Faithfulness Part 3

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…

Twelve things’ Christians hoped for (continues): [12] Being like Christ – the hope of the rapture is an incentive to purify one’s self even as Christ is pure (1Jn. 1:7, 9; 2:6; 3:3, 5-10; 5:1-4, 5:18).

From 1John 3:1-3 we can see that we have to live a life of purity and there are twenty proofs that purity is now possible: He shall save … from … sins (Matt. 1:21). For the remission of sins (Matt. 26:28). Dead to sin (Rom. 6:2). Body of sin might be destroyed, that we should not serve sin (Rom. 6:6). Reckon oneself dead to sin (Rom. 6:11). Let sin not reign in your body (Rom. 6:1-23). Sin shall not have dominion over you (Rom. 6:14-23). Being made free from sin (Rom. 6:18). Made me free from sin (Rom. 8:1-4). They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts (Gal. 5:16, 24). That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (Eph. 1:4). Live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:12). Purged our sins (Heb. 1:3; 9:14). Be holy; for He is holy (1Pet. 1:16). The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin (1Jn. 1:7, 9). Ought to walk even as He walked (1Jn. 2:6). Whosoever abides in Him sins not . . . is righteous, even as He is (1Jn. 3:6-7). He that sins are of the devil (1Jn. 3:8-10; John 8:44). Whoever is born of God sins not (1Jn. 4:17; 5:4-5, 18). Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord (Heb. 12:1-29).

Faithfulness – Part 2

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…

Twelve things’ Christians hoped for [1] Salvation – we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what we see (Rom. 8:24-25); salvation is a hope and not actually an unforfeitable possession until the next life (Rom. 8:20-25; 1Thess. 5:8; 2Thess. 2:16; 1Pet. 1:5, 9, 13). [2] Righteousness – through the Spirit we wait for the hope of righteousness by faith (Gal. 5:5). [3] Calling – the hope of His calling (Eph. 1:18). [4] Christ in them –the unity with Christ, the hope of glory; Jesus Christ is the basis of our hope of all things (Col. 1:27; 1Tim. 1:1). [5] Greater New Testament glory – the ministration of righteousness exceeds in glory (2Cor. 3:7-12). [6] Future life – we cannot just hope in Christ for the things of this life, because then we will be seen as most miserable; the righteous, however, have hope of reaping life eternal (1Cor. 15:19; Pro. 14:32; Gal. 6:7-8). [7] Resurrection – the whole Christian religion is built around Christ and His physical resurrection and without faith in both men are lost (Acts 23:6; 24:15; 26:6-7; Rom. 10:9-10; 1Cor. 15:1-23). [8] Final rewards – our hope, joy and crown of rejoicing in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming (1Thess. 2:19). [9] Final grace – hope to the end for the grace and salvation that are to be brought at the coming of Christ (1Pet. 1:13; Rom. 8:24-25). [10] Coming of the Lord – the first and last prophecy in Titus (Tit. 2:13; Php. 3:20). [11] Eternal life – unforfeitable eternal life is now hope. Hope that is seen is not hope (Rom. 8:24-25). How can it be a hope and a present possession, as stated in John 3:16, 36; 5:24; 10:28-29? Why do we yet hope for it if we have it, as stated in Titus 1:2; 3:7; 1Timothy 1:1? The simple truth is that it is now given to everyone who is in Christ on condition of remaining in Him (1Jn. 5:11-12; John 15:1-8; Gal. 1:6-8; 4:19; 5:4; etc.).

To be continued…

Faithfulness – Part 1

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen…

From Hebrews 11:1 we have eighteen definitions of faith: Substance of things hoped for (Heb. 11:1). Evidence of things not seen (Heb. 11:1, 7). Invisible backing of elders (Heb. 11:2). Creative power of divine works (Heb. 11:3). Divine testimony of right doing (Heb. 11:4). Cancellation of natural laws (Heb. 11:5). Basis of pleasing God (Heb. 11:6). Dependence upon God’s word (Heb. 11:7). Trust in an unknown future (Heb. 11:8-10). Counting things that be not as though they were (Heb. 11:11-12; Rom. 4:17). Seeing invisible things (Heb. 11:13-16). Assurance of God’s faithfulness (Heb. 11:17-19; 10:23). Confidence in things to come (Heb. 11:20-31; 3:6, 14; 10:35; Eph. 3:12; 1Jn. 3:21). Stimulus of the Christian faith (Heb. 11:32 – 12:2). The life-blood of the just (Heb. 10:38). Shield of Christian armour (Eph. 6:16). Down payment of things desired (Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 6:11-12; 10:22-23, 35-39). Guarantee of answered prayer (Matt. 21:22; Mark 11:22-24; Heb. 11:6; Jas. 1:1-27).

Hebrews 11:6 warns that without faith it is impossible to please Him: for when we come to God we must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him and here we have four secrets of answered prayer: To please God (1Jn. 3:21-22; 5:14-15). To come to God with the right attitude and motives (Matt. 6:5-15; 7:7-11; Php. 4:5-6). To believe that He is (John 16:23). To believe He is a rewarder of them diligently seeking Him. If one can believe this as much as he believes in the existence of God, prayer will be granted. If one believes firmly in His existence and doubts His word, he makes Him a liar and God is under no obligation to answer prayer (Jas. 1:4-8). The Greek for diligently is ekzeteo, translated diligently seek (Heb. 11:6); seek after (Acts 15:17; Rom. 3:11); seek carefully (Heb. 12:17); require (Luke 11:50-51), and enquire (1Pet. 1:10).

To be continued…

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.

The Parable of the Faithful and Evil Servants

Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Mat 24:45-51 KJV (Luke 12:42-48)

This parable begins by the words “Who then,” that is, in view of the suddenness of Christ’s coming at a time unexpected, who will not be faithful in the things that have been committed to him during the absence of the Lord? This parable illustrates faithfulness in view of the coming of Christ to the Earth to judge everyone according to the deeds done in the body. This judgment is the same as the judgment of the nations of Matthew 25:31-46. It is not the same as the judgment of the saints before the return of Christ:

For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.  If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.  If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. 1Cor. 3:11-15 KJV