October 2017           "A Journal of Biblical Understanding"           Volume 14           

(Daniel 4:25)
" ... and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will."


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What IS Faith, and How Is Yours Anyway?

As hard times hit me and my family, I sit and ponder how all the brethren of God's Church are faring. I and the family truly used to love traveling to the Feasts of God and getting with thousands of other brethren to enjoy fellowship with one another, AND with God and Jesus.

I enjoyed each weekly Sabbath where I could try to shake every person's hand who was attending the church service.

I had come to the conclusion that those attending were talking about everything else... work, children, shopping, movies, music, clothing, school, etc., but it didn't seem to me that people were talking about the Bible very much at all.

It was as if they were just waiting to hear the minister's sermon in order for them to get their "spiritual fix" for the coming week, and I made it my personal challenge to try to talk to as many as I could and ask Bible questions.

This helped me with my studies during the week, and after a while it seemed to help others there as well. I remember one man coming up to me, after I had been doing this for awhile. He had a big grin on his face when he asked me, "Well, what's the question of the week?" At least HE had been stirred to look for that question, because I always had one!

As I watched others begin to get into groups before and after the worship service and talk about the Bible, it increased my FAITH tremendously. It seemed to me that God was waiting for someone to "take the bull by the horns" and DO something other than just talk!

I relate this to you, not to try to glorify myself, but to get you to thinking about YOUR FAITH!

What about it? Is your faith stronger today than it was yesterday? Are you studying your Bible more today than you were in the past? Do you understand more about God and Jesus now than you did in the past?

I hope you can truthfully say YES to all these questions. If you can't say yes to them, what are you doing? Are you a member of a church organization who sits back and lets the minister tell you what to think? Are you one who doesn't have time during the week to read and study God's Word for yourself?

Are you one who believes a church group MUST have a human leader before it is righteous before God?

Or are you one who says with pride, "I don't attend ANY church! I do just fine on my own?"

NEITHER ATTITUDE IS RIGHT!!

Do you know where faith comes from and what it is?
Do you know what are "the works of the law?"
Can you show that those "works of the law" are NOT the Ten Commandments?
Can you teach others about the weekly Sabbath STRAIGHT from God's Word?
Can you show others why YOU were called by God?
Can you explain God's Holy Spirit to someone who is just beginning their calling and walk with God?
Are you like those disciples that God scattered away from Jerusalem and they went everywhere PREACHING the Word of God?

Our web site is a small attempt to do just that, and to ENCOURAGE YOU to begin witnessing for God and Christ when someone asks you of the HOPE that is within you.

Why was God's church scattered from Jerusalem?
Why was God's World Wide Church scattered?

As you read through Revelation chapters two and three, you will find examples referring to the whole church of God in which God finds some of the members wanting.

Some had left their first love. (Rev. 2:4).
Do you know what that "first love" is?

We must all retain, or get back to that FIRST LOVE mentioned in Revelation!!

Re 2:4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Jude called it "the faith once delivered to the Saints!"

Jude 1:3 "Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints."

What was it? What drew you to Jesus Christ in the first place? Do you know? Have you even thought about it?

To the church in Pergamos, God criticizes those who hold the 'doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to cast a stumbling block before the Children of Israel, taught them to eat food sacrificed to idols, and taught them to commit fornication. They also held the doctrine of the Nicolaitans which God HATES!

What about you? Do you KNOW what the doctrine of the Nicolaitans is? Do you understand how people in this day and age can eat food which has been sacrificed to idols? Do you understand what this fornication is that is mentioned here?

God condemns those of Thyatira for allowing Jezebel to PREACH IN THE CHURCH! How could Jezebel be preaching in God's Church? Who WAS Jezebel anyway?

God says this Jezebel calls herself a prophetess, teaching and seducing God's people (His servants) to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols.

To those in Sardis, God says their "things" are about ready to die! He cautions them to strengthen what remains. He tells them to REMEMBER how they RECEIVED and HEARD!! He tells them to hold fast AND REPENT until He comes!! He tells them TO WATCH! He says if they WILL NOT WATCH, He will come on them as a thief in the night and they will NOT KNOW THE HOUR when He will come!!

And, of course, the Laodicean church is condemned as LUKE WARM, because they THINK they are rich and increased with goods!

ALL THESE THINGS are placed in the Bible for OUR EXAMPLE!!

We are supposed to LEARN from them! Have YOU LEARNED FROM THEM PERSONALLY OR DO YOU WAIT FOR YOUR MINISTER TO TELL YOU 'WHAT IT ALL MEANS?'

Where IS your FAITH, brethren? In GOD or IN MAN? Do you not know that YOUR SALVATION is between YOU AND YOUR GOD? IT IS NOT FROM YOU through YOUR MINISTER to GOD!! You MUST have a DIRECT LINK between you and God! That link DOES NOT GO THROUGH SOME OTHER MAN!! No one else can do your thinking for you!

I know we've gotten away from many of the gospel songs which we used to hear when we were in mainstream churches, but some of them carry some messages which we NEED.

One I think of now is "You Gotta Walk That Lonesome Valley." Yes you have to walk it by yourself. There's no one here that can walk it for you. You've got to walk it for yourself!

YOU are RESPONSIBLE for YOUR SINS and you MUST REPENT of them, continuing in the attitude you had "when you first began, when you had that 'first love'."

And besides, WHAT IS FAITH ANYWAY?

We have heard it said many, many times that "Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Heb. 11:1) However there is another verse a little further on that REALLY tells us what faith truly is.

That is in Heb. 11:6

"But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him."

YES, THAT is FAITH! We must BELIEVE that God IS, and that the REWARDS He has PROMISED will be given to those who DILIGENTLY seek Him!!

Do you DILIGENTLY seek God? Are you walking with God? Are you truly GOING HIS WAY? Or do the cares of this world choke your relationship with HIM? Does your job take precedence in your life, or perhaps your family?

In other words, WHY SHOULD GOD SAVE YOU?

Yes, salvation IS a gift! However, only those who have God's Holy Spirit will be SAVED at the resurrection.

Romans 8:11 "But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you."

Notice that little bitty word IF in that verse?

Acts 5:32 tells us that God ONLY gives His Holy Spirit to those WHO OBEY HIM!

And let me tell you here and now.... obedience involves MORE than just obedience to The Ten Commandments!!!

We are told we must be ready to answer someone who asks of "the hope that is within us!"
We are told we must "study to show ourselves APPROVED unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

How much are you studying? How ready and eager are you to tell others the truth WHEN THEY ASK YOU?

Yes, some are over-eager and actually run people away with their "truth". Remember how you were when you first began? How you couldn't wait to tell everyone the truth you had learned? AND how they began to shun you when you wouldn't leave them alone?

Yeah, I did it too! That is the kind of eagerness God wants in us, WHEN He sends someone to us to begin learning God's truth and God's way of life.

However, we are supposed to be "as wise as a serpent and harmless as a dove." No, I don't mean be ashamed of the truth where you don't tell anybody about it. I mean BE READY when God sends someone TO YOU.

YOU THEN WOULD BEGIN WITH THE BASICS.

You do know what the basics are don't you?
They are in Hebrews 6:1-2. Let me list them for you.

Repentance from dead works.
Faith toward God.
Baptism.
The laying on of hands.
The resurrection from the dead.
Eternal judgment.

Can you teach those basic things?

Paul put it a little more succinctly when he said:

1 Cor.2:
1 ∂ And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of manís wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:"

Yes, the BASICS are Jesus Christ AND Him CRUCIFIED! and yes that does cover a lot of ground. In fact, the whole Bible.

Can we 'just believe' and be saved?

 The Apostle James said:

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Yes, brethren, there ARE works we must do! God will NOT save someone who is not willing to DO whatever it takes.

The very basics of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified are to DO RIGHTEOUSNESS. (Psalms 119:172)

"... ALL THY COMMANDMENTS ARE RIGHTEOUSNESS."

What about you?

Are you READY to be a bright, shining example to others of God's Grace and Love, and ready to give them an answer of the HOPE THAT LIES WITHIN YOU?

That is the way WE preach, brethren! Not shouting from some street corner or cornering the nearest person at the supermarket or mall to preach to them "our gospel!"

As it says in Mat. 5:14,
"Ye are the LIGHT OF THE WORLD. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.
15. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
16. Let your light so shine before men, THAT THEY MAY SEE YOUR GOOD WORKS, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven."

Yes. THAT is the way we are supposed to PREACH to this world. We are supposed to be shining examples of God's WAY OF LIFE so that when others see us they will come and ask questions of the hope that is within us. Then we are supposed to be "ready to give an answer."

That means we must know God's Word! We have to be able to "rightly divide (explain) the word of truth!"

Can you do that?

Or is your biblical knowledge so shallow that you have to run to the minister every time someone asks you a bible question?

Our website is designed, and the articles are written with the goal in mind of helping you do just that. If you will read the articles along with your OPEN Bible, praying that God will allow you to UNDERSTAND what you are reading, then our goal of helping you help others is being achieved.

What about it? Will you help us to help you?

Will you let us SERVE YOU? We are eager to do that if you will allow it.

Please write. We would like to hear from you.

Your friend,

Ken Browder, Editor - The Seven Times Newsletter -

http://7times.org

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