A Scriptural Study Newsletter edited by Elder Vernon Johnson

How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

 

 

 

The Great Physician

When Jesus sat down to eat with publicans and sinners, the Pharisees asked his disciples derisively, "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners?" To this Jesus replied, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." People just don't normally go to see a physician because they are well, but rather they go when they are sick. When God's people see themselves as sinners they begin to see themselves needy of a physician who can take care of their sin problem. Jesus is that great Physician.

Jesus demonstrated his power to heal by the many miracles he performed. He caused the blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak. He caused the lame to walk; he restored the shriveled limbs; he healed the lepers; he cast out devils; he cured all manner of sicknesses and diseases. Moreover, he raised the dead. Jesus specialized in what many would consider the impossible, such as, giving sight to a man born blind; healing lepers; restoring shriveled limbs, and causing the dead to come alive.

Jesus went far beyond physical healing as the great Physician. He healed us of our sin condemnation problem. This principle is taught in 1 Pet. 2:22 24, "Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed." I don't find the scripture to teach or to illustrate that Jesus did partial cures, but rather when he healed, his healing was complete. Jesus, at the cross, healed us of our sin condemnation problem. We, because of his healing, no longer stand condemned of our sins before God.

Next, according to Ps. 147:3, "He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds." When the publican came to the temple to pray, he smote upon his breast and cried out, "God be merciful to me a sinner." When God's elect feel the burden of sin guiltiness upon their heart, their heart being broken by their own condemnation of mind, and they cry out unto God, Jesus brings the light of understanding to their minds that they may see themselves forgiven through the atoning blood of Christ, and thus their hearts are healed and they can go on their way feeling themselves justified by a Just and Holy God. Isaiah in his experiences illustrated this concept in Isaiah chapter 6. When he cried out, "Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts." His heart remained broken until the seraphim laid a live coal upon his lips and proclaimed "Lo, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged." Yea, often we see where Christ uses the gospel message to bring healing to our broken hearts.

Jesus also heals us in our daily attempts to walk in discipleship.  According to Hebrews 12:6 13 God uses chastisement to turn his people away from a lifestyle of sin unto a walk of obedience and discipleship.  Verses 12 and 13 read, "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." Thus the design of God's chastisement is to heal us of our sins and errors, so that we may "yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness."

One of the duties of a physician is to prescribe medication to his patients. In 2 Chron. 7:14 we have a medication prescribed to us that when followed will result in healing: "If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways: then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." While the first application of this would have been to Israel, yet the example of this working is found in the book of Jonah where the Ninevites at the preaching of Jonah, humbled themselves, prayed, sought the Lord's face, and turned from their wicked way. Consequently, God heard from heaven, forgave their sin and healed their land.

God's people are to pray for one another for healing. James 5:16, "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." Some have gone beyond the text to suggest this is speaking of physical healing. However, the subject of the text is "our faults." We are to pray for one another that we may be healed of our faults. Who among us doesn't have faults that we need to be healed from? Remember this isn't just a formal exercise as we are told "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Furthermore, our great Physician has so designed that the lives of his disciples may be the healing medication for others. In Rev. 22:1, 2 we read, "And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations."  In comparison to this figurative language the word of God proceeds forth from the throne of God as a pure river flowing to nourish the Lord's church (tree of life). The church yields her fruit and the lives of her members (leaves of the tree) brings healing to the nations of those which are saved (Rev. 21:24).

Finally, the gospel is our "balm of Gilead" to heal our lives from the service of sin. This principle is illustrated in Ezek. 47:1 12. In this passage wherever the (gospel) waters went forth they brought forth healing. Similarly, when the gospel is preached in power and demonstration of Spirit and is received into the hearts of God's people it serves to bring forth healing into their troubled lives. What a great Physician we have. His name is Jesus Christ.


Death

The Bible says, "The wages of sin is death..." God told Adam "...in the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die." The marginal reading for "die" is "dying thou shalt die." This indicates an immediate death followed by a later death. Thus we know the bible teaches more than one kind of death.

The scriptures teach at least five deaths. These deaths are:

1. Death of the body or corporeal death.
2. Death in trespasses and sins.
3. Death to fellowship.
4. The second death or eternal death.
5. Death to sin.

Beginning with Adam sin began to work in the lives of every man to bring forth the death of the body. These corruptible, mortal bodies are headed to the grave as God told Adam, "for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

Second, to be dead in trespasses and sins speaks of the state or condition of our carnal nature. This death is characterized as rendering us incapable of fearing God (Romans 3:18), of seeking God (Romans 3:11), of understanding the things of the Spirit of God (Romans 3:11; I Corinthians 2:14), of knowing the way of peace (Romans 3:17). Under this death we only seek after the world (Ephesians 2:2), the spirit of Satan (Ephesians 2:2), and to satisfy fleshly lust (Ephesians 2:3).

Furthermore our carnal mind is enmity with God (Romans 8:7) and we cannot please God (Romans 8:8). All of our works are verily wickedness (Galatians 5:19 21). David described this death as beginning at conception in Psalms 51:5, "Behold, I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me."

Furthermore, he said we begin to portray this sin cursed death nature at birth as stated in Psalms 58:3, "The wicked are estranged from the womb, they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies." Under the law of sin and death according to David we will not even think about God, Psalms 10:4, "The wicked, through the pride of his countenance will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts." In addition, a person dead in trespasses and sins is incapable of delivering himself from that condition. The prophet Jeremiah illustrated this truth through question and answer in Jeremiah 13:23, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil." Paul described us under the law of sin and death in Romans 5:6 10 as being "without strength," "ungodly," "sinners," and "enemies of God."

The third death is "death to fellowship." The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:11 32 illustrates this death. When the prodigal had left his father's house to go waste his substance with riotous living and then later returned, the father described this son thusly, "For this my son was dead, and is alive again..." Likewise he said to his other son, "For this thy brother was dead, and is alive again..." Please notice that the prodigal when wasting his substance with riotous living did not lose his relationship to his father or brother, but he lost his fellowship to them. He was dead to their fellowship. Paul, also describes this death to fellowship in I Timothy 5:6, "But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth." I guess we could safely call her a living "dead" person. I wonder how many of God's people are dead to the fellowship of God and to the fellowship of the saints as a result of seeking worldly pleasures?

The fourth death we will consider is called in Revelation 20:14, the "second death." This is God's eternal punishment for sin. Those who suffer the "second death" are "cast into the lake of fire" to suffer the eternal vengeance of God. They are described in Revelation 20:12 as being "the dead, small and great" and they are "judged every man according to their works." Verse 15 tells us, "And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire." Paul describes these in II Thessalonians 1:7 9 thusly, "And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power."

Finally, there is a good death taught in God's word. Romans 6:2 asks us, "How shall we that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?" What does it mean to be "dead to sin?" It means to be dead to the condemning affects of sin and to be dead to the bondage of the law of sin and death. Hebrews 2:14 speaks of Christ thusly, "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them who through fear of death were all of their lifetime subject to bondage."

When Jesus died on the cross for us, he delivered us from the wrathful judgment of God (second death) and when he arose the third day he established our hope in the resurrection of our mortal bodies. Also in Romans 8:2, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." This is in harmony with Ephesians 2:1 which states, "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins." Likewise the Lord said in John 5:25, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, the hour is coming and now is when the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God and they that hear shall live." When Christ speaks to us in that still small voice giving us spiritual life we become "dead to" the condemning effects of sin and its bondage over us. We now, in spirit, fear God, seek after Him, understand spiritual things, believe that he is, bear good fruit, seek to please him, etc. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.


The Power of God

No doubt there could be and has been volumes written about the power of God. It is not my intent to write all about the power of God (which I am not capable of) but only to introduce the subject and perhaps encourage others to search the scriptures on this very important subject.

Perhaps the most obvious illustration of the power of God is this material universe in which we live. Countless millions of hours of search and research have gone into trying to discover the origins of the universe. God's word plainly tells us, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Creation goes beyond the grasp of human reason, for man has never created anything! To "create" means "to make something from nothing." Only God has this power and amazingly the creation of the universe (as astronomical and magnificent as it appears in our eyes) was not a great exertion of God's power as we read in Psms. 8:3, "When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained." Thus God only considered the creation of the universe as his "finger" work!

What many people fail to realize is that God's power in creation goes beyond the natural universe in which we dwell. In addition to the natural universe, there is a spiritual realm to which all of God's children are created when they are "born again." As a matter of fact, the new birth is spoken of as a creation in Eph. 2:10, "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them." Also in II Cor. 5:17 inference is made to those born of the Spirit as being new creatures, "Therefore, if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature..."

Next we see a manifestation of the power of God in the life of Jesus Christ as he lived on the earth. He gave sight to the blind, caused the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, cleansed the lepers, caused the lame to walk, restored the withered limbs, cast out all manners of unclean spirits, and cured diseases of every type. He also raised the dead on three occasions. The disciples marveled when he calmed the stormy sea by simply saying, "peace, be still." The Lord demonstrated power over all things including death: John 10:17, 18, "Therefore doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down and I have power to take it again. This commandment have I received of my Father." In some places in the scriptures it may appear to us that man took Jesus life, but while it was man's intention to do so, yet ultimately Jesus had to lay down his life for him to die, then through the marvelous power that only God possesses he arose a victor over death and the grave on the third day.

Similarly, it took the same power of God to enable us to believe as it took to raise Jesus from the dead: Eph. 1:19, 20, "And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead..." Thus belief is not something we muster up from our sinful carnal nature, but it is something we possess after God's mighty power has worked on us, both to give us spiritual life (Eph. 2:1, "You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins) and to enable us to believe. Belief, therefore, is an evidence of the working of God's great power in you. That the power of God is necessary in the giving of eternal life is proven in John 17:2, "As thou hast given him power over all flesh that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him."

In addition, the power of God is present when a God called minister preaches the gospel to God's waiting and seeking people: I Thes. 1:5, "For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost, and much assurance..." Also we read in Acts 4:33, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all." Have you ever had the preaching of the gospel to stir you into action? If so, then the power of God was working in you to stir you to action. That same power was working in the preacher as he preached the word of God. Just a word of caution here a lot of emotion people feel comes from stories men tell to arouse emotion. This isn't the power of God. The power of God is manifested in the preaching of the gospel, not through artificial means to arouse emotion!

We may ask ourselves, "What application does the power of God have to us in our daily lives today?" Major applications are found in contemplation of the "promises of God." For instance, God promised in Psms. 12:6, 7, "The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever." Here God promised to preserve his words in a pure form forever. Paul so believed in this promise and ultimately the power of God that he taught a great doctrinal truth based on the preservation of a single letter in Gal. 3:16, "Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ." Paul was so convinced of the power and veracity of God that he knew that what he read in the scripture concerning Abraham's "seed" could not possibly have been inadvertently copied that way instead of
"seeds."

God has made wonderful promises to us such as:
a. The resurrection of our bodies from the dead (I Cor. 6:14; I Cor.15).
b. To provide for our natural necessities (Matt. 6:33).
c. To never leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
d. To intercede for us (Rom. 8:34).
e. To never withdraw his love from us (Rom. 8:35 39).
f. To care for us (I Pet. 5:7).
g. To help and intercede for our infirmities (Rom. 8:26, 27).
h. To deliver and not forsake us in time of trouble (Job 5:19).
i. To give us a throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Heb. 4:16).
j. To give us rest (Matt. 11:28 30).
k. To give us peace (John 14:27).
l. To give us comfort (II Cor. 1:3, 4).
m. To give us hope (Tit. 1:2).
n. To strengthen us (Col. 1:11; Phil. 4:13; Eph. 3:16; I Pet. 5:10).
o. To give us joy (Rom. 5:11).
p. To give us spiritual treasures (Matt. 6:20; Col. 2:3).

When we understand and believe the power of God, then His promises become real to us in our experiences and become a great help, comfort, and encouragement to us as we face the trials and problems of life. May God bless your efforts to learn more about His astonishing power.

Primitive Baptist