"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The GOSPEL of MATTHEW: PART Two of Ch. 12 – The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE:

By James Fire

Here we begin the second half of this study, and we will witness this turning point alluded to previously, regarding the LORD Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel and how this notable event changed everything around for “the kingdom of heaven” that was “in [their] midst” but was summarily rejected by the religious rulers of Israel, the Sanhedren. 

MATTHEW 12:22-23
22 Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spake and saw.
23 And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

WHERE ARE YOU? LAW or GRACE? PART - 2

By James Fire

Now we continue in this study of the LAW or GRACE, picking up where we left off in Galatians, the third Chapter. Let us carefully examine precisely what the Word says about these two supremely important aspects of the Scripture and our spiritual relationship to them both:

GALATIANS 3:26-29
26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.
27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
28 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.
29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.

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WHERE ARE YOU? LAW or GRACE? PART - 1

By James Fire

We who have received salvation through the LORD Jesus Christ by faith, rejoice in the grace of God, that is, God's favor towards us that is wholly unmerited by anything we have done on our own account, but solely on the basis of the Gospel and the Lamb of God's finished work on the cross and His resurrection.
As Christians our desire is to walk pleasing to the LORD, growing in the grace and knowledge of the LORD Jesus Christ (2 PET. 3:18) and in holiness (ROM. 6:22; 2 COR. 7:1). In that desire to please the LORD we can sometimes become so zealous as to adhere to Old Testament ways, specifically Mosaic Law (That is, the Law of God as given by Moses on Sinai) and all of the feasts, customs and edicts which the LORD specifically gave to the nation of Israel.

Some perceive Law as contrary to Grace, that they are opposed to one another. Others believe that Christians are obligated to follow the Law, even though salvation has always been according to God's grace (Old Testament as well as New); that there is no distinction between Old Testament saints of Israel and the saints of the New Testament church.

So what exactly do we believe? Should Christians follow the Law or not? Are we free to disregard the Law and simply ask for God's grace and forgiveness when we partake of sin? We shall consider these issues and more in this article of The TRUTH Under FIRE.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The GOSPEL of MATTHEW: Ch. 12, PART One – The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE:

 
By James Fire

In Chapter 12 we have a profoundly significant incident that correlates with a similar event that took place in MATT. 9:32-34. When the witness of the Messiah is rejected by the official religious body of the Sanhedren, based on these specific miracles that He performed in these two chapters, it alters the LORD's ministry and relationship to Israel as a nation, which we shall see in this (and subsequent) chapters.

MATTHEW 12:1-8
At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.
2 But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day.
3 But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;
4 How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests?
5 Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?
6 But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple.
7 But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless.
8 For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Here we see Jesus – Y'shua the son of Mary and Joseph, his step-father; He is an observant Jew and fulfilled all of the Law perfectly (MATT.5:17-18) as the spotless Lamb of God without blemish (1 PET. 1:19); and yet here we see Him and His disciples gleaning grain on the sabbath day and the Pharisees are quick to point this out.
The LORD replies by citing two examples of some others who did similar things and yet there is no blame laid against them for doing so by the witness of Scripture: David and his fighting men (1 SAM. 21:1-6), and even the priests themselves of the Temple. The LORD then directs the Pharisees to recognize that there is One in their midst Who is greater than the Temple: Himself: the Messiah of Israel, Who also happens to be the LORD of the sabbath, for it was He that instituted the Sabbath as the seventh day upon which Israel was to rest from all of their work, even as the LORD God rested (See EX. 20:8-11; not in recuperation of strength, for that would be pointless for the Almighty, but merely a cessation of work) in His creation (GEN. 1 and 2).

The LORD rightly points out the purpose of the sabbath in Mark's Gospel:
MARK 2:27
And he said unto them, The sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath

The Pharisees had elevated the sabbath to such a degree that they used the observance of such as a means of justification, when it was simply a means of providing the Jews a time of rest from their labors and reflection through prayer and meditation on the Word of the LORD Himself and all of the blessings and promises He had given to Israel. While adhering to the 'letter of the Law' they missed the 'spirit of the Law', that is, the heart of its intention – in this case, a blessing for Israel to rest, reflect and worship YHWH.

We cannot miss the LORD's desire for His people, that they would have hearts of mercy (and love their neighbors as themselves) in caring for the poor (who were allowed to glean the corners of crop fields as a method of social welfare) rather than mere sacrifice with coldness of heart – obedience without the motivation of love is useless to the LORD (see 1 COR. 13); religious externalism, formalism and hypocrisy are grevious offenses to the LORD and cannot affect the heart of man by drawing him to his Maker, but only affect it by encouraging pride and self-righteousness.

1 SAM. 15:22
And Samuel said, Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the Lord? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams

ISAIAH 29:13
Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men

When left unchecked such a heart condition of hypocrisy will seek to fulfill religious obligations without a heart for God, while placating the desires for the things of the world (in Israel's apostate condition – this meant a love for material possessions as well as for the adoration of pagan deities (See ISAIAH 1:10-17).

MATTHEW 12:9-14
9 And when he was departed thence, he went into their synagogue:
10 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.
11 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?
12 How much then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well on the sabbath days.
13 Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
14 Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him.

Yet the LORD isn't finished blowing the minds of the Pharisees quite yet! He proceeds then into their synagogue and sees a man with a withered (paralyzed) hand; the Pharisees pose the question, whether or not it was lawful to heal on the sabbath day. They assumed that if the LORD said, Yes then they would be able to accuse Him of sinning against the Law.

Yet when one considers that any one who would work a miracle (a supernatural act), cannot do such a thing by their own power – such must be accomplished by one with supernatural ability, that being God Himself Who is not bound at all to any Sabbath regulations. It would seem that the accusation by the Pharisees here is entirely baseless, wouldn't it? The LORD Jesus posits a question to these religious leaders, and they don't deny His assertion (that if they had a trapped sheep, they would seek to loose it even on the Sabbath day). He concludes then, that since a man is better than a sheep (How do you like that, evolutionists and New Agers?), it is right to bring healing on the Sabbath and He immediately does so.

The man with this paralyzed hand is healed: note that it doesn't happen until he stretches out his paralyzed hand! How could this happen? We may understand that any time any of us expresses a will to obey God, He will bring the grace necessary for us to do so! So this man expressed faith in Christ, and as a result was able to extend his hand, and thereby receive healing, a bone fide miracle! And yet even witnessing such a thing, the Pharisees are more about making plans to destroy Jesus, rather than acknowledge the work of God and His rightful claim as the Messiah! Absolutely incredible blindness, arrogance and pride on their part! 

MATTHEW 12:15-21
15 But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all;
16 And charged them that they should not make him known:
17 That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying,
18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
19 He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear his voice in the streets.
20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
21 And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.

When the LORD perceived that the Pharisees were desirous of destroying Him, He withdrew Himself, for “His hour has not come” that is – the time of His Passion, which according to prophecy must be on a certain date, as well as His triumphat entry into Jerusalem. When He left the religious leaders, the sickly multitudes followed Him and He healed them ALL! Amazing how when the LORD shows up, no one ever stays sick – or even dead! Time and time again He proved Himself as the Messiah of Israel by the miraculous signs that He performed! Yet He never sought for notoriety or fame, but remained quiet in His faithful service to God the Father. This was the Servant of YHWH Who always did those things that pleased His Father (JOHN 8:29). He will show the justice of God to the Gentile nations, and they will come to trust in the Messiah along with Israel. 

The Messiah Whom the Father has entrusted all judgment to (JOHN 5:22) will bring on that Day the most severe and wholly just judgment upon all unrepentant sinners, and there will be no vindication or dismissal of a single soul on that day. All will be condemned by the Holy Law of God and sentenced to an eternity of hell.

Yet the LORD Jesus Christ's mission during the time of His First Advent was not to judge or condemn the world but to offer salvation (JOHN 3:17) to all who will come to Him! In gentleness and meekness He approaches us – not breaking bruised reeds, that is, despising and trashing the broken and wounded of this world; not quenching smoking flax, that is, not being impatient with those who are slow in their response to the Gospel message; rather He has come to seek and to save the lost because now is the time of salvation, the era of redemption through the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world! 
See LUKE 19:10; 2 COR. 6:2; JOHN 1:29.

Unfortunately there are relatively few who will be saved (though these 'few' will actually amount to a number beyond count, see REV. 7:9) because the way is narrow and few will choose that way; the vast majority of humanity will go the broad way that finds no salvation through Christ, and so they remain in their state of condemnation and sin:

MATTHEW 7:13-14
13 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14 Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

JOHN 3:18
He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

There are those who espouse a belief in Universalism, saying that everyone will eventually be saved. We did a comprehensive study on TTUF on the Judgment Day of Christ, the eternal nature of heaven and hell and the soteriological factors that reveals the two different categories of human souls who are the saved and the unsaved, entitled  CHRIST's COURT - SOON in SESSION Pt. 1
Rob Bell of Emergent Church Movement fame wrote a book entitled LOVE WINS  in which adherence to Universalism is most prevelent. We have an article on The RED PILL Consortium called LOST LOVE which responds to this book and false doctrine.

The glorious truth is that our precious and beloved LORD Jesus Christ has succeeded in bringing “justice to victory”! But what does this mean exactly?
I believe a certain Psalm holds a clue for us:

PSALM 85:10-11
10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.
11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

God is immutable which means that His essential nature of holiness cannot change, diminish or be altered in any way. Thus where He is confronted by sin (sin could be perceived as 'high treason against the holy King of creation) He is compelled by His nature to judge the one who committed that criminal sin. This is why Satan and all of the fallen angels that followed him in rebellion are destined for judgment and condemnation (MATT. 25:49). 

Because of the fact that Adam likewise committed what is known as the original sin (the initial sin that infested the First Man and was passed on to his offspring in the form of a sin-nature) he also was destined for judgment and condemnation. God has no other choice but to judge sin. However, God promised that He would send a Savior who would be 'the seed of the woman' (GEN. 3:15).

Yet this holy Servant of YHWH, the LORD Jesus Christ sent justice unto victory; that is, He suffered Himself the sins of all humanity as the Lamb of God (the veritable scape goat; LEV. 16:5-26) and received the full judgment and punishment that the Holy God demanded as payment against the debt owed to Him by sinful humanity! In exchange, this Lamb of God has offered eternal life through His sacrifice and we receive such by receiving by faith the Person of Jesus Christ through His Spirit. Thus the truth of God's justice and His mercy towards us are “met together” (PS. 25:7); the righteousness of His Holy Law and the peace  offered to us by Jesus Christ (ROM 5:1) “have kissed each other”.

Truth indeed sprang out of the earth; Jesus Christ Who is Himself the Truth (JN. 14:6) rose out of the tomb in holy resurrection and the holy, righteous eyes of the Father looked down from heaven and was satisfied by this propitiation (ROM. 3:25; 1 JN. 2:2, 4:10) from His Son! There is victory in God's plan of salvation; He has been satisfied through His Lamb in both capacities of justice and mercy!

Here we shall end Part One of this study, as we still have twenty eight verses worth of exposition to examine! Until then, may the LORD Jesus keep us in His grace and truth! Amen!
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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The GOSPEL of MATTHEW: Ch. 11 – The MESSIAH and HIS KINGDOM MESSAGE:


By James Fire

The LORD Jesus Christ has just finished instructing His disciples on their mission for the Gospel, bringing the message of salvation to “the lost house of Israel” - but not yet the Gentiles . . . He also gave them warnings and admonitions regarding how they would be received by lost sinners and how they should respond to such dangers from those who are our persecutors. After having done all this, the LORD then proceeds to preach the Gospel and teach truth Himself among and throughout the cities of Israel. This is where we pick up in the beginning of Chapter 11:

MATTHEW 11:1-3
And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.
2 Now when John had heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples,
3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

The POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT

By James Fire

Note: This teaching at The HOUSE of TRUTH fellowship is now posted on youtube.com and may be viewed on video here.


GENESIS 1:1-2
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

COLOSSIANS 1:15-17
15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.
The awesome power of creation, solely the purview of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit is something we can witness, at least in part, on our planet, our solar system, and from images taken by far-reaching satellites and radio telescopes sights and macro-cosmic wonders of galaxies beyond our imagining. We also observe the creation of God with microscopes, electron microscopes and other instrumentation whereby we can perceive the microcosmic universe. Whether in the vastness of the heavens, or the intricacies of the infinitesimal, God's handiwork is an incredible work to behold! 
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