Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Part of Mystery Do You Not Understand?

I have recently been watching a video on YouTube where a guy claims to have had a vision or dream about the Tribulation period.  One of the things this guy claims is that there is no just thing as the catching away of the Church, the Body of Christ.


Most proponents of this misguided attempt to place you under the law and judgement held only for the Nation of Israel try to explain away this truth by saying that Jesus Christ never promised us escape from the tribulation, but would help us through it.  He did teach the Nation of Israel that they would go through the tribulation, which has been prophesied throughout scripture.  The problem with that is, Jesus Christ did promise us that we would be taken out of the way and not go through the wrath of the tribulation period.  However, it is not shown in red letters so many do not think that Christ spoke again, except to them in dreams.

In Matthew 24, we read of the two who are working in the field and the two women will be at the wheel grinding.  As far as the men and the women grinding, one will be taken to judgement and the other will be left to go into the Kingdom on earth.  How do we know this?  The context tells us.  In Noah's day, there were eight people who were left on the earth, and there were untold thousands who were taken to judgement.  That passage is clearly talking about people living through the tribulation period and being found faithful to the end.  This passage is not talking about the taking away as many teach today.  The twelve disciples never heard of nor imagined a rapture of a group of people, WHY?  They were never taught it.  How do I know?  Paul says, "Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead in Christ shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." I Corinthians 15:51-52.  If Paul says he will show us a mystery, then no one ever knew it before.  That is why Christ and the twelve never taught it.  It was not revealed to anyone until Christ revealed it to Paul.  Paul gives us more information on how this is to happen in I Thessalonians 4:13-18.  Not only that, Christ also tells us through Paul that we are already delivered from the wrath to come.  I Thessalonians 1:10, "And to wait for His Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come."  The word delivered is past tense.  It has already taken place in God's mind.  He has already declared it to be so, and He can do that. 

More proof?  I Thessalonians 2:14-16, "For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved to fill up their sins slways: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost."  What is the purpose of the wrath?  It is judgement for the denial and death of the prophets and Jesus Christ. 

Christ came down from Heavens glory, which was unprophesied that He would do, to save a man on the road to Damascus, where He never touched the ground, and gave to that man a new message that had been kept secret, Mystery, since the world began.  No one could preach about the catching away of the Body of Christ, because it was something kept secret, a mystery, hid in God, from before the foundation of the world.

Grace and Peace
Greg Resor
Complete in Him

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Much Money Should We Give? Part 3

Living in the age of grace presents us with some amazing truths that we should adhere to and advance.  However, with that there is responsibility that we should not missuse the liberty we have because of grace.  Just because we are free from the law and ordinances does not mean that we are able to live however we want.  The old saying, "With great power comes great responsibility." gives us a tremendous opportunity to live the grace of God in our lives properly.  One aspect that we can allow God's grace to live in our lives is through our giving. 

The Liberality That Grace Produces

Many grace believers today often try to hide behind grace, but we need to study God's word to better understand what it means to live the grace life.  We are given many examples of what grace living will look like.  God gives us the church at Macedonia, and the church at Thessalonica to see how a group of people, not just one person, can work together while allowing God's grace to work in their life.  The church at Macedonia allows us to see what it should look like when we give.  II Corinthians 8:1-5, Paul draws the attention of the Corinthian church to the grace of God which was bestowed on the churches of Macedonia because of their offering and their attitude toward giving.  Liberty allows us to make as big a donation as we want without feeling that we have to give a certain amount; however, liberty does not mean we do not give at all. 

Grace not only motivates salvation, but it also motivates our walk and our service.  We as Grace believers should live a life of giving and not taking because we have the mind of Christ and we should live life based upon that thought process.  Christ gave everything for you and I so that we could have eternal life and live in a relationship with Him.  The believers at Macedonia encapsulated this lifestyle as we can read in II Corinthians 8:7-9. 

We should have the same mindset as Paul as well.  He chose to spend and be spent for the churches he started so that he would not be chargeable to any man, I Thessalonians 2:8-9.  This is why I chose to have another job and will not take a salary for being a pastor of any church.  As we start a bible study which will become a church, I do not want to be a burden on anyone.  The only thing collections will be used for would be the perpetuation of the gospel of the grace of God. 

Grace should make us be willing to do more to go the extra mile as we work together to build the Church, the Body of Christ.  Philemon 21

What did we do, or what can we do to deserve everything we have been given in Christ?  Nothing. 

We must come to the point when we will set our affections on things above and not be so earthly minded. 

Grace and Peace
Greg Resor
Complete in Him

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

How Much Money Should We Give? Part 2

In our last blog we started to look at how much money should we give.  The main aspect we want to discuss is the motivation behind our giving and then the amount will take of itself.  We looked at giving during the Old Testament and how the motivation then was fear.  Fear of judgment through chastisement.  Now we would like to look at the motivation during the earthly ministry of Christ.

During the earthly ministry of Christ we can see that the motivation of giving was not being blessed.  They were to give or they would not receive blessings.  In Matthew 19:21-22 Christ tells the rich young ruler to sell all of his possessions.  Not to see where his heart lies, but rather because the tribulation period was  supposed to take place at any time.  The Kingdom of Heaven was at hand, and the only thing that was to take place before the Kingdom of Heaven could be revealed was the 7-year tribulation period.  We also see this in Luke 12:32-33, the nation of Israel was told to "sell that ye have" and in Matthew 19:27-29 they are told that those who forsake all shall receive 100-fold back.  In Acts 2:44-45 we see that this message of selling everything you have was still the norm and it is corroborated by the way they were living in Acts 4:34-35.  They were living just as they were told to live.  They were to sell everything they had and give to the poor, so they all would have all things common.  Therefore, the giving during the earthly ministry of Christ and the early Acts period was 100% of everything.  Why do preachers not preach that today?  They like the blessings, they like the 100-fold, but they would be ran out of the church if they preached it the way Christ, and the twelve preached it.  They were to give to receive.  That was their motivation.

Contrariwise, our motivation today is the love and grace which was shown to us in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  II Corinthians 5:14 we see that the love of Christ is to be our motivator for EVERYTHING we do.  We do not have to give to receive, because according to Ephesians 1:3, we have already been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places.  There is nothing else for us to get.  We are complete in Christ.  We do not have to give a certain percent now, but we should give as we have been blessed.  Once we get the full understanding of what Christ did for us on the cross, then our giving should resemble that sacrifice.  II Corinthians 9:6-7, we see that we should carefully and prayerfully consider the amount we should give.  We should not be so focused on what we are doing on this earth.  Colossians 3:1-2 is something we should keep in our thought process, because there are too many in the church today that have their roots so deep here on earth that they can not be bothered with our heavenly blessings, and heavenly hope.  It is by grace that we should consider our giving.  We read in II Corinthians 8:1-5 that Paul wants the church at Corinth to see the manner in which the church of Macedonia was giving and the grace that was bestowed upon them. 

The true liberality we have today is a key feature which is missing in the pulpits today.

Grace and Peace
Greg Resor
Complete in Him

Saturday, August 11, 2012

How Much Money Should We Give? Part 1

The motivation for us to give today is not fear of punishment from God, but rather the love of Christ constrains us to give as we have been blessed. (II Corinthians 5:14) 

How have we been blessed? 

We have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places. (Ephesians 1:3)  We have been given eternal life simply by trusting in the work of Jesus Christ, we have been given everything we need to live our lives to glorify God, and we have been made complete in Christ. 

How shall we not give a small portion of our money to the ministry of reconciliation? 

So the question remains, how much should we give?

Many say, "You must tithe!  That means you must give God 10% of your income."  Then they go on to quote verses in Deuteronomy and Leviticus, among others.  However, there are many things in those same passages they do not force their congregation to uphold.  Why is one verse to be followed, but the one before it is not to be followed?  I find it curious.

To tithe means to give a tenth.  However, there are many tithes to be found in the Old Testament scriptures.  There are actually three tithes.  In fact, a member of the Nation of Israel was to give a total of 23 1/3 percent of the increase of their income, livestock, and the fruits of their fields.  This included everything, not just money.  Why do these "preachers" not ask for 23 1/3 % of everything?  I find this curious.

Enough talk about what we are not supposed to do, let us spend our time looking at what we are allowed to do, now that we are set free from the bondage of the law and the commandments therein.

We have spoken of our motivation, now let us look at what we should do. 

Let us look at how Paul uses a church as a model of giving to teach the fleshly living, childish Corinthians.

II Corinthians 8:1-5 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;  How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.  For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God.

We can read here the brethren in Macadonia were going through much affliction and were living in deep poverty, but were abundant in joy and grace.  Yet they were willing to give to Paul and Titus and to take upon themselves the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.  They were willing to give out of their poverty, because they knew they were rich in grace and in their liberality because of the gospel.  They knew of this grace and liberality and wanted others to know about it as well, that is why they chose to give.  They knew the motivation was one of love, not fear.  It was one of grace, not commandment.  The brethren in Macedonia knew of their spiritual blessings and wanted to help spread the word about the liberty Christ gives. 

To be continued ...

Grace and Peace
Greg Resor
Complete in Him