Word Studies

                                      

                                 Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

THE CHRISTIAN AND GOOD WORKS

Since the Reformation there has been an emphasis on Salvation by faith alone and ‘doing good’ has become suspect lest any should be relying on them for Salvation. Even Martin Luther was not too happy with the epistle of James which mentions the need for good works. 

The reformers taught  that Salvation is the gift of God, and cannot be worked for, merited or deserved.; and even in Titus – 3:8 which extols good works, it clearly  states that ‘After the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared not by works of righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us’. And there is a hymn that also confirms this:

Not the labours of my hands, could fulfil Thy laws demands,

Could my zeal no respite know, could my tears forever flow

All for sin could not atone, Thou must save and Thou alone

How then do we reconcile faith and works seeing that both are required from us?

Paul prayed that the Christians in Corinth would abound in good works Jesus said ‘Let your light so shine that people may see your good works’. The Christians in Ephesus were told that they were created for good works. Further Timothy was told to be prepared for every good work. Further references could be added, so we are not building on an isolated text.

The question arises. Was Paul with his faith-emphasis and works-emphasis at variance? Faith is required to be saved. Good works are required for Christian obedience, and the reality is, that if one has faith to be saved, good works will be one of the results.

If, before the Reformation good works was over-emphasized at the expense of faith, we must not go to the extreme now and over-emphasizes faith at the expense of good works.

1/. The highest form of good works are for the Lord and His Church. These will include our religious duties such as prayer, preaching, teaching etc. I was once asked if our denomination had orphanages, and it would certainly be good to have them but it is possible to multiply social projects and lose the spiritual impact. After all, any person of goodwill can undertake charity work, but only Christians can present the Gospel People’s spiritual needs must take priority.

2/. Good works will include our daily jobs. Quoting again from Titus 3:14 we are told to ‘maintain good works for necessary uses’ or as another commentary puts it, ‘profess honest occupations. Christians should work in industries that are helpful to the community, not producing things appealing to the vanity of the age, or anything detrimental to its health or moral danger.

Charles Charrington, son of the brewery boss, when he saw the harm that drink could do,  renounced claim to his inheritance, became a Christian and wrote a tract called The Great Acceptance.

A Christian then will engage in work that can be offered to God as a part of his worship because it is honourable. When a gentleman visited his Christian friend in Germany, he noted that in the morning family prayer, he prayed, ‘Lord give us strength today to serve You and the Fatherland’.

The final God criterion of a Christian’s work is not the salary but the glory of God.

3/. Good works include our private and voluntary work. Romans 12 instructs givers to do their giving with simplicity which means privately and quietly. Jesus rebuked those who made a show of their charity – ‘Let not your right hand know what your left hand doeth’.

What can our personal good works include apart from giving money? It can involve a friendly call on an elderly or sick person. A kindness shown to the under-privileged’; a letter to a distant relative or missionary, all being done not as a duty but as a delight. Such givers however should be warned that sometimes their giving may be unappreciated and even abused. I know of a Christian gentleman who bought old houses, refurbished them and let them to homeless families at minimum rents. Some misused them, let them get dirty and damaged, but the landlord said, ‘I did this work for Jesus and I leave the result with Him’. He did not allow the abuse make him bitter or abandon his good work.

The motivation for Christians to help others is well expressed in the words of a minister who was one day seen to be pushing an old person in a wheel-chair up a steep hill. He said ‘I gladly do this, because another Person carried a heavy cross up another hill for me!’ Jesus said, ‘inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these My brethren you have done it unto Me’ .

                                   

Word Studies

                                       

                                      Rev. K. Munday

WORD STUDIES

 

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction. 

CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH

Jesus said, ‘1 will build my Church, and the against it’ – Matthew t1.16:18. After He had risen from the dead, He made the astounding statement that all power had been invested in Him.

During His earthly ministry He also made three special pronouncements. They were not wishes, ambitions or suggestions, but definite imperatives. They referred to incidents that would take place without conditions.

In John 14:3 He said ‘I will come again’. Four simple words that even a child could understand. Then in John 16:7 He said ‘I will send the Comforter’ (The Holy Spirit) which took place on the Day of Pentecost.

In the third statement He promised to build His Church. The first promise is yet to be fulfilled, the second has taken place, and the third is happening now.

HE IS BUILDING A TRANSNATIONAL CHURCH

It is doubtful whether the first Christians had any idea how the Church would grow and develop. For the first ten years it was almost exclusively Jewish, and could have remained just another Jewish party, but in Acts 10 there came a surprising revolution. The Gospel was preached and received by the Gentiles, and the Church became transnational.

There is an interesting contrast between Genesis 12 and Acts 10 where two important events took place in reverse order. From Genesis 12, Bible history is mainly concerned with the history of Israel, but from Acts 10 God’s covenant opens up to the Gentile nations, and the word ‘whosoever’ is included in the invitation to the Kingdom of God.

HE IS BUILDING A TRANSGENERATIONAL CHURCH

It commenced in the first century, and in the 21st century (50 generations later) it is still being built. During its history it has experienced opposition, persecution, betrayal, suffering and misunderstanding. It came through the dark ages when for about a thousand years the preaching of the pure Gospel of Jesus somehow went on to the back- burner, but in the 16th century came the Reformation, and the doctrines of Grace were restored, followed by movements promoting holiness and then later the opening up of world-missions. Jesus was building His Church.

HE IS BUILDINGA TRANSDENOMINATIONAL CHURCH

The Church of Jesus is bigger than any denomination it would be true to state that no single branch of the Church fully expresses all the truths and experiences that God intends for His people, but maybe the cooperation of believing Churches might yet produce it.

Often certain Churches emphasise (or over-emphasise) a particular truth, it. There is therefore the need while other Churches may neglect or ignore to preach the whole counsel of God – Acts 20:27.

In recent years more truth has been shared by different Churches, although they still meet separately, many thoughts, principles and practices are agreed and enjoyed by all.

WHAT KIND OF CHURCH IS JESUS BUILDING?

What is the shape of the Church in the 2lst century’? He is not building a Church of disobedient members. There is a dominant theme in the Bible, and that is the need for obedience to all lawful authority. Children to parents, pupils to teachers, workers to management and citizens to Law. The Christian is expected to be obedient to Church leaders as they follow Christ. 

And Jesus is not building a weak Church. Down the years despised and ridiculed by cartoonists, caricatured by the media and opposed by Satan, but it still stands and the gates of hell have not prevailed. The ancients regarded the grave as a prison house, and as one entered, the gates closed giving Satan the victory, but Jesus rose from the dead and opened the gates, and in due time Christians will be resurrected and the bates will not prevail.

Gates in Scripture are also a symbol of authority. The Elders who ruled a city were said to ‘sit in the gate’ – the place of government and authority, but no authority will prevail against the Church; it is unstoppable!

                                  

Word Studies

                                     

                                    Rev. K. Munday

WORD STUDIES 

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

WHAT MAKES

THE BIBLE UNIQUE?

For Christians the Bible is their basis of Faith. Their foundation of Belief and their manual of Instruction. Although it was written over 2,000 years ago, it remains the world’: best-seller, and when the Archbishop of Canterbury presented a copy to Queen Elisabeth at her coronation, it was described as ‘the most valuable thing that this world affords.

The Bible is sometimes called the Word of God, but this does not mean that all the words recorded therein are spoken by God. It includes words of men, angels, spirits and even the devil. So it could be called the Message of God, just as a theatrical producer uses villains, heroes and others in presenting his theme, so God in Scripture presents His theme, the greatest theme, the way of salvation.

l was once invited to speak to the staff of the Bible society, after being shown around the premises where the Bible was printed and sent out in many languages. Some printing presses turn out morally-polluting literature, but the publishing of the pure words of Scripture counteract this by supplying good sound words of spiritual oxygen.

Another experience l had was when I visited Latvia just before the fall of communism. The bishop showed us a recent shipment of bibles from the west and he told how the people had received them with tears of joy after 70 years when there had been few obtainable.

A BOOK OF REVELATION

Something revealed indicates that which was formerly unknown, and in God’s mind there were thoughts and intents toward His creatures, and He chose to make them known through His Word – the Bible.

Christianity is a revealed religion. It did not arise in the minds of its adherents, so it is not a ‘do-it-yourself philosophy. 1 Corinthians 2: 9-11 are important verses. They state that the eye has not seen, the ear has not heard, neither has it entered into the head of man what God has prepared for those who love Him’. St Paul wrote those words to a Greek Church, and the Greeks were academics. They loved debate, argument and discussion. Paul too was an academic: but he did not preach from the grounds of their logic, but he declared Scriptural truth which broke through the closed circuit of human thought. He added to the above noted verses ‘but God has revealed them to us’ How? By His Word.

We cannot find God with the telescope, microscope or the computer. In the magazine The Welsh Churchman there is a report of a group of people surfing the web for some information on creation, and after viewing many theories and ideas it bashed up the words. ‘See Genesis chapter one’. No need to search further, it was revealed.

So it is with salvation. No other book so clearly and authoritatively shows the way to God. People build up their own idea about destiny, believing that living a good life occasionally going to church is sufficient to obtain redemption. But the Bible goes deeper and reveals 4 impotent facts on the subject. 1. All have sinned and come short of God’s standard. 2. We cannot cleanse our sins. 3. Jesus died on the cross for sinners and through His blood we are redeemed. 4. We must come humbly before Him in repentance to receive the gift of eternal Life.

The Bible also reveals the future. Thousands look to clairvoyants and horoscopes but we have a sure  word of prophecy. Jesus is coming again to set up His kingdom.

IT IS A BOOK OF INSPIRATION

What is inspiration? The word is generally used to describe some special influence upon people. It may in the giving of a speech that rouses the hearers, a sports team’s performance, or a musical recital. They seem to be exhibiting super talent. But the inspiration of the Bible’s contributors is different and of a much higher level. It is a divine influence, and the writers knew and acknowledged it. ‘His word was in my tongue’ – 2 S:m.23:2 and The Word of the Lord came to me’ – Jeremiah 11:1.

The New Testament confirms this when it states that ‘Holy men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit’, and in that they were words which the Holy Spirit’, 1 Corinthians 2:1 we are reminded Spirit taught comparing spiritual things with spiritual. This means expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The writers were not robots, but God guided them to the right words that matched the meaning He wished to convey. God and man working together in a wonderful way.

IT IS A BOOK OF ILLUMINATION

 

We appreciate the direction signs on motor-ways, especially at night when they are illuminated. They keep us from losing our way. The psalmist said, ‘Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’, and it first throws light on our human condition. It reveals the darkness of the human heart and its potential for great wickedness. Jesus said that out of heart proceeds murders and adulteries etc. and we see its results every time we open our newspapers. 

Although C.S. Lewis was a clever man and an academic, he confessed his need when God’s word came to him. He said his heart was a bedlam of foolishness, a zoo of lust and heart, a harem of hatred. The light revealed his heart.

But the same light illuminated Jesus as the Saviour and Lewis saw his need and the One who could meet it. That’s what the Bible’s all about. It’s God signpost to Jesus and when we turn to Him in repentance we can receive eternal life.

                               

Word Studies

                                         

                                    Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

GOD’S IMMANENCE AND HIS TRANSCENDNCE

These two attributes two aspects of God are not contradictory; they simply emphasise two aspects of His presence. The immanence teaches His nearness, whilst His transcendence shows that His presence goes beyond the locality. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that He fills all things. And there is a verse of a Hymn which brings both of these aspects together:

”Lord of all being throned afar, Thy glory flames from sun and star,

Centre and soul of even sphere, yet to each loving heart how near!”

A lot of religious thought and writing today is centred on our personal feelings. ‘How to succeed’ and ‘raising your self-esteem’ are popular titles. One BBC presenter said, ‘When l am in trouble I send up a little prayer’, which gave the impression that God is a kind of cosmic Psychiatrist being there when we need Him.

But the Bible turns that thought on its head, for in Revelation 4:2 it states, ‘Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they were created’. God does not exist for us, but rather we exist for Him! In true worship therefore our thoughts should be centred on the Divine. His immanence shows that He is near. Acts l7:27 confirms this ‘Though He be not far from every one of us’.

HIS IMMANENCE – IN CREATION

God did not wind up the universe like a clock and then forget about it. He upholds all things by the word of His power – Hebrews1:3. He replenishes the energy of the sun, guides the planets in their orbits, maintains the seasons and controls the tides. He renews the earth – Psalm 104.30 and His tender mercies are over all His works  – Psalm 145: 9. And there is a solemn reminder in Job 34:14/15 stating that if he withdrew His Spirit, all flesh would perish. This shows that all forms of life, whether human, animal or plant life are ultimately energised by the Spirit of God Who is the Spirit of Life.

HIS IMMANENCE – IN HISTORY

Jesus said that the times and seasons were in the Father’s power Acts1:7) and in Daniel 4:25 the prophet said to King Nebuchadnezzar that ‘The Most High ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will’. God is working His purpose fout in history, and the focal point to which all history moves is the coming to earth again of our Lord Jesus Christ. Empires have come and gone: Egypt Persia, Babylon Roman, Nazi and Communist, but God has kept His hand on Israel. Throughout all their troubles from the brick kilns of Egypt to the gas chambers of Auschwitz and though surrounded by enemies they still survive.

GOD’S IMMANENCE – IN THE CIIURCH

Jesus said to His disciples, ‘Lo 1 am with you always, even to the end of the age – Matthew28:19 and in Mark 16:20 ‘they went forth, the Lord working with them’. He also promised that wherever two or three would gather in His Name He would be present with them.

But Christ is more than ‘with us’, by His Spirit ‘He dwells within us. ‘Christ in you the hope of glory’. Such an experience is unique to the Christian Faith. No other religious system purports to bequeath to its followers the presence of its founder. In 2 Corinthians 6:16 God announces ‘I will dwell in them and walk in them’. Could He be closer? Could He be more immanent?

THE TRANSCENDANCE OF GOD

Although He us with us, He is also above and beyond us. This contrasts to the pagan idols who were regarded as local gods, limited to a certain country or territory; and being lifeless they were useless. Psalm 115 tells us ‘Mouths they have but they speak not, eyes they have but they see not ears they had: but they hear not’. But Jehovah God transcends locality and His ways are higher than our ways and His thoughts higher than our thoughts. We are mortal but He is immortal; we are human, He is divine, and indeed His ways are past finding out and that is why we worship. Awe is an element of our devotions.

In one of Charles Wesley’s hymns he wrestleswith the mystery of the Cross and writes:

 ‘Tis mystery all, the immortal dies, who can explore his strange design?

In vain the firstborn seraph tries to sound the depth of love divine’.

But because neither he nor the angels have an answer he concludes ‘Tis mercy all, let earth adore, let angel minds enquire no more’. 

The Bible gives history a grand finale in Revelation 21:3 it says.. . . ‘I saw the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven and behold the tabernacle of God is with men and He will dwell among them’.

                           

Word Studies

                                      

                                 Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

ASPECTS OF WORSHIP 

 

In recent years there has been a particular emphasis on worship, mostly being expressed in an explosion of new songs and hymns. The present generation of Christians has contributed to our hymnology. 

Looking at the subject of worship however, whilst welcoming the musical side, we must not overlook other important features. God has an interest in all this and in John chapter 4 it says that He seeks those who will worship Him in Spirit and in truth. What then are some of the other elements of worship- the other ingredients of the cake as it were, because worship like the baking of a cake must have its ingredients in the right proportions.

WORSHIP IS A DECLARATION OF OUR LOYALTY TO GOD

In Daniel chapter 3, the haughty king Nebuchadnezzar set up a golden image some 90 feet high, and at a given time when certain music was played, the people had to bow down and worship the image as an ad of loyalty to the king and the state. Non-compliance was viewed as good as treason and the malcontents were punished, as were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.

When the Romans came to power some of their emperors claimed a divinity and citizens had to bow down and burn incense to show their loyalty. Christians who only worshipped their God refused, and were likewise punished, some losing their lives. Similar gestures were required by Hitler during the second world war. To show loyalty his followers would raise their hand accompanied by ‘Heil Hitler’.

The Christian acts of worship are therefore a public testimony of their loyalty to the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a threefold witness to heaven, earth and the powers of evil.

WORSHIP INDICATES OUR SUBMISSION TO GOD

 

The word Islam means submission to Allah, same principle applies to Christians when they worship Jehovah. They acknowledge His Lordship. He is King of kings and Lord of lords. It is customary to bow the head when worshipping and it is also biblical to bow the knee. Paul wrote in Ephesians 3: 14 “For this cause I bow the knee unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ”. 

The outward ads of worship are significant, but the inward attitude of the heart is paramount. In John 4 it states that God seeks those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Kneeling, bowing, raising the hands or even the prostrating of the body mean very little if one’s heart is not in it.’This people draw near with their mouth, but they have removed their hearts from Me’ – Isaiah 29:13.

Worship also means the surrender against God, and prays ‘Thy will be done’. It also involves being reconciled to other people. Jesus said, ‘If you bring your gift to the altar, and remember that your brother has ought against you, leave there thy gift before the altar, go thy way and first be reconciled to thy brother, then come and over thy gift’ – Matthew1.5:23/24. Submission also extends to the obedience of all lawful authority, unless it demands the compromise of the Christian conscience.

WORSHIP OPENS THE HEART TO GOD

 

Worship should be an unhurried exercise before God, and in a world of rush and bustle, some find it difficult to wait quietly before Him. But it is essential to develop the habit. One could liken it to sun bathing. People spend time just exposing themselves to the sun, and there’s a hymn that describes worship in such terms:- 

‘I’m sitting in His presence, the sunshine of His face

And with adoring wonder His blessings I retrace

It seems as if eternal days are far too short to sound his praise!’

And it’s a two-way thing. As we draw near to God He draws near to us. His love warms our hearts and prepares us for further development of the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We have yet to discover the tremendous experience and potential of drawing near to God.

According to folk-lore, in Roman times when the women were expecting their babies, they would gaze on beautiful statuary, believing that the beauty would transfer to the unborn child. It is interesting how this echoes what Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 3:18. ‘We all with open face beholding as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory even as by the Spirit of the Lord’.

WORSHIP IS NOURISHED BY THE WORD OF GOD

Hymns and songs are a part of worship, and so is the reading and ministry of the Word. In worship the heart is opened to the presence of God and the mind is opened also. The act includes heart and mind. This means that those who lead worship should make sure that all that is sung has a scriptural setting. Some time ago an album was produced called Scriptures in Song, which proved highly profitable spiritually as it enhanced the exercise. After all, the words that God gave are more important than the words we compose however good they may be.

We should regard every part of the Church service as an act of worship.

                                  

Word Studies

                                          

                                    Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

THE ASCENSION OF JESUS

After Jesus rose from the dead, he remained on earth for forty days, and showed Himself alive to His disciples by many infallible proofs. Then, ten days prior to the Jewish Feast of Pentecost He left this easily scene and reamed to His Father in heaven.

Why did He not remain with the newly-formed Church? There are several important reasons:

IT AVOIDED CERTAIN PROBLEMS THAT WOULDHAVE ARISEN

Around His sacred Person He had gathered twelve apostles and many more disciples. They had worked with Him and taken their instructions from Him during the beginnings of His kingdom on earth; but when the Church grew and the numbers increased, the message spread throughout the Roman empire, and even Rome and Babylon had Christian Assemblies.

It would become obvious therefore that any particular Church that was favoured with the Lord’s physical presence would have an advantage over the other Churches. For many Christians too, their experience would be ‘walking by sight’ rather than by faith, because there is a special blessing to those ‘who having not seen yet have believed’, and Paul adds, ‘Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we Him no more’ .

In His earthly existence Jesus had limitations, being subject to natural laws as we are. His essential Divine being was straitened by human faculties. Can one imagine a famous artist, wishing to express his genius on the canvas, awaking one morning to discover himself a member of the lower creation . . . a dog perhaps? And instead of those deft fingers he only had paws. Or a brilliant singer awaking to discover a growl instead of that golden voice?

So our blessed Lord became a member of the human race to effect redemption, and He, the Eternal One, could not fully express Himself in this temporal scene. He said, ,”I have a baptism .. and how am I straitened until it be accomplished”. But at His ascension He was released from all and through Him He is no longer restricted to one place, but throughout the whole world Jesus is working with His disciples by the Holy Spirit. So it was expedient that He went away, because now on earth no group of believers are anymore privileged than another group, because where two or three are gathered together He is there!

IT DEMONSTRATED HIS TRIUMPH

The ascension was the great consummating act in the earthly life of Jesus. All through it He proved Himself to be victorious over sickness, demons, the raging elements, the subtlety of men, the wiles of Satan and even death; and now at the ascension even the law of gravity gave way to the Master.

Well might Psalm 24 be a commentary on His return to heaven. The Cloud that bore Him up was probably an escort of angels, and as they approached they would shout ‘”Lift up your heads oh ye gates, and be ye lifted up you everlasting doors, and the King of Glory shall come in!” ”Who is this King of glory?” would ask the angelic host from within, only to receive the thunderous reply, ”The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battler –  vv7/8.

IT OPENED THE GATES OF HEAVEN

”When Thou didst overcome the sharpness of death, Thou didst open the Kingdom of heaven to all believers. These words are usually read at a funeral service, and a hymn writer put it like this, ”There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin, He only could unlock the gates of heaven and let us in”.

By Adam’s disobedience mankind was led out of God’s presence, but through the Lord Jesus Christ they are led back. Already the Christian believer experiences spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, and hereafter by the mercy of God will be able to enjoy a place there.

Christ went to heaven in the form of a man. Whom did Satan cause to break God’s Law? A man! Who was expelled from Eden? A man! Whom has Satan defeated and kept in subjection? A man!

But who entered heaven in His own righteousness? Who has made an open show of Satan? A man!…The Man Christ Jesus.

IT ENABLED JESUS TO TAKE UP HIS HIGH PRIESTHOOD.

”Christ being come an High Priest….by His own blood entered in once to the Holy place – Hebrews 9:11-12 ”Not into the Holy Place made with hands, but into heaven itself’.

Just as the High priest of old presented the blood in the Holy place, so has our Great High Priest Jesus, presented His own precious blood before the Father, and now He intercedes for us.

The ascension is linked with the second coming of Jesus. ”This same Jesus” said the celestial visitants, ”shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go” – Acts 1 :11.

On earth Jesus was God’s prophet now in heaven He is God’s Priest and at His second coming He will be God’s King. King of righteousness and King of Peace,

All hail the power of Jesus Name Let angels prostrate fall

Bring forth the royal diadem And crown Him Lord of All! 

                                

Word Studies

                                

                         Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

THE RESURRECTION OFJESUS

The resurrection of Jesus was the great event that put Christianity ‘on the map’, and the Apostle Paul, bursting with confidence said, “If only in this life we have hope, then we are of all men most miserable”, then he went on, “but now is Christ risen from the dead”.

On that first Easter day the followers of Jesus were radiantly happy. They had passed through a traumatic time. The people had cried for His death, and the Romans obliged. All hopes of the establishing of a new Kingdom and age had gone.

HE DIED

It must have been terrible for may His mother to witness His execution. She had received prophecies that indicated that He was destined for Messiahship. She brought Him into the world, cared for Him as a baby, superintended His early life, all so full of promise… and now this! His followers also felt the blow. Some of them had given up their jobs to join Him. What would they do now? How could they face friends and neighbours without feeling embarrassed? After all, Matthew had led a civil service appointment and Peter James and John a business. What for?

Then there were hundreds of ordinary folk in the nation who had hoped for better times’; after all, Jesus was an outstanding personality. His wisdom was superb. He had helped the poor, healed the sick and blessed the children, as well as performing some amazing miracles. Surely this was to be the dawning of a new day. But was it? Gloom spread across the nation. Jesus was dead. It was all over.

HE ROSE

But something happened. Staggering, stupendous news. It healed Mary’s broken heart, brought the disciples out of hiding and gave new hope to He had risen from the dead!

The resurrection may have been a surprise to some, but the Scriptures had foretold it. The Sadducees did not believe in resurrection anyway, and the Jews in general tried to explain it away. But unbelief cannot alter facts. A thousand years BC there was a prophecy that stated, ”Thou wilt suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption” – Psalm 16: 10. That prophecy admitted Christ’s death, but that He would rise on the third day. That was significant because the body begins to corrupt on the third day after death – see John 11:39.

Jesus Himself said that ”The Son of man must suffer many things and be killed, and be raised on the third day – Matthew 16:21. His friends forgot that but His enemies remembered it! Yet another amazing thing, Jesus actually made arrangements to see His disciples after He had risen – Mark 16:7.

HISTORICAL

Christianity is a Faith, but it is grounded on historical facts. We have not followed cunningly-devised fables. These things happened on our planet.

Josephus was a Jewish historian and he wrote, “This Jesus rose on the third day. He was seen by over five hundred brethren at onece”. Some evidence! One or two individuals may claim to see visions, and little corroborating evidence is given, but five hundred could hardly have experienced a collective hallucination.

AFTERMATH

The Authorities were thrown into confusion’, the Elders, the Priests and Military. A communique was issued announcing that there was no resurrection. but His followers had stolen the body. But that begged more questions than it answered. Where did they take the body? To dispose of a body is not easy, even in our modern times, and it seems strange that there was not a very earnest search for it because if it could have been produced, the whole message of the Christian gospel would have fallen like a house of cards, and remember in the following years Christians were willing to die for their Faith. Would they do so if they knew it was hoax?

It further added that the disciples were able to steal the body of Jesus because the soldiers guarding the tomb were asleep. This is an insult to the Temple guard, but the stop ends in farce. The Guards were paid to admit their carelessness.. and there was no court martial!

PROOF

in Rom 1:4 it states that “Jesus is declared to be the Son of God by the resurrection from the dead”. We can visit the graves of other founders of various religions, but the grave of Jesus is dIfFerent. it is empty!

LAST WORD

The confession of His resurrection is a part OF VALID Christian witness, and shows that God has the last word in men’s affairs. There are many powers that influence the world, political, financial, military and nuclear, but who but Jesus ever said, ”All power is given to Me”? His enemies thought they had got rid of Him, but how wrong they were. They still had to reckon with Him, because He is the Great inescapable.. On Good Friday men said NO, but on Easter Day God said YES and that settled it.

The world has not seen the end of Jesus. He is coming again to judge the dead and the living. He will prove to be King of kings and Lord of lords!

                                  

Word Studies

                                

                           Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction

WATER BAPTISM

The Bible makes it clear that it is the duty of even Christian to be baptised in water as soon as possible after conversion. Some refuse the command and others ignore it. There are those who argue against it. The Apostle Peter says that ”it is the answer of a good conscience toward go – 1 Peter 3:21.

THE HISTORY OF WATER BAPTISM

The Lord Jesus instituted two ordinances; the breaking of bread ( or communion service) and water baptism. Both ordinances have in the Old Testament. The Passover was the celebration of Israel’s redemption from Egypt in the breaking of bread in the Christian Church is the celebration of the sinners’ redemption from sin effected by Jesus on the cross.

Baptism too has its history in the Old Testament. An early symbol was the Great flood of Noah’s day. In 1 Peter 3:20/21 states that “In the days of Noah eight souls were saved by water. . . . the like figure whereunto baptism does also now save us”. During the Flood the earth itself was submerged (or baptized). At that time all flesh had corrupted itself and God would begin afresh. The Flood, or baptismal waters separated the old creation from the new, and in the new convert is urged to ”walk in newness of life” – Romans 6:4.

There were also various Old Testament ablutions. In Exodus 29:4 Aaron and his sons had to be taken to the door of the tabernacle and washed with water. That was part of a priest’s preparation for service. A similar washing was required before they entered the tabernacle ”that they die not” was the reason. And in Leviticus 15 there is a whole list of ceremonial dfilements which required cleansing.

Naaman the leper also underwent a form of water baptism for his healing. In 2 Kings 5:10 he was instructed  to dip (baptize) 7 times in the river Jordan.

In John 1:33 John the Baptist said that he was sent to baptize. His converts were therefore baptised to declare their faith in the coming Messiah Jesus, and to show repentance for their sins. In Acts 19 John’s disciples became Christians and received Christian baptism. John’s baptism was not invalid, but it was pre-christian.

THE BAPTISM OF JESUS

Our Lord Jesus Himself was baptised in water – Matthew 3:13-17 so when we talk of converts following the Lord through the waters, this is literally true. A question may be used however as to why Jesus needed to be baptised when it was a sign of repentance, because He had done nothing wrong. But there are other aspects of baptism. Jesus set an example, and the positive side of baptism is that of dedication to God. Jesus as a man had self-will and therefore had a choice, and He chose to do the will of His Father. In John 17:19 He declared ”For their sakes (the disciples) I sanctify (or dedicate) Myself ‘. His baptism fulfilled all righteousness.

It is to be noticed how many Old Testament Scriptures were fulfilled in Christ. Aaron, the first High priest for example, was washed, then anointed with oil before he served. So our Lord, the Great High Priest followed the pattern. He was baptised, then, coming out of the water He was anointed with the Holy Spirit.

He was also baptised to identify Himself with his people. He made no exemptions in His highly life; but identified with His people whenever He could. Brought up in Nazareth, which seemed not to be a very famous city; He undertook the work of a labourer in the carpenter’s shop and worked with His hands.

THE DUTY OF CHRISTIANS

 An officer of a large Church once said, “I would be baptized in water if the Lord told me to!” the Lord told me to!” Well, the Lord has told us to in His word. ”Make of all nations” He instructed His disciples ‘baptizing them’. In Acts 10 Peter commanded the Gentiles to be baptized, not because they were unwilling, but because they needed Apostolic authority for the new era. On another occasion there was immediate obedience from a new convert who, when he saw water asked ”What doth hinder me from being baptized?”

Some would argue that water baptism is only mentioned four or five times in the Epistles. That is true, but the communion service is only mentions once, so does this not indicate that both ordinances were well established and regularly practised?

We believe that the mode of water baptism is by complete immersion.

Philip and the eunuch both went down into the water – Acts 8:38 and John baptised at Aenon because there was much water there – John 3:23 and seeing that baptism is a type of burial, immersion is the most logical and meaningful mode to represent it.

THE RELATION BETWEEN SALVATION AND BAPTISM

It is a very close relationship. Much significance can be lost when they are separated by too a period. Often in these days we like to make sure that a work of grace has been done in the converts heart before we offer baptism, and there is something to be said for this; but from a scriptural viewpoint God’s desire is to fill His people with the Holy Spirit and repentance and water baptism are viewed as the initial step to that glorious experience – Acts 2:38.

We concede that the thief on the cross who repented was not baptized but went to paradise, but that was not because he would not, but because he could not. We could use the words of the marriage service regarding salvation and baptism: “What god has joined together, let no man put asunder”.

Baptism does not save. Salvation is through faith in the atoning blood of Jesus and no works of righteousness that we can perform (even religious ordinances) can save us. Neither can we subscribe to the prayer formula at infant baptism which states ‘Sanctify this water to the mystical washing away of sin’.

A MEANS OF GRACE

Ordinances have been abused, but that does not invalidate their right usage. Any Biblical ordinance is a means of grace when sincerely taken by faith. In Colossians 2: 12 it says that “We have been buried with Him in baptism, and raised with Him through the operation of God’. Baptism puts us into the place of obedience and it is there we can know the operation of God in our lives. It becomes the Christian’s first test of obedience.

It was not the waders of Jordan that cleansed Naaman’s leprosy but his obedient faith in the operation of God.

We therefore conclude that baptism in water is not optional but imperative completing our Christian obedience. blessing and usefulness. What hinders you from being baptised?

                             

 

Word Studies

                                  

                               Rev. K.W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

THE DESCENT OF MAN

Almost all scientific publications beginning, possibly as a form of protoplasm and eventually, her millions of years evolved into homo sapiens.

But has science got it right? Producers found enough material to make up a series of TV programmes called The Ascent of man, but the scriptures and history furnish a lot more evidence for Man’s descent!

MAN CREATED

The book of Genesis informs us that man was created from the dust of the ground, and when God breathed into him the breath of life he became a living soul. Created in the image of God, he was formed a rational, moral and spiritual being, not only at one with his material environment  but also with His Maker. A person of dignity and destiny. The garden of Eden was far removed from science’s slimy pool origin. He was given authority over the rest of creation. There is no biblical statement to support the idea that he passed through any lower stages. On the contrary we find Adam actually giving names and so identifying the animal world. That must have filled a few pages of ENCYCLOPEDIA EDENICA!

How long Adam and Eves’ idyllic situation lasted, we do not know, but we do know that it unfortunately ended in tragedy, bringing disaster to the whole ensuing human race.

CRISIS IN PARADISE

It would appear that Satan fell from grace before man did, and that he cast an envious eye on the coming and of man to this planet which was to become a colony of heaven upon earth. He approached Eve in the guise of a serpent which was one of the most beautiful of creatures in its pristine state. He brainwashed the couple and seduced them into disobedience and sin.

The new tenants were set at variance with their benevolent LandLord, and the significance of the fall was not so much kind of fruit involved, but in the fact that man had and had given his allegiance to the enemy.

THE DESCENT

”By one man sin entered into the world ” – Rom.5:13 and until we grasp the fact of the fall, we shall fail to grasp the fact and meaning of the Gospel of Jesus; neither will we make sense of New Testament theology if we disbelieve or disregard Old Testament history. The whole inspired scripture record must stand together. But not only does scripture testify to these things, there is also ample evidence around us of man’s moral and spiritual degeneration. Facts confirm scripture.

RESULTS ON HUMAN PERSONALITY

When Adam disobeyed God,  The solemn threat, “Thou shalt surely die” came came into operation. Before the fall it would seem that man was immortal as he had access to the Tree of Life, (which was denied to him after he had sinned – Gen.3:22) and when he was ejected from the garden he was subjected to physical corruption which eventually brought death. His sin also brought spiritual death which was even more serious for while physical death separates us from other humans, spiritual death separates us from God.

As these facts dawn on the consciousness, one realises the catastrophic results of the fall, working havoc and disintegrating human perso nally; God being no longer the centre of human being. Man was created to be a Theo-centric being, but sin moved the seat of government and he has become homo-centric.

RESULTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT

It is clear from scripture that mankind was destined to occupy the premier position on earth and rule it for God. He was to be the hub around which God’s purposes would turn, but when a hub is no longer in the centre, the entire wheel’s harmony is impaired. So the earth was cursed, and in came the thistle and the thorns, and man, insteadof dominating the environment is constantly having to compete with it. It has become a case of man against nature rather than man over nature. Ask an farmer or gardener!

The curse has extended to the animal world. The poet Tennyson said that ”Nature is red in tooth and claw” and that does not seem to express the perfect or ultimate will of God for His creatures, because in the coming Kingdom, the wolf will dwell with the lamb” – Isa. 11 :6.

REVERSING THE DESCENT

A well-known actor, giving testimony of his conversion to Christ said that he was on drugs and his marriage was threatened. He felt that he had ‘hit bottom’,, and he said when that happen sthere’s only one way to look and that’s up!

Man has descended, but there is a way up. Willie Law said that there are two great pillars in the Christian religion. The Greatness of our Fall, and the Greatness of our Redemption! How gloriously true, although sin and dear came through Adam, righteousness and life has come through our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Blessings abound where’er He reigns The prisoner leaps to lose his chains

The weary find eternal rest An all the sons of want are blessed.

Where’er He displays His healing power  Death and the curse are known no more

In Him the tries of Adam boast  More blessings than their father lost”.

                             

                           

Word Studies

                                       

                                    Rev. K. W. Munday

WORD STUDIES

Word Studies is presented by Rev. K. W. Munday, retired minister and former General Secretary of Assemblies of God for many years. He has served the body of Christ with grace and distinction, is an excellent, quality preacher and speaker, broadcaster, writer of books and still active in Christian service. His contributions here on Word Studies should prove a great means of blessing, inspiration and instruction.

WHO IS THE HOLY SPIRIT?

The Holy Spirit is the more difficult member of the Trinity to describe. He is very much a person of mystery.

We can imagine God as the Father. The benevolent creator and originator, and after all, the title of father rejects a human counterpart. This is also true of Jesus the Son who became human. We have no difficulty in relating to Him.

But when it comes to a Spirit we have no human counterpart for reference. This maybe why He is somewhat neglected in our thinking, and it is shown in Christian celebrations. Christmas and Easter are readily understood and are popular, but Whitsuntide or Pentecost is almost overlooked. Even our diaries omit it.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON

Before Jesus ascended, He them promised His disciples that He would send another Comforter in His place to represent Him. To be theologically correct, to the Holy Spirit is the Vicar of Christ.

 In John 16: 13-15 the personal pronoun regarding the Spirit is repeated several times; – ”HE will guide…HE will not speak of himself ..What HE hears…HE will speak…HE will show…HE will receive of mine…HE will glorify Me”

So it is clear that the Holy Spirit is not an object or an atmosphere nor merely a power. Ephesians 4:30 warns us not to grieve the Spirit. One cannot grieve an inanimate object but only a person.

Neither must we confuse the Holy Spirit with the symbols that the Scripture uses to represent Him. Oil, wind, water, fire, a dove etc. They are merely examples to describe His work.

In Acts 13, the Holy Spirit spoke. We are surrounded by many sounds. They come from nature or from technology, but when we hear a language being spoken we know that it comes from a person. Also, the various languages that the disciples spoke on the Day of Pentecost were words inspired by the Spirit.

Romans 8:26 may trouble some readers as the AV version quotes, “The Spirit ITSELF”. But the writer is grammatically correct because the word spirit is in the neuter gender, but this does not take away the fact that the Holy Spirit is a person. For example if the word child is used it could be as it (”it never seems to get tired”) It remains a person.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS DEITY

He is an equal member of the Trinity together with the Father and the Son. Sometimes people refre to them as the 1st, 2nsd and 3rd Persons of the Trinity, (Father , Son and Holy Spirit). I think this is wrong and cause some misunderstanding  especially if it leads to thinking that there is a superiority of one member over another. They are all essentially deity and work and commune together in eternal love. If there is an order, it is only in the methodology. The Father originates, the Son mediates, and the Spirit executes the divine decrees. (The foundation of a house is not superior to the wails or roof but it must go in first).

It might be timely whilst thinking of the Trinity to answer the accusation of the Muslims that Christians are idolaters because we worship three Gods. I think it was unfortunate when a noted cleric conducting a baptismal service by immersion, he ‘dipped’ the candidates three times while uttering the formula, ”in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost”. One immersion is sufficient, and the formula Jesus gave shows the unity of the Trinity. It was to be in The Name (singular) of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost” Their unity is complete, they are not rival Gods. We worship One God.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS OMNIPRESENT

When Jesus was on earth he was confined to a physical body and One can obviously could only be in one particular place at one time. One can envisage therefore the problems that would arise if he had remained in that condition. Visits to newly-formed Churches could have only been occasional, perhaps leading to some strong feelings from those rarely or never visited. If he was in Antioch he could not be in Corinth etc.

But the coming of the Spirit solved the problem. He can represent Jesus in any gathering of Christians  wherever they are. Just imagine a newsreader, who, by the miracle of technology can be seen and heard simultaneously if necessary all over the world. That is an example of omnipresence through human invention. Surely it’s no problem to God! The psalmist said, ”Whither shall 1 bee from your Spirit?”

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS SENSITIVE

One of the symbols of the Holy Spirit is a dove, indicating sensitivity rather than aggression. The mention also of His being grieved amplifies this. But His sensitivity is also towards us, as He knows our deepest needs. If Jesus is the Great Physician then the Holy Spirit is the Great Psychiatrist. His sensitivity is total, and there are indications that it includes that for the feminine. This does not mean that God is a woman, but notice what Jesus said about Jerusalem, “I would have gathered them as a hen her chicks”. Neither does this imply trans-sexuality. It merely means that there is a maternal quality in the Deity.

The Holy Spirit is shown as the ‘Home-maker’. He moved upon the waters and prepared the earth for man’s home. And in Ephesians 2:20 it refers to Him building another Home. The Church is builded together for an habitation of go through the Spirit

THE HOLY SPIRIT GLORIFIES JESUS

”He will not speak of Himself ‘ said Jesus, ”He will glorify Me” Have you noticed that when a famous building is floodlit, the lights themselves are not seen. They see to bring attention to the famous.

The Christian to is regarded as a light in the world, and we can learn a lesson from the Holy Spirit to always seek to glorify .. make known and make famous Jesus!

                                

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