Tag Archives: interactive book

Apples of Gold

Proverbs 25:11 says that “A word rightly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” How utterly true that is for all of us, myself included. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve been in need of encouragement, and had a word, or a phrase from the scriptures jump out at me at just the right time to pull me back on course in this quest of faith towards God’s Kingdom.

And there have even been times when I’ve had the privilege of sharing God’s words of truth with others, and been told that it was just what was needed to get them through a tough time in their lives. What a great thrill God has given us to gain encouragement from His Word, and also, to share that with others who are in need.

I’ve been thinking about the direction I’d like to take this blog in for some time now. Up to this point, I’ve been using segments from sermons. The first 6 posts that began my “Baptism for Life” blog came from three 60-minute sermons by the same title, and there have been several other multiple-part blog posts taken from past sermons. While that might be good for regular followers, I realize it can be hard for others to keep-up with every week with the busy lives we lead, and all the distractions and obligations that we all have. Therefore I am going to make an effort to be more concise with my posts, using words and phrases from God’s Word that have greatly impacted my own life and relationship with the Godhead – things that have brought ME closer to God, and spurred me on to a more focused, personal study of God’s Word.

One of the biggest problems with ‘preachers’ is a tendency to want to “build up a following” for themselves among their readers, listeners, viewers … so those ‘followers’ become dependent on the ‘preacher’. The goal instead should be to lead those “followers” to a greater dependence on GOD.

I’ll just use the example of the Apostle Paul in Acts 20:32. Paul said what he had to say to “influence” these Ephesian elders with very emotional admonitions and warnings, but here in vs. 32, he simply says, “…I commend you to God, and to the word of His grace, which is able to build YOU up, and to give YOU an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.”

A few words fitly spoken can ignite a flame of curiosity that becomes a burning desire to dig into “the deep things of God” (1 Cor. 2:10). I pray that my future posts will do just that for all who read them.


The Interactive Book: Working Out Your Own Salvation

We talked last week about the personal invitation God extends to each of us. In that context, we also looked at how Paul addressed the brethren in Philippi as “my beloved,” a name for Christians in fellowship with each other and God. Paul addressed the Ephesian elders in a similar fashion.

Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears. So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. (Acts 20:28-32)

Knowing that he was going to be absent from them, Paul says that he commends these elders to God, meaning “to place alongside of … to deposit, as a trust or for protection.” Look at what God, and the Word of His grace, is expected to do for us according to Matthew Henery’s commentary.

I commend you to God, that is, to his providence, and to the protection and care of that. It is enough that, from whomsoever we are separated, still we have God nigh unto us, 1Pe_4:19. (2.) He commends them to the word of his grace, by which some understand Christ: he is the word (Joh_1:1), the word of life, because life is treasured up for us in him (1Jo_1:1), and in the same sense he is here called the word of God’s grace, because from his fulness we receive grace for grace. He commends them to Christ, puts them into his hand, as being his servants, whom he would in a particular manner take care of. Paul commends them not only to God and to his providence, but to Christ and his grace…
He commends them to the word of God’s grace, not only as the foundation of their hope and the fountain of their joy, but as the rule of their walking: “I commend you to God, as your Master, whom you are to serve, and I have found him a good Master, and to the word of his grace, as cutting you out your work, and by which you are to govern yourselves; observe the precepts of this word, and then live upon the promises of it.”

Let’s take note also that Paul tells them here Who is “able to build you up.” The word able is dunamai (G1410), a form of a word used to describe the miracle-working power that emanated from Christ. Hearkening back to Philippians 2, we see that in the absence of an apostle, minister, church leader, or corporate church organization, you and I are supposed to be busy doing something very weighty and important for ourselves, and for the family of God.

Working in You

Let’s re-read Philippians 2:12.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12)

The words“work out” are translated from katergazomai (G2716), which means to accomplish, work fully, finish or fashion. All of us independent macho Church of God guys are up for this, right ? Ready to pull ourselves up by our own bootstraps? But have you ever tried that? Boy, you can reach down and grab those bootstraps, and yank for all you’re worth, grunt and groan and tug … and you might even clear the floor by a couple of inches, but you always end up with your feet right back on the floor where you started. Just about the same results you get from working out your own salvation on your own. It doesn’t take long to realize that you’re really not getting anywhere. And that’s why God immediately follows this phrase with verse 13.

for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:13)

This is one of those verses you can just breeze past, if you’re in a hurry to get your morning Bible study in before work … but this is one of the most encouraging and important verses in the entire Bible. And it is a grievous mistake to try to “work out your own salvation” if you ignore verse 13. Just think about this Being – who and what He is, and let the goose bumps run up your spine. I’ll quote from Matthew Henry’s commentary again.

“And because it is God who worketh in you, do you work out your salvation. Work, for he worketh.” It should encourage us to do our utmost, because our labour shall not be in vain. God is ready to concur with his grace, and assist our faithful endeavours. Observe, Though we must use our utmost endeavours in working out our salvation, yet still we must go forth, and go on, in a dependence upon the grace of God. His grace works in us in a way suitable to our natures, and in concurrence with our endeavours; and the operations of God’s grace in us are so far from excusing, that they are intended to quicken and engage our endeavours. “And work out our salvation with fear and trembling, for he worketh in you.” All our working depends upon his working in us.

This is the phrase I want to focus on: “all our working depends upon His working in us.” Going back to the Bible verse, this word “works” is energeo (G1754), and it means “to be mighty in,” active, efficient, effectual. It is one of four closely related Greek words – energeia, energeo, energema, and energes (G1753-1756) – that describe the absolute power of God and Christ over the flesh. The thoughts conveyed in these words speak of a God who is fully engaged with His called-out ones to work His divine miracles in us and bring us to the desired end. The Greek word eudokia (G2107) adds shades of meaning to the phrase “His good pleasure.” It means benevolence, gracious purpose, and good will.

Operation of God

Let’s look at another place where it would not be wise to ”work out your own salvation” without faith in the working of God. This verse uses the word energeia (G1753), which means “inner working.”

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power. In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, (Col. 2:9-13)

The King James Version translates as this phrase in verse 12 as “faith in the operation of God.” This passage paints a picture of a fully engaged, hands-on God who has given us life in Christ, and is ever-willing to interact with us to bring us to the full realization of eternal life in Christ. The word appears again in Ephesians 1, speaking of an engaged God, who is as eager and willing to interact with and help us as He was to work with His own son.

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. (Eph. 1:16-21)

To enhance this interactive work God is trying to accomplish in us, one of the things we ought to do is “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:125, KJV). So, one of the things we can do to work out our own salvation is to study God’s words and thoughts, and assent to them, submit to them, and be approved of by God for doing so.

Christ’s Work

For an example of this, let’s look at what a guy named Steve Buchanan called the “specific purpose statement of the entire Bible” in a sermon some years ago.

And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

The end product, the goal of God’s word in us, is to accomplish God’s pleasure or purpose. That purpose is to give us eternal life, and the way for us to get there is through knowing these Two great Beings. In John 17:3, Christ defined the goal and showed us how to get there. And, as an example to us, He put Himself through the same process that we must go through.

who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” (Heb. 5:7-10)

If you and I are going to “work out our own salvation,” it makes sense that we need the Author of eternal salvation “working in us to do and to will of His good pleasure.” This Being is a huge key to us being able to “work out our salvation.” God the father has empowered Him to help and assist us in every way by making Him the Head over all things to the church, by making Him Lord and Christ, Apostle and High Priest, King of kings, Lord of lords, and Shepherd and Guardian over our souls.

We are to be intimately interacting with both the Father and Jesus Christ, the One sent, and with the written Word of life – studying, reacting, responding in obedience, discussing it with Them in prayer, and “working it out with fear and trembling,” not wanting to fall short, to disappoint them.

So to wrap-up this blog series on “The Interactive Book,” God has sent the Word of life into this world for a purpose. He admonishes each human being on this planet to handle the Word of life responsibly, and to give Him a profit on His investment of the Word in their own lives. He provides us with the most personal help, aid, and encouragement that He can through His own son, and He Himself is at work within us each day to will and to do for His good pleasure … through the interactive book.

“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: A Personal Call

"The Interactive Book: A Personal Call" baptismforlife.wordpress.com

The main points of the last “Interactive Book” posts have been located in Isaiah 55:11 and 1 John 1:1-4. The first point regards seeing to it that God’s word accomplishes what He sent it into this world to do in each of our lives, and giving Him a good return on His investment in us. The second point concerns how our hands handle the word of life, including our fellowship with the Father and the One Sent. Moving on, let’s look at a familiar verse in John 4.

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:23-24)

Notice this is spirit-influenced worship … not production-line, corporate, cookie-cutter, micro-managed worshippers. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but we aren’t all alike, and while men may try to make us all to conform to their standards and become the proverbial yellow pencil, and stuffed into an easy-to-control box, God wants us all to remain unique in our relationships with Him through His son.

If we look at the letters to the seven churches of God in Revelation 2 and 3, we see that God is not looking for “yellow pencils,” but for individuals that respond to His word and alter their lives. Each of these letters begins by addressing the group as a whole, citing strengths and weaknesses of each church, but each one ends with an appeal to the individual human heart – “he who has an ear to hear, let him hear” – and a promise “to him who overcomes.” God is addressing each of our unique minds and hearts that respond to the ways and thoughts of God in spirit and truth.

On Our Behalf

In 2 Chronicles 16:9, the Hanani the seer tells King Asa of Judah that “the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.” This tells us that God is constantly scanning humanity, observing and watching to see what kind of response He’s getting on the word that He has sent into the world – to see how our hands handle the word of life. It also tells us that His scanner is tuned to certain character traits in human hearts.

The word translated “loyal” here and “perfect” in the KJV is the Hebrew word shalem (H8003). According to Strong’s dictionary, it means “especially friendly, or peaceable … full, complete, safe, whole.” Since we’re talking about our hearts, we could use the word “whole-hearted.” That’s the kind of people God is looking for and, lest anyone should be discouraged, I would add that this is a process. It takes time to become this committed, and on top of that we’re still human and we all stumble at times.

The other phrase in this verse I’d like to take a long look at is “to show Himself strong.” It’s from one word, the Hebrew chazaq (H2388). Strong’s paints this word picture for us: “to fasten upon or seize, to strengthen, confirm or fortify … to cleave, to be urgent, to behave Himself valiantly.” It’s somewhat similar to the phrase “to latch onto.”
And with all that in mind, we have to look at the next phrase, “on behalf of.” The Hebrew here is im (H5973), and it is a preposition, used to indicate something done together, or in common with, such as to eat with, talk with, travel with, have companionship with. It is used to show a closeness of spirit, as God said He would be with His people (Ex. 3:12).

So God is saying to us, “My eyes have roamed the whole earth, and I’ve found you, I’ve called you. You are my kind of guy or gal because of what I see in your heart, and if you keep responding to My word in this way, I’ll continue to strengthen and confirm you.”

My Beloved

Before diving into my next scripture, Philippians 2:12, I want to take a moment to notice that it begins with the word “therefore.” In other words, what follows is a result and consequence of what has already been said in verses 1-11 about Jesus Christ. Seeing His example of humility, studying what He did and the way He did it, then seeing the reward He received from the Father should inspire us to make the effort to follow His example.

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13)

Here we find Paul, the former authoritarian pharisee now a changed, and humble man, addresses the beloved brethren. This word “beloved” is from the Greek agapetos (G27). It is a form of the familiar word for godly love, agape, which Zodhiates defines as “beloved, dear … spoken only of Christians as united with God or with each other in the bonds of holy love … co-joined in the bonds of faith and love … beloved of God, or chosen by Him for salvation.”
Paul tells these people who have been chosen by God that they are doing just great when he is present with them, and then he counsels them to do even better without him. Paul knew that their salvation did not depend on their reliance on him. He did not try to make them dependent upon him (as some modern ministers do). In fact, he urged the exact opposite, as Matthew Henry’s commentary on Philippians 2:12-13 points out.

He [Paul] urges this from the consideration of their readiness always to obey the gospel: “As you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, Phi_2:12. You have been always willing to comply with every discovery of the will of God; and that in my absence as well as presence. You make it to appear that regard to Christ, and care of your souls, sway more with you than any mode of showing respect whatsoever.” They were not merely awed by the apostle’s presence, but did it even much more in his absence.

In 2 Corinthians 1:24, Paul said to another group of called out brethren, “Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.” Paul was very careful not to even appear to be dominating or controlling of their faith. He did not want them to be dependent on him, but rather to be dependent on the One who called them into a personal relationship with Him and who counts us among His beloved ones.

“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: 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