The World To Come Under The Rule Of Christ

We have seen in previous studies that Jesus the Christ (Messiah) will return to earth with all the authority and power of Yahweh God to overthrow the governments of this present world, to depose Satan and lock him away for 1000 years, thereby releasing humanity from the bondage of Satan and inaugurating the rule of the kingdom of God over the whole earth.

What can we expect ‘the world to come’ under the rule of Christ as king to be like – what do the scriptures have to tell us about it?

Israel Restored

The scriptures indicate that Israel will be restored and become an example and a model for all nations, and a blessing thereby to all:

Isaiah 27:6 RSV
6 In days to come Jacob shall take root, Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots, and fill the whole world with fruit.

Ezekiel 36:8-11 WEB
But you, mountains of Israel, you shall shoot forth your branches, and yield your fruit to my people Israel; for they are at hand to come.
36:9 For, behold, I am for you, and I will turn into you, and you shall be tilled and sown;
36:10 and I will multiply men on you, all the house of Israel, even all of it; and the cities shall be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built;
36:11 and I will multiply on you man and animal; and they shall increase and be fruitful; and I will cause you to be inhabited after your former estate, and will do better [to you] than at your beginnings: and you shall know that I am Yahweh.

Zechariah 8:7-8 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: “Behold, I will save my people from the east country, and from the west country;
8:8 and I will bring them, and they will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and they will be my people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness.”

Amos 9:11-14 WEB
In that day I will raise up the tent of David who is fallen, and close up its breaches, and I will raise up its ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old;
9:12 that they may possess the remnant of Edom, and all the nations who are called by my name,” says Yahweh who does this.
9:13 “Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the one treading grapes him who sows seed; And sweet wine will drip from the mountains, And flow from the hills.
9:14 I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel, And they will rebuild the ruined cities, and inhabit them; and they will plant vineyards, and drink wine from them. They shall also make gardens, And eat the fruit of them.

Ruined cities will be rebuilt, see above (Amos 9:14) and also:

Ezekiel 36:33-35 WEB
Thus says the Lord Yahweh: In the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities, I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places shall be built.
36:34 The land that was desolate shall be tilled, whereas it was a desolation in the sight of all who passed by.
36:35 They shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden; and the waste and desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.”

There will be peace and happiness:

Isaiah 14:5-7 WEB
Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers;
14:6 who struck the peoples in wrath with a continual stroke, who ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that none restrained.
14:7 The whole earth is at rest, [and] is quiet: they break forth into singing.

Jeremiah 33:10-11 WEB
Thus says Yahweh: Yet again there shall be heard in this place, about which you say, It is waste, without man and without animal, even in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, that are desolate, without man and without inhabitant and without animal,
33:11 the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the voice of those who say, Give thanks to Yahweh of Hosts, for Yahweh is good, for his loving kindness endures forever; [and of them] who bring [sacrifices of] thanksgiving into the house of Yahweh. For I will cause the captivity of the land to return as at the first, says Yahweh.

Zechariah 8:4-5 WEB
Thus says Yahweh of Hosts: “Old men and old women will again dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, every man with his staff in his hand for very age.
8:5 The streets of the city will be full of boys and girls playing in its streets.”

Ezekiel 28:25-26 WEB
25 Thus says the Lord Yahweh: When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the nations, then shall they dwell in their own land which I gave to my servant Jacob.
28:26 They shall dwell securely therein; yes, they shall build houses, and plant vineyards, and shall dwell securely, when I have executed judgments on all those who do them despite round about them; and they shall know that I am Yahweh their God.

Jerusalem is effectively made capital of the world, with Jesus’ government headquartered there:

Zechariah 8:3 WEB
Thus says Yahweh: “I have returned to Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called ‘The City of Truth;’ and the mountain of Yahweh of Hosts, ‘The Holy Mountain.'”

Jeremiah 3:17 WEB
At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of Yahweh; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart.

Isaiah 62:1-2 WEB
1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until her righteousness go forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
2 The nations shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory, and you shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of Yahweh shall name.

Isaiah 62:7 WEB
7 and give him no rest, until he establish, and until he make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

The whole area of Israel will transformed to become fertile and beautiful:

Isaiah 41:14-20 WEB
14 Don’t be afraid, you worm Jacob, and you men of Israel; I will help you, says Yahweh, and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.
15 Behold, I have made you [to be] a new sharp threshing instrument having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shall make the hills as chaff.
16 You shall winnow them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and you shall rejoice in Yahweh, you shall glory in the Holy One of Israel.
17 The poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue fails for thirst; I, Yahweh, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not forsake them.
18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and springs in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
19 I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, and the myrtle, and the oil tree; I will set in the desert the fir tree, the pine, and the box tree together:
20 that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of Yahweh has done this, and the Holy One of Israel has created it.

Isaiah 35:1-2 WEB
1 The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.
2 It shall blossom abundantly, and rejoice even with joy and singing; the glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the excellency of Carmel and Sharon: they shall see the glory of Yahweh, the excellency of our God.

Isaiah 35:7 WEB
7 The glowing sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water: in the habitation of jackals, where they lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.

Isaiah 51:3 WEB
3 For Yahweh has comforted Zion; he has comforted all her waste places, and has made her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of Yahweh; joy and gladness shall be found therein, thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.

The rest of the world also transformed

The rest of the nations of the earth will follow this example and learn God’s ways, and be similarly transformed and blessed:

Isaiah 2:1-3 WEB
1 This is what Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
2 It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be raised above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem

It is also indicated that God will solve the language barrier for mankind worldwide so that all can serve and worship Him in unison:

Zephaniah 3:9 WEB
For then I will purify the lips of the peoples, that they may all call on the name of Yahweh, to serve him shoulder to shoulder.

Health restored

Man will be released from bondage to sickness and disease:

Isaiah 33:24 WEB
24 The inhabitant shall not say, I am sick: the people who dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity.

Isaiah 35:3-6 WEB
3Strengthen you the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees.
4 Tell those who are of a fearful heart, Be strong, don’t be afraid: behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [with] the recompense of God; he will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped.
6Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the mute shall sing; for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert.

Jeremiah 30:17 NRSV
17 For I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord, because they have called you an outcast: “It is Zion; no one cares for her!”

Agriculture is abundantly productive

The land is healed and becomes super-productive:

Isaiah 30:23 WEB
23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures

Jeremiah 31:12 WEB
They shall come and sing in the height of Zion, and shall flow to the goodness of Yahweh, to the grain, and to the new wine, and to the oil, and to the young of the flock and of the herd: and their soul shall be as a watered garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

Ezekiel 34:27 WEB
The tree of the field shall yield its fruit, and the earth shall yield its increase, and they shall be secure in their land; and they shall know that I am Yahweh, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and have delivered them out of the hand of those who made slaves of them.

Amos 9:13 WEB
“Behold, the days come,” says Yahweh, “That the plowman shall overtake the reaper, And the one treading grapes him who sows seed; And sweet wine will drip from the mountains, And flow from the hills.

The world re-educated

Has the whole world been deceived? By whom?
Revelation 12:9 NRSV
9 The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him

Is he the real author of wrong education?

John 8:44 NRSV
44 You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies

Have people been led astray, particularly in their knowledge of the true God Yahweh and His ways?

2 Corinthians 11:13-15 NRSV
13 For such boasters are false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.
15 So it is not strange if his ministers also disguise themselves as ministers of righteousness. Their end will match their deeds.

Titus 1:16 NRSV
16 They profess to know God, but they deny him by their actions. They are detestable, disobedient, unfit for any good work.

Hosea 4:6 NRSV
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

Will the devil be allowed to continue this after Christ’s return?

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
1 Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

The people will now be taught truth:

John 17:17 NRSV
17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 8:31-32 NRSV
31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples;
32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Will people acknowledge past error?

Jeremiah 16:19 WEB
19 Yahweh, my strength, and my stronghold, and my refuge in the day of affliction, to you shall the nations come from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies, [even] vanity and things in which there is no profit.

They will be led into true repentance and the ways of the true God:

Isaiah 55:6-9 WEB
6 Seek you Yahweh while he may be found; call you on him while he is near:
7 let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to Yahweh, and he will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.
8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says Yahweh.
9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 2:3 WEB
3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

Psalms 25:8-9 WEB
8 Good and upright is Yahweh, Therefore he will instruct sinners in the way.
9 He will guide the humble in justice. He will teach the humble his way.

Habakkuk 2:14 WEB
14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea

Jeremiah 31:34 WEB
34 and they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Yahweh; for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says Yahweh: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more.

Isaiah 29:24 NRSV
24 And those who err in spirit will come to understanding, and those who grumble will accept instruction.

Isaiah 19:21 WEB
21Yahweh shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know Yahweh in that day; yes, they shall worship with sacrifice and offering, and shall vow a vow to Yahweh, and shall perform it.

Natures of animals changed

The basic natures of animals will be transformed:

Isaiah 11:6-8 NRSV
6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
8 The sucking child shall play over the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.

Hosea 2:18 WEB
18 In that day I will make a covenant for them with the animals of the field, And with the birds of the sky, And with the creeping things of the ground. I will break the bow, the sword, and the battle out of the land, And will make them lie down safely.

Man changed also

Ezekiel 36:26-27 NRSV
26 A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; and I will remove from your body the heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
27 I will put my spirit within you, and make you follow my statutes and be careful to observe my ordinances.

Jeremiah 31:33 WEB
33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says Yahweh: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people:

Romans 5:5 NRSV
5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.

2 Peter 1:4 NRSV
4 Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants of the divine nature.

Summary
In this study we have had a brief look at some of the aspects of the wonderful transformation to take place under the rule of Christ as head of the government of the kingdom of God after his return to earth.

This only scratches the surface, and yet we start to get an idea of the total change and transformation that will take place for the benefit and blessing of all mankind.

If we are willing to believe the gospel that Jesus brought regarding the coming of the kingdom of God, and study the scriptures diligently, then we can start to glimpse what a wonderful positive future our perfect Father God has in store for us all.

The Kingdom of God Pt 3

In Part 1 we looked at WHAT the kingdom of God is, and WHY it is coming, using two of Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’.

In Part 2 we studied the scriptures regarding WHEN this will take place and HOW it will be brought about.

In this study we will continue and examine what the bible teaches about WHERE this will happen and WHO will be involved.

WHERE will the kingdom of God be?

Did Jesus teach his disciples (and by extension us) to pray to the Father for His kingdom to come? Was it to come to earth and involve our Father’s will being done here on earth ‘as it is in heaven’?

Matthew 6:10 NRSV
Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Will Christ arrive on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, to set up God’s government starting from here – on the earth?

Zechariah 14:1-4 WEB
Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Were the apostles told that Christ would return in the same way as he had gone (into the clouds on the Mount of Olives, out of the clouds arriving on the Mount of Olives) – back to the earth?

Acts 1:11-12 NRSV
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

Will God’s kingdom and government be established and flow out of Jerusalem – on the earth?

Isaiah 2:2-3 WEB
It shall happen in the latter days, that the mountain of Yahweh’s house shall be established on the top of the mountains, And shall be raised above the hills; And all nations shall flow to it.
2:3 Many peoples shall go and say, “Come, let’s go up to the mountain of Yahweh, To the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths. For out of Zion the law shall go forth, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem.

Did Jesus say the inheritance of the meek was to be the earth?

Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Was the promise to Abraham and his descendents to inherit the world?

Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Are the saints to rule the earth?

1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

Is it the earth that will be full of the knowledge of Yahweh?

Isaiah 11:9 WEB
They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.

This is supported throughout the prophetic writings:

Habakkuk 2:14 WEB
For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.

Psalms 96:9-13 WEB
Worship Yahweh in holy array. Tremble before him, all the earth.
96:10 Say among the nations, “Yahweh reigns.” The world is also established. It can’t be moved. He will judge the peoples with equity.
96:11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice. Let the sea roar, and it’s fullness!
96:12 Let the field and all that is in it exult! Then all the trees of the woods shall sing for joy
96:13 Before Yahweh; for he comes, For he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, The peoples with his truth.

Does Christ instruct us to be ready for his return to the earth?

Luke 21:34-36 NRSV
“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly,
35 like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.
36 Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

For further evidence see also Joel 3:1-3, Obadiah 15-21, Micah 4:1-4, Isaiah 9, 11, 25, 35, 60, 61, 66, Daniel 2 and 7.

So it is evident that Christ returns to the earth and establishes the kingdom of God here on earth.

Let us now see who is involved in the kingdom of God that is to be set up and ruled over by Messiah Jesus.

WHO should we expect to be involved in the kingdom of God?

First of all, as we have seen it is the kingdom belonging to Yahweh God our Father, it is His rule and government that He administers through Jesus as Messiah king here on earth.

Daniel 7:13 WEB
I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-29 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials;
29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom,

Matthew 25:31 NRSV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

Luke 1:31-33 NRSV
And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus.
32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.
33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

Will Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, together with all the prophets be in the kingdom?

Luke 13:28 NRSV
There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out.

Can ‘flesh and blood’ inherit the kingdom of God?

John 3:5-6 NRSV
Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.
6 What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:50 NRSV
What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

But will we who are Christ’s at his return be changed so we can inherit the kingdom with him?

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 NRSV
Listen, I will tell you a mystery! We will not all die, but we will all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on imperishability, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When this perishable body puts on imperishability, and this mortal body puts on immortality, then the saying that is written will be fulfilled: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
55 “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?”

Will the saints of the Most High receive the kingdom?

Daniel 7:18 WEB
But the saints of the Most High shall receive the kingdom, and possess the kingdom forever, even forever and ever.

Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Luke 12:32 NRSV
“Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

2 Peter 1:11 NRSV
For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Will we rule over the earth with Christ?

Revelation 2:26-27 NRSV
To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations;
27 to rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are shattered—

Revelation 3:21 NRSV
To the one who conquers I will give a place with me on my throne, just as I myself conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne.

Who will not inherit a part in the kingdom?

Galatians 5:19-21 NRSV
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness,
20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions,
21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5 NRSV
Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NRSV
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites,
10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

The goods news is that we don’t have to remain like that! Look at verse 11 if you wish to be an inheritor of the kingdom of God:

1 Corinthians 6:11 NRSV
And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

2 Thessalonians 1:5 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering

Will Satan and his influence be taken out of the picture?

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

So we see that the kingdom belongs to the Father but He is delighted to place His dearly beloved son Jesus on the throne to rule over the earth as king.

It is also His good pleasure to grant us His children a part in the kingdom as our inheritance, ruling with and under Christ the king.

As many scriptures detail, this is a wonderful righteous and just government for the benefit of all the earth’s inhabitants, ushering in universal peace, abundance and joy – living the way our God planned it from the very beginning.

All will be free from the bondage of Satan that currently besets mankind

The Kingdom of God Pt 2

In Part 1 we looked at WHAT the kingdom of God is, and WHY it is coming, using two of Kipling’s ‘honest serving men’. In this study we will continue and examine what the bible teaches about WHEN this will take place and HOW it will be brought about.

WHEN is the awaited kingdom of God to be ushered in?

This is a question that the disciples were always eager to know the answer to.

Did Jesus say his return to set up the kingdom would be heralded with a loud trumpet blast?

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Did Paul also describe this event?

2 Thessalonians 1:5-8 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.
6 For it is indeed just of God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to give relief to the afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels
8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.

Notice in the scripture above who are granted rest and who are afflicted, particularly verse 8.

The kingdom of God was very real to the apostles and followers of Christ, and they keenly expected it’s arrival, but what were they told regarding timescales for this?

Acts 1:6-7 NRSV
So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”
7 He replied, “It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.

Mark13:32-33 NRSV
“But about that day or hour no one knows, neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.

Matthew 24:36 NRSV
“But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Were all the heros of faith still awaiting the promises, not yet having received their inheritance (the kingdom) – and still haven’t to this day?

Hebrews 11:39-40 NRSV
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised,
40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect.

When Jesus was preaching about the kingdom the people expected it to immediately appear, to correct their misunderstanding he told a parable about a nobleman receiving a kingdom. This was a picture of himself going to heaven to receive the kingly power from the Father and to return subsequently to reign as king over that kingdom:

Luke 19:11-12 NRSV
As they were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately.
12 So he said, “A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return.

Luke 19:15 NRSV
When he returned, having received royal power, he ordered these slaves, to whom he had given the money, to be summoned so that he might find out what they had gained by trading.

Was this spelled out more clearly in Acts?

Acts 3:17-22 NRSV
“And now, friends, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.
18 In this way God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, that his Messiah would suffer.
19 Repent therefore, and turn to God so that your sins may be wiped out,
20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Messiah appointed for you, that is, Jesus,
21 who must remain in heaven until the time of universal restoration that God announced long ago through his holy prophets.
22 Moses said, “The Lord your God will raise up for you from your own people a prophet like me. You must listen to whatever he tells you.

Notice that Christ will be in heaven UNTIL God’s time to establish all that the prophets foretold. Also that in the mean time we are to listen to all that he told us – to repent, believe and be made ready.

Although we are told that we cannot know the time of Christ’s return, we are given certain signs which will indicate to us that this event is close and imminent:

Luke 21:25-28 NRSV
“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves.
26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

So we do not know exactly when to expect Christ’s return, however there are indicators we can look out for, but how will it happen when it does take place?

HOW will the kingdom of God be ushered in?

We are told that at the sound of a loud trumpet call (the signal for war) Christ will return in power and glory:

Matthew 24:30-31 NRSV
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see “the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven’ with power and great glory.
31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Will he over throw the wicked with power when he comes the second time?

Isaiah 11:1-4 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.

Will he arrive on the Mount of Olives just outside Jerusalem, to fight the nations assembled in that area?

Zechariah 14:1-4 WEB
Behold, a day of Yahweh comes, when your spoil will be divided in your midst.
14:2 For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city will be taken, the houses rifled, and the women ravished. half of the city will go out into captivity, and the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
14:3 Then Yahweh will go out and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
14:4 His feet will stand in that day on the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives will be split in two, from east to west, making a very great valley. Half of the mountain will move toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

Were the apostles told that Christ (Yahweh’s anointed agent through whom he carries out His plan) would return in the same way as he had gone (into the clouds on the Mount of Olives, out of the clouds arriving on the Mount of Olives)?

Acts 1:11-12 NRSV
They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a sabbath day’s journey away.

Will he destroy those who oppose God?

2 Thessalonians 2:8 NRSV
And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will destroy with the breath of his mouth, annihilating him by the manifestation of his coming.

Will all the kingdoms of the world become the kingdom of our God and of His Christ when this trumpet is blown?

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

We have seen that God’s kingdom will be ushered in, with Christ as king, when he returns from heaven with all the power and glory given he by the Father.

He will overthrow the wicked and destroy those who fight against God’s government with overwhelming power, setting people free from Satan’s bondage and instituting the right conditions for the loving and righteous rule of God to deliver universal peace, prosperity and joy for all remaining mankind.

In the next study we will look at WHERE this will take place and WHO will be involved.

The Kingdom of God Pt 1

Some people believe the church is the kingdom of God, others that it is the ethical rule of God set up in ones heart. Some that it will come gradually by growth and development, whilst other’s believe it is waiting for us up in heaven. But what did Jesus and the apostles teach, and what does the bible say about the kingdom of God?

Those familiar with Rudyard Kipling’s writings may remember his ‘six honest serving men’:

“I keep six honest serving men, they taught me all I knew,
Their names are What and Why and When, and How and Where and Who,”

In this study we will utilize these ‘six serving men’ to find out what the scriptures say about the kingdom of God.

WHAT is the kingdom of God?

The first thing to recognise is that after almost six weeks of teaching about the kingdom of God by Jesus (between his resurrection and his ascension to heaven), the kingdom of God was very real to the apostles and they fully expected it’s arrival – Jesus did not correct them in this but only commented on the timescale involved:

Acts 1:3-6 NRSV
After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?”

The second thing to notice is that it is God himself (Yahweh) who gives kingdoms and rulership where He wills:

Daniel 2:37 WEB
You, O king, are king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory;

We see from the interpretation and explanation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in the second chapter of Daniel, that it concerns a succession of world governments or kingdoms:

Daniel 2:38-39 WEB
and wherever the children of men dwell, the animals of the field and the birds of the sky has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold.
2:39 After you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

Eventually the final world ruling system is brought down and replaced by a kingdom set up by God himself, which will never be destroyed – the kingdom of God:

Daniel 2:44 WEB
In the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty of it be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.

Is this interpretation from Yahweh God, and is it certain and sure to happen?

Daniel 2:45 WEB
Because you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what shall happen hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation of it sure.

Sometime later Daniel has a dream and visions, and again is given the meaning of it:

Daniel 7:2 WEB
Daniel spoke and said, I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the sky broke forth on the great sea.

Daniel 7:16 WEB
I came near to one of those who stood by, and asked him the truth concerning all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things.

This is also concerning these world ruling governments:

Daniel 7:17 WEB
These great animals, which are four, are four kings, who shall arise out of the earth.

Did it depict one like ‘the son of man’ (Jesus Messiah – this was his favourite term to refer to himself) receiving authority and a commission from Yahweh to rule as king of the kingdom of God over all the earth:

Daniel 7:13-14 WEB
I saw in the night-visions, and, behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.
7:14 There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Did John the Baptist look forward to the coming of this kingdom and preach concerning it?

Matthew 3:1-3 NRSV
In those days John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea, proclaiming,
2 “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”
3 This is the one of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke when he said, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.’ “

Is this also what Jesus himself preached about?

Matthew 4:17 NRSV
From that time Jesus began to proclaim, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

When questioned did Jesus tell Pilate that he was to become a king, but not of this present age/world, implying that it will be in the age/world to come later?

John 18:36 NRSV
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.”

Did Jesus also tell his disciples that he would rule in the new world or new age (referring to himself as the son of man)?

Matthew 19:27-28 NRSV
Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Does Paul also speak about this ‘world to come’?

Hebrews 2:5 NRSV
Now God did not subject the coming world, about which we are speaking, to angels.

Does Isaiah prophecy of this reign of Yahweh through His Messiah Jesus?

Isaiah 52:7 WEB
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion, Your God reigns!

Does the book of Revelation refer to the time when the kingdoms of this world become the kingdom of God and of His Christ (Messiah)?

Revelation 11:15 NRSV
Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign forever and ever.”

Does Jesus say that he has been given power from the Father to rule over the nations?

Revelation 2:26-27 NRSV
To everyone who conquers and continues to do my works to the end, I will give authority over the nations;
27 to rule them with an iron rod, as when clay pots are shattered—
28 even as I also received authority from my Father. To the one who conquers I will also give the morning star.

So we can now see that the kingdom of God is nothing less than the new world government of God (Yahweh, our Father) ruling over all the nations and peoples of the earth under the kingship of Jesus his Messiah.

In order to understand what makes this is necessary let’s use our next ‘serving man’ WHY.

WHY is the kingdom of God coming?

In the garden of Eden Adam and Eve effectively rejected God’s rule over them through unbelief and disobedience, instigated by Satan. They, and all mankind thereafter unwittingly came under the rule of Satan.

Is this confirmed in Ephesians, referring to Satan as ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (an unseen spirit being influencing all mankind without our knowing it)?

Ephesians 2:1-3 NRSV
You were dead through the trespasses and sins
2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.

Does Paul in the book of Romans say we are either slaves of sin (Satan) or of righteousness (God & Christ)?

Romans 6:16-19 NRSV
Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness?
17 But thanks be to God that you, having once been slaves of sin, have become obedient from the heart to the form of teaching to which you were entrusted,
18 and that you, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.
19 I am speaking in human terms because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to greater and greater iniquity, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness for sanctification.

What does Jesus say about it?

John 8: 34 NRSV
Jesus answered them, “Very truly, I tell you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin.

Does Jesus identify who (generally) mankind’s current ‘father’ is, and that he influences them to carry out his desires?

John 8:44 NRSV
You are from your father the devil, and you choose to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

Satan claimed to be able to give Christ all the kingdoms of the world, which he could not do unless he owned them – Christ did not deny this. In fact Satan holds the whole world in bondage, though few realise it.

Matthew 4:8-9 NRSV
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor;
9 and he said to him, “All these I will give you, if you will fall down and worship me.”

Is the whole creation awaiting the kingdom of God and the children of God?

Romans 8:18-23 NRSV
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us.
19 For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the children of God;
20 for the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope
21 that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and will obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now;
23 and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.

Moses, sent by Yahweh to bring the children of Israel out of Egypt freeing them from bondage to Pharaoh, was a type of Christ being sent by the Father to free mankind from Satan’s bondage (you may like to look at Acts 7:35-37 and John 8:31-38).

This will happen dramatically and universally with the inauguration of the kingdom of God.

This has resulted in horrendous sufferings for all mankind – wars, famines, diseases, pestilences, death, to name but a few – and these will increase dramatically as the return of Christ approaches:

Matthew 24:6-8 NRSV
And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you are not alarmed; for this must take place, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places:
8 all this is but the beginning of the birth pangs.

People are lied to and led astray, and wickedness will increase:

Matthew 24:11-12 NRSV
And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.
12 And because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

It will get so bad that all of mankind is in danger of be wiped out unless God intervenes to put an end to it:

Matthew 24:22 NRSV
And if those days had not been cut short, no one would be saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short.

But thankfully Yahweh God is merciful:

Ephesians 2:4 NRSV
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us

Our God sends His Messiah son Jesus to put an end to Satan’s rule and man’s disobedience, and to usher in a new world government run according to Yahweh’s laws and love nature, to save mankind and to release us from Satan’s bondage and deception:

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Revelation 20:1-3 NRSV
Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding in his hand the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain.
2 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years,
3 and threw him into the pit, and locked and sealed it over him, so that he would deceive the nations no more, until the thousand years were ended. After that he must be let out for a little while.

The wicked will be subdued, and righteousness and peace will abound:

Isaiah 11:1-10 WEB
There shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots shall bear fruit.
11:2 The Spirit of Yahweh shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh.
11:3 His delight shall be in the fear of Yahweh; and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither decide after the hearing of his ears;
11:4 but with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and decide with equity for the humble of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; and with the breath of his lips shall he kill the wicked.
11:5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist, and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
11:6 The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fattened calf together; and a little child shall lead them.
11:7 The cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
11:8 The sucking child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the adder’s den.
11:9 They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of Yahweh, as the waters cover the sea.
11:10 It shall happen in that day, that the root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the peoples, to him shall the nations seek; and his resting-place shall be glorious.

All will learn to worship the one true God, Yahweh:

Zechariah 14:16 WEB
It will happen that everyone who is left of all the nations that came against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Hosts, and to keep the feast of tents.

Micah 4:1-4 WEB
But in the latter days, It will happen that the mountain of Yahweh’s temple will be established on the top of the mountains, And it will be exalted above the hills; And peoples will stream to it.
4:2 Many nations will go and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, And to the house of the God of Jacob; And he will teach us of his ways, And we will walk in his paths.” For out of Zion will go forth the law, And the word of Yahweh from Jerusalem;
4:3 And he will judge between many peoples, And will decide concerning strong nations afar off. They will beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, Neither will they learn war any more.
4:4 But they will sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree; And no one will make them afraid: For the mouth of Yahweh of Hosts has spoken.

There will be universal peace, prosperity and blessings:

Isaiah 2:4 WEB
He will judge between the nations, And will decide concerning many peoples; And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning-hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war any more.

All this will fulfil the promises Yahweh made to Abraham – keeping His word perfectly:

Genesis 22:15-18 WEB
The angel of Yahweh called to Abraham a second time out of the sky,
22:16 and said, “I have sworn by myself, says Yahweh, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son,
22:17 that in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heavens, and as the sand which is on the seashore. Your seed will possess the gate of his enemies.
22:18 In your seed will all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice.”

Galatians 3:16-18 NRSV
Now the promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring; it does not say, “And to offsprings,” as of many; but it says, “And to your offspring,” that is, to one person, who is Christ.
17 My point is this: the law, which came four hundred thirty years later, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as to nullify the promise.
18 For if the inheritance comes from the law, it no longer comes from the promise; but God granted it to Abraham through the promise.

So we start to see WHY it is necessary for Christ (Messiah) to return and introduce the government of Yahweh in the kingdom of God.

In the next study we will continue to use the ‘six serving men’ to examine the kingdom of God by looking at WHEN it will happen and HOW it will be brought about. The third study in the series will consider WHERE these things will take place and WHO will be involved.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? Pt 4

Previously we have seen that God created us in his image. Christ is the perfect image. Messiah has the fulness of God as we also are to have that fulness. Through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we are to be in him and in Christ and that he will bear much fruit through us.

In this study we will discover that we will be perfected through many trials and temptations.

Yahweh God pictures himself as a potter and we as the clay

Isaiah 64:8 WEB
But now, Yahweh, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.

Isaiah 45:9 WEB
Woe to him who strives with his Maker — a potsherd among the potsherds of the earth! Shall the clay ask him who fashions it, “What are you making?” or your work, “He has no hands?”

The end result of Yahweh’s workmanship is that Christ is formed in us.

Galatians 4:19 NRSV
My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,

Galatians 2:20 RSV
I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We are to be purified

Titus 2:14 NRSV
14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.

Whatever happens to us, will it work out for our good?

Romans 8:28 NRSV
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.

Romans 8:35-39 NRSV
35 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.” 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

From the above scripture, it can be seen that nothing will be able to separate us from God.

Are we promised that trials and tests will come our way and indeed, we should not be surprised at these fiery ordeals?

Acts 14:22 NRSV
There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.”

As it says in the above verse, it is through many persecutions that we enter the kingdom of God.
Are the ordeals we experience designed to test us?

1 Peter 4:12-13 NRSV
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice insofar as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed.

James 1:2-4 NIV
Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,
3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

1 Peter 1:6-7 HCSB
You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to be distressed by various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith-more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire-may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Romans 5:1-5 HCSB
1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, because God’s love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

1 Peter 1:3-7 NRSV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials, 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed

Are we even admonished to be joyful, rejoice and even leap for joy? See above and below.

Romans 12:12 NCV
Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times.

Matthew 5:12 NRSV
“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Luke 6:20-23 NRSV
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.
22″Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man.
23Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.

Acts 5:41-42 NRSV
and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. 41 As they left the council, they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. 42 And every day in the temple and at home they did not cease to teach and proclaim Jesus as the Messiah.

Colossians 1:24 CEB
Now I’m happy to be suffering for you. I’m completing what is missing from Christ’s sufferings with my own body. I’m doing this for the sake of his body, which is the church.

It’s through God’s power via Messiah that we are able to accomplish whatever the Father desires do through us.

2 Corinthians 12:9 NRSV
but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

Ephesians 3:18-20 NRSV
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, 19 and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. 20 Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine,

Colossians 1:8-13 NRSV
8 and he has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
9 For this reason, since the day we heard it, we have not ceased praying for you and asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of God’s will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,
10 so that you may lead lives worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, as you bear fruit in every good work and as you grow in the knowledge of God.
11 May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.
13He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son,

2 Timothy 4:7 NRSV
But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth.

Romans 15:13 NRSV
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

2 Corinthians 6:4-11 NRSV
but as servants of God we have commended ourselves in every way: through great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, 5 beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; 6 by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, holiness of spirit, genuine love, 7 truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; 8 in honor and dishonor, in ill repute and good repute. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true; 9 as unknown, and yet are well known; as dying, and see—we are alive; as punished, and yet not killed; 10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing everything. 11 We have spoken frankly to you Corinthians; our heart is wide open to you

2 Corinthians 13:4 NRSV
For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

No one can snatch us out of the hand of God

John 10:28-30 NRSV
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 What my Father has given me is greater than all else, and no one can snatch it out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are one.”

Messiah has firsthand experience of being tempted and tested and is able to help us.

Hebrews 5:8 NRSV
Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered;

Hebrews 2:18 NRSV
Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Messiah Jesus was tempted in all points

Hebrews 4:15 NIV
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.

Hebrews 5:7
In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.

As a result Messiah was made perfect.

Hebrews 5:9 NRSV
and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him,

Being made perfect, Jesus became the source of eternal salvation.

Does all this testing result in us becoming blameless in holiness before God?

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 NRSV
Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord cause you to increase and overflow with love for one another and for everyone, just as we also do for you. 13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.

Summary

In part one of this series the question was asked “What does it mean to be created in the image of God?” We saw that Messiah Jesus is that perfect image of God.

In part two we saw that Messiah Jesus has the fulness of the Father and we are also to have the fulness of the Father and Messiah.

In part three we saw that we are to be in the Father and in Jesus. This is pictured for us in the analogy of the vine and the branches and that through the indwelling of the Father’s spirit we bear fruit.

In this final part we have seen that we must experience many trials. The net result of all the testing and the temptations we experience is that we will be perfected and have the fulness of Yahweh God and messiah. We will become the exact representation of our Father just as our gold standard perfect example Christ is.

The testing of our faith produces perseverance – the end result of which is maturity and completeness in Christ. Enduring the trials and tests produce proven character which produces hope – this hope will not disappoint.

The end result of our life in Christ is to become the perfect image of God.

How does salvation by grace work?

Some believe that we must keep God’s laws and requirements in order to please Him and qualify to be saved by Him. Others believe that ‘Jesus has done it all’ and that everyone is already saved, and ‘once saved, always saved’. But what do the scriptures say about salvation and God’s grace?

Chapter 2 in the book of Ephesians, verses 1 to 10 describes for us an order, a process in part for salvation. Does verse 17 of chapter 1 tell us that it is the God of Jesus, the Father who is doing (has done) all of this in, through and by Jesus the Christ?

Ephesians 1:17 NRSV
I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him,

Ephesians 1:20 NRSV
God put this power to work in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places,

Did He make us alive (spiritually) when we were dead (spiritually) because of sins and trespasses?

Ephesians 2:1-2 NRSV
You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient.

Have we all previously been following our own human passions and desires, of the body and the mind, just exactly like the rest of mankind?

Ephesians 2:3 NRSV
All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else.

Even when we were in this state of being dead (spiritually), did the Father in His perfect love save us (make us alive spiritually with Christ) by His grace?

Ephesians 2:4-5 NRSV
But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5 even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ —by grace you have been saved—

This grace of God is His unmerited favourable intervention on our behalf, when we don’t deserve it at all.

Has the Father effectively raised us up with Christ and sees us as sat with him?

Ephesians 2:6 NRSV
and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

In the ages to come will this grace become beyond measure towards us?

Ephesians 2:7 NRSV
so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

Is it through ‘faith’ that we are saved by this grace of the Father?

Ephesians 2:8 NRSV
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God—

(We will look more deeply at this faith in future studies, to see exactly how this fits in).

So to this point we have not contributed any works of our own, why is that?

Ephesians 2:9 NRSV
not the result of works, so that no one may boast.

So that none of us can boast, we cannot claim credit for any of it in any way! Does it say that we are His workmanship?

Ephesians 2:10 NRSV
For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

So why are we saved and created (anew, alive spiritually) in Christ? Same verse 10 above.

To do good works, prepared for us to do beforehand by God!!

So we see that it is not ‘do these works to get saved’, but because ‘we have been saved graciously by God, we can do the good works that have been prepared for us to do’. Being saved comes before the works that God requires of us.

Yes there are good works to be done, but as a result of being saved, not before, trying to ‘earn it’. It is the fruit that proves we have the dynamic, active presence of the Father living and working in us!

In the New Testament salvation is described and referred to in the past, present and future tenses.

Notice that it reads ‘saved’ in the past tense here – we have been, or were, saved when Christ died for our sins and when we, through our own personal decision of faith in him, were joined to him in God’s eyes. (That faith, believing what God says is true and real, we need to allow to work in us rather than quashing it with denial or unbelief).

At that moment our sins were forgiven, we were justified or accounted righteous before God, and we were “born again” by the power of God’s holy spirit presence.

1 Corinthians 15:3 NRSV
For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures,

1 Peter 3:18 NRSV
For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit,

John 3:3-5 NRSV
Jesus answered him, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.

1 Peter 1:3 NRSV
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Salvation in the present tense describes us as justified believers, we are “being saved” day by day, as we walk with the Lord and let His spirit work in us and through us to do His will. Grace does not rule out the need for our active cooperation with God, but it is He who makes it possible for us to will and to do.

Philippians 2:12-13 NRSV
Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who is at work in you, enabling you both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

2 Peter 1:10-11 NRSV
Therefore, brothers and sisters, be all the more eager to confirm your call and election, for if you do this, you will never stumble. 11 For in this way, entry into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be richly provided for you.

Salvation in the future tense points to when we “shall be saved” at the return of Christ, when our mortality and carnal nature will be taken away completely and we will be resurrected to be “like Him”—sinless, immortal, and glorious.

1 Peter 1:5 NRSV
who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 John 3:2-3 NRSV
Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.

Some believe and teach that ‘grace’ takes away the need to obey God. Since salvation is by grace, they teach that believers can do what they want and ‘grace’ will cover their deliberate disobedience. What does Paul think about this idea?

Romans 6:1-2 NRSV
What then are we to say? Should we continue in sin in order that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin go on living in it?

Paul explains further:

Romans 6:3-4 NRSV
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.

This new life we are raise to is intended to be a life of righteousness and obedience to God. A life of walking in the good works that God has prepared for us to do by means of the power He has provided for us through His holy spirit dwelling and working in us. It is meant to be a life of transformation – into the very likeness and image of Christ.

Summary
We have seen that by His unmerited favourable intervention for us, our Father graciously does for us what we cannot do for ourselves – He saves us from our sins by grace through faith, through actually believing what God says He has done and will do for us.

We are actually saved to be involved in the good works that God has planned and prepared for us to do – we are able to do them because we are saved and have His indwelling power and life in us.

We cannot earn salvation by our own efforts, we need to accept God’s grace and trust Him for it, with that saving faith. Once we are saved we do not continue in the old life of sin, but move forward in the new life in Christ, albeit not yet perfectly.

In a future study we will look at if it is possible to lose salvation once we have been saved.

What is the Gospel? Pt 3

In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, encompassing the kingdom of God along with as Paul said, ‘the things concerning Christ’ (Acts 28:31).

In Part 2 we focused on the kingdom of God to be ushered in on earth by Christ at his return, of which we can be co-inheritors and rulers with Christ.

In this study we will look at ‘the things concerning Christ’, how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3).

Are we told that we can be made worthy of the kingdom of God to which we are invited?

2 Thessalonians 1:5 NRSV
This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.

1 Thessalonians 2:12-13 NRSV
urging and encouraging you and pleading that you lead a life worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. 13 We also constantly give thanks to God for this, that when you received the word of God that you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word but as what it really is, God’s word, which is also at work in you believers.

James tells us we can be heirs of the kingdom:

James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

And Christ said we can inherit the kingdom prepared for us:

Matthew 25:34 NRSV
Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

So how is this to be brought about? Let us first of all look at the people that scripture says will not inherit the kingdom!

Matthew 7:21 NRSV
“Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.

Galatians 5:19-21 NRSV
Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Ephesians 5:5 NRSV
Be sure of this, that no fornicator or impure person, or one who is greedy (that is, an idolater), has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.

1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NRSV
Do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived! Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, 10 thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.

So what chance do any of us have of inheriting the kingdom?

Look at verse 11:

1 Corinthians 6:11 NRSV
And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

BUT we can be washed, sanctified and justified! What great news!!

How can this be done? Paul tells us in first Corinthians what makes it possible for us to be saved and made worthy to inherit the kingdom – the other part of the gospel:

1 Corinthians 15:1-8 NRSV
Now I would remind you, brothers and sisters, of the good news that I proclaimed to you, which you in turn received, in which also you stand, 2 through which also you are being saved, if you hold firmly to the message that I proclaimed to you—unless you have come to believe in vain. 3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, 4 and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Let’s look at what Paul says in detail:

v1 – this is what Paul preached and it’s all part of the gospel.

v2 – this is how you are saved, if you continue to believe the truth that I preached

v3 – it’s critical what I told you and you believe it, first that Christ died for our sins – just as the scriptures said

v4 – he was dead and buried, but raised from the dead to life – as the scriptures said

v5 – how do we know this? He appeared to Peter, and then to all 12 of the apostles

v6 – then he appeared to more than 500 witnesses and most of them are alive now to tell it

v7 – then he appeared to James and all the apostles again

v8 – and he then appeared to Paul himself

This definitely happened, all these people witnessed it and most were alive to vouch for it at the time of writing – it goes on to say this proves there is a resurrection, and they were testifying that God raised up Christ from the dead, look at verse 20:

1 Corinthians 15:20 NRSV
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.

It’s a fact, and he is the first to be raised from the dead to the eternal life of the kingdom, verse 22 – and because he has been raised to life, we will be as well, if we are his!

1 Corinthians 15:22 NRSV
for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ.

When will that be? At his second coming?

1 Corinthians 15:23 NRSV
But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

Will we be in the kingdom of God that will be delivered to the Father by Christ?

1 Cor 15:24 NRSV
Then comes the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, after he has destroyed every ruler and every authority and power.

Did Jesus say the same things to his disciples when he appeared to them after his resurrection, as recorded in Luke’s account?

Luke 24:44-47 NRSV
Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46 and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.

Again, let us look in detail at what he tells them:

v44 – all that has happened to me was recorded in the OT scriptures, and had to happen

v45 – then he made them able to understand those scriptures, by opening their minds

v46 – he had to suffer and die, and be raised back to life from the dead

v47 – then repentance and forgiveness could/should/would be preached in his authority

And they were to be the witnesses of everything that had happened and all that he had said!

Luke 24:48 NRSV
You are witnesses of these things.

Did they carry out this commission to be witnesses? Look at the example of Peter in Acts 10.

Acts 10:34-43 NRSV
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. 37 That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; 40 but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

In verse 43 ‘believe in him’ doesn’t just mean believe ‘in the messenger’, it means to believe, to turn back to and be committed to the Lord God Almighty who sent him, to believe Christ to be who he said he was, and to believe the whole message that he brought from God.

Did John point out that by believing we may have life (that is eternal life of the age to come):

John 20:30-31 NRSV
Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

You may wish to review our other posts concerning God and Jesus in ‘Categories’ on the right of the page. In studying ‘the gospel’ we are looking at the ‘whole gospel (good news)message’ Christ brought from God our Father.

Does Paul tie all this together in Colossians?

Colosians 1:12-14 NRSV
giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. 13 He has rescued us from the power of darkness and transferred us into the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The gospel is the wonderful news of the magnificent hope of eternal salvation in the kingdom of God through faith in our Father and Jesus Christ, His son, by whom we receive redemption. Yahweh God our Father is reconciling us to Himself!

Colosians 1:21-23 NRSV
And you who were once estranged and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, 22 he has now reconciled in his fleshly body through death, so as to present you holy and blameless and irreproachable before him— 23 provided that you continue securely established and steadfast in the faith, without shifting from the hope promised by the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven. I, Paul, became a servant of this gospel

2 Corinthians 5:17-19 NRSV
So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Is there power in this gospel message to those who believe?

Romans 1:16 CJB
For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.

Is this the power to be children of God, being transformed now, being made ready for the kingdom?

1 John 3:2-3 CJB
Dear friends, we are God’s children now; and it has not yet been made clear what we will become. We do know that when he appears, we will be like him; because we will see him as he really is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in him continues purifying himself, since God is pure.

Galatians 4:28-31 NRSV
Now you, my friends, are children of the promise, like Isaac. 29 But just as at that time the child who was born according to the flesh persecuted the child who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also. 30 But what does the scripture say? “Drive out the slave and her child; for the child of the slave will not share the inheritance with the child of the free woman.” 31 So then, friends, we are children, not of the slave but of the free woman.

Romans 8:12-17 NRSV
So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15 For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16 it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.

What will Jesus say at his return?

Matthew 25:31-34 NRSV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;

Summary
We have seen that through His victorious, invincible, beloved son Jesus Messiah, our faithful and loving Father has sent a magnificent gospel message of salvation and reconciliation to Himself, and along with this, by what was accomplished through Jesus, has provided the means to bring it about for us!
He tells us that if we will believe Him, turn back to Him and accept what He offers, if we will continue and remain faithful we will not only be counted as Abraham’s children but His children along with Jesus, and be heirs to the kingdom which we shall inherit at Christ’s return.

Will we listen, will we believe, will we accept?

 

What is the Gospel? Pt 2

In Part 1 we saw that Jesus was commissioned by the Father to announce a gospel of salvation, which encompassed the kingdom of God, along with ‘the things concerning himself’ (revealing the Father, providing reconciliation etc).

In this study we will focus on the gospel of the kingdom of God and in a future study concentrate on ‘the things concerning Jesus Christ’.

In order to properly understand the gospel message that Jesus was preaching we need to have some appreciation of the importance and context of certain events in the Hebrew scriptures, which are constantly used as reference points. The people of Jesus’ day knew the import of these and needed no explanation, however in this day and age we need this background context explaining.

As an example, why is Abraham referenced 73 times in the New Testament scriptures by most of the writers, and how is that relevant to us today? For instance Jesus himself said ‘Abraham looked forward to his day’ (John 8:56), Paul said ‘Abraham is father of us all’ (Romans 4:16-17), ‘the gospel was preached to Abraham’ (Galatians 3:8) and also ‘God’s promise to Abraham belongs to you’ (Galatians 3:29).

Did Paul describe the whole ministry of Jesus as a confirmation of “the promises made to the patriarchs” ?

Romans 15:8 ESV
For I tell you that Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

So first of all we will get a little background before looking at the gospel message itself.

Did Yahweh start working with Abraham (Abram, before his name change) by instructing him to leave his native land and to go where He would lead him, and He would bless him and make him to be a blessing to the whole population of the earth?

Genesis 12:1-4 WEB
Now Yahweh said to Abram, “Get out of your country, and from your relatives, and from your father’s house, to the land that I will show you. 2 I will make of you a great nation. I will bless you, and make your name great. You will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. In you will all of the families of the earth be blessed.” 4 So Abram went, as Yahweh had spoken to him. Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed out of Haran

Did Yahweh promise by covenant to give the land of Canaan to Abraham and his descendants?

Genesis 13: 14-15 WEB
Yahweh said to Abram, after Lot was separated from him, “Now, lift up your eyes, and look from the place where you are, northward and southward and eastward and westward, 15 for all the land which you see, I will give to you, and to your offspring forever.

Genesis 15:18 WEB
In that day Yahweh made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates:

Genesis 17:7-8 WEB
I will establish my covenant between me and you and your seed after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God to you and to your seed after you.8 I will give to you, and to your seed after you, the land where you are traveling, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession. I will be their God.”

Psalms 105:7-15 WEB
He is Yahweh, our God. His judgments are in all the earth. 8 He has remembered his covenant forever, The word which he commanded to a thousand generations, 9 The covenant which he made with Abraham, His oath to Isaac, 10 And confirmed the same to Jacob for a statute; To Israel for an everlasting covenant, 11 Saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan, The lot of your inheritance;” 12 When they were but a few men in number, Yes, very few, and sojourners in it. 13 They went about from nation to nation, From one kingdom to another people. 14 He allowed no one to do them wrong. Yes, he reproved kings for their sakes, 15 “Don’t touch my anointed ones. Do my prophets no harm.”

Did God reiterate His ongoing covenant promise of the land to Abraham’s descendants long after his death – some six times in Psalms 37

Psalms 37:9 WEB
For evildoers shall be cut off, But those who wait for Yahweh shall inherit the land.

Psalms 37:11 WEB
But the humble shall inherit the land, And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

(Remember Christ’s sermon on the mount “the meek will inherit the land (or earth)” Matthew 5:5)

Psalms 37:18 WEB
Yahweh knows the days of the perfect. Their inheritance shall be forever.

Psalms 37:22 WEB
For such as are blessed by him shall inherit the land. Those who are cursed by him shall be cut off.

Psalms 37:29 WEB
The righteous shall inherit the land, And live in it forever.

Psalms 37:34 WEB
Wait for Yahweh, and keep his way, And he will exalt you to inherit the land. When the wicked are cut off, you shall see it.

In our previous study ‘What kind of Messiah did the people expect?’ we looked into various Messianic scriptures which promised a descendant of Abraham, through Isaac, Jacob and David would come as the Messiah, son of Yahweh God, king to rule over the land – even all the nations, the whole earth – ruling on the throne of David, over the kingdom of God on earth. (Please take time to review that study again in ‘Category – Jesus’ and ‘Archive – May 2017’).

When Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God, the people were familiar with the covenant promises of ‘the land’, the Messiah on the throne of David, and a restoration of the kingdom.However, there were a few things that had to be explained and clarified to fully understand the good news message he was bringing from God. It would be realised properly at his second coming.

Did Paul clarify that the covenant promises made to Abraham were also made to Christ as his offspring/descendent? Christ is the heir!

Galatians 3:16 WEB
Now the promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. He doesn’t say, “To seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “To your seed,” which is Christ.

The good news for us is in verse 29

Galatians 3:29 WEB
If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed and heirs according to promise.

If we are Christ’s we are Abraham’s offspring too – we are heirs too, we inherit according to the promise, with Christ. We inherit the kingdom, the land, the earth.

To recap, what did Jesus come preaching?
Mark 1:14-15 NASB
Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand! Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

What did Jesus say the meek would inherit?

Matthew 5:5 NRSV
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Did Paul confirm this in his letter to the Romans?

Romans 4:13 NRSV
For the promise that he would inherit the world did not come to Abraham or to his descendants through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

Did Paul point out that the saints will judge (rule) the world?

1 Corinthians 6:2 NRSV
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

2 Timothy 2:12 NRSV
if we endure, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us;

Did Jesus say he was to rule the kingdom and his followers would rule with him?

Matthew 19:28 NRSV
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

Luke 22:28-30 NRSV
“You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

In the book of Revelation, where did John say we would reign? On earth?

Revelation 5:10 NRSV
you have made them to be a kingdom and priests serving our God, and they will reign on earth.”

Did James also confirm this good news that we can be heirs of the kingdom?

James 2:5 NRSV
Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters. Has not God chosen the poor in the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom that he has promised to those who love him?

Jesus preached many parables about inheriting the kingdom, for example:

Matthew 25:34 CJB
“Then the King will say to those on his right, `Come, you whom my Father has blessed, take your inheritance, the Kingdom prepared for you from the founding of the world.

Matthew 21:38 CJB
But when the tenants saw the son, they said to each other, `This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him and take his inheritance!’

Jesus was telling the people (and us today) that at his return to earth (his second coming) he will usher in the kingdom of God, and be given rulership over the whole earth, administering Yahweh God’s government. And that his true followers, those who believe him, repent and accept God’s gracious offer, can be forgiven, reconciled to our Father God and share the rule of this earth in righteousness with Jesus Messiah, son of God.

This can be our inheritance along with Jesus, the first born of many brethren (Romans 8:29).

This worldwide Messianic rule is the fulfilment of the covenant promises made by Yahweh to Abraham – who will himself be a part of this Kingdom of God when he is resurrected at Christ’s return (I Thessalonians . 4:13-17, I Corinthians. 15:23, 50-52).

Paul says that Christ confirmed the promises given to the patriarchs:

Romans 15:8 NRSV
For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the circumcised on behalf of the truth of God in order that he might confirm the promises given to the patriarchs,

Does Daniel 7:27 paint a wonderful picture of this kingdom of God on earth?

Daniel 7:27 WEB
The kingdom and the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole the sky, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High: his kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him.

Please review Psalms 2:2-9, Psalms 45:2-7, Psalms 72:9-14, Isaiah 9:6-7 & Isaiah 11:1-16 for further descriptions of the kingdom of God on earth under the rulership of Jesus Messiah.

And yet Jesus made an amazing statement in Mark chapter 4 just after he had told the parable of the sower – quoting Isaiah 6:9-10 – he said that many would not see, hear or understand, for if they did they would repent (turn to God) and He would forgive them:

Mark 4:10-12 NRSV
When he was alone, those who were around him along with the twelve asked him about the parables. 11 And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that “they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’ “

In the parable of the sower in Mark 4:3-20, Jesus is explaining how important comprehending or not comprehending the ‘word’ (the gospel message) is, and how Satan hates it and will snatch it away if he possibly can:

Mark 4:15 NRSV
These are the ones on the path where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

We saw earlier that Jesus said it was necessary to repent and believe the message regarding the kingdom of God:

Mark 1:14-15 NRSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

So we must pay attention, listen and believe what Jesus taught, if we want to enter into the kingdom at his return.

Summary
We have seen that Jesus came preaching the good news message from Yahweh God regarding the setting up of God’s government on earth, under his rulership as Messiah King, at his return. That we who believe and are saved can have a part in this kingdom of God, as co-inheritors with Messiah – this is Yahweh fulfilling His covenant promises to Abraham and the patriarchs from the Hebrew scriptures. This is marvellous news of a wonderful future in a perfect world, according to our Father’s perfect plan.

This isn’t the complete message though, there remains the all important aspects of how we are saved, reconciled to our Father God and made ready to inherit this kingdom – so great a salvation (Hebrews 2:3). These things we will study next time in Part 3.

What is the Gospel? Pt 1

Does it make any difference which gospel we believe?
Paul said it did, and was very adamant about this! Did he pronounce a double curse on anyone preaching a different gospel to the one he had delivered?

Galatians 1:8-9 RSV
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.

Did Paul receive this gospel from men or from Jesus Christ himself?

Galatians 1:11-12 RSV
For I would have you know, brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not man’s gospel. 12 For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it, but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

So we had better know and understand what this gospel message was.

What were Jesus instructions to his followers before he left them?

Matthew 28:19-20 NRSV
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Carefully note that they were to teach others to observe (to see, to keep, to do) all the things he had commanded them to do. So what was the gospel that Jesus preached?

Notice the first sermon preached to gentiles by Peter at the house of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10:

Acts 10:34-38 RSV
And Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I perceive that God shows no partiality,35 but in every nation any one who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 You know the word which he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 the word which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.

It was God’s gospel (good news) message that He sent by who? By Jesus Christ! Where did it begin? In Galilee! When? After John the Baptist’s preaching and baptising for repentance!

What does Mark tell us in his account about this? Does he identify the beginning of the good news brought by Jesus?

Mark 1:1 RSV
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

In Galilee, after John was arrested, did Jesus come preaching ‘the gospel of God’?

Mark 1:14 RSV
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God,

Was it the good news about ‘the kingdom of God’? And was the instruction to repent and believe it?

Mark 1:15 RSV
and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent, and believe in the gospel.”

Jesus’ instruction is to believe ‘the’ gospel, not ‘a’ gospel, not ‘any’ gospel, not ‘another’ gospel but THE (Strong’s 3588 – the, the definite article) gospel that he preached!

And what did our Father God instruct us concerning Jesus?

Mark 9:7 RSV
And a cloud overshadowed them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is my beloved Son; listen to him.”

Luke 9:35 RSV
And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!”

Matthew 17:5 RSV
He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

LISTEN TO HIM! So we must listen to and believe what Jesus preached – the gospel of the kingdom of God. (Other scriptures teach that we must believe in what Jesus has done for us and on Him as the son of God as well, but the scriptures we are looking at here say we must listen to him and believe what he said.)

In the scriptures the gospel of the kingdom of God is sometimes referred to as ‘the gospel’, ‘the gospel of Jesus Christ’ (ie the good news that Jesus brought), ‘the gospel of God’ (ie the good news that God sent), even ‘the word’, ‘the gospel of grace’ and ‘the gospel of peace’ – these all refer to the same gospel message.

Was it Jesus routine to preach the kingdom of God?

Matthew 4:23 RSV
And he went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every infirmity among the people.

Matthew 9:35 RSV
And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every infirmity.

Did Jesus speak what the Father sent him to speak?

John 14:24 RSV
He who does not love me does not keep my words; and the word which you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me.

John 12:49-50 RSV
For I have not spoken on my own authority; the Father who sent me has himself given me commandment what to say and what to speak. 50 And I know that his commandment is eternal life. What I say, therefore, I say as the Father has bidden me.”

Does what Jesus speak from the Father carry with it eternal life? Verse 50 above – serious stuff!

Was the gospel (good news) of the kingdom of God that Jesus announced actually a gospel of salvation – about people being saved, receiving eternal life (in God’s kingdom)?

Romans 1:16 CJB
For I am not ashamed of the Good News, since it is God’s powerful means of bringing salvation to everyone who keeps on trusting, to the Jew especially, but equally to the Gentile.

Ephesians 1:13 WEB
in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the gospel of your salvation, — in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise,

Mark 10:23-26 RSV
And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?”

Mark 15:31 RSV
So also the chief priests mocked him to one another with the scribes, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself.

John 3:32-36 RSV
He bears witness to what he has seen and heard, yet no one receives his testimony;33 he who receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for it is not by measure that he gives the Spirit; 35 the Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him.

1 Peter 1:10-11 RSV
The prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired about this salvation; 11 they inquired what person or time was indicated by the Spirit of Christ within them when predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glory.

Hebrews 2:3 RSV
how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard him,

Was Jesus sent for the purpose of preaching this gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 4:43 RSV
but he said to them, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Did Jesus send his disciples to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God?

Luke 9:1-2 NRSV
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal.

Luke 10:1-2, 9 NRSV
After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. 2 He said to them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.
9 cure the sick who are there, and say to them, “The kingdom of God has come near to you.’

Did Jesus teach his followers to pray for God’s kingdom to come?

Where to? – to the earth!

Matthew 6:9-10
“Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.

Does Satan hate this gospel of the kingdom and try to snatch it away? Is this to prevent us believing and being saved?

Matthew 13:19 NRSV
When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what is sown in the heart; this is what was sown on the path.

Luke 8:12 NRSV
The ones on the path are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.

Notice what the early church preached – Philip at Samaria:

Acts 8:12 NRSV
But when they believed Philip, who was proclaiming the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

He preached the good news about the kingdom of God and the the name of Jesus Christ.
Paul preached the kingdom of God and the things concerning Jesus Christ.

Acts 28:30-31 NRSV
He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him,31 proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

Acts 19:8 NRSV
He entered the synagogue and for three months spoke out boldly, and argued persuasively about the kingdom of God.

Are the preaching the gospel of the grace of God and preaching the kingdom part of the same gospel message?

Acts 20:24-25 NRSV
But I do not count my life of any value to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the good news of God’s grace. 25 “And now I know that none of you, among whom I have gone about proclaiming the kingdom, will ever see my face again.

Summary
In previous studies we have seen who the one true God is, and how Jesus is His son, the Messiah. In this study we see that Jesus came to preach a good news message of salvation from Yahweh God, His Father, all about ‘the kingdom of God’, which Jesus also sent his disciples and apostles to preach throughout all the world.

In the New Testament scriptures we see this being faithfully carried out – they preach the gospel of ‘the kingdom of God’ along with the things concerning Jesus Christ, and warn people not to accept any other gospels.

So it is necessary for us to look more closely at what exactly the teaching of the kingdom of God is, and what are these things concerning Jesus Christ which are tied to it so closely. We will do this in up-coming studies.

 

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? pt 3

In parts one and two we discovered that Christ is the gold standard of what ‘being created in the image of God’ looks like. Christ is the “express” image of the Father. He has the “fullness of the Father” which is expressed in the statement that he is in the Father and the Father is in him. Also expressed in the statement: The Father and I are one.

Christ is the pioneer and first born of the “new creation”. We are to be filled with the fullness of Christ and in so doing be filled with the fullness of the Father and participate in his divine nature.

By Christ abiding in the Father and Christ in us and us in him we abide in the Father. If we love Christ we love the Father and they will make their home (abode) in us and with us, and love us.

Was the receiving of God’s Spirit to clothe the disciples with power?

Luke 24:49 NRSV
And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high”

Did Jesus tell the disciples to stay in Jerusalem prior to them receiving the Holy Spirit? Above scripture and following. See above and below.

Acts 1:4-5 NRSV
While staying with them, he ordered them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait there for the promise of the Father. “This,” he said, “is what you have heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Acts 1:8 NRSV
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

We see from the above verses that receiving the Holy Spirit was associated with receiving power.

And indeed, on the day of Pentecost the disciples did receive the Holy Spirit

Acts 2: 1-4 NRSV
When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.
4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

Verses 7-11 explain that the crowds were perplexed because they were from different countries and spoke different languages. Each person heard in their own language the disciples speaking to them.

Were the crowds amazed?

Acts 2:7-8 NRSV
Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language?

Acts 2:12 NRSV
All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Peter’s reply was as follows:

Acts 2:15-18 NRSV
Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 “In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women, in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy.

Through God’s Spirit we are granted love, a sound mind, power, are strengthened, and given faith.

2 Timothy 1:7 NKJ
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind

Philippians 4:13 NRSV
I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

1 Corinthians 2:5 NRSV
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

2 Corinthians 13:3-4 NRSV
since you desire proof that Christ is speaking in me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful in you. 4 For he was crucified in weakness, but lives by the power of God. For we are weak in him, but in dealing with you we will live with him by the power of God.

Were the deeds of Jesus done in power?

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know”.

The receiving of the Holy Spirit bestows upon us power from the Father and we are to live by that power.

Are we the Father’s workmanship?

Ephesians 2:10 WEB
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them.

Does the Father even cause his children to desire and act for his pleasure?

Philippians 2:13 BBE
For it is God who is the cause of your desires and of your acts, for his good pleasure.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 Kingdom New Testament by N. T. Wright
All scripture is breathed by God, and is useful for teaching, for rebuke, for improvement, for training in righteousness,17 so that people who belong to God may be complete, fitted out and ready for every good work

Christ did not speak on his own authority but by Yahweh God’s authority. Christ did not do his own works but Yahweh’s works – so it is for us – not our works but the Father’s

John 10:32 NRSV
Jesus replied, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these are you going to stone me?”

John 14:10 NRSV
Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.

Acts 2:22 NRSV
“You that are Israelites, listen to what I have to say: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with deeds of power, wonders, and signs that God did through him among you, as you yourselves know

John 8:28-32 NRSV
So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30 As he was saying these things, many believed in him. 31 Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; 32 and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

We can see from the scriptures above there are “works” to be carried out. But these are were not Messiah’s works but his Father’s works. The Father even put the desire to do the acts into Jesus’s mind via  His holy spirit presence.

In John 15:1-5 NRSV we are given a picture of a vine

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinegrower. 2 He removes every branch in me that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. 3 You have already been cleansed by the word that I have spoken to you. 4 Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.

Those who belong to messiah are pictured as being the branches of the vine – we could actually say that the branches are the “fruit hangers”. The branches do not dictate  what fruit is to be borne but the vine does. Verse 5 states that Apart from Christ YOU CAN DO NOTHING.

How do we glorify the Father?

John 15:8 NRSV
My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit and become my disciples.

We can see that we are to bear much fruit. Fruit that Messiah bears through us through the the Holy Spirit.

John 15:16-17 NRSV
You did not choose me but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. 17 I am giving you these commands so that you may love one another.

What is the evidence of the spirit in you?

Galatians 5:22-25 NRSV
By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NRSV
Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end;

1 Corinthians 13:13 NRSV
And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Jesus explains that he abides in the Father’s love and that we are to abide also in his (Jesus’s) love.

John 15:9-10 NRSV
As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love.
10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

We are shown what those commands are:

Matthew 22:35-40 NRSV
and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

We are given further scriptures of what is required of us (because we belong to Him and He lives in us) as follows :

Micah 6:8 WEB
He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, To love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Matthew 12:50 NRSV
For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.

Luke 8:21 NRSV
But he said to them, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Summary
We can see that we are to abide in Christ and this is pictured as branches of a vine abiding in the vine, bearing fruit. We glorify the Father by bearing much fruit. We are shown what that fruit is. We are also left in no doubt that the fruit borne is determined by Christ and that basically we are the fruit hanger. The fruit is produced through us as we abide in Christ, and allow Him to live with us, in us, through us, for us, as us. Just like Christ, we of our own selves can do nothing. The Father is all, and in all (1 Corinthians 15:28).

In part four we will see Yahweh God pictured as a potter and we as the pot as he forms us into the perfect image of himself.