Happy Father’s Day!

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 The fearless Franklin Hotrods baseball team of 1978. My Dad is the coach on the far right and I am the second kid from the right on back row.

My Dad and I go way back to when I was first born. I don’t really have any memories before that time. My parents have always been there. I remember my parents taking me to the Tulsa Oilers (Cardinals Triple A team) baseball games back in the late 60’s early 70’s. As a matter of fact these games may have been the first sign that my mind does not work quite like everyone else’s. First, when I was around four or five I thought there were three teams. I thought the outfielders were a team, the infielders were a team, and the catcher, pitcher and batter were a team. I also was very fascinated by the fact that the umpire would throw out a new baseball when one got knocked over a fence or lost. I remember sitting there trying to wrap my little brain around the fact that it was still the same game but a different baseball.  After all we played a hundred games at home with the same ball.

 

When I was twelve I decided I wanted to play baseball. I wanted to knock the ball out of the park like Reggie Jackson, or throw a no hitter like Nolan Ryan. Problem is everyone else decided they wanted to play baseball when they were six, not twelve. My Dad called around and got me a spot on the team of the nearby public school, Franklin Elementary. I was so proud to be on a real team, the Franklin Hotrods! After a meeting of the parents, my mom and dad brought me home my uniform. I was so proud but the number I was assigned did turn out to be prophetic. My number? 00.

 

Not only did I become a member of the Franklin Hotrods but my Dad became a coach. Let me tell you, My Dad is the only one of us who did the team any good. He was a good coach but I played terrible. I struck out all the time, hit into a fielder’s choice once, laid down one good sacrifice bunt, and got only one base hit in my entire little league career. Granted everyone else had been playing for five or six years already. After our last game of the year, a play off loss, that was the end of my baseball career and dreams.

 

Funny I still have so many little league memories. My parents going to every game and cheering for me, and never letting me know how embarrassing it was for me to strike out all the time. My Dad and the other coach would often take us to Tastee Freeze after a practice or game. A time or two we all went out for pizza. At the end of the year we celebrated by taking the whole team to Six Flags over Texas. My parents helped organize the trip which was a huge success.

 

A few nights ago on my way home from a Bible study I drove by a little league park with a game going on. I noticed something, the stands were empty. I know many parents have to work extra these days to provide for their families, but it made me sad that these kids were playing with no one cheering in the stands for them. I am so glad my father and mother have always been there for me. Now when I look back at my little league days what I remember most is not all the strike outs, but my parents always cheering for me, not just in baseball but in everything. When I think about my baseball career or just life in general, I realize, its not whether you win or lose that counts, but who you have cheering for you in the stands!

I love you dad! You too mom! Thanks for always being there for me.

By the way, I have since grown up and given up my silly dreams about being a baseball star. I am going to be a golf star now! And once again, Dad is with me on this.Golf and Picnic 002

Why Its a Blessing to be Hungry

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

After reading this passage tonight in Early Writings something dawned on me. Here is what I read, “I was shown a time when Satan especially triumphed. Multitudes of Christians were slain in a dreadful manner, because they would preserve the purity of their religion. The Bible was hated, and efforts were made to rid the earth of it. The people were forbidden to read it, on pain of death; and all the copies which could be found were burned. But I saw that God had a special care for His Word. He protected it. At different periods there were but a very few copies of the Bible in existence, yet He would not suffer His Word to be lost, for in the last days copies of it were to be so multiplied that every family could possess it. I saw that when there were but few copies of the Bible, it was precious and comforting to the persecuted followers of Jesus. It was read in the most secret manner, and those who had this exalted privilege felt that they had had an interview with God, with His Son Jesus, and with His disciples. But this blessed privilege cost many of them their lives. If discovered, they were taken to the headsman’s block, to the stake, or to the dungeon to die of starvation.” {EW 214.2} 

We often talk about all the modern conveniences we have today. Cars, microwaves, washers and dryers, cell phones in our pockets, even the Internet in our pocket phones and on our laptops. However when we get to heaven and meet with people who have lived in every age of Earth’s history none of them will be in awe of our Facebook privileges or fancy sports cars. In heaven, while talking to someone who lived during the dark ages what will impress them the most is, we had Bibles! I love the Internet and Facebook because it keeps me in touch with all of my friends, but those who treasure God’s Word see the Bible as an “interview with God!” How cool is that! 

Our mothers told us there were kids starving in Africa when we did not eat our physical food, but blessed is the mother who reminded us of those starving spiritually when we did not want to eat the Bread of life. I look at the world today and I pray, no I beg God to create a hunger in us all for God’s Word. In Matthew 5 Jesus says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” While millions starve to death in Africa where there is famine and no food there are also millionaires who have starved to death right here in America. Why? Not because they had no money or food but because they had no appetite! Certain diseases robbed them of their appetite and they starved to death right here in America where food is everywhere. Likewise millions are starving not just from the dark ages but in today’s age with Bibles all over the place. They are starving to death because they have no desire for God’s Word. They are not hungry for God’s Word. See why Jesus said hungry people are so blessed, they will eat! They will do something about their situation. 

A while back I was talking with a man who I was supposed to be having Bible studies with. That is what he invited me over for. Yet he never wanted to study, jus talk. He told me about his uncle who really knew the Bible. His uncle actually had some crazy ideas but my friend thought he was a Bible Scholar. Finally I asked my friend how he knew his uncle knew so much about the Bible without knowing it himself. Friends the Bible must be studied personally. We must study it for ourselves. It is like a personal interview with God, not a group interview. No one can study it for us for the simple fact that we can never know who really knows it unless we know it too! The only way I can know if you know the Bible or not, is if I know it too. 

I am praying tonight for God to make us all hungry for His Word. I am praying that we will treasure our Bibles more than our computers or anything else!

In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides

You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Newly Revised In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides

Prepared by William Earnhardt, 2005, Revised 2009

The sacrifice of Christ as an atonement for sin is the great truth around which all other truths cluster. In order to be rightly understood and appreciated, every truth in the Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, must be studied in the light that streams from the cross of Calvary. I present before you the great, grand monument of mercy and regeneration, salvation and redemption–the Son of God uplifted on the cross. This is to be the foundation of every discourse given by our ministers.–Gospel Workers, p. 315. 

Introduction

Why “In Light of the Cross” Bible study guides? Our salvation is found in the love of God alone (Ephesians 2:1-9). Since Satan realizes this fact, he only has one purpose in spreading lies and false doctrine-to make us misunderstand God’s love so that we do not appreciate or accept God’s love that brings salvation. Every false doctrine is more than just an attack on truth. It is an attack on the very character of God. False doctrines skew and misrepresent the character of God. Jesus tells us in John Chapter 8 that He more than just has the truth, He is the truth. If truth equals Jesus and Jesus equals God and God equals love then truth must equal love. The purpose of these study guides is to help us find God’s love in His truth. Doctrine is only helpful as it aids us in understanding the love of God which saves us. We are not saved by doctrine. We are saved by God’s love. Hence, the In Light of The Cross Study Guides which are prayerfully designed to help us understand and appreciate the love of God which saves us.

How to use the In Light of the Cross Study Guides

These study guides are designed as supplements with references following for deeper study. You may use the supplied references for your study or just use the supplements with your own favorite study guides. Power Point presentations are also available.

Table of Contents 

Salvation  

Scriptures

Death  

Punishment of the Wicked 

Health and Temperance 

The Sabbath 

Stewardship 

The Sanctuary

The Gift of Prophecy 

The Second Coming 

Christian Living 

Baptism 

Click here to find simple solutions for hard to understand Bible texts.

Click here to find more studies and devotionals on my website “In Light of The Cross”.

Baptism in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Baptism

Brief overview: By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Rom. 6:1-6; Col. 2:12, 13; Acts 16:30-33; 22:16; 2:38; Matt. 28:19, 20.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about baptism:

The Bible only teaches one form of baptism. See Ephesians 4:5. We get the word “baptism” from the Greek word, “baptizo” which means, to immerse. To be immersed you must go into the water all the way.

Why it is important to understand baptism in light of the cross:

Romans 6 tells us the reason there is only one form of baptism. Baptism is where we are crucified with Christ and die to self. In Baptism we are giving all of ourselves to Jesus because He loved and gave all of Himself for us. When we go under the water we stop breathing for a moment. That is symbolic of our death to self. When we come up out of the water we take a new breath and that new breath represents the new life that we are now living for Jesus.

Further Study on Baptism

How essential is baptism?

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John 3:5

How many types of baptism does God recognize?

One Lord, one faith, one baptism, Ephesians 4:5

How was Jesus baptized?

Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him . And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 3:13-17

Why did John baptize there?

And John also was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there: and they came, and were baptized. John 3:23

How did Philip baptize the Ethiopian?

And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. Acts 8:38

What must precede baptism?

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, [even] unto the end of the world. Amen. Matthew 28:19, 20

What else must take place?

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

What must follow belief?

Now when they heard [this], they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 2:37, 38

What does baptism symbolize?

Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. Romans 6:3-6

Who now lives in us?

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

What are we declared to be?

For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29

For what reason might one be re-baptized?

And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. When they heard [this], they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 19:1-5

What should one not do?

And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. Acts 22:16

If you would like to be baptized please contact me at laypastor@tampaadventist.net

For more Bible Studies on Baptism and God’s Church click here.

For more Bible studies on the new birth and plan of salvation click here.

Christian Living in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Christian Living

 

Brief overview: We are called to be a godly people who think, feel, and act in harmony with the principles of heaven. For the Spirit to recreate in us the character of our Lord we involve ourselves only in those things which will produce Christlike purity, health, and joy in our lives. This means that our amusement and entertainment should meet the highest standards of Christian taste and beauty. While recognizing cultural differences, our dress is to be simple, modest, and neat, befitting those whose true beauty does not consist of outward adornment but in the imperishable ornament of a gentle and quiet spirit. (Rom. 12:1, 2; 1 John 2:6; Eph. 5:1-21; Phil. 4:8; 2 Cor. 10:5; 6:14-7:1; 1 Peter 3:1-4)

Why it is important to understand the truth about Christian living:

“Now then we are ambassadors for Christ…” 2 Corinthians 5:20. We are to represent Christ to the world.

Why it is important to understand Christian living in light of the cross:

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am,[there ye may be also. John 14:1-3

Last year I went with a friend to The Tampa Bay Ray’s stadium, Tropicana Field, where we watched the first place Rays defeat the second place Red Sox 2-1.

While at the game I noticed several Red Sox fans. You could easily spot them with their Red Sox shirts, caps, and jackets. I even sat by one. He assured me that the long fly that Ortiz hit to deep right center for an out would have been a homerun at Fenway Park, where the Red Sox play their home games.

I noticed something about the Red Sox fans. They came into our home ball park but still dressed and acted like they would at Fenway. They did not buy the Tampa Bay Rays t-shirts and caps and try to blend in at all. While most of them were very polite and pleasant to be around they still made it clear that Tropicana Field was not their home and the Rays were not their team. They did not mind looking like visitors. They did not mind that they dressed and looked different. They were proud of their team and where they were from.

As Christians, let’s let the world know earth is not our home. While being as polite and pleasant to be around as possible, let’s still let it be known, our home is in heaven, not here. We do not blend in with the world because we are not a part of this world. Let’s not be afraid to look different and act different. Let’s be as proud of where we belong as the Red Sox fans were proud of where they belong.

For Further Bible Study on Christian Living, Click here.

The Second Coming in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

The Second Coming

Brief overview: The second coming of Christ is the blessed hope of the church, the grand climax of the gospel. The Saviour’s coming will be literal, personal, visible, and worldwide. When He returns, the righteous dead will be resurrected, and together with the righteous living will be glorified and taken to heaven, but the unrighteous will die. The almost complete fulfillment of most lines of prophecy, together with the present condition of the world, indicates that Christ’s coming is imminent. The time of that event has not been revealed, and we are therefore exhorted to be ready at all times. (Titus 2:13; Heb. 9:28; John 14:1-3; Acts 1:9-11; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:7; Matt. 24:43, 44; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; 2:8; Rev. 14:14-20; 19:11-21; Matt. 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; 2 Tim. 3:1-5; 1 Thess. 5:1-6.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about the second coming:

Jesus Himself says many will try to impersonate His coming, so He told us exactly how He would come so we will not be deceived. See Matthew 24

Why it is important to understand the second coming in light of the cross:

There is a difference between believing He will come, and loving His appearing. Children who are misbehaving at home while mother is out running errands believe she is coming again but since they have misbehaved and made a mess out of the house they do not love her appearing. A true Adventist is one who not only believes in Jesus’ coming but is in love with Him and His appearing. They are like Paul in Galatians 6:14 and in love with the Cross and crucified to the world!

The Bible often refers to the church as a woman (Revelation 12). Revelation 19:7 mentions a bride who is ready for marriage with the Lamb. Who could the Lamb be but Jesus and who could this bride be but His church? Now when you go to a wedding you will notice a very pretty little flower girl all dressed up. She is prepared for the wedding. But the groom does not wish to marry the flower girl. Oh she is pretty all right, and she is prepared. But she has not come prepared for the groom. No, she has come prepared for the cake and punch after the service! The groom does not want to marry a flower girl and neither does Jesus. The groom, Jesus wants to marry the bride. You see the bride has come and is prepared for one thing and one thing only. It’s not the cake and punch, no all she cares about is the groom! You see Jesus is not returning for “flower girls” who just get all excited about the cake, punch, golden streets and mansions. Jesus is returning for a bride who cares about Him! Even Satan believes Jesus is returning, but that belief will not do him any good since he is not in love with Jesus.

At the cross we see how much Jesus loves and desires to be with us, and it inspires us to love Him and want to be with Him.

Further Study on the Second Coming

What did Jesus promise to do?

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. John 14:1-3

How will He come?

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. Acts 1:9-11

Was He a real person?

And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And he took it, and did eat before them. And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while he blessed them, he was parted from them, and carried up into heaven. Luke 24:36-43, 50- 51

To what does He liken His coming?

For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Matthew 24:27

What type of glory accompanies Him?

And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. Matthew 24:30

Whose glory is it?

For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels. Luke 9:26

What do the angels do?

And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matthew 24:31

What happens to the righteous dead?

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 4:16- 17

What happens to the island and mountains?

And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? Revelation 6:14-17

How many will see Him coming?

Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they [also] which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen. Revelation 1:7

Why is Jesus coming back?

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also. John 14:1-3

For more Bible studies on events related to the second coming click here.

For more Bible studies on the 1,000 years, and death and destruction of the wicked click here.

The Gift of Prophecy in Light of The Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

The Gift of Prophecy 

Brief overview: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White . As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth which provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about the gift of prophecy:

In 1 Corinthians 12 we read about several gifts God has given His church to help edify and build it up. Many are surprised to find that the gift of prophecy is one of the gifts mentioned (verse10). Prophecy in the biblical sense is so much more than just predicting the future. It is also having a message from Jesus-bearing His testimony, “for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy” (Revelation 19:10).

Why it is important to understand the gift of prophecy in light of the cross:

Ephesians 4:1-13 tells us that after the Cross Jesus gave the church several gifts including the gift of prophecy. Paul knew that just as Jesus and the prophets were not accepted in their time and place that many in his day and our day would reject the idea of someone having the gift of prophecy, so he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 “Despise not prophesyings” but rather

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” We know that is sound advice as John has warned us in 1 John 4:1 “because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” Please take a look in the further study section on how the Scriptures reveal a true prophet from a false prophet.

Further Study on the Gift of Prophecy

What two things identify the remnant church?

And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:17

What is the testimony of Jesus?

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Revelation 19:10

What is the purpose of a prophet?

Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets. Amos 3:7

How long is this gift to be in the church?

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Ephesians 4:11-13

Was this gift given to men only?

And Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took a timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances. Exodus 15:20

Will this still happen in the last days?

And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the LORD come. Joel 2:28-31

How can one tell the true from the false?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

Will what they say come to pass?

The prophet which prophesieth of peace, when the word of the prophet shall come to pass, then shall the prophet be known, that the LORD hath truly sent him. Jeremiah 28:9

Do prophets place their own interpretation on Scripture?

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 2 peter 1:20

Will all they say be in harmony with the Scripture?

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because [there is] no light in them. Isaiah 8:20

Will they point out sin?

Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Isaiah 58:1

Will they edify and counsel?

But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort. He that speaketh in an [unknown] tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church. 1 Corinthians 14:3- 4

Will they warn of judgment?

The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again. Isaiah 24:20

What if we reject a true prophet?

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:18-22

What is God’s assurance to us?

Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper. 2 Chronicles 20:20

What are we counseled to do?

Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21

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The Sanctuary in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

The Sanctuary 

There are a lot of Biblical references in this study. If you like, You can look them up here.

Brief overview:  There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent. (Heb. 8:1-5; 4:14-16; 9:11-28; 10:19-22; 1:3; 2:16, 17; Dan. 7:9-27; 8:13, 14; 9:24-27; Num. 14:34; Eze. 4:6; Lev. 16; Rev. 14:6, 7; 20:12; 14:12; 22:12.)

Why it is important to understand the truth about the sanctuary: 

The Sanctuary gives us a model of the complete plan of salvation and redemption. The Sanctuary helps us see how the cross Justifies, sanctifies and glorifies us.

Justification took place when I lived a perfect life in Jesus. Jesus counts His perfect life as my prefect life, thus saving me from the penalty of sin which is death and not eternal torment in hell. Justification is my title to heaven. We do no work on the Sabbath as a sign that we are justified by the faith of Jesus and not by our works. John 3:16, Romans 6:23 Galatians 2:16-20 Hebrews 4:1-9

Sanctification takes place as Jesus lives His victorious life in us. Thus we are being saved by the power of sin as God Himself writes His law of love in our hearts. By living in us, God is transforming us and preparing us for heaven. We rest on the Sabbath as a sign that it is God who sanctifies us and not our works. Exodus 31:13 Hebrews 8:10

Glorification is when Jesus returns and saves us from the presence of sin. Those who love God and life will live in paradise never again seeing the results or consequences of sin, while those who love sin and death will be forever put out of their misery and will be no more. We will continue celebrating the Sabbath in heaven as a sign that it is God who justified, sanctified and glorified us and not our works. Proverbs 8:36, Revelation 20&21, Psalms 100:3, Isaiah 66:23

Why it is important to understand the sanctuary in light of the cross:

Everything in the Sanctuary Pointed to Christ

  • Christ is the Lamb of God that took away the sins of the world [John 1:29].
  • Christ is the light of the world that lightens every man [John 1:9-12; 8:12].
  • Christ is the living bread who came down from heaven to give us eternal life [John 6:32-51].
  • Christ is the mercy seat (propitiation), through whose redemption we have salvation full and complete [Romans 3:24, 25].
  • Christ is our intercessor against the accusations of Satan [Hebrews 7:25].
  • Christ is the veil that bore our sins in His flesh [Hebrews 10:19,20].

The Sanctuary Revealed the Fall and Restoration of Man

  • In Adam, humanity sinned, was defiled, and condemned to death.
  • In Christ, the same humanity was reconciled to God, cleansed from all defilement, and justified to life [read Romans 5:18].
  • Through faith in Christ, sinners experience salvation.

This is the good news of the gospel and the truth of righteousness by faith. All this was revealed in the Sanctuary model given to Moses:

  • The Sanctuary was where God met sinners [read Ex. 25:22; 29:42, 43].
    Today He meets us in Christ [read 2 Cor. 5:19].
  • The Sanctuary was where God revealed Himself to sinners [read Ex. 29:46].
    Today He reveals Himself to us in Christ [read John 14:7-9].
  • The Sanctuary was where God dwelt with sinners [read Ex. 25:8; 29:45, 46].
    Today He dwells with us in Christ [read Matthew 1:23; John 14:23].
  • The Sanctuary was where God spoke to sinners [read Ex. 29:42; Lev. 1:1].
    Today He speaks to us in Christ [read Hebrews 1:2; John 8:43, 47].
  • The Sanctuary was where God accepted sinners [read Lev. 1:4].
    Today He accepts us in Christ [read Ephesians 1:6].
  • The Sanctuary was where God forgave sinners [read Lev. 4:20, 26, 31, 35].Today He forgives us in Christ [read Ephesians 1:7].

Bible Study on the Cleansing of the Sanctuary

Daniel 8:14 ——– What was to happen at the end of the 2300 days?

NOTE: The Bible only refers to two sanctuaries, one on earth and the

other in heaven.

Exodus 25:8, 9 ———— After what, was he to build the sanctuary?

Hebrews 8:1, 2, 5 —————- Where is the location of the original?

Exodus 26:33 ———————– How many apartments did it have?

Hebrews 9:6 ————– How frequent was the ministry in the first?

Hebrews 9:7 ———- How frequent was it in the second apartment?

Leviticus 16:29 ———————– When did the high priest do this?

Leviticus 16:30 —————————————- What was he doing?

Leviticus 16:7-9 —————————————– How did he do it?

Leviticus 16:15, 16 ———————- What did he do with the blood?

Leviticus 16:20-22 ———————— What did he do with the sins?

Leviticus 23:27, 28 —————– What were the people to be doing?

Leviticus 23:29, 30 ————- What happened to those living in sin?

NOTE: Jesus has begun the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary or the

blotting out of the record of confessed sins there, as well as from our

lives here.

Revelation 22:11, 12——- What pronouncement will He soon make?

2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 ———— What happens to those still sinning?

1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17 ————– What happens to the righteous?

Matthew 7:21-27 ——————– Which group will you be found in?

Revelation 14:7 – What should we be doing in this time of judgment?

Hebrews 4:14-16 ————————— What assurance do we have?

Stewardship in Light of The Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

Stewardship 

Brief Overview: God tells us to be good stewards of our time, money and talents that He has given to us. They are to be used to help spread the gospel. See Leviticus 27:30, Numbers 18:24-28, Malachi 3:8-10, 1 Corinthians 9:13-14

Why it is important to understand the truth about stewardship:

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

Why it is important to understand stewardship in light of the cross:

Soviet Pastor Richard Wurmbrand, the author of Tortured for Christ, suffered terribly for the Lord. Yet he said that even while in prison, he saw fellow Soviet believers practice generous giving. “When we were given one slice of bread a week and dirty soap every day, we decided we would faithfully ‘tithe’ even that. Every tenth week we took the slice of bread and gave it to the weaker brethren as our ‘tithe’ to the Master.”

Pastor Wurmrband and his friends practiced “tithing” even in prison not because God needed their bread and soap, but because they needed a way to express their love for God. That is what stewardship is all about; using our time, money and talents to say, “thank you God for loving me and giving us your Son.” Just like a little boy who takes his allowance money to buy a Father’s Day gift, in reality the boy is only returning what the father has already given. It is the same with us and our Heavenly Father. Let’s take a look at how we can thank God for “His unspeakable gift (2 Corinthians 9:15).” In my home I had a plaque with a picture of the Cross, and the words, “I asked Jesus how much do you love me, this much he said, and then he spread out his arms and died.” Jesus does not need our money, that really is not what the tithe and offering system is all about. He has given us the tithing and offering system so when He asks us, “How much do you love me” we will have a way to answer.

Further Study on Stewardship

What belongs to God?

For every beast of the forest [is] mine, [and] the cattle upon a thousand hills. I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.If I were hungry, I would not tell thee: for the world [is] mine, and the fulness thereof. Psalms 50:10-12

What besides the earth is His?

The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Psalms 24:1

Aside from creation why are we God’s?

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

What is required of a steward?

Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. 1 Corinthians 4:2

What will a faithful steward always remember?

And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD. Leviticus 27:30

What was this tenth to be used for?

And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service which they serve, [even] the service of the tabernacle of the congregation. Numbers 18:21

What is it used for today?

Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel. 1 Corinthians 9:13, 14

Which tenth is God’s?

Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: Proverbs 3:9

What do we do if we withhold tithe and offering?

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation. Malachi 3:8- 9

What does God want us to prove Him about?

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it. Malachi 3:10

Does He promise to care for us?

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, [shall he] not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. Matthew 6:26-32

What should be placed first in our lives?

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Matthew 6:33

How much above the tithe is the offering to be?

But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6- 7

Do you want to hear Jesus say this to you?

His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. Matthew 25:21

The Sabbath in Light of the Cross

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You can download a printable copy of the complete set of In Light of the Cross Bible Study Guides for free here. You can purchase a copy for your Kindle here

The Sabbath 

Brief overview: The Seventh-day, Saturday is God’s holy Sabbath where we are to rest from all secular work and activity. God sanctified the Sabbath day and made it Holy.  See Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, Exodus 31:13, John 14:15, Revelation 14:12

Why it is important to understand the truth about the Sabbath:

The Sabbath is the only commandment that begins with “remember” while it is also the one commandment man has forgotten. While many agnostics believe that God created us and then left us on our own, the Sabbath tells us that our Creator wants to have a relationship with us. The Sabbath also tells us who our God is. You can keep the other nine commandments and worship any god you choose. You can have no other gods before you besides television and not bow to any other god than television and so forth. The Sabbath commandment is the only commandment that tells us who the Lord is. This is why Satan wants us to forget this commandment. He wants us to forget God. He wants to be our god instead! The Sabbath is a sign that we belong to the true God, the one who died for us.

Why it is important to understand the Sabbath in light of the cross:

Satan does not want us to forget the Sabbath because he wants us to forget the law. Satan knows we are not saved by the works of the law but by grace. The Sabbath is a sign of God’s grace. We do no work on that day, demonstrating that it is not our works that sustain or save us but rather God’s work both at creation and the cross that sustain and save us. We rest on the Sabbath showing that we are resting our faith in the only One who can save us, Jesus Christ. I can imagine God walking with Adam and Eve through the garden, as He showed them all He had made for them, and the wonders of not their works but His works. Adam and Eve realized that day with God, “it is] he [that] hath made us, and not we ourselves.” (Psalms 100:3) Before and after the Cross the Sabbath is a sign that it is God’s work that creates and sustains us.

The Sabbath Commandment reminds us that God is our creator and we refrain from work and worldly activities on the Sabbath day as we rest our faith in God’s power to save and provide for us, instead of our own works and ability to do business and make money.

The same principle is seen in the story of Cain and Abel. In Genesis 4 we read about Abel worshiping the way God had commanded in bringing a lamb as a sacrifice. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice as the lamb God instructed him to bring pointed to Jesus: the Lamb of God who would be sacrificed for our sins. Abel, more than just worshiping as God had instructed was saying he trusted in Jesus to save him and not his own works, he was looking to the Cross. Cain’s sacrifice was refused because he did not worship the way God had instructed, and he brought his own fruit, the work of his own hands. God cannot accept our works and could not accept Cain’s works either. Only the Cross can save us.

Today, many people like Cain, try to be saved by worshiping their own way. Jesus says about them, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:9). Our own works and man made ways of worship will never save us.

The story goes of a little boy years ago who had built his own wooden sailboat. Tied to a string he set the boat out to sail in a nearby creek and then would use the string to reel it back in. One day the string broke and the little boat fell victim to the rapids and sailed away. Several days later the boy is window shopping downtown when he sees his boat in a toy store window. He goes inside and tells the owner, “That’s my boat in the window.” The owner of the store not sure if he should believe the young lad tells the boy he will have to purchase the boat if he wants it back.

The boy does several chores around the home and neighborhood to get the few dollars the boat costs. He returns to the store and purchases his own boat. Walking home, holding his boat close to his chest he was over heard saying, “little boat you are twice mine. First I made you, and then I bought you.” That is what Jesus is telling us through the Sabbath today. As we rest from our works on the Sabbath and put our faith in Him, He tells us, “You are twice mine. First, at creation I made you, and then at the cross I bought you.”

Further study on the Sabbath:

Which day is the Sabbath?

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For [in] six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:10, 11

Who was the Sabbath made for?

And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath: Mark 2:27

Whose day is the Sabbath?

Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the sabbath. Mark 2:28

What does God call the Sabbath?

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking [thine own] words: Isaiah 58:13

When is the Sabbath to be observed?

From even unto even, shall ye celebrate your sabbath. Leviticus 23:32

What marks the beginning of a day?

And the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:5

What did Jesus do on the Sabbath?

And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read. Luke 4:16

What else should be done on the Sabbath?

And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him, saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him. And he said unto them, What man shall there be among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it, and lift it out? How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days. Matthew 12:10-12

What are we to “remember” to do?

Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Exodus 20:8

What are we to refrain from on the Sabbath?

Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: [in it] thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that [is] within thy gates: For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them [is], and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it. Exodus 20:9-11

Why were the Jews carried into captivity?

In those days saw I in Judah [some] treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified [against them] in the day wherein they sold victuals. There dwelt men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath unto the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem. Then I contended with the nobles of Judah, and said unto them, What evil thing is this that ye do, and profane the sabbath day? Did not your fathers thus, and did not our God bring all this evil upon us, and upon this city? yet ye bring more wrath upon Israel by profaning the sabbath. Nehemiah 13:15-18

What are we to learn from this?

There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his.Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. Hebrews 4:9-11

What does God want us to be?

And [they that shall be] of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. Isaiah 58:12

How only is this possible?

If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Isaiah 58:13

What is God’s promise?

Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. Isaiah 58:14

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