Ability: Yours or His

“No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death.  There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.”
(Ecclesiastes 8:8-9)

There is no way for man to “retain the spirit” or to keep himself alive in the ways that are followed by man, by his own strength.  These ways are “under the sun” as Solomon calls them in Ecclesiastes, and are inferior to the supernatural ways of God.  Let’s contrast this with Jesus’ words to his disciples in Matthew 10:8, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.  You received without paying; give without pay.”

We see that Jesus gave authority to accomplish God’s purpose here on earth which was not possible in human ability.

Let’s thank the Lord for his amazing intervention in the course of history, not only doing what was necessary for us to have the ability to find him, but also attracting us to his goodness by giving gifts through those who would move in faith.

How are you going to use this gift today?

Is the Harvest Ripe?

Why is it we see that people are coming to repentance in the Bible, but we don’t see that happening in our world today? They preached to a different group of people, to a harvest that was ripe, but it looks like we don’t have that ripe harvest. I choose to believe that the Harvest is truly ripe, but perhaps well-meaning evangelistic types have told people that they are saved when they have yet to repent, never having experienced grace’s freedom from sin. Back in the New Testament Church they had Judaism and the law, just as we have Christianity and the sinner’s prayer*. So what really is the difference in the harvest today, and must we complain?

Will we preach the uncompromised gospel to the ends of the Earth to the ends of ourselves without apology? Will we cast out demons without hesitation, and will we persist as we grow in proficiency? Will we make disciples who do the same? What are we willing to give up, and what are we not willing to give up for the sake of the Gospel, for the sake of freedom from sin?

Will we keep our Focus on the King of Kings and the Lord of lords from the beginning of our day to the end? What will it take to keep us from falling to the world’s thought patterns?

*See more on the “Sinner’s Prayer” idea here:

Righteousness, Peace with God, and Love

We need to present a clear difference between Pharisaical rules and Godliness. God’s holiness was the fire by night and cloud by day in the wilderness, the acceptance of Jesus to the tax collectors and prostitutes, but the whip of cords to the money changers in the temple and the harsh words to the pharisees. 

We are raising up a standard for all to look to, but if we present a gospel that starts with works it is nothing different from anyone else’s false gospel. We must have something setting us apart from the cults, not just doctrinal difference; we need some thing or things that are inherently and obviously different, and I see the primary two things of differentiation being the LOVE and the POWER of MIRACLES to prove the word which we speak. We could also add the biblical discipleship model, though that isn’t going to likely be initially visible, but the model’s basis is in love demonstrated.

(These are my thoughts on a specific matter, posted for consideration and input. These things are why I appreciate the TLR format to such a degree.)

The Law as a Tutor

What does it mean to be under the guardian or tutor of the law? This is something I’ve been thinking on. I used to have my own way of doing things where the right way was my way, and no other way was right. All other ways, though not morally wrong according to the creator, were not my way, and I could have said that someone was lost in sin because they weren’t doing things my way. Then the goodness and lovingkindness of our Lord appeared to me and over time transformed me more into his image. I no longer see things that are different as wrong, but only those things that are against the word of God specifically — those things are morally wrong. One could be so much into the law that we could say out of their own fleshly self that really *any* thing is evil. What really *is* a problem though? Definitely the deeds of the flesh of Galatians 5:19-21, rebellion, and anything that drives the sinner away from the solution (who *is* Jesus) — these things are far from God’s will, and will divide a person from God now and for eternity.

Let us not love in word or in talk but in deed and in truth.

“Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian”
Galatians 3:23‭-‬25 ESV

What? Keeping the Law?

Romans 8:2-3 and surrounding verses and even chapters give an excellent description of what we are set free from and how it has happened. “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned the flesh…”

We are set free from the law of sin and death. The law given to Moses could not do this because we could not follow it perfectly.

The law of sin and death is like the law of gravity. These laws pull us down, whether or not we believe in these laws. This law must be canceled by a greater law, like lift in an airplane overcomes the gravitational pull toward the earth, and the law of the spirit of life sets us free in the same way from the law of sin and death by canceling the power of sin and enabling us to live in holiness, just as in the Scriptures we are called “saints” who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

We could go deeper into this too…

Baptism References

This should be an exhaustive list for the words baptism, baptized, baptize, baptizes, or baptizingIt’s 73 verses, all in the New Testament, and washing references follow at the bottom, though that list may not be exhaustive.

This list is in support of the article Regarding Baptism

Matthew 3:6

and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Matthew 3:7

But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Matthew 3:11

I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Matthew 3:13

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.

Matthew 3:14

John would have prevented him, saying, I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?

Matthew 3:16

And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;

Matthew 21:25

The baptism of John, from where did it come? From heaven or from man? And they discussed it among themselves, saying, If we say, From heaven, he will say to us, Why then did you not believe him?

Matthew 28:19

Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

Mark 1:4

John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 1:5

And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

Mark 1:8

I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.

Mark 1:9

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan.

Mark 10:38

Jesus said to them, You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?

Mark 10:39

And they said to him, We are able. And Jesus said to them, The cup that I drink you will drink, and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized,

Mark 11:30

Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man? Answer me.

Mark 16:16

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

Luke 3:3

And he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

Luke 3:7

He said therefore to the crowds that came out to be baptized by him, You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

Luke 3:12

Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, Teacher, what shall we do?

Luke 3:16

John answered them all, saying, I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.

Luke 3:21

Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened,

Luke 7:29

(When all the people heard this, and the tax collectors too, they declared God just, having been baptized with the baptism of John,

Luke 7:30

but the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.)

Luke 12:50

I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how great is my distress until it is accomplished!

Luke 20:4

Was the baptism of John from heaven or from man?

John 1:25

They asked him, Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?

John 1:26

John answered them, I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know,

John 1:28

These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

John 1:31

I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.

John 1:33

I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.

John 3:22

After this Jesus and his disciples went into the Judean countryside, and he remained there with them and was baptizing.

John 3:23

John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because water was plentiful there, and people were coming and being baptized

John 3:25

Now a discussion arose between some of John’s disciples and a Jew over purification.

John 3:26

And they came to John and said to him, Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness—look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.

John 4:1

Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John

John 4:2

(although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples),

John 10:40

He went away again across the Jordan to the place where John had been baptizing at first, and there he remained.

Acts 1:5

for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.

Acts 1:22

beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.

Acts 2:38

And Peter said to them, Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:41

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Acts 8:12

But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

Acts 8:13

Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.

Acts 8:16

for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 8:36

And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?

Acts 8:38

And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Acts 9:18

And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized;

Acts 10:37

you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed:

Acts 10:47

Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?

Acts 10:48

And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.

Acts 11:16

And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13:24

Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

Acts 16:15

And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay. And she prevailed upon us.

Acts 16:33

And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.

Acts 18:8

Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.

Acts 18:25:

He had been instructed in the way of the Lord. And being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John.

Acts 19:3

And he said, Into what then were you baptized? They said, Into John’s baptism.

Acts 19:4

And Paul said, John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.

Acts 19:5

On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 22:16

And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.

Romans 6:3

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?

Romans 6:4

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

I Corinthians 1:13

Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

I Corinthians 1:14

I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

I Corinthians 1:15

so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name.

I Corinthians 1:16

(I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

I Corinthians 1:17

For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

I Corinthians 10:2

and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea,

I Corinthians 12:13

For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

I Corinthians 15:29

Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

Galatians 3:27

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

Ephesians 4:5

one Lord, one faith, one baptism,

Colossians 2:12

having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead.

I Peter 3:21

Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

ALSO:

2K 5:10 speaks of Naaman the Syrian, told to “wash” in the Jordan 7 times

Is the “washing of regeneration” referring to baptism in Titus 3:5?

“he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,”

Ephesians 5:26

that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Hebrews 6:1-2

1 Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,

2 and of instruction about WASHINGS, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

2 Peter 2:22

What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”

Seek First

If we are to seek first the Kingdom, we must first seek the King.  What is his desire?  That all me should be saved.  What is he doing?  Preparing a place for his own.  What makes his heart beat more than the breath of his word in power, in love to set free the captive.

Breaking out of the mold that we have made for ourselves is necessary.  To seek the Kingdom before our own desires and tradition is not natural, which is why this must start early and continue throughout the day.

Who does the Lord love, and what has he done to show that love?  It has been said that one would do anything for love, and Jesus did exactly everything.  He laid aside his eternal glory and, “being found in the likeness of man, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied himself.  … became obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”  In that emptying of himself, he didn’t make use of his God nature to remove himself from the cross, to take vengeance on his oppressors, to change the hearts of his haters, or to convert masses from their background of  pharisee-ism, thievery, imperialism, or their varying objects of worship.  Jesus simply showed the kindness of God, making known the will of the father, although many followed him as a celebrity rather than their savior.

Life apart from Christ is death.  The only true life is found in Jesus Christ, the  only savior of the world and all mankind.

What does it look like to be Jesus to this world and to mankind?  What did Jesus’ life look like on earth?  He fasted, prayed, called his disciples to himself, taught them among others, then sent them out.

Leave a comment with your input: what are the metrics we can use to measure our successfulness in living out the life of the Savior?