• Nottheworld

    by Published on 06-04-2017 12:18 AM     Number of Views: 115 
    1. Categories:
    2. Regeneration,
    3. Calvinism

    Whoever Does Not Believe Will Perish

    The Bible declares that the Lord Jesus died for all. If a person does not believe in the Lord Jesus, will he perish?


    “The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that one died for all, therefore all died” (2 Cor. 5.14). The “one” here is Christ. The “all” whom He died for are all men. Now it may appear from this, therefore, that even though a person does not believe in the Lord Jesus, he should not die. Yet in John we read that “he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God” (3.18). What can be said about the righteousness of God and His way of operation?

    Let us look into this matter:

    “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many” (Matt. 20.28). “Who gave himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2.6). What is the difference between “many” and “all”? The “many” in the first passage includes all who believe, and the Lord Jesus has died for all the many who believe in Him. The “all” in the second passage refers to all men, for whom the Lord Jesus has prepared a ransom. The “for” in Matthew carries in it the idea of substituting, while the “for” in 1 Timothy conveys the idea of providing. With respect to the believers, the Lord Jesus has died to substitute His death for their death as well as to provide for them a ransom. With respect to sinners, however, His death has provided for them a ransom, though it does not serve to substitute for their death. Hence the scope of substitution before God is limited.

    The words “one died for all” in 2 Corinthians 5.14 means to say that one had died on behalf of all. It means that the death of the Lord Jesus has provided sufficiently for the use of all men. So far as provision is concerned the death of the Lord Jesus is for all men so that all may have the opportunity to be saved. Only for the believers would the word “substitute” be used.

    “He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2.2). Christ is the propitiation for the unbelievers as well as for the believers. But again the meaning here is not substitution, but provision. The salvation of God has already been prepared. When you receive it you then will be reckoned by God as being one among the “many”. Christ died on behalf of all men, since His death has made provision for all men; but it cannot be taken to mean a substitution in death for all men. If anyone does not believe, he will perish. This is man’s responsibility before God.

    “I may observe once for all, that in the usage of these two words, as applied to our redemption by Christ, all is the objective, many the subjective designation of those for whom Christ died.” Henry Alford, The Greek Testament (Chicago: Moody Press, 1968), Vol. I, p. 206.
    by Published on 02-10-2015 03:01 PM     Number of Views: 447 
    1. Categories:
    2. Trinity

    The Obedience of the Son

    Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil. 2.5-11)

    Who in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became unto all them that obey him the author of eternal salvation. (Heb. 5.7-9)

    The Lord Initiates Obedience

    The Bible tells us that the Lord Jesus and the Father are one. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God. The heaven and the earth were made through the Word. The glory which God had in the beginning, even the unapproachable glory of God, was also the Son’s glory. The Father and the Son exist equally and are equal in power and possession. Only in Person is there a difference between Father and Son. This is not an essential difference; it is merely an arrangement within the Godhead. Therefore the Scripture says that the Lord "counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped"—that is, a thing to be seized. His equality with God is neither something seized upon nor acquired, for inherently He is the image of God.

    Philippians 2.5-7 forms one section and verses 8-11, another. In these two sections our Lord is seen as having humbled Himself twice: first He emptied Himself in His divinity, and then He humbled Himself in His humanity. By the time He came to this world, the Lord had so emptied Himself of the glory, power, status, and form of His divinity that no one then living, other than by revelation, knew Him nor acknowledged Him as God. They treated Him as a man, as an ordinary person of this world. As the Son He willingly submits to the Father’s authority and declares that "the Father is greater than I" (John 14.28). Thus there is perfect harmony in the Godhead. Gladly the Father takes the place of the Head, and the Son responds with obedience. God becomes the emblem of authority, while Christ assumes the symbol of obedience.

    For we men to be obedient it should be simple, because all we need is but a little humility. For Christ to be obedient, however, is not so simple a matter. It is much harder for Him to be obedient than for Him to create the heavens and the earth. Why? Because He has to empty Himself of all the glory and power of His divinity and take the form of a slave before He is even qualified to obey. Hence obedience is initiated by the Son of God.

    The Son originally shared the same glory and authority with the Father. But when He came to the world He on the one hand forsook authority and on the other hand took up obedience. He willingly took the place of a slave, accepting the human limitation of time and space. He humbled Himself further and became obedient unto death. Obedience within the Godhead is the most wonderful sight in the whole universe. Since Christ was obedient unto death—suffering a most painful and shameful death on the cross—God has highly exalted Him. God exalts whoever humbles himself. This is a divine principle.

    To Be Filled with Christ Is to Be Filled with Obedience

    Since the Lord has initiated obedience, the Father has become the Head of Christ. Now because both authority and obedience have been instituted by God, it is natural for those who know God and Christ to obey. But those who know not God and Christ know neither authority nor obedience. Christ is the principle of obedience. He who accepts Christ accepts the principle of obedience. Hence a person who is filled with Christ must be one who is also filled with obedience.

    Nowadays people often ask, "Why should I obey? Since both you and I are brothers, why must I obey you?" But men are not qualified to ask in this manner. The Lord alone is qualified; yet He has never said such words nor has such a thought ever entered His mind. Christ represents obedience, which is as perfect as the authority of God is perfect. May God be merciful to those who claim they know authority when obedience is yet missing in their lives.

    The Way of the Lord

    As regards the Godhead, the Son and the Father are co-equal; but His being the Lord is rewarded Him by God. The Lord Jesus Christ was made Lord only after He emptied Himself. His deity derives from who He is, for His being God is His inherent nature. His being Lord, though, issues out of what He has done. He was exalted and rewarded by God to be Lord only after He forsook His glory and maintained the perfect role of obedience. As regards Himself, He is God; as regards reward, He is Lord. His Lordship did not exist originally in the Godhead.

    The passage in Philippians 2 is most difficult to explain, for it is most controversial besides being most holy. Let us remove our shoes and stand on holy ground as we review this Scripture. It seems as though at the beginning a council was held within the Godhead. God conceived a plan to create the universe. In that plan the Godhead agreed to have authority represented by the Father. But authority cannot be established in the universe without obedience, since it cannot exist alone. God must therefore find obedience in the universe. Two living beings were to be created: angels (spirits) and men (living souls). According to His foreknowledge God foresaw the rebellion of the angels and the fall of men; hence He was unable to establish His authority in angels or in the Adamic race. Consequently, within the Godhead perfect accord was reached that authority would be answered by obedience in the Son. From this come the distinctive operations of God the Father and God the Son. One day God the Son emptied Himself, and being born in the likeness of men He became the symbol of obedience. Inasmuch as rebellion came from the created beings, so obedience must now be established in a created being. Man sinned and rebelled; therefore the authority of God must be erected on man’s obedience. This explains why the Lord came to the world and was made as one of the created men.

    The birth of our Lord is actually God coming forth. Instead of remaining as God with authority He came to man’s side, accepting all the limitations of man and taking the form of a slave. He braved the possible peril of not being able to return with glory. Should He have become disobedient on earth as a man, He would have still been able to reclaim His place in the Godhead by asserting His original authority; but if so, He would have forever broken down the principle of obedience.

    There were two ways for the Lord to return: one way was to obey absolutely and unreservedly as man, establishing the authority of God in all things on all occasions without the slightest hint of rebellion; thus, step by step through obedience to God, He would be made Lord over all. The other way would be to force His way back by reclaiming and using the authority and power and glory of His deity because of having found obedience impossible through the weakness and limitation of human flesh.

    Now the Lord discarded this second path and walked humbly in the way of obedience—even unto death. Once having emptied Himself, He refused to fill Himself again. He never took such an ambiguous course. Had the Lord failed in the way of obedience after having relinquished His divine glory and authority and taken the form of a slave, He would have never again returned with glory. Only by the way of obedience as man did He go back. Thus it was that He returned on the basis of perfect and singular obedience. Though suffering was added upon suffering, He displayed absolute obedience, without ever the slightest tinge of resistance or rebellion.

    Consequently, God highly exalted Him and made Him Lord when He returned to glory. It was not He who filled Himself up with that which He had once emptied Himself of; rather, it was God the Father. It was the Father who was the One who brought this Man back into glory. And so God the Son is now also become Jesus the Man in His return to glory. For this reason, the name of Jesus is most precious; there is no one in the universe like Him. When on the cross He shouted "It is finished!", it proclaimed not only the accomplishment of salvation but also the fulfillment of all that His name signifies. Therefore, He has obtained a name which is above every name, and at His name every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus is Lord. Henceforward, He is Lord as well as God. His being Lord speaks of His relationship with God, how He has been rewarded by God. His being Christ reveals His relationship with the church.

    To summarize, then: when the Son left the glory He did not intend to return on the basis of His divine attributes; on the contrary, He desired to be exalted as a man. In this manner, God has affirmed His principle of obedience. How necessary it is that we be wholly obedient without even the faintest trace of rebellion. The Son returned to heaven as a man; He was exalted by God after He was obedient in the likeness of men. Let us face this great mystery of the Bible. In bidding farewell to the glory and clothing Himself with human flesh, the Lord determined not to return by virtue of His divine attributes. And because He never gave the slightest appearance of disobedience, He was exalted by God on the ground of His humanity. The Lord set aside His glory when He came; but when He returned, He not only regained that glory but received even further glory.

    Let us too have this mind which was in Christ Jesus. Let us all walk in the way of the Lord and attain to obedience by making this principle of obedience our own principle. Let us be subject to one another. Once having seen this principle, we will have no trouble discerning that no sin is more serious than rebellion and nothing is more important than obedience. Only in the principle of obedience can we serve God; only in obeying as Christ did can we reaffirm God’s principle of authority, for rebellion is the outworking of the principle of Satan.

    Learning Obedience through Suffering

    It is told in Hebrews 5.8 that Christ "learned obedience through what He suffered." Suffering called forth obedience from the Lord. Please note here that He did not bring obedience to this earth; He learned it—and He did so through suffering.

    When we meet suffering we then learn obedience. Such obedience is real. Our usefulness is not determined by whether or not we have suffered, but by how much obedience we have learned through that suffering. The obedient ones alone are useful to God. As long as our heart is not softened, suffering will not leave us. Our way lies in many sufferings; the easy-goers and pleasure-lovers are useless before God. Let us therefore learn to obey in suffering.

    Salvation makes people obedient as well as joyous. If we seek only joy, our spiritual possessions will not be rich; but those who are obedient will experience the abundance of salvation. Let us not change the nature of salvation. Let us obey—for our Lord Jesus, having been made perfect through obedience, has become the source of our eternal salvation. God saves us that we may obey His will. If we have met God’s authority we shall discover obedience to be easy and God’s will to be simple, because the Lord Himself was always obedient and has given this life of obedience to us.

    (Spiritual Authority, CFP white cover, Watchman Nee.)
    by Published on 06-09-2013 11:13 PM     Number of Views: 759 
    1. Categories:
    2. Dividing Spirit, Soul, Body

    The Dividing of Spirit and Soul

    OUR LENGTHY DISCUSSION as to the difference between spirit and soul and their respective operations has been to lead us to this present point. For a believer who strives after God the element to be apprehensive about is the inordinate activity of the soul beyond the measure set by God. The soul has been in ascendancy for such long duration that in the matter of consecration it even presumes to take upon itself the task of realizing that act to God’s satisfaction. Many Christians are unaware how drastically the cross must work so that ultimately their natural power for living may be denied. They do not know the reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit nor that His authority must extend to gathering under His control the thoughts, desires and feelings of the entire being. Without their having an inner appreciation of this, the Holy Spirit is unable to accomplish everything He wishes to do. The greatest temptation for an earnest and zealous saint is to engage his own strength in God’s service rather than to wait humbly for the Holy Spirit to will and to perform.

    The call of the cross of the Lord Jesus is to beckon us to hate our natural life, to seek opportunity to lose, not to keep, it. Our Lord wants us to sacrifice self and be yielded wholly to the working of His Spirit. If we are to experience afresh His true life in the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit, we must be willing to present to death every opinion, labor and thought of the soul life. The Lord additionally touches upon the issue of our hating or loving our self life. The soul is invariably “self-loving.” Unless from the very depth of our heart we abhor our natural life, we shall not be able to walk genuinely by the Holy Spirit. Do we not realize that the basic condition for a spiritual walk is to fear our self and its wisdom and to rely absolutely upon the Spirit?

    This war between the soul and the spirit is waged secretly but interminably within God’s children. The soul seeks to retain its authority and move independently, while the spirit strives to possess and master everything for the maintenance of God’s authority. Before the spirit achieves its ascendancy the soul has tended to take the lead in all regards. Should a believer allow self to be the master while expecting the Holy Spirit to help and to bless him in his work, he undoubtedly will fail to produce spiritual fruit. Christians cannot anticipate a walk and work pleasing to God if they have not crushed their soul life by persistently denying its authority and unconditionally laying it in the dust. Except all power, impatience, and activity of the natural life are deliberately and one by one delivered to the cross and a ceaseless vigil is maintained, it will seize every chance to revive itself. The reason for so many defeats in the spiritual realm is because this sector of the soul has not been dealt with drastically. If soul life is not stripped away through death but is allowed to mingle with the spirit, believers shall continue in defeat. If our walk does not exclusively express God’s power it shall soon be vanquished by man’s wisdom and opinion.

    Our natural life is a formidable obstacle to spiritual life. Never satisfied with God alone, it invariably adds something extra to God. Hence it is never at peace. Before the self is touched God’s children live by very changeable stimulations and sensations. That is why they exhibit a wavy up-and-down existence. Because they allow their soulical* energies to mix in with spiritual experiences their ways are often unstable. They accordingly are not qualified to lead others. Their unrelinquished soul power continually deflects them from letting the spirit be central. In the excitement of soulical* emotion the spirit suffers great loss in freedom and sensation. Joy and sorrow may imperil the believer’s self-control and set self-consciousness on a rampage. The mind, if overly active, may affect and disturb the quietness of the spirit. To admire spiritual knowledge is good, but should it exceed spiritual bounds the result shall be merely letter, not spirit. This explains why many workers, though they preach the most excellent truth, are so cold and dead. Many saints who seek a spiritual walk share a common experience—one of groanings because their soul and spirit are not at one. The thought, will and emotion of their soul often rebel against the spirit, refuse to be directed by the spirit and resort to independent actions which contradict the spirit. The life in their spirit is bound to suffer in such a situation.

    Now given a condition like this in the believer, the teaching in Hebrews 4.12 takes on paramount significance. For the Holy Spirit instructs us therein how to divide spirit and soul experientially. The dividing of these two is not a mere doctrine; it is pre-eminently a life, a must in the believer’s walk. Just what is its essential meaning? It means, first of all, that by His Word and through His indwelling Spirit God enables the Christian to differentiate in experience the operations and expressions of the spirit as distinct from those of the soul. Thus he may perceive what is of the spirit and what is of the soul.

    The dividing of these two elements denotes additionally that through willing cooperation the child of God can follow a pure spiritual path unimpeded by the soul. The Holy Spirit in Hebrews 4 sets forth the high-priestly ministry of the Lord Jesus and also explains its relationship to us. Verse 12 declares that “the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” And verse 13 follows by informing us that “before him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” These therefore tells us how much the Lord Jesus fulfills His work as High Priest with respect to our spirit and soul. The Holy Spirit compares the believer to a sacrifice on the altar. During the Old Testament period when people presented an offering, they bound their sacrifice to the altar. The priest then came and killed it with a sharp knife, parting it into two and piercing to the division of the joints and marrow, thus exposing to view all that formerly had been hidden from human sight. Afterwards it was burned with fire as an offering to God. The Holy Spirit uses this event to illustrate the work of the Lord Jesus towards believers and the experience of the believers in the Lord. Just as the sacrifice of old was cut asunder by the priests’ knife so that the joints and marrow were exposed and divided, even so the believer today has his soul and spirit split apart by the Word of God as used by our High Priest, the Lord Jesus. This is that the soul may no longer affect the spirit nor the spirit any more be under the soul’s authority; rather, each will find its rightful place, with neither confusion nor mixture.

    As at the first the Word of God had operated on creation by separating light from darkness, so now it works within us as the Sword of the Spirit, piercing to the separation of the spirit and soul. Hence the noblest habitation of God—our spirits—is wholly separated from the base desires of our souls. Wherefore we come to appreciate how our spirit is the dwelling place of God the Holy Spirit and how our soul with all its energy shall indeed do the will of God as revealed to the human spirit by the Holy Spirit. No room can there be then for any independent action.

    As the priest of old split the sacrifice, so our High Priest today divides our soul and spirit. As the priestly knife was of such sharpness that the sacrifice was cut into two, piercing to the separation of the closely knit joints and marrow, so the Word of God which the Lord Jesus currently uses is keener than any two-edged sword and is able to split cleanly apart the most intimately related spirit and soul there may be.

    The Word of God is “living” for it has living power: “active” because it knows how to work: “sharper than any two edged sword” since it can pierce into the spirit. What God’s Word has penetrated is much deeper than the soul; it reaches into the innermost spirit. God’s Word leads His people into a realm more profound than one of mere sensation; it brings them into the realm of the eternal spirit. Those who wish to be established in God must know the meaning of this penetration into the spirit. The Holy Spirit alone can teach us what is soul life and what is spirit life. Only after we learn how to differentiate experientially these two kinds of life and come to apprehend their respective values, are we delivered from a shallow, loose, sensational walk into that which is deep, firm and spiritual. Only then do we come into rest. The soul life can never furnish us rest. But please note that this must be known in experience; simply understanding in the mind will merely make us more soulish.

    We need to pay special attention to this piercing and dividing. The Word of God plunges into the soul as well as into the spirit in order to effect the division of these two. The Lord Jesus in His crucifixion had His hands and feet and side pierced. Are we willing to let the cross work in our soul and spirit? A sword pierced through Mary’s soul (Luke 2.35). Although her “Son” was given by God, she was required to let go of Him and to relinquish all her authority and demands upon Him. Even though her soul craved to cling tenaciously to Him Mary must deny her natural affection.

    The cleaving of soul and spirit means not only their separation but also a cracking open of the soul itself. Since the spirit is enveloped in the soul, it cannot be reached by the Word of life save through a cracked shell. The Word of the cross plunges in and splits open a way into and through the soul so that God’s life can reach the spirit within and liberate it from the bondage of its soulish shell. Having received the mark of the cross, the soul now can assume its proper position of subjection to the spirit. But if the soul fails to become a “thoroughfare” to the spirit, then the former surely will become the latter’s chain. These two never agree on any matter. Before the spirit achieves its rightful place of pre-eminence it is challenged persistently by the soul. While the spirit is striving to gain freedom and mastery the strong soul power exerts its utmost strength to suppress the spirit. Only after the cross has done its work on the soulish life is the spirit liberated. If we remain ignorant of the damage this discord between the spirit and soul can bring or remain unwilling to forsake the pleasure of a sensuous walk, we shall make hardly any spiritual progress. As long as the seige thrown up by the soul is not lifted the spirit cannot be freed.

    Upon carefully studying the teaching of this fragment of Scripture, we may conclude that the dividing of spirit and soul hinges upon two factors: the cross and God’s Word. Before the priest could use his knife the sacrifice had to be placed on the altar. The altar in the Old Testament speaks of the cross in the New Testament. Believers cannot expect their High Priest to wield God’s sharp Sword, His Word which pierces to the separation of soul and spirit, unless first they are willing to come to the cross and accept its death. Lying on the altar always precedes the plunging of the sword. Hence all who desire to experience the parting of soul and spirit must answer the Lord’s call to Calvary and lay themselves unreservedly on the altar, trusting their High Priest to operate with His keen Sword to the dividing asunder of their spirit and soul. For us to lie on the altar is our free-will offering well-pleasing to God; to use the sword to divide is the work of the priest. We should fulfill our part with all faithfulness, and commit the rest to our merciful and faithful High Priest. And at the appropriate time He shall lead us into a complete spiritual experience.

    We need to follow the footsteps of our Lord. As He was dying, Jesus poured out His soul to death (Is. 53.12) but committed His spirit to God (Luke 23.46). We must do now what He did before. If we truly pour out the soul life and commit our spirit to God we too shall know the power of resurrection and shall enjoy a perfect spiritual way in the glory of resurrection.
    by Published on 07-17-2011 03:56 PM     Number of Views: 1054 
    1. Categories:
    2. Partial Rapture

    "Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (Matt. 24.40,42).

    Who is to watch? The Christian since it speaks of "your Lord". What happens if you watch or don't watch?

    If you watch, will you be taken or will you be left?

    The Lord comes to take and not leave. A thief in the night comes to steal the best first.

    So if you are watchful you will be taken at the first rapture before the Tribulation starts.

    Death is no blessing so to be left and die is not good. To be taken is better than being martyred in the Tribulation.

    "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21.36).

    All these things that come to pass is the Tribulation. To stand before the Son of Man is in 3rd heaven "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9).

    To be accounted worthy to escape the Tribulation you would need to be prayerful.

    But God can't promise you won't be martyred when you enter the Tribulation, so this promise to escape the Tribulation can only be assured if you are raptured for keeping the word of His patience.

    If "thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth." Rev. 3.10.

    This hour of trial is the Tribulation which comes upon the whole world. A Christian can only be assured escape it if he is raptured.

    God can't promise you won't be martyred if you enter the Tribulation, so this referring to the first rapture "before the throne" (Rev. 7.9) before the trumpets of the Tribulation commence (8.7ff).

    In summary: Overcomers are raptured at the first rapture (Rev. 7.9). Non-overcomers though saved pass through the Tribulation to be resurrected and/or raptured at the start of the 7th trumpet (1 Thess. 4.14-18, Rev. 11.15, 15-2-4) near the end of the Tribulation, but before the bowls of wrath, since it is the 7th trumpet that contains the bowls of wrath and we are not appointed unto wrath. Jesus returns with 10,000 overcomer believers (Jude 14,15) after the 7th trumpet-the 2,520 day of the Tribulation or 1260th day of the Great Tribulation-to reign with His overcomers over nations (Rev. 2.26) with a "rod of iron" for 1000 years (20.4-6). The Day of the Lord spans from the first rapture according to readiness to the 7th trumpet general rapture and resurrection according to completion to Jesus returning with His overcomers to reigning with them for 1000 years. As a day is to the Lord so is a 1000 years with us. "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up" (2 Pet. 3.10).

    Many have no faith to believe this, but it is amply proven in God's word in the plain reading of the Scriptures. And "Chiliasm" was the word used in the first and second centuries by the early church fathers for premillennialism so premillennialism existed long before the great schism.
    by Published on 01-21-2011 09:44 AM     Number of Views: 3135 
    1. Categories:
    2. Reward for Overcomers

    Do You Think You Will be Raptured Before the Tribulation Just Because You Are Saved?

    On that day of first rapture, there "shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (Matt. 24.40). Both of them are Christians working for the Lord.

    Both male and female qualify for the first rapture. "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left" (v.41).

    Which one will be taken at the first rapture and which one will be left to pass through the Tribulation to be raptured at the last trumpet? "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come" (v.42). Whomever is watchful shall be raptured "before the throne" in heaven (Rev. 7.9) prior to the start of the Tribulation's first trumpet (8.7ff) at the beginning of the seven years.

    Are all Christians watchful? Of course not. Many if not most Christians are tied down to the world like a balloon unwilling to be released. They lie on a bed of fornication spiritually speaking, hardly living as sojourners in the world. Actually, only about 1/7th of believers alive at the first rapture will be raptured since only the Philadelphia church was an overcomer church of the seven churches.

    Some question whether both are Christians. Yet it is emphasized "your Lord doth come" to indicate you are a Christian but that if you are not watchful, you shall be left to pass through the time of testing. Though you can't lose eternal life as my brother or sister in Christ, for the Bible is clear those who are born-again "they shall never perish" (John 10.28), you can quite easily not be taken up to the throne to stand before Jesus when the Tribulation starts. Better you be aware of this now! This is what Paul was preeminently concerned with to receive the reward of returning with Christ.

    My concern is presuming you are not ready to be raptured alive on Sept. 14, 2015 on Feast of Trumpets (the Tribulation is from Sept. 14, 2015 to Aug. 7, 2022), I'd like to know how will you respond to a couple million that have vanished on that day (not including you)? Will you accuse them of being a "fake rapture," acting like Satan that great accuser accusing the brethren day and night (Rev. 12.10)? Or will you realize what I have told you that if you were not ready, still loving the world too much, that God did not consider you worthy at that time because you were unwilling to overcometh.

    All Christians overcometh, but not all Christians overcome at the same time. There are advanced parties and harbingers in every sphere. There are the virgin firstfruits (Rev. 14.1-5), a subsection of overcomers, and the total inclusion of all man-child overcomers (12.5) including women of course. The later harvest (14.14-16) are raptured at the start of the last trumpet (11.15) before the bowls of wrath are poured out over 24 months (1st woe is 5 months, 2nd woe is 13 months, and the 3rd woe will be 24 months).

    Again we see a conditional statement set forth by Jesus. "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Luke 21.36).

    What happens if you are not watchful and prayerful? You won't be accounted worthy to escape the Tribulation and stand before the Son of man; therefore you will not be "taken" but "left" to pass through it. This is what is meant in 1 Thess. 4: "then we which are alive and left shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air" (v.17) at the last trumpet (Rev. 11.15) after the first six trumpets have been completed over 60 months (42 months of the first half of the Tribulation plus 5 months of the 1st woe and 13 months of the 2nd woe).

    To seal the deal if there was still yet any doubt in your mind the first rapture is according to readiness and not a foregone conclusion for the whole church who are alive on Sept. 14, 2015, read Revelation 3.10. Only if you are an overcomer as each church period is called to overcometh in chapters 2 & 3 will you escape the hour of trial according to this conditional statement...If "thou didst keep the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of trial, that hour which is to come upon the whole world, to try them that dwell upon the earth" (3.10). The Tribulation, particularly the last 37 months (2nd and 3rd woes), will be a war and army build up (9.16) unlike the world has ever seen with deaths to match it (v.18). Never will there be such a war again.

    These verses are not speaking of any tribulation, but the Tribulation of of Daniel's seventieth set of seven (Dan. 9.27). How else could 1/3 of the people of the earth die in fire and brimstone and there be armies built up in the middle east of 200 million?

    Have you kept the word of His patience? Have you kept the conduct of Matthew 5-7? If not, don't be surprised when there are a couple million that have disappeared on the planet and you were not included. Fret not! Simply realize you were a lover of the world too much and that you will have to pass through the consummation even possibly unto martyrdom to be tried by fire. Let the Holy Spirit by the cross correct your former thinking with a deep incision to divide your spirit, soul and body to walk after the spirit by the Spirit in a way never experienced before. Amen.

    My prayer is that when throughout the news a couple million people have vanished that you don't accuse these spiritual Christians. Amen.
    by Published on 10-18-2010 04:33 AM     Number of Views: 1438 
    1. Categories:
    2. Shepherds/Teachers

    How the Gift of Pastoring Builds Up the Church

    Among the numerous pastors ordained in the denominations, is there not one single true pastor?

    According to human ordination, none so ordained becomes a pastor; but according to gift, some of those ordained may indeed have the gift of pastoring. We ought to see, however, that no one becomes a pastor through human examination, seminary study, men’s ordination, or men’s invitation. A true pastor is one gifted by God with the ability of pastoring.

    How does the gift of pastoring build up the church?

    The Greek word translated “pastor” is only used in Scripture once, in Ephesians 4. The remaining instances of this same Greek word are translated as “shepherd.” Hence the meaning of this word is that of feeding or watching over. When God gives a man a pastor’s gift, he is given the ability to lead the believers in feeding them, in helping them to grow, in teaching them the Bible, and in praying with them.

    The evangelist will lead people to salvation, that is to say, he will bring people in. The teacher is able to release the truth so that all may understand the truth of the Scriptures. The pastor can help them grow. He may not be able to preach, but he certainly knows how to feed the believers.

    Can women receive the pastor’s gift?

    God’s gifting makes no distinction with respect to sex. The daughters of Philip the evangelist, for example, had the gift of prophesying. A woman may have the gift of pastoring.
    by Published on 10-18-2010 02:39 AM     Number of Views: 991 
    1. Categories:
    2. Apostles Set up Churches,
    3. Elders

    The Church Is One
    The Church and the Work I: Assembly Life, 49-52, by Watchman Nee

    The Bible teaches that the Church is one. The Church which Paul belonged to is the same Church to which we all belong. Our Church is the Church also of the apostle John, Martin Luther, Calvin [I know you are probably thinking that is odd for Watchman Nee to mention Luther and Calvin since Nee is clearly OSAS Arminian, but I think he was just using them as alleged giants of the faith, just as he used Wesley below also, even though Wesley was not Arminian] and all the other regenerated people throughout Church history. The Church of the Bible has no distinction as to time, geography, or race. In the eyes of God, from the beginning to the end, past and present, at home and abroad, there is only one Church, not two or more Churches. The Bible recognizes the body of Christ, which is one and one only. There can never be two bodies of Christ because there is but one Head. Though the members are many, the body is one. Hence all the saved people, ancient and modern, at home and abroad, form one Church, one body.

    Why, then, are there “the churches” in various places? Since the Letter to the Ephesians speaks of one body, one Spirit, one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism and one God (Eph. 4.4-6), why do the Scriptures mention the churches? Is there any contradiction in the Bible? For it speaks of one body on the one hand and the churches on the other. This tells us of the different aspects of the Church. Actually, there is only one Church, for the body of Christ is one. But in different localities, there may be as many as three to five thousand believers gathered together or as little as two or three (Matt. 18.20). In any city or village where a group of believers is gathered together, those believers there are the church in that city or village. The Scriptures most emphatically employ the phrase “the church in (or at)” such and such a place. The word “in” shows us that the Church is one, even though its various members are scattered and sojourn in many, many localities. The Bible treats all the believers who sojourn in a given locality as constituting the local church, a miniature representative of the one and only Church.

    One thing is exceedingly precious: “We, who are many, are one bread” (1 Cor. 10.17). The “we” here includes all the believers. There is only one loaf. Hence do not imagine that there is one loaf in Shanghai and another loaf in Peking, and so forth. From the physical viewpoint, there may be tens of thousands of loaves throughout the world; from the spiritual viewpoint, however, there is but one bread loaf before God. Why is there but one loaf? Because being in the flesh we are restricted by time and space. If it were possible, all the believers in the entire world would break one loaf of bread together. But we know that that is not possible. Even so, though all the believers in all the different places throughout the world break the bread respectively, before God there is but one bread loaf being broken. The bread which the hands of the brethren in Shanghai touch is the same bread which the brethren in Peking and the brethren in Hanchow touch. The bread which is broken everywhere represents the one body of Christ. For God has only one Church in the world. And this Church is spread out throughout every city and every village world-wide. And the churches which are thus spread out are called the churches in these cities and villages. For the sake of convenience, these churches in the many cities and villages of the world are called “the churches of God” (2 Thess. 1.4; 1 Cor. 11.16; cf. also 1 Thess. 2.14). In actuality, the churches of God are the Church of God. The Lord calls us to break bread lest we forget the churches at various places. We are not to be an independent church, but to be joined with others as one Church. This is why we use one bread loaf to aid us in recognizing that though there are many believers—past and present, at home and abroad—and many local churches, there is nevertheless but one loaf of bread.

    The bread which we believers world-wide break may amount to tens of thousands of loaves, yet the body of Christ which the bread represents is only one. The Lord that the bread speaks of is also one.

    So that all the miniature local churches stand for the entire body of Christ. A local assembly may have only fifty people gathered together, but what it represents is the entire body of believers, both past and present, at home and abroad. The bread which any local assembly breaks, however small that assembly may be, represents Peter, Paul, Martin Luther, Wesley, and you and me. Wherever the local assembly is, it is a representation of the body of Christ. Therefore no church may take independent action. In all its actions it must take the entire body into consideration. In the meeting, you should not see just the few brothers and sisters who sit by you; instead you should see the entire body of Christ. What you do is not only related to the brothers and sisters immediately around you but it is also related to the whole body of Christ. Because we are one body, what you as a member do is what the body of Christ does. One member may affect the whole body.

    The Chinese who live in the South Seas are mainly Fukien and Kwangtung∗ in origin. In many cities and villages in the South Seas there are Overseas Chinese Fraternities. Though the number of the members of these fraternities varies, wherever the fraternities are in power, the Chinese which they represent are in power; and wherever these fraternities are under oppression, the Chinese they represent also come under oppression. Now just as these fraternities represent China throughout the South Seas, so we in the place where we sojourn represent the Church. From this we can readily perceive the relationship the action of each local assembly has to that of the entire body of Christ, as well as the mutual relationship that obtains among these local assemblies themselves. Though you may be only a miniature church in a single locality, God will nonetheless use this miniature church to manifest the universal Church. So that the small local assembly here is to represent the all-inclusive body of Christ.

    ∗Two southern mainland Chinese provinces.—Translator

    For this reason it cannot but maintain relationship with other local assemblies as well as with brothers and sisters in other places.
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