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Greetings “…unto the church …which is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 1:1). I pray that you are doing well and prospering in the Lord. God has been wonderful to each of us in so many ways. Praise God!
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In This Issue:
The Holy Spirit of God
Young at Heart
A Simple Hug
by Mittisse Barrett
A Servant of Jesus Christ
by Ellet J. Waggoner
The Holy Spirit of God
by Lynnford Beachy
The greatest privilege of being a Christian is the amazing access we have to “the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). By giving the gift of the Holy Spirit to His people, God has given everything we need to flourish in our Christian walk. Yet, to benefit from all that is available through this wonderful gift, we must understand what it contains. Having a biblical knowledge of the Holy Spirit will greatly enhance our Christian experience.
The Bible says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). Here we are told that there is one Spirit. Does this mean that there are no more spirits than one? The Bible says of God that He is “the God of the spirits of all flesh” (Numbers 16:22). According to the Bible “all flesh” have spirits. Solomon wrote, “Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (Ecclesiastes 3:21). All men, and even animals, have spirits. Therefore we cannot conclude that there is only one Spirit. The one Spirit spoken of in Ephesians 4:4 must be a particular Spirit.
This is similar to how the word “God” is used in the Bible. In the same sentence where Paul said there is “one Spirit” he also said there is “one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:6). The term “one God” in the Bible always refers to the Father.1 Paul wrote, “But to us there is but one God, the Father” (1 Corinthians 8:6). The Father is also called, “the most high God” (Mark 5:7), “the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), “the only true God” (John 17:3), etc.
Yet, there are others called “God” or “god”2 in the Bible, such as Jesus (Hebrews 1:8, 9), Moses (Exodus 7:1), people (John 10:34, 35), Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4), etc. In the absolute sense, “there is but one God, the Father” (1 Corinthians 8:6). When the word God is used to refer to the type of Being God is, then it also applies to Jesus Christ (John 1:1; Hebrews 1:8, 9). When the word “god” is used to include men and angels, then it has a very limited meaning. Men and angels do not have divinity; only God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ are divine. (For a thorough Bible study on the one God of the Bible, please contact us and request the book entitled, Understanding the Personality of God, or download it from our website at www.presenttruth.info.)
The word “Spirit” or “spirit”2 also has a broad range of applications in the Bible, but in its absolute sense, there is only one Spirit, who is the great source of all life, the Spirit of the “one God and Father of all” (Ephesians 4:6). The one Spirit was in Jesus Christ when He was here. The Bible says, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). John the Baptist said about Jesus Christ, “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him” (John 3:34). God gave His Spirit to His Son without measure. Peter testified “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). The good that Jesus did while He was here was evidence that He was filled with the Holy Spirit of His Father. Jesus said it this way, “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake” (John 14:10, 11). The “one Spirit” dwelling in Jesus Christ is the Spirit of God, the Father, yet Jesus has His own individual Spirit, as we will see shortly.
1 Here is every place the term “one God” is found in the Bible: Malachi 2:10; Mark 12:32; Romans 3:30; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6; 1 Timothy 2:5; James 2:19
2 The same Hebrew or Greek words are used whether they are capitalized or not in English – There was no capital-letter distinction in the original languages.
What is a Spirit
The Bible refers to “the Holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30), but what is a spirit? Some people think that a spirit is a ghost: some bodiless phantom that floats around. Is this what God sends to the world to comfort us? Certainly not! According to The American Heritage Dictionary, ghost means: “The spirit of a dead person, especially one believed to appear in bodily likeness to living persons or to haunt former habitats.” The Holy Spirit is not a ghost and should never have been translated in this way. Let us read the Bible and see what it has to say about a spirit.
In the book of Job it says, “There is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding” (Job 32:8). Daniel explained, “I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body” (Daniel 7:15). A spirit is the part of a person that can be grieved. In Mark’s gospel we read, “And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, Why reason ye these things in your hearts?” (Mark 2:8). A spirit is the part of a person that can perceive or understand things. The king of Babylon had a dream, and he told his wise men, “I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream” (Daniel 2:3). A spirit is the part of a person that can be troubled. These Bible texts confirm the definition of “spirit” found in The American Heritage Dictionary, which says, “The part of a human being associated with the mind, will, and feelings.”
The Bible mentions several different types of spirit. We read in the Bible about “foul spirit,” “evil spirit,” “unclean spirit,” “dumb spirit,” “excellent spirit,” “humble spirit,” “wounded spirit,” “broken spirit,” “haughty spirit,” “faithful spirit,” “good spirit,” etc. All these spirits are distinguishable by the adjective that describes them. We know that God the Father has a Spirit (Matthew 10:20), and can that Spirit be anything else, or anything less, than Holy? The word “Holy” is an adjective in every case, whether in English or in Greek. “Holy Spirit” is not a name, but a description of the Spirit of God.
Notice how Paul compared the spirit of man with the Spirit of God: “For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:11). Here the spirit of man is likened to the Spirit of God. Just as man has a spirit, so God has a Spirit, and His Spirit, just as man’s spirit, is the part of Him that is “associated with the mind, will, and feelings.” The Holy Spirit is “the holy Spirit of God” (Ephesians 4:30). Just as the spirit of man, God’s Spirit can be grieved or vexed. God’s Spirit belongs to God, just as my spirit belongs to me. This is to be expected, since we were made in God’s image (Genesis 1:26).
Suppose I told you, “I know that we have met before, but have you ever met my spirit? I would like to introduce you to my spirit; he is sitting over there on that chair.” What would you think? You would immediately recognize that I have a twisted concept of what my spirit is. It is not some other person, separate and distinct from me. My spirit is really me, it is who I am. If I say, “My mother is very pleasant to be around, she has an excellent spirit,” you would not suppose that I am talking about two persons. I would only be talking about one person, my mother, who has a pleasant personality and character. Even so, God’s Spirit is Himself.
God is a Spirit
Jesus said, “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23, 24). God, the Father, is a Spirit. Does this mean He has no visible form? The Bible says about Jesus, “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:6). God must have a form or else Jesus could not have that form. The Bible also says of Christ, “Who being the brightness of his [Father’s] glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Hebrews 1:3). The Father has a form even though He is a Spirit.
The Bible says of angels, “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” (Hebrews 1:14). Angels are spirits, yet they are literal beings who have faces, hands, wings, etc. (Judges 6:22; Revelation 10:8). God also has a face, for Jesus said, “Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 18:10). He is able to sit on a throne, has hands, hair on His head, etc. (Daniel 7:9; Revelation 5:1). God is a real Person.
The Spirit of the Father
Jesus said that when you are brought before governors and kings for a testimony that you should “take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you” (Matthew 10:19, 20). God, the Father, has a Spirit, and His Spirit is Holy. Mark records this conversation this way, “…take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak, neither do ye premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost” (Mark 13:11). According to this text we learn that the Holy Ghost (Spirit) is “the Spirit of your Father” in heaven.
Jesus said, “But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me” (John 15:26). According to Jesus, the Comforter is the Spirit of His Father which “proceedeth from the Father.” Paul wrote, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour” (Titus 3:5, 6) The “one Spirit is the Spirit of the Father. Peter said of Jesus, “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear” (Acts 2:33).
The Father has a Spirit, and just as He is called the “one God” of the Bible, His Spirit is the “one Spirit” of the Bible, which He gives to us through Jesus Christ, as we will see clearly in a moment.
The Spirit of Jesus
The Bible declares that Jesus has a Spirit. In His dying breath Jesus said, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost” (Luke 23:46). This is similar to what Stephen said when he died, “calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59). Every living being has a spirit. Jesus Christ has His own individual Spirit, which He committed to His Father when He died.
The Bible says, “And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father” (Galatians 4:6). Jesus could very well cry “Abba, Father” outside of us, but He chooses to come into our hearts to give us the benefit of His close relationship with His Father. The Son of God definitely has His own Spirit, which you and I can receive if we accept Christ into our hearts. We will then “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16).
Paul wrote, “For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:19). We need to have a constant supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Jesus has a personal Spirit, just as every living being in the universe has their own spirit. Speaking of the prophets of the Old Testament, Peter explained, “Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11).
In John chapter fourteen, Jesus told His disciples about the Comforter. He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you” (John 14:15-18). The Comforter is a gift from the Father. When Jesus was asked to explain the Holy Spirit coming to the disciples, Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 14:23). According to Jesus, when we receive the Comforter into our hearts we are actually receiving both the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of His Son.
In His closing prayer to His Father, Jesus further explained: “I in them, and thou [the Father] in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23). The Father sends the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, and the Spirit of the Father is in His Son, therefore we receive both the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of Jesus. Jesus said, “He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me” (Matthew 10:40). When you invite Jesus into your heart, you automatically receive the Spirit of the Father because the Father is in Christ. The Bible says, “…he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also” (1 John 2:23). John also wrote, “He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son” (2 John 1:9).
This explains why Paul could say, “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 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” (Romans 8:9-11). Paul spoke of “the Spirit of God,” “the Spirit of Christ,” and “the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead,” in ways that seem interchangeable. This is because you cannot have the Spirit of Christ without having the Spirit of the Father. If you have Christ in you, you automatically have the Spirit of the Father in you, since the Spirit of the Father is in Christ. In this way you get both the Father and the Son.
A Dangerous Error
There are those who have mistakenly concluded that the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of the Son are the same Spirit. It is true that the Spirit of the Father is in the Son, but the Spirit of the Father in Christ is not the Spirit of Christ. The Son of God has His own Spirit, just as every other living being in the universe has a personal spirit. The Bible is clear that when we receive the Spirit of Christ, we receive both the Spirit of the Father and the Spirit of His Son, because the Father is in Christ. In this way we have access to both the Father and His Son.
The danger in supposing that the Father and the Son share the same Spirit without having individual Spirits of their own is that it turns the plan of salvation into a farce. There are those who suppose that God is a great master Spirit who existed without a body, and that when it came time to interact with His creation, God acquired a body (later known as God the Father). Then, at a later time, this master Spirit needed to interact with sinful man, and acquired a second body, called “the Son of God.” This theory supposes that the one master Spirit manifests Himself through two bodies simultaneously, while each body has no individual Spirit of its own. This turns the plan of salvation into a farce and reduces the love of God to mere role playing, pretending to be something He is not (otherwise known as hypocrisy).
If the above theory is true, then when God sent His Son into the world to die for our sins, all He really sent was his second unnecessary body to pretend to be His Son, and then pretend to die for us. Even if He lost this second body for eternity, it would not be any hardship for Him, since it was an unneeded accessory anyway. That would be like me showing my love for you by giving you my excess fingernail tip to die for your sins. That is vastly different than if I loved you enough to send my own son to die for you.
Satan has many false theories to undermine the love of God in giving His Son to die for our sins. We have the Bible to teach us, and the Spirit of God to guide us into all truth, so we need not be tricked by any of these delusions of the devil. God is a real Person who loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son (His real Son) to die for your sins. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:9, 10). “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32).
God’s love is measured by the value of the gift He gave for us. When He gave His only begotten Son to die for us, He gave everything in that one gift. He opened a way that we can have access to the Father. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6). Jesus is the way to the Father. This is His goal; to connect us with His Father. In going through Christ to get to the Father, we gain the added benefit of having fellowship with the Son of God.
John wrote, “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 John 1:3). Currently, we are unable to have fellowship with the physical body of the Father and His Son; they are sitting on thrones in heaven. But we can have literal fellowship with both the Father and His Son. This is fellowship on a spiritual level. The Father and His Son both come to live in our hearts. The Spirit of Christ is in us, and the Spirit of the Father is in Christ, so in this way we have both the Father and the Son, and can truly have fellowship with both of them. If they were merely sharing the same Spirit, then on a spiritual level we could only have fellowship with one Person. But the Bible declares that we are able to have fellowship with both the Father and His Son right now. This demonstrates that they are each distinct Persons with their own individual Spirits.
Christ in You
It is mysterious how Jesus Christ can live inside of you and me, but it is a transforming knowledge when we know this as a reality. Paul wrote, “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” (Colossians 1:27). When I first decided to give my life to Christ, my dad gave me some of the best advice I have ever received. He told me to pray and ask God to give me a new heart, and to invite Jesus to live in my heart. He encouraged me to quote God’s promises in Ezekiel 36:26, 27 and Revelation 3:20. He told me that I would not feel anything different, but that I should continue believing that God had done what He promised, and after a few days I would notice that I had a new heart and that Jesus was living in me. That was wonderful advice!
I asked God to give me a new heart, then invited Jesus to live in my heart, and did not notice any change right away, but I got up from that prayer completely confident that I had a new heart and that Jesus was now living in me. I could relate to Paul when he said, “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” (Galatians 2:20). I left that prayer walking on cloud nine. I was so excited that God had given me a new heart and that now Jesus lived in me. After a few days it was extremely clear that God had honored His promise. I responded to things differently. That was how I was born again, and if you have not had that experience, I encourage you to “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
John gave us some valuable instruction in 1 John 3:24-4:4. He said, “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.… Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.”
Notice the connection here. John first stated that “we know that he abideth in us,” and he closed with, “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” Couched between these statements is his warning against false teachers “that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh…” Notice the context here. The warning is against false teachers who claim that Jesus Christ does not abide in your flesh. This is a dangerous error because “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” If you do not have Christ in you, then you do not have the advantage you need over “your adversary the devil,” who “as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Don’t let anyone trick you into believing that Jesus Christ does not live in your flesh right now. “Christ in you” is your only “hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27). Christ outside of you is your assurance of damnation, until you accept Christ into your heart. “He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life” (1 John 5:12). I beseech you to accept Jesus Christ into your heart. He is longing to come in. He says, “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” (Revelation 3:20).
A Wonderful Gift
In His closing prayer Jesus entreated His Father, “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (John 17:5). Jesus asked His Father to give Him His glory, and He said this glory is the Father’s “own self.” Notice how glory is described in the following text: “Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising” (Isaiah 60:1-3). When “the glory of the Lord” arises upon us, it is actually “the Lord” that arises upon us. You cannot have the glory of the Lord upon you unless you have the Lord Himself in your heart. His glory is His character (Exodus 33:18, 19), so to have His character, you must have Him.
Jesus asked His Father to give Himself to His Son. This is the glory Jesus was asking for. And then He said, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me” (John 17:21-23).
Jesus was not asking the Father for His glory for Himself alone, but so that He could share that glory with us. Jesus asked His Father for His Father’s “own self” (His Spirit), so that He could bestow this gift upon us. He explained, “I in them, and thou in me…” Jesus is in us, and His Father is in Him. We are given the Spirit of the Son in our hearts (Galatians 4:6), and He brings the Father to us, because the Father is in Him by His Spirit.
Friends, we have an amazing privilege to have the Son of God living in us. For in this wonderful gift is the Father’s own Spirit living in Christ, who is living in us. There is no power in heaven or earth that can be victorious against you when you have such a powerhouse in you. Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (John 10:27-29). I pray that you will take full advantage of the privilege you have of having God, the Father, and His only begotten Son living in your heart. May They both be full-time residents in you and in me, is my prayer, in Jesus name, Amen!
Something for the Young at Heart
This month we are continuing a series of studies written by my children. In order to maintain the flow of the study, this crossword puzzle is not split into Across and Down sections—Across or Down is indicated at the end of each line. (The KJV is required.)
To complete this crossword, please download the PDF version of this newsletter.
God’s Kindness – by Josiah Beachy
› Solomon said to God, “thou hast kept for him [David] this great ____, that thou hast given him a son to sit on his throne, as it is this day.” 1 Kings 3:6—14 Across
› “Thou art a God ready to ____, gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and forsookest them not.” Nehemiah 9:17—5 Down
› “For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the ____ of the Lord endureth for ever. Praise ye the Lord.” Psalm 117:2—16 Across
› “Blessed be the Lord: for he hath shewed me his marvellous kindness in a ____ city.” Psalm 31:21—11 Down
› “Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my ____, according to thy word unto thy servant.” Psalm 119:76—15 Across
› “Let the righteous ____ me; it shall be a kindness: and let him reprove me; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break my head…” Psalm 141:5—2 Down
› “The ____ of a man is his kindness: and a poor man is better than a liar.” Proverbs 19:22—10 Down
› God said, “In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with ____ kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:8—4 Down
› “For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not ____ from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10—8 Down
› “And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of ____ kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” Joel 2:13—3 Across
› “That in the ages to come he might shew the ____ riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” Ephesians 2:7— 19_Across
› Paul encouraged us to approve ourselves “By pureness, by ____, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.” 2 Corinthians 6:6—13 Down
› “Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of ____, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering.” Colossians 3:12—7 Across
› We used to be evil, “But after that the kindness and ____ of God our Saviour toward man appeared.” Titus 3:4—17 Across
› In Peter’s ladder he encouraged us to add “to ____ brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.” 2 Peter 1:7—9 Across
› “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the ____ and to the evil.” Luke 6:35—1 Down
› “Charity suffereth ____, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” 1 Corinthians 13:4—6 Down
› “And be ye kind one to another, ____, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32— 18_Across
› “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour ____ one another.” Romans 12:10—12 Down
Note: If you or your children would like to participate in preparing Crossword Bible studies, send us a Bible study in the format above, with one word missing and replaced with a blank ____. Put the missing word at the beginning of the paragraph followed by a colon: (Make sure that you do not use the same word twice). Make sure each verse is relevant to the study and provide approximately 20 verses). If you send this to us we may be able to include it in an upcoming issue of Present Truth.
A Simple Hug
by Mittisse Barrett
The power of a simple hug can be one of the easiest means of reaching out to hurting people. I know from personal experience that a hug can soothe the aching heart during a painful time in life. Over sixteen years ago I lost the father of my two younger children in an airplane crash. My youngest child was only six weeks old when the unexpected news of his death reached my ears. The hugs of others during those weeks that followed were sips of water from the River of Life. God alone knows the heartache and pain that one experiences in losing the love of your life and best friend.
More recently I made a trip to fellowship with like believers and, after a four and a half hour drive, I arrived tired. A person noticed my weary body language and responded with a hug. That simple hug from a relative stranger was all I needed to know that someone cared. It was my Father letting me know that He cared, and He knew the trials that I was going through and had not forgotten His daughter.
And just the other night after retiring to bed and sleeping soundly, my daughter Reekah stopped by the house after work. I felt the hug and kiss of someone. Awakened by the affectionate touch from my daughter, I smiled just knowing that she thought of me on her way home. These loving embraces invigorate the life-flowing energies of the body, bringing health of mind and body.
Knowing how much a simple hug can lift the spirits of a tired and weary soul, I want to share a few stories of how the Lord used someone like me to help others who are hurting and longing for just one human being to care, and then possibly they may dare to believe that a God in heaven could care too.
One of my stories took place in a small mountain town in West Virginia, an old dried up coal mill town, where the young enter into a life of alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. From my very first visit to this area, my Father in Heaven had given me a love for the people. I enjoy getting to know people and their life stories. I have often thought it would be interesting to be able to watch a DVD of the people who have lived on the land where I now live, just to see who and how people lived on the land before me. This may sound a little crazy, but I want to understand the lives of people so that I can better see how to help, or just brighten their day. My visit to West Virginia was no different.
I had learned of Third Street. This is the notorious street where all the prostitutes hang out. The respectable women in town would never dare to walk down this street, and they shun the girls when they do encounter them. Maybe I’m a rebel at heart but from that moment on I wanted to hug each one of those girls. We were unable to spend time with the prostitutes of Third Street, but hopefully on my next visit to West Virginia I’ll be able to minister to the needs of these women. Please pray for these young ladies, and that the Spirit of God will go before my return visit so that the seed will fall in ground ready to produce fruit.
My friend that I was staying with knew how much I wanted to go downtown to hand out literature, so the morning that I was planning to leave she asked me if I wanted to go. Of course I did! Thrilled that the Lord had placed that desire on her heart, we went. God is so amazing! However, on this particular visit we met young girls who were just searching for love in all the wrong places. They may not be selling themselves like the prostitutes of Third Street, but they didn’t know who they could be in Christ Jesus.
Each girl that we met that day allowed me to give her a hug before we departed. When I looked into the eyes of each young girl, I saw the heart of someone who had had many hugs but for all the wrong reasons. My hug was a hug without expecting anything in return. I wanted each girl to know that this lady loved her and cared because our Father in Heaven had given me a love for her. He loves them!
Another story will settle the hug theory of mine. While visiting my friend in West Virginia and helping her take care of her mother in the local nursing home, I met a lady who slept in the next bed. Day after day she watched me come and take care of my friend’s mother, bathing her each day and rubbing her down with lotion. Sometimes I am so slow to see the needs of people right under my nose. This particular day the lady in the next bed started to cry. She had family, but they didn’t visit often; she had not experienced the care that my friend’s mother was receiving. Giving her a hug and letting her know that I loved her seemed to help at the moment. However, that night while praying, the Lord helped me to see what I needed to do, so the next day I talked to the nurse in charge and asked if I could give this lady a body massage. She agreed with my plan.
My new friend’s name is Joann. She is now my adopted mother that I hope to visit every time I go to West Virginia. I’ll never forget that morning! I talked to Joann about wanting to massage her arms, back, feet, and legs, but she didn’t know what to do. She had never had anyone to care for her aching body in this way, but I explained the procedure and began. The tears flowed from her eyes because she was so desperate for human touch. A simple touch was what this woman needed. She needed to know that she was not forgotten and still loved. My adopted mother is so dear to me, and I just wonder how many more adopted sons, daughters, mothers, and fathers are out there? You know, when we accept Christ as our Lord and Saviour we too become the adopted sons and daughters of our Father in Heaven?
Many are the stories in God’s Word of Jesus touching the leper, the demoniac, the blind, the lame, and others needing that loving touch. If Christ is living in us, an experience that I want more than life itself, will He not live just as He did when He was here on earth? Will He not touch through us all those who are starving for that human touch of compassion? I believe that He will! I can’t imagine my life without experiencing the loving touch of those close to me. Unfortunately, all around us are those who never receive a kind word or a loving touch showing someone cares. The good news is that you don’t have to go far if you want to be used by God. They could be in your own home, a next-door neighbor, church member, someone at work, or in the projects of your very own town. The question is not where the people are who need such a touch, but where are the people in whom Christ wants to dwell? Many profess His name, but few are the ones who allow Him to dwell in and live through them.
This love for others is not natural, especially for the carnal heart, but we can receive the touch of Christ upon our own heart. For years I have been praying for God to change my heart, to give me a love for others and to teach me how to love Him as He deserves. Even though I stumble, I get it now—we love our Father in Heaven when we allow Christ to dwell in our hearts and love others. If we love those around us who are hurting, we have loved our Father in Heaven! This love that the Father gives us is undeserved, but given because of our great need. Our Father in Heaven loves us so much and gave us His Son, not because we deserved the gift, but because we are in desperate need of His love. So it is on the streets, in the home, the church and everywhere you look; people desperately need love, but are so undeserving.
Some may say, “Well, you hugged some wayward girls. What good did it do?” I don’t know, but I’d like to share my last story. My neighbor’s daughter is in her late twenties, and she and I go walking almost every day. After my return trip from West Virginia, I was telling her the experiences of my trip. When I was telling about the young women that I hugged, she began to cry. I was confused at first, but then I remembered that she had once been a prostitute. I was so ashamed that I had forgotten about this part of her life, and I apologized. She quickly stopped me and said, “Mittisse, I wish I had met someone like you when I was living that lifestyle.” It wasn’t me she needed to meet, but the Jesus living in me! Embracing this young woman and reassuring her that her past choices did not define who she is, I then began to tell her of the amazing love of our Heavenly Father. How He wants to give her that resurrection power to become a new creation in Christ Jesus. All of us have a past! And that’s exactly where we need to leave it!
Many years ago, my dad was reminiscing about events in his past, and then began to tease me about a part of my past. That girl had died long ago, and I was not about to allow my dad or anyone else to torment me with the dead. Looking at my dad, I said, “Dad, I thought you didn’t believe in talking to the dead?” Of course he said he didn’t, so I gently reminded him that the girl he was talking about was dead and a new creation in Christ Jesus had taken her place. He was startled by my response, but pleased to know that I knew who I am in Christ.
Do you know who you are in Christ Jesus? Are you trusting the Father to finish the work He has started in you? Are you secure in knowing that you are safe in Christ Jesus? When you can answer these questions with a resounding YES, then your focus can turn from yourself to the needs of others. A miracle of sorts takes place when we take our eyes off of ourselves and place them on Christ; He changes us and uses us to help others. If you want to breathe the atmosphere of Heaven, I encourage you to go into the byways, highways, and the undesirable places of this world and invite those who are hurting and longing for something better to get to know Jesus. Invite them to the wedding supper of the Lamb!
A Servant of Jesus Christ
by Ellet J Waggoner
There are some words and expressions which, by their very frequency of occurrence, make but little impression upon us. We are so familiar with them that we read them and speak them as a matter of course, scarcely thinking that they have any meaning. One such expression is that which begins the epistle to the Romans, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” Two other of Paul’s epistles, the one to the Philippians, and the one to Titus, as also Peter’s second letter and the epistles of James and Jude, begin in the same way, and in other places the apostles style themselves, or are styled, the servants of God and of Christ. The prophets, also, and Old Testament worthies, as Moses, Joshua, etc., are called servants of God. That this is more than a catch phrase, and that it is of the deepest significance, will be apparent as we study it.
The Greek word which is translated “servant” in these instances is doulos, doulos, and is defined by Liddell and Scott as “properly a born bondman, or slave.” It was the regular Greek word for a slave, and was often used of the Persians and other nations subject to a despot. The Revised Version has “bond servant” in the margin of Rom. 1:1, as the equivalent of the word rendered “servant.”
We may accept the word, “slave,” therefore, as the one which the apostle uses to show the completeness of his subjection to Christ. We have, therefore, only to study the condition of a slave, to know not only how Paul regarded himself, but how all who really serve God must hold themselves.
A slave is one who is the entire property of another. He cannot dispose of his time nor his actions as he will, but only as his master directs. Neither can he hold property in his own right. His strength is his master’s; and if he earns anything, that which he receives belongs to his master. In the days of American slavery, negroes were often hired out to men who were not their masters, and often they earned large wages, but not a cent of it could they call their own. When their master bought them, they brought no property of their own, and all that they could expect for their service was enough to sustain life. Their time and strength were as absolutely their masters as were those of the horses with which they worked.
Now compare this with what we find set forth in the Scriptures as the proper condition of Christians, who are servants of Christ. Says the apostle Paul: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19, 20). Notice the completeness of the subjection. We are not our own, and therefore we cannot have a word to say as to what we shall do. The will of God, and his glory, is to direct us in everything. So the apostle says: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).
But there is another thought suggested by the word “slave,” as applied to Christians, and that is that they have been reduced to servitude from a previous condition of rebellion. Although, as the Lexicon says, the Greek word for “slave” signifies “a born bondman,” it is a fact that by natural birth no person is a servant of God. By nature we are all the children of wrath. Paul classes himself with us when he says: “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another” (Titus 3:3). And in another place he thus contrasts the different kinds of servitude in which men may live:
“Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:16-18).
Before any man becomes the born bondman of Christ, he has to be born again. But this new birth implies a previous death, and that death is by crucifixion. Paul wrote, “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” (Galatians 2:20). Now crucifixion was a form of punishment inflicted on only the worst class of men, and its use as applied to those who thereby become Christ’s, shows a previous condition of rebellion. “The carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Romans 8:7). The words of the Lord to Isaiah, concerning the people of Israel, describe the condition of all men by nature:
“Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever; that this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord” (Isaiah 30:8, 9).
From this rebellious state we are brought into the condition of servants. As it has aptly been expressed, we capitulate, and accept the terms of peace. We become subject to God. The word “subject” or “subjection” carries with it also the relation which we should sustain to God. It comes from two Latin words meaning “under the yoke,” and is derived from the Roman custom of erecting a yoke and causing those whom they had conquered in battle to pass under it, as a token of their complete surrender. This ancient custom also explains the act of David, in putting the men of Rabbah “under saws, and under harrows of iron, and under axes of iron,” and making them pass through the brick kiln (2 Samuel 12:31). It was the same as making them pass under the yoke, as a token of their being his servants. So Christ calls us to, “Take my yoke upon you.” Taking the yoke of Christ upon us is to yield ourselves completely to him, for him henceforth to rule every act and every thought. As Paul expresses it, it is “bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Right here it should be noticed that true service to Christ is willing service. We are his bond-servants, brought into captivity to Him, but it was love that bought us, so that we gladly submit. As Olshausen says of Paul: “He had been overcome by the Redeemer, conquered and subdued by His higher power. But as one not merely outwardly conquered, and still disposed to resist, but inwardly subdued, Paul had at the same time become a willing instrument for executing the purposes of the Lord as an apostle” (Biblical Commentary, New Testament, Adapted Especially for Preachers and Students, by Hermann Olshausen, D.D.).
Moreover, although the word rendered “servant” signifies one subject to a despot, that only indicates the completeness of the control which God has over those who are truly His servants, but does not carry with it any idea of degradation. It makes a vast amount of difference to whom one is a servant. The servant of a poor, ignorant, coarse man would be a most abject creature. The slave of such a monarch as Nebuchadnezzar might be a high officer of State. So to be a servant of the Most High God is the highest honor that any creature can have in the universe. Angels in heaven, that excel in strength, do His commandments, hearkening unto the voice of His word, and are glad to declare themselves only fellow-servants with those who on earth are wholly devoted to Christ (Revelation 22:9).
Again, the slave of Christ is the only free man in the world. Paul says: “For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman; likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant. Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men” (1 Corinthians 7:22, 23). David says: “O Lord, truly I am Thy servant; I am Thy servant, and the son of Thine handmaid; thou hast loosed my bonds” (Psalm 116:16). Here we have bondage and freedom. The man out of Christ is an abject slave; he is “holden with the cords of his sins” (Proverbs 5:22). But the moment he yields himself unconditionally to Christ to be His servant, the body of sin is destroyed, and henceforth, if he continues to be the Lord’s servant, sin has no more dominion over him. He is free to do right. His bondage is the bondage of love, and he finds the yoke easy.
The Lord will not accept divided service. He will not go into partnership with the devil, each having an equal share in a servant. A man must be wholly the Lord’s, or he is not the Lord’s at all. Says Christ: “No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). If, then, we have given ourselves to the Lord as His servants, and then seek in anything to please ourselves only, we rob Him of service which is his due. Our strength, both of mind and body, belongs to the Lord, for He says:
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind” (Luke 10:27 with verse 28).
Now suppose a man indulges a habit which destroys his strength of body and vigor of mind; he is not then the Lord’s slave; he is the slave of sinful indulgence. One man eats more than is good for him, more than he needs. He does so, simply because the food tastes good. That extra quantity of food, instead of increasing his strength, is a tax upon it. Strength that he should have to devote to the Lord is perverted to the service of appetite. Now it matters not what that man’s profession may be, he is not the bond-servant of Christ. If he were, he would glorify God in eating and drinking, as well as in every other act of life.
Here is a test by which we may settle every question as to the lawfulness or unlawfulness of an act: Will it glorify God? If it will it is not only lawful but necessary. The man who is honest with himself before God in this question can settle which things are unlawful for him, and how far he may go in things that are necessary, as in eating and drinking.
“But what a hardship,” says one, “to be obliged to rein ourselves up to such a test.” Well, that depends on whether or not we are really the slaves of Christ; whether or not we have willingly, gladly capitulated, accepting His terms, and yielding to His service. If we have, then it is not a task to inquire what will be to His glory, and to do it. We have yielded to Him because in His infinite love and mercy He has enabled us to see that there is more to be desired in His service than in our own; and we have made His will our own. He has made us new creatures, giving us a new heart, and new purposes, so that when we do His will we are simply doing our own, for His will is ours, and our will is His.
“But suppose our will is His, and we have only one longing, supreme desire, namely, to do His will and glorify Him, how can we always do it?” That is answered in the very fact that we are His, wholly His. We are not our own, but have resigned ourselves into His hands as simple instruments of His will. We have no power in ourselves, but He has all power, and can make us what He wishes. And here comes in the encouragement of the thought that we serve a mighty Master, one against whom all the powers of earth and hell combined can do nothing. So when the fierce temptation arises, when the infirmity of the flesh would cause us to fall, we, having the mind of our Master, to hate sin, flee to Him for strength, and His strength does what our weakness cannot.
What comfort in the thought that the whole thing is comprised in simple submission to God. “Yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Romans 6:13). God wants us to live holy lives; He has shown the strength of His desire for us to be delivered from evil, by giving His Son to die for us. And since God has such an infinite longing for us to be free from sin, and has such infinite power to accomplish His desires, what can hinder the accomplishment of those desires, if we but yield ourselves to Him? No matter how fully we may have been the servants of sin, we now, having become servants to God, are made free from sin, having our fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life (Romans 6:22).
No wonder that Paul was able to accomplish such wonderful things. He was the Lord’s slave, wholly and without reserve, and the Lord simply worked through him. Even while the most conscious of his own weakness, he could say: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).
God is not partial; He is no respecter of persons. He is as ready to strengthen us with all might, according to His glorious power, as he was the apostle Paul. And so no matter what our inherited or acquired weakness, we may be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; and when that salvation is revealed, we may be sealed as his servants, to see His face, and stand before His throne, serving him day and night in His temple. Glorious service! Who would not prefer that to the poor, miserable service of self?
(This article was taken from the June 4, 1891 edition of The Present Truth.)
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