The More Perfect of the Testaments

1 Timothy 1:9-11 KJV

Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers,

For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine;

According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.

 

Albert Barnes writes, “The gospel … makes known the will of God. It states what is duty, and accords in its great principles with the law, or is in harmony with it. The law, in principle, forbids all which the gospel forbids, and in publishing the requirements of the gospel, therefore, Paul says that the law really forbade all which was prohibited in the gospel, and was designed to restrain all who would act contrary to that gospel. There is no contradiction between the law and the gospel. They forbid the same things, and in regard to morals and true piety, the clearer revelations of the gospel are but carrying out the principles stated in the law.”

 

We may verify the appropriate use of an interpretation of the law by the gospel. They are not in conflict but in harmony. The gospel however is to be the judge as it is

  • the newer
  • the higher and
  • the more perfect

testament from God.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Gospel

The Duty to Break Fellowship

2 Thessalonians 3:6 KJV

Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.

 

Sometimes Paul exhorted and urged believers to do a thing. Sometimes he besought them. In this case Paul used the strongest term; he commanded them to withdraw from other Christians who would not follow after and live according to the traditions Paul had given them.

 

Paul later says that in doing so we are not to think of them as enemies, for they are not, yet we still mark them and have no fellowship with them.

 

Christianity in our day is becoming so feeble minded that the very idea of being commanded to do a thing is offensive to us. To be commanded to withdraw from someone and not to fellowship with them would be considered unspeakably harsh. What I see is the importance Paul places on this practice. It’s not a suggestion or even a request. This is so important to the advancement of the Gospel that he issues a command. It is important because it is necessary to prevent the decline of Christian faith and practice into anything a person might want to call Christianity. We have no right, no authority to create our own traditions and culture around our faith. We are duty bound, obligated yes, even commanded to carry on our faith exactly as we have received it.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Separation

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Popular Deceptions Concerning the Tribulation and Rapture

2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

 

It seems to me that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians for such a time as this. The discerning Christian senses the evil of the hour and cannot help but believe that the coming of the Lord must be near. But we are also aware that there have been times of terrible tribulation in the past. We feel a need to strengthen the saints for hardness should Christ not return soon.

 

Signs of the times seem to be advancing rapidly. One of them that is growing in popularity is the deception that Christians will have to go through the Tribulation of the last day. More and more young, zealous preachers are rejecting the hope of the coming of Christ to rapture us away from that Tribulation and embracing the doctrine that Christians will endure those days and that Christ will not rapture us until the end of the Tribulation Period. Paul urged the believer not to let any man deceive them into believing it. That means the doctrine of Christians going through the Tribulation is a lie. The doctrines of:

  • pre-wrath
  • mid-Tribulation, or
  • post-Tribulation

are not different slants on the same truth. It is a deception. It is a lie. It most be warned against.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

It’s More Than That

2 Thessalonians 1:12 KJV

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

When the apostle prayed for these believers, he prayed that the name of Christ would be glorified in them. He wanted their lives to be a testimony to the majesty, love, grace and power of the Lord. He wanted them to be lighthouses together, guiding the lost to Christ.

 

He also prayed they their own names would be glorified in Christ. He wanted them to be more than greasy tools that God used; he wanted to see them uplifted, changed, sanctified and molded into the glorious image of Jesus.

 

The Christian life is about serving the Lord and others but it is about more than that. The Christian life is about being joint heirs with Christ, about being the sons of God. The Christian life is about putting off the deeds of the flesh and putting on the new man which is after Christ.

 

Salvation is more than being forgiven of sin; it is about being made priests and kings.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

Christian growth

The SCOTUS Ruling on Same Sex Marriage

SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Ruling
SCOTUS Same Sex Marriage Ruling

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 KJV

But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.
Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

 

The Christian world is fairly reeling over the Supreme Court’s recent ruling over same sex marriage. Many are prophesying the next wave of persecution. Some are mourning the death of our nation. A few are pointing to the imminent coming of Jesus Christ. I am reminded that our Anabaptist forefathers preached that Christians should be wary of every government and focus instead on obedience to Jesus Christ.

 

Paul addressed the passage for our consideration to a group of believers who also saw the darkness of the days in which they lived and gave them these words of counsel:

Be sober

Don’t get crazy, fearful or panic. Level headed people handle difficult situations much better than those who lose their minds during them.

 

Don’t get angry

God has not appointed us to wrath. There will come a time when God Himself will pour out His wrath. Ours is to reach out to attempt to rescue them, not to “help God” judge them.

 

Practice faith, love and hope

In other words, fight our fight with spiritual weapons. The weapons of our warfare are still not carnal and they are still mighty.

 

Comfort one another

There will be casualties and wounded in any warfare, even spiritual ones. Comfort each other when needed.

 

Edify one another

Build up believers.

  • Encourage them
  • Equip them
  • Strengthen pray for, preach to and teach them

It is difficult to say just where all of this will lead.

  • Perhaps to the coming of Christ
  • Perhaps to a wave of persecution
  • Perhaps to a return true Christian experience

What we can know is that nothing has happened to change God’s plan.

  • Stay true
  • Stay faithful and
  • Stay in the battle for the Bible

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Same Sex Marriage

Another “Furthermore”

1 Thessalonians 4:1 KJV

Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

 

Furthermore…

 

In the Christian life, there is always something new:

  • To learn
  • To practice
  • To grow in

 

The Christian life is never, or should never be static.

 

No Christian should ever allow himself or herself to feel like he or she has arrived; like there is nothing else to master in the faith. This life of faith is a matter of constant advancement. To stop growing is to stop living as a Christian. We never attain perfection in this world.

 

There will always be another “furthermore “.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Christian growth

The Thing That Should Matter Most

1 Thessalonians 3:2 KJV

And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

 

1 Thessalonians 3:7 KJV

Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

 

Paul’s concern for the believers in Thessalonica compelled him to send Timothy to check on them and to comfort them in their faith. The comfort went both ways. When Timothy returned, his report concerning them and their faith became a comfort to Paul.

 

I note that Paul’s concern was not over their persecution, which they most certainly endured. He was not cold and calloused about it but realized that there was a much bigger concern than physical hardship; he was concerned for their faith.

 

That thing we ought to care most about for one another is our faith.

 

We have it turned around these days where faith is nearly thought of as a by-product of Christian life while:

  • Success
  • Prosperity and
  • Health

are thought of as the big issues.

 

We need to get things back where they belong; focus on strengthening the faith of ourselves and others while we neglect not caring for the other things.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

Christian Care

Effective Preaching

1 Thessalonians 2:2 KJV

But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.

 

Sometimes preaching is attached with great liberty:

  • It is obvious that the hearers are connecting with the message
  • There is a spirit among the congregation as a whole that is conducive to preaching
  • The preacher feels at home and senses an agreement among the congregation for his message.

 

Such was, I think, Paul’s experience in writing the book of Philippians.[1] Here we are reminded that, though Paul had a genuine connection with the church at Philippi, it had not been an easy ministry there. He moved then to Thessalonica where Paul’s testimony was that he preached with boldness and much contention.

 

  • Preaching there was a labor, a struggle.
  • Preaching there incited anger among his hearers.
  • Preaching there was not associated with great liberty but
  • Preaching there did produce great results.

 

The greatest opportunities for the gospel are not in those places of the greatest ease and liberty. Paul said of Ephesus that a great and effectual door had been opened to him in there and that there were many adversaries. He did not say “but” there are many adversaries.

 

I believe that the kind preaching that will change the world will most often be of that sort.

[1] I recognize this was a letter and not a sermon.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

effective preaching

The Power of Knowing Our Master

Colossians 4:1 KJV

Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.

 

Knowledge is a powerful thing.

  • It is in knowing Christ that we are saved.
  • It is the knowledge of truth that we have confidence in our faith.
  • It is through the knowledge of the Word of God that we are perfected and matured.

 

It is in the knowledge of our Master in heaven that we learn to treat others justly.[1]

[1] I spent this time with the Lord about 6:30 AM on a jet bound for San Francisco, where I am speaking at a H.O.P.E. Addictions Ministry Conference.

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

 

Treat others justly

Dead Christians

Colossians 3:3 KJV

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

 

What a startling statement!

 

God warned Adam and Eve that the day they ate the fruit they were forbidden to eat that they would surely die.

 

  • The man who is not saved is dead and trespasses and sins[1]
  • The wages of sin is death[2]
  • Sin when it is finished bringeth forth death[3]
  • Death and hell are cast into the Lake of Fire[4]

 

And the Christian is – according to Paul – dead.

 

Death, in this sense then, is a mark of faith. It is a finished work. Through of the death of Jesus Christ, and His resurrection that followed, we who are believers have tasted the judgment of death and await only the resurrection to eternal life.

[1] Ephesians 2:1
[2] Romans 6:23
[3] James 1:15
[4] Revelation 20:14

 

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Mark of faith