November - Christian Community Year Devotional

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Contents

November - The Christian Church, Harvest

November 1

The 7 Churches

Introduction: The 7 Church Letters of Revelation from Jesus Christ

There is a structure and a teaching style that is employed throughout the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments revealing that although written over time and by several different people the Bible really has only one true author and that author is God.

The Parables of Jesus (Matthew 13:1-50) are from the teaching of Jesus during His time on earth. The letters of the Apostle Paul (New Testament) are from a representative of Jesus and finally the 7 letters of Revelation (Revelation 2:1-3:22) are teaching and instruction from the resurrected Jesus Christ, the three teaching groups span three timeframes with the one unique message of Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom.

The 7 Church Letters of Revelation from Jesus Christ

1. The Church at Ephesus -- The teaching instructing Church 2. The Church at Smyrna -- The martyred persecuted Church 3. The Church at Pergamos -- The worldly government Church 4. The Church at Thyatira -- The Roman Catholic Church 5. The Church at Sardis -- The Protestant Church 6. The Church at Philadelphia -- The friendship (Evangelical) Church 7. The Church at Laodicea -- The modern comfortable (Emergent) Church

The Matthew Parables of Jesus Christ (Matthew 13:1-50) Instructions from Jesus Christ to the 7 Churches

1. The Parable of the (Planter) Sower 2. The Parable of Wheat and (Weeds) Tares 3. The Parable of A Mustard Seed (Plant) 4. The Parable of (Sin) Leaven 5. The Parable of A (nonvisible) Buried Treasure 6. The Parable of The Pearl (Jewel) of Great Price 7. The Parable of A Large (Gathering) Net

The New Testament Church Epistles of the Apostle Paul Instructions and Guidance to the 7 Churches

1. The Church at Ephesus --> 1st & 2nd Corinthians --> The Parable of the Sower 2. The Church at Smyrna --> Galatians --> The Parable of Wheat and (Weeds) Tares 3. The Church at Pergamos --> Ephesians --> The Parable of A Mustard Seed 4. The Church at Thyatira --> Philippians --> The Parable of Leaven 5. The Church at Sardis --> Colossians --> The Parable of A Buried Treasure 6. The Church at Philadelphia --> Romans & Hebrews --> The Parable of The Pearl of Great Price 7. The Church at Laodicea --> 1st & 2nd Thessalonians --> The Parable of A Large Net

Source: BasicChristian.org

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November 2

Church at Ephesus

The Church at Ephesus -- The teaching and instructing Church - Predominant in the Early Church Age

Church #1 Revelation 2:1-7 Ephesus (desirable) desire to follow and please Jesus Christ The Bible smart, but too busy to Love Church

Unto the Angel of the Church of Ephesus write; These things says He that holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know your works, and your labor, and your patience, and how you cannot bear them which are evil: and you have tried them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and have found them liars: And have borne, and have patience, and for My Name's sake have labored, and have not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against you, because you have left your first love. Remember therefore from whence you are fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will remove your candlestick out of his place, except you repent. But this you have, that you hate the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God. ~ Revelation 2:1-7

Ephesus is the first Church group to be addressed by Jesus in this series of 7 letters that the disciple John wrote as dictated by the resurrected Jesus. Ephesus is a Church strong in the word of God. The Church was established by Paul the Apostle who spent three years at Ephesus. The Church was well known and well visited by the other apostles and disciples. The epistle letter "The book of Ephesians" that the Apostle Paul wrote and it is now in our Bible and carries the title name of "Ephesians" was a circular letter intended for all of the churches to read and distribute. The Ephesians title remained on the book we have in the Bible although the letter may have originally been known as the letter to the Church at Laodicea.

It is likely that the book in the Bible that we call "Ephesians" originated as the letter (epistle) from Laodicea. The early Churches distributed the letters from the Apostles and the Disciples to each Church. A letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Colossus was intended to be distributed to all of the Churches. Today the letters are distributed to all of the Churches via the Bible. As the Bible was assembled they used the letters (epistles) that they had on hand at the time and if a letter happened to be addressed to the Ephesians then that address title remained when the Bible was published.

And when this epistle (Colossians) is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea. ~ Colossians 4:16

Church history has it that the disciple John who Jesus spoke to in order to write the Book of Revelation was heavily involved at Ephesus and later John became the overseer of the Church. With the Disciple John at Ephesus, Christian history also records that Mary the mother of Jesus was then also at the Church. While on the cross Jesus spoke to Mary and to John and Jesus told John to look after Mary. The heavyweights of the early Church were at and associated with the Church of Ephesus a Church that Jesus is now critiquing. Jesus commends the Church that they have done a good job and do not allow evil to be in their presence and that they test the people who say they are apostles to see if they do have a relationship with Jesus. The Church has also labored long and been patient and continues to desire and look for the return of Jesus. After telling the Church what they have done that is good Jesus now instructs them in the areas where they need to change and improve. Jesus points out that the Church has lost sight of the first love relationship they are supposed to have with Him and with one another. Jesus reveals that He knows the heart of the Church and that works without love are empty. Jesus instructs the Church to "Repent" to change their ways and to get back to the most important part of the Christian walk, which is having a loving relationship with God. This is such a serious matter that Jesus says He will remove His candle from among them, in other words without love the Church would not be able to function as light to the world and without love the Church would not have the presence of Jesus. Sadly as history tells us Jesus did have to remove His candle from the Church at Ephesus. The Church that started out so strong for Jesus does not exist today. Today there is not one single Church in the area of Ephesus as Ephesus is now a dominant Muslim area. This is a strong warning for us as the Church at Ephesus that had so many people directly involved with the physical life of Jesus, even Mary herself, and yet it is a Church that lost sight of a loving relationship with God.

As we study the letter from Jesus to the Church at Ephesus what application is there for us today. The Church at Ephesus was a strong doctorial based Church they knew what they believed and they knew why they believed it but it is not enough to know the word of God we have to also practice it and live it. The Bible says that God is love we have to do more than know it we have to live it ourselves. The Bible especially the New Testament is a collection of letters and writings, so many with so much information that at times it is hard to know which letter to read to address the problems in our lives. Ephesus is the first Church that Jesus addressed and in the New Testament the book of Corinthians is the first Church addressed by name. If we read the letter of Jesus to Ephesus and then read the two letters to the Church at Corinth we will get a good idea of how to change and repent from the errors that Jesus spoke about to Ephesus. For instance Jesus instructed them in the need to return to their first love, Corinthians chapter 13 is the definition of love, after reading 1st and 2nd Corinthians we will have no doubt about what God's standard of love is. Also of note 1 Corinthians deals with a man who is committing a terrible sin and tells how to remove him from Church fellowship but then 2nd Corinthians instructs the Church that if a sinner has repented to let them back in and to treat them as a brother in other words to love them. We can consider Jesus' letter to Ephesians and 1st & 2nd Corinthians to be companion books and very useful for guidance and instruction.

Since in our modern mobile times we can easily seek out and locate a Church to our liking we will usually pick a Church to attend that is like us. Our Church consisting of people like us will have a certain personality and dominant trait. This church has the dominant trait of correct doctrine over the love of other people and over their love for God this is something to be repented from but still they are to continue in all the good that the Church is doing.

1. 1st & 2nd Corinthians

Love "The more excellent way" the epistle of 1 Corinthians 12:31 - 13:13 lists the more excellent way to compliment the teaching and stricter ways of the #1 Ephesians' Church.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

1. The Parable of the (Planter) Sower

And He spoke many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a planter went forth to plant; And when he planted, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up:Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who has ears to hear, let him hear. ~ Matthew 13:3-9

Instruction in planting/sowing the seed (Gospel) into the proper soil (heart) type. Teaching the Gospel message to mankind with the right message at the right time and always in truth, love and reconciliation. Instructing with growth, maturity and accomplishment as the intended outcome.

Note: There are no custom messages that apply to only one Church and not to the others. All of the messages, teachings, letters, and prophecies of the Bible are intended for all of the Churches to read, understand and apply.

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November 3

Church at Smyrna

The Church at Smyrna -- The martyred and heavily persecuted Church

Church #2 Revelation 2:8-11 Smyrna (Myrrh, bitter herb for anointing particularly for burial) The Martyred - heavily persecuted Church

And unto the Angel of the Church in Smyrna write; These things says the First and the Last, which was dead, and is alive; I know your works, and tribulation, and poverty, but you are rich and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which you shall suffer: behold, the Devil shall cast some of you into prison, that all of you may be tried; and all of you shall have tribulation ten days: be you faithful unto death, and I will give you a Crown of Life. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches; He that overcomes shall not be hurt of the second death. ~ Revelation 2:8-11

Membership in the Christian Church is costly but you can be sure that our future glory with God is worth more than any cost Satan might try to make us pay.

This wonderful letter of Jesus to the second Church the Church at Smyrna, is written to a persecuted Church. The members of the Church were being harassed and even killed for their faith in Jesus. The word Martyr simply means witness. Jesus said go and martyr (witness) of Him to all the world. It has been said that people gave their lives and became a martyr but actually they didn't become a martyr they were one before they gave their life it is just happened that death was their final act of witness/martyr here on earth. Those people who give their life and die do receive a better resurrection than even those of us Christians who are not put to death. They are a Special group of people to Jesus; they receive a special crown in heaven that only the martyred witnesses receive.

What a wonderful Church and letter, people who love God more than their own possessions, circumstances and even more than their own lives. Many of these people do not have the doctrinal knowledge of the Church of Ephesus yet they have the love. Love that overcomes and conquers all things even death. Jesus does not have repentance for this Church like He did for the first Church and as He does for the other churches. This Church is special and there is no condemnation to those who love Jesus more than they love their own life.

In His letter Jesus explains to the Church that He knows what it is like be killed, but that He is alive and they too will be alive with Him. Jesus also knows the condition of the Church He knows that they are persecuted and do not have many resources. Jesus tells that although they do not have much here on earth they are rich in heaven. He also informs them not to listen to the people who claim to have all of the answers and deride those who are being persecuted. Jesus says that the ones admonishing the suffering Church are from Satan and are not from God. Jesus continues and says for them to "fear not" that although there will be trouble, the trouble is from Satan and not from God, as the evil counselors have said. They are instructed to be faithful to God even unto death and that they will receive the prized crown of life given only all the martyrs. Jesus closes the letter to the Church of Smyrna telling them that the second death the spiritual death will not apply to them and will not be able to harm them.

The tribulation saints are a future group of people that give their life to Jesus and are killed by a coming false Jesus called the Anti-Christ. Anti means "instead of "so he is the "instead of" Christ. It is like asking for water and getting poison "instead of" water. The poison might look and smell like water but it is not water and we will not be refreshed if we drink it, we will die if we drink it. This man that is coming in the future is the instead of Jesus he will pretend to be Jesus and he will pretend to offer refreshing water but it will instead be poison and those who drink it or go along with the plans of the Anti-Christ will die an everlasting death. The future martyred Saints will be the people who know the true Jesus and will refuse to accept the poisoned false Jesus. The false Jesus will be so angry that he will murder every witness he can get hold of. The Bible says that those special saints that are not deceived and follow the true Jesus even to their death at the hands of the false Jesus, they will be very special to the real Jesus and in Heaven the Martyred Saints will always be with Jesus.

Unfortunately martyrdom was very much a part of the early Church. In fact martyrdom has continued throughout the entire Church history and may even be getting worse in our very own day. Today many Christians throughout the world are being denied the basic necessities of life and are being abused even killed for their faith in Jesus. Tragically martyrdom will stay with the Church until the time that Jesus sets up His righteous, Kingdom full of love and justice here on earth. Evil will always hate goodness and evil will try to destroy goodness but it can't because evil is actually fighting against God and God has already won. Christianity is costly and the price has been high every since Jesus was rejected, beaten and crucified on a wooden cross. Membership in the Christian Church is costly but you can be sure that our future glory with God is worth more than any cost Satan might try to make us pay.

Possessing love is a wonderful thing yet knowledge of the Bible assists our love and gives us faith so that we are not so easily shaken during the trials and tribulations that we do not understand. The companion book for this second Church is the epistle to the second named Church, the Church of Galatians, coming right after Corinthians in the Bible. When studding the book of Galatians the Martyred Church can learn for starters that Paul received his doctrine and teachings from Jesus. This means that we all have Jesus as a comforter and a teacher. We do not need to rely on man to teach us the Bible God will do it. If a Christian is imprisoned God will be right there with him to teach him who God is and to comfort him. In the book of Galatians Paul also rebukes Peter. Again we as Christians do not have to let sinful men rule over us. All mankind is sinful and no one is right all of the time so we need to look to God and not man in our lives. Also in the letter to Galatians Paul encourages the Galatians to continue in their Christian walk in a spiritual walk not based on their physical understanding but to literally walk in the Spirit of God. People being harassed and persecuted might want to revert to worldly ways of anger and revenge but these ways will not profit us in our relationship with God. We have to start our Christian walk in the Spirit of God, continue it in His Spirit and end remaining in His Spirit.

2. Galatians

Presenting the resurrection life, a reminder that there is only one true gospel, and confirming that works are of the Spirit not of the flesh the Galatians epistle is sure conformation to the Church in distress the #2 Smyrna Church.

Paul, an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead; ~ Galatians 1:1
As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. ~ Galatians 1:9

2. The Parable of Wheat and (Weeds) Tares

Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is likened unto a man which planted good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and planted tares [weeds] among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, did not you plant

good seed in your field? from whence then has it tares? He said unto them, An enemy has done this. The servants said unto him, Will you then that we go and gather them up? But he said, No; lest while all of you gather up the tares, all of you root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather all of you

together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. ~ Matthew 13:24-30

The perils of the Kingdom, there is still an enemy (Devil) in this world, and the importance of giving people influenced by the Devil an opportunity to repent and to be saved and gathered into the Kingdom of God. The necessity of entrusting the Kingdom to God's decisions and to His timing.

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November 4

Church at Pergamos

The Church at Pergamos -- The desiring a voice in worldly government Church

Church #3 Revelation 2:12-17 Pergamum (tower, "burgh") like the 'Tower of Babylon' the sins of mankind have piled up to heaven This is a worldly tower government/system

And to the Angel of the Church in Pergamos write; These things says He which has the sharp sword with two edges; I know your works, and where you dwell, even where Satan's seat is: and you hold fast My Name, and have not denied My faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwells. But I have a few things against you, because

you have there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So have you also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitanes, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto you quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man

knows saving he that receives it. ~ Revelation 2:12-17

The intermingled Church/State with worldly ways and popular trends.

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her (world), my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached (piled) unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. ~ Revelation 18:4-5

The third Church represents the time period in Christian history where the persecutions of Christians turned into acceptance and where the Christians embraced the world that was now embracing or at least tolerating them. Jesus in His letter says that He knows where their works are from and where they dwell that it is among this world where Satan has his throne. He goes on to say that they stumble and put obstacles in front of other Christians and that they embrace the practice of "Nicolaitanes" which is the practice of lording over other people, not letting people be free to worship God in a personal relationship. Instead prayers are written to be prayed and man's thoughts are taught in place of Bible study. Jesus says that He hates this practice. Jesus died so that we will be free; the truth has set us free. Jesus does not want us to control or to be controlled by other people.

Often this Church/person is the person that claims to be a Christian but doesn't follow any or many of the Christian ways. This Christian doesn't pray regularly at least not with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and usually they do not even acknowledge the presence of the Holy Spirit. They seldom read the Bible and think much of the Bible makes no sense and that it is of little value to their life or worse yet that parts are untrue. They have wrong opinions about the Bible because they have been wrongly taught by others and they have not taken the time to read or study the Bible for themselves. The people who do seriously study the Bible if they didn't already believe in God usually become believers in God after just a short time of reading the Bible. Some don't even need the Bible to come to God and have come to God just by studying nature, world history or archaeology. The Bible is so factual, so practical, so prophetic, and so complete that those who do take the time to read the Bible can only rejoice in the one true living God while removing their shoes because they know that when reading the Bible they are standing on Holy ground and like Moses at the burning bush they are in the very presence of the Almighty God.

Pergamum Christians do not have many Holy experiences as they think Christianity is yet to happen after they die thinking that they will meet Jesus in the future not knowing that Jesus already resides inside of them being born Again. Because these Christians are not looking to God they are not experiencing God. They go about their lives and jobs looking to themselves, their friends, their bosses, and government for the answers in their lives, missing out on the daily moment by moment relationship God has for us. When we limit our options in life to what we can achieve with our own hands we are living a life one handful at a time and God says let go of what we can hold onto in our hands and to receive from His hands a vast ocean of possibility. When we live our life in the Holy Spirit every moment, every possibility, every person becomes a Divine encounter of God and there is no limit to who we might meet or to what opportunities we have. Sadly the worldly Christian is the one who is secretly ashamed of Jesus and the messy cross. This person wants acceptance from the worldly people around him and in doing so is ashamed of Jesus to some degree or another. This person does not know of the Glory of Heaven and of all the Heavenly angels that await to meet him, so they look at the fallen world and distance themselves from Jesus and ridicule other Christians that are living a life pleasing to God. Jesus said that if we do not say we know Him to people here on earth then Jesus will say that He does not know us to the Father and all the Angeles in Heaven.

Fortunately there is a way out of this Church and into a more meaningful Church. The way out is painful but the results are well worth it. The way is for God to allow every worldly thing that we put our hope and trust into to absolutely fall apart and let us down. Is our security in our money, job, health, friends, and government, all of these will let us down. God in the Bible calls these false cisterns or false water wells that we think hold water but when we go there to drink they had many cracks that we couldn't see and all the water leaked out and the well is empty leaving us empty and thirsty. Fortunately when we thirst enough and when all of our false wells have let us down we can reach out to Jesus who is right there just a breath away, wanting to have a meaningful relationship with each one of us. Once a Christian drinks from the everlasting water of Jesus Christ we will no longer desire what this world has to offer and we will have changed from our old church into a new church with new life and a heavenly focused wonderful life.

The governments of this world will not last God will return to reign and rule on the earth. The prayer "Thy Kingdom come Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven" is the prayer we pray right now as we eagerly look for the return and government of Jesus. The Church is a higher calling than the world. Currently Satan is a trespasser and is stealing his ruling authority and Satan is influencing all of the governments of the world, that is why the Bible tells us to pray for all governments and rulers in charge. Remember the prophecies of Daniel say that at the return of Jesus He will destroy and scatter the existing worldwide Government system and His government will take its place.

The companion book of the Bible for this 3rd Church is the book of Ephesians written by the Apostle Paul. In Ephesians the Church will learn that we are made one with Jesus and to not conform to this world but to God. The book also teaches that we the believers are one body and to "keep the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace." The book goes on to explain our relationship with God and relationships with our spouse, children and employers.

3. Ephesians

The completeness and sufficiency of the Christian Church, navigating relationships and family responsibilities completed by lessons in spiritual warfare make the epistle of Ephesians a great companion to the worldly Church/State of #3 Pergamos.

Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. ~ Ephesians 4:3-6

3. The Parable of A Mustard Seed (Plant)

Another parable put He forth unto them, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and planted in his field: Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. ~ Matthew 13:31-32

The evil birds of the air (demons) will exist and flourish within Churches that have shade - darkened corners where the light of honesty and oversight is not permitted to shine.

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November 5

Church at Thyatira

The Church at Thyatira -- The Roman Catholic Church

Church #4 Revelation 2:18-29 Thyatira (white castle) - The Roman Catholic Church The Church/people not recognizing the majesty, power and sole authority of Jesus Christ

And unto the Angel of the Church in Thyatira write; These things says the Son of God, who has His eyes like unto a flame of fire, and His feet are like fine brass; I know your works, and love, and service, and faith, and your patience, and your works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against you, because you suffer that woman Jezebel, which calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce My servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am He which searches the reins and hearts: and I will give unto everyone of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you no other burden. But that which all of you have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcomes, and keeps My works unto the end, to him will I give power over the Nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of My Father. And I will give him the Morning Star. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches. ~ Revelation 2:18-29

This Church is most represented today by the Roman Catholic Church.

The 4th Church grew out of the 3rd Church. Where the 3rd Church was involved in worldly government this 4th Church then took the power and influences they had learned in government and used them to create a governing Church, sort of a government for Church. This Church in modern day is most represented by the Roman Catholic Church. It should not seem surprising that God knows about the Catholic Church, because He knows about everything. This is yet another place in the Bible where we can really see the relevance and accuracy of the Bible and recognize that God knows all things past present and future. Remember a correction from Jesus is to draw us closer to Him in the correct manner of worship.

Jesus begins the letter to the Church of Thyatira by addressing Himself as the Son of God. The Catholic Church has become too focused on Jesus as the infant son of Mary and this Church letter is placing the emphasis that Jesus is God and is the son of God and that it is Jesus who our relationship is to be with. Jesus continues that He knows the works and the love that the Church does have and that their works and love are increasing. This is very true about the Catholic Church they are doing marvelous works of charity and love throughout the world. The Catholic Church is almost single handed in their devotion to orphans and the unborn. Jesus then continues with repentance, that He cannot stand the teaching and works of Jezebel. Jezebel was a wicked woman of the Old Testament, maybe the most wicked. Jezebel is referenced in connection with this #4 Church because they are keeping a doctrine that "Mary" (the Virgin Mary) has a part in the work of God. The true Mary of the Bible called herself a humble handmaiden and her spirit rejoiced that God is her savior. The current teaching that is attributed to Mary has nothing to do with the real Mary. The teaching is the teaching of Jezebel and not of Mary. The true Mary is a very courageous and wonderful woman. If anyone in the world could have stopped the crucifixion of Jesus it was Mary. All Mary had to do was to go to either the Jewish authorities or the Roman authorities and tell them that she knew Jesus had a human father and that He was not the Son of God. An earthly father would have put an end to the claims of Jesus being God, having two earthly parents Jesus would not be Holy. Yet Mary did not do this because she could not do it, Jesus is the Son of God, Jesus has no earthly father. If Jesus were not God, Mary would not have allowed the crucifixion to continue. Because Jesus is the Son of God, the real Mary stood boldly by while Jesus suffered on the cross.

Jesus continues in His letter saying that if we follow the false teachings of Jezebel, there is no salvation in any false teaching. Those who follow false leaders will go into the great tribulation [miss the coming rapture] and be killed with death. This is a strong warning because of the strong danger in the false teaching and leading of Jezebel. Then Jesus concludes with the promise that those who remain faithful in the Church will then rule with Jesus.

The Bible companion book to this Church is the next book, the book of Philippians. Philippians is a wonderful book of encouragement. The book explains that Jesus is 100% God and 100% human. The book tells us to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling" not to let others prescribe our salvation but to let God work it out in us. Remember Salvation is different from Redemption. Salvation means healing, removing hurts and fears. We have a part in our own healing as we seek and trust God. Redemption is the work of Jesus on the cross; we do not have a part in the redemption except to receive it as a free gift from God. The book of Philippians tells of our high calling in Jesus and goes on to encourage us to rejoice and to be content in the Lord Jesus Christ.

4. Philippians

The epistle of Philippians is one of the most Jesus Christ centered epistles. Written in love to a Catholic Church that has strayed it's attention and affections away from Jesus and onto the Virgin Mary and an assortment of human saints. This epistle is a great reminder of the supremacy of Jesus Christ for the #4 Church of Thyatira.

That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. ~ Philippians 1:10-11
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:7

4. The Parable of (Sin) Leaven

Another parable spoke 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

Incorrect teachings and outright bad doctrine can permeate into the True Doctrine of the Christian Church creating a new system that was never originally intended.

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November 6

Church at Sardis

The Church at Sardis -- The Protestant Church

Church #5 Revelation 3:1-6 Sardis (red, gemstone) - Liberal Protestant Church The Church/people not recognizing the work, and the necessity of the person of the Holy Spirit

And unto the Angel of the Church in Sardis write; These things says He that has the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know your works, that you have a name that you live, and are dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found your works fully accomplished before God. Remember therefore how you have received and heard, and

hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come upon you. You have a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcomes, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the Book of Life, but I

will confess his name before My Father, and before His Angels. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches. ~ Revelation 3:1-6

This Church is most represented today by the liberal Protestant Church.

A Church people that are not allowing themselves to be washed clean by the Holy Spirit. Spiritually this is a dead Church. A modern Church that feels that we are special in and of ourselves and that even apart from God we are to be admired. Yet God said "come let us reason though your sins are red as scarlet He will make them white as snow" (Isaiah 1:18). Modern liberal Churches welcome in any manner of doctrine and any kind of sin now also seems welcome among the people yet this Church does not even let God Himself into His own Church. In yet another insult to God the modern liberal Church has decided it knows best in how to interpret God's word the Bible but it has done so in a way that completely neglects and negates what God has actually said.

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. ~ Isaiah 1:18-20

The forth Church emerged from the 3rd church that was best represented by the Roman Catholic Church, the 5th Church emerged from the 4th Church and is best represented by the Protestant Church. In 1572 a Catholic Monk named Martin Luther began a formal dissention with the Catholic Church and the end result was the "Reformation" or splitting off of part of the Catholic Church into the Protestant Church. The Church is labeled "Protestant" from the meaning protesters. The Christians were dissatisfied with the doctrines and decrees of the Catholic Church and protested and eventually left to worship God in a less restricted environment.

As Jesus began the 4th letter to Thyatira to remind them that He is the Son of God, Jesus begins this 5th letter to the Church at Sardis to remind this Church that He has the seven [complete] Spirits of God. Jesus is informing this Church that their biggest problem is in neglecting the Holy Spirit. Jesus then tells the Church that He knows their works and that they have a reputation for being alive but instead they are really dead. Again strong words for strong circumstances. Jesus wants us to follow Him in a right relationship and not in a way that is made up or pretend. Jesus says that He has not found their works to be "Perfect." The word perfect means complete like a car would be perfect if it had an engine, a car without an engine is imperfect. Jesus is telling this Church that they are imperfect without the Holy Spirit, in other words they are a people without the engine of the Holy Spirit.

The protestant Church has left the Catholic Church and they have also left the Holy Spirit. Repeatedly the Bible tells us that works done without the guidance and glory of the Holy Spirit are works that are meaningless. It is better not to do something than to do it without the Holy Spirit. Strangely enough the only person excluded from the Protestant Church is the Holy Spirit. Much of the Church now recognizes homosexual marriages, abortion is no longer considered murder, any proud arrogant person is welcome at a protestant Church, adultery and fornication are seldom considered sin, divorce and abandonment of spouses and children are now common place. The Church that is supposed to be the salt and light is not even lifting a finger to turn the pages of the Bible and see what God has to say about it all. It is obvious to anyone that looks that the works of the Church are dead. The reason the works are dead is because the Holy Spirit is not being listened to. Jesus tells this Church to repent and to watch for His return [rapture]. Jesus says that the people who overcome will be clothed with white raiment. The over comers of the #3 Church are to be given a white stone, the stone of acceptance. In the book of Isaiah God told the prophet to tell the people "come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The word Sardis means a red stone.

The companion book for Sardis is the book of Colossians. The book explains that the revealed mystery of the ages is that Jesus is in us and that this is glorious. The book says "beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ" an admonishment to us to set our affections on the things of above the things of God the Holy Spirit and of heaven.

5. Colossians

The epistle of Colossians is excellent instruction to the Protestant Church that the Kingdom of Jesus is a Spiritual Kingdom where we are to exercise our attitudes and desires in "spiritual understanding" and not just the physical things of this world and especially not the false physical teachings and ideologies of this world like evolution or population control (abortion-euthanasia) theories and practices. The epistle is a great reminder of the Spiritual supremacy of the Kingdom of God for the #5 Church of Sardis.

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; ~ Colossians 1:9-11

5. The Parable of A (nonvisible) Buried Treasure

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto Treasure hid in a field; the which when a man has found, he hides, and for joy thereof goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field. ~ Matthew 13:44

The world is not the treasure the Church is the treasure. The Church is more precious and more valuable to God than the entire world.

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November 7

Church at Philadelphia

The Church at Philadelphia -- The fellowship (friendship) Church

Church #6 Revelation 3:7-13 Philadelphia (Philao - Brotherly love) The Church/people of Brotherly Love

And to the Angel of the Church in Philadelphia write; These things says He that is Holy, He that is True, He that has the Key of David, He that opens, and no man shuts; and shuts, and no man opens; I know your works: behold, I have set before you an open door, and no man can shut it: for you have a little strength, and have kept My Word, and have not denied My Name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. Because you have kept the

Word of My patience, I also will keep you from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which you have, that no man take your crown. Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the Temple of My God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of

My God, which is New Jerusalem, which comes down out of Heaven from My God: and I will write upon him My new name. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches. ~ Revelation 3:7-13

A Brotherly embrace of both the Jews (Hebrews) and the Romans (Catholics)

The 6th Church is the Church of brotherly love. Jesus gave us one commandment or law the new (insight) into the law to love God and to love man. Jesus further said that the distinctive mark of a Christian would be our love for God and our love for one another. This is the same law of the Old Testament, Jesus called it new or fresh in that Jesus is now our example for what fulfilling the law is to be and we now have new insight into how to really love God and one another as Jesus loves us so much that He gave His life for us.

In this Church group the people are filled with God's love. They love the Father, they love Jesus and they love the Holy Spirit. These people love Christians in general and denomination names, titles or Church roles mean nothing to them they just meet you where you are and give you a big love boost right into the lap of Jesus seated at the right hand of the Father's throne. Meeting one of these Christians is like taking a big refreshing drink from the free flowing river of life. Often these people are loving in the midst of life's biggest challenges. Their bodies wracked with cancer, having lost parents or children, homes, jobs, etc. these people are the modern women at the well and modern Mary Magdalenes and like them they have met Jesus and have wept and rejoiced at His feet. Many have had a lifelong walk with the Lord knowing Him personally for decades and like Moses they are seated securely in the clift of the rock (Exodus 33:11-23) looking back and seeing the Glory of God in their lives, knowing that Jesus has brought them through the troubles and perils of life. They have seen fellow Christians go home to glory with a smile on their face and the countenance of an angel. They know the one in whom they have entrusted their spirit and soul and they know that God will complete the work that He has begun in them and that His thoughts toward them and towards others are all good thoughts and that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Often the new Christian starts out in this Church. The newness of Jesus and the Holy Spirit filled life put us in a peaceful blissful state of well being. We call this the honeymoon state of Christianity when we meet Jesus and all is well. Then the storms and trials come into our lives and we wander through the various churches and growth phases and wonder what we did wrong to lose God, but not to worry, God often gives us a good first taste also called a "first fruit" of what the eternal future will be like and this honeymoon state is where we are destined to return. So forgetting our destination we get confused and think is the Christian life supposed to be this way the trials and troubles? Then we falter when God starts doing a new or different work in another area of our life and emotions. Just hang in there God is expanding us and growing us up in Himself. If we do not get persecuted how would we have intimate fellowship with God and also with our fellow man? So we are bound to sway from Church group to Church group as life's challenges come our way and we have our moments of doubt or our circumstances get the best of us but in the end we should again be back in this Church.

The growing maturing Christian is growing softer and becoming more compassionate and merging into the image of Jesus and away from the image of this cold, hard, cruel world.

There is no rebuke from Jesus for this Church. Jesus instructed the doctrine wise Ephesians to return to their first love, the honeymoon feelings they had in the beginning with Jesus, in other words Jesus encouraged them to get back to the Church of Philadelphia. These people are loving and being loved in a Godly way and Jesus is well pleased with them. This group is not a specific Church age as each of the other churches are. This Church is not addressed from the identification letter that the other churches are. This Church is a special remnant to God and they have existed everywhere there are Christians and at all times of the Church age. This special group of people has the promise from God that they will not enter into the coming tribulation that the world is going to suffer in. Jesus is going to catch up or rapture His people before the coming tribulation (the rest of the book of Revelation). All born again Christians will be raptured before the tribulation. The coming tribulation is coming from God onto a disobedient people. Right now the tribulation we suffer is from our own bad decisions and from the things Satan does to us. If we mismanage our money and go bankrupt it is certainly tribulation but it is from us not from God. God uses our messes to draw us closer to Him so the messes are not that bad after all. The difference between the current tribulation and the future one is that the future one continues to be from Satan and is also from God but God is not going to pour out His tribulation upon the righteous. Jesus resides inside each born again Christian, on the cross Jesus said "it is finished" Jesus will undergo no more tribulation so there is a need for the rapture to remove the "Jesus filled" born again Christians prior to the coming great tribulation.

When the Christian Church first came together the early Church was entirely Jewish-Hebrew as Jesus the head of the Church is Jewish. Then with the admittance of non-Jews (Gentiles) into the Christian Church the early Church struggled with the relationships between Christians, Jews and also the new gentile Christians. An early Church council was established to consider these interactions, the council meeting and its decision are recorded in the Book of Acts (Acts 15).

And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us (Hebrews); And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke (law) upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our (Jewish) fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even (by faith) as they (gentiles). Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for His name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After this [after the Christian Church age] I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. Known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my (James - Church leader) sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. For Moses of old time hath in every city them (Jews) that preach him (laws of Moses), being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; ~ Acts 15:6-22

The early Christian Church declared that of utmost importance for the Christian whether being of Jewish or of Gentile origin is not to offend the followers of Moses, the practicing Jews "For Moses of old time hath in every city them (Jews) that preach him." The dietary laws of not eating blood are not for the Church but the council determined that of greater importance than personal freedom is for the Christian not to offend God's people the Jews who do obey His laws and follow His customs.

The Church of Philadelphia is the brotherly love Church. The two companion Bible books for this Church are the books of Romans and Hebrews. Christians in this Church will need to know the book of Romans to understand that Christians are called into a relationship with God based on faith, that nothing can separate us from the love of God and then how to have fellowship with the fellow brethren by not offending them in our actions and deeds. The book of Hebrews will help us to enter into the very presence of God. Jesus is God and He is also our High Priest and as He has entered into the Holiest place where God the Father's presence is, we by being identified with Jesus are also to enter with Jesus into the Holy presence of God the Father.

6. Romans & Hebrews

The Bible's books of Romans and Hebrews are excellent instruction for the Church of Philadelphia the open door church, where mankind has an open door to fellowship with both man and God. Romans in how to minister one to anther and Hebrews in how to minster to God set the examples for the #6 Philadelphia Church.

Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. ~ Romans 15:2
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living (Spiritual) way, which He (Jesus) hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an high priest (Jesus) over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, ~ Hebrews 10:19-22

6. The Parable of The Pearl (Jewel) of Great Price

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. ~ Matthew 13:45-46

God gave all that He had at the cross in order to buy people out of sin. A pearl is an organic jewel that originally was an irritant, a grain of sand that has taken the time to grow into a gem, like sinners who have taken the time to grow into precious, valuable saints.

Note: This Church is closely related to the Smyrna Church in that these are the people who love God enough to give their life and Satan is usually mad enough at these Christians to try to take their life. So one day you can be in this Church and the next moment be in the martyrs Church of Smyrna.

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November 8

Church at Laodicea

The Church at Laodicea -- The modern comfortable Church - Predominant in the Last Church Age

Church #7 Revelation 3:14-22 Laodicea (Laos - People, diceaos - rule; People rulers) The comfortable worldly Church where people rule over their own lives not allowing God to lead or rule in their life

And unto the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of My mouth. Because you says, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel you to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me. To him that overcomes will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in his Throne. He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says unto the Churches. ~ Revelation 3:14-22

Laodicea is the comfortable last Church, in this letter God is speaking to most of us. This is the last Church era so also read the Books of 1st and 2nd Thessalonians to get ready for the Christian rapture.

The seventh and last Church in Jesus' Revelation Church letters is the Church that is dominant in our current time and current Church age. This is the last Church letter and also the last Church age or era, there are no more Christian Church ages after this as Jesus will return during this present Church age and He will rapture all the 'born again' Christians unto Himself in Heaven.

After Jesus returns and raptures the Church there will no longer be a 'born again' Christian Church here on earth. There will be Jewish believers and there will be those Martyred saints who give their life for their faith in Jesus but there will not be the 'born again' Church as all of the born again Christians will now be in heaven participating as the bride of Jesus in the wedding feast with Jesus. Remember there was no 'born again' Church during the entire Old Testament. The Church began on the day (Easter) of the resurrection of Jesus when Jesus baptized the disciples in the upper room with His breath and told them to receive the Holy Spirit.

I (John the Baptist) indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He (Jesus) shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: ~ Matthew 3:11
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. Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as My Father hath sent Me, even so send I you. And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit: ~ John 20:19-22

The Church began with the cross and Resurrection of Jesus and is continuing on right now and will end at the rapture when Jesus meets us, the Church, in the air and He takes us to heaven to be with Him therefore saving us from the terrible time of the tribulation to come.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

The various churches all dominated throughout each Church era in the order that Jesus has addressed them in His letters. The first era was the Apostolic Church when the Apostles and disciples of Jesus were writing and teaching Gods word at Ephesus and other places. With so much knowledge at Ephesus they had no patience for people who didn't catch on to doctrine and theology. After the apostles of Jesus grew old and went on to be with Jesus in heaven the next Church age was characterized by bitter persecution and martyrs, the Church of Smyrna. Today there are more martyrs worldwide than at any time but this period happened when the Church was young and didn't have a worldwide following and when the Bibles were copied by hand, Satan was actually trying to demoralize the Christians and Satan literally tried to kill every Christian and wipe out every Bible. The next era was the Pergamos era and surprisingly the Christians of that era went from persecuted by the world to living in the world. After the brutal nonstop persecutions the Christians themselves became worldly and at the Roman coliseums were Christians were once put to death, the Christians now sat in the seats and cheered as gladiators fought each other to the death on the very places where their fellow Christians had died.

After the worldly Christians the next Church era was the structured Church known as Thyatira the Roman Catholic Church where for centuries everyone was supposed to belong to the Catholic Church or they were not considered a Christian. This much authority brought on much abuse of power and much resentment as the Catholic Church ruled with such force that people were not allowed personal Bibles to read and people couldn't even pray personal prayers in their own native language. People even had to go to priests to have them talk to God for them. The puritans that left England and came and started America were fleeing this Church and come to America to establish a Puritan "pure" Christian life. This restrictive Thyatira Church age gave way to the next Church era called the Protestant reformation where Protestants [protesters] protested the Catholic domination, rightfully insisting that the Bible tells people how to worship and not any organization. This Protestant era took so many liberties that they soon had a muddled comfortable Christianity, people compared themselves to others instead of comparing themselves to Jesus and always finding someone perceived to be of worse character than themselves, people decided wrongly that they had a good Christian walk so now the Christian walk became anything that we determine we want it to be. This brings us to the current and last Church age the Church of Laodicea. This current Church period is a continuation of the protestant age and it is a Church so empty of Jesus that we have become our own god, we are a Church where the "people rule" instead of God.

This is the last Church age and it is during this current Church Era that Jesus will return.

Jesus opens this letter to Laodicea like the previous letters addressing the biggest problem facing the Church. In this case Jesus proclaims that He is the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God. Jesus is confronting the biggest error of the last day Church. Jesus is reminding us that He is faithful and true and that He is the creator of creation and that creation is from God. It is appropriate that God is speaking to the end time Church about creation. Perhaps the biggest lie being perpetuated right now is the lie of evolution. Evolution is a joke; life does not evolve out of non-life no matter how long you wait millions or billions or years. God being life can create and give life. Life is more than chemicals and material, life is spirit and soul, life is awareness and life is feelings and emotions. The error of evolution would never be believed by the previous churches because they lived in close proximity to life and death. We are now so removed from death that we do not understand life. We give scientist credit for the wonderful inventions that they have worked on in this is wonderful high teach time, but technology does not explain life and scientist apart from God are not able to explain life. In every case of evolution the evolutionist has grossly simplified the complex mechanisms of life. The simplest human cell is more complicated than anything science has ever assembled. A baby being formed in the womb of a woman consists of 23 chromosomes from the man and 23 chromosomes from the woman, living for nine months under water in the womb and then at birth suddenly and instantly starts breathing air, this is complicated as this is the reality of life and this is creation it is Jesus' creation. Without believing that God is our creator, giver and sustainer of life it is impossible to have a relationship with God.

This is the last Church era and we are well into it right now. This era is characterized by worldly comfortable Church people. People are now so comfortable with worldly accommodations that we no longer need what Jesus has to offer. We now live better than any King of the Bible era ever lived. We have orchestras on demand in our Mp3 players, operas on demand in TV and on DVD's. The counsel of the worldly wise in www computing with Google search. Our chariots are always harnessed and travel 75 mph, cell phone messengers in our pockets on demand, our cash vault is carried in a card in our pockets wherever we go, we feast on chefs offerings anywhere we point our chariot. We snuggle cozily into warm beds with dry roofs, living better than any king of the Bible has ever lived. A king from the Bible era would be envious to the point of rage at our opulent lifestyle.

We do not need a vow of poverty that is not the point Jesus is making in this letter. His point is that we have neglected Jesus and have left Him the creator of life on the outside of life as we live our comfortable life to ourselves fulfilling only our own whims. Jesus finds Himself knocking at the door of our heart and asking us to please let Him in. Jesus is not addressing this to the unsaved but to the Church and not as a group but to each individual in hopes that someone, anyone will stop drowning in the river of worldliness and join Him in Spiritual matters. Because this Church is so disgusting to Jesus He says that He will spit us out of His mouth unless we change. The spitting out of the mouth is an involuntary action it is like drinking spoiled milk that your body will not allow you to swallow so the natural reaction is to spit it out. Jesus also tells us to buy from Him gold refined in the fire the fire of trials. None of us wants trials in our life but Jesus says to us to have the trials and to learn from them. Learn that there are tired and hurting people in this world and learn that life is unfair and unjust and most important learn that Jesus is God and apart from Him no soul will have lasting rest or peace.

The companion Bible books for the last Church era are the last Church epistles written by the Apostle Paul, the two epistles to the Church of Thessalonians. In reading the two books of Thessalonians we will learn that it is a time of heavy persecution. The Church of Thessalonica was heavily persecuted, so much in fact that they thought that they had missed the rapture and had gone into the tribulation period. Paul wrote the book to inform them that before the tribulation period there will be a big falling away of Christians from the faith of Jesus called the "Apostasy" and second that the Church will not be here during the time of the coming anti-Christ. The Apostle Paul explained that before the anti-Christ arrives the Church will have been raptured. Jesus told Peter and the rest of the disciples that He was going to build His Church and that the gates of hell will not prevail against it. The anti-Christ is given authority over the people of the earth to overcome them and the anti-Christ will wage war against the Martyred saints of the book of Revelation and overcome them but the Church will have been removed from earth and we will be in heaven during those future events. The Apostle Paul tells us to comfort one another with this thought that Jesus is coming to take us to heaven with Him.

The Church of Laodicea is a sick Church, but the books of Thessalonians are strong medicine. When we start to realize that Jesus is returning and will return to gather us at any moment without any advanced notice, this medicine should cure our illness of an ungodly lifestyle. We should live every moment like it is our last moment here on earth and our first moment in heaven. When Jesus comes we are encouraged by the Apostle John to be living in a manner that we do not shrink back in embarrassment at the coming of Jesus but that we rejoice and embrace Jesus.

And now, little children (Christians), abide in Him (Jesus Christ); that, when He shall appear (G5319) [2nd Coming - aka the Second Advent or the Parousia (Greek word meaning presence, arrival - Wikipedia.com)], we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. ~ 1 John 2:28
But ye are come unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the mediator of the New Covenant and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Able. See that ye refuse not Him that speaketh. ~ Hebrews 12:22-25

7. 1st & 2nd Thessalonians

The epistle of 1 Thessalonians mentions the rapture of the Christian Church and the Church being gathered into the presence of Jesus Christ. It is of paramount importance that the Christian Church be ready to meet God without a moment's notice and it is meeting God that is the great comfort for the modern #7 Laodicea Church.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. ~ 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18

7. The Parable of A Large (Gathering) Net

Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away. So shall it be at the end of the world [i.e. the total of all Dispensations]: the Angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just, And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Jesus says unto them, Have all of you understood all these things? They say unto Him, Yes, Lord. ~ Matthew 13:47-51

At the end of the world there will be a gathering together followed by a judgment that will separate all that is good from all that is bad.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

November 9

John's 7 Miracles of Jesus

The Christian Walk Illustrated in the 7 Miracles of Jesus Recorded in the Gospel of John

Introduction:

After accepting Jesus as our very own personal Lord and Savior by knowing that without the sacrifice of Jesus, what He did for us on the cross, that we would be permanently dead in our sin and rebellion, separated forever from God. Now that the sin has been paid for and taken away at the cross of Jesus we Christians are now free from sin and reunited with God in the Resurrection of Jesus.

But what do we do now? After our conversion [Heavenly focus] for the Christian the conversion is just the start of Christianity the best is yet to come.

In the fascinating Gospel of John, John one of the original 12 disciples of Jesus and an eyewitness that was present at all seven miracles, lays out seven miracles that Jesus Himself performed while in person on the earth and in a specific order. These seven miracles in the Gospel of John are a model of the very miracles that Jesus is doing right now this very moment and day in the life of every single living and breathing Christian. Let's take a look at the 7 miracles that Jesus performed and that His disciple John recorded for us.

Miracle 1 - A New Creation - Born Again (John 2:1-11) - Turning wedding water into wine The New Christian is now clean and becomes filled with the Holy Spirit

Miracle 2 - Healing - Nobility in Jesus (John 4:46-54) - Healing the Nobleman's Son Our cured Life and Nobility in Jesus Christ

Miracle 3 - Starting the Christian Walk (John 5:1-17) - Healing of the lame man to walk The Christian can now walk a Christian lifestyle

Miracle 4 - Fellowship among Believers (John 6:1-15) - Feeding the Thousands with Bread and Fish Fellowship of strengthening, building up, and nourishment in the faith among the believers

Miracle 5 - Calming our Storms and Fears (John 6:16-21) - Jesus calms the disciples during a storm Jesus calms our fears during the storms of life

Miracle 6 - Mature Christians Preach (John 9:1-11) - Blind eyes opened Apostles with their eyes opened to the hopeless plight of humanity are sent out to non-believers

Miracle 7 - Our own Resurrection Life (John 11:1-45) - Resurrection of Lazarus from death to life Resurrection of the believer from physical death to eternal life

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; ~ Colossians 1:10

Note: These are Seven Miracles performed by Jesus before His resurrection and recorded in the Gospel of John by John a Disciple of Jesus. John was an eyewitness present at each of these seven miracles. These miracles are illustrations representing miracles that Jesus is currently doing in the life of each and every individual Christian.

Source: BasicChristian.org

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November 10

Miracle 1 - Born Again

Miracle 1 - A New Creation a sinner becoming Born Again

Miracle 1 - A New Creation - Born Again (John 2:1-11) Turning wedding water into wine The Purified Believer becomes filled with the Holy Spirit

And the Third Day [i.e. Resurrection Day] there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and [Mary] the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called [invited], and [also] His Disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus says unto Him, They have no wine. Jesus says unto her, Woman, what have I to do with you? mine hour [Glorification] is not yet come. His mother says unto the servants, Whatsoever He says unto you, do it. And there were set there six water pots of stone [chiseled stone pots for ceremonial religious washings - not ordinary clay pots], after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece [i.e. man-sized stone pots]. Jesus says unto them, Fill the water pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And He says unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it. When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: but the servants which drew the water knew; the governor of the feast called the bridegroom, And says unto him, Every man at the beginning does set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but you have kept the good wine until now. His beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth His Glory; and His Disciples believed on Him. ~ John 2:1-11

In the Gospel of John chapter 2 we read that Jesus' mother is attending a wedding in the city of Cana in the district of Galilee. We read that both Jesus and his disciples are also called [invited] to the marriage. At this particular wedding the host runs out of wine for the guests. Mary, then comments to Jesus that there is no wine. Of course Jesus knew in advance that there was not a sufficient amount of wine at the wedding, this is part of the reason Jesus went to the marriage and brought His disciples with so that He could perform this miracle as an illustration to them and have it recorded in the Bible for us His future disciples. Jesus and the disciples are not the reason that the wine ran out. Jesus and the disciples were both invited [called] and the host would have declined to invite them rather than to invite them and run out of food and drink. Probably everyone at the marriage was having such a festive time that people stayed longer and drank more since the wine ran out yet the food did not lack.

Jesus replies to Mary that "His hour has not yet come." Jesus knows that He is going to provide the much needed wine, but Jesus is establishing that miracles are not the reason that God became a man in the person of Jesus and walked on earth with mankind. Jesus came in the form of a man to die on the cross to remove sin and reunite us with the Father. The hour that Jesus came for is the cross of crucifixion. Mary then instructs the servants to "Whatever He (Jesus) saith unto you, do it." The "obedient" servants then go to Jesus. Jesus instructs the servants to fill the six water pots used for purification to the brim with water. Remember six is the number for man, as man was created on the sixth day. The stone water pots are clean because they are used in cleaning, a dirty water pot would not clean the person who washes from it. Jesus then tells the servant to "Draw out now and take it to the governor of the feast." And they did obey Jesus. When the ruler of the feast tasted the water that was turned into wine he declared that unlike other feasts this feast had reserved the best wine until the end.

This first marvelous miracle that Jesus is performing is an illustration to us His believers. When we obey Jesus we become His servant, Romans 6:16 says "Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?" When we acknowledge our sins and the forgiveness of the cross of Jesus we become clean like the stone water pots. Once we are clean Jesus then comes inside and fills us with His presence. We are then to draw out the wine of Jesus' presence in us and pour it out to others. When we do this we are effecting the lives of others around us.

Wine is used as a Biblical example for the Holy Spirit. Wine has an effect and influence on the person who drinks it. Worldly wine has a bad effect with headaches and hangovers and demeans the person who drinks it and who's actions are influenced by worldly alcohol wine. The presence of the Holy Spirit has an influence on the person who is under His influence, the influence of love and of a testimony of Jesus. This is the first miracle, Jesus has taken the water of this world and turned it into His wine. It is nice to know that the start of the Christian walk is to be cleansed and be filled to the brim with the Holy Spirit. We get confused at times and think if I get my behavior right then Jesus will come to me and give me the Holy Spirit, but it is the other way around when we believe we receive the Holy Spirit in full. It is the Holy Spirit that then instructs us and guides us in our life to live a life of Holiness and communion, pleasing to God. And the best part of the miracle is that God gives the best wine last. The best is always yet to come with Jesus. The Christian walk just keeps getting better and better. If for instance we went to church as a child with our parents then we stopped going to church or we never went at all, and now we think I don't want to go to church I have missed so much and people will judge me. This is wrong in God's eyes, He says follow Him and it will be better than it ever was.

Note: the events depicted indicate a synergism between God and man of religious activity i.e. 'stone pots' that are already religious vessels (humans seeking to please God) being used in the turning of water (ordinary - unsaved) to wine (Spiritual - salvation).

The Calvinism teachings of today wrongly neglect the intended synergistic (God and human interaction) teachings of the Holy Bible and presume that God is directly one-sided and is filling disobedient 'clay pots' (unreligious - unsaved humans) with spirituality (salvation) when in actuality God is responding more to the preexisting human desire of Salvation in using stone (religious ceremony) pots for the example of the giving of salvation wine.

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November 11

Miracle 2 - Nobility

Miracle 2 - Our Healing (Salvation) and our Nobility (Royal Priesthood) in Jesus Christ

Miracle 2 - Healing - Nobility in Jesus (John 4:46-54) Healing the Nobleman's Son Our Life and Nobility in Jesus

So Jesus came again into Cana of Galilee, where He made the water wine. And there was a certain nobleman, whose son was sick at Capernaum. When he heard that Jesus was come out of Judaea into Galilee, he went unto Him, and besought Him that He would come down, and heal his son: for he was at the point of death. Then said Jesus unto him, Except all of you [i.e. 'born again' Christians] see signs and wonders, all of you will not believe [i.e. grow in faith]. The nobleman says unto him, Sir, come down before my child die. Jesus says unto him, Go your way; your son lives. And the man believed the Word that Jesus had spoken unto him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him, and told him, saying, Your son lives. Then enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him. So the father knew that it was at the same hour, in the which Jesus said unto him, Your son lives: and himself believed, and his whole house. This is again the second miracle that Jesus did, when He was come out of Judaea into Galilee. ~ John 4:46-54

The second miracle, Jesus is again in the city of Cana and a certain nobleman's son is sick in the distant city of Capernaum. The noble man approaches Jesus and asks Jesus to heal his son. Jesus replies "that unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." Then Jesus said unto him "go your way; your son liveth." As the nobleman was on his way the next day he met his servants that told him "his son liveth" he asked them when he became well? and discovered it was the same hour that Jesus had spoken the words.

After being cleansed by the blood of Jesus and filled with the new wine of the Holy Spirit, we now partake in the second miracle. Because we "liveth" we have now become a son of Nobility. We are now children of God and our new position is a child of the King Jesus. Jesus' position of nobility elevates us to nobility as well. We can now like this nobleman approach Jesus and talk with Him just like this nobleman did, seeking out Jesus and telling Him our cares and concerns. Jesus tells him "that unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." Jesus is telling this new believer that miracles do not validate God's existence, His presence or man's salvation. We receive salvation and the gift of the Holy Spirit by faith not by experience. In the turning of water to wine in the first miracle only the servants knew that it had happened but they knew it by faith there was no experience involved in the first miracle. Jesus wants us to know by faith that He loves us, He died for us on the cross and He now lives with us in His resurrection.

In Moses day the children of God saw many miracles performed mightily by God yet the people Jews and Egyptians alike both refused to have faith in God. The Bible says that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Faith does not come by seeing with our eyes or experiencing with our intellect or emotions. Miracles are also performed and counterfeited by Satan and the demonic realm. In fact the Anti-Christ, the coming world leader, is a demonic person who rises to power by performing false miracles and false wonders. The people who accept the Anti-Christ will have accepted him based on the miracles he performs instead of relying on the Bible for guidance. If they had read the Bible they would know that the one coming with miracles for everyone to see he will be the fake one.

When we specifically look for miracles we are prone to miss the biggest miracle of all and that is the Spiritual healing of us from death to life. Jesus said the son "liveth" Christianity is not about being bad then becoming good it is about being dead in sin and then becoming suddenly alive to God and life. Notice that Jesus spoke this miracle and healed the son when the son was in a different city than Jesus. It is that way for us, Jesus is in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father, we are here on earth, but we are not out of the effect of Jesus' voice. When Jesus speaks we are healed. This miracle is important, Jesus wants us to know for certain that we are now alive in Him and that we belong to Him. This is the first part of a relationship with God it comes even before our Christian walk and is to be establish beyond any doubt that we are alive Spiritually and that we belong to Jesus. Jesus wants us to have a lifelong Christian walk, one that is grounded in the Bible and strong enough in faith to get us through all of life's disappointments, pains, suffering, and hurts. In fact the healing that is now taking place in the son of the nobleman is the real miracle the miracle healing of hurts, pain, loneliness, sorrow, and suffering.

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November 12

Miracle 3 - Christian Walk

Miracle 3 - Starting the lifelong Christian Walk (Journey)

Miracle 3 - Starting the Christian Walk (John 5:1-17) Healing of the Lame man The Christian can now walk

After this there was a Feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an Angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had. And a certain man was there, which had an infirmity thirty and eight years. When Jesus saw him lie, and knew that he had been now a long time in that case, He says unto him, Will you be made whole [Salvation]? The impotent man answered Him, Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steps down before me. Jesus says unto him, Rise, take up your bed, and walk. And immediately the man was made whole, and took up his bed, and walked: and on the same day was the Sabbath. The Jews therefore said unto him that was cured, It is the Sabbath day: it is not lawful for you to carry your bed. He answered them, He (Jesus) that made me whole (Salvation), the same said unto me, Take up your bed, and walk. Then asked they him, What Man is that which said unto you, Take up your bed, and walk? And he that was healed know not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed [moved] Himself away, a multitude being in that place. Afterward Jesus finds him in the Temple, and said unto him, Behold, you are made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto you. The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole. And therefore did the Jews persecute Jesus, and sought to slay Him, because He had done these things on the Sabbath day. But Jesus answered them, My Father works until now, and I work.

In the third miracle Jesus sees a man near the pool of Bethesda who has had a crippling infirmity for a long time for 38 years to be exact. Jesus asks the man if he wants to be "made whole?" Interestingly the man instead of saying yes replied with a myriad of excuses and reasons as to why he has not been made whole. It turns out that an angel would agitate or trouble the water of the pool of Bethesda and when the hurting people saw the pool disturbed the first one into the pool would be healed by God from whatever ailed them. In this man's case he was so crippled that he was not able to get into the pool first as he could find no one to help him.

Jesus completely ignoring the infirmed man's excuses said to him "Rise, take up thy bed and walk." And immediately the man took up his bed, and walked. Here is another man being healed by the voice of Jesus. The nobleman's son was healed to life this man is then being healed to have a walk [relationship] with God. Once it has been established that we are alive [born again] and belong to God. The next miracle in the life of the Christian is to begin to have an intimate relationship with God, a walk as it is called. Notice that the man was infirm for 38 years, that is exactly the amount of time that the Jews with Moses wandered in the wilderness after neglecting to enter the promise land the first time, and before actually entering into the promised land. After leaving Egypt God led the Jews to Mount Sinai and gave Moses the Ten Commandments, the law (613 commandments), and instruction to build the tabernacle and establish the Levitical Priesthood under Moses' brother Aaron. Then God led the Jews to the promise land where each of the 12 tribes sent out two spies. It took two years once leaving Egypt and staying at Mount Sinai to get to the promise land and send out spies. The spies returned and were afraid to enter the promise land because of the giants in the land. The Jews then had to continue wandering in the desert until the entire generation of unbelief died. The Jews wandered for 38 years until God took them to the promise land the second time and Joshua [Jesus] led them into the promise land as they by faith crossed over the Jordan river.

This crippled man, like us, is in a similar circumstance as the Jews who came out of slavery in Egypt were. They have been saved from slavery and have received instruction at Mount Sinai in how to follow and worship God, they are being miraculously provided for from God with the manna [bread] from heaven, yet they are not yet able to believe and trust God to take care of the giants in their lives. We likewise have been delivered from the bondage and slavery of sin and death, we have been instructed in how to follow and worship the Holy God of Israel, we receive our daily manna in the Bible to sustain us through this wilderness wandering. Yet just like the Jews and just like the crippled man we lack the faith in God to provide for us and to take care of us and our problems. So we to having rejected entering into the promise land must now wander in the wilderness of excuses and complaints until by faith we hear the voice of Jesus and pick up our bed and walk.

Jesus performed this miracle on the infirm man on the Sabbath day, the weekly Saturday Jewish day of rest. The infirmed man was confronted by others for being healed on the Sabbath but remember it is not work to worship God or to be healed by God. Jesus has done the work of salvation [healing] for us. We just need to work through our circumstances with Jesus and the healing is a natural part of walking with God it is not work.

It is interesting in this miracle that God would trouble or stir the water in the pool of Bethesda and that getting into the troubled waters would heal the sick. God does that in our lives He troubles the water of our life He has us work beside a co-worker that we have nothing in common with that we cannot stand to be around. Through these troublings we are healed if we get into the water. Get in there and get to know that co-worker, get in there and work on that resume, work on that marriage and those bills and through the troubled waters God is healing us as we are walking with God.

Jesus later sought out the now healed man and found him in the "Temple" and told him "behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee." That is where Jesus should find us is in the church body worshiping and fellowshipping. Just think what if Jesus had found this man with the sinners? We are freed up from sin to follow God not to return and sin more and make a mockery out of the cross and suffering of Jesus. Jesus makes the point to this man that although our sins are forgiven we still have our own freewill and if we choose to sin "a worse thing will come to us." We are free to worship God and we are free to sin. If however we choose to sin then there will be ramifications. If we return to what we know is wrong it gives Satan a chance to condemn us and accuse us, making our walk with Jesus even more difficult. Difficult that is if we choose to listen to Satan and ignore Jesus, but remember every sin is taken care of at the cross of Jesus, confess the sin, acknowledge the Deity of Jesus and remember the good wine is right now and the best wine is yet to come.

Once the healed man gave credit to Jesus for healing him. The people he told became so upset that Jesus had healed the infirmed man on the Sabbath, they actually sought to kill Jesus. This is the first part of persecution in the Christian walk. As soon as we start to glorify Jesus people are going to start to get upset. People are going to want to kill Jesus and claim that He does not exist or that He is not capable of healing even that Jesus does not care enough to heal us. Jesus' answer to these people is that "My Father worketh now and I work." In fact this is the very work of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and their work is going on right now whether people choose to believe it or not. And how Jesus would love to do His healing work and have a relationship with even the most critical, cynical and reached sinner.

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November 13

Miracle 4 - Fellowship

Miracle 4 - Fellowship among the Believers -- note: this could be a taste of Heaven and this could also be a taste of Hell (2 Corinthians 6:7)

Miracle 4 - Fellowship among Believers (John 6:1-15) Feeding of the Thousands with Bread and Fish Fellowship among the believers

After these things Jesus went over the sea of Galilee, which is the sea of Tiberias. And a great multitude followed Him, because they saw His miracles which He did on them that were diseased.

And Jesus went up into a Mountain, and there He sat with His Disciples. And the Passover, a Feast of the Jews, was nigh. When Jesus then lifted up His eyes, and saw a great company come unto Him, He says unto Philip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And this He said to prove [test] him: for He Himself knew what He would do. Philip answered Him, Two hundred pennyworth [i.e. all the money we have] of bread is not sufficient for them, that everyone of them may take a little. One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter's brother, says unto Him, There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves;

and when He had Given Thanks, He distributed to the Disciples, and the Disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, He said unto is Disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten. Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is Truthfully that Prophet that should come into the world. 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 6:1-15

Jesus performs this next miracle while on a Mountaintop. A great multitude had followed Jesus out into the countryside. Jesus asked the disciple Philip "where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?" It says that Jesus asked Philip to test Him because Jesus already knew what He was going to do. Philip wondered how much money it would take to buy all of the bread that the huge crowd would need. Another one of the disciples named Andrew said "There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves and two small fishes: but what are these among so many?" And Jesus said "Make the men sit down" Jesus took the loaves and the fish and after giving thanks distributed them to the disciples and the disciples distributed them to the people who were sitting down. When the people were full Jesus instructed the disciples to "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." And the disciples gathered 12 full baskets of fragments from the five barley loaves of bread.

Sharing bread and fish that God has provided for us is an example of fellowship. The miracle of fellowship is that God has broken down every wall and barrier. Believers are now converted and see themselves and others in God's true agape love knowing that we are all created by God in the Image of God. We are all saved and cleansed by the same precious blood of Jesus shed for us on the cross. All people are descendants of Adam and Eve and again we are all related in Noah and His wife. There is no longer any color barrier or ethnic barrier we are all one in Jesus. We are all now nobility, children of the King. We have been elevated to the highest standard obtainable to become a relative in the one and only true Royal Family of King Jesus.

Jesus gives thanks, takes the bread and breaks it, distributing the fragments of bread to feed the multitudes. We often think what do I have to offer in fellowship & Church with other Christians. We look at ourselves and know our problems and our shortcomings. We wrongly think that Christians are "perfect" people and that we need to be "perfect" to fellowship. The reality is that in Jesus He is using the fragments of our life to nourish others in fellowship. When we honestly open up our lives to others we are truly fellowshipping and helping others many who are in similar circumstances as we are.

Then Jesus instructed "Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost." The truthful fellowship will remain and last even into eternity. There are some things that will transfer with us into Heaven and earthly fellowship is one of those things. The people and Godly relationships we establish here on earth will transfer with us for eternity into Heaven.

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November 14

Miracle 5 - Calming Storms

Miracle 5 - Calming our Storms and Fears in Life

Miracle 5 - Calming our Storms and Fears (John 6:16-21) Jesus calms the disciples during a storm Jesus Calms our Fears

And when evening was now come, His Disciples went down unto the sea, And entered into a ship (boat), and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them. And the sea arose by reason of a great wind that blew. So when they had rowed about five and twenty or thirty furlongs, they see Jesus walking on the sea, and drawing nigh unto the ship: and they were afraid. But He says unto them, It is I; be not afraid. Then they willingly received Him into the ship: and immediately the ship was at the land where they went. ~ John 6:16-21

The disciples entered into a boat to cross the Sea of Galilee, alone and in the dark, the disciples began to experience a great storm "and they were afraid." They were still afraid when Jesus walking on the water approached them and said to them "It is I; be not afraid." Then they willingly received Him into the ship (boat): and immediately the ship was at the land whither they went.

The dark nights and the storms of life will come. It is up to us to look to Jesus and to invite Him into our situation into the very boat of our circumstances. As we look around for Jesus we need to look up to see Jesus, for He is above our problems He is walking on the waters. Jesus is above the very storms that threaten to capsize us.

In following Jesus the sea of life will from time to time become stormy, strong winds will blow. These are the very circumstances which Jesus allows into our lives in order for us to call out to Him and to see that He is bigger than any storm. Often these strong winds are nothing less than demonic attacks, but that doesn't matter as Jesus has the authority to calm every storm even satanic and demonic storms. It is important to remember that no matter what direction the wind is blowing from or how strong the storm that Jesus is always in control and He is always with us.

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November 15

Miracle 6 - Evangelism

Miracle 6 - Mature Christians share the Gospel with others

Miracle 6 - Mature Christians Preach (John 9:1-11) Blind eyes opened (Revelation 3:17-18) Apostles sent out to non-believers

And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man which was blind from his birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither has this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the Works of God should be made manifest in him. I must Work the Works of Him that sent Me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the Light of the World. When He had thus spoken, He spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, And said unto him, Go, wash in the pool of Siloam [lit. Apostle], which is by interpretation, Sent. He went his way therefore, and washed, and came seeing. The neighbors therefore, and they which before had seen him that he was blind, said, Is not this he that sat and begged? Some said, This is he: others said, He is like him: but he said, I am he. Therefore said they unto him, How were your eyes opened? He answered and said, A Man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed mine eyes, and said unto me, Go to the pool of Siloam, and wash: and I went and washed, and I received sight.

This man has remained blind since his birth. Jesus Informed His disciples that the act of making this man see is a work of God. It is a work that God will be glorified in doing. Vision requires light in order to see, Jesus proclaims Himself to be the light for our sight.

Jesus made clay from His spit and dust from the ground then Jesus "anointed" the eyes of the blind man with the clay. Clay represents the frail condition of humanity. The Bible says that we are but clay (Job 4:19). This man was blind to the plight of humanity. This man was blind to the sin and suffering that is occurring around him.

Then Jesus instructed the man to "Go, wash in the pool of Siloam, which is by interpretation, Sent." In Greek the pool of Siloam is called the pool of Apostle. Apostle means sent. The Apostles of Jesus are the "sent out ones" But in order to be sent out it is first required to have sight in the light of Jesus and to have our eyes Anointed with the Clay of humanity. Apostles have the Gospel of the Resurrection of Jesus to Eternal life. Apostles have the Good News and the message is to the sinner that God desires to save them.

We were once blind now that we have been filed with the Holy Spirit read God's word daily, walk according to God's word, share God's word in fellowship with believers, braved the storms of life by calling on Jesus, we can now participate in the 6th miracle of Jesus which is to be a sent out one an Apostle. Jesus said to take the Good News [gospel] of His resurrection into all the world. We do not have to be sent out into the globe to be sent out we can reach our families, friends, communities and co-workers all of them need to experience the love that Jesus has for them. When we have applied God's word to our own life and Christian walk we can now share God's word with others we must be careful to give only God's word and not to pass off our notions as God's word but share only the true bread of Jesus.

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November 16

Miracle 7 - Our Resurrection Life

Miracle 7 - Our own Resurrection Life in the Resurrection Life of Jesus Christ

Miracle 7 - Our own Resurrection Life (John 11:1-45) The Resurrection of Lazarus from death to life Resurrection of the believer from physical death to eternal life

Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha. It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose

brother Lazarus was sick. Therefore his sisters sent unto Him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom you love is sick. When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the Glory of God, that

the Son of God might be Glorified thereby. Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus. When He had heard therefore that he was sick, He abode two days still in the same place where He was. Then after that says He to His Disciples, Let us go into Judaea again. His Disciples say unto Him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone you; and go you thither again? Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbles not, because he sees the light of this world. But if a man walk in the night, he stumbles, because there is no light in him. These things said He: and after that He says unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleeps; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said His disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Nevertheless Jesus spoke of his death: but they thought that He had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent all of you may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him. Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellow Disciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him. Then when Jesus came, He found that he had lain in the grave four days already. Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off: And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother. Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him: but Mary sat still in the house. Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died. But I know, that even now, whatsoever you will ask of God, God will give it you. Jesus says unto her, Your brother shall rise again. Martha says unto Him, I know that he shall rise again in the Resurrection at the last day. Jesus said unto her [you are wrong, regarding a persistent ancient myth about a one-time Last Days resurrection], I Am the [continual] Resurrection, and the [continual] Life: he [OT saint] that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he [continually] live: And whosoever [NT saint] lives and believes in Me shall never die. Believe you this [in the Living Christ, instead of the one-time Last Days resurrection myth]? She says unto Him, Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world. And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master has come, and calls for you. As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto Him. Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met Him. The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goes unto the grave to weep there. Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell down at His feet, saying unto Him, Lord, if you had been here, my brother had not died. When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, He groaned in the Spirit, and was troubled. And said, Where have all of you laid him? They said unto Him, Lord, come and see. Jesus wept. Then said the Jews, Behold how He loved him! And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died? Jesus therefore again groaning in Himself comes to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it. Jesus said, Take all of you away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, says unto Him, Lord, by this time he stinks: for he has been dead four days. Jesus says unto her, Said I not unto you, that, if you would believe, you should see the Glory of God? Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up His eyes, and said, Father, I thank you that you have heard Me. And I knew that you hear Me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that you have sent Me. And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a cloth. Jesus says unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on Him.

Lazarus was sick. The Lazarus whom "thou (Jesus) lovest." Jesus replied "This sickness is not unto death, but for the Glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." Then Jesus waited two more days before departing with the disciples on the journey to get to where Lazarus was. By the time Jesus and the disciples arrived, Lazarus had been dead and in the grave for four days. The sisters of Lazarus were in despair that Jesus had arrived too late to heal their now dead brother. Jesus replied that to believe in Him is to never die. Then Jesus called Lazarus by name and the dead Lazarus became alive and walked out of his own grave. Not only did Jesus resurrect Lazarus back to life Jesus instructed that the grave cloths that had Lazarus bound up were to be removed.

Many people are afraid of death, Jesus has said that to believe in Him is to have the binding cloths of death and the grave permanently removed from us. In Jesus we have both life and freedom.

It only makes sense that God can resurrect us from death, after all God created each of us and gave us each a life in the first place. What is more difficult, to create life the first time or to give existing life a new body? To God nothing is impossible. The difficult part is not in creating a physical body or next a Spiritual body for us, the difficult part was to remove the sin that separated us from God.

The final miracle of Jesus that we get to participate in is the glorious resurrection of the believer. Jesus called Lazarus by name just as Jesus knows our name and will call us by name to the first resurrection. The first resurrection is a selective resurrection and is for the believer only the unbelievers will not come forward until the end and that is to be condemned. Jesus said "unbind him and let him go" at the resurrection we will no longer be bound to these bodies of flesh and sin. Jesus has set us free from sin and the penalty of sin which is death. The resurrection is where we realize what God has already done for us at the creation and re-united for us at the cross of Jesus.

Note: Jesus resurrected other people (Matthew 9:25, Luke 7:15) from death during His 1st Coming. Lazarus was not a special onetime event. The 1st Resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:23, Revelation 20:6) since the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is a continual and ongoing event not a onetime end of days event. That is why the doctrine of Purgatory is completely rejected by Protestantism because people are either currently resurrected, in order, or are awaiting judgment, a State of Purgatory biblically doesn’t exist.

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November 17

8th - Heavenly

Where biblically the number 7 often implies an earthly completeness the number 8 often signifies a Heavenly newness

Jesus' 8th Miracle in the Gospel of John

The 8th Miracle in the Gospel of John is after the Resurrection of Jesus

Jesus and the Miraculous Catch of Fish - signifying that Jesus will bring in the entirety of the Christian Church Age.

After these [Passion - Holy Week] things Jesus showed Himself again to the Disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and likewise showed He Himself. There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of His Disciples. Simon Peter says unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with you. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing. But when the morning was now come, Jesus [after the Resurrection] stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus. Then Jesus says unto them, Children, have all of you any food? They answered Him, No. And He said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and all of you shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. ~ John 21:1-6

Jesus' 8th Parable in the Gospel of Matthew

Then said He unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed [in the Bible] unto the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which brings forth out of his Treasure things New [New Testament] and Old [Old Testament]. ~ Matthew 13:52

This 8th Kingdom Parable of Jesus Christ seems to imply that a good Bible Scholar (scribe) is to interpret first the New Testament and then using the knowledge of the New Testament is able to more aptly understand the intentions and Biblical applications of the Old Testament.

Jesus' 8th Seal of Revelation

I Jesus have sent mine Angel to Testify [Seal - 8th Seal] unto you these things in the Churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and Morning Star. And the Spirit

and the Bride [Church] say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come. And let him that is thirsty come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that hears 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. He which Testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. ~ Revelation 22:16-20

The Book of Revelation seems to have been Sealed with an 8th Seal the Testimony of Jesus Christ. Implied in this 8th Seal is that it has to be activated "Surely I come quickly" (Acts 3:21) before the events of Revelation unfold and that when the Seal is activated then the events of Revelation will quickly unfold.

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November 18

The Bible is Perfect

The Christian Bible is Inspired, Infallible and Perfect in leading people to Salvation

Your Word (Scripture) is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. ~ Psalms 119:105
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be complete, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. ~ 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Our Bible as we have noted earlier is a translation from the original Hebrew and Greek languages. During the translation process decisions were made by the translators to favor some doctrines while neglecting others. The fact that some doctrines are more clearly and more precisely translated than others does not make the Bible infallible because on whole the Bible as one whole Document is clear, concise, readable and therefore infallible.

Taking select verses out of context and neglecting the greater general principal of Salvation only in Jesus Christ does make the instructor suspect but it does not make the Bible infallible.

The Bible, especially the trustworthy and reliable KJV 1611 version is perfect, at least perfect enough for what we need to study in our given day.

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November 19

The 7 Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church

Roman Catholic Sacrament - divine life dispensed to the people

The sacraments of the Catholic Church are, the Roman Catholic Church teaches, "efficacious signs of grace, instituted by Christ and entrusted to the Church, by which divine life is dispensed to us. The visible rites by which the sacraments are celebrated signify and make present the graces proper to each sacrament. They bear fruit in those who receive them with the required dispositions."

While the Church itself is the universal sacrament of salvation, the sacraments of the Catholic Church in the strict sense are seven sacraments that "touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life: they give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith". "The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation", although not all are necessary for every individual, and has placed under anathema those who deny it: "If any one saith, that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary unto salvation, but superfluous; and that, without them, or without the desire thereof, men obtain of God, through faith alone, the grace of justification;-though all (the sacraments) are not ineed necessary for every individual; let him be anathema."

The Church further teaches that the effect of a sacrament comes ex opere operato, by the very fact of being administered, regardless of the personal holiness of the minister administering it. However, a recipient's own lack of proper disposition to receive the grace conveyed can block the effectiveness of the sacrament in that person. The sacraments presuppose faith and through their words and ritual elements, nourish, strengthen and give expression to faith.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church lists the sacraments as follows: "The whole liturgical life of the Church revolves around the Eucharistic sacrifice and the sacraments.

There are Seven Sacraments in the Roman Catholic Church:

Baptism, Confirmation or Chrismation, Eucharist (Communion), Penance (Repentance - Reconciliation), Anointing of the Sick (including Last Rites), Holy Orders (Ministry - Ordination), and Matrimony (Marriage - Family).

Source: wiki.com

Note: each of the seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church are administered by a Catholic Priest and received by the laity.

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November 20

The 2 Sacraments of the Protestant Reformation

Protestant Sacrament - an earthly sign associated with a promise from God

The Two Reformed (Calvinism) Sacraments

John Calvin defined a sacrament as an earthly sign associated with a promise from God. He accepted only two sacraments as valid under the new covenant: baptism and the Lord's Supper. He and all Reformed theologians following him completely rejected the Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation and the treatment of the Supper as a sacrifice. He also could not accept the Lutheran doctrine of sacramental union in which Christ was "in, with and under" the elements [Communion bread and wine].

The Westminster Confession of Faith also limits the sacraments to baptism and the Lord's Supper. Sacraments are denoted "signs and seals of the covenant of grace." Westminster speaks of "a sacramental relation, or a sacramental union, between the sign and the thing signified; whence it comes to pass that the names and effects of the one are attributed to the other." Baptism is for infant children of believers as well as believers, as it is for all the Reformed except Baptists and some Congregationalists. Baptism admits the baptized into the visible church, and in it all the benefits of Christ are offered to the baptized. On the Lord's supper, Westminster takes a position between Lutheran sacramental union and Zwinglian memorialism: "the Lord's supper really and indeed, yet not carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed upon Christ crucified, and all benefits of his death: the body and blood of Christ being then not corporally or carnally in, with, or under the bread and wine; yet, as really, but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that ordinance as the elements themselves are to their outward senses."

The Two Protestant Sacraments

Anglican teaching is that "there are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel, that is to say, Baptism and the (Communion) Supper of the Lord", and that "those five commonly called Sacraments, that is to say, Confirmation, Penance, Orders, Matrimony, and Extreme Unction (Ministry), are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel".

Source: wiki.com

Note: some modern extreme Calvinism teachings are reinterpreting the two Sacraments (Baptism and Communion) to be "Proclaiming of the Gospel of Grace" and "Acts of Service" by an Ordained Pastor/Elder. Notice that the New Reformed Sacraments don't directly benefit the Laity as is the previous case with Roman Catholicism and the Protestant Reformation but instead the New Reformed Sacraments in a sense primarily benefit the Reformed Minister as it is the Minister that according to some customs will receive rewards in Heaven based on a compiling of sacraments on earth. It's also interesting how the New Reformed Sacraments of preaching 'talking' and service 'doing' basically becomes anything that the Reformed Pastor/Elder says or does is a sacrament while anything a non-ordained member does is probably not so much of a holy sacrament. -- The implementation of the New Reformed Sacraments could be a cause of concern regarding an existing pervasive cult mentality.

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November 21

The 3 Sacraments of Common Christianity

Common Christian Sacrament - Sacred interactions between humans and God

1. Confession of Faith

That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him (Jesus Christ) shall not be ashamed. ~ Romans 10:9-11

God the Father: No man can come to Me (Jesus), except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. ~ John 6:44

2. Baptism - Spirit, Water, Fire

And Jesus came and spake unto them [Apostles], saying, All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and Teach all Nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son (Jesus), and of the Holy Spirit: 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 28:18

God the Son - Jesus Christ: I [John the Baptist] indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He [Messiah] that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He [Jesus Christ] shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit, and with fire: Whose fan [i.e. tools] is in His hand, and He will throughly purge [completely empty] His floor [workspace], and gather His wheat [saved] into the garner [building]; but He will burn up the chaff [unsaved] with unquenchable fire. ~ Matthew 3:11-12

3. Communion

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the New Testament [eternal life], which is shed for many for the remission of sins. ~ Matthew 26:26-28

God the Holy Spirit: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God [Father], and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen. ~ 2 Corinthians 13:14

The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us not [the water and] the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him. ~ 1 Peter 3:21-22
For I [Apostle Paul] have received of the Lord [Jesus Christ] that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same [Passover] night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped [eaten], saying, This cup is the New Testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death [i.e. and resurrection] till He come. ~ 1 Corinthians 11:23-26

Note: To participate in any one of the 3 Sacraments is to participate in all of them. An individual confession of faith that Jesus Christ is the Savior, the Son of God is the same profession as Baptism and Communion.

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November 22

The Original 3 Solas

The 3 Solas of the Protestant Reformation

The theology of the Reformers departed from the Roman Catholic Church primarily on the basis of three great principles:

• Sole authority of Scripture -- God revealed (John 12:38, Romans 1:17, Ephesians 3:5)

• Justification by faith alone -- man revealed (Deuteronomy 29:29, Luke 2:35)

• Priesthood of the believer -- interaction between the two (Hebrews 4:14, Hebrews 6:19, Hebrews 10:19-22)

By Scripture Alone (Sola Scriptura)

Sola Scriptura (by Scripture alone) was one of the watchwords of the Reformation. This doctrine maintains that Scripture, as contained in the Bible, is the only authority for the Christian in matters of faith, life and conduct. The teachings and traditions of the church are to be completely subordinate to the Scriptures. Roman Catholicism, on the other hand, holds Scripture and Tradition to be of the same inspired Deposit of Faith.

By Faith Alone (Sola Fide)

Sola Fide (by faith alone) was the other watchword of the Reformation. This doctrine maintains that we are justified before God (and thus saved) by faith alone, not by anything we do, not by anything the church does for us, and not by faith plus anything else. It was also recognized by the early Reformers that Sola Fide is not rightly understood until it is seen as anchored in the broader principle of Sola Gratia, by grace alone. Hence the Reformers were calling the church back to the basic teaching of Scripture where the apostle Paul states that we are "saved by grace through faith and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God," Eph. 2:8.

Priesthood of All Believers - 'one priesthood of believers' (Sola Sacerdos)

The third great principle of the Reformation was the priesthood of all believers. The Scriptures teach that believers are a "holy priesthood," 1 Pet. 2:5. All believers are priests before God through our great high priest Jesus Christ. "There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus," 1 Tim. 2:5. As believers, we all have direct access to God through Christ, there is no necessity for an earthly mediator. The Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox concept of the priesthood was seen as having no warrant in Scripture, viewed as a perversion and mis-application of the Old Testament Aaronic or Levitical priesthood [the O.T. having been successfully accomplished, completed and fulfilled in the bringing in and establishing of the Messiah, Jesus Christ and His N.T.] which was clearly fulfilled in Christ and done away with by the New Testament.

Source: Theopedia.com

Note: The original 3 Solas are comprised of the three necessary and distinct categories; God Revealed (One Scripture), Man Revealed (One Faith), and the interaction between the two (One Priesthood).

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November 23

The Revised 5 Solas

The Revised 5 Solas of Reformed Theology

The Five solae are five Latin phrases that emerged during the Protestant Reformation and summarize the Reformers' basic theological beliefs in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church of the day. The Latin word sola means "alone" or "only" in English. The five solae articulated five fundamental beliefs of the Protestant Reformation, pillars which the Reformers believed to be essentials of the Christian life and practice. All five implicitly rejected or countered the teachings of the then-dominant Catholic Church, which the Reformers claimed had usurped divine attributes or qualities for the Church and its hierarchy, especially its head, the Pope.

Sola scriptura ("by Scripture alone") -- God Revealed

Sola fide ("by faith alone") -- God Revealed

  • Sola gratia ("by grace alone") -- God Revealed
  • Solus Christus or Solo Christo ("Christ alone" or "through Christ alone") -- God Revealed
  • Soli Deo gloria ("glory to God alone") -- God Revealed

Source: wiki.com

  • New modern statements recently added.

Note: the Priesthood of All Believers (Sola Sacerdos) has been removed.

Also Note: although there are now 5 phrases expanding the original 3 [though 3 phrases are new as (Sola Sacerdos) was removed] there is in actuality now only one category. Gone are the two categories of Mankind [faith is from God in this new model] and the Priesthood category has also been removed from this model. The implication that the newer 5 Solas are somehow more complete or more knowledgeable is misleading in that the 5 Solas are really only 5 rephrasings of the one Sola category.

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November 24

The 3 Church Governments

Introduction: The 3 Biblical Church Governments - Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational

New Testament -- Three and Four Tiered Fellowships

1. Bishops - Pastors and Leaders

2. Elders - Office-bearers and Teachers {Elders primarily serve the Bishops as the Bishops are to test their theology, get their Biblical instruction and receive leadership guidance primarily from the church Elders.}

3. Deacons - Servants {The Deacons primarily serve the Congregants (internal and external i.e. hospital visits) and inform the Elders regarding the needs and condition of the Congregation.}

4. Congregation - Members {Confess a belief in God the Father, The Deity - Virgin Birth and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Ministry of the Holy Ghost, publically confessing Jesus Christ to be the only Son of God, are water baptized and are receiving the bread (unleavened - unsweetened) and the cup (fruit of the vine, grape juice) communion.}

The Biblical Pattern of the Three Church Governments

The three prominent forms of church government [Episcopal, Presbyterian, Congregational] all appeal to the Scriptures as well as church tradition for support of their respective positions. Since the Bible is not silent on the subject, key elements in the biblical examples are germane. Greg Bahnsen has noted the following:

There is no distinction between "elders" and "bishops" (Titus 1:5-7; Acts 20:17, 28); these represent the same office and order.

Each congregation and center of leadership is to have a plurality of elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17; Phil. 1:1), not one-man rule.

These elders have oversight of the church (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2-3) and are thus responsible to rule the congregation (1 Tim. 3:5; 5:17; 1 Thes. 5:12; Heb. 13:7, 17, 24). They judge among the brothers (cf. 1 Cor. 6:5) and, in contrast to all the members, they do the rebuking (1 Tim. 5:20). Christ calls them to use the "keys of the kingdom" to bind and loose (Matt.16: 19; 18: 18; John 20: 23)-these keys being the preaching of the gospel (I John I :3), administering of the sacraments (Matt. 28:19-20; I Cor. 11: 23ff.), and the exercise of discipline (Matt. 18:17; I Cor. 5:1-5).

The elders are assisted in their ministry by "deacons" who give attention to the ministry of mercy (Phil. 1:1; Acts 6:1-6; cf. 1 Tim. 3:8-13).

The office-bearers in the church are nominated and elected by the members of the congregation (e.g. Acts 6:5-6), but must also be examined, confirmed and ordained by the present board of elders (Acts 6:6; 13: 1-3; 1 Tim. 4: 14).

Members of the church have the right to appeal disputed matters in the congregation to their elders for resolution, and if the dispute is with those local elders, to appeal to the regional governing body (the presbytery) or, beyond that, to the whole general assembly (Acts 15). The decisions of the wider governing bodies are authoritative in all the local congregations (Acts 15:22-23, 28, 30; 16:1-5).

Source: Theopedia.com

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November 25

Congregational Church

Congregational: Practiced by Jesus and the Apostles - Servant Ministry - Equality

History of the Congregational Church

According to the congregationalist theory of the history of the Christian Church, the early disciples of Jesus had little or no organization. Congregationalists believe that in the centuries after the spread of Christianity, attempts to gain influence over all the churches were made by leaders in centers like Rome, Antioch, Alexandria, Byzantium, and Jerusalem. Typically, congregationalists view this supposed accumulation of power to be complete by the year AD 1000, with the bishop of Rome claiming authority over all Christendom, and many churches throughout the western part of Europe submitted to his authority. The churches of eastern Europe, all of Asia, and Egypt likewise had been gathered under a hierarchy of bishops, but retained their independence from the pope, according to this view.

Congregationalists sympathetically interpret various dissident movements among the western churches, that were suppressed throughout the Middle Ages. By the sixteenth century, political and cultural changes had created a climate in which the Roman church could no longer suppress the protests of men such as John Wycliffe, John Hus, Martin Luther, and John Calvin against alleged church abuses. These reformers advocated a return to the simplicity and sincerity they saw described in the New Testament Church, which congregationalists believe is fulfilled in the congregationalist model of church governance.

There are difficulties in identifying a specific beginning because Congregationalism is more easily identified as a movement than a single denomination, given its distinguishing commitment to the complete autonomy of the local congregation. The idea that each distinct congregation fully constitutes the visible Church can, however, be traced to John Wyclif and the Lollard movement which followed after Wyclif was removed from teaching authority in the Roman Catholic Church.

The early Congregationalists shared with Anabaptist theology the ideal of a pure church, which made adult conversion experience important for full membership in the church, unlike other Reformed churches. As such, the Congregationalists were a reciprocal influence on the Baptists, differing from them in that they counted the children of believers in some sense members of the church unlike the Baptists, because of baptism.

In England, the Roman system of church government was taken over by the king, Henry VIII, who (because he wanted to legitimize his marriage to Anne Boleyn in 1533 after divorcing his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, without the blessing of the Pope in Rome) influenced Parliament to enact the 1st Act of Supremacy in 1534, which declared the reigning sovereign of England to be 'the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England', an act which is in effect to this day. Robert Browne, Henry Barrow, John Greenwood, John Penry, William Brewster, and John Robinson were notable people who, in defiance of royal command, established churches separate from the Church of England.

With the demise of the monarchy, the Westminster Confession of Faith (1646) was officially declared the statement of faith for both the Church of England (Anglican) and Church of Scotland (Presbyterian). The Congregationalists created their own version of the Westminster Confession called the Savoy Declaration in 1658. The underground churches in England and exiles from Holland provided about 35 out of the 102 passengers on the Mayflower, which sailed from London in July 1620. They became known in history as the Pilgrim Fathers. The early Congregationalists sought to separate themselves from the Anglican church in every possible way and even forwent having church buildings. They met in one another's homes for many years.

The Pilgrims sought to establish at Plymouth Colony a Christian fellowship like that which gathered around Jesus Himself. Congregationalists include the Pilgrims of Plymouth, and the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, which were organized in union by The Cambridge Platform in 1648. These settlers had John Cotton as their most influential leader, beginning in 1633. Cotton's writings persuaded the Calvinist theologian John Owen to separate from the Presbyterian church, after which he, among others, became very influential in the development of Congregationalist theology and ideas of church government. Jonathan Edwards, considered by some to be the most important theologian ever produced in America, was also a Congregationalist.

The history of Congregational churches in the United States is closely intertwined with that of American Presbyterianism, especially in New England where Congregationalist influence spilled over into the Presbyterian churches farther west. Some of the first colleges and universities in America, including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, Williams, Bowdoin, Middlebury, and Amherst, all were founded by the Congregationalists, as were later Carleton, Grinnell, Oberlin, Beloit, and Pomona.

Without higher courts [church committees - synods] to ensure doctrinal uniformity among the congregations, Congregationalists have been more diverse than other Reformed churches. Despite the efforts of Calvinists to maintain the dominance of their system, some Congregational churches, especially in the older settlements of New England, gradually developed sentiments toward Arminianism, Unitarianism, Deism, and transcendentalism. By the 1750s, several Congregational preachers were teaching the possibility of universal salvation, an issue that caused considerable conflict among its adherents on the one side and hard-line Calvinists and sympathizers of the First Great Awakening on the other. The first church in America with an openly Unitarian theology was established in Boston, Massachusetts in 1785 (although in a former Anglican parish) and by 1800, all but one Congregational church in Boston had Unitarian preachers teaching the strict unity of God, the subordinate nature of Christ, and salvation by character. Harvard University, founded by Congregationalists, itself became a source of Unitarian training. Eventually, the Unitarian churches, prompted by a controversy over a theological appointment to Harvard, separated from Congregationalism in 1825; most of its descendants now hold membership in the Unitarian Universalist Association, founded in the 1960s by a merger with the theologically-similar Universalists, another group dissenting from Calvinist orthodoxy.

Thus, the Congregational churches were at the same time the first example of the American theocratic ideal and also the seed-bed from which American liberal religion and society arose. Even still, many Congregationalists in the several successor denominations to the original tradition consider themselves to be Reformed first, whether of traditional or neo-orthodox persuasion. In 1931 the Congregational Churches and the General Convention of the Christian Church, a body from the Restoration Movement tradition of the early 19th century, merged to form the Congregational Christian Churches. The Congregationalists were used to a more formal, less evangelistic form of worship than the Christian Church members, who mostly came from rural areas of the South and the Midwest. Both groups, however, held to local autonomy and eschewed binding creedal authority.

In 1957, the General Council of Congregational Christian Churches in the U.S. merged with the Evangelical and Reformed Church to form the United Church of Christ.

© 2008 by Gene Webster

Source: gene.kellerhouse-webster.com

Note: traditionally the Congregational style of Church participation is successful based directly on the extent that the congregation is informed, educated, motivated and involved.

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November 26

Episcopal - Roman Catholic

Episcopal Roman Catholic - Bishops (Popes) and Overseers (Cardinals)

Catholic Church Hierarchy

The term hierarchy (literally, "holy government") has a variety of related usages in the Catholic Church. There is a hierarchy of truths, which refers to the levels of solemnity of the official teaching of the faith. There is a hierarchical nature of the church, which is a structural feature considered to be of divine institution.

Most commonly, it refers to the ordering of ministry in the church into the threefold order of episcopate, presbyterate, and diaconate, which is considered to be divinely instituted and essential to the Church itself. In some cases, it refers only to the magisterium, the official teaching body of the church, the bishops, excluding deacons and presbyters (priests).

There is, in addition, an order of precedence of the various offices and ministries, which indicates the precedence or 'rank' of various ministers and offices in the Church for use during liturgies or other ceremonies where such protocol is helpful.

The Catholic Church comprised, as of December 31, 2011 of 2,834 dioceses, each overseen by a bishop. Dioceses are divided into individual communities called parishes, each staffed by one or more priests. Priests may be assisted by deacons. All clergy, including deacons, priests, and bishops, may preach, teach, baptize, witness marriages and conduct funeral liturgies. Only priests and bishops are allowed to administer the sacraments of the Eucharist, Reconciliation (Penance), Confirmation (priests may administer this sacraments with prior ecclesiastic approval), and Anointing of the Sick. Only bishops can administer the sacrament of Holy Orders, which ordains someone into the clergy.

The Pope - The Bishop of Rome

Catholics believe Pope Benedict XVI, like his predecessors, is the Vicar of Christ and 265th successor of St. Peter the Apostle, and therefore the leader of all Catholics and head of the Catholic Church. What most obviously distinguishes the Catholic Church from other Christian bodies is the link between its members and the Pope. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting the Second Vatican Council’s document Lumen Gentium, states: "The Pope, Bishop of Rome and Peter’s successor, ‘is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful.’"

The Pope is referred to as the Vicar of Christ and the Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church. He may sometimes also use the less formal title of "Servant of the Servants of God". Applying to him the term "absolute" would, however, give a false impression: he is not free to issue decrees at whim. Instead, his charge forces on him awareness that he, even more than other bishops, is "tied", bound, by an obligation of strictest fidelity to the teaching transmitted down the centuries in increasingly developed form within the Church (though he himself is the final arbiter of what constitutes fidelity to those teachings).

In Catholic theology, the bishop who is the successor of Saint Peter in the episcopal see of Rome is viewed as the head of the College of Bishops, as Saint Peter was the chief of the Apostles; and communion with him is considered essential for the existence of the College of Bishops. He has direct authority, not an authority mediated through other bishops, over the whole Church.

Source: wiki.com

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November 27

Episcopal - Anglican

Episcopal Anglican - Bishops and Overseers

Anglican History

The name "Anglican" means "of England", but the Anglican church exists worldwide. It began in the sixth century in England, when Pope Gregory the Great sent St. Augustine to Britain to bring a more disciplined Apostolic succession to the Celtic Christians. The Anglican Church evolved as part of the Roman church, but the Celtic influence was folded back into the Roman portion of the church in many ways, perhaps most notably by Charlemagne's tutor Aidan. The Anglican church was spread worldwide first by English colonization and then by English-speaking missionaries.

The Anglican church, although it has apostolic succession, is separate from the Roman church. The history of Christianity has produced numerous notable separations. In 1054 came the first major split from Roman administration of the church, when the Eastern Orthodox church and the Roman split apart.

The conflict of authority in England between church and state certainly dates back to the arrival of Augustine, and has simmered for many centuries. The murder of Thomas a Becket was one of the more famous episodes of this conflict. The Magna Carta, signed by King John in 1215, contains 63 points; the very first point is a declaration that the English church is independent of its government.

The beginning of the sixteenth century showed significant discontent with the Roman church. Martin Luther's famous 95 Theses were nailed to the door of the church in Wittenburg in 1517, and news of this challenge had certainly reached England when, 20 years later, the Anglican branch of the church formally challenged the authority of Rome. Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries and abbeys in 1536 AD.

The newly-separated Anglican church was given some formal structure in 1562 during the reign of Elizabeth I. That structure is not a management process or governing organization. What binds us together is not common administration but shared tradition and shared belief. Our belief is written down in the Holy Bible and the Articles of Religion; our tradition is in part embodied in our Book of Common Prayer. The first Book of Common Prayer was produced in 1549. In it the Latin liturgy was radically simplified and translated into English, and for the first time a single 'use' was enforced throughout England. It has been revised numerous times since then, the most significant revision being the first, in 1552. All revisions since then, before the modern era, were very conservative revisions. The 1662 English Book of Common Prayer forms the historical basis for most Anglican liturgy around the world. While several countries have their own prayer books, all borrow heavily from the English tradition rooted in Cranmer's original work [Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 - 21 March 1556 AD) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury - Wiki.com].

Source: Anglican.org

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November 28

Presbyterian - Reformed

Presbyterian - Elders and Leaders (Pastors)

Presbyterian Church History

In western Europe, the authority of the Roman Catholic Church remained largely unquestioned until the Renaissance in the 15th century. The invention of the printing press in Germany around 1440 AD made it possible for common people to have access to printed materials including the Bible. This, in turn, enabled many to discover religious thinkers who had begun to question the authority of the Roman Catholic Church. One such figure, Martin Luther, a German priest and professor, started the movement known as the Protestant Reformation when he posted a list of 95 grievances against the Roman Catholic Church on a church door in Wittenberg, Germany, in 1517 AD. Some 20 years later, a French/Swiss theologian, John Calvin, further refined the reformers' new way of thinking about the nature of God and God's relationship with humanity in what came to be known as Reformed theology. John Knox, a Scotsman who studied with Calvin in Geneva, Switzerland, took Calvin's teachings back to Scotland. Other Reformed communities developed in England, Holland and France. The Presbyterian church traces its ancestry back primarily to Scotland and England.

Source: PresbyterianMission.org

Reformed churches are joined by historical lineage and certain beliefs rather than by a way of structuring their communities and churches. They are churches that developed out of the Swiss Reformation founded by Huldrych Zwingli in Zurich and John Calvin in Geneva. Like other Protestants they state a belief that salvation is through faith alone, and a belief that the Bible is the final authority for matters of belief and practice. In contrast to other Protestant Christians they are more likely to hold to the doctrine of predestination, though contemporary Reformed scholarship has helped them to understand this in the light of the grace of Christ. They are more likely to believe that Christ is present spiritually or symbolically in the Lord's Supper than physically.

Reformed and Presbyterian churches are somewhat distinguished from Lutheran and Anglican (Episcopal) churches in the way they organize their communities. This derives from Zwingli's principle that what is not expressed in scripture is not allowed (as opposed to Luther's principle that what is not forbidden in scripture is allowed). In some ways Zwingli and Calvin are more radical reformers than Luther, especially when it came to Church structure. They, and Reformed Christians who followed them, tried to set up their churches on the model they found of the early Church in scripture. In general Reformed churches reject a model of organization based on bishops (Lutherans, Anglicans, and some Wesleyans continued this model) in favor of a structure based on elders and deacons. ... Written by: Ted Vial

Source: Patheos.com

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November 29

Emergent Church

The Modern Emergent Progressive Church Movement

What is the Emerging Church?

The Emerging Church is a movement that claims to be Christian. The term 'Emerging Church' is used to describe a broad, controversial movement that seeks to use culturally sensitive approaches to reach the postmodern, un-churched population with the Christian message. Some Emerging Churches might use props such as candles, statues, and incense along with poems, open mics, and videos, etc. EC services are sometimes extremely informal, while others are more formal.

Emerging Churches seek to reach the lost by focusing on relationships and developing a "story," a "journey of life" that is expressed through the "narrative" of learning. These words and others are often used by emerging teachers in describing their religious experience. Other terms sometimes used are "reimagine," "tribe," "story of Jesus," "deconstruction," etc. There is sometimes an ambiguous, feelings-oriented desire to experience God and also share in the lives of people as they seek to find God in their way. Some Emerging Churches are inclusivistic (those outside of Christianity will be saved), while others are not. Some Emerging Churches are environmentally focused, while others concentrate on local issues. Some downplay doctrine, reinterpret creeds, and de-emphasize tradition, while others hold to them. Obviously, it is difficult to define precisely what is emerging and what is not.

Seeker-sensitive churches are similar to Emerging Churches except that Emerging Churches are sometimes lax doctrinally, where seeker-sensitive churches, which sometimes are lax in presenting the gospel, hold nonetheless to orthodox theology. Seeker-sensitive churches try to meet people's needs through programs, where Emerging Churches do this by investing time in people's lives. Seeker churches tend to focus on people in their thirties and up where Emerging Churches tend to reach people in their teens to thirties. But, some areas of the Emerging Church are so similar to seeker-sensitive churches that it is hard to tell the difference. So how do you distinguish between the two? Generally, a church is emerging if it seeks to reach those lost in the post-modern culture, rejects doctrinal absolutes, and, of course, proclaims itself to be emerging.

No Official Emerging Church or Doctrine

There is no official single Emerging Church or Emerging Church doctrine so there is no unified structure to examine. But, there are a lot of Emerging Church writings. The more I read them, the more concerned I become. It is apparent that the movement as a whole is off-center and is sacrificing time-honored biblical truths for a let's-get-along kind of attitude. Remember, the Emerging Church is, in part, reacting against the modernistic, absolute structure of stale traditional churches that want people to convert to their style of worship and time-frozen culture. Instead, Emerging Church members believe it is necessary to establish relationships with people, going where they are, meeting them on their level, and then later presenting doctrinal truths after they have become part of their lives. I must admit, this is what Jesus did. He was involved with the lives of the disciples, interacted with them, grew very close to them and taught them by example, not just propositionally.

Conclusion

Even though there are some pastors in the Emerging Church Movement that are true to scripture, the movement as a whole needs to stick to the essentials of the Christian faith, otherwise, in spite of its proclamation to renew Christianity afresh, it will become stale and heretical. No one, no movement of people should ever be so arrogant as to say that they can't fall into error -- even though they seek truth. As I've always said, if you want to mess something up, all you need is two things: people and time. The Emerging Church movement has much good in it, but it also has a good bit of bad already within its doors. by Matt Slick

Source: carm.org

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November 30

Cults

Cults - Controlling and Manipulating

The Marks of a Cult

1. Extrabiblical Authority: All cults deny what God says in His Word as true. Cults have shifted their theological point of authority away from God's full and final written Word, the Bible, to their own unique, self-promoting opinions about the Bible; they generally will use parts of the Bible but will have their own unique scripture which is considered to be superior to the Bible. While some cult groups give token respect for the Bible and go through the motions of accepting the authority of Scripture, in reality, they honor the group's or leader's novel interpretation of Scripture as normative.

2. Works Salvation/Legalism: Cults teach that eternal life depends upon something other than the Atonement; i.e., faith in the atoning, finished work of Christ on the cross is deemed not to be sufficient (usually replaced with human works and human responsibility). Rather than relying on the grace of God alone for salvation, the salvation message of the cults always boils down to required obedience to, or abstention from, certain obligations and practices (some even including obedience to the Old Testament law).

3. No Assurance of Salvation: The issue of a cult member's salvation is never settled, but is constantly affected by the changing circumstances of life; in this way, cult leaders are able to produce continued obligation and spiritual bondage, rather than spiritual freedom.

4. Guru-Type Leader/Modern Prophet: The cult leader is looked to as the infallible interpreter of Scripture, specially appointed by God to be a special saint, guru, or contemporary messiah, and thereby, has divine authority that must not be violated. Cultists almost always quote their leader rather than the Bible. The cult's adherents often expound the virtues of the founders and seek to cover the founder's sins and wickedness.

5. Vacillating, Ambiguous Doctrines/Spiritual Deception: In order to gain favor with the public, and thereby aid in the recruitment of new members, cult "doctrine" tends to be characterized by many false or deceptive claims concerning the cult's true spiritual beliefs (e.g., Mormons are not quick to reveal their belief that God was a man, who has now become the God of planet Earth).

6. Exclusivity from/Denunciation of Other Groups: Each cult group, regardless of what other doctrines are taught, will all have this one common idea -- "The Only True Church Syndrome." The members of each specific organization have been taught that their church, organization, or community, is the only true group and that all other groups are false. The group's leaders will explain that it is impossible to serve God without being a member of the specific group. Moreover, when the cult leader announces himself as the true "Messiah," all others are declared to be dishonest, deceitful, and deluded, and must be put down; alternative views are denounced as being satanic and corrupt. Persecution is welcomed, and even glorified in, as "evidence" that they are being persecuted for righteousness sake. Thus, if a member decides to leave the group, they have been told that they are not simply leaving an organization, but rather they are leaving God and His only true organization. Hence, for a member of a cult who has been in a group for any length of time, the action of leaving the group is much more difficult than what most Christians understand. To leave the group is, in the minds of the cult member, tantamount to leaving God.

7. Claims of Special Discoveries/Additional Revelation: Acceptance of new, contemporary, continual revelations that either deny the Bible or are allowed to explain it. The fundamental characteristic of Christianity is that it is historical, not dependent upon private knowledge and secret, unconfirmable relationships, while the almost universal basis of cult religion is the claimed exclusive revelation that one person has supposedly received. Rather than conforming to Biblical rules of evidence (2 Cor. 13:1), cult leader revelations almost always emanate from hallucinations, visions, dreams, private discoveries, etc. These new revelations often become codified as official written "scripture" of the cults (e.g., The Book of Mormon), and are considered as valid as that of the apostles (and even more relevant because they are given in these end times).

8. Defective Christology: Cults always have a false view of the nature of the Person of Jesus Christ; a cult will usually deny the true deity of Christ, His true humanity, His true origin, or the true union of the two natures in one Person.

9. Defective "Nature of Man": Most cults do not see man as an immortal being; instead they see him either as an animal without a soul or as a being which is being perfected to the point of becoming a god. They usually do not see man as a spirit clothed in a body of flesh awaiting the redemption of body and soul.

10. Out-Of-Context Scripture Use as Proof-Texts/Segmented Biblical Attention: Cults tend to focus on one verse or passage of the Bible to the exclusion of others, and without regard for the context in which Scripture is given (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:29 used by Mormons to justify baptism for the dead). In addition, cults have made an art form out of using Christian terminology, all the while pouring out their own meanings into the words.

11. Erroneous Doctrines Concerning Life After Death and Retribution: Covering the gamut from soul sleep to annihilationism to purgatory to universalism to the progression to godhood, cults invariably deny the existence of a final judgment of, and a final "resting" place for, the unrighteous.

12. Entangling Organization Structure: The less truth a movement represents, the more highly it seems to have to organize itself; the absence of truth seems to make necessary the application of the bonds of fear. Cults often demand total commitment by their converts to an organizational involvement that entangles them in a complicated set of human restrictions, giving the impression of passionate and often irrational devotion to a cause.

13. Financial Exploitation: The cultic practitioner strongly implies that money contributed to the cause will earn the contributor numerous gifts, powers, and abilities, and in many cases, outright salvation.

14. Pseudomystical/Spiritistic/Occultic Influence: Occult influence is many times found in either the origin of the group and/or in its current practices.

Source: rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/marksof.htm

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