Thursday, August 11, 2022

A Morning Bibe Study - 'Overcoming' Is Important!

by Leonard V Johnson

God’s living word – the Holy Bible – speaks a great deal about overcoming.

Let us understand just what it is, and why it is so IMPORTANT. Along with what it will mean to God’s born children in the glorious Kingdom of God.
     1) Did our Lord Jesus Christ become perfect!?
“But we see JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God. might taste death FOR EVERYONE. 10) For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many [children] to glory, to make the captain of their salvation PERFECT through sufferings.” – Hebrews 2:9-10.

As I wrote in the article ‘He Who Follows Me Shall Not Walk In Darkness,’ - think about Jesus Christ being ONE SINGLE CELL inside the womb of Mary – how lowly is that!? And, indeed, when you look at the earth some 383 miles above the surface through the WorldView – 3 Satellite, human beings look smaller than the head of a pin. Yet, when Jesus Christ was born into the human family, He took on the form of a servant. And so Paul is trying to show us here just what Jesus gave up for all of us. And that we each should have that same mind in each of us toward one another. That we should be willing to get rid of all of the pride and vanity, hatred, and resentment, and be willing to become a servant to one another. We certainly do not grasp the scope of just what Jesus gave up in that state.

Notice what our Lord Jesus expects from His servants –

’ Therefore you shall be PERFECT [or complete – spiritually mature is what the word means], just as your Father in heaven is perfect.’ – Matthew 5:48.

And who are we to become like!?

“till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” – Ephesians 4:13.

The word “perfect” in Matthew 5:48 is the Greek word teleios, meaning “perfect, mature, finished.” (Strong’s Concordance #5046). So, what our Lord Jesus is saying is that His followers are to become spiritually mature.

Of course, we cannot become absolutely spiritually mature – perfect – until the glorious resurrection.

“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. [See: Revelation 1:12-16] … 9) Whoever has been BORN of God does not sin, for His seed [the Holy Spirit] remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been BORN OF GOD.” – 1 John 3:2, 9.

In the meantime, God desires us to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” – 2 Peter 3:18.

Now, just last night in conversation with Minister Michael C. Garrett, we spoke of the fact that the leaders of the Church of God in the 20th century were blessed with God’s revelations and knowledge of that era of time. And they cannot be held accountable to God for the knowledge they were not privy to. Yet, brethren, we are told by God that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” The thousands of articles, sermons, booklets, and other spiritual information published by the Church of God of the 20th century are full of spiritual food, but is it to be rehashed and regurgitated year after year and decade after decade!? God wants us to grow in spiritual knowledge as well as in His spiritual character DAILY, and by OVERCOMING and rooting out “the sin that doth so easily beset us.” Growing toward that spiritual perfection. How can one grow towards spiritual perfection if one continues to listen and or read the same messages over and over of the 20th century!? Now, there are so many of our peoples that just want to believe what they want to believe. They absolutely refuse to accept or even hear what they don’t want to believe – whether it’s right or wrong. Prejudism is a strong barrier to growth in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. One says: “I don’t want to learn any more than I did in 1972! – don’t confuse me!” Stagnation in the living Word of God, the Truth of God, and the Plan of God leads to death.
     2) Even though our Lord Jesus was and is the very Son of the living God and possessed the Holy Spirit without measure, did He still have to learn obedience to God!?
’ These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I HAVE OVERCOME THE WORLD.’ – John 16:33.

Our Lord Jesus, as a human being, learned that discipline – that all of us are supposed to learn – to stay close to God and in the end rely upon God to get us through all tribulations. He learned anguish as a human being. We read how His prayer and His request were so intense that blood mingled with the perspiration of His brow, and as it was blood ran down His face. Now, that’s an intensity that I have never experienced. Although I have read about it. That sometimes blood vessels can rupture near sweat glands and literally the sweat is mingled with blood. And that’s what Jesus went through at that moment. In Hebrews chapter 5, verse 8 we see, “though He was a Son, yet HE LEARNED OBEDIENCE by the things which He suffered. 9) And having BEEN PERFECTED, He became [for us all – for all human kind] the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him.”
3) So, Jesus Christ overcame during His human lifetime and was BORN again by a resurrection, where is He presently seated!?
’ To him [or her] who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.’ – Revelation 3:21.

“Sadly,” as Minister Guy LaMar writes, “only a few called out of this world and its churches are truly God’s CHOSEN begotten children who are able to see through the darkness which Satan the devil has put out before us. The wicked one makes people think that things are alright – yet, he deceives them all. There is coming a time when every human being who was, who is, and who will be will have been deceived by Satan the devil – except only our Lord Jesus Christ! … Our Lord Jesus Christ is Light and in Him is no darkness at all! – cf. 1 John 1:5.” 1

Overcoming is a consistent Message from God! Truly, the last part of this verse is a WARNING to the members of the churches of God! –

Verse 22 – ’ He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit [the very mind of God] says to the churches.’

Have all angels, principalities, and powers been made subject to Him under His Father!?

“ … through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22) who has gone into Heaven [the Third Heaven] and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” – 1 Peter 3:21, 22; see also Ephesians 1:20-22 and 1st Corinthians 15:27.
4) How great and awesome is the authority that our Lord Jesus Christ has already inherited!?
“God, who at various times [various eras of time] and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2) has IN THESE LAST DAYS spoke to us by His Son, …”

And again, here we reiterate – LOOK TO JESUS, NOT MOSES! A God-inspired sermon that literally got Minister Michael C. Garrett persecuted by a great many!

“ … whom He has appointed heir OF ALL THINGS, through whom also He made the worlds.” – Hebrews 1:1-2.

Verse 3 – “ … upholding all things [including GOD’S UNIVERSE] by the word of His power.” For He is “the firstborn among many brethren” – Romans 8:29. For He is already born of GOD by a resurrection from the dead – Romans 1:4. Indeed! As we shall be! He is our Captain who has gone on ahead, preparing the way for us! – Hebrews 2:10.

“ … ‘All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on earth.’ – Matthew 28:18.

Notice how the New English Bible has translated this amazing verse: “But in this the final age [H]e has spoken to us in the Son whom [H]e has made heir to the whole universe …”!
5) Will our Master, Savior, and Elder Brother be the only inheritor of the whole universe!?
Notice this in the Book of Romans chapter 8 –

“For the earnest expectation of the creation [meaning, ‘all created things’ including the whole universe] eagerly waits for the revealing of the [children] of God.” In other words, we shall be revealed in glory, by the resurrection to come – when we are changed from mortal to immortal. “For the creation [the physical matter of the universe] was subjected to futility [meaning, vanity], not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption [its bondage to the law of decay] …”

So, truly, this law of decay proves that life originated from a Divine Being with intelligence outside of this physical universe.

“ … into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”

“For we know that the whole creation [which does include the universe] groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that [meaning, ‘all created things’ including the universe], but we also have the firstfruits of the Spirit [the first ones to be called by God the Father], even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the [birth as children of God], the redemption of our body” – Romans 8:19-23.

We will be co-rulers, joint heirs with Him!

“The Spirit [itself] bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. 17) and if children, then heirs – heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, …” – Romans 8:16, 17.

Friends, think of this awesome and mind-blowing incredible potential of mankind through Jesus Christ our Master!!
6) Just how IMPORTANT is it to overcome so that we, God willing, will be in the Kingdom of God and receive the opportunity to be co-rulers with Jesus Christ!?
It is so important that our Lord Jesus Christ repeats the phrase “he who overcomes” seven times to the churches of God! – see Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21.

Will our spiritual works in this life determine our reward for service in God’s Kingdom!?

God the Father and Jesus Christ are coming to give a reward to a people who are going to be holy. Now, no one can achieve holiness in God's sight by his own strength or willpower. Yet, someday, we shall be wholly holy! – Hebrews 12:14 – if we will hang in there. Because “the Lord is not slack concerning His promise, … but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” – 2 Peter 3:9. God doesn’t want us to fail. And we won’t fail – as long as we don’t turn our backs on Him – cf. Matthew 12:31-32; Ephesians 4:30.

Be sure to watch today “The Unpardonable Sin Explained” by Michael C. Garrett. We must continue to strive against sin, laying aside every weight, and continue running the race that is set before us – cf. Hebrews 12:1-4. Indeed, one of the hardest things for someone to do after they’ve sinned – fallen and skinned their knees, I like to say – is to forgive themselves. If indeed you’ve asked God the Father and Jesus Christ to forgive you then you are forgiven. That’s a promise. Now if Almighty God – the Great Ancient of Days who created all things through Jesus Christ – can forgive you, who are you not to forgive yourself!? You have to let those past sins go.

So, a reward – something is given for something you have done spiritually in this life. Your rewarded for your works – hence cf. Acts 26:20 – “do works befitting repentance.” Now, the churches of this world don’t teach this. They teach that salvation is free, and rightly so it is – cf. Ephesians 2:8 – just like Lot and his two daughters were saved from the destruction of Sodom through the grace of God – not by anything they had done (see: Genesis 19). God’s grace is free – it’s something which God gives us though we don’t deserve it – but you still have to “work.” It’s like Toodles announcing to Peter Pan – “You have to fly, have to fight, have to crow!” Many people of this world believe that it’s alright to climb over others – sometimes violently – to get to the top. Others believe you can do anything you want – as long as you don’t hurt anyone else to get to the top. Such as passing laws that say that you can do something and everyone has to accept it – no questions asked. It’s not right – like homosexual “marriage” – it’s the law of the land. But I shouldn’t be forced to have to accept it. Well, I don’t accept it! But am I going to judge or persecute someone because of it!? No. God handles all of that. But don’t force me to accept that it’s alright – because we are going to continue preaching what God Almighty and Jesus Christ have to say concerning it. Most of the churches of this world will not preach against it.

Through overcoming the sinful temptations of the flesh, this world as well as Satan the Devil, and rather submitting to God and His Way, our spiritual character is continuing to grow and develop. We are literally building the very character of God! And the more that we overcome, the greater responsibility our Lord Jesus Christ will give us in His kingdom ON EARTH! Thus the greater will be our reward.

Just as the Apostle Paul – under the inspiration of God’s Spirit – says that we are to “work out [our] own salvation with fear and trembling” – Philippians 2:12 – no one can overcome for us. No one can produce spiritual works for us. It requires effort on our part, together with the help of God’s Spirit, to become a spiritually minded and motivated person of God which He can use in His glorious kingdom.

Overcome. In Greek, nikaō, means “to overcome, overpower, to conquer, triumph” (Strong’s Concordance #3528). To cease doing the works of the flesh “which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things WILL NOT inherit the kingdom of God” – Galatians 5:19-21. It’s letting Christ Jesus live within us to bear the spiritual fruit!

Let us notice the Apostle Paul’s admonition to us –

“Therefore, my brothers, I implore you by God’s mercy to offer your very selves to [H]im: a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for [H]is acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart. Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed. Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2, NEB.

And, speaking again of the recent conversation I had with Minister Michael C. Garrett – he spoke of the idea that it’s very possible that individuals can make gods out of their religion or their church. And I bring this up because of God’s living word here – “the worship [of God] offered by mind and heart.” In the Book of Jeremiah, the LORD our God says to His people, “Do not trust in these lying words, saying, [and listen to this phraseology] ‘The temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD are these.’” Now you’re saying, “What does that mean!?” Well, back then, there were people who looked upon the temple of God as being the ultimate place to have their religious attention. And what Jesus is saying – the One that we now know of as Jesus is the One inspiring this – is there were people back then that worshiped the temple more than worshiped the God that made the temple. Now is that possible!? Yes, indeed!

I, sadly, can name individuals today, of different religions, some Protestant, some within the churches of God who worship their religion, with more zeal, than they worship God! Be sure to watch Minister Garrett’s recent sermon in which he speaks of this very thing!
7) At our Lord Jesus’ return, having been officially given the kingdom (see Daniel 7:13-14), how will Jesus Christ judge His servants!?
’ And so it was that when he returned, having received the kingdom, he then commanded these servants, to whom he had given the money, to be called to him, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading.’ – Luke 19:15.

Each mina – which was an ancient unit of weight and value equal to ¹/₆₀ talent – symbolized in this parable a spiritual value. Our Lord Jesus Christ has given each true Christian His Holy Spirit to be used to produce spiritual works.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10) that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful IN EVERY GOOD WORK and increasing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10.
8) Now, will each servant of God be rewarded proportional to the degree of his/her spiritual growth – of his/her overcoming, and spiritual development!?
Returning again to our Lord Jesus’ parable of the talents –

’ Then came the first, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned ten minas.’ 17) And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.’

18) And the second came, saying, ‘Master, your mina has earned five minas.’ 19) Likewise he said to him, ‘You also be over five cities.’

Now, some true Christians overcome more than others, and some accomplish even more spiritual works with what they have been given. So, in the glorious kingdom of God (the very family of God), each will receive greater or lesser positions of responsibility depending on the degree of the individual's spiritual growth and development in this life.

Each will be rewarded according to their spiritual works –

“’ For the Son of Man will come [with] the glory of His Father with His angels, and THEN He will reward each according to his works.’ – Matthew 16:27.

Our Lord Jesus Christ highlights the IMPORTANCE that His servants who are faithful and overcome TO THE VERY END – who are still growing in God’s grace and spiritual knowledge at His return (or their death, whichever comes first) – continue to do so TO THE VERY END! They, in whom He finds still doing, will inherit God’s kingdom and receive their reward! Notice His living word –

’ Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he comes, will find so doing. 47) Assuredly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all his goods.’ – Matthew 24:46-47.
9) Does God show us that there is a VITAL NEED for our continued spiritual growth in virtue and godly character as long as we live!?
“by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you MAY BE PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

5) But also for this reason, giving all diligence, ADD to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, 6) to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, 7) to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. 8) For IF these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

9) For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.” – 2 Peter 1:5-9.

Certainly, verses 10-11 imply that those who do not continue to spiritually grow in God’s grace and knowledge may not make it into God’s kingdom.
10) In what capacity is our Lord Jesus now serving true Christians?
“Having therefore a great High Priest, Who has passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, we should hold fast the confession of our faith. 15) For we do not have a high priest who cannot empathize with our weaknesses, but one Who was tempted in all things according to the likeness of our own temptations; yet He was without sin.

16) Therefore, we should come with boldness to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” – Hebrews 4:14-16, NET.

Jesus Christ is our High Priest, our Advocate.

GOD is the only Judge! Notice that King David wrote in Psalm 51 that his sin was against God, and God alone –

“Against You, You ONLY, have I sinned, …” – Psalm 51:4.

God’s living word does not say – anywhere – that we are to confess our sins to a priest, nor does it say that we are to ever authorize any penance.

Sadly, I have known of people that would confess some of the most horrible and despicable sins and crimes to their brethren or to a priest. I wouldn’t ever think about sharing some of the rotten and terrible things that I have done in my past with anyone but God. Sharing these things with others is called T.M.I. – too much information. Friends, it is uncouth, it is inappropriate and it is dangerous. It is unbelievable to me how many in these Baptist churches will stand up and confess their deepest of sins to the congregation. We are to be prudent – cf. Proverbs 13:16; 27:12. We are not to lack decency – cf. 1 Corinthians 14:40.

“For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into Heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us.” – Hebrews 9:24.

You know, all throughout the Book of Hebrews, we’re told that we have this great High Priest who sits on the right-hand side of God. And that He is our Advocate, our Intercessor. And there are times in our life when we have gone astray, and maybe Satan and his demons are there just laughing and carrying on to no extent. And then Jesus Christ walks up and says, “Father, I have forgiven them. And they belong to Me. End this.” I wonder how many times Jesus Christ has had to come to our defense to say, “I shed My blood, that they might be forgiven, and that someday they might live for all eternity”!?

So, let us always stay close to the LORD our God by drawing near unto Him in prayer and through Bible study. Let us change – and overcome. Grow in grace and spiritual knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! □

Scriptural Index:

Old Testament - Genesis 19; Psalm 51:4; Proverbs 13:16; 27:12; Jeremiah 7:3-11; Daniel 7:13-14.
New Testament - Matthew 5:48; 12:31-32; 16:27; 24:46-47; 28:28; Luke 19:15; 16-19; John 16:33; Acts 26:20; Romans 1:4; 8:16, 17; 19-23; 29; 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 14:40; 15:27; Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 1:20-22; 2:8; 4:13, 30; Philippians 2:12; Colossians 1:9-10; Hebrews 1:1-2; 3; 2:9-10; 4:14-16; 5:8-9; 9:24; 12:1; 1 Peter 3:21, 22; 2 Peter 1:5-9; 3:9, 18; 1 John 1:5; 3:2, 9; Revelation 1:12-16; 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21, 22.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be sure to leave a comment and tell us what you think.