About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio


Come into My Heart, Lord Jesus???
An Appeal for Biblical Accuracy in Child Evangelism
part one
^
Harry Clarke, Welsh song leader for Evangelist Billy Sunday, wrote these words in 1924. Who hasn’t heard these words sung at the end of an evangelistic challenge? I’’m still amazed that many Christians still sing the lyrics after they already know the Lord.

The language of "asking Jesus into one’s heart" is part of a soul winner’s basic vocabulary, at least in my experience. It is firmly entrenched, it seems, especially in children’s ministries today. Consider this recommended prayer for children given by one church:

Dear God, Thank you for making a way for us to turn from the wrong things that we have done. I know I have done wrong things, but right now I want to look upon Jesus so that you will forgive me for the things I have done. Please let Jesus come into my heart, to live forever there. I want to live forever with God. Thank you for loving me. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen

Now, to be fair, this prayer does deal with forgiveness of sin. It acknowledges the love of God. But what it fails to do is to lead a child to verbalize trust in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Isn’t that what the Gospel is all about?

Before I try to persuade you to stop using this terminology in your personal evangelism, let me assure you of two things:
  • 1. Some people are genuinely saved when asking Jesus into their hearts.
  • 2. There are many wonderful Christians who take the time to explain salvation clearly to children even if they use the "into my heart" phrasing.

Now, I know some of you are thinking right off the bat: this is just semantics. But is it? I was talking with a father in our church just last week, and he related to me how his young, preschool son firmly believes that Jesus lives in his real, physical heart. Just semantics? I don’t think so.

There are some legitimate concerns I have about the concept of "asking Jesus into our hearts." Let me share them with you in the hope that, if nothing else, you will become even more committed to the precision we must have in communicating the Word of God.

CONCERN #1: IT TENDS TOWARD EASY-BELIEVISM.
  • There are Christians who are more interested in acquiring decisions for Christ than they are in making disciples of Christ. Often, "asking Jesus into your heart" becomes the magic formula for easy spiritual decision-making. Unfortunately, much of the time, these witnesses give an unclear and incomplete Gospel presentation. Consequently, many of the "decisions" made fall away in short order and were likely never genuine.

CONCERN #2: IT IS EXEGETICALLY UNFOUNDED.

Search the Scriptures. You will not find a passage through either precept or pattern where "asking Jesus into your heart" is employed in evangelism. Not once. Surely that must account for something. How can we be comfortable in using so consistently an expression that lacks ANY Scriptural support?

Some will ignore context and appeal to a passage like Revelation 3:20.
  • Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
  • Although this verse is used heavily in evangelistic methodology, it is often taken out-of-context. In context, the Christian will find that Jesus is speaking to a church, a lukewarm church that has lost its fellowship with Christ. In John’s vision, Jesus tells this church He is knocking on their door and pleads with them to open the door and resume fellowship. It’’s not about salvation.
  • Sometimes, instead of taking things out-of-context, we simply take them out-of-order. Such is the case for other New Testament verses where the result of salvation is turned to become the means of salvation. What about these verses?
  • But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name. (John 1:12)
  • To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Col. 1:27)
  • I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. (Gal. 2:20)
  • Another popular Gospel song exclaims: "What a wonderful change in my life has been wrought since Jesus came into my heart!" Does Jesus really come in?
  • The short answer is "Yes, He does." We can’’t dispute the clear teaching of these verses. But while Jesus’’ indwelling is certainly a result of salvation, there is simply no biblical evidence that His spiritual entrance into our lives is part of the means of salvation

Part one of this article, will finish part two (3) later than I will give you Al Mohler's point of view of this article later as well.

CHILDREN CAN BE SAVED AT AN EARLY AGE. I WAS 7.1 YEARS OLD WHEN THE LORD TOUCH MY MIND AND ALLOWED ME TO UNDERSTAND THE NEED OF BEEN SAVED. WILLIAMSROAD BAPTIST CHURCH, ROANOKE VIRGINIA

ACCEPTING JESUS INTO YOUR HEART" THE SEARCH CONTINUES

ATLANTA, GA - When in church, we are often told that the bible is full of amazingly wonderful things. We are exhorted to read our bibles because not only does this help us know and serve God better, but also because the riches of scripture can never be exhausted. The pastor informs us repeatedly that no matter how much we study, we will always come away with something new.
Others, however, are more interested in finding something in the bible that many just assume is there. They are determined to find the answer to the age-old question, "Where exactly does the bible tell us to accept Jesus into our hearts?"
A joint venture to find this elusive phrase was initiated by the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) back in 1994. The GBC, in partnership with Moody Bible Institute, Southwestern Baptist Seminary, First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, and Lakewood Church, has been focused on this task for the past thirteen years.
^
According to Dr. Daniel Moore, head of the GBC, "For years we have been telling people that they need to accept Jesus into their hearts. It is what we tell folks they need to do when we're out on Tuesday-night visitation. All of our VBSs focus on this. I've even given my personal testimony of when I was eight-years-old and accepted Jesus into my heart. Well, the GBC was asked in 1993, by a local layman no less, where in the bible this could be found. We laughed at first, but then realized we were in trouble. We determined at that point in time to find it.
^
The search continues to this day. TBNN has learned that the group effort of churches, agencies, and seminaries has poured over two million dollars into the project. How can this be defended?
^
Dr. Moore answered, "To us, this is the heart of the gospel. If we can't tell people to accept Jesus into their hearts, then what good news do we have? This is about our core doctrine. If there is no gospel, what are we even doing here? TBNN decided to go to some of the investigators. Dr. Donald Haskins, professor of biblical languages at Southwestern, told us, "A group of our experts, myself included, has scoured the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts to the best of our abilities. So far, we haven't found a blame thing. Bibleworks couldn't even find it. More significant than any of that, it isn't even in the KJV
^

Haskins told us that out of desperation, they have sent several researchers to Israel to dig for better manuscripts of the old and new testaments. "I know it is a long-shot, but it must be there somewhere. We'll just have to keep digging until we find it."Dr. Michael Sanders, at one of the dig sites near the Dead Sea, informed TBNN, "We have found several pieces of pottery and a few coins. So far, though, no bible.

^

Back in the USA, Dr. Moore of the GBC seemed almost resigned to the inevitable conclusion. "I told myself that I would find the phrase 'accept Jesus into your heart' somewhere in the bible. I started over a year ago and still haven't found it. I've read the whole NT three times and the OT once. I just can't find it."Moore continued, "To be sure, I found plenty of commands to 'repent and believe' and statements about 'confessing and believing.' Those sound good, but I'm afraid they leave out a bit of the beauty of a person inviting Jesus into their heart to live.
^
What will the GBC do now?
^
I don't know," responded Moore. "I suppose we are going to have to go back to square one and reexamine the gospel. I mean, do we even have it right? Do we know what we are talking about? I'm afraid that if we do this, we're going to have to deal with issues such as sovereignty, election, repentance, obedience, and other things of that nature. Ugh! But before we give up, we'll keep looking. I know it's there somewhere because I invited Jesus into my heart a long time ago, and once saved, always saved!"
^
The question: "DO WE USE THE TERM 'WILL YOU ACCEPT JESUS INTO YOUR HEART?
THE ALAN HARRIS FAMILY 25TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
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CALVARY BAPTIST CHURCH IN CONNERSVILLE, INDIANA
AUGUST 26TH 2007
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Alan Harris came to sing at First Baptist Church in Altoona, Kansas in 80's with the Watchmen Quartet from Arlington Baptist College.
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And Alan Harris has been singing and preaching since.
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Alan Harris and Angie came to First Baptist Church for more than
ten Evangelist Revivals
and in each revival the Lord brought souls to Himself
and challenge believers.
^
Today 25 years later - now the
Alan Harris Family
Alan, Angie, Alex, Anthony, Andrew
still singing and preaching
for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ

Spiritual Giftedness Development
How Christ Built Unity in the Church
and Designed the Church to be brought into
Christ’s Likeness
Through Spiritual Gifts
part eight
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God then gives each of us with our gifts the spiritual ability and spiritual capacity to minister to His church.
^

There are different manifestations of divine power. Some gifts manifested in certain ways demand a different degree of power than others.

It takes a certain kind of Holy Spirit energizing to put somebody into a situation that each of us are in. (Pastoring a church, being an elder, etc.)

Here is what I have said a number of times. God had called me to peach, to pastor, to lead, to teach a group of people for a number of years. What if God had not given me the faith to believe Him that it’s possible? I am going to be a basket case. I say that now, if I have been called to be the Christian Education and Spiritual Gift development director, if I don’t have the faith to believe God can do this using me, I would be a basket case.

What if God gives me the faith I could do this, and you keep telling me, you can’t do this, we need to get someone else to do this. I would be very discouraged.

So when God gives me the spiritual capacity, he measures out the faith to equal it. Thank goodness for that.

And that means that the energizing is matched to whatever the gifts might be.

So that as the Spirit of God gifts you, He energizes you at that amount, so there is
a sense of fulfillment. Now folks, that is really important for us. Because it takes
a faith and power and energy to do that which God has asked us to do.

FIVE WORKS, FIVE DIFFERENT THINGS, FIVE DIFFERENT FACETS OF A DIAMOND

4,5 6 diversities of gifts, differences of administrations, diversities of operations, 7, manifestation of the Spirit

Five different facets of a diamond, about this idea of spiritual ennoblement in the church ministry.

(1) Spiritual: (verse 1)

(2) "There are diversities of gifts:" Charismatic. What we mean by that is he has sort of an electrifying, captivating, charming personality.
  • The word "charismatic" is from the Greek word, "charis." Charis means grace.
Grace means an undeserved gift. So when you look at your spiritual capacity, recall this, it is a charisma. It is a gift from God’s grace. You didn’t deserve it. You can’t say,"The reason why I have this gift is because of me." NO. The reason you got where you are today in the church is because it’s a grace gift.

If God has given you a spiritual gift, a spiritual capacity to do something for Him in His church, listen, it’s a gift you didn’t earn or deserve. But at the same time it’s a responsibility that God has given you this ability. I want to be a steward of that which the Lord has energized me by the Holy Spirit.

I often say, "It’s a mystery that God saved me, it’s also a mystery why God has called me to be in ministry.

(3) Differences of administration. Vs 5

Administration is diakoneon. Which means deacon. Which means servant. There are then different grace gifts, different spiritual gifts, different Holy Spirit energizing, and there are different services.

ANOTHER WORD FOR SPIRITUAL GIFT IS SERVICES. The purpose of my gift is service.

Can I say, the purposes of spiritual gifts is not designed as special privileges for the one who has them, its not for my edification. It’s a gift from God for His Purposes.

I Peter4:10 "As every man has received the gift, even so serve the same one to another, as good stewards." Here is the point. When you serve with your spiritual gift, serve one another in divine energy. Ephesians 4:12.

spiritual gifts, services, and now vs 6 varieties of energizing. KJV says "diversities of operation." NASV says, "varieties of effects".

Just let me say, when we begin to work in the capacity that God has gifted us for, let me tell you, there is a flow of divine energy that is thrilling.


Let me also say, what God energizes is His Word as it comes out of my mouth.

I often had said here in this church, I want to do what is my spiritual gift. And why is that? I know the difference between when I’m doing what the Spirit of God has gifted me to do and energized me to do, and when I’m doing something else that I need to do. I’m doing something, but I don’t have that same sense of spiritual energy. That’s the difference. And there is a difference in energy.


(4) Manifestation vs. 7 The word means to make clear, to make visible, to make known, to make manifest. It means it’s not private or to be hidden. That is the purpose of a spiritual gift. It is to make clear, manifest and for public display. That’s the idea. I am to preach or teach in public not in my room at the house.

"The manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Christian for the common good."
Vs. 7
It’s to manifest the work of the Spirit to everyone that’s been gathered together.

(5) gifts. Vs. 11 Every one has a gift. There are no spiritual elite. Mine’s just different, that’s all. Same thing. We’re all gifted. Mine is different than yours.

NASV "distributing to each one individually just as He wills." KJV "giving to every man severally as he will."

Can anyone be a director of Christian Education? Or a Pastor? Or an Elder?

A lot of people hold these positions in the church. Many are gifted. Many have the position because there was a need, and they are not necessarily gifted.


‘WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT."
part seven

  • Now these things or enablements are given to the individual believer as capacities through which the Spirit of God can minister to His Church.


Now we teach that God has built in unity in the church. So how does he build in unity in the body? By giving to each member of the body an enablement to minister to other people in the body. And if there’s going to be that unity maintained, there is going to be that ministry of gifts that’s absolutely necessary.

And that is why Paul had to write 1 Corinthians, because they had corrupted the whole system. They were not content with the gifts that God had given them. They wanted different ones. Not only that, they were perverting the ones they had. It became a point of pride. "Well what gift to do have?" "I want to be the eye?" And in fact this was becoming problematic.

They were rating their gifts from one to ten. And that created disunity.

They didn’t want the ones that were known as "Dirty Jobs." (tv SHOW) In Ohio there are 400,000 deer killed annually. If those people did not pick up those road kills, we couldn’t drive on our road ways because of the stink. The road kills are turned into mulch, and are in your flower bed.

THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS: vs 4-7

As I have already read these verses. There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There is one God, one Christ, one Spirit, which means He has how many wills? One will. He had build into His Church unity. But that unity will only happen, it’s only be maintained, when there is diversity of ministry. Right.

What if everyone wanted to be the 1st grade teacher in Sunday School?

So we want unity and all 100 of us will become 1st grade SS teachers. Unity, no. The only way unity can function in teamwork is diversity, and that’s why the unity of the church is based on the fact that we minister to each other with our strengths, to make them strong.

One Spirit, same Spirit, same Lord, same God, working in all of us. You wouldn’t believe that in many churches today would you?

There are diversities of ways. Meaning distribution. God has distributed varieties of operations within His church. Varieties of gifts. Some teaching, giving, helps, administration, government, etc.

HOW MANY GIFTS ARE THERE?

I think you could make a case for seven. Maybe 18. Maybe 30. The point there is that there are so many varieties of ways in which they function. Some of the gifts overlap so much that you may be a mixture. There could be 15 of us in this class that have the gift of teaching. All 15 of us may manifest that gift in an entirely different way, through an entirely different style, to an entirely different group of people, with entirely different objectives. But that’s the beauty of the diversity.

There are varieties of power within the gifts. Some gifts manifested in certain ways demand a different degree of power than others.

In Romans 12:4, 8 there is a measure of faith. God gives you gifts, and measures out the exact amount of faith to make that gift operate.

God then gives each of us with our gifts the spiritual ability and spiritual capacity to minister to His church.

There are different manifestations of divine power. Some gifts manifested in certain ways demand a different degree of power than others.

It takes a certain kind of Holy Spirit energizing to put somebody into a situation that each of us are in. (Pastoring a church, being an elder, etc.)

Here is what I have said a number of times. God had called me to peach, to pastor, to lead, to teach a group of people for a number of years. What if God had not given me the faith to believe Him that it’s possible? I am going to be a basket case. I say that now, if I have been called to be the Christian Education and Spiritual Gift development director, if I don’t have the faith to believe God can do this using me, I would be a basket case.

What if God gives me the faith I could do this, and you keep telling me, you can’t do this, we need to get someone else to do this. I would be very discouraged.

THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A CHURCH COLLECTIVELY
WITHIN OUR SPIRITUAL GIFT
part seven

Ephesians 2 "The church is the habitation of the Spirit." So He’s moving in His church. Doing what?

(1) Creating fellowship. The Spirit of God is a catalyst that stimulates interaction and fellowship. 2 Corinthians 13 talks about the fellowship of the Spirit. The Spirit of God generates fellowship.

(2) The Spirit of God assists us in worship. He enables us with all our differences and He pulls it all together in a collective expression of worship.

(3) The Spirit of God inspires Scriptures whenever the Bible is open and is taught to us. "These things did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by ...what ? the Holy Spirit. So He teaches us from Scriptures.

(4) The Spirit of God generates unity in the church. Ephesians 4:3 "We are to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit." He works for unity. There is unity already in the common life of the believer put there by the Holy Spirit.


We don’t have to create unity in the body. It’s already there. Now the question is how does the Holy Spirit get at this? Here is the answer:

  • The Holy Spirit stimulates that unity by giving everybody a mutual ministry to everybody else, so that we begin to talk, so that we begin to think together, so that we begin to feel together, so that we begin to choose together, so that we go out and actually have recreation together, so that we begin to socialize together.

All of these forms of interaction, create a basic unity generated from our common eternal life.

Here is what is critical, it’s critical that we minister to each other because that is the guarding of unity.


NOW the way in which we minister to each other is via our SPIRITUAL GIFTS.


The way we minister is through our spiritual gift. You say,


‘WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT." Which is the purpose of this paper.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

  • "A Spiritual gift is a God given capacity through which the Holy Spirit supernaturally ministers to the body." John MacArthur

  • Your spiritual gift is a unique capacity to minister to the body of Christ through a vehicle or channel, by which the Spirit of God supernaturally touches the lives of other people.


The Spirit of God has created corporate unity. To keep that unity is to mutually minister. And there is the interchange of thoughts, and feelings, and choices, and in order for the church to manifest unity, the manifestation of whom? Christ. For this to happen, the ministry of spiritual gifts is going to have to happen in the body


Note what Paul says in I Corinthians 12:8

  • "To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit, to another faith, to another gifts of healing, to another working of miracles; to another prophecy; another discerning of spirits; another various kinds of languages; to another interpreting languages." Then in verse 28 "And he set some apostles, and prophets, third teachers.. etc. Romans 12 is another list.
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE BELIEVER
PART SIX

Act 6 this early church was growing by the thousands and they were concerned about some ministries that were not getting done. So they created themselves a job description to add waiting on tables to their ministry. They started looking for men to help them fulfill the work in this ministry. They didn’t just say, "who would like to wait on tables?" No :
  • They were looking for people who knew God.
  • They wanted people who had a good reputation.
  • They wanted people who would be a good team member .
  • They required people full of the Holy Spirit.
  • They looked for men who had wisdom.
  • They looked for men who were full of the Spirit and had yielded themselves to God.

The church had a ministry that they were wanting to see fulfilled, and they were looking for people who had the same vision of ministry.


The church was in agreement with the need of this ministry. They were in agreement with who would fulfill this ministry.

These seven men were already in the church. The twelve were present i n this church. They said, "Brethren, look out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business."

These men were in the church and were already well known by the people as to their abilities to serve them in this ministry.

What was the commission that Christ gave the Apostles concerning His church?

What was the commission that God gave Paul to do?

  • P aul was used by God to take the good news of Christ to different parts of the country. He went to different cities and established "churches". Groups of people meeting in homes.
  • As Paul was traveling, he was writing most of the New Testament. In these books he was giving God’s instruction for the church. Paul gave instruction to the believers. He gave direction the church body should take in their assembly of people. He gave pastoral training to the young preachers.

Whereby today we use Paul’s instructions as our guide into church policy and doctrine.

Finally we come to I Corinthians 12: SPIRITUAL GIFTS
I Corin 12:4 - 7 (Cf. verses 8-11)

"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administration, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal."


I studied spiritual gifts under Bill Gothard, and John MacArthur, Jr. and they have done a good job of explaining the terms and meaning of the gifts as seen then and today.
Spiros Zodhiates gives this definition of spiritual gifts:

  • "A definition of a spiritual gift as a result of the study of this entire chapter could be stated as an instantaneous enablement by God in the power of the Holy Spirit to do or say something beyond one’s natural abilities in order to fulfill a specific purpose of God in the time frame in which God permits it. "
  • "These charismata are not permanent acquisitions or talents. They may be specific enablements or accomplishment within the boundary of the talents which were given by God in the first place."


Let’s look at what John MacArthur says:


The work of the Holy Spirit in individuals:

  • The Holy Spirit ministry is to bring God’s elect to salvation (John 16) "The Spirit of God convicts them of sin, of righteousness and judgment." Once we have been born into the family of God the Spirit of God then begins to work, in multiplicities of ways in our lives.


  • The Spirit of God works in the individual live to (1) regenerates. (2) transforms. (3) gives us a sense of sonship (Gal 4:5-6) (4) Seals us. "Its official" we are sons of God. (5) The Spirit teaches us, guide us.
  • The work of the Holy Spirit as a church collectively.

The Design of the Church is to be brought into Christ’s Likeness
Through Spiritual Gifts
part five
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Now we come to the New Testament Times


Christ spent three years with the apostles equipping them with the abilities to do the work which He desired for them to do.

When Christ returned to heaven, He sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit dwells in every believer.

In those very early days in Jerusalem and then when they were scattered throughout the area, those early Christians were in a new environment.


Now I don’t know about those four hundred years between the Old and New. We are told that God did not speak in those years. There were some believers I would think, since John the Baptist and Mary and Joseph were believers. But the meeting places of those believers were small.


The twelve did not use the term "local church" to describe their gathering to worship. It was only later when Paul came on the scene that he used the term "church". He viewed the "churches" as independent congregations. It seems to be clear that the early communities of Christians did share in independent group fellowships called "churches"; for example, in his letter to "the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea" (I Thess 2:14), and in his letter to "all the churches of the saints." (I Corin 14:33)


The idea of where they met varies in those early times. They gathered for worship in a particular house (Romans 16:5) or they met in public places, including the Temple (Acts 2:46) or out in the open as on Mount of Olives (Acts 1:6) or on the sea shore (Acts 21:5) or in "an upper room" (Acts 1;13-14)


In those early years buildings were not built, but they met in private houses. In those days there was the persecution of the Christians, and they met whenever they could. Therefore, they had to meet in private homes.



  • Cornelilus’ house Acts 10:27

  • Simon’s house Acts 106

  • Mary’s Acts 12:5

  • Lydia’s Acts 16:40

  • Jason’s Acts 17:5

  • Justus’ Acts 18:7

  • Philip’s Acts 21:7

  • Paul’s abode Acts 28:23-30

  • Priscilla & Aquilla Romans 16:5

  • Nympha’s Col 4:15

  • Philemon’s Philem 2


As a matter of record "until the second century Christians were not permitted to erect churches, but were compelled to worship in private homes, in the open fields, or , to escape persecution, in the Catacombs and other concealed places."


Church historian Quinus Tertullian, early in the third century writes: "Lastly, if you cannot assemble by day, you have the night. Be content with a church of threes. It is better that you sometimes should not see your crowds.


I keep getting off the topic here, about spiritual gifts and the work of the ministry. But I will get back on topic on Monday



Drafted By Charles E. Whisnant
THE EARLY CHURCH OF THE FIRST CENTURY
part four
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By the time of Christ, the Temple was still the order of worship of the day. All men worshiped in the Temple. Then when Christ was born, lived and went to the cross and rose from the grave, there was a fundamental change in the idea of worship. Worship was not to be in a Temple or a Tabernacle. But worship was to be done in spirit and truth in the hearts of men and women. Worship was not to be primarily done only in a building, but now the temple was in the spirit of the new believer in Christ.

The directions that Christ gave his followers concerning how they were to worship Him are:
Some want to say that Christ started the local church. Was Christ an evangelist? Was he a pastor/teacher? Christ never built a building, never baptized a new convert. For a little over three years he taught to crowds of 10,000 to one person. Then he spent time with the twelve apostles.

What did Christ teach Peter, James and John about the establishment of the local church?

During those three years with the Apostles, Christ taught them in various places but not in a single local building. Christ was with them daily, teaching them.

Now as to how many there were besides the eleven, we do not know. We do know there were 120 that were in the upper room. As to how many were following Christ at the time He died, we do not know.

If there were small groups of believers meeting in homes during this time, I don’t know. But when Christ died, they were scattered and afraid. When Jesus was risen, He met with the eleven in a mountain in Galilee where Jesus had appointed them.

At this time Jesus gave them the commission of Matthew 28:19-20.

Christ did not give instruction for how to build a building. But He gave instructions for how to continue what he had come into the world to accomplish. These eleven were to take the message of Christ into all the world and teach all nations those things He had taught them.

The book of Acts chapters one thru eight gives us Peter’s and the other apostles’ story, and from chapter nine we learn about the ministry of Paul.

Apparently Peter was preaching in a central place where people were gathering for worship and teaching by the Apostles. Acts four states "and as they spake unto the people..." there were about 5000 men that believed. There must have been a great crowd that came to this place to hear Peter and John speak. Later, Acts 4 vs. 31 says, "and when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together." So there was a central place of meeting, at least where five thousand men were saved at one time. (Acts 4:4).

Most likely the setting was outside on a hill side. How often they met in this large setting I do not know, but I would say daily.

Then in Acts 6 the numbers of people being saved were multiplying (numbers growing). This must have been in a central place where the people met for worship. And the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, after there was concern about the welfare of the believers. And they chose out Stephen, Phillip, Prochorus, Nicanor and Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas to be servants in the body of believers.

Now the question would be, did these people leave this central place and then go to their homes for extra teaching? Who would teach them in those first few months? There were only twelve apostles and now the seven men.

In Acts 8, we read that there was a church at Jerusalem and because of the persecution, they were all scattered about the regions of Judea and Samaria. Here was really the start of church groups all over the regions.

Jesus established the foundation of the local church. He did not establish a local church.

  • We do know that 120 people were commissioned to go to Jerusalem and wait ten days for the coming of the Holy Spirit. They met in the upper room. I am not sure if this would be a meeting in the local church, but that is not the issue of this paper.

THERE ARE TO BE SPIRITUALLY GIFTED BELIEVERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH
  • Moses, the leader of the tribes of Israel, led them in building the Tabernacle.
  • Solomon, the king of Israel, achieved the building of the Temple.
  • Nehemiah was the leader of the group of people who went back and rebuilt the wall at Jerusalem.
  • Gifted people were hired or asked to work in the area of their abilities.

Drafted by Charles E. Whisnant


Spiritual Giftedness Development
How Christ Builds Unity in the church
part three
^
When I use the term "spiritual giftedness" in ministry. What do I mean? You might be surprised!

When we speak of ministry, what are we addressing? When we conceptualize (think) of the ministry of the local church, how do you suppose God expects His church to navigate in fulfilling His purposes for the church?

From the Tabernacle to the Temple, and the Synagogue and now the local church.

From the beginning God has set up a place of worship for those whom He has called unto Himself.

The Tabernacle
The Temple
The Synagogue
The local church

Each of these places of worship had exact specifications. There were specific instructions given to the people who were in the priest’s office (Exodus 29:9)


When Solomon was preparing to build the Temple (I Kings 5 ), he had the wisdom to hire builders to prepare timber and stones to build the house. Solomon used skilled workers. I Kings 7:14 says

"Hiram out of Tyre, a widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, a worker in brass; and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass."

Solomon gathered the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes, the chief of the fathers to
bring the Holy Chest into the Temple.

In the building of the Tabernacle or the Temple there were workers who had the skill, the wisdom and understanding of their work. Solomon went to great length to secure the best workers to accomplish the task of building the Temple.

Workers had a skill, they had understanding and wisdom about what they were asked to do.

The Priest, the Elders, the officers, the chiefs were men who were trained and had wisdom in their office.

We will continue this paper next time.

Charles E. Whisnant


The Design of the Church is to be brought into Christ’s Likeness
Through Spiritual Gifts

^

Part Two

First Peter chapter 2 calls us, "Pilgrims in the world." Paul said to the Philippians, "Our citizenship is not here but it's in heaven. We are sojourners, as it is, in the world." So we have been given to the world, to journey through the world, to be ambassadors for God, to be salt, to be light. There is a purpose for our individual existence as believers in the society in which we live. That purpose is to turn men to God, to turn men to Christ. We are a witnessing community. We are a group of people placed in the world to draw the attention of the world to God.


Note in Ephesians, perhaps the most thrilling concept of all, in identifying ourselves, comes together in the 4th chapter and the 13th verse of Ephesians. It says this, "Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of god, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." Now that passage says that the design of the church is to be brought into Christ's likeness. "Till we all come to the full stature of Christ." God has given apostles, prophets, evangelists, teaching pastors, for the perfecting of the saints, or the maturing of the saints, for the work of the ministry, that the body might be built up, in order that being built up it might come to a fullness of Christ-likeness.

This leads me to say, not only are we to be salt and light and ambassadors and pilgrims, and so forth, in the world, but we are to be Christ in the world. This is a very vital concept. The church is to be Christ in the world. That's why I've chosen frequently to call the church body two. The incarnation was body one, Christ in a human body. We are body two, Christ, alive in the world, in the church. This is a very vital reality and it's something that we have to understand. The Lord Jesus wants to leave Himself in the world even after He ascends. He wants us to be Christ in the world. He wants to reproduce, in us, His very essence, His very life, His very personality, His very character, so that we manifest to the world Christ, in as real a sense as Christ was manifest into human form when He was walking in the world.


Note, how is it that God has designed us to be Christ in the world? How is it that we can literally represent Him? How is it that we can manifest His character to this world? First of all, the Bible says that "He has planted within us the Spirit of Christ. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His. But we have received the Spirit of Christ. Therefore, Paul says, "the life I live is not my own, but it is Christ living in me." So Christ then will reproduce Himself in the world by living in me as an individual believer.


A step further than that, Christ not only indwells every individual believer but he indwells the corporate church. Ephesians chapter 2 says that the entire church is built together as a habitation for the Spirit of Christ. Christ exists, not only in the individual life of a Christian, but in the corporate life of the community of believers known as the body of Christ. So He produces his character in us, first of all, by dwelling in us.


Let's see just specifically how this works together. Before we look at 1 Corinthians 12 go back a little further towards the end of your New Testament to the 4th chapter of Ephesians, and I want to just pull out a couple of very related thoughts here. Ephesians chapter 4 verse 7, here is basically the simplest explanation of how Christ really reproduces Himself in the church as it works out from His presence. His presence is there, but his character becomes manifest in this way: "But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ." Now Christ has given, by grace, certain gifts. They come from Him. They are divine enablements given to the believer, unto every one of us. No Christian is excluded, it is given grace...that is, we can't deserve it, we can't earn it, according to the measure...that is, it is measured out individually and uniquely for every Christian...the gift of Christ. Christ then gives a gift; a spiritual endowment, a spiritual enablement to every believer, unique to that believer. He has given all of us gifts. You say, "Why does it say gift, singular, if some of us have more than one?" Because I think the plurality of our gifts can be expressed as "our gift." My gift from God may be the gifts of preaching or teaching, of administration, all combined into the gift He gives me. Sometimes you've opened a package and gotten three things in one box. Well, that's the same idea. But it’s design is to manifest His character. It is an aspect of His character that he gives.


In other words, the spiritual gifts....remember this now...the spiritual gifts are characteristics of Christ that will be manifest through the body corporate as they were manifest through the body incarnate. That's the purpose of spiritual gifts. They are the characteristics of Christ poured back through...


When we preach or teach or show mercy or help or lead or give or have faith, or whatever of those gifts we exercise, we find that that is a supernatural activity endowed and enabled by the Spirit of God, which manifests an attribute of Christ for the building of the body. Thus, Christ becomes real in the world as the body grows up. So we see these are not random things but the gifts specifically find their source in God, their channel in the Spirit, and their pattern, their example, their completeness in the person of Jesus Christ. They are essential then because they are the things that will manifest Christ, the things that will build the church.

The amazing thing about the Corinthian church...and we'll move to discuss them for a minute now...the amazing thing about the Corinthian church was that they had all the gifts –– all of them. First chapter verse 7 says, "You come behind in no gift." You lack nothing. They had been endowed with all spiritual gifts. They were fully equipped for maturing, they were fully equipped for ministering, they were fully equipped to be Christ-like, but instead there was absolute chaos. There was a failure on the part of the gifted men to do the job they were supposed to do in maturing the saints. There was a failure on the part of the saints to minister the gifts they had been given. Instead, they were being counterfeited; they were being exploited; they were being neglected; they were being abused, they were being confused, and the result was the terrible chaos that appears in chapter 12 to 14 in the Corinthian church relative to spiritual gifts.


Spiritual Giftedness Development
How Christ Built Unity in the Church
and Designed the Church to be brought into
Christ’s Likeness
Through Spiritual Gifts
^
This week week I will post this series. How God uses the local church and its body of believers to bring about unity and Christ's likeness.
OUTLINE OF THIS SERIES:


From the Tabernacle to the Temple and the Synagogue and now the local church.

THE EARLY CHURCH OF THE FIRST CENTURY

The direction that Christ gave his followers concerning how they were to worship Him is:

THERE ARE TO BE SPIRITUALLY GIFTED BELIEVERS IN THE LOCAL CHURCH

Now we come to the New Testament Times

The Church at Jerusalem

What was the commission that God gave Paul to do?

Finally, we come to I Corinthians 12: SPIRITUAL GIFTS

Spiros Zodhiates gives this definition of spiritual gifts:

The work of the Holy Spirit in individuals:

The work of the Holy Spirit as a church collectively.

NOW the way in which we minister to each other is via our SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

‘WHAT IS A SPIRITUAL GIFT?" (Which is the purpose of this paper.)

THE IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

THE SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS: vs 4-7

FIVE WORKS, FIVE DIFFERENT THINGS, FIVE DIFFERENT FACETS OF A DIAMOND

ANOTHER WORD FOR SPIRITUAL GIFT IS SERVICE

drafted by Charles E. Whisnant proof checked by Charity Whisnant