The Longsuffering Patience Of God

longsuffering

Then Paul stood up and motioning with his hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. Now for a time of about forty years, He put up with their ways in the wilderness. (Acts 13:16-18)

The Longsuffering Patience Of God

Israel would become the poster child to demonstrate the longsuffering and patience of a loving and compassionate God. Of the many reasons holy writ preserves the record of the Israelite nation, it would be foremost to show the eternal forgiving spirit of God towards the fickle hearts of men. Abraham had been promised through his seed a great nation that would receive a wonderful land. Through Isaac and Jacob, the promise came true with the sons of Jacob dwelling in Egypt. After many years the Hebrews were enslaved by the Egyptians and they cried out to God for deliverance. By the mighty hand of the Lord God, the people of Abraham were delivered from bondage being led through the Red Sea on dry land and receiving the covenant of God’s love at Sinai. Everything was in place for them to march to the land of promise and receive the blessings given through Abraham but that was not to be. It was not long after the Hebrews came out of Egypt the early signs of rebellion began to show itself among the people. Their faith was not secure in the deliverance of God. They complained about not having water to drink and then thought they would die of hunger in the wilderness of Sin. The Lord provided water and manna to nourish the people but this would not satisfy them. Arriving at Mt. Sinai where they would receive the Law and create a nation of Israel, the people fell into the idolatrous worship of the Egyptians molding a golden calf. Many died as a result of their evil hearts. Leaving Sinai it was not long before they were complaining again bringing the wrath of God upon them with fire. After more complaining, the Lord sent the people quail to feed their hungry stomachs. The anger of the Lord was aroused against them again and He struck them with a great plague that killed many of the people.

Dissension and disharmony did not only come from the people but also for Aaron and Miriam. The brother and sister of Moses felt slighted in their leadership roles and the anger of the Lord was aroused against them. Miriam became a leprous, as white as snow. After seven days she was restored whole again. The people came to Kadesh-Barnea with preparations to enter the land of Canaan sending twelve spies into the land to see how to conquer the people. When the spies returned ten of them declared the task impossible with only Joshua and Caleb saying that with God’s help the land could be conquered. Israel refused to enter the promised land and was sentenced to wander around the wilderness forty years for their rebellion. During the four decades of wanderings, the people rebelled, complained, murmured, dissented, and made the life of Moses a grievous task and often kindled the anger of God. Finally arriving at the Jordan River and the land promised to Abraham, the children of Israel would cross over and take the land. Their troubles would never end. Instead of doing what the Lord commanded them to remove all the inhabitants of the land they only did a partial job and settled into life with judge’s ruling over them for many years before entering the three forty year rules of Saul, David, and Solomon. Israel would divide in a civil war with the ten northern tribes having no righteous king and few to be found in the southern tribes of Judah and Benjamin. In time, the northern tribes disappeared from history and only the two southern tribes retaining the seed promise of God to Abraham. After a seventy-year period of captivity, Israel returned to be under bondage to three empires when Christ came to bring the eternal message of hope for all men.

The apostle Paul is very frank in his discussion of the history of Israel. He does not hide the truth that God chose the people of Israel as His exalted nation and how he with an uplifted hand delivered them. Paul takes special note that during the forty years in the wilderness that God put up with their ways. That is putting it mildly, to say the least. How often it would have been easy to dismiss the people and raise up another nation from the stones the people walked on. The Lord God put up with the ways of the rebellious people because He loved them and promised great things through them. Israel is an example of how the character of a man is constantly striving to find grace in the eyes of the Lord and yet time and again the nature of man is to rebel against God. Sin is a tragic part of life and struggle as hard as a man can try there will be times of failure and ruin. Throughout a lifetime of service to Christ, the times and seasons of spiritual drought can drain the spirit of a man if it were not for the longsuffering of God to put up with the ways of man. David summed up the plight of man when he recognized how merciful and gracious, and slow to anger God is towards man when the Lord does not deal with him according to his sins, nor repay man according to his iniquities. Thank God the Lord puts up with the ways of man in the wilderness of life.

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What The Church Needs Now Is

 

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I desire therefore that the men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting; in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression. Nevertheless, she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:8-15)

What The Church Needs Now Is

The character of the local church is seen through the actions and lives of the men and women who make up the body of Christ. God designed the church to be a beacon of light in the community of men who need to come to the Son and find salvation. If the light of the local church is dim the influence of its members will have minimal impact to show others the grace of God. Paul exhorted Timothy to remind the men and women of their effect on people of the world putting forth the best example of godliness, modesty, and obedience to the will of the Lord. Godly men are those who are men of prayer. The example of the men in a local church will have greater influence when the world sees the spirit of the men as fervent disciples of Christ possessing gentle spirits with great faith. Leaders of the church must be men who spend time in prayer to the Father seeking divine counsel for their personal lives and the work of the church. All Christian men need to be filled with the Spirit of God through the avenue of prayer. Paul is not alluding to some physical manifestation of lifting up hands but the character of men who work day to day in being an example of prayerful devotion to God. It is vital for the man in the workplace to be a man of prayer. In the home, the man will teach his family to value of prayer through his own life and through instructing the children how to pray. Husbands and wives praying together will create a stronger bond in marriage leaving an impression on the children of marital union and devotion to God. If there is one characteristic that a man is known for it is his humble example of a prayer life. What the church needs now is the example of holy men expressing faith and trust in the Lord through prayer.

Women have an important role in the church as examples of fidelity, truth, and righteousness. Modest apparel is a challenge for God’s women as they struggle to define, understand and accept the teachings of scripture. In a world given over to the outward adorning of the body, the Lord wants women who are adorned in the heart. Modesty is not just a suggestion of the placement of clothes but the nature of one’s character in their manner of dress, attitude, and disposition toward God. Like holy men, the women must be people of prayer. Their hearts must be in tune with the desires of the Father to please Him. The most important adornment for the woman is not the garments of cloth but the clothing of the heart of godliness. Each one will reflect the other. Hearts that are seeking the purity of God will show that in the manner of dress that is not revealing, extravagant, gaudy or eye-catching. Clothes that are proper for a woman professing godliness will not be to draw attention to self or focus the eye on the body. Modesty is measured by the humble heart. Elaborate hairstyles, stylish dress or revealing clothing that exposes the nakedness of the flesh does not glorify God but excites the senses of the woman to show her body to others. Propriety and moderation come from a decorum that is respectful to the image of Jesus Christ. Women who argue about modesty have no desire to dress modestly but to exhibit themselves before others. What the church needs now is the spirit of godly women willing to dress for eternal success rather than worldly success.

There is a lot of confusion in the religious world to the role of the woman in the church. The apostle Paul wrote with the authority of the Holy Spirit as directed by the word of God. Modern religious leaders will suggest that a woman can take any role in the church but Paul discounts this in his letter to Timothy. A woman cannot take the role of a preacher because she was the one deceived in the fall of man. Part of the pronouncement of the Lord against the woman was that her desire would be to her husband and he would rule over her. God also said there would be pain in childbirth and this has not changed even with the advent of modern medicine. If the pain of childbirth has not diminished the role of the woman to the man has also not diminished. This does not make a woman an inferior creature but one that is subject to the will of the Father. Paul defines the role of the woman as one in subjection to the man. The church has a lot of work for the woman to do but to be in the role of leadership is strictly forbidden by the Holy Spirit. Going against this directive is contrary to the will of God. What the church needs now is the woman who will adorn herself with a godly spirit to be in subjection to the divine will of God.

 

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Generational Faith

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Children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father. (Proverbs 17:6)

Generational Faith

There is a deeper joy in the world because of the presence of children. In the infinite wisdom of God to create the family element, children bring a sense of purity, innocence, and youthfulness that can only be found in their smiles, laughter and an incredible sense of discovery. A man touches the hem of creation when through the divine will of procreation a life is brought into the world. No one has a choice in their birth and by the grace of God life begins, forms and creates a small human being that will grow and experience all the facets of life and then grow old and die. Life is a circle that begins in the womb and ends in the tomb. There is a reality that life is short and all men will die. The birth of a child is a daily reminder of the joy of life and the happiness of a baby’s smile reflects the nature of the love of God. Every generation since Adam experienced the process of birth and filling the home with children. The wise man in holy scrip lauds the presence of children as a blessing for the father and grandchildren as a crown of old men. This shows the relationship the children have with the family and how the family is blessed by the children. A child can bring glory to the father by exhibiting the traits of fidelity and a noble character. This will come from the training a child receives from his parents. Every child reflects the teachings of their parents in the manner of their speech, conduct, attitude, and character. Teaching the next generation to be of noble spirit is a blessing received a hundredfold when reflected by the children. This takes time, effort and a diligent desire on the part of the parent to instill in the heart of the child these characteristics.

Children not only reflect the image of the parent but also the personification of the grandparents. The work of teaching children is not left to the parents alone. Throughout scripture, the Holy Spirit directs grandparents to take an active role in helping the parents teach their children the proper values. Timothy was greatly influenced by his grandmother Lois as the apostle Paul commended the faith instilled in him by his mother Eunice. One of the principles of sound doctrine Paul instructed Titus was for the older women to teach the younger women and older men to teach the younger men. Grandchildren are the crown of old men when they show the character of the teaching of their parents and united the parental influences of both generations guide the hearts of the young. Many children can reflect upon the influence their grandfather or grandmother had in their lives. Teaching children will never end. It is an inherent duty of parents to guide the hearts of their children and it is also the responsibility of the grandparents to be an example to their grandchildren as they help the parent’s guide and instruct the tender spirits of the children. The glory of a father is when his children are whole and complete as people of character, truth, and trustworthiness. This will also reflect itself from the perspective of the grandfather whose crown is the joy of his grandchildren as they show the proper character in life.

The glory of a child and the manner of their life being a crown of old men is not achieved with the accolades of men. When the wise man penned these immortal words he was not suggesting parents and grandparents teach their children to be successful as leaders of industry, popular athletes, beauty queens and proud men and women of the world. The lasting glory of a child will only come from their relationship with the Lord God. A man can look at his children and find doctors, lawyers, industrial giants and popular leaders of the day but sadly none of this will last. So often parents spend so much time making their children successful as citizens of this world they fail to teach their children of the rewards in the next life or rather the dangers of what comes after life. Finding success and approval without God is an exercise in futility. There are great blessings in finding success in this life but if it is not tempered by an overshadowing presence of Jesus Christ and Him crucified – the child has nothing to glory about. Foremost in the teaching of children is to embed in their hearts a love of God. The glory of a child to their father or the crown of an old man concerning his grandchildren is only measured by the knowledge they are children of God. Without this, there is nothing to glory. Generational faith comes when parents and grandparents see their children obey the gospel of Jesus Christ and live faithful and holy lives. This will not only prepare them for the life ahead of them but the life that awaits them in eternity. Teaching children to give their whole lives to the pursuits of this world will only prepare them for an eternal failure and the sad reality their souls are lost. Joy comes from children who are saved, not successful. A father will only find glory when his child is a faithful Christian and a grandfather will only wear a crown of glory when he helps his grandchildren see God.

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The Birthplace Of Jesus

Bethlehem from south, man drawing water at well, mat12606

But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” (Micah 5:2)

The Birthplace Of Jesus

Called the “house of bread,” Bethlehem would become the most important city in the history of the world. It is one of the oldest cities as it was called Ephratah in the days of Jacob, son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham. Rachel labored in childbirth near the ancient city and after hard labor, gave birth to a son she called Ben-Oni; but Jacob called him Benjamin. Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem). It was near this place Jacob set a pillar on her grave, which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave. After the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan under Joshua, it was called Bethlehem Judah which was the home of Boaz and Ruth and later the family of Jesse who had a son called David. This would be known as the city of David as the young shepherd became the great king of Israel. The Philistines would take the city for a period of time before reverting back to the nation of Israel. Jeroboam converted the city to a military stronghold and then quietly passed into the pages of history until the coming of Jesus. Joseph and Mary were both from Bethlehem and when the census was determined during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, they came from Nazareth to the city of David where Jesus was born. It would later become a place of great sorrow when Herod sent his troops into the small village and massacred all the young children two-years-old and under trying to kill the young child, Jesus. Bethlehem was five miles south of Jerusalem and Jesus would grow up in Nazareth of Galilee. Six miles northwest of Nazareth was Bethlehem of Zebulun. Micah’s prophecy was specific to name the small village of Bethlehem south of Jerusalem rather than the city near Nazareth. Joseph and Mary would have traveled nearly ninety miles to reach Bethlehem from Nazareth and this was especially difficult for Mary who was in the late stages of her pregnancy. The fullness of time was established when Jesus was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah.

One of the problems men had with Jesus being the Christ was the insignificance of the place of his birth and the circumstances surrounding His birth. Bethlehem of Judea was as backward a town as any in the land of Israel. There was little significance to the small village as nothing more than the home of David. It held no political or social status in the annals of men and would fade to a distant memory in the minds of most over the years following the birth of Jesus. The Lord would only stay a few years in Bethlehem. When the wise men from the east visited Jesus He was nearly two years old. Being warned in a dream not to return to Herod with the information about Jesus, the wise men took their leave another way which enraged the king. Knowing he sent his troops to Bethlehem to kill the young male children, an angel of the Lord instructed Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt until after the death of Herod. When they heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea instead of his father Herod, the young family moved back to Nazareth where Jesus would spend the remainder of His life before beginning His ministry. Although no record is given it is possible Jesus visited Bethlehem near Nazareth.

Bethlehem of Judah was the least among the towns and shows the wisdom of God to confound the wisdom of men. The Christ would not come from a family of nobility, wealth or power to be the ruler of God’s people Israel. His lineage would be royal as a descendant of David establishing the throne of David as a prophetic utterance to the reign of Christ as King of King and Lord of Lords. Jesus did not come from an educated family that distinguished themselves among the elite of Israel. Joseph and Mary were poor and could only offer a pair of turtledoves or pigeons when they presented Jesus as the temple. As a carpenter, Joseph worked as a common laborer with his sons following in his trade. Nothing notable would have been known about the family of Joseph of Nazareth had it not been for Jesus. It did not impress others the son of a carpenter from Nazareth could be the Messiah. On one occasion, the people were arguing about whether Jesus could be the Christ and it was noted the scripture said that the Christ would come from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was. There was a division among the people because of this discrepancy. It is surprising that if anyone would have asked Jesus where He was born He would have told them in Bethlehem of Judea fulfilling the words of the prophets. They could not understand how Christ could come out of Galilee since Nazareth was in Galilee. God chose Bethlehem and it became a stumbling block to those who could not see the divinity of Jesus through His humanity. Jesus was born in Bethlehem but not just any Bethlehem. He was born in Bethlehem Ephrathah.

 

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The Totem Of Jesus Christ

totem of Jesus

For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

The Totem Of Jesus Christ

H. G. Wells wrote, “Jesus was a penniless teacher who wandered about the dusty sun-bit country of Judea, living upon casual gifts of food; yet he is always represented clean, combed, and sleek, in spotless raiment, erect, and with something motionless about him as though he was gliding through the air. This alone has made him unreal and incredible to many people who cannot distinguish the core of the story from the ornamental and unwise additions of the unintelligently devout.” (The Outline of History, Vol. 1; 1920) The Jesus of the New Testament is seldom understood by modern man. They have recreated the Son of God as their own totem to represent what they find value in themselves rather than the picture of holy writ. Whether in Renaissance paintings, sculptors by a great artist or modern films, Jesus is portrayed as a beautiful, graceful and striking image that draws men solely upon His kind smile and warm touch. He is easily picked out of a crowd and men adore Him with longing eyes of love and devotion. Nothing is further from the truth as to the real Jesus of scripture. There are no images of the man from Nazareth because when He lived His life was insignificant to the world for most of His earthly life. Mary, His mother, was the only one certain of His identity and for thirty years she never revealed it to others. He did not come into the public view until the age of thirty-three and then His popularity waned after a few years and they killed Him as a common criminal. He would not have been the subject of any portrait much less anyone taking notice of His features or characteristics. Many of the early disciples who knew Him personally never spoke of any importance to what their Lord looked like and no drawings or paintings are preserved suggesting any likeness of Jesus. This, of course, will leave a vacuum in the mind of man to try and recreate what they believe Jesus to look like. It is in this arena man shows the failure of human wisdom and the glorification of the mind of God.

The totem of Jesus is not attempting to literally describe the physical appearance of the Christ but the perceptions of who the Jesus of the New Testament will be in the lives of the individual. Jesus is never measured by what made Him distinct and stand out from others. His teaching is what made Him be the man of His time to change the hearts and minds of the people. He was not significant because He stood out in a crowd and had a soft glow about His face. Jesus was a man who challenged the teachings of the Jewish leaders, minds of the religious zealots and hearts of the common man. He looked so much like a common man it offended the Jewish elite to consider such an unimportant person from the backwater town of Nazareth would be worthy to listen to, but they could not resist His teaching. Isaiah hints to the physical appearance of the coming Christ as one that is indistinguishable from others. The Father never desired to reveal the face of Jesus to the world but the teaching of His Son. Creating an image of Christ can only come from the scriptures without the prejudice of human wisdom trying to recreate the Son of God in the image of man. It is easy to paint Jesus in a manner that is not found in scripture. Many people have ideas and thoughts about the Son of God that come from the mythology of human wisdom rather than the truth of scripture. Salvation will only come through the knowledge of what Jesus brought from the Father in the revealed word of the gospel. Hearts that are changed by the gospel of Christ is the Jesus of scripture.

There are many churches today because each group has its own totem of Jesus. One group will proclaim their allegiance to Christ while another group offers their interpretation of the Christ and both portraits of Jesus are diametrically opposed to one another. Men say that all churches are united together as followers of Jesus but their totems are different. How can the image of the Son of God reflect a different picture of Jesus to each religious group and speak the same thing with the same authority? There can be no totems of Jesus but only the image of the Firstborn Son of God as revealed in scripture by the word of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said of Himself He was the way, the truth, and the life and there could be no other. Anything created by man is a forgery of the original. Sadly many people are content to recreate Jesus in their own image so they can live without the guilt of accountability to the Father. The purpose of creating personal totems is to justify beliefs. When the end of the world comes and all things will be destroyed, the totems of Jesus will be burned up and the only image of the Christ remaining will be that which is painted on the pages of holy writ. Examine the Jesus of scripture and let His image of grace, love, power, and righteousness be the picture you see of the Son of God.

 

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And All The People Shall Say Amen

amen wallpaper

And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. And the Levites shall speak with a loud voice and say to all the men of Israel: ‘Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image, an abomination to the Lord, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and sets it up in secret.’ And all the people shall answer and say, ‘Amen!’ ‘Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.’ “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!’ (Deuteronomy 27:11-16)

And All The People Shall Say Amen

It has been a little over forty years since the nation of Israel was freed from the captivity of the Egyptians. Moses is recounting the law before the people as final preparations are made to begin the conquest of the promised land. The great prophet who guided the people through the Red Sea and to the giving of the Law at Sinai sharing in their punishment of forty years of wandering is now facing his own death at the age of one hundred and twenty. He will not be permitted to enter the land of promise. His eye is not dim nor strength abated but because of his failure to give glory to God, he will only see a glimpse of the land flowing with milk and honey. Before this next generation of God’s people begins the new day of conquest, Moses spends a great deal of time rehearsing the law before the minds of the nation. Using two mountains are parabolic illustrations of the goodness and wrath of God, six tribes stand on Mount Ebal and six tribes stand on Mount Gerizim. The Levites spoke with a loud voice and pronounced twelve laws before the people they were required to obey. Sins such as idolatry, cursing father and mother, moving a neighbor’s landmark, disregarding the blind, perverting justice for the stranger, fatherless and the widow is forbidden. Sexual sins such as incest, bestiality are an abomination. Attacking a neighbor secretly and taking a bribe will be met with the judgment of the Lord. Moses declares that all those who do not confirm all the words of the law by obeying them will be cursed. At each occasion the law was pronounced, the people were to say, “Amen.” Twelve times this is repeated in the text. Each time the law was pronounced the people had to say, “Amen.” If they did not confirm the word of the Lord they would be accursed.

God required the people to answer with a confirmation that His word was true, righteous and just. The Lord did not give laws to amuse Himself or to give a man tasks to perform without requiring them to acknowledge the justice of His word. The laws pronounced on Ebal and Gerizim were an illustration of the nature of God’s law demanding the people to acknowledge the sovereign right of God to rule their lives. These were not blessings but curses. They had to answer for the consequence of their actions by affirming with “Amen.” It is easy to understand saying amen to blessings, but how could the people say it to curses? They felt and acknowledged the fairness of the word of God. The response was not a mere profession of faith in the truth of the curses, but an open declaration that they were just, true and certain. Their willingness to say amen was the expression of deep conviction, the approval of a law which brands sin with a curse. It made them accountable to the word of the Lord and He enjoined on them a commitment to keep the law. If they broke His law and went against His commandments their own words would condemn them because they had agreed with the word of the Lord by saying, “Amen.”

Confession is as much a part of salvation as obedience to the law. What God required of the people was nothing more than what He has commanded of all men and that is to confess with the mouth allegiance to His word. In the covenant of Christ, it is with the mouth confession is made unto salvation as part of the scheme of redeeming man to show the accountability of man’s obedience to God. Ignorance will never be used as an excuse by those who stand before the Lord in the great day of judgment. The testimony of God is clearly seen in the invisible attributes of the Creator and all men acknowledge the greatness of His creation. When the heart is turned to obey the will of the Lord confession is the verity of an honest heart confessing the laws of God as true, righteous and just. Allegiance is established in the form of saying “Amen” like the children of Israel and no man can be saved in Christ without the utterance of their affirmation to the word of God. There will be a curse upon those who do not confirm all the words of the law of Christ if they refuse to obey His will. Loving Jesus requires keeping His commandments. And all the people shall say, “Amen.”

 

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What Is The Church Of God?

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To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours. (1 Corinthians 1:2)

What Is The Church Of God?

In both of his letters to Corinth, the apostle Paul refers to the brethren as the church of God. He begins each letter addressed to the church of God at Corinth and refers to them as a church of God three other times. Paul warned the elders from Ephesus to take heed and to shepherd the church of God which Christ purchased with His own blood.  Recounting his previous life the apostle tells the churches of Galatia that he had persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it. Finally, writing to Timothy instructing him concerning the qualities of those men who would shepherd the body of Christ, the apostle reminds his fellow preacher an elder need to know how to rule his own house so that he may be skilled in caring for the church of God. The idea of the people of God to be called the church of God is in keeping with the divine plan of God’s redemptive mystery revealed in the church of Christ. Jesus came to build His church, die for His bride and establish the eternal kingdom of God’s grace for all men to find salvation. On the day of Pentecost, three thousand souls were added to the church of God as they obeyed the gospel message of repentance and remission of sins in the waters of baptism. The church of God multiplied in the early days of new covenant and churches of God spread throughout the Roman Empire. There were churches of God in Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth. Paul wrote letters to the churches of God in Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica, Rome, Philippi and the churches of Galatia. John revealed the message of Christ to the seven churches of God in Asia Minor when he penned the Revelation.

Paul’s first letter to Corinth describes the nature of the church of God as the group of believers in the city of Corinth. He had spent about eighteen months working with the celebrated city of the Peloponnesus, capital of Corinthia. Opposition from the Jews led the apostle to work primarily with the Gentiles and the church was firmly established. Those who made up the church at Corinth were sanctified in Christ Jesus. The city of Corinth was filled with idols in the pagan worship and glorification of temples, art, pleasure, and debauchery of a wealthy and influential Roman city. It would have been a very difficult place to live as a Christian separated from the trappings of an ungodly world. The sanctification of the Corinthian saints suggests they strove diligently to keep themselves unspotted from the world around them. Their separation from things unholy made them holy or sanctified in the eyes of the Lord. The church of God is made up of those individuals who esteem the character of godliness above the reproach of a world filled with the carnal pleasures and pursuits of the pleasure. For the Christian’s in Corinth, Paul commended them for being sanctified in a place like Corinth. The church was filled with severe problems but Paul had faith in their love for God to make the right decisions. His second letter bears out his confidence in the willingness to correct those wrongs.

The idea of being a saint is lost in translation today but the Bible refers to all Christians as saints. Christ had sanctified the Christians through His blood but their lives signified they lived apart from the world and were aptly called to be saints. The souls who seek to keep their lives out of the filth of the world live as saints in a world filled with the carnal pleasures of sin. To be called as saints is the desire of the Father for His children. Corinth was a difficult city to live and seek to follow the path of holiness, purity, and righteousness but these brave souls in the church of God were commended for keeping their lives apart from the decadent world about them. The manner of their calling is described on how they called on the name of Jesus Christ. Lives that are devoted to the Lord will always use His power and authority to guide their hearts to please the Father. Calling on the name of the Lord is as ancient as the world as all those who please God seek His blessing in their lives by keeping His commandments. In the church, those who call on the name of Jesus Christ as Lord have given their lives wholly to the will of the Father. Corinth had infected the church with carnality, sin, and confusion as Paul explained in his first letter. There were many things wrong with the church at Corinth but the apostle addresses them as a church of God and commends their faith before outlining the problems they needed to fix. Reading the second letter the apostle is thankful that because they had a willingness to call on the name of Jesus Christ they fixed many of the problems that plagued the church. A church of God is a place God’s word is honored and held in the esteem of following the New Testament pattern of authority. The church of God which is at Corinth is a wonderful example of how the Lord desires His people to be called saints and to call on the name of His Son Jesus Christ.

 

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