Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bible Doctrine Series-The Original Status of Man

The Original Status of Man. A. His Moral Nature. 1. Man was created positively holy. This is sometimes called unconfirmed creaturely holiness. He had a holy nature but not a holy character. A holy character comes by experience or the exercise of choice. 2. Man was not created neutral. Man was not created neither sinful nor holy. Nor was he ignorant of the difference between good and evil. He had a head discernment or descriptive knowledge, but not experiential knowledge. B. His Mental Endowment. 1. Man had an intellect totally free from the debilitating effects of sin that have come from the fall (Romans 8:7; Ephesians 2:3). 2. Man had the ability to perceive the innate characteristics and traits of animals and give them names accordingly (Genesis 2:19). Adam named all the kinds of air breathing land animals in a matter of hours on Day 6 of creation. 3. Man had a language system and a vocabulary that enabled him to communicate with God and his fellow man—Genesis 2:15. C. His Dominion over Creation. Genesis 1:28; Psalm 8:1-9. 1. Man’s original dominion was based on his superior and unfallen intellect, his qualitative distinction from the rest of creation (as a result of the image of God), and the natural docility of nature prior to the fall. 2. Man’s original dominion was ruined by the fall. Hebrews 2:9 shows the present state of affairs. 3. Man’s present dominion is based on a God-placed, instinctive fear of man in the animals—Genesis 9:2. 4. Man’s original dominion will be restored in the Millennium—Isaiah 11:6-9. Millennial conditions are a good illustration of what the original arrangement was. D. His Responsibilities. 1. Fill the Earth—Genesis 1:28. 2. Subdue the Earth—Genesis 1:28. 3. Rule Over the Animals—Genesis 1:28. 4. Cultivate the Garden—Genesis 2:15. 5. Have a Vegetable Diet—Genesis 1:29-30. 6. Abstain From the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil—Genesis 2:17. E. His Diet. Genesis 1:29-30. Originally man (and the animals) was vegetarian. His source of food consisted of “every herb bearing seed” and fruit trees. Since there was no death of any form, man did not eat meat. Animals, for that matter, did not become carnivorous until after the fall. Not until after the Flood was man officially permitted to eat meat (Genesis 9:3). F. His Purpose (true today also)—Isaiah 43:7. The fall of man into Sin—Genesis 3:1-24. A. The Test. 1. The Nature of the Test. a. The tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 2:17; 3:6-7) was an ordinary, literal tree without any magical powers in its fruit. The tree did not bring about the knowledge of good and evil and cause death through any physiological effects inherent in its fruit. b. The power of the tree rested with God, and the damage came through disobedience. Yet the tree was necessary in the arrangement. They had to partake of that particular tree in order to violate God’s will. c. An experiential knowledge between good and evil would result from eating the tree. Adam and Eve had descriptive knowledge from God. But God wanted them to have this knowledge by experience, as He has it (cf. Genesis 3:5, 22). d. An experiential knowledge of good and evil could come by obeying and doing right (as God always does), or by disobeying. Satan was formally correct in 3:5. What he failed to say was that by disobeying they would receive this knowledge from a depraved and spiritually dead standpoint. 2. The Purpose of God. a. The purpose was to gain the experiential knowledge between good and evil by obeying and thus develop a holy character. God wanted to develop their holy nature into a holy character, and this comes by experience. b. Note the formula: Adam and Eve were able not to sin because of their natures. God wanted them to be not able to sin—confirmed in holiness. After the test, man is not able not to sin. c. If Adam and Eve would have passed the test, presumably God would have permitted them to eat the tree of life and they would have been confirmed in holiness and in physical life forever. 3. The Time of the Test. a. The Bible does not indicate how long after their creation this episode occurred to Adam and Eve. b. It could have been anywhere from two days to over 100 years after their creation. 1) Adam and Eve (who were created on Day 6) must have lived through the 7th day because God blessed it. It is unlikely that God would have blessed it and cursed the rest of the world on the same day. So the fall could have happened on Day 8 of earth history at the earliest. 2) Adam was 130 when Seth was born (Genesis 5:3). Seth was born after Cain killed Abel. Cain killed Abel after Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. Assuming Cain and Abel were in their teens or early twenties, nearly 110 years could have elapsed before the fall occurred. (This also assumes that Seth was born within a year or so after Abel’s death.) B. The Temptation. Genesis 3:1-7. 1. The Method. a. Satan’s method was to employ an ordinary serpent, then the most “subtle” (crafty, cunning) of the animals. b. Satan’s method was also to employ: 1) Doubt—3:1. “Yea, hath God said?” 2) Distortion—3:1. “…Every (lit., any) tree” Cf. 3:3 “Neither shall ye touch it”. God had not prohibited “touching.” 3) Denial—3:4. “Ye shall not surely die” c. Satan himself must have sinned against God and was expelled from the 3rd heaven sometime between chapters 2 and 3 of Genesis (cf. Ezekiel 28:12-16). 2. The Means. Satan used a three-fold means on Eve. He used the same means later on Jesus, and uses it today on all believers. 1 John 2; 16; Matthew 4:1-11; Genesis 3:6. a. Lust of the flesh—“good for food”—stones into bread. An appeal to physical appetite. b. Lust of the eyes—“Pleasant to the eyes”—kingdoms of the world. An appeal to the aesthetic. c. Pride of life—“desired to make one wise”—pinnacle of the temple. The social appeal. 3. The Advantages of Adam and Eve. a. A clear, uncomplicated command from God. b. Abundant evidence of God’s love and goodness in the Garden. c. A talking animal (should have aroused suspicion). C. The Effects. Genesis 3:8-21. 1. On Adam and Eve. a. Spiritual death—separation from God. b. Physical death—the seeds of mortality were sown in their bodies. This includes the death-bringing toil that their labor became. c. Expulsion from the Garden—so they would not eat of the tree of life and be confirmed in an unsaved, depraved physical condition forever. d. Loss of dominion. e. Change in anatomy—Eve seems to have had a structural change in her body that resulted in severely painful childbirth. 2. On the Serpent. The serpent also underwent a structural change, going from an apparently upright creature to one that crawls on its belly, in this; it was cursed “away from” the rest of the animals (3:14—not “above” or “more than”). 3. On the Animal Kingdom. Carnivorous instincts arose. 4. On the Plant Kingdom. Thistles and thorns were introduced. 5. On Creation As a Whole—the bondage of corruption (Romans 8:19-22). 6. On the Human Race. a. Sin (corruption, depravity)—Romans 5:12, 19. This is passed on by inheritance. b. Condemnation—Romans 5:16, 18. This is passed on by imputation. c. Death (physical, spiritual, eternal)—Romans 5:12, 15, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22. This is passed on by inheritance and imputation. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Bible Doctrine Series-The Doctrine of Man

The doctrine of man is important because of its relationship to other major Christian doctrines. The doctrine of man is also important because it is a point where the biblical revelation and human concerns converge. The doctrine of man is particularly significant in our day because of the large amount of attention given to man by the various intellectual disciplines. The doctrine of man is important because of the present crisis in man’s self-understanding. And the doctrine of man is important because it affects how we minister. The Origin of Man. A. The First Man (Adam) was Created Supernaturally and Directly. Genesis 1:26-27; 2:7; Matthew 19:14. 1. Adam’s Body was created from previously existing inorganic matter. a. The “dust” is simply ordinary ground, earth or dirt. It cannot mean some kind of animal ancestry (cf. Genesis 3:19). b. Although God used previously existing material, the act was no less “creative,” direct and supernatural than those acts which were “exnihilo” (out of nothing). The verbs for creation are used interchangeably and synonymously in the creation account (cf. Genesis 1:26, 27, 2:7, 22). 2. Adam’s Spirit was created by a direct in breathing of Life from God. The “breath of life” was more than air rushing into Adam’s lungs; it was the image of God being infused into him. 3. Adam’s Soul resulted from the Union of His Body and Spirit. a. It was not until the spirit joined the body that Adam had any kind of existence. Before then he was nothing; he had no evolution or any kind of history prior to that. b. “Living soul” (2:7) means “living person” or “living being.” The soul in the Old Testament commonly stands for the person. Man is soul as well as has a soul in Biblical thought. B. The first woman (Eve) was also created supernaturally and directly. Genesis 2:21-22. 1. The creation of Woman also contradicts evolution. The theory of organic evolution cannot account for the female counterpart of anything, much less woman. 2. The Woman is a helper—Genesis 2:20. The word “help” has the idea of “helper.” The word “meet” means corresponding, suitable, adequate, complementing and appropriate. No animal could fulfill this role. 3. Lessons from the creation of woman. a. The unity of the race—physically and spiritually. b. The true dignity of Womanhood. C. The Entire Human Race descended from Adam and Eve. Genesis 3:20; 9:19: Acts 17:26. 1. The descent is by natural procreation. 2. The exception: Jesus—who came from heaven but made of a woman (1 Corinthians 15:47; Galatians 4:4). The Image of God in Man. A. The definition of the Image of God. The image of God in man is Man’s resemblance to God. It is synonymous to “likeness”—Genesis 1:26, 27. B. The delineation of the Image of God. 1. It refers Primarily to Mans’ Spiritual Resemblance to God. a. Man is a personal being. This includes factors such as self-consciousness, intellect, emotion, will, freedom, rationality, world-consciousness and the use of language. In Adam it included his original dominion over the animals. b. Man is a Spiritual being. This incorporates man’s capacity for fellowship with God, worship, and eternal life. In Adam it included original holiness (Ephesians 4:24). c. Man is a Moral Being. Man has powers which fit him for right or wrong action—a sense of “oughtness.” In Adam it included his original righteousness (Ephesians 4:24; Colossians 3:10). 2. It May Include a Physical Resemblance. God made man’s body after the archetypal form in His own mind, the pattern which He Himself had designed for His own corporeal and visible expression (i.e., in Jesus). Cf. Hebrews 10:5. 3. It is What Makes Man qualitatively different from Animals. 4. It was Marred at the fall but not Obliterated—Genesis 9:6; James 3:9. The Composition of Man. A. Generally, Man has a spiritual and a physical part—Matthew 10:28. B. Specifically, Man is a three part being—1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12. 1. Body (no need to elaborate). 2. Soul (nephesh in Hebrew; psuche in Greek). a. Soul sometimes stands for the person. 1) The inner man as distinguished from his flesh—Isaiah 10:18. 2) The whole man as a living being—Genesis 2:7. 3) The self or the person—Genesis 49:6; Psalm 25:13. b. Soul is the seat of the emotions, appetites and passions. Hunger—Psalm 107:9. Thirst—Proverbs 25:25. Desire—Deuteronomy 12:20. Sorrow—Isaiah 19:10. Joy—Psalm 35:9. Hatred—Jeremiah 6:8. Love—Song of Solomon 1:7. Loathing—Leviticus 26:11. c. Soul includes life in the abstract sense—conscious life or the animating life principle (Exodus 21:23). The seat of the soul in this sense is the blood (Leviticus 17:11). d. Animals are said to have souls (Genesis 1:20, 24; Leviticus 17:11). The soul of an animal is simply its life principle which is related to the body. The soul of man is related to his spirit. There is no real comparison. e. The soul leaves the body at death (Genesis 35:18) and survives in the intermediate state (Psalm 16:10). 3. Spirit. a. The spirit is basically the image of God. It is what makes man moral, rational and spiritual. It is that point at which he has closest resemblance to God who is Spirit (John 4:24). It is the source of personality. b. The spirit is the seat of the intelligence—man’s mental endowment. 1 Corinthians 2:11; Proverbs 20:27; Romans 8:16. c. The spirit is the source of the disposition. Proverbs 16:18; Psalm 51:17. d. There is some overlapping of soul and spirit. Some powers and activities ascribed to soul are also ascribed to spirit. 1) Emotions—Judges 8:3; Genesis 26:35. 2) Life—Genesis 45:27; Ecclesiastics 12:7. C. The Propagation of the Soul and Spirit. (3 views) 1. Creationism. This teaches that the body is procreated by the parents and the soul and spirit are directly created by God and paced in the body 2. Pre-existence. This holds that the soul and spirit exist prior to birth and are placed in the procreated body. All souls and spirits were created in the beginning and are united with the body at procreation. 3. Traducianism. This view holds that the parents procreate the whole child; body, soul and spirit are transmitted from the parents. This is supported by the Biblical teaching that man is given the ability to produce offspring in his image and likeness. Genesis 5:3; Acts 17:26; Hebrews 7:9-10. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bible Doctrine Series-The Holy Spirit

There are several reasons why the study of the Holy Spirit is of special significance for the believer. One is that the Holy Spirit is the point at which the Trinity becomes personal to the believer. A second reason why the study of the Holy Spirit is especially important is that we live in the period in which the Holy Spirit’s work is more prominent than that of the other members of the Trinity. A third reason for the importance of the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is that current culture stresses the experiential, and it is primarily through him that we experience God. The Personality of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a person. He is not just power or energy in the abstract—cf. Zechariah 4:6. A. Properties of Personality. (“Energy” does not possess these properties.) 1. Intelligence—1 Corinthians 12:8. 2. Will—1 Corinthians 12:11. 3. Power—Romans 15:13, 19. 4. Knowledge—1 Corinthians 2:10-12. 5. Love—Romans 15:30. 6. Life—Romans 8:2; John 7:37-38. B. Personal Pronouns. The noun for Holy Spirit in the Greek is neuter, yet whenever a pronoun is used in its place, the pronoun is always masculine. John 14:16, 17, 26. C. Acts of Personality. 1. Speaking—Acts 13:2. 2. Interceding—Romans 8:26. 3. Testifying—John 15:26. (Bear Witness) 4. Commanding—Acts 8:29; 16:6, 7. 5. Overseeing—Acts 20:28. 6. Guiding—John 16:13. (Especially applicable to the Apostles.) 7. Teaching—John 14:26. (Especially applicable to the Apostles.) D. Personal Reactions. 1. Grieved—Ephesians 4:30. 2. Tested—Acts 5:9. 3. Resisted—Acts 7:51. 4. Blasphemed—Mark 3; 29, 30. E. Personal Relationships. (One cannot substitute “energy” or “power” for these relationships.) 1. With God the Father—2 Corinthians 13:14. 2. With Jesus Christ—John 16:14. Note: The above two show equality of personality. 3. With Christians—Acts 15:28. The Holy Spirit is thus related to other personalities yet is distinct from them. The Deity of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Sprit is co-equal, co-existent and co-eternal with the Father and Son. A. He is identified with the God of the Old Testament. Compare Hebrews 10:14, 15, and 16 with Jeremiah 31:33. Acts 28:25 with Isaiah 6:1-13. B. He is called God. Sixteen times in the New Testament the Holy Spirit is related by name to the other two members of the Godhead. 1 Corinthians 6:11 (Spirit of God); cf. Acts 5:3, 4. Acts 16:7 (Spirit of Jesus). C. He has the Attributes of God. 1. Omnipotence—Luke 1:35. 2. Omniscience—1 Corinthians 2:10-12. 3. Omnipresence—Psalm 139:7. 4. Eternity—Hebrews 9:14. 5. Love—Romans 15:30. 6. Holiness—Ephesians 4:30. (“Holy” Spirit) 7. Truth—1 John 5:6. D. He Performs the Works of God. 1. Creation—Genesis 1:1, 2; Psalm 104:30. 2. Regeneration—John 3:3, 5-8. 3. Resurrection—Romans 8:11. 4. Sanctification—2 Thess. 2:13. Note: Many more works could be listed. L. S. Chafer lists 17 in his Systematic Theology (Vol VI, pp. 26-46). Many works overlap with other aspects of the doctrine. E. His Associations with God. The Holy Spirit is associated with God in such a way that He is considered equal. Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14. The procession of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit’s relation to the Father and the Son is such that the Spirit “proceeds” from the Father and the Son. The Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son in His work; He is the “third” person in function only. John 15:26; Galatians 4:6; John 16:7; Psalm 104:30. The Work of the Holy Spirit. A. The Holy Spirit and the Old Testament. (His relationship to man) 1. Regeneration. Deuteronomy 5:29; John 3:3, 10. Regeneration is assumed to take place in contexts which stress works under the Law—Micah 6; 8; Jeremiah 22:16; Daniel 4:27. 2. Indwelling Believers. Proverbs 1:23; Genesis 41:48; Numbers 27:18. 3. Enablement for Service. Exodus 31:3 ff. 4. Theocratic Anointing (the ability to lead the Kingdom of God—the nation Israel). Numbers 11:17, 25; Deuteronomy 34:9; 1 Samuel 16:13, 14. Cf. Matthew 3:16 with Isaiah 11:2. 5. Dispensational Ruling (during Dispensation of Conscience). Genesis 6:3. B. The Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. 1. The Birth of Christ—Luke 1:35. The Holy Spirit conceived the human nature of Jesus in Mary. Jesus was always a person; but with the conception of the human nature, the God-man came into existence. 2. The Life and Ministry of Christ. a. Anointed Him—Luke 4:18. b. Filled Him—Luke 4:1. c. Empowered Him—Matthew 12:28. Note: Jesus voluntarily limited Himself and gave up the independent use of His attributes (Philippians 2:7). He became dependent on the will of the Father through the power of the Holy Spirit. At His baptism a special ministry of the Holy Spirit was given to Him. This was the theocratic anointing that was necessary to do the work of the Messiah, and was given to enable Him to function as the king in the Kingdom of God on David’s throne. 3. The Death of Christ. Just as the Holy Spirit enabled and sustained Him in life, so He did in the sufferings and death. Hebrews 9:14. 4. The Resurrection of Christ. Romans 1:4 (some debate as to whether this is the Holy Spirit) 8:11 (may not teach directly that the Spirit raised Christ, but the substance of the idea is there) C. The Holy Spirit and the world. 1. Conviction of Sin. The Holy Spirit convicts (convinces, proves guilty) the world of (1) the sin of unbelief, (2) the righteousness of God and the righteousness of Christ available to sinners, and (3) the judgment of Satan at the Cross of Calvary. John 16:8-11. 2. Restraint of Sin--2 Thess. 2:7. 3. Bestowal of Common Blessings. Matthew 5:44-45; Acts 14:17; 17:25, 27; Luke 6:35. D. The Holy Spirit and the Church. 1. The Constitution of the Church—Spirit Baptism. a. References to the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Luke 3:16; John 1:33; Acts 1:5; 11:16; 1 Corinthians 12:13. b. Characteristics of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. 1) It is Limited to This Age—1 Corinthians 12:13. It first occurred at Pentecost (Acts 1:5; cf. 11:15-17) and ends at the rapture. It is not mentioned in relation either to the tribulation or millennium. 2) It is Universal among Believers of This Age. 1 Corinthians 12:13 “all” Ephesians 4:5 “one baptism” 3) It occurs at Regeneration and Is Not Repeated. 1 Corinthians 12:13. 4) It Is Non-experimental. It is not based on or derived from experience. It is judicial in nature—a placing of one in the Body of Christ. c. Results of the Baptism. 1) Membership in the Body of Christ—1 Corinthians 12:13. 2) Union with Christ—Romans 6:3; Galatians 3:27. 2. The Administration of the Church. Acts 20:28; 13:2. The Holy Spirit and the Christian. 1. Regeneration. Definition—Regeneration is the impartation of eternal, spiritual life to the spiritually dead; it is the new birth. John 1:12-13; 3:3, 5; Titus 3:5. 2. Indwelling. Definition—the indwelling of the Spirit is the permanent abode of the Holy Spirit in all believers; it is a result of regeneration. Romans 8:9 (universal) 1 Corinthians 3:16 (indwelling) 6:19; John 14:16 (forever) (the Holy Spirit is a gift) Acts 5:32; Romans 5:5. 3. Sealing. Definition—the seal of the Holy Spirit is the divine ownership of the believer and the divine guarantee of eternal security because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself is the seal. 2 Corinthians 1:22; Ephesians 1:13 (“having also believed”—causal not chronological) 4:30. 4. Earnest. Definition—the earnest of the Spirit is the pledge or token that guarantees the final consummation of the Holy Spirit’s work in salvation. The Spirit Himself is the earnest. Ephesians 1:4; 2 Corinthians 1:23; 5:5; Romans 8:23 (called first fruits) Note: The final consummation of salvation includes the resurrection and glorification of the believer. 5. Filling. a. Definition—to be filled with the Holy Spirit is to be controlled by the Spirit. C.f. Luke 6:11—to be filled with fury means that they were controlled by it. Ephesians 5:18. Note: The fullness of the Spirit is not the same as instant spiritual maturity and growth. The distinction is comparable to the difference between good health and physical development. b. Steps to Spirit Control. 1) Yieldedness—1 Thessalonians 5:19. Not quenching the Spirit means not opposing or suppressing the will of the Spirit. 2) Confession of sin—Ephesians 4:30. Not grieving the Spirit means not allowing anything contrary to His holiness. 3) Appropriation of power—Galatians 5:16. 6. Fruit of the Spirit. Definition—the fruit of the Spirit is the evidence of the Spirit’s control which is manifested in the Christian’s life and service. Colossians 1:10; Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22-23; John 15:16. 7. Gifts of the Spirit. Definition—a spiritual gift is a sovereign, God-given, Holy Spirit-energized ability, whether natural or supernatural, temporary or permanent, given for service within the outreach of the local church. Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, 28-31; Ephesians 4:7-11. Note 1: God has curtailed the use of supernatural gifts today. These were temporary and were given to launch the New Testament church. Note 2: Every Christian has some God-given, natural ability to be used in the local church. This is given at the time of Spirit baptism, but may be cultivated for use in the church. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Bible Doctrine Series-The Resurrection and Ascension of Christ

A. The Importance of the Resurrection of Christ. 1. It was the Qualification of an Apostle—Acts 1:21-22. 2. It was the Subject of Apostolic Preaching. Acts 13:30; 17:18; 23:6. 3. It was Essential to the Gospel—1 Corinthians 15:1-4. 4. R.A. Torrey said the resurrection of Jesus was the cornerstone of Christian Doctrine, the Gibraltar of Christian Evidences, and the Waterloo of Infidelity. B. The Biblical Proof of the Resurrection of Christ. 1. Prophecies. Psalm 16:10; cf. Acts 2:25-31; Jonah 1:17; cf. Matthew 12:40. 2. The Claims of Jesus. Matthew 16:21; 17:23; John 11:25. 3. Attested by all the New Testament Authors—Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James, Jude. C. The Nature of the Resurrection of Christ. 1. It was a Miracle. It is the greatest single demonstration of God’s power in all time. Ephesians 1:19-20; Philippians 3:10. 2. It was Bodily. Jesus did not have a “spiritual” resurrection (whatever that may be). John 19:38-42; cf. 20:1-10; Luke 24:39, 46; 1 Corinthians 15:4-7. D. The Necessity of the Resurrection of Christ. 1. Necessary for the Three Phases of Salvation. a. To validate His death for sin. b. To enable His present intercession. c. To enable His second coming. 2. Necessary for Gospel Preaching—1 Corinthians 15:14-15. 3. Necessary For Saving Faith—1 Corinthians 15:16-17. 4. Necessary for Present and Future Hope—1 Corinthians 15:18-19. A. The Fact of the Ascension. 1. Anticipated. John 7:33; 8:21; 14:28-29; 16:5. 2. Reported. Mark 16:19-20; Luke 24:50-51; Acts 1:9. 3. Confirmed. Acts 7:55-56 (Stephen); 9:3-5 (Paul); Revelation 4:1; 5:6 (John). B. The Nature of the Ascension—Bodily. Acts 1:9-11. C. The Results of the Ascension. 1. It confirmed Christ’s Truthfulness—Matthew 26:63-64. 2. It gives believers an Advocate with God. Hebrews 7:25; 9:24. 3. It gives believers access to God—Hebrews 4:14-16. 4. It guarantees an enlarged ministry for believers—John 14:12. 5. It guarantees an entrance into heaven for believers—Hebrews 6:20. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

A New Look at God's Covenant

“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant. For where a will is involved, the death of the one who made it must be established. For a will takes effect only at death, since it is not in force as long as the one who made it is alive. Therefore not even the first covenant was inaugurated without blood. For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, saying. This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you. And in the same way he sprinkled with the blood both the tent and all the vessels used in worship. Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins. Thus it was necessary for the copies of the heavenly things to be purified with these rites, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him (Hebrews 9:15-28). What a remarkable, essential book is Hebrews! More than any other in Scripture, it repeatedly affirms and underscores the superiority of Christ. It continually brings us back to the solid meat of Christianity, refusing to let us stay in the shadows looking for fulfillment in externals. Not even the Law represents God’s major message to humanity, as helpful and important is it may have once been. The Law brings to us the awareness of our need, but it does nothing to solve our deepest and most dreaded disease: sin. That takes blood…a certain kind of blood. And, as we will see in this passage, along with that blood comes an entirely new arrangement between God and humanity. This new arrangement is far superior to the rituals, regulations, and commandments of the Law. It is a “grace connection,” signed, sealed, and delivered in blood. First, look back. As we proceed, let’s keep in mind three things about the book of Hebrews. These will help us maintain a proper perspective. A. Its theme is the superiority of Jesus Christ. B. Its concern is that we rely on Christ’s finished work. C. Its emphasis is that we operate under a new arrangement. Second, a look at the blood (9:15:28). Offensive as it may sound to some; this is a blood-related subject. Note vv. 13-14. The blood relates to three things: the covenant, forgiveness, and salvation. We will consider each. A. As it relates to the Covenant (vv. 15-21). The term covenant is used no less than six times in this passage. In some instances it conveys the idea of “arrangement’; in other instances it conveys the idea of “will,” as in “last will and testament,” Under the terms of God’s plan, this will or new arrangement was signed, sealed, and delivered in blood. Leviticus 17:11. The old arrangement was preempted by something similar, but permanent: Christ’s blood and covenant. B. As it relates to forgiveness (v.22). This verse says two things. First, sin is a terrible offense. It is so offensive that it has blocked man from God; no other aspect of life leads to such separation. Second, forgiveness is a costly commodity. The proof of the awfulness of sin is God’s requirement that blood be shed for its cleansing. No blood, no forgiveness! B. As it relates to salvation (vv. 23-28). The first word in this passage is the beautiful connection therefore. Up until now, the writer has had us in a history lesson of blood, as well as giving us interesting contrasts between the old and new covenants. He presents two strong contrasts between the old days and the new days. First, Christ didn’t enter a holy place made with hands, but rather entered heaven itself (v. 24). Second, Christ did not offer Himself often, but rather, offered Himself once) (v. 25). In verses 27 and 28, in light of all he has presented, the writer offers a word of warning and a word of encouragement. The Greeks of the ancient world said, “Eat, drink, and be merry: for tomorrow you die.” Marcus Aurelius, a Roman, taught, “When one dies, his spark goes back and all that is left is dirt, ashes, bones and stench.” The writer of Hebrews says, “…It is appointed for men to die once, and after this comes judgment…” His word of warning is severe. God doesn’t care how religious or energetic we may be, how kind or good we are in attitude or action: He’s concerned that our hearts are washed in the blood of His Son. The reality of judgment awaits the person without Christ. In contrast, a word of encouragement is offered to the one who has become personally related to Christ. His judgment is behind him and his “salvation” (v.28) awaits him. He can therefore live and walk without fear. Third, a look at two abiding truths. A. Today’s sin is forgivable. B. Tomorrow’s judgment is escapable. Dr. Ken Copey is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Bible Doctrine Series-The Death of Christ

The death of Christ is the heart of the Gospel and in a sense is the central theme of Scripture. The Fact of the Death of Christ. 1. In Types and symbols. a. The Old testament sacrificial system—Romans 3:21. b. The coats of skin—Genesis 3:21. c. Abel’s lamb—Genesis 4:4. d. The offering of Isaac—Genesis 22. e. The brazen serpent—Numbers 21; cf. John 3:14-15. f. The Passover lamb—Exodus 12; cf. John 1:29. 2. In Prophecies. a. The seed of the woman—Genesis 3:15. b. The Sufferer of Psalm 22. c. The Sufferer of Psalm 69. d. The suffering servant—Isaiah 52:13-53:12. e. The cut-off Messiah—Daniel 9:24-26. f. The smitten shepherd—Zechariah 13:7. 3. In the Preaching of John the Baptist—John 1:29. 4. In the Teaching of Christ Himself. For the first two years or so of Jesus’ ministry He stressed the Kingdom of God and the need to prepare for that great era (Mark 1:14-15). The emphasis of His ministry then was not so much on His death as on His role in the Kingdom. However, there are allusions to the cross (John 2:18-22; 3:14-15; 6:51-56). It was at Casearea Philippi that He first began openly to teach and proclaim His death (Matthew 16:21). This was because the rejection of the Kingdom by Israel and its postponement were inevitable, and Jesus began to prepare His followers for His death and absence. It has been said that “Christ came, not so much to preach the Gospel of His own death, but in order that there might be such a Gospel to preach.” 5. In the Preaching of the Apostles. Acts 2:23; 3:14-15. The Necessity of the Death of Christ. Jesus expressed a compelling need to go to the cross (Matthew 16:21; Mark 8:31). This was not a necessity or fate since Jesus went voluntarily (John 10:14-18; Ephesians 5:2). Nor was it simply an earnest but erroneous way to induce the coming of the Kingdom (as says Albert Schweitzer). Not the Biblical reasons for the death of Christ. 1. To Fulfill His Own Eternal Purpose. John 12:27; Revelation 13:8; 1 Peter 1:19-20. 2. To Be Obedient To the Will of God the Father. Matthew 26:38-39, 42, 44; Hebrews 10:5-7, 10. Note: Was God under obligation to send Jesus to the cross? God was not under obligation to save sinners; He could have given all the just deserts of sin. But God in grace chose to provide salvation from sin, and thus arose the necessity of accomplishing this purpose through the death of His own Son. It was impossible for even God to save sinners apart from vicarious sacrifice once the decision was made to save sinners. So Jesus died in obedience to God’s will. 3. To Fulfill Prophecy. Matthew 26:52-54; Luke 24:44-46. 4. To Share His Own Eternal Life With Men. John 3:14-15; 12:20-24. The Nature of the Death of Christ. 1. Death in Scripture carries the idea of separation. There are basically two kinds of death; both mean separation and both are the result of sin. Physical death—the separation of the soul and spirit from the body. Spiritual death—the separation of the person from God; the second death is a permanent and final confirmation in spiritual death. Spiritual death is a result of sin and physical death is a result of spiritual death. When Jesus was “made sin” (2 Corinthians 5:21), He experienced both kinds of death. 2. Jesus was separated from God—Matthew 27:46. When Jesus was “made sin,” that is, judicially accounted with our sins (He was not personally polluted with sin), God, as the Righteous Judge, turned His face from Jesus. 3. Jesus’ spirit was separated from His body—Matthew 27:50. The order is first abandonment by the Father, then physical death. Jesus’ literal blood was shed on the cross (John 19:33-34). Although one is not saved by touching the molecules of Christ’s literal blood (if it was even possible), it is not wise or Scriptural to deprecate the literal blood of Jesus (as R. B. Thieme does, for example). The Meaning of the Death of Christ. The meaning of Christ’s death is found in the word “atonement.” Atonement means basically to cover. Sin is covered by the blood of Christ. But what does this mean? Note several factors. 1. The foundations of the Atonement. a. Satisfaction-Romans 3:25-26. God’s perfect and absolute holiness sets up a perfect and absolute standard of right which in turn demands perfect conformity (in motive, disposition, word, thought, deed, etc.) to the standard. Sin is nonconformity or a violation of God’s perfections, and creates guilt that must justly be punished. God’s holy demands are satisfied in this retribution or punishment. This is in the judicial or penal realm (not the emotional). Jesus’ death was the penal satisfaction of God’s wrath on the guilt of sin. b. Substitution. By substitutionary atonement is meant the death of Christ in the place of the sinner. It is sometimes called vicarious atonement. God demands that a sinner pay for his sin (Romans 3:23); He demands satisfaction for sin. Jesus has voluntarily become a substitute for sinners and has suffered the punishment of sin in their stead. Isaiah 53:5-6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18. 2. The Categories of the Atonement. a. Sacrifice—Hebrews 9:26. Sacrifice presupposes guilt. It is an Old Testament idea (based on the sin offering and the entire Levitical sacrificial system), but actually the Old Testament sacrifices were patterned after the yet future sacrifice of Christ (Hebrews 9:23). Sacrifice brought final expiation of sin. b. Redemption—Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 20:28. (Also has the idea of Ransom). Redemption presupposes bondage. To redeem means to buy out of slavery by the payment of a ransom price. Christ’s death redeems sinners out of the slave market of sin. c. Propitiation—1 John 2:2. Propitiation presupposes wrath. It means to placate, appease or pacify. God’s hold wrath against sinners is pacified by the perfect death of His Son. God’s wrath is based on His holiness and is administered by His justice. Jesus took the just deserts of sin and placated God’s righteous anger. It is not that God’s wrath turns into love. But His wrath having been propitiated, there is a basis or channel for His live (cf. 1 John 4:10). d. Reconciliation—2 Corinthians 5:19. Reconciliation presupposes alienation or enmity. It means that the alienation has been removed and peace and harmony established. Reconciliation affects both God (Matthew 5:23, 24) and man (Romans 5:10). The death of Christ accomplished this reconciliation; it is something that must be received (Romans 5:11). 3. The Efficacy of the Atonement. What gives efficacy to the blood of Christ so that it can satisfy God’s holy demands in the areas of guilt, bondage, wrath and enmity? In other words, what unifies and gives cohesion to the atonement? The answer is obedience. The obedience of Christ is what enables His blood to cleanse from all sin (1 John 1:9). God reckons Christ’s obedience to our account of disobedience. a. Active Obedience. This is the title given by theologians to Christ’s obedience to His Father’s perfect will during His lifetime—Hebrews 5:8. b. Passive Obedience. This is the name given to Christ’s obedience in yielding up His life in death as a satisfaction for sin—Philippians 2:8; Mark 14:36. 4. The Extent of the Atonement. a. It’s Universality. 1) Being infinite, the atonement is sufficient for the sins of the world. John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:14; Hebrews 2:9. 2) The atonement made salvation and its blessings available to all. Revelation 22:17. 3) The atonement exerts drawing power on all (commonly called the “general call”). John 12:32; Acts 17:25-27. 4) The atonement brings restraint on sin for all and enables all to do some measure of right and honesty (usually called “common grace”). Matthew 5:45. b. It’s Limitation. There are certain benefits of the atonement that are limited to the elect; i.e., to believers. These are the benefits that are redemptive in nature (or saving in nature). 1) The atonement is efficient only to those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10. 2) The elect are effectually summoned from death to life (termed the “effectual call”). 1 Corinthians 1:24; John 5:25; Romans 8:28. 3) The elect are efficaciously brought to faith and repentance upon hearing the Word of God (called “efficacious grace”). 1 Thessalonians 1:4-5; 1 Corinthians 1:18. Note: These particular benefits of the atonement do not relieve man’s freedom and responsibility –2 Peter 1:10; Hebrews 12:25. 4) Believers have the certainty of final salvation because of the atonement of Christ. Romans 8:31-39. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Monday, February 23, 2009

The price of children

Here is something absolutely positive for a change. I have repeatedly seen the breakdown of the cost of raising a child,but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 and came up with $160,140.00 for a middle income family. Talk about price shock! That doesn't even touch college tuition. But $160,140.00 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into: * $8,896.66 a year, * $741.38 a month, * $171.08 a week. * A mere $24.24 a day! * Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice is: don't have children if you want to be 'rich.' Actually, it is just the opposite. What do you get for your $160,140.00? * Naming rights. First, middle, and last! * Glimpses of God every day. * Giggles under the covers every night. * More love than your heart can hold. * Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. * Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. * A hand to hold usually covered with jelly or chocolate. * A partner for blowing bubbles and flying kites. * Someone to laugh yourself silly with, no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day. For $160,140.00, you never have to grow up. You get to: * finger-paint, * carve pumpkins, * play hide-and-seek, * catch lightning bugs, * never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to: * keep reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, * watch Saturday morning cartoons, * go to Disney movies, and * wish on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodlewreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day. For a mere $24.24 a day, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for: * retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, * taking the training wheels off a bike, * removing a splinter, * filling a wading pool, * coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and * coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat in history to witness the:* First step, * First word, * First bra, * First date, * First time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal. You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren and great- grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice, communications, and human sexuality that no college can match.. In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there under God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost. That is quite a deal for the price!!!!!!! Love & enjoy your children & grandchildren & great-grandchildren!!!!!!! It's the best investment you'll ever make!!!!!!!!!

HIGH SCHOOL -- 1959 vs 2009

Scenario 1: Jack goes quail hunting before school and then pulls into the school parking lot with his shotgun in his truck's gun rack. 1959 - Vice Principal comes over, looks at Jack's shotgun, goes to his car and gets his shotgun to show Jack. 2009 - School goes into lock down, FBI called, Jack hauled off to jail and neve r sees his truck or gun again. Counselors called in for traumatized students and teachers. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 2: Johnny and Mark get into a fist fight after school. 1959 20 - Crowd gathers. Mark wins, Johnny and Mark shake hands and end up buddies. 2009 - Police called and SWAT team arrives -- they arrest both Johnny and Mark. They are both charged with assault and both expelled even though Johnny started it. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 3: Jeffrey will not be still in class, he disrupts other students... 1959 - Jeffrey sent to the Principal's office and given a good paddling by the Principal. He then returns to class, sits still and does not disrupt class again. 2009 - Jeffrey is given huge doses of Ritalin. He becomes a zombie. He is then tested for ADD. The school gets extra money from the sta te because Jeffrey has a disability. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 4: Billy breaks a window in his neighbor's car and his Dad gives him a whipping with his belt. 1959 - Billy is more careful next time, grows up normal, goes to college and becomes a successful businessman. 2009 - Billy's dad is arrested for child abuse. Billy is removed to foster care and joins a gang. The state psychologist is told by Billy' s sister that she remembers being abused herself and their dad goes to prison. Billy's mom has an affair wit h the psychologist. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 5: Mark gets a headache and takes some aspirin to school. 1959 - Mark shares his aspirin with the Principal out on the smoking dock. 2009 - The police are called and Mark is expelled from school for drug violations. His car is then searched for drugs and weapons. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 6: Pedro fails high school English. 1959 - Pedro goes to summer school, passes English and goes to college. 2009 - Pedro's cause is taken up by state. Newspaper articles appear nationally explaining that teaching English as a requirement for graduation is racist. ACLU files class action lawsuit against the state school system and Pedro's English teacher. English is then banned from core curriculum. Pedro is given his diploma anyway but ends up mowing lawns for a living because he cannot speak English. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 7: Johnny takes apart leftover firecrackers from the Fourth of July, puts them in a model airplane paint bottle and blows up a red ant bed. 1959 - Ants die. 2009- ATF, Homeland Security and the FBI are all called. Johnny is charged with domestic terrorism. The FBI investigates his parents -- and all siblings are removed from their home and all computers are confiscated. Johnny's dad is placed on a terror watch list and is never allowed to fly again. ****************************************************************************************************** Scenario 8: Johnny falls while running during recess and scrapes his knee. He is found crying by his teacher, Mary. Mary hugs him to comfort him. 1959 - In a short time, Johnny feels better and goes on playing. 2009 - Mary is accused of being a sexual predator and loses her job. She faces 3 years in State Prison. Johnny undergoes 5 years of therapy

Bible Doctrine Series-The Incarnation

The incarnation has nothing to do with the origin or beginning of Christ because He is eternal. It has to do with His coming into the world, His entrance into human life. Many descriptions depict this fact. Note some of these: 1. He came—Matthew 20:28. 2. He came down from heaven—John 6:51. 3. He was sent into the world—John 3:17. 4. He was manifested—1 John 3:5. 5. He was made of a woman—Galatians 4:4. 6. He was given a body—Hebrews 10:5. 7. He was made flesh--John 1:14. 8. He partook of flesh and blood—-Hebrews 2:14. 9. He was made of the seed of David—-Romans 1:3. 10. He took the form of a servant—-Philippians 2:7. The Manner of the Incarnation—the Virgin Birth. The prophecies of the Virgin Birth. Isaiah 7:14; 66:7; 53:2 (a symbol). Genesis 3:15 (an intimation). Testimonies to the Virgin Birth. Matthew 1:16—“of whom” is feminine, referring to Mary. 1:18-25. Luke 1:27; 3:23—this verse could better be put: “And Jesus Himself was beginning (His ministry) about thirty years (of age), being a son, as was supposed of Joseph, of Heli.” Paul—Galatians 4:4, cf. vv. 23, 29. In this chapter Jesus is said to have been “made” (ginomai) of a woman while others were “born” (gennao). This shows a distinction in Jesus’ entrance into the world although it doesn’t strictly prove a virgin birth. Jesus (indirectly)—Luke 2:48, 49. Jesus’ Enemies (indirectly)—John 8:41, 48. Note: The virgin birth is essential to our Lord’s sinlessness and thus to His Saviourhood. If He was not preserved from sin when He became a man, He could not redeem sinful men because He Himself would then need a Savior. That which is born through the normal union of flesh physically is also corrupted flesh morally and spiritually (cf. John 3:6). But Luke 1:35 suggests that Christ’s sinlessness is related to His miraculous conception and birth. He was holy because the Holy Spirit wrought conception in Mary. The Purposes of the Incarnation. To Provide an Everlasting Revelation of the Invisible God in Visible Form. John 18; 14:9; Colossians 1:15. To Die for Sinners and to Save From Sin. 1 John 3:5; Hebrews 2:9; 10:4,5; 8-10; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4. God, as pure Spirit, could not die for sin; but God incarnate could and did thus die. The goal of the incarnation was death for sin (Hebrews 2:9). One cannot be saved merely by the preaching of the manger, it must include the cross (1 Corinthians 1:18). The Give Men His Own Eternal Life. John 10:10, 11; 6:51. To Provide the Redeemed with a High Priest Who Knew Life by Experience. Hebrews 2:17-18. To provide the Best Judge of Man by Knowing Human Life by Experience. John 5:22, 27. The Father gave Jesus authority to judge “because he is the Son of Man” (v. 27). The Greek has no article before Son, stressing the quality of the human being; Jesus is the best possible judge of sinners. It is not because He is any wiser than the other persons of the Trinity. To Provide an Ideal and Perfect Example to Believers. An example of What Believers should be now. 1 John 2:6; 1 Peter 2:21. An example of What Believer will be hereafter. 1 John 3:2; Hebrews 2:6, 9. The permanence of the Incarnation. Hebrews 13:8; Colossians 1:15; Revelation 22:16. When Jesus became incarnate there were some changes made: --in His dwelling place (from heaven to earth) (John 6:51). --in His possessions (from riches to poverty) (2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 9:58). --in His glory (from glory to obscurity) (John 17:5). --in His position (from equality with God to a servant) (Philippians 2:6-7). --in His form (from the form of God to the form of a servant) (Philippians 2:6-7). The first four changes were temporary; the last was permanent. Practical Lessons of the Incarnation. It shows that human life and existence is worth while; it does have intrinsic sacredness and dignity. It proves that physical life is not inherently sinful because Jesus was sinless. Cf. the excuse, “We’re all human!” It assures us of a God who knows human life by personal experience. The Person of Christ. The person of Christ is the great touchstone of orthodoxy and separation (cf. 1 John 4:2; 2 John 9-11). It is also one of the greatest and most profound mysteries of the Bible (1 Timothy 3:16). A proper heart attitude and relationship toward men and God is necessary so that a reverent and humble approach can be made to this great doctrine (Colossians 2:1-3). The Human Nature of Christ. Jesus was perfectly and completely human. Sin is not a necessary ingredient in humanity. Human ascriptions. 1 Timothy 2:5; Luke 2:12, 43; Acts 2:30. Human Elements. Body-John 2:21; Soul—John 12:27; Spirit—Luke 23:46. Note sometimes “flesh” or “flesh and blood” are used to refer to His total human nature rather than to the body only. Cf. John 1:3; 3:6; Hebrews 2A:14. Human attributes or characteristics. Birth—Luke 2:5, 12. Growth and development—Luke 2:40, 52. Note: Development does not imply imperfection. Jesus was perfect at every stage of His growth. Emotions—Mark 3:5; John 11:35; 12:27. Appetites—Matthew 4:2 (hunger); John 19:28 (thirst). Limitations—John 4:6 (weariness); Matthew 8:24 (sleep); Matthew 26:29 and Mark 11:13 (knowledge). Appearances—John 4:9 (a Jew); 20:15 (a Gardner). Suffering and death—John 19:30, 34. The Divine Nature of Christ, This is the deity of Christ, The Bible teaches that God in Christ took on humanity, not that a human Jesus took on divinity. Divine Attributes. Self-existent life. John 1:4; 14:6. Eternal. John 8:35; 1 John 1:2. Unchangeable—Hebrews 13:8. Omnipresence. Matthew 18:20; 28:20. Note: The Bible does not teach the omnipresence of the body of Jesus, as some Lutherans and others hold (so that His presence is “in, with and under” the communion wafer). Omniscience. Colossians 2:3; John 16:30; 21:17. Note: Matthew 24:36 says Christ knew not the time of His own coming again to earth. In this case Jesus’ knowledge was self limited. He knew all things but willed not to recall all He knew. Omnipotence. Matthew 28:18; Philippians 3:20-21. Note: Mark 6:5 says he could do no mighty work because of unbelief. Here Jesus self limited His power to the faith of certain people. A mark of true power is when one has power over his power. Incomprehensibility—Ephesians 3:19. Infinity—Ephesians 3:8. Holiness—Acts 3:14; 1 John 3:5. Truth—Revelation 3:7. Love—1 John 3:16. Righteousness—1 John 2:1. Faithfulness—Revelation 19:11. Mercy—Jude 21. Divine Works. Creation—John 1:3. Preservation—Hebrews 1:3. Control of history—Hebrews 1:2; cf. Isaiah 9:6. Forgiveness of sin and impartation of eternal life. Mark 2:5,7, 12; John 10:28. Building of the Church—Matthew 16:18. Answering prayer—John 14:14. Resurrection of the dead. John 5:21, 28-29; 11:24-25. Judging of the world—Acts 10:42. Divine Names (see section on the names of God). Diving Worship is accorded to Christ. He accepted worship—Matthew 28:9-10. He demanded worship—John 5:23. Worship of Him is commanded—Hebrews 1; 6. Worship of Him will be universal—Philippians 2:10-11. Divine Claims. He claimed authority over the laws and institutions of God. Temple—Matthew 12:6. Sabbath—Matthew 12:8. Law of Moses—Matthew 5:31-34. He claimed to be the object of saving faith. Matthew 11:28; John 14:1, 6. He claimed to be equal with God. John 5:18; 19:7. Prophecies of His Deity. Psalm 110:11; cf. Matthew 22:41-46. (The argument is that David’s Son is also David’s God). Isaiah 7:14—Immanuel, God with us. Isaiah 9:6—mighty God. The union of the Two Natures in Christ. The two natures remain distinct for each other although united in the one person. Romans 1:3-4; 9:5. By means of this union, the divine nature can impart some of its powers and values to the human nature without passing over into its essence. John 2:19-21; 6:51. By means of this union, certain human experiences are possible for the divine nature. Hebrews 2:14; 1 Corinthians 2:8; Matthew 24:36. The union of the two natures is eternally permanent. Hebrews 7:24. Note: There is considerable debate over whether Jesus had one or two wills. It is actually a debate over whether self-determination resides in the nature or in the personality. It is best to say that Jesus had one will as an indivisible person. He had only one direction in moral decisions—to do His Father’s will (Hebrews 10:7)—and this arose out of His person as the God-man. The Indivisibility of the Person of Christ. Jesus was “very God of very God and very man of very man.” He was truly God and truly man in one indivisible person. Strictly speaking, He was not God and man, but he was the God-man. 1. Jesus always considered Himself as one personality. Jesus distinguished Himself from other men (John 8:23), from God the Father (John 8:18), and from the Holy Spirit (John 16:7); but He never distinguished the natures in His own person. He did not single out either of His natures and attribute certain activities to it alone. 2. The various attributes and functions of the two natures are applied without distinction to the one person of Jesus Christ. Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 2:8. 3. Many manifestations of Christ’s natures appear side by side, yet are all ascribed to the one person. Matthew 8:24-26 (Asleep; calmed the storm). Mark 11:1-6, 12-13 (knew about the colt; was hungry). John 11:35, 38, 43, 44 (wept; raised the dead). Note: It is not correct to divide the activities of Jesus and ascribe some purely to His human nature and some to His divine nature. The historic formula of Bible believers concerning these matters is: “Neither divide the person nor confound the natures.” Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings

Bible Doctrine Series-God and the World

By the world, means, the entire universe. God’s relationship to the world is divided into four headings: purpose, creation, preservation and providence. These can be further divided into two broad subjects: God’s purpose and the carrying out of that purpose. God’s Purpose or Plan (this has to do with decrees). God has a single, all-inclusive and comprehensive plan; i.e., His will. Ephesians 1:11. God’s plan is eternal; it is not subject to change. Ephesians 3:11. God does not have alternative plans in case something goes wrong with His original plan. God’s plan was freely made. Psalm 135:6. This harmonizes with His freedom; God is self-determined. God’s plan includes all things. Ephesians 1:11. The only alternative is sheer chance. Some of the things included in the plan are: a. The boundaries of nations—Acts 17:26. b. The length of one’s life—Job 14:5 c. The manner of one’s death—John 21:19. d. The evil deed of men—Genesis 50:20; Acts 4:27-28. God’s plan is realized in and through Jesus Christ. Ephesians 1:4, 5; 3:11. God’s plan does not relieve man of responsibility. Predestination does not compel; man can make choices without feeling coerced or compelled. He is responsible for his decisions. Luke 22:22; Matthew 18:7. Many speak of God’s permissive and His directive will; or His desired will and His decreed will. This may help to explain how God can be sovereign and man can be responsible. The Creation of the World. The world had a definite beginning (Matter is not eternal). Psalm 90:2; Genesis 1:1. Creation was the work of the entire Godhead. God the Father, the originator—1 Corinthians 8:6. God the Son, the mediator—1 Corinthians 8:6; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16. The emphasis in Scripture is on the Son. God the Holy Spirit, the executor—Genesis 1:2. To employ the figure of constructing a building, God was the architect (and owner), the Son was the superintendent of construction, and the Spirit was the worker. The purpose of creation is to bring glory to God—Psalm 19:1. The Characteristics of the original creation. Genesis 1-2. Creation was supernatural and instantaneous—“Let there be…and it was so.” No process (of evolution) occurred. Creation was “after its kind;"--Genesis 1:11, 12, et al. 1) Impassable genetic boundaries are established. 2) Organisms capable of accomplishing true fertilization constitute a “kind.” 3) There were many created “kinds” as proposed to the evolutionary “family tree” concept of origins. 4) Great variation is possible within the created kinds. 5) No new kinds have appeared since Creation; many have become extinct. Creation had the appearance of age. 1) Fruit trees were created fully grown, bearing fruit with seeds within—Genesis 1:12. 2) Animals were created mature—Genesis 1:20-25. 3) Adam and Eve were created as adults—Genesis 1:26-30; 2:7, 20-25. 4) Stars were created with light already shining on the earth—Genesis 1:15-17. Creation was perfect at the end of the creative week—Genesis 1:31. God’s Word of Preservation. Definition—Preservation is the work of the triune God, accomplished through the Son, whereby He upholds the entire universe with all its laws, properties, powers and processes. Biblical Proof. God upholds the universe. Nehemiah 9:6; Hebrews 1:3; Psalm 104 (entire chapter) (cf. especially v. 14). Accomplished through the Son. Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3. God’s Work of Providence. Definition—Providence is God’s power in bringing the movement of the universe to its predetermined goal. It is the outworking of God’s plan. Biblical Proof. God exercises this control generally through secondary causes—Psalm 148:8. Sometimes God has used miracles (a direct application of His power) to accomplish His plan. However, God does not perform great, public miracles as He did in Bible times. His miracles today are veiled in providence so that men do not recognize them. See Acts 4:16 for a Biblical miracle; it was spectacular, undeniable and verifiable. The new birth is a miracle that God regularly performs today. The Names and Titles of Christ. In the Old Testament 1. Shiloh—Genesis 49:10. 2. Branch—Isaiah 11:1. 3. Immanuel—Isaiah 7:14. 4. The series in Isaiah 9:6. 5. Servant of Jehovah—Isaiah 42:1; 52:13ff. 6. Jehovah—Zechariah 12:10; Jeremiah 23:5-6. 7. The Angel of the Lord. He is Jesus for the following reasons: The Angel is the Lord--Genesis 16:13, 22:11, 15, 18. The Angel is a distinct person for God the Father—Genesis 24:7, 40. The Angel logically points to Christ. 1) Only Christ is visible in the Trinity—John 1:8. 2) The Angel of the Lord no longer appears after Christ comes. 3) Both the Angel and Christ are sent by God the Father. In The New Testament. Jesus. This is the given name of the Lord; His human name. This name stresses the Saviourhood of Christ—Matthew 1:21. It comes from the Old Testament word meaning Jehovah saves (Joshua). While it was a common name in Jesus’ day, He invested the name with far richer significance. One cannot make a great distinction between Jesus and Christ such as the Liberals do when they speak of the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. Christ. This is the official title of the Lord. The name means Anointed One—Luke 2:26; Acts 2:36. It gathers in all the ideas of “the Coming One” of the Old Testament thought. Three offices were anointed in the Old Testament, and Christ fulfills all three (prophet, priest and king). 1) Christ is a Prophet—Acts 3:22, 23. 2) Christ is a Priest—Hebrews 4:14-15; 6:20. 3) Christ is a King—Luke 1:31-33 (although the Kingdom is not here as yet). All three of these anointed offices will be functioning at the same time in the millennial Kingdom. Messiah. This is the Hebrew form of the word Christ; it means Anointed One—John 1:41; 4:25. The word comes from a verb meaning to smear (with olive oil), hence the idea of anointing. Lord. This name denotes the idea of authority and ownership. The word comes from the Hebrew name Adonai which means Master, Ruler or owner. Christ is the believer’s Master and Owner—Ephesians 6:9; Colossians 4:1 (same Greek word as Lord). No one can be saved without taking Christ as his Lord (Romans 10:9), and no one can make Christ the Lord of his life apart from a work of the Holy Spirit in his heart (1 Corinthians 12:3). I AM. This name is based on the Old Testament word Jehovah—Exodus 3:13, 14; cf. John 8:58; 18:4-6. Son of God. The idea of “son” stems from the Hebrew concept which means one who partakes of the qualities or has the characteristics of whatever one is said to be a son. E.g., Judas—John 17:12; Barnabas—Acts 4:36. Son of God. The idea of “son” means that Jesus has the qualities and characteristics of God. It speaks of His deity—Luke 1:35. While Christians are called sons of God (Romans 8:14) and angels are called sons of God (Job 38:7), they are not sons in the same sense as Jesus. Other doctrines make this clear (sinlessness of Jesus; depravity of man, etc.). Jesus as the Son of God is a “given” in the Bible. He appears always as the Son; He does not “become” the Son at some point in His life. He is eternally the Son—Hebrews 1:8. False theories place the Sonship as coming on Jesus at His (1) birth, (2) baptism, (3) resurrection, or (4) exaltation. Son of Man. This name stresses the humanity of Jesus—Luke 9:58. The name comes from Daniel 7:13. It is the millennial title of Christ. In the New Testament this name is used only of Christ (except in Acts 7:56) and it always has reference to Himself. Son of Abraham. This name places Jesus as a member of the Chosen Race (a Jew) which began with Abraham—Matthew 1:1. Son of David. This is a royal title of Jesus, placing him in the “seed of David” (2 Samuel 7:12; Psalm 89:3, 4) with the right to rule in the Davidic Kingdom (the Millennium). Jesus received His royal blood from Mary who was a descendant of David through a son Nathan (Luke 3:31). He received the legal title to the throne from Joseph who was the offspring of David through Solomon (Matthew 1:1, 6). Second Man/Last Adam. Both Adam and Christ acted in a representative way. The world is divided under these two headships. Christ was the second and last one to act in a representative way—1 Corinthians 15:45, 47; Romans 5:12-21. The Word. This name stems from the Hebrew concept of the “word” of God being His divine revelation and the efficacious expression of Himself, many times revealed and expressed in deeds—Psalm 147:15; Isaiah 55:11. Jesus is the expression of God in His person, attributes and activity—John 1:1, 2. Greek philosophy said the Word (logos) was the all pervading Energy of the universe, and this Energy could not dwell directly in as person but had to go through a long, abstract series of intermediary steps down to the person. Savior. The name denotes the deliverance from sin and all that is tainted by sin that comes through Jesus—Luke 2:11. Master. This name is not synonymous with Lord. It is used in the sense of Teacher or Instructor—Matthew 9:11. Liberals hold Jesus to be merely a Teacher and an Example; but “you cannot be saved by learning lessons from the life of Jesus you must be saved by receiving life from the death of Jesus.” Firstborn/First begotten. To the firstborn went (1) priority and authority in the family and (2) the dignity of the inheritance (double portion)—Genesis 49:3; Deuteronomy 21:17; 33:17. Jesus is the Firstborn among brethren—Romans 8:29; Hebrews 1:6. This means that He has first rank and complete authority among men. Jesus is the Firstborn of every creature—Colossians 1:15. This means that He has sovereign authority over all creation. It does not teach that Jesus was created. Jesus is the Firstborn from the dead—Colossians 1:18; Revelation 1:5. This means that by His resurrection He has complete mastery over death, and hold priority in resurrection. The Church is called the Firstborn because it has the highest privileges of all bodies of saints and is the highest and greatest masterpiece of God’s saving grace—Hebrews 12:23; Ephesians 2:7, 8, 10; 3:21. But Jesus outranks the Church as the Firstborn of God. Only Begotten Son. This name does not mean that Jesus was God’s only son, for He has many sons (Hebrews 2:10). It does not mean He was the first to be a son of God; i.e., chronology is not the factor (cf. Hebrews 11:17). The name refers to the uniqueness of Jesus; He is God’s unique Son in His deity, eternity, and all those things which set Him in a class of His own. The Preexistence of Christ. Most biographies of Christ begin with His birth. The Bible goes back to His eternal preexistence. Preexistence Taught by Direct Assertion. In the New Testament. By John the Baptist. John 1:15; 3:31. By Christ Himself. John 6:38, 51; 8:58; 17; 5, 24. By Paul. Philippians 2:5-7—He was in the “form” of God. Form means those characterizing qualities that make something exactly what it is. (E.g., an animal that is the form of a cow). Paul is saying that Jesus existed as God before He existed as a servant on earth. Colossians 1:17. In the Old Testament—the Angel of the Lord. Preexistence Taught by the Doctrine of Christ’s Eternity. In the Old Testament. Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2. In the New Testament. John 1:1; Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 1:11. The Incarnation of Christ. The word “incarnation” comes for the Latin meaning to embody in flesh or enfleshment. In Bible doctrine the incarnation is the enfleshment of God; the act whereby the second person of the Trinity is embodies in human nature, flesh and form. The incarnation is a foundational doctrine of Christianity. It goes back to the even more fundamental doctrine of Christianity—the Trinity. There could be no incarnation without the Trinity, and there could be no salvation without the incarnation. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Bible Doctine Series-The Attribute of Greatness

The attributes of God are the qualities, characteristics or properties which are inherent in and manifest the being or essence of God. They are sometimes called the “perfections” or the “excellencies” of God. The Attribute of Greatness. The self-existence of God (sometimes called His aseity). Definition—the ground or source of God’s existence is in Himself; He is independent of all things external to Himself. God is uncaused (man is caused). The only alternative is the eternity of Matter. Biblical Proof of the Self Existence of God. John 5:26; Psalm 36:9; Exodus 3:14. The Infinity of God. Definition—God is without limitations. He has only the self-imposed limits of His nature and will. Biblical Proof. Psalm 147:5; 40:5; 1 Kings 8:27; Romans 11:33. The Omnipotence of God. Definition—By His exhaustless power, God can do all things consistent with His character and will. God can do all that He wills, but He will not do all that He can. He can make children of Abraham from stones, but He will not, Matthew 3:9). God cannot make a past event not to have happened; He cannot make a stone too great for Him to move; He cannot make a shorter than a straight line between two points, and other such nonsensical things. Self-restraint is a mark of true power. God was not under internal or external necessity to limit Himself; i.e., He has power over His power. Biblical Proof. Genesis 17:1; Jeremiah 32:17; Job 42:2; Isaiah 40:28; Revelation 19:6. The Manifestations of Omnipotence. 1) The material world—Psalm 147:4. 2) The animal world—Matthew 10:29. 3) The spirits of the dead—Job 26:6. 4) The world of mankind—Matthew 6:8; Psalm 139:21; Acts 1:24. 5) Past and future events—Isaiah 46:9-11. 6) All possibilities—Matthew 11:21, 23; 1 Samuel 23:11, 12. The Nature of God’s Omniscience. 1) It is perfect—Job 37:16. 2) It is complete—Hebrews 4:13. 3) It has moral purpose—Proverbs 15:3; Malachi 3:16; Hosea 7:2. God’s knowledge is not just like as computer; He knows how to put His knowledge to good ends. The Omnipresence of God. Definition—God is in the universe, everywhere present at the same time, and fills every part of it with His whole being. Biblical Proof. Psalm 139:7-10; Jeremiah 23:24. Explanation. 1) This does not mean that God is everything and everything is God. 2) This does not mean that part of God is in one place and part of Him is in another. He is everywhere present in His whole being. 3). this does not mean that God is everywhere present in the same sense. He does not dwell on earth as he does in heaven; He is not in animals as He is in man; He is not in the wicked as He is in the saved, etc. Manifestations of God’s Omnipresence. God has chosen to manifest Himself permanently in heaven (1 Kings 8:30), but He also manifests Himself at certain other times and places. His presence is everywhere, but He does not manifest Himself everywhere. Values of God’s Omnipresence. 1) God is always near at hand. 2) God can live in our hearts by His Spirit—John 14:23. The All-Wisdom of God (Omni-sapience). Definition—God applies His knowledge in such a way that the best means are employed to achieve the highest ends in order to glorify Him the most. Biblical Proof. Romans 16:27; 11:33. Manifestations of God’s Wisdom. 1). in creation—Psalm 104:24. 2). in providence—Romans 8:28. 3). in redemption—Ephesians 3:10. Time is marked by succession of events, movements, etc. God is above time in that sense. Man is above time in a feeble sense; he can aspire, remember, etc. Biblical Proof. Psalm 90:2; Deuteronomy 33:27; Hebrews 1:2; Job 36:26; Isaiah 57:15. The Immutability of God. Definition—God is changeless in His person, attributes and purposes; and He is incapable of growth or decay in any respect. God has not learned anything, has not changed His mind about anything, and has not lost any power. He is neither more nor less merciful, loving, wise, truthful, etc., than He ever was. Biblical Proof. James 1:17; Ezekiel 24:14; Malachi 3:6; Psalm 102:27. Problems—texts which speak of God “repenting” (1 Samuel 15:10-11; Exodus 32:14; 2 Samuel 24:16, etc). Answer: God’s immutability does not mean immobility. God changes His dealings with changeable men in order to remain changeless in Himself. E.g., God treats the righteous differently than the wicked. A good illustration would be of one bicycling against and with the wind. Practical Values. 1) It guarantees to the believer that God cannot fail. 2) It guarantees to the believer that God keeps His promises—Malachi 3:6. 3) It is a stern warning to the unsaved that their rejection will bring inevitable judgment. The Incomprehensibility of God. Definition—God cannot be completely known by a finite mind. Biblical Proof. Psalm 145:3; 147:5; Job 11:7-9; Isaiah 55:9. Clarification. This does not mean that God is unknowable as Neo-orthodoxy teaches. A finite mind can know absolute truth about God, and he can have absolute knowledge of God Himself, but he cannot know all the absolute truth there is about God. The Attributes of Goodness. The love of God. Definition—that in God which moves Him to give Himself and His gifts spontaneously, voluntarily and righteously for the good of personal beings regardless of their merit or response. God is eternally moved to self-communication. Biblical Proof. (The Bible is the only source of God’s love; it can’t be found in nature). John 3:16; 1 John 4:8. The Character of God’s Love. 1) Voluntary—1 John 4:10. It is under no compulsion and does not wait for as response from its object. 2) Righteous—John 3:16. It does not condone sin; it always acts according to right. 3) Eternal—1 Corinthians 13:8. God is eternally self-giving, although not always to the same objects. The Objects of God’s Love. God loves personal beings. He does not love the “rocks and the rills.” Although God is tender toward animals, He does not love animals. 1) Jesus Christ His Son-John 17:24. God loves Jesus because His character is perfectly reproduced in Jesus. 2) Believers; those who love His Son—John 16:27. God loves believers because His character is manifested (even though imperfectly) in them. 3) Israel—Jeremiah 31:34. God loves Israel because His character will be manifested in them, particularly in the end times. 4) Sinners—John 3:16. God loves sinners because they are persons in His image. Manifestations of God’s Love. 1) In His benevolence toward all men—Matthew 5:43-48. 2) In the gift of His Son for sin—1 John 4:9. 3) In making believers His children—1 John 3:1. 4) In chastening His children—Hebrews 12:5-8. 5) In His election of believers to eternal life—1 Thessalonians 1:4. Practical Values. 1) It demands a response of love from Christians—1 John 4:11, 19. 2) God’s love producing love in us is an evidence of the new birth—1 John 2:10; 3:14; 4:7. The Holiness of God. Definition—Holiness means being set apart, or simply the idea of separation or apartness. God’s holiness is seen in two realms: (1) His apartness from all that is earthly or created; and (2) His apartness from all that is morally unclean—His moral purity. Explanation. The Biblical idea of holiness originally meant set apart from common use (qodesh in Hebrew) and had no moral connotations. For example, the word for harlot (qedeshash—Genesis 38:21) comes for the word meaning set apart. In this case the person was set apart for immoral purposes. Objects in the tabernacle were set apart (Exodus 40:11); houses and fields could be set apart (Leviticus 29:14, 16). From this idea the transition was made to the idea of separation from uncleanness, or the idea of moral purity. Biblical Proof. 1) God’s apartness from that which is earthly—Psalm 99:1-3; Isaiah 55; 15. 2) God’s apartness form moral uncleanness—Isaiah 6:1-5; 1 Peter 1:15-16. Holiness is God’s Fundamental Moral Attribute. 1) The Bible makes holiness basic. Isaiah 6:1-3; 57:15; Psalm 47:8. 2) All God’s acts are acts of holiness. Revelation 4:3, 8; Psalm 47:8. The Relation of God’s Holiness to Love. God’s holiness conditions His love. Holiness is God’s self affirmation. God eternally wills His own moral purity; it is not delegated to Him. Love is His self-giving. Before God can give there must be something to give. God’s love is basically His desire to give holiness. The Manifestations of God’s Holiness. 1) In His works—Ephesians 4:24 (Creation); Psalm 145:17. 2) In His laws (morality)—10 Commandments; cf. Rom. 2:14-15. 3) In His hatred for sin—Habakkuk 1:13. 4) In His love of righteousness—Hebrews 1:9. 5) In the Cross of Christ—Psalm 22:1; Isaiah 55:10a. Practical Values. 1) It makes us aware of our sin—Isaiah 6:5. 2) It demands holiness in God’s people—1 Peter 1:16. 3) It forms the background to divine judgment—Revelation 20:11. The Righteousness of God (including His justice). Definition—God’s righteousness is that phase of His holiness by which He demands conformity to perfect right; it is His demand for moral perfection. Righteous come from the Hebrew word having the idea of straight (tsadiq). God’s justice is that phase of His holiness by which He rewards such conformity and punishes non-conformity. Biblical Proof. Psalm 92:15; 11:7; 145:15; Deuteronomy 32:4. The Manifestations of God’s Righteousness and Justice. 1) In His requirements for men—Leviticus 19:35-36. 2) In punishing the unrighteous—Revelation 16:4-7. 3) In rewarding the righteous—Hebrews 6:10. 4) In chastening His people—Daniel 9:14. 5) In the cross of Christ—Romans 3:25. 6) In the forgiveness of sins—1 John 1:9. The Truth of God. Definition and Biblical Proof—the truth (trueness) of God is seen in three dimensions: 1) God is the only true or genuine God—John 17:3. He alone is all that God should be. 2) God is the truthful God in that the knowledge, declarations and representations of God eternally conform to His being—Psalm 19:9; John 17:17. 3) God is the source and basis of all truth—Psalm 31:5. The Faithfulness of God. Definition—God’s faithfulness is His transitive truth; His trustworthiness to act or perform in accordance with His promise. The words for faithfulness in the Bible (aman; pistos) mean to be firm; hence steadfast, reliable, dependable, trustworthy. The idea is that if God is true in Himself, He is faithful to others. Biblical Proof. Lamentations 3:23; Psalm 119:90; Deuteronomy 7:9; 1 Corinthians 10:13. The Manifestations of God’s Faithfulness. 1) In keeping His promises—Hebrews 10:23. 2) In preserving His people in temptation—1 Corinthians 10:13. 3) In forgiving sin—1 John 1:9. 4) In answering prayer—Psalm 143:1. The Grace of God. Definition—Grace comes from the Old Testament idea of stoop or bend; i.e., condescending favor. God’s grace is the undeserved, unearned, unrecompensed and unwanted favor of God toward guilty sinners. Biblical Proof. Ephesians 1:7; Romans 5:17. Manifestations of God’s Grace. 1) In justification—Romans 3:23, 24. 2) In regeneration—Ephesians 2:8, 9. 3) In the formation of the New Testament Church—Ephesians 2:8; 3:7, 8. The Church is the highest display of the grace of God—the greatest trophy of grace ever. This is because of the ministry of Christ (John 1:17) and the union with Him produced by Spirit baptism. 4) In sanctification—Titus 2:11, 12. Note the contrast with sanctification by Law; one cannot be made holy by Law-keeping (Galatians 1:6; 3:3). The principle of Grace is that it acts on the basis of prior blessings received (1 John 4:11, 19). Law says, “This do and you will live” (Leviticus 18:5). The Mercy of God. Definition—God’s mercy is His compassion, pity sand gentleness toward miserable sinners. Biblical Proof. (80% of texts on mercy are in the Old Testament; the New Testament is full of the idea of mercy). Deuteronomy 4:31; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Psalm 86:5. The difference between God’s Mercy and Love. Mercy is the outworking of God’s love in the practical realm. Love is what God is, mercy is what He does. Cf. Ephesians 2:4-6. The difference between Mercy and Grace. Grace is God’s attitude of favor toward the guilty or the law breakers; it is in the judicial realm. Mercy is God’s attitude of pity toward the miserable or those in distress; it is in the practical realm. The Manifestations of God’s Mercy. 1) In saving lost sinners—Ephesians 2:4-8; 1 Timothy 1:13. 2) In caring for His creatures—Psalm 145:9, 15-16. 3) In helping His people—Nehemiah 9:17-21, 27-32. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Common Men who had Uncommon Faith

“Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible; by faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and he rewards those who seek him. By faith Noah, being warned by God concerning events as yet unseen, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By this he condemned the world and became an heir of the righteousness that comes by faith” (Hebrews 11:1-7). With the sensationalism normally connected with teachings on faith, it is easy to think that faith is limited to an elite corps of God’s choicest saints. Easily overlooked are the masses of simple, plain, ordinary folks who, away from the limelight, modeled the “faith-life.” These are people with whom we have little trouble identifying. The passage we will be studying mentions three such men: a shepherd, a preacher, and a builder. Through their lives we learn about three aspects of faith. First, let look at a brief, simple analysis of faith (v.1). “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” What it is and isn’t. Faith is confidence in God, the firm conviction that He is at work and will come through on our behalf. Faith is not a blind leap into the dark, nor is it wishful positive thinking or presumption. Let's learn how faith works and why. A look at verse 6 gives us the thought that perhaps faith was originally easy for man to exercise, but we’ve made it difficult. Verse 6 gives three easy steps to follow. 1. We come to God, in humble absolute dependence. 2. We believe He’s there, this gives us assurance rather than doubt. 3. We count on Him to keep His word. His character is at stake. He makes things happen. Second, note three plain, common examples of faith. It is easy to trust God in theory, but when a situation is upon us, doubt competes for first place. A shepherd named Abel (v.4). A preacher named Enoch (v. 5). Jude 14-15 tells us that in his public life, Enoch proclaimed a message of judgment which his generation both resented and resisted. Genesis 5:21-14 we learn of his private life. For example take Noah, the builder (v.7). Noah lives 500 miles from the sea. Imagine the mockery Noah endured in his day. Third, let's examine three relevant applications of faith. By faith Abel came God’s way. By faith Enoch proclaimed God’s Word. By faith Noah revered God’s will. Each of these men was common and simple, but each lived by faith. The message is not complicated. Relative question, How about you? If faith were the topic of conversation in your neighborhood, would your name be included? What would happen if Hebrews 11 were to be updated in heaven? Would your name be on the list? Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Time to Quit Fretting

Please read Psalm 37:1-40 Psalm 37:1-9 form comforting thoughts, characterized by exhortations to trust and assurances of victory. David cautions us not to worry about the prosperity of the wicked. He writes: Do not fret because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. . . . Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way. . . . Do not fret—it only causes harm. (vv. 1, 7-8). The tendency to murmur when the wicked flaunt their wrong doing must be repressed if we are going to develop trust in the Lord. The question is why should our hearts burn with (righteous?) indignation when so much hotter a glow will burn up the cut grass? Let it (the wicked) wave in brief glory, without interference, the scythe and the sunshine will soon make an end of their wicked, miserable lives. Jesus includes this point in the Sermon on the Mount, telling us not to worry about our life, our food and clothing, and the troubles of tomorrow (Matthew 6:25-34). The Lord says calm down! Don’t get all worked up over it! The blessed results of trust and active holiness are stable dwelling in the land, and nourishment that only comes from God. We who take God as our portion will always have a safe place to live. The fact is no man will commit his way to the Lord unless he delights in Him. When we fully commit our ways to His sovereignty we can then find absolute rest in the Lord. For us to delight in the Lord is to possess our hearts delight, and find fulfilled in Him our desires and abiding joys. “Commit your way unto Him” (v. 5), or roll it upon Him, this is the exercise of trust, and, He will do all that is desired. We find in walking with the Lord that faith and trust are two sides of the same coin. As our faith in the Lord grows, so does our trust. We must “walk by faith and not by sight,” for we do not see all that He sees, and we certainly don’t know all that He knows. Our Sovereign Master has it all under His control. David describes the character of the wicked: The wicked plots against the just, and gnashes at him with his teeth. . . . The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct. . . . The wicked borrows and does not repay. . . . The wicked watches the righteous, and seeks to slay him. (Verses 12, 14, 21, 32. These portions of Scripture sketch in vivid detail the fury of “the wicked” toward “the Just” and the grim retribution that turns their own weapons into agents of the wicked’s self destruction. Their evil is obvious to all, especially God. We can be certain that the wicked have not fooled Him. For in essence He is the One they are sinning against. David contrasts the character of the wicked to the righteous: But the righteous shows mercy and gives. . . . He is ever merciful, and lends; and his descendants are blessed. . . . The mouth of the righteous speaks wisdom, and his tongue talks of justice. The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide. (Verses 21, 26, 30-31). Silently, the Goodman sits wrapped in his faith. All around are raging, armed foes. Above, the laughter of God rolls thunderous, and from the throne the obedient “day” is winging its flight like an eagle with lightning bolts in its claws. The difference in their characters is sharply defined, and we can rest assured that character is what dictates the outcome of our lives. David shows the end of the wicked: [Evildoers] shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. . . . For evildoers shall be cut off. . . . For yet a little while and the wicked shall be no more; indeed, you will look diligently for his place, but it shall be no more. . . . The Lord laughs at him, for He sees that his day is coming. . . . But the wicked shall perish; and the enemies of the Lord, like the splendor of the meadows, shall vanish. Into smoke they shall vanish away. . . . The descendants of the wicked shall be cut off. . . . I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a native green tree, yet he passed away, and behold, he was no more; indeed I sought him, but he could not be found. . . . But the transgressors shall be destroyed together; the future of the wicked shall be cut off. (Verses 2, 9-10, 13, 20, 28, 35-36, 38). Here the destruction of those who plot evil and the vindications of the righteous are contrasted. Those who wait on the Lord are promised the sight of the destruction of the wicked. Divine judgments minister occasion for praise from the purest hearts before the throne of God. We can know for certain that the unrighteous will get what is coming to them. God always gives the correct punishment at exactly the right time. It is out of our hands, so we need not concern ourselves over it. If we were as wise, loving, and all knowing as God, we would mete out the exact punishment, at the exact time, as He will. David proclaims the reward of the upright: He shall give you the desires of your heart. . . He shall bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. . . . But those who wait on the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. . . . But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. . . . Their inheritance shall be forever. They shall not be ashamed in the evil time, and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied. . . . For those who are blessed by Him shall inherit the earth. . . . They are preserved forever. . . . The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell in it forever. . . . He shall exalt you to inherit the land. . . . But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord. (Verses 4, 6, 9, 11, 18-19, 22, 28-29, 34, 39). If God is on our side, we have nothing to fear from the wicked, and we can look forward to blessings beyond anything we could ever imagine (Ephesians 3:20)! David explains that we can expect these blessings and rewards, not because we are innately wonderful and good, but because God is faithful: The Lord upholds the righteous. The Lord knows the days of the upright. . . . The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way. Though he falls, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with His hand. I have been young, and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging bread. . . . For the Lord loves justice, and does not forsake His saints. . . . The Lord will not leave [the righteous] in [the wicked's] hand, nor condemn him when he is judged. . . . He is their strength in the time of trouble. And the Lord shall help them and deliver them; He shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in Him. (Verses 17-18, 23-25, 28, 33, 39-40). The picture in verse 24 is very comforting. David describes God as a Father, holding His child by the hand. The child has just learned to walk and is not very steady. When he stumbles—and he will—he does not fall completely because the Father pulls him back upright. God perfectly fulfills all the obligations He placed on Himself to do on our behalf. This is another reason we have no need to fear or worry. Lastly, David provides us with solutions to this dilemma: Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness. Delight yourself also in the Lord. . . . Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass. Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him. . . . Cease from anger, and forsake wrath. . . . Depart from evil, and do well; and dwell forevermore. . . . Wait on the Lord, and keep His way. . . . Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace. (Verses 3-8, 27, 34, 37). Trouble will come into our lives, but God will provide for us a fortress home, and out of it He will save us. These are David's instructions on how we should handle our envy of the wicked man's prosperity: Do good, trust God, and do not worry! If we patiently continue doing the things that God has commanded us to do—focusing on our own character, rather than complaining about another's—the scales of justice will come into their proper balance in God's time. “He makes all things beautiful in His time.” Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bible Doctrine Series-The Triunity of God

The Triunity of God. Trinity is, of course not a biblical word. Neither are triunity, trine, trinal, subsistence, nor essence. Yet we employ them, and often helpfully, in trying to express this doctrine which is so fraught with difficulties. Furthermore, this is a doctrine which in the New Testament is not explicit even though is is often said that is is implicit in the Old and explicit in the New. But explicit means "characterized by full, clear expression," an adjective hard to apply to this doctrine. Nevertheless, the doctrine grows out of the Scriptures, so it is a biblical teaching. Not only is it biblical teaching but it is one of the most fundamental doctrines concerning God. Without the triunity of God there could be no incarnation. Thus there could be no redemption accomplished by the Son and no redemption applied by the Spirit of God. In the doctrine of the Trinity, we encounter one of the truly distinctive doctrines of Christianity. Among the religions of the world, the Christian faith is unique in making the claim that God is one and yet there are three who are God. In so doing, it presents what seems on the surface to be a self-contradictory doctrine. Furthermore, this doctrine is not overtly or explicitly stated in Scripture. Nevertheless, devout minds have been led to it as they sought to do justice to the witness of Scripture. A. The Explanation of the Triunity of God. God is the Three in One—three persons in one essence. He is not three in one in the same sense. B. False Ideas of the Trinity. 1. Tri-theism—the belief that there are three gods. 2. Modalism—the belief that there is only one person but three modes or manifestations of God. 3. Unitarianism—the belief that only God the Father is eternal and divine. The Son and the Spirit are created beings. C. Illustrations of the Trinity. No illustration can possibly capture all that is involved in the biblical revelation of the Trinity Most are at best only parallels of a "three-in-one" idea. A common diagram attempts to picture the Godhead as one, yet showing each Person as God and also distinct. Water may serve as a "three-in-one" illustration since it retains its chemical activity whether in solid, gas, or liquid state. There is also a triple point for water, a condition under which ice, steam, and liquid water can coexist in equilibrium. All are water, yet distinct from each other. The sun, its light, and its power may help illustrate the Trinity. No one has actually seen the sun just as no one has seen the Father. Yet we learn a great deal about the sun by studying the sunlight just as we learn about the Father through Jesus Christ the Son who is the radiance of His glory (Hebrews 1:3). We see the power of the sun as it is involved in the growth of seeds and trees and plants, and when asked what makes things grow, we say the sun does. The Holy Spirit is like the power of the sun and He is God. Whatever usefulness or limitations illustrations have, we say again that we are faced with a mystery. D. Biblical Proof. 1. In the Old Testament (not a developed doctrine in the Old Testament). a. Suggestions of plurality in the Godhead. Genesis 1:1 Elohim is a plural noun. 1; 26 “our” image 3:22. Psalm 110:1 God’s name is applied to more than one person in the same text. Jeremiah 23:3-5. b. Scriptural statements. Isaiah 48:16; 61:1. 2. In the New Testament. a. The baptism of Christ—Matthew 3:16, 17. b. The baptismal formula—Matthew 28:19. c. The apostolic benediction—2 Corinthians 13; 14. d. Personal distinctions in the Godhead. 1) The Father and the Son are distinct persons. John 5:26; 3:16; Galatians 4:4. 2) The Father and the Son are distinct from the Spirit. John 14:16, 17. The Unity of God. A. The Explanation of the Unity of God. There is but one essence in the Godhead, and this one essence pervades each of the three persons without division of multiplication. B. Biblical Proof. 1. Scriptural statements. Deuteronomy 6:4; Mark 12:29-30; Romans 3:29-30; James 2:19. 2. Each of the three persons is recognized as God. a. The Father is God—John 6:27. b. The Son is God—Hebrews 1:8. c. The Spirit is God—Acts 5:3-4. 3. These three persons are one God. a. The Father and the Son are one. John 5;18; 14:10,11; 17:22 Cf. the implications of John 5:22 b. The Father and the Spirit are one—1 Corinthians 3:16. c. The Son and the Spirit are one—Romans 8:9. d. The Father, Son and Spirit are one—John 14:16, 18, 23. 4. These three persons have distinctions in their function (the “economical Trinity”). a. In the work of the Godhead the Father is first, the Son is second and the Spirit is third. 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 2:18 Note the prepositions: “Of” the Father (ek)—source. “Through” the Son (dia)—channel. “By” the Spirit (en)—agent. “Unto” the Father (pros)—goal. b. In the work of the Godhead the Son is subordinate to the Father, and the Spirit is subordinate to the Father and the Son. I John 4:10, The Father sends the Son. John 14:26, The Father sends the Spirit. John 15:26, The Son sends the Spirit. Romans 8:9, Summary—Spirit of God/Spirit of Christ. Some Practical Ramifications: The richness of the concept of the Trinity overflows into several areas of theology. The doctrine of redemption is an obvious example, for all Persons of the Godhead are involved in that great work (John 3:6, 16; Rev. 13:8). The doctrine of revelation serves as another example, the Son and Spirit both being involved in communicating God's truth (John 1:18; 16:13). Fellowship and love within the Godhead is only possible in a trinitarian concept of God, and that fellowship is akin to the believer's fellowship with Christ (14:17). Priority without inferiority as seen in the Trinity is the basis for proper relationships between men and women (1 Corinthians 11:3). Prayer is practiced in a trinitarian way. Though we may address any Person of the Trinity, ordinarily, according to the biblical precedent, we address the Father in the name of Christ as the Spirit direct us (John 14:14; Ephesians 1:6; 2:18; 6:18). Dr,. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.

Bible Doctrine Series-The Spirituality of God

God’s spirituality is basic to His personality. The attributes of personality arise out of the spirit. God is a spiritual being. A. Biblical Proof. John 4:24; Romans 1:20; 1 Timothy 1:17; Colossians 1:15 B. The meaning of Spirituality. 1. Spirit is the invisible source of personality, Spirit can: Perceive—Mark 2:8 Purpose—Acts 19:21 Speak—Matthew 10:20 Rejoice—Luke 1:47 Love—Romans 15:30 Pray—Romans 8:26 Think—Romans 8:27 Fellowship—Philippians 2:1 Worship—John 4:24 The source of personality is not the brain although personality functions through the brain. Spirit is not a synonym for personality; it is the metaphysical source. God, then, is the very essence of personality. 2. Spirit has no necessary connection with matter; it cannot be apprehended by physical means (i.e., by empiricism) (Luke 24:39). 3. However, God has chosen to manifest Himself in various ways (John 1:32—dove; Exodus 3:2-6—burning bush; etc.). He has chosen to manifest Himself permanently in Jesus (John 14:9; Acts 7:56). 4. The Bible speaks of God having bodily parts (called anthropomorphism's) (parts such as eyes, arms, feet, hands, etc.) only to aid finite minds in understanding the infinite God. God is the very essence of personality because He is pure spirit. Personality is a group (or cluster) of functions (or characteristics) that arise from spirit. A. Life--God is living. 1 Timothy 4:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:9; John 5:26; Jeremiah 20:10. Life means that God is able to do things; He has within Himself the source of being and activity (potential energy or activity). B. Intelligence. (Comprised of knowledge, understanding and wisdom) Proverbs 3:19-20; Romans 11:33. Knowledge is the perception of facts. Understanding is the insight into the meaning of the facts. Wisdom is the ability to put the facts together for good ends (Nazi Germany had the first two but not the last). C. Purpose. Ephesians 3:11. Purpose is reacting to a future goal as if it was already present. D. Action. Genesis 1:1; John 5:17. God is active. He not only can do things (life), He does them. E. Freedom. Job 23:13; Daniel 4:35; Ephesians 1:11. God is wholly self-determined; He is not bound by anything outside of Himself. He can do anything consistent with His nature. His actions are determined by His own will and pleasure. F. Self-consciousness. Exodus 3:14; 1 Corinthians 2:10b, 11b. Only God knows Himself completely. G. Emotion. Jeremiah 31:2; Genesis 6:6; Proverbs 6:16. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.