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 Eternal God

            One of the characteristics of God is that he is eternal: 1 Tim. 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen."  We know that the scriptures teach us that when we are born of the Spirit we have eternal spiritual life in the inner man.  We also know that in the resurrection we will have eternal life in the body.  However, God is eternal in a way that we are not.  Our eternal life has a beginning.  The scriptures teach that God is from everlasting to everlasting (Ps. 41:13; 90:2; 93:2; 103:17; 106:48; Is. 63:16; Micah 5:2; Hab. 1:12).  Thus, God is eternal both in that he has no beginning and he has no ending. 

            Since God cannot change, all of his characteristics and attributes are also eternal.  The following verses show forth some of those eternal characteristics and attributes of God:

            1.  Jere. 31:3 "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee."

            2.  Rom. 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse."

            3.  Deu. 33:27 "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them."

            4.  Ps. 119:142 "They righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and thy law is the truth."

            5.  Ps. 119:144 "The righteousness of they testimonies is everlasting: give me understanding and I shall live."

            6.  Is. 26:4 "Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength."

            7.  Is. 54:8 "In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer."

            8.  1 Pet. 5:10 "But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you."

Based on the above scriptures, we conclude that God's love, power, arms, righteousness, testimonies, strength, kindness, and glory are all eternal.

            Furthermore, God made an eternal covenant:

            1.  Eph. 3:11 "According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."

            2.  2 Sam. 23:5 "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow."

            3.  Heb. 13:20 "Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant."

            This everlasting covenant is set forth for us in Rom. 8:28-30, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified."

            Christ is said to be an eternal King:

            1.  Ps. 93:2 "They throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting."

            2.  Jere. 10:10 "But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation."

            3.  Dan. 7:14 "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."

            4.  1 Tim. 1:17 "Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever.  Amen."          


Verse by verse study on Matthew continues:  For the complete series, click here:

Matt. 6:9-13

            Matt. 6:9 "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen."

            This is often called the Lord's prayer, although it is not really the Lord's prayer but a sample prayer that the Lord taught the disciples how to pray.  In Luke this sample prayer was in response to a request from the disciples: Lk.11:1 "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples."  Thus, the Lord was teaching the disciples how to pray and not what words to use when they pray.  Vainly repeating the words is in direct violation of what the Lord had previously taught when he said not to use vain repetitions. 

            The Lord said "after this manner therefore pray ye."  Thus, it is the manner and not the exact words that we are to use in prayer.  First, we are to recognize whom we are praying to.  We are praying to "Our Father which art in heaven."  We are not praying to an impersonal being.  We are praying to our Heavenly Father.  As our Father, he cares for us and he cares for our needs.  As the one who is in heaven he is above us and certainly capable of providing all of our needs.  Additionally, he is not just my Father, but he is our Father.  My prayers are not to be just selfish, but I am to pray for others of God's children also. 

            Second, the name of the one to whom we are praying is Holy.  We are to address him in a holy manner.  I have heard people say of God, that he "is the man upstairs."  That is being very irreverent and God dishonoring.  God's name is holy and we are to address him in a holy manner.  I do not allow my children or my grandchildren to address me by my given name, how much more should I show respect unto God in addressing him? 

            Third, we should pray for the needs of God's people in his kingdom and that his kingdom be established in the hearts of his people.  While asking for our personal needs, we often neglect the needs of God's people and the needs of the Church and the needs of the gospel to go forth to God's people.  We should not neglect these needs or asking for these needs in our personal prayers.

            Fourth, we should pray the Lord's will be done in our lives.  Often our own personal desires conflict with the will of the Lord.  The Lord's will is always better to follow than our will when it is different from the Lord's will.  When we pray for something in our lives it would be good if we prefaced the prayer with something like, "nevertheless not my will but thine be done."  Thus, we should desire the Lord's will in our lives (earth) as the Lord's will is done in the glory world (heaven). 

            Fifth, we should pray for our daily needs.  We have a daily need to provide the natural fuel for our natural bodies.  We also have a daily need to provide the spiritual food for our spiritual lives.  These needs are ever with us and we should daily pray that God will provide for us both to have natural food and that we may have spiritual understanding of his word. 

            Sixth, we should pray that God would forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.  In the account in Luke, the word, trespasses, is used in place of "debts."  Please note that this is a conditional prayer for forgiveness that is dependent on our forgiving others of their trespasses against us.  This principle is set forth in the next segment of scripture we will study and so I will reserve further comment until we get to that passage.

            Seventh, we are to ask God to both lead us and to deliver us.  We should ask God to lead us in paths of righteousness and to deliver us from the evil in which we sometimes find ourselves surrounded or entangled.  Most people seem to think they can direct their own pathways.  When we direct our pathways we will end up entangled with evil.  However, when the Lord leads us we will be in the best condition we can possibly be in. 

            Finally, we should recognize in our prayers that the kingdom is of God, the power to walk in that kingdom is of God, and the glory of that kingdom is of God.  We are to give him praise for his kingdom, for the exercise of his power and for the glory of who he is and what he has done and will do.

 

Matt. 6:14, 15

            Matt. 6:14 "For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: 15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."

            The Lord has taught us that he will conditionally forgive us of our trespasses.  It is important that we recognize where this forgiveness takes place.  As far as our sins are concerned in the courtroom of God's justice, we are unconditionally forgiven.  No charge can be made against God's elect (Rom. 8:33).  Jesus has justified us and the Lord will remember our sins and iniquities against us no more (Heb. 8:12).  However, in the courtroom of our heart and mind we may not in our experiences feel the forgiveness of God.  There are times when we trespass against God and we pray that he will forgive us of that sin so that we no longer feel guilty or unclean.  It is here that we are conditionally forgiven of our sins.  The condition of feeling relieved of the guilty conscience is that we forgive men of their trespasses.  If we do not forgive men of their trespasses, the Father will not forgive our trespasses.  That guilty conscience will remain with us. 

            Other verses shed light on the need to forgive and the consequences of unforgiving:

                        1.  Mat 18:21 "Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? 22  Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven. 23 Therefore is the kingdom of heaven likened unto a certain king, which would take account of his servants. 24 And when he had begun to reckon, one was brought unto him, which owed him ten thousand talents. 25 But forasmuch as he had not to pay, his lord commanded him to be sold, and his wife, and children, and all that he had, and payment to be made. 26 The servant therefore fell down, and worshipped him, saying, Lord, have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt.

            28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done.

            32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

                        2.  Eph. 4:32 "And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you."

            In the above, the Lord has taught us that there is to be no limit to our forgiving others (until seventy times seven) and that we are to forgive one another unconditionally (even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.) 

 

Matt. 6:16-18

            Matt. 6:16 "Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."

            Fasting was an Old Testament practice that involved the denial of food to the body over a period of time.  It was a sign of mourning and afflicting of the body as a sign that they were mourning over the dreadful condition of their lives or the condition of the country because of sins that they had committed and were afflicting their body as a symbol of their repentance from those sins.  Even in this the Lord was not pleased as we read in Is. 58:5 "Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke? 7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?"

            Fasting had been made such a practice to be seen of men in the days of the Lord that the people went to great links to appear to others to fast as a show of their zeal and devotion to the Lord.  Obviously, the Lord was not pleased with this practice.  He told them that if they were going to fast, they should make an effort not to give the appearance of fasting. 

            In this sixth chapter of Matthew, the Lord plainly shows us that our religion is not about appearing to be religious to others.  It is about serving and obeying our Lord and doing it not for the reward or praise of men, but doing it to please our Lord.  If we do these things for the praise of men, then we are simply being hypocritical.  If we do these things without show in order to please God, then the Lord has promised to bless us in our worship and service of him. 

 

Matt. 6:19-21

            Matt. 6:19 "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: 21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." 

            The treasures that we may have on earth would include money, gold, silver, pearls, lands, buildings, stocks, bonds, and other earthly possessions.  These things are all corruptible and if you possess them, they are subject to corruption and theft.  You can have them one day and they are lost to you the next day.  Earthly treasures are not lasting treasures.  The Lord set forth this parable in Luke 1215 "And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth. 16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."   How wasted are many people's lives when they spend nearly all their time and effort to acquire worldly possessions and then before they can enjoy them they die.

            There are three great spiritual treasures that we can lay up that moth and rust cannot corrupt and that thieves cannot steal from us.  These three treasures pertain to God's word.  They are the treasures of knowledge, understanding, and wisdom.  These treasures are set forth in the following verses:

                        1.  Prov. 2:1 "My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee; 2 So that thou incline thine ear unto wisdom, and apply thine heart to understanding; 3 Yea, if thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding; 4 If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures; 5 Then shalt thou understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. 6 For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding."

                        2.  Matt. 13:52 "Then said he unto them, Therefore every scribe which is instructed unto the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which bringeth forth out of his treasure things new and old."

                        3.  2 Cor. 4:6 "For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us."

                        4.  Col. 2:2 "That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge."

            There are three things that we are told to do with God's word.  If we do these three things then we lay up for ourselves the treasures of knowledge, understanding and wisdom.  These three things are:

                        1.  1 Tim. 4:13 "Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine."  When we read God's word, we lay up for ourselves knowledge, one of the rich spiritual treasures that God has given us.

                        2.  2 Tim. 2:15 "Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth."  When we study God's word, we lay up for ourselves understanding, another of the rich spiritual treasures that God has given us.

                        3.  1 Tim. 4:15 "Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all."  When we meditate upon God's word, we lay up for ourselves wisdom, the third of the rich spiritual treasures that God has given us. 

            We must first read to gain knowledge.  Then we study to gain understanding.  Then we meditate to gain wisdom.  With wisdom we are able to apply the teaching of God's word to our lives and the circumstances of our lives.

            Our heart will follow our treasure.  If we place our treasures in spiritual things then our heart will follow those spiritual things.  If we place our treasures in natural things, then our heart will follow those natural things.  The Lord has taught us to seek after the spiritual treasures.

 

Matt. 6:22, 23

            Matt. 6:22 "The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. 23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!"

            The eye is the body part that is responsible for sight to the body.  As long as the eye is in working order, sight of objects is clear and easily identifiable by the whole body.  When the eye becomes diseased or we develop double vision, then a darkness settles in and is felt by the whole body.  One only needs to close their eyelids and walk around to quickly determine the detrimental effects of blindness. 

            While most people have their natural eyesight, yet a large number of God's people have spiritual blindness.  They are walking about in spiritual darkness.  What is the cause of this spiritual blindness?  The answer is that they have double vision.  They have their eye on the world at the same time that they have their eye on God and his word.  What they see in the world effects the way that they see and wrongly interpret God's word.  They have taken the word of their parents, grandparents, spouses, friends, teachers, etc. over the truth that is set forth in God's word.  An example of this is that often parents, grandparents, friends, teachers and preachers have told them that they must accept and believe in order to be born of the Spirit.  Yet God's word tells us that we must be born of the Spirit in order to be able to believe.  Blindness to this precious truth comes because people have developed double vision.  Their vision of God's word is blurred by the false teachings of others.

            Once a person has accepted as truth a false teaching or precept, this false belief affects everything that they read or hear about the word of God.  An acceptance of the false teaching that one must hear and believe the word of God in order to be born of the Spirit leads to the development and belief of a false works system of salvation.

            The cure for this horrible disease of spiritual blindness is to seek, ask, and knock for truth from God.  He will give it to you.  We must seek from him and be guided by the Holy Spirit, however, if we are to find it.  We cannot have one eye on the world and one eye on God and expect to find the truth.

Primitive Baptist