaven and who will be executed and cut off from entrance into the kingdom. Daniel 12:12 will then be fullfilled, “Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days”, which is the actual day of the proclamation of the kingdom. During this time the nations will be gathered and judged, the Jews will be regathered and settled in the land of promise, and all necessary preliminary arrangements for the kingdom will be made.

Thus, Jesus answers the three questions asked Him by the disciples concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., concerning signs of His Second Advent, and concerning what will take place when He comes to the Earth at the end of this age. The prophecy of Mat. 24-25 is the greatest one in the New Testament outside the book of Revelation.

We can sum up the central truths illustrated by the five parables in Matthew 24-25 as follows: the parable of the fig tree illustrates the nearness of Christ’s Second Advent, the parable of the good man of the house illustrates readiness, the parable of the servants illustrates faithfulness, the parable of the ten virgins illustrates watchfulness, and the parable of the talents illustrates diligence in view of the Second Advent of Christ.