Newsletter #393 - July 2011 - By Shepherds Chapel - http://www.shepherdschapel.com/
The most important thing is to reach the goal. Some people are going to reach the goal, and some people aren't going to reach the goal. The goal we should all strive to reach is eternal life. Open your Bibles to the great Book of Acts.
Acts 26:1 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, "Thou art permitted to speak for thyself." Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 2 "I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
Agrippa was appointed by the Romans to reign over Judea. He was fairly well versed in the Word of God, and he like to hear about Christianity.
Acts 26:3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 4 My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 5 Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Paul was educated by the best, and he was zealous. The Pharisees believed in resurrection. The Sadducees, who had Paul arrested, did not believe in resurrection. Friends, all flesh bodies die. To reach the goal of eternal life there must be a resurrection of the soul.
Acts 26:6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God, unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.
This is one promise from God you want to claim. It was reaching for this goal that caused Paul to be accused by the Sadducees. What is the promise?
Acts 26:8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Why should it be considered it a crime to believe in life after death of the flesh? It shouldn't be a crime to claim God's promises!
Acts 26:9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Before Paul's conversion, he was as zealous against Christians as he was for them, after his conversion.
Acts 26:10 Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
Paul is admitting his sins against Christians.
Acts 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.
Terrible things are done in the name of religion. We see it often, today. Those who ignore God's Word for the traditions of men aren't going to reach the goal. Only those who love and serve God will reach the Goal.
Acts 26:12 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
The chief priests appointed by the Romans gave Paul the authority to persecute Christians in the name of religion.
Acts 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, 'Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.'
Saul is the man Paul, before God changed his name. The prick is the pointed part of a compass utilized to draw a perfect circle. If you kick against the prick, you knock the circle out of whack. Paul was knocking God's plan out of whack, and it had to stop. Wisely, Paul is documenting resurrection is very real. They all knew Jesus had been crucified. Now Jesus is speaking to Paul. How? Jesus resurrected, after the crucifixion.
Acts 26:15 And I said, 'Who art thou, Lord?' And He said, 'I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Paul was a witness the Jesus Christ resurrected. He called to be a minister of the good news. You too may resurrect into eternal life, If you believe on Jesus. Let's continue our study in the Book of Philippians.
Philippians 2:1 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfill ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
You are part of the many membered body which makes up the church. The most important thing in your life should be God and the church, if you serve them.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
God gives different gifts to members of the body of Christ. Never be jealous or envious of other members. Utilize the gift God has given you to the best of your abilities.
Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
You have to put the church first. You have to think of all the members reaching the goal of eternal life.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
The King of kings ad Lord of lords took upon Him the form of a servant.
Philippians 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Jesus died a criminals death, in order that we may reach the goal.
Philippians 2:9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Every knee will bow and every tongue confess Jesus Christ i Lord on the first day of the millennium.
Philippians 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God Which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.
Here is another goal we should reach to attain. We should strive to be pleasing to God. That is only one way you will receive His blessings. That is the only way you will receive eternal life. Turn with me to Ephesians.
Ephesians 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, 2 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love;
Be patient with your brothers and sisters. Understand everyone may have problems in this troubled world, and be tolerant of one another.
Ephesians 4:3 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Be a peace maker, not a trouble maker.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, Who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
God's Spirit dwells within you, if you allow Him. This is important. This is what allows you to reach the goal. Reaching the goal is a precious thing. It is eternal life.
Ephesians 4:7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Each member of the body of Christ receives gifts based on what they are able to handle. But every gift is important. The gifts are what nourishes the body and keeps it going.
Ephesians 4:8 Wherefore He saith, "When We ascended up on high, He led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men."
Jesus resurrected, and we can look forward to resurrecting to be with Him.
Ephesians 4:9 (Now that He ascended, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? 10 He That descended is the same also That ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill all things.)
Immediately after He ascended, Jesus went to those who had passed away under the law (1 Peter 3:19). He preached the good news, and many believed and were saved.
Ephesians 4:11 And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
That is what it is all about, beloved. Edify the body of Christ. Teach people how to reach the goal.
Ephesians 4:13 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: 14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Translate the word "perfect" to "mature". None of us is perfect, but we should all mature. When we mature as Christians, we don't have to worry about being deceived.
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
It takes every member of the body bringing forth a message of peace and understanding to help the body reach the goal. In conclusion, turn with me to Hebrews.
Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of Thine hands: 11 They shall perish; but Thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;
The earth and heaven age will perish, but God remains forever. Knowledge of the ages will help you reach the goal.
Hebrews 1:12 And as a vesture shalt Thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but Thou art the same, and Thy years shall not fail." 13 But to which of the angels said He at any time, 'Sit on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool'? 14 Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?
The heirs of salvation are those who reach the goal. I hope you reach the goal. I hope on judgment day God will say to you, "Well done, My good and faithful servant".
In His service,