Sunday, July 20, 2014

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THE SEVEN CHURCHES OF ASIA /REVELATION 2 - 3
copyright November 2007
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CHAPTER  3                             
E P H E S U S
Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlestick I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast bourne, and hast patience, and for my  names's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.   Revelation 2:1-7


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The Ephesian Christians did all of the right things, not just desiring to fulfill the great commission "to go into all the world", they were very passionately doing it, but in all of their being busy, their intimacy with God was compromised.  God wants more than acts of service, adoration, gift giving, and physical touch, He wants meaningful time (intimacy, fellowship).  The more meaningful time we spend with Him, He brings us into a deeper fellowship with Himself, which produces a greater anointing in our life to be more effective for Him and to take us into the fulfilling of our individual "callings".  Why should God reveal our "calling" to us, without the Holy Spirit we cannot fulfill it. If we can't obey Him now or won't obey Him it is needless for Him to tell us. Do you want to know your "calling", "God's will for your life", become intimate with Him, develop the love relationship that encompasses "meaningful time".  The Holy Spirit is the one who brings us to this.  Worshiping in spirit and in truth, is not just the act of praising, it is also a relationship bound in fellowship and intimacy with God.
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God had no problem with their laboring to get the message of salvation to as many as they could, actually He commends them, but here God is trying to get their attention about something necessary to be an effective witness and testimony for Him to lost souls.  All of the efforts to win souls for Christ produce very little results, without His anointing.  Paul said about himself,  "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway (Hebrews 6:8 translates the same Greek word [AAdmivn] as, rejected)." 1 Corinthians 9:27. 
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In order to be an effective, efficient, anointed, and powerful testimony for Christ we need to be consistent with spending "meaningful time" with Him, through daily bible study, prayer, and worship, regular fasting from meals if not daily, no less than weekly, fellowshipping with other Christians to share new revelations God has given to each of us, and attending the corporate gathering of other believers (church attendance).  Doing these things help to keep us, "instant in season and out of season," and help us to have a more keen sense of spiritual hearing, then when God speaks to us we can confidently know it is Him speaking.  We are responsible for our own flame and candlestick, neglecting what is necessary to keep it burning will cause it to go out, and our candlestick to be removed, v.5.
Jesus did nothing, nor said anything, unless the Father told Him to do it (John 8:28-29).  It is with this discipline, that made it possible for Jesus to do and say things that produced awesome results in the life of everyone whose path He crossed and whose path crossed His.  Every encounter with anyone was an anointed "God moment", no matter if He was speaking to religious hypocrites or with those individuals who sincerely wanted what He came to give.  The Apostles learned the principle of obeying God, which helped to give them the ability to clearly hear Him speak to them, and be effectively used by God to "turn the world upside down", (Acts 17:6).
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If I am somewhere God has not told me to be, I am in disobedience, for if I am somewhere I am not suppose to be, this means I am suppose to be somewhere else.  I have come to believe that whether through a "direct word from God" or a "providential circumstance", that God initiates, no matter where I go or what I do, it is a potential God moment for me, and it is so for all of us who are true Saints.  There are many examples of a "providential circumstance"; I will provide one: I need to go to the store to buy some groceries, on my way, instead of going to a local store; I decide to drive to a more distant one, my preference?  No.  It could be a "God moment" that I am unaware of until I get to that store, then my path and someone else cross and God says, speak to them.  I did not know that when I left the house that that occasion would happen, but through a "providential circumstance" that person and I meet for a "God moment".  A "direct word from God" would be, Samuel I want you to get up right now and go to Kroger for there is someone I want you to lead to repentance. This is what God did with Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:26,29).
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Without the baptism of the Holy Spirit (the infilling of the power and gifts), it is like standing outside looking in; the supernatural abundances of God are only seen and questioned instead of received and understood.  For a "Christian" to ask, "How do you know when God is speaking to you," it is a pretty good possibility they have not cultivated an intimate love relationship with Him? The same is true if they say; "God does not speak to His people anymore."  I asked one person who said that, how did you know you were a sinner in need of a Savior, He said, God told me.  I asked then you are saying that God speaks to sinners but not to His people?
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The only way I can know what house or car to buy, what church to attend, what job I am to have, the one I am to marry, or any life altering decision is for God to speak to me and let me know.  If His Holy Spirit does not lead us we are not His people (Roman 8:14).  Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God.  Yet, one well know theologian of years past said, After the last Apostle the need to ask for the Holy Spirit is no longer necessary; that statement was so wrong and was from Satan not God.
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If I have not adequately cultivated a "love relationship" with my Father, when He speaks to me, I will not hear Him, or if I do hear Him I will be in doubt if He is speaking.  The Ephesian Christians where making the plans for the fulfillment of the "Great Commission" but neglecting to seek God's guidance where to go or who to speak to.  Somewhere along the way they had neglected to pray for God to lead them.  Our "first love" is the desire to obey and spend meaningful time with HimThe Ephesian Christians had gotten so busy that they neglected the more important thing about their life, soul, and love relationship with God, intimacy with Him (Read the account of what Jesus said of Mary to Martha in Luke 10:39-42.  Mary, who sat at Jesus' feet, But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her)The name Ephesus means "desirable". Neglecting intimacy with God causes us to become undesirable.  The "church" is a love relationship with God; for, we are His Bride (John 3:29).
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When we are in love with someone, we want to know everything about them, we want to spend our every waking moment with them, we want to touch and hold them, their every desire is "our command", and we are always saying nothing but good things to others about them. This is the example of first love toward God as well.
Asia minor was a cesspool of idolatry and all kinds of doctrines from demonic sources.  Although Ephesus was actively fulfilling the "Great Commission", they were allowing their lack of love relationship (intimacy with God) to put them in a compromising position for false doctrines, something many of the other churches fell prey to.  Lukewarmness opens a church and the individual Christian up for the possible infiltration of false doctrines or a laxity of morals, that which the doctrine of the Nicolaitans promoted.
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The Lord said to the Ephesian Christians, when having left their first love, "Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent.  The Greek word for "fallen" [ejkphdavw] means: fallen, to fall powerless, to fall off of, to fall away.  With this definition, to say "backslidden" is not a stretch of the word, therefore God says, "repent".  The loss of their first love put them in a fallen powerless condition, they needed to rekindle their first love.  To "do the first works" is to do that which causes a fervent love relationship to develop to what it once was, FERVENT!  Spending meaningful time with God will rekindle the "fire."  God is letting us know that if we will not neglect intimacy with Him we will overcome and receive the promised inheritance, eternal life in His presence (life in its fullness, abundant forever) and all of the blessings that are associated with it, not only in the life to come but also in this life [John 10:10].
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To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.   Revelation 2:7
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My FaceBook Timeline http://www.facebook.com/samuel.siders; some of the responses I have posted in answer to those who God has had me to shared with on AolAnswers and FaceBook can be found in the "Notes" section on my FaceBook Wall [timeline]; which contains more than 450 notes.
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My activity about sharing the Word of God with Muslims continues; this open door that the Lord has made available to me as an apologist is one where worldwide opportunities are made available (all English speaking people around the world from many different countries, races, and religious beliefs). It is WRITTEN in 1 Peter 3:15…” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asks you of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:" God wants us to know AND understand His Word (2 Timothy 2:15). 
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DEFENSE FOR THE “ARCHKO VOLUME” http://www.scribd.com/doc/76537136/A-Definite-Appraisal-of-the-ArchkoVolume-Hubert-Luns   ...  and http://www.cumberland.org/hfcpc/minister/MahanWilliamDennes.htm
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There have been many occasions when in an attempt to discredit the Bible those who are opposed to it will quote a person with a PhD in Biblical Studies and what is called “biblical criticism.” The Lord has given me plenty of experience with “biblical criticism” to know how to respond when ENEMIES of the Scriptures want to quote the Critics [many are atheists]. For years I have heard the statement “many who attend seminary go in Christian and come out backslidden;” I know why. There are two kinds of seminaries the false PhDs [against the Scriptures] and the true PhDs [in defense of the Scriptures].
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Those who call themselves “Christian” but neither have God’s Spirit dwelling in them nor are Born-again will much more than not misuse, misinterpret, and misunderstand the Scriptures. I have learned, that when an ENEMY of the Scriptures quote a PhD, to always search for a biography of the person they quote, one such person is William Albright. When a person wants to quote a PhD I eventually have to let them know “it is useless and that not all PhDs agree.” The following is what I posted for a Muslim name Taiwo.
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Taiwo … ***Quoting PhDs is useless when conversing with me***.
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Your “90% of bible lost” ACCUSATION only proves your BIAS and BLIND knowledge of “biblical criticism;” Unlike you, I CHECK a Person’s BIOGROPHY. William Albright was an obvious apostate who CREATED A LIE to undermine the authenticity of the scriptures, created with SUPPOSITION rather than collegiate facts; his conclusions have been found false. William was not a “literalist” making it EASY for him to come to FALSE conclusions. YOU need to learn THIS: NOT ALL SCHOLARS (PhDs) AGREE, accusations like yours against the Scriptures have been proven a LIE (refuted), and how the thousands of manuscripts are use to create an accurate translation of the Bible and how they are misused to create a false translation.
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Here is something you missed with your accusation of “90% of Bible lost” about Wm. Albright:
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[[“In the years since his death, Albright's methods and conclusions have been increasingly questioned. Fellow Biblical archaeologist William Dever notes that "[Albright's] central theses HAVE ALL BEEN OVERTURNED, partly by further advances in Biblical criticism, but mostly by the continuing archaeological research of younger Americans and Israelis to whom he himself gave encouragement and momentum ... The irony is that, in the long run, it will have been the newer "secular" archaeology that contributed the most to Biblical studies, not "Biblical archaeology."
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“Biblical scholar Thomas L. Thompson contends that the methods of "biblical archaeology" have also become outmoded: "[Wright and Albright's] historical interpretation can make no claim to be objective, proceeding as it does from a methodology which distorts its data by selectivity which is hardly representative, which ignores the enormous lack of data for the history of the early second millennium, and which willfully establishes hypotheses on the basis of unexamined biblical texts, to be proven by such (for this period) meaningless mathematical criteria as the 'balance of probability.”]]
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Samuel   7/20/2014