We believe and teach that:
The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God and that it is the sole authority for faith, doctrine and instruction in Christian living.
The Bible standard of full salvation is repentance, baptism by immersion in water in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and the infilling of the Holy Spirit with the initial sign of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.
That God is absolutely one, with no distinction of persons and that Jesus is the fullness of the Godhead incarnate thus, all names and titles of Deity properly apply to Him.
The spiritual growth of the believer to be separated from the world, living a holy life in righteousness and witnessing of the Lord’s saving grace through the power of the Holy Ghost.
The time is drawing near when our Lord shall appear and we (the church) which are alive and remain will be caught up together with the dead in Christ, in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.
As Christians we will not progress in our understanding of the Lord without seeking Him out through the reading of the Word of God, the Bible.
In II Timothy 2:15; "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." We need to study the Word so that when asked a question we are able to give a reasonable answer without being ashamed for not knowing the scriptures correctly.
John 5:39; "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
Acts 17:11; "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."
Romans 15:4; "For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope."
God's Word Will Last.
Matthew 5:18; "For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled."
And again in Matthew 24:35; "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."
Also in I Peter 1:24-25; "For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you."
God’s Word Is Food For Our Souls.
Job 23:12; "Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food."
Psalm 119:103; "How sweet are thy words unto my taste! yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth!"
I Peter 2:2; "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:"
The Word Is Divinely Inspired.
II Timothy 3:16; "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:"
II Peter 1:21; "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost."
The Word Should Be In Our Hearts.
Deuteronomy 6:4-6; "Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:"
Psalm 119:11; "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Romans 10:8; "But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;"
Colossians 3:16; "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
The Word Of God Lights Our Life.
Psalm 19:8; "The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes."
Psalm 119:105; "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path."
Psalm 119:130; "The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple."
II Peter 1:19; "We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:"
The Saints Of God Love His Word.
Psalm 119:47; "And I will delight myself in thy commandments, which I have loved."
Psalm 119:72; "The law of thy mouth is better unto me than thousands of gold and silver."
Psalm 119:140; "Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it."
God's Word Is Powerful And Has A Lasting Effect.
Jeremiah 5:14; "Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them."
Jeremiah 23:29; "Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?"
Ephesians 6:17; "And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
Hebrews 4:12; "For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
The Word Has A Purifying Effect.
Psalm 119:9; " Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word."
John 15:3; " Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."
John 17:17; " Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth."
Let us cherish the Word and endeavour to learn it and live by it that we may become the complete Christian that God desires.
Repentance – Stepping Onto The pathway Of Life
Luke 15:4-7; “What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? 5 And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost. 7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.”
Luke 15:8-10; “Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it? 9 And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost. 10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.”
Luke 15:32; “It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.”
Reformation may lift a person to a higher moral plane but repentance will put us on the path from death to life.
Signing your name to a church roll, confessing Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, taking the right hand of fellowship or partaking of communion does not free a man from sin.
An unrepentant man may abound in good works and have a fine character but the curse of sin and death still hangs over his head.
Man cannot resolve the sin question – he needs the Saviour to give him life.
The Way Of Life
The way to life is discovered when a person seeks forgiveness of sins through true repentance.
You can sit in church reformed but not forgiven. You can sit in church with a good character, full of good works but unrepentant.
Luke 13:1-5; “There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.”
Luke 24:45-47; “Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: 47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.”
Acts 2:37-38; “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? 38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”
The first word Peter said after the multitude cried out, “what shall we do?” was “Repent!”
Repentance is the first step in God’s plan of salvation.
Acts 17:30: “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:”
True repentance comes through godly sorrow.
II Corinthians 7:9-11; “Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.”
Worldly sorrow is a sorrow for the wrongs committed to people. Though the drunkard may weep over what he is doing to his family there is no remorse toward God. Soon you find him repeating the act. He has not changed his attitude to sin – he has not realized that first of all he has sinned against God. Worldly sorrow can also be a being sorry for self because you have been caught or found out.
It is the same with crime, low morals, lying, gossip, etc, etc.
True repentance must be based on the knowledge that we have transgressed against God. We are at enmity with God.
We must come to a realization that we must not just confess our sins but we must forsake them also.
An unrepentant man cannot understand why the Christian does not take part in the sinful activities ‘enjoyed’ by others.
A repentant man’s eyes are opened – you see sin in a different light – you see it as God sees it and your heart is open to change. A repentant sould is free to make Godly choices.
You feel differently about sin – it is detestable and a separator from God – You now love what God loves and hate what God hates. God hates sin but not the sinner.
A sinner who comes under conviction first thinks of all the things he must ‘give up.’
The repentant man experiences the supernatural power of God that crucifies the love for the things of the world (the things that will destroy his soul) - he now hates the sin that he once loved. This is not a temporary change but a deep desire never to turn back to the sin again.
Genuine repentance is a submission of the will (not my will but thine be done - that is why we struggle). It is a humbling of self before God.
Psalm 51:17; “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
See also Psalm 51:1-4; “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. 4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
Repentance brings forgiveness of sins.
Sin and sorrow go together. Sin brings such sorrows as drunkenness, drug addiction, temper tantrums, immorality, broken homes, broken marriages, etc.
God’s forgiveness sets us free from the consequence of sin, delivers us from death (eternal separation from God) and brings joy and peace.
Repentance puts us on the path to eternal life. Our blinded eyes are opened, we see where we are headed and the road we need to take.
Baptism By Immersion In Jesus’ Name
Water baptism is one of the foundational stones of the church (Hebrews 6:1-2; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:10-13; Titus 3:5; I Peter 3:20-21.)
Baptism is not an optional extra; it is a fundamental part of salvation. Jesus gave the command of baptism in the great commission: "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 28:19). The church must baptise believers or disobey God's plan of salvation.
Wherever people believed the preaching of the gospel, they were baptised. There are at least nine separate baptismal services recorded in Acts, and baptism is mentioned in the conversion experience of Jews, Samaritans, and Gentiles. (See Acts 2:38-41; 8:12-16; 8:36-39; 9:18; 10:47-48; 16:15; 16:33; 18:8; 19:3-5 and 22:16.)
It is recorded in Acts that the Apostles baptised Jews, Samaritans, Gentiles, an Ethiopian, Philippians, Corinthians, and followers of John the Baptist. No believer was excluded, and there is no record of any believer refusing to be baptised.
The Old Testament
It should be noted that in the Old Testament God assigned an important role to water in delivering His people and in dealing with sin.
What finally separated the Israelites from Egyptian bondage was their crossing the Red Sea. Israel was "baptised" unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea (I Corinthians 10:2).
In the Tabernacle service, the priests were instructed to wash at the laver of water prior to entering the sanctuary or serving at the altar. So important was washing at the laver that the priest who neglected to do so would die (Exodus 30:20).
Baptism; Essential To Salvation
Paul's teaching on baptism reveals its central role in the salvation experience. (See Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12; Titus 3:5.) Galatians 3:27 is an example of his belief that baptism is essential to salvation: "For as many as have been baptised into Christ have put on Christ."
The New Testament
Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5). If "born of water" refers to water baptism, there is no mistake about its necessity. It is significant that the apostles interpreted Jesus' teaching of being born again to mean water baptism and the infilling of the Spirit. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:44-48; 19:1-6.)
On the cross Jesus shed His blood for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28; Hebrews 9:22), and later He gave His disciples the authority to remit sins (John 20:23). Jesus' sacrificial death is the only means of remission of sin; He died once, and there is no other offering for sins. God gave us a way to receive remission of sins and that way is water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. (See Luke 24:47;Acts 2:38; 22:16.)
Faith, repentance, the name of Jesus in water baptism and the infilling of the Spirit flow together to wash away our sins, sanctify our sinful nature, and justify us before a holy God. (I Corinthians 6:11; Romans 6:1-7; Ephesians 5:26-27; Romans 15:16; Luke 24:47.)
We receive remission of sins through His name (Acts 10:43; Luke 24:47), which is applied in baptism. Ananias said to Paul, "Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" Acts 22:16).
It does not matter if the water is dirty or fresh, muddy or clear, still or running, in a pond, lake, or river. But what does matter is the person's faith, his repentance, and the name of Jesus Christ. The name of Jesus is vital, for only through the name of Jesus can a person experience salvation, including the remission of his sins (John 20:31; Acts 4:12; 10:43; Luke 24:47).
The Great Commission
The great commission as recorded in Matthew 28:19 states that baptism is to be administered "in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." We must notice that the word name is singular and that the name is not even in this text. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are not proper names but titles of relationship. If Son were the name of the One born of Mary, why was she instructed to name Him Jesus? (Matthew 1:21) While it is true that when we refer to the Son of God we know of whom we are speaking, it is equally true that Jesus and not "Son of God" is His name. Moreover, Jesus indicated that His name was associated with the Father and the Holy Ghost, for He said that He came in His Father's name and that the Holy Ghost would come in His name (John 5:43; 14:26).
Every reference to a baptismal formula in the Book of Acts and the references in the Epistles either explicitly state or indicate that the name of Jesus and not the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost was used in the baptismal formula. (See Acts 2:38; 8:16; 10:48; 19:5; 22:16; Romans 6:1-4; Galatians 3:37; Colossians 2:14.) It is evident that the apostles did not repeat the titles of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the commission but interpreted Jesus' instructions as baptism in the name of Jesus Christ or Lord Jesus.
In the Book of Acts there is abundant evidence to support the formula of baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ or Lord Jesus. Let us notice five recorded examples of evidence.
"Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins..." Acts 2:38).
"Only they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 8:16).
"And he commanded them to be baptised in the name of the Lord" (Acts 10:48). Modern versions such as the NIV read "Lord JESUS" or "Jesus Christ."
"When they heard this, they were baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus" (Acts 19:5).
"Arise, and be baptised, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord" (Acts 22:16). This verse reveals that the name of Jesus was invoked during baptism. Just as the disciples fulfilled Jesus' similar command to heal the sick and cast out demons in His name by actually invoking the name of Jesus (Acts 3:6; Acts 6:18) they fulfilled Jesus' command to baptise in the name by actually calling on the name of Jesus in water baptism.
In baptism, our faith in Christ, our repentance of sins, the blood shed for the remission of sins, and the name of Jesus come together in a holy moment to wash away sin. We are saved by "the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," by which we become spotless, without wrinkle, a glorious bride for our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. (See Titus 1:5; I Corinthians 6:9-11; Ephesians 5:26-27.)
The Baptism Of The Holy Ghost
Acts 2:1-4; 38-40
As we look into the subject of the baptism of the Holy Ghost (immersion in the Spirit) we will discover that it is a promise to all believers with an initial evidence and with a wonderful purpose.
What is the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit?
These terms, Holy Ghost and Holy Spirit, are the same.
God is a Spirit – John 4:24; “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” and II Corinthians 3:17; “Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.”
God is Holy – I Peter 1:16; “Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” and Leviticus 11:44-45; “For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. For I am the LORD that bringeth you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.”
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9; “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
Baptised, came upon, fell on, filled with, gift, received, poured out, promise, are all terms used in the Word to describe the same experience of the Holy Spirit.
Isaiah prophesied of the Holy Ghost experience referring to it as a rest and a refreshing - Isaiah 28:11-12. In Luke 24:47 and Acts 1:4 the receiving of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) is called a promise. In Mark 1:8 and Acts 1:5 it is referred to as a baptism. In John 3:3 and John 3: 5-8 it is spoken of as a birth. Acts 2:4 and Acts 9:17 speak of an infilling. Acts 2:17-18 speaks of it as pouring out while Acts 2:38-39 refers to the gift and the promise. Acts 8:15-17 refers to receiving. Acts 10:44-47 speaks of the Holy Ghost as falling, the gift and as receiving – In referring to these events in Acts 11:15-18 Peter referred to the outpouring of the Holy Ghost upon the gentiles as falling, as a baptism and a gift.
The Holy Spirit Experience Is:
A new birth
The earnest of our inheritance
Ephesians 1:13 & Ephesians 4:30
I Corinthians 12:13 & Matthew 3:11
Who Is The Experience For?
Joel 2:28-29; “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.” All flesh. (See also Acts 2:16-18.)
Mark 1:8; “I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” John excluded no-one.
Acts 2:39; “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” It is for all who will accept it.
Acts 5:32; “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” For those who will obey Him.
The Evidence Of The Holy Spirit.
1. The initial (first) evidence.
Acts 2:1-4; “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
Acts 8:14-24 – Something happened when they received the Spirit because Simon (“which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:” – Acts 8:9) was so impressed he wanted to buy the power to give people the experience.
Acts 10:44-46; “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter.”
Acts 19:5-6; “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.”
2. Ongoing evidence.
Galatians 5:22-25; “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”
Paul spoke in tongues – I Corinthians 14:18; “I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:”
Just as works accompany saving faith (James 2:17), tongues accompanies the infilling of the Spirit.
The Importance Of The Holy Spirit.
It is the Spirit that identifies us with the family of God - Romans 8:9; “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
The Spirit within is the hope of the resurrection for it is the indwelling Spirit that will get us to heaven - Romans 8:11; “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”
It is the power of the Spirit that keeps us, brings us victory and gives us the ability to witness -Acts 1:8; “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”
In the book of Acts we learn of the gift which is the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of tongues.
In I Corinthians chapters 12-14 we learn of the gifts of the Spirit which include various tongues.
Tongues simply means languages.
I Corinthians 12:10; “To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:”
I Corinthians 13:1 & I Corinthians 13:8-10; “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.” and “Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.”
I Corinthians 14:1-40 deals in some depth with the various gifts of tongues in the church.
Why does the Lord use the tongue to declare His indwelling presence in the believer? James 3:2-8 tells us that the tongue is an unruly member that is very hard to tame. When we yield ourselves, our will, to the Lord we must also yield our tongue for Him to control.
When a baby is born it cries. The cry of the new born babe in Christ is the beautiful sound of an unknown, (unlearned) language coming forth from the submitted soul.
John 3:5; “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” The Lord tells us that we must be born of the Spirit to enter in to the kingdom of God. It is not an optional extra.
Acts 19:2; “He (Paul) said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?... ” Have you received the Spirit since you believed? If not Jesus wants to give you this life changing experience. You will know when you have received of His Spirit. The Lord wants to fill you today!
Acts 2:39; “For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” The promise of the Holy Spirit is for you today. The way in to the kingdom of God is still the same – repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus for the remission of sins, the infilling of the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with tongues and living a life separated unto God.
The One True God
I Timothy 3:16; “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Genesis 1:1-5 and Genesis 1:26-31
John chapters 1, 8 and 14
I Corinthian 8:1-6
Colossians chapters 1 and 2
The greatest truth stated in the whole Bible is, "There is none other God but one" (I Corinthians 8:4). All other teachings of the Scriptures are secondary to this truth.
The confused concept of God in our world is the result of men changing "the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things" (Romans 1:23).
Jesus informed the woman at Jacob's well that God is a Spirit. (See John 4:24.) If this knowledge of the substance of which God consists is always kept in mind by those who read the Scriptures, then it is easy to understand the oneness of God.
Inasmuch as a spirit has not flesh and bones, and human beings cannot perceive a spirit by their five senses, it became necessary for God to take upon Himself a material form in order to make contact with man. These forms that God used in the Old Testament are called theophanies or manifestations of God. The very first manifestation of God to man was a voice. In Genesis 3:8 we read, "And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden." Here God manifested Himself to Adam and Eve through their sense of hearing. God is a Spirit, and not a voice; however, God used a voice so that Adam and Eve might be aware of His presence.
Genesis 32 records the story of Jacob's confrontation with an angel. Here we find God using the body of an angel to manifest Himself to Jacob. God is a Spirit, not an angelic body; but in order for Jacob to perceive Him, God appeared in the body of an angel. In Genesis 32:30, Jacob said, "I have seen God face to face." However, the Apostle John declared in his writings, "No man hath seen God at any time" (John 1:18; I John 4:12). This is not a scriptural contradiction; Jacob had not seen the Spirit of God, but he had come face to face with the temporary body that God was using on that particular occasion.
There were many manifestations of God recorded in the Scriptures: a voice, an angel, a burning bush, a pillar of cloud, a pillar of fire, and others. The writer of Hebrews stated that God used different ways to communicate with mankind: "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Hebrews 1:1-2).
Many times, in different ways, God has manifested Himself to men. If every manifestation of God was another God in itself, then we would have "God the Voice," "God the Burning Bush," "God the Angel," "God the Pillar of Cloud," to name only a few manifestations of God as recorded in the Bible.
When Jesus was on earth He was God manifest in the flesh (Son). Jesus stated in Matthew 11:27, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him." Jesus, the Son (or body), was the manifestation of God when He was on earth. He said, "He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Jesus told His disciples, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you" (John 16:7). After the Son's ascension, He no longer was God's manifestation to man on earth, but rather God is made known to us through the Holy Ghost. On the Day of Pentecost, the New Testament Church was established, and we entered into the dispensation of Grace. This is the Holy Ghost dispensation. We know God through the operation of the Holy Spirit. Paul told the church at Corinth "though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." (II Corinthians 5:16). The work of the Holy Ghost gives us power to live above sin and leads and guides us into all truth. After the Rapture of the church, God will reveal Himself once again through the body of Jesus Christ: "And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced..." (Zechariah 12:10).
Even though God has appeared in many forms, the Spirit of every one of those forms was the one and only Spirit of the Almighty God; and the only name applicable to God in the New Testament is the name of Jesus.
God is the Creator
The Gospel of John begins with the creation. He declared that through the Word all things were made. Word comes from the Greek word Logos, which means the thought or the expression of God. Pual wrote in Ephesians 1:11 that God "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will,"
The Logos was God; there were no other beings with Him in the beginning. The Prophet Isaiah emphatically stated, "Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.” (Isaiah 44:24).
Some other verses of Scripture which mark God as the Creator are Isaiah 42:5; 45:12; 51:13; Jeremiah 10:12; 51:15; Psalm 104:2. The writer of Hebrews said, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God" (Hebrews 11:3).
There has been much controversy among Bible scholars over Genesis 1:26: "And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. ..." Man was made in Genesis 2:7 and the Scripture says, "And the LORD God formed man..." He did it alone. The Hebrew Torah translates Genesis 1:26 as: "And God said, I will make man in my image, after my likeness."
The Hebrew word for God in the entire first chapter of Genesis is Elohim. This word for God is plural, and as a plural it acknowledges the many attributes and the plurality of God's power. Elohim does not refer to a plurality of gods, for such a concept is polytheistic and not the strict monotheism of the Hebrews. Often in ancient languages, supreme magistrates and rulers were addressed in the plural in order to distinguish and emphasize their greatness above all other magistrates and rulers. Since this was true concerning men, how much more would it be of the Creator, who was not just king, but the King of kings, not just Lord, but the Lord of lords. The translators of the King James Version must have partially understood this practice of ancient languages inasmuch as the word God (singular) is used and not Gods (plural), even though they used the plural pronouns us and our.
God is the Father
Father denotes a relationship. God can be seen as Father in that He created all things (Ephesians 4:6). Jesus, in His humanity, acknowledged the Spirit as His Father when praying (Matthew 26:39; Luke 10:21-22) and when speaking of the Spirit to those around Him (John 5:16; Matthew 10:29, 12:50). He is referring to a relationship. We in the church speak of God, The Spirit, as our Father recognising the relationship we have with Him (Romans 1:7, 8:15; Philippians 4:20; I Thessalonians 1:3).
The angel, which appeared to Joseph concerning the birth of Christ, said, "For that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost" (Matthew 1:20). In the flesh Jesus was the Son, but in the Spirit He was the Father. When Philip requested, "Lord, shew us the Father," Jesus replied, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father" (John 14:8-9). There are those who explain that the Father and Son are one (John 10:30) only in purpose, as a husband and wife are one; however, no man can say, "He that hath seen me hath seen my wife." When the Pharisees asked Jesus, "Where is thy Father?" Jesus answered, "Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also" (John 8:19). Then Jesus proceeded to warn them: "If ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins" (John 8:24). He asserted His identity as Jehovah, the one true God and Father of all. John recorded their failure to perceive His claim to be the Father: "They understood not that he spake to them of the Father" (John 8:27).
God Was Manifest in Flesh
The God who expressed or manifested Himself in the beginning by the thought of His creation, by a voice to Adam, by an angel to Jacob, and by a cloud to Israel, manifested Himself in flesh at Bethlehem. Before Bethlehem, there was no Son of God except in the plan of Almighty God. The Son was begotten, born, of Mary. "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law" (Galatians 4:4).
Jesus Christ was the only true and living God. The fact that He is called the Son of God simply means that God's Spirit (which is the Holy Ghost) overshadowed Mary, and she conceived and brought forth a body by the Spirit. This body was called the Son of God because God fathered it; and yet the Hebrew race, through Mary, had given God a human body that He might dwell on the earth as a man.
"But a body hast thou prepared me" (Hebrews 10:5). The margins of most Bibles show the words "fitted me with" as the meaning for "prepared me." Again we read in Hebrews 2:16, "For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham." God clothed Himself in a human body.
All the fullness of the Godhead dwelt in Him bodily (Colossians 2:9). II Corinthians 5:19 declares that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself.
His Redemptive Purpose.
The fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden plunged all of humanity into sin. Therefore God made a plan to redeem man from sin. In Hebrews 2:9 we read, "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."
Jesus Christ became the propitiation for all sin when He shed His blood at Calvary. Paul wrote, "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (I Corinthians 15:22). God through the sacrifice of His own body (Hebrews 10:10) gave man a choice. By being a partaker of His death, burial, and resurrection through repentance, water baptism in Jesus' name, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost, Christ becomes our substitute; He died in our place. His blood is the ransom price for our sins.
The Holy Ghost - God In Us.
It is recorded in Genesis 1:2 that the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. That Spirit was the Holy Spirit, more commonly spoken of in the New Testament as the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of His Son mentioned in Galatians 4:6 is the same Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters in Genesis 1:2. If this is not true, then John could not have said, "He was in the world, and the world was made by him" (John 1:10).
There is only one Holy Spirit, and that is God. In Isaiah 12:6 we read, "Cry out and shout, thou inhabitant of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." Isaiah referred to Jehovah as the Holy One twenty-nine times in his book.
There are several synonymous terms used in the Scriptures in reference to the Spirit of God: the Holy One, the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of the Lord, the Spirit of God, the Spirit of His Son, the Spirit of the
Father, and the Spirit of Christ are some of these. There are Bible verses which use these terms interchangeably, such as Romans 8:9: "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." This verse shows the Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ to be the same.
On the Day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2, we are informed, "They were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 2:4). When the apostles were asked, "What meaneth this?" Peter answered, "But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; and it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh" (Acts 2:16-17). Luke called the outpoured Spirit the Holy Ghost in Acts 2:4 and Peter called it the Spirit of God in Acts 2:17.
John 14:16-17 describes the Comforter as the Spirit of Truth; then John 14:26 identifies the Comforter as the Holy Ghost. However, in John 14:18 Jesus said, "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
Do some receive Christ, some receive God, some receive the Comforter, some receive the Spirit of the Lord, some receive the Holy Ghost, and some receive the Spirit of His Son? The answer is no, for there is only one Spirit of God, and it is by this one
Spirit that every Christian finds salvation. "For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit" (I Corinthians 12:13).
When Jesus told Nicodemus, "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God" (John 3:5), He was declaring the essentiality of the Holy Ghost baptism for salvation.
No matter what terms are used to describe the new birth experience, the Spirit that the believers received in Acts 2 is the same Spirit that the Samaritans received in Acts 8, that the Gentiles received in Acts 10, and that the Ephesians received in Acts 19. It is also what Paul spoke of in Colossians 1:27 as "Christ in you, the hope of glory."
The one true and living God, who is from everlasting to everlasting, was the sole Creator of our world. Isaiah said it best when he said, "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour" (Isaiah 43:10-11).
In substance, God is Spirit; in manifestation He appeared as a voice, a burning bush, a pillar of fire, a pillar of cloud, an angel, in a body in the likeness of sinful flesh (Romans 8:3), and in the dispensation of Grace as the Holy Ghost to lead and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). In the near future He will return in His glorified body, as King of kings and Lord of lords, and will set up an eternal kingdom that shall never be destroyed.
From this vantage point we see clearly the development of His divine purpose from the beginning until now; but we join the Apostle John now and in the future in saying, "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is" (I John 3:1-2).
Oneness Of God
Deuteronomy 6:4; “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”
This is the foundation of the oneness of God.
Many Scriptures give us declarations of the oneness of God. Many good examples can be found in Isaiah.
Isaiah 43:1-3; “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3 For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee.”
Isaiah 43:10-11; “Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. 11 I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.”
Isaiah 43:14; “Thus saith the LORD, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.”
Isaiah 44:6; “Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”
Isaiah 44:8; “Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.”
Isaiah 44:24; “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;”
Consider also, for example, Isaiah 45:6, Isaiah 45:21-22; Isaiah 46:9 & Isaiah 48:11.
So there is one God and Saviour according to many, many Scriptures.
A Definition of the Oneness of God.
Reverend Bernard has a good definition of oneness -
“The doctrine of Oneness can be stated in two affirmations:
1. God is absolutely and indivisibly one with no distinction of persons (Deuteronomy 6:4; “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:” and Galatians 3:20; “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”).
2. Jesus Christ is all the fullness of the Godhead incarnate (John 20:28; “And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.” and Colossians 2:9; “For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”).
God revealed in flesh.
It is not hard to believe in one God but sometimes we have difficulty in understanding how it is that Jesus is God revealed in the flesh.
Isaiah 9:6; “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”
This child, this son, Jesus, would be called (and is in truth) the Mighty God and the everlasting Father.
Colossians 2:8-9; “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. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”
This is an important Scripture for it is warning us that men will bring forth their own philosophies but we must hold to the doctrine that Jesus is the revelation of all God is, in the flesh.
Hebrews 1:3 tells us; “Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;” Interestingly this is the only reference to the person of God in the Bible and refers to ‘his person’ not ‘their persons’.
II Corinthians 5:19; “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.”
Here we see once again that God was in Christ – reconciling the world unto Himself, God.
I Timothy 3:16; “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
In Timothy we learn that God was manifest in the flesh. God was justified in the Spirit. God was seen of angels. God was preached to the gentiles. God was believed on in the world. God was received up into glory. All this was achieved through Jesus.
What about the use of the plural pronoun “us” in Genesis 1:26?
“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”
If there is more than one God in creation what about verse 27; “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
If we believe it was the holy committee of God why wasn’t there multiples of Adam. Jesus took on the form of man – so what is the form in which man is like God. It cannot be in appearance – God is a spirit – I think it refers more to the areas of will, intellect and emotion.
1. The royal plural.
Certainly there are other Scriptures that use the “royal plural” such as:
Daniel 2:36; “This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.” – Daniel was speaking himself.
Ezra 7:23; “Also we certify you, that touching any of the priests and Levites, singers, porters, Nethinims, or ministers of this house of God, it shall not be lawful to impose toll, tribute, or custom, upon them.” This is Arteaxerxes, the king, speaking on his own behalf.
2. God talking with the angels.
Jesus is at the right hand of God?
Right hand is not a place but a position of power and authority. Jesus is the manifest power and authority of God. God is a Spirit – we cannot see a spirit. God is omnipresent (present everywhere) – where is His right side, which way is He facing).
Right hand has reference to His power and authority. Do we really believe that Jesus is sitting on God’s right hand in heaven – the Bible tells us there is only one throne and one sitting on the throne.
Exodus 15:6; “Thy right hand, O LORD, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O LORD, hath dashed in pieces the enemy.”
Psalm 16:8; “I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”
Isaiah 41:10; “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”
Jesus was God revealed in flesh. God provided his deity while Mary provided his humanity.
As a man he became hungry, thirsty, weary, etc but as God he fed the 5,000, calmed the storm, raised the dead, etc.
Jesus is all of God we will ever see, it is He who will be seated upon the throne of heaven and as Thomas we will bow before Him and cry, “My Lord and my God.”
God is a Spirit and God is Holy – He is the Holy Spirit. The Bible tells us that Mary conceived of the Holy Ghost (Spirit) – He is the father of Jesus Christ. We know God as our Father because we have a father child relationship with him. The term ‘Son’ refers to the humanity of Christ and has to do with the redemptive work of God in the flesh.
God is not only Creator but He is also my Saviour and my soon coming King.
II Corinthians 7:1; “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
I Corinthians 6:9-11; “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, 10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
I Peter 1:13-16; “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.”
Holiness is a divine imperative. The devil would like to see the church abandon this biblical truth and practice and revert back to the lifestyle of the world, but God has called us from the paths of sin to walk the highway of holiness.
The very nature of God is holiness.
The Essence of Holiness
True Christians will not use the name of the Lord in vain, and neither will they use profane and filthy language. But proper language is not the only mark of a Christian. Thousands of people in this generation do not use unholy language, and yet they do not attend church, pray, or profess to know God.
From the Scripture we know that godly men and women will wear clothing which is becoming to the cause of Christianity, but clothes are not the essence of holiness. Many people who dress modestly make no profession of living for God. Although holiness is associated with outward appearance and behaviour, it is not to be confused or identified with these. The essence of holiness begins with the nature of God and is experienced in a Christian’s life by the indwelling presence of God’s Spirit.
1. Holiness is not an act.
In Matthew 23 our Lord rebuked the Pharisees. They were guilty of keeping the outside of the cup and platter clean while the inside was filled with stench, filth, and uncleanness.
If we measure our holiness by outward standards alone and do not seek an experience of God’s nature in our inward being, we miss the purpose of the New Testament plan and the power of the new birth as given by Jesus Christ. For holiness is first of all communicated to us by God. Only as we partake of His nature can we truly possess holiness.
2. True holiness is a Spirit.
The Spirit of holiness is called the “Holy Ghost” or “Holy Spirit.” When a person receives the Holy Spirit, he receives “the Spirit of holiness.”
I Corinthians 3:16-17; “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are”
I Corinthians 6:19-20; “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”
The Bible speaks of both the “inward” and “outward” parts of a man’s life as they relate to the indwelling Spirit of God. The only way a person can glorify God in his body and in his spirit is to have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, that is, he must have the Spirit of holiness dwelling within.
3. Holiness comes from God.
In the highest sense, then, only God possesses absolute perfection of character. However, through the new birth we are made partakers of His nature and we are to reflect His holy nature in our lifestyle. People, things, and places are made holy when they are separated for God’s purpose.
For born-again Christians it specifically means separation from sin and the world, and dedication to God.
4. Holiness demands separation.
God expects His people to be a separated people. As stated before, the principle of holiness includes the concept of being “separated from” and “dedicated unto.”
The Greek word translated “church” is ekklesia, which literally means the “called-out ones.” The church of Jesus Christ, “the called-out ones,” is to be separated from the world of sin and unrighteousness and dedicated unto God and righteousness.
Jesus Christ is coming for a bride who has kept herself pure, clean, and virtuous, being unspotted from the world and reserved just for Him.
In II Corinthians 6:14-18 the Lord has called us to be separate from darkness, Belial, and unrighteousness.
Jesus said, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached to the crowd the plan of salvation: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).
When the Spirit of God comes into a person, he is made a possessor of the Spirit of holiness. By walking after the Spirit, the person walks after holiness. The Holy Spirit teaches us to reject ungodly and worldly lust and leads us in the path of right living. We are to follow the path of holiness in this present world.
Titus 2:11-13; “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ”
Holiness in Heart and Action
Spirits make men.
In Psalm 51, David emptied his heart in prayer to God over his sin. He pleaded with the Lord: “Create in me a clean heart ... and renew a right spirit within me.”
What kind of spirit is motivating much of the actions in our generation? What is the motivation of idolatry, adultery, murder? This evil spirit is motivating improper clothing, immoral living, illicit sex, drunkenness, and the use of drugs that destroy the emotions and the thinking of people.
An encounter with Jesus Christ lifted the wretched man of Gadara (Mark 5:15) to a place of peace and rest. He sat relaxed in the presence of our Lord with a sound mind. He was clothed. His countenance was different because he had been delivered from that which drove him to madness. His change on the inside produced a change on the outside, for when things get right on the inside, the condition will be evidenced on the outside.
1. Holiness internally.
Mark 7:20-23: “And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. 21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”
Without God, the heart of man is desperately wicked. For this reason, a new heart is necessary. The old stony heart of evil in a sinner must be transplanted with a new heart of flesh and holiness. And this is what God has promised to do for every person who comes to Him. The Spirit of God fills the life with godly desires and holy aspiration.
Ezekiel 36:26-27; “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”
Through the Spirit of holiness that resides in the child of God, a Christian is able to keep his inward man free from hatred, bitterness, pride, jealousy, malice, lust, and wrath. This does not mean that the child of God has no battles or conflicts. It does mean, however, that he has power within that will enable him to be an overcomer.
2. Holiness externally.
I Corinthians 2:12; “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
The Spirit of holiness within the human heart will cause us to change our lifestyle to reflect the holiness of the Lord and it will be seen in how we dress, behave, speak and where we go. It will be seen by others in our behaviour.
God has not changed His philosophy or principles in this immodest, immoral, wicked, and adulterous generation. Paul wrote that God expects us to have holiness within and holiness without. We are to present our bodies [outward] as a living sacrifice and we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds [inward] (Romans 12:1-2). We have the divine imperative that we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh [outward] and spirit [inward], perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (II Corinthians 7:1).
There are three elements to our holy living that I would like to consider.
1. Biblical principles of holiness.
The Bible sets down principles for godly living. For example I Thesalonians 5:22 says; “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” II Corinthians 7:1; “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” I Corinthians 3:17; “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” These are Biblical principal of holiness.
2. The church establishes standards of holy living.
The church leadership, under the authority and guidance of the Holy Spirit, establishes guidelines to fulfil or maintain the Biblical principle. The church gives a guide as to what we need to do to abstain from “all appearance of evil;” what behaviour may be construed as “filthiness of the flesh and spirit” and what activities or lifestyle may defile the “temple of God.”
3. Personal convictions.
As individuals we should have personal convictions pertaining to holy living. As we draw closer to the Lord and our relationship with Him develops we desire to be more like Him and to behave in ways that please Him. This will be revealed in our personal convictions. Where our personal convictions exceed our church standards we should conform to our personal convictions but where our personal convictions are less than the church standard it would be expedient to conform to the standard (the minimum requirement in fulfilling the biblical principle).
The Biblical principles are established and do not vary. Churches may establish different standards of holiness depending on culture, understanding, etc. – they can be seen as the minimum requirement for fulfilling the principle. Individual convictions are personal commitments made to God by an individual in their fulfilling the principles and cannot be interpreted as applying to all the saints collectively.
Holiness is a separation from sin and a dedication to the Lord. As we grow in Jesus we should become more like Him. Holiness is an essential part of God’s character and we need to reflect this in every area of our living. Holy living carries with it great blessing and reward. Let us be a people who will pursue after holiness.
The Rapture Of The Church
The rapture is the hope of the saints, a hope that gives the strongest incentive to live for God. As the church we look forward to the future glory with Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:13; “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
I Thessalonians 4:13-18; “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For 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: 17Then 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. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
I Thessalonians 5:6; “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.”
Revelation 3:3; “Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.”
Revelation 20:4-6; “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”
John 5:28-29; “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, 29And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
The order of events in the resurrection program will be:
1. The first resurrection
a ) The First Fruits - The resurrection of Christ as the beginning of the resurrection program - I Corinthians 15:23; “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming.”
b) The Harvest - The resurrection of the church age saints at the rapture (the catching away) – I Thessalonians 4:16-17; “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.”
c) The Gleanings – The resurrection of the tribulation period saints – Revelation 20:4; “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.” (This includes the two witnesses of Revelation 11:7-12.)
2. The Second Resurrection
a) John 5:28-29; “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”
Revelation 20:5 (in part); “But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished.”
The Catching Away Of The Church (The Rapture):
The promise of Christ's return to take His church to be with Him, (John 14:3; “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”) is the great hope of the church.
In John 14:1-3 Jesus is telling His disciples not to let their hearts be troubled because He would not leave them as orphans. He didn't say stop worrying "it's not Christlike” but rather - you trust God; trust Me. In fact, I'll give you a reason not to worry: Have faith because here is a promise "I Will come again".
He is preparing a home for His bride, the object of His affection. At the same time His bride is preparing herself for his return.
In John 14:1-3 we learn that He is coming again for His church but we are given no details of how or when this would be.
The rapture represents:
1. The transformation from mortal to immortality.
2. No more sorrow or death.
3. The entrance into the very presence of Christ.
The rapture is the hope of the church. It is:
1. A blessed hope (I Corinthians 15:14; “And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.”).
2. A purifying hope (I John 3:2-3; “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 3And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”).
3. A comforting hope (I Thessalonians 4:16-18; “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: 17Then 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. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”).
The Resurrection And Translation Of The Saints:
I Corinthians 15:51-58; “Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”
Paul is elaborating on the doctrine of physical resurrection and concludes with a new truth:
- In verse 51. Paul shows us a mystery (something hidden but now revealed - a piece of new information not previously known). He is not saying it is difficult to understand, rather, a truth known to God but known only to man by divine revelation.
- This truth is that believers will not all die but we will all be changed.
- Sleep - death is a temporary interruption before a resuming of activity.
- When God terminates His programme for the church the dead will be raised and we will be changed, suddenly.
- Paul in looking for the Lord’s return in his lifetime was not mistaken, he, like us, had the right to expect Jesus to come again in his day. That is the hope of the church; Paul was watching and waiting.
- The death of a saint does not rob him of anything in the future.
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 15For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16For 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: 17Then 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. 18Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
In verse 13 Paul knew the church at Thessalonica was ignorant of certain events pertaining to the return of the Lord and therefore explained the unknown to them.
Paul was only in Thessalonica for about three weeks and they were confused concerning some of the things of God. Obviously he had taught them about the truth of the second coming. The church was expectantly looking for the Lord to come and when some of them died it put a spanner in the works. They thought the dead had missed the promise.
Paul tells them not to fret about those who have fallen asleep. If we believe Christ died and arose again then we can believe that those of His that die will be included in His coming (verse 14).
The living will not have any advantages over those who are asleep (verse 15) because this is what is going to happen:
Verse 16 introduces new details not given before (never before revealed by God). This is what will happen:
1. There will be a shout - A Command issued by the Commander to the troops.
2. Then will come the voice of archangels - Following the chain of command; passing the message on. The angels organise the resurrection; they instrument it.
3. The trumpet of God will sound the call, heralding His Majesty.
4. The dead in Christ will rise from the graves.
5. Then, in verse 17, we will be caught up (snatched up – raptured) into the clouds; together, the living with the dead, merged in to a single group of resurrected, glorified ones.
Note, the Lord comes in the air not to the earth at this time.
I Thessalonians 4:18: “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”
Home At Last:
Home, the place where we can:
1. Relax from the pressures of the day.
2. Forget the problems we have been struggling with.
3. Meet with the family and enjoy good fellowship.
4. A place of happiness and laughter as we share together.
Our heavenly home is even better. There will be:
1. None of the restraints and limitations of earth.
2. No tired, sickly or old bodies to torment us, but glorious bodies like Christ's.
3. Minds no longer distraught, frustrated or depressed.
4. No discontent or unrest.
5. Ever with the lord, I Thessalonians 4:17.
Jesus is coming to take us to Himself. He is not taking us to a place, but rather, home.
Not one chapter or one verse has to be fulfilled before He comes for His church.
Are you ready?