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 God That Is

Exo. 3:13, 14, "And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you."

One of the names for God the children of Israel knew him by was "I AM." The term, I AM, indicates an unchanging ever present God. A God that is "the same yesterday, to day, and for ever."

When Jesus told some unbelieving Jews in John 8:58, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am," they knew he was claiming to be the great "I AM" and thus took up stones to cast at him.

The gospel of John presents a picture to us of Jesus as being the great "I AM." Jesus referred to himself as I am the ___ in eight different ways as follows:

1. I am the light of the world (John 8:12; 9:5).
2. I am the bread of life (John 6:35).
3. I am the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14).
4. I am the door of the sheep (John 10:7).
5. I am the door (John 10:9).
6. I am the resurrection and the life (John 11:25).
7. I am the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6).
8. I am the true vine (John 15:1).

First Jesus said, "I am the light of the world." It is a particular world that Jesus is the light of. He is not the light of the world of darkness, nor of the world of iniquity, nor is he the natural light of the natural world (He created the sun, moon, and stars for that purpose). He is, however, the light of the spiritual world. To see takes eyes and light. Without either, it is impossible to see. When a person is born again he receives spiritual eyesight and Jesus becomes his light (that which manifests) and he is able to perceive spiritual things (I Cor. 2:9 14). Jesus in his life has made manifest to us thru his word everything that is good!

Second, Jesus said, "I am the bread of life." We don't normally think of bread as something that gives life, but something that sustains life or gives sustenance to life. When we eat natural bread it may satisfy our appetite for a little while, but after a while we hunger again, thus we eat more. However, the bread that Jesus is, is something we eat and satisfies our hunger so that we never need hunger again. When I came to realize that Jesus has saved me from my sins by his finished work at the cross, I have never had to hunger for another savior. I am satisfied he saved me and I no longer need or desire another savior. This bread of life (Jesus) satisfies me.

Third, Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd." As the good shepherd he gave his life for the sheep. Jesus is also called the "great shepherd" of the sheep. There have been many down thru the ages who have given their lives that others might live. Not one of them, however, ever redeemed one person from even one single sin! Jesus, by being the good shepherd manifests his love for the sheep, and by being the great shepherd, manifests his ability to save them. The fact that he is my shepherd makes these thoughts precious.
Fourth, Jesus said, "I am the door of the sheep." He also said, "All that ever come before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them." Thus, Jesus is our eternal security. We are preserved in him. No one can touch our eternal life for they must go thru the door (Jesus) to get to us and this is impossible. Aren't you glad that your eternal life is preserved and secure in Jesus Christ?

Fifth, Jesus said, "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." A distinction is made between this door and the previous door. The previous door speaks of Jesus as our eternal security and preservation. This door speaks to us of the kingdom of heaven, i.e., the church kingdom on earth. It is thru the finished work of Jesus and our obedience to his word that we are saved from a condemning conscience as taught in I Pet. 3:21, "The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, ) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ." Also thru the completed work of Jesus and his word, we are fed of this spiritual food thru the preaching of the gospel and thru reading and studying God's word.

Sixth, Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life." Death is a reality we all face. Yet, it is not the end of all things, but only a passageway, thanks to Jesus. Jesus himself died on Calvary's cruel cross, yet three days later he arose a victor over death, never to die again. He has the power over death. When we think of death usually it is the death of the body we are thinking about. Yet the scriptures say, You hath he quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins. When we were dead (absent of spiritual life) God quickened (gave spiritual life) us as we read 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." Both the new birth and the resurrection of our bodies are "life from the dead" by the power of Jesus who is the "resurrection and the life."

Seventh, Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." Jesus is "the way" of salvation. It is because he is "the truth" personified that he was a fit savior, for he was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners, who kept the law to a jot and a tittle and thus became the only savior of sinners. It is because he is "the way" and "the truth" that he is "the life" giving us eternal life.

Eight, Jesus said, "I am the true vine and my Father is the husbandman." He also said, "I am the vine and ye are the branches." It is only as we abide in him, his love, his words, and his commandments that we as the branches (his disciples) can bring forth fruit to the glory of God. Jesus said, "Without me ye can do nothing." We are dependant on him to do anything godly and good in his sight. As "the vine" he supplies all we need to be fruitful. His chastisement purges us that we may be even more fruitful.
In each of these things that Jesus said "I AM" there is a present reality of the presence of God manifests towards us that gives us hope and consolation as we live our present lives. Jesus truly is "the God that is."

Elder Vernon Johnson


Omniscience of God

Omniscience simple means that God knows all things, past, present and future. Foreknowledge refers to the fact that God knew all things before it ever comes to pass. David in writing about the depth of the knowledge of God declared in Ps. 139:6 "Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it." Who can know or understand the depth or width or height of the knowledge of God. We as creatures cannot attain unto it. Peter declared of Jesus in John 21:17, "Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest I love thee." His disciples said unto him in John 16:30, "Now are we sure that thou knowest all things..." Since God knows all things, then he knows all things past, present, and future. The depth of his knowledge boggle our finite minds. David said, "Thou knowest my down sittings and mine uprisings, thou understandest my thought afar off." Thus, we are assured that God knows all about us in the very details of our lives. He knows when we sit down and when we rise up. He even knows our thoughts before we even think them!

The statement of God's knowledge in Heb. 4:12, 13 causes us to fear and marvel all at the same time: "...and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." The scriptures say that even the thought of foolishness is sin and since God discerns our thoughts and since he knows all about us and nothing can be hidden from him and since all our sins are brought to judgment before God therefore we are made to fear. However, God's foreknowledge is a comfort because when Christ died for our sins, he died for all of our sins. It is God's foreknowledge that enables him to know all of our sins, even before we were born, and laden them upon Jesus to redeem us from our sins. Next, the foreknowledge of God assures us concerning the security of the physical universe in which we live: Heb. 1:3 reads in part, "...and upholding all things by the word of his power..." God's foreknowledge of all things works hand in hand with his upholding all things by the word of his power. God is never "surprised" or "blind sided" by anything. The harmonic interactions of all the heavenly bodies is testimony of God's power and foreknowledge and assures that we won't be "wiped out" by a passing comet, for instance. In addition, God's foreknowledge assures us of God's providential blessings and watch care in our lives. Since God knows all things, he knows all our circumstances of life and all about our environment. Matt. 10:29, 30 declare this principle: "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered." He knows the things we need even before or if we ask him. His foreknowledge assures us that what we ask, he is able to provide. Furthermore, when we are faced with trials or difficulties that seem beyond our ability to handle the fact that God's knowledge far exceeds ours and that his power is unlimited is a great comfort to us. In addition, God's foreknowledge is an assurance to us of our salvation and that God's promises will be fulfilled. The following verses testify these principles:

A. Acts 15:18 "Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world."
B. I Cor. 2:7 "But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory."
C. Isa. 46:10 "Declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure."
D. Acts 2:23, 24 "Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it."
E. Acts 4:27, 28 "For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed , both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, are gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done." Yes, God knows all of his works and they all will be performed as God purposed. All of his promises are yea and amen. He has saved his people from their sins and their eternal destiny is secured and we are preserved in Christ Jesus. There will be no surprises, slip ups or failures because God knew all things before they ever come to pass. He will do all his pleasure.

Elder Vernon Johnson

 

 

 

Primitive Baptist