Tag Archives: gifts

The Interactive Book: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

As we head into the Days of Unleavened Bread, having kept the Passover last night and looking forward to a fine fellowship meal this evening celebrating our coming out of sin, we can all echo the words of Paul.

Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Cor. 5:7-8)

The goal is to become unleavened with sincerity and truth. We sincerely want to be taught of God, and and we want His truth to dictate the course of our lives. One of these precious truths is the revelation of God’s plan of salvation for mankind in the Holy Days.

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘The feasts of the Lord, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts. ‘Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work on it; it is the Sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings.

‘These are the feasts of the Lord, holy convocations which you shall proclaim at their appointed times. On the fourteenth day of the first month at twilight is the Lord’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the Lord; seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it. But you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord for seven days. The seventh day shall be a holy convocation; you shall do no customary work on it.’” (Lev. 23:1-8)

The word “feasts” can also be understood to mean “divine appointments.” It’s like a VIP invitation from God to assemble for fellowship with Him. In verse 6, the phrase “you must eat unleavened bread” carried the ideas of to burn up, consume, and devour – indicating that there is to be a zeal about what we are doing.

Unleavened Teachings

In the introduction to this series, we began in Isa 55:6. Before we go back there, I’d like for you to think about this question, “What’s wrong with us, as we begin to celebrate the days of Unleavened Bread?”

We’re leavened, brethren! We can’t even avoid being leavened. It’s all around us in this world (there is even physical leaven in the air we breathe). But spiritually, the prince of the power of the air – the god of this world, who influences everything that goes on down here – has control of entertainment and media … the perfect forum for him to promote his anti-God agenda. And we can see, and drink in any and every form of violence, immorality, and other forms of aberrant, ungodly behavior … and made all the more attractive by the “beautiful people” who perform, and by clever writers, who insert humor at just the right times.

In this country, we even legislate immorality today. The more anti-Christ and anti-God it is, the more protected by law it is. You can be thrown into jail for preaching what the Bible says about morality, marriage and family values today – for teaching your kids healthy, Godly, Biblical principles of life. We are immersed in leaven, and the more we try to “fit in” with the society around us, the more leavened we become.

Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Is. 55:6-11)

So the question for us, at least one of the questions, during this Feast of Unleavened Bread is, “What kind of return on His investment am I giving to God?” Between now and the next Feast, how interactive am I going to be with this Book, the only really unleavened teaching on this planet? These days of Unleavened Bread are about coming out of this world, renewing our baptismal commitment to God, and turning our backs on the old man, the past, our Egypt.

Fellowshipping With Christ

In last week’s post, we ended with 1 Cor 1:9: “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” Did you catch that, brethren? We are called by God the Father into His son’s “fellowship,” literally partnership, social intercourse, or benefaction. This last word, “benefaction,” means the act of conferring a benefit. God and Christ actually offer us the benefit of interacting with Them in true fellowship by Their divine invitation.

The apostle John seemed to have a special relationship with Jesus Christ, and a unique way of expressing that in writing. We usually go to the gospel of John when we speak of this, but today, I’d like to go to his first general epistle.

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life (1 John 1:1)

I’ve spent a great deal of time studying this word play between “the Word” – Jesus Christ – and “the word” – the Bible – that our hands handle right now. How do we “handle” the word of life? Do I keep it way out at arm’s length? Do I hold it sceptically? Or is it just as an academic exercise or a piece of“classic literature?” Or do I give it more serious study, and think, “Boy, it’d be nice if I could do that” … and then give up when I run into “love your enemies.”

Or do I hold the Word of life close to my heart? Could this day be another turning point in my life, and in my relationship with God the Father through Jesus, the Christ? Am I going to give Him that return on His investment?

It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. …
From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?” But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. Also we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (John 6:63, 66-69)

Judging by his reply here, Peter apparently got the point of Jesus’ statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me,” and that His words are words of life (John 14:6). Jesus Christ, the Word of God “became flesh and dwelt among us” with the mission to give us eternal life (John 1:14; 10:10).

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation


The Interactive Book: Key To Scripture

We talked in last week’s introductory post about how meticulous Christ was about fulfilling every jot and tittle of scripture concerning Him, that He did all this to please the Father, and that there was real personal interaction between them.

Then Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner. For the Father loves the Son, and shows Him all things that He Himself does; and He will show Him greater works than these, that you may marvel. For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them, even so the Son gives life to whom He will. For the Father judges no one, but has committed all judgment to the Son, that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him. … I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:19-24, 30)

Christ is the Key

How many of you know who Andrew Jukes is? He wrote several books that have made the rounds in the Church of God groups, The Names of God being probably the best known of them. About a month ago, my wife started reading another called The Law of the Offerings, and she ran across a quote that she knew would hit me right where I’ve been living for the past 20 years or so. At the bottom of pg 12, Jukes writes, “Christ is throughout [the Bible] the key to scripture. He is the one great idea of the Bible. Know Christ, understand God’s thoughts about Him, and then you will understand the Bible. We are in the dark because we know so little of Him.”

Because of my early Church of God teaching, I would have called this man, who wrote books about the Bible in the late 1800s, “unconverted” 25 years ago. Today, his comments seem very spiritual: know Christ, understand God’s thoughts about Him, and then you will understand the Bible. You see, it’s not just a study of Christ … not just “give yer heart to Jeeesus!” It’s a study of God the Father’s view of Jesus Christ – how They relate to one another, Their history, Their mutual sacrifice, and the rewards Their faith have produced for the church today.

It’s interesting that what Jukes emphasizes is “God’s thoughts about Him.” That’s scripture, brethren. Not just a man’s, or a church’s opinion – not Roman Catholic or Protestant thoughts about Jesus, but His own Father’s thoughts about Him. Brethren, what are God’s thoughts about His son today … right now today, nearly 2,000 years after His human life ended in crucifixion? What does God, the Father want us to be doing “in fellowship” with His beloved Son?

Great Gifts

I’ve used Matt. 28:18 a lot to show the regard God has for His son, and I don’t see any good reason to change that. “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” This is as true today as it was when Christ spoke these words, and if a great gift like this was given it was given by a great Giver.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those 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)

Here is another passage showing the high regard God the Father has for His Son, and another gift given by the great Giver. And like every gift that this Being gives to His Son, there is an incredible extension to mankind through His Son’s name.

In Acts 4:7 we find Peter and John in a familiar fix. They had used the Name of Jesus Christ to heal a lame man, and they had told the people “His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all” (Acts 3:16). And that violated the code of the human bureaucracy of the day.

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” (Acts 4:5-7)

It’s amazing to see the similarities in the way human societies develop their systems of controlling the people. The U.S. Government is getting more and more like this every day under the rule of similarly-minded control freaks. Anyway, the Department of Miraculous Healings in the Name of Jesus Christ determined that Peter and John had violated the code, and they threw them in the slammer overnight to cool their heels, then the next day, they convened a hasty trial.

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.” So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:7-18)

Gift of Fellowship

Something else that the Father gave Christ was “the promise of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:29-33). So from the point of this giving onward to the end of the age, anyone who receives the gift of the spirit receives it through Christ. This sort of makes the words of John the baptist take on new life for us. “He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matt. 3:11).

“Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has shed forth this which you now see and hear. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Acts 2:33-36)

The Holy Spirit isn’t all the Father gave. The Greek word for “Lord” here is kurios (G2962). It means, owner, master, ruler. Christ, or Christos (G5547) means anointed … and this Christ was anointed to perform many more offices and functions for our benefit. To the extent that we buy into His authority in these offices, we can interact with Him as He serves us by performing them.

In Ephesians 1, we find yet another great gift given to Christ by the great Giver which benefits us.

Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love for all the saints, do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph. 1:15-23)

Do we really believe this? God’s gift here was to make Jesus Christ my Head, and your Head. This is indeed a gift, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg as far as the gifts God has given to His son to benefit us. It’s truly amazing when you understand how much love and regard the Father has for us that He actually blesses His son with all of this … and it’s all there so He can serve us and care for us.

Makes you wonder why anyone would resist or reject this, but I’ve run into some angry resistance to the idea. For some reason, people think they can somehow get to the Father without going through the Son.

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist who denies the Father and the Son. Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father either; he who acknowledges the Son has the Father also. (1 John 2:22-23)

We are called by God the Father “into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1 Cor. 1:9). “Fellowship” is from the Greek koinonia (G2482), and means “partnership, participation, communion, according to strong’s, it literally means “social intercourse, or benefaction.” That sounds a whole lot more personal than “pray, stay, pay, and obey.” God wants to take us into His confidence, “to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 3:9). He wants to give us good gifts, to interact with us as He reveals deeper and deeper truths.

“The Interactive Book” series:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: Key To Scripture

Part 3: Fellowship With The Word Of Life

Part 4: Judgment and Friendship

Part 5: A Personal Call

Part 6: Working Out Your Own Salvation