For His Highest Glory

For His Highest Glory - My Testimony

My name is Michael Fitzpatrick.  I was brought up in Christian Science. When I went to MIT in 1959 and visited various fraternities, I met a student nicknamed Bible Bob. We became friends, and he used to take me to church on Sundays. One Sunday, after picking me up for church, his car started having problems. He stopped the car and began to pray over the situation. This really impressed me. In Christian Science, we never prayed; we only made affirmations, not believing in a personal God, but only in God as divine principle. In 1961 I transferred to Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. I found myself with a strong desire to read the New Testament and find out who Jesus was. After reading the four Gospels, I knew two things for sure. I knew that Jesus Christ was in the room with me, and I knew He wanted to come into my life. I invited Him in and my whole life changed. As the Apostle Paul says: "If anyone is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; Behold! All things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17. I currently live in Uniondale, NY with my brother Mark.

My favorite message is "Ten Shekels and a Shirt" by Paris Reidhead.

Another of my favorite messages is "Song of Solomon (Prayer as Communion)" by Paul Washer. Please click the ► on the Music Player to play this message:                                                                                          
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Another of my favorite messages is "The Way God Loves You" by Paul Washer. Please click the ► on the Music Player to play this message:
 
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My favorite hymn is "Hosanna" by Dallas Holm.  Please click the on the Music Player to play this lovely hymn:    
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(Words and music by Dallas Holm. Used by permission. Copyright 1979. The Dallas Holm web site is www.dallasholm.com .)


Here are three renditions of another of my favorite hymns, "The King is Coming": 

The King is Coming - Bill Gaither Trio
The King Is Coming - The Joyful Sounds
The King Is Coming - The Statler Brothers

Here is another of my favorite hymns, "He's Everything To Me":

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He's Everything To Me was written by Ralph Carmichael for the 1965 Billy Graham Association film 'The Restless Ones'.

(
Further biographical information about me will soon be posted on the new Xanga 2.0 Web Site.)

                                 

TO KNOW HIM IS TO LOVE HIM

To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
Just to see Him smile makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
And I do, And I do, And I do.

I'll be good to Him, I'll bring love to Him
He's said there'll come a day
When I'll walk alongside of Him
Yes, just to know Him is to love, love, love Him
And I do, And I do, And I do.

Why can't you see, how blind can you be
Someday you'll see that you were meant for Him

To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
Just to see Him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
And I do, And I do, And I do.

Why can't you see, how blind can you be
Someday you'll see that you were meant for Him

To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
Just to see Him smile, makes my life worthwhile
To know, know, know Him is to love, love, love Him
And I do, And I do, And I do,
And I do, And I do, And I do,
And I do!

(My favorite secular  song is: "To Know Him is to Love Him")


                            The Good News that Won My Heart


We have a big problem. We hope that if we do the best we can, everything will turn out all right. But much of the time we are not doing our best, and we wonder if our lives are pleasing to God. And who is God, what is He like, and what does He expect from us? In every age, God has talked with His servants. God spoke these words to the prophet Isaiah: "Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, and He who formed you from the womb, I am the LORD who made all things, who stretched out the heavens by Myself, who spread abroad the earth ... There is no other God besides Me, a just and righteous God and Savior. I have sworn by Myself ... that unto Me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance." (Isaiah 44:24; 45:23)

Some say, "When I see God, I will fear Him." But you cannot look at Him and live. To His prophets, God has revealed that He must dwell in thick darkness until Judgment Day, because His glory is so brilliant and so consuming that no man can look at Him and live. (Exodus 20:21; 33:20; Deuteronomy 4:24) Your God, so great in power and so utterly holy, has commanded: "You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy." (Leviticus 19:2)

God judges you by His Holy Law: You are a criminal if He is not first in your life, if you make pleasure or money your idol, swear or curse with His Holy Name, dishonor your parents, murder, hate others, lust, commit sexual uncleanness, steal, lie, or if you even desire another's belongings. To those who lie, God asks: "Whom did you fear more than Me that you should tell lies?" (Isaiah 57:11; Revelation 21:8) And just one offense makes you worthy of eternal death. (James 2:10)

Through His prophets, God has revealed that He will raise and judge all the dead on Judgment Day: "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Daniel 12:2) "For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it is good, or whether it is evil." (Ecclesiastes 12:14) "The wicked shall be turned into Hell, and all nations that forget God." (Psalm 9:17) But "those who turn many to righteousness shall shine as the stars forever and ever." (Daniel 12:3)

God demands holiness. But we have all sinned. In His love for a doomed humanity, God promised the prophets of old that He would send the Messiah (the Christ of God) to save us from our sins and give us the Spirit of His holiness. He would come with miracles: "Then blind eyes shall be opened, and deaf ears shall be unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing." (Isaiah 35:5-6) He would suffer and die for our sins: "But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the punishment of us all. For He was cut off out of the land of the living; for the transgression of My people, He was stricken." (Isaiah 53:5-8)

To those who trust in the Messiah, God promises: "Behold, as the waters are poured out on dry ground and spread over the dry soil, so will I give the Spirit of My holiness (Targum paraphrase of Isaiah 44:3). . . And I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes." (Ezekiel 36:27)

And the Messiah would be the first to rise from the dead. Through the prophet David, the Messiah speaks: "My body shall rest in hope for You God will not leave My soul in death, nor let Your Holy One undergo decay. (Psalm 16:10) The Lord said to Me, You are My Son; today I have begotten You (from the dead)." (Psalm 2:7) And God would exalt the Messiah to His right hand to share His throne until all His enemies were defeated. (Psalm 110:1)

In the fullness of time, the angel of the Lord proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth as the long awaited Messiah. The following account demonstrates Jesus Christ's power over death: Lazarus, a dear friend of Jesus, died. Coming to the weeping sister of Lazarus, Jesus said, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. Whoever trustingly believes in Me, even if he die, yet shall he live." On coming to the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus ordered the mourners to roll the stone from the entrance. Then Jesus prayed and called out, "Lazarus, come forth!" Lazarus, bound in grave clothes, walked out. John, who records this miracle and many others, tells us, "These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing (fully trusting) in Him, you may have life in His Name."

But the world does not love holiness, and even after all His many mighty miracles, Jesus was condemned to die and was nailed to a wooden cross. Three days after His death and burial, a mighty earthquake shook the earth as He rose from the dead. Coming to His disciples, Jesus told them that He had been given all power in heaven and on earth. He then commissioned them to go and make disciples of all nations. And He made this promise: "And lo, I am with you always, even to the end of time."

After instructing His disciples about the kingdom of God for forty days, during which time He was seen by over five hundred people, Jesus ascended to God's right hand.

On the day of Pentecost, Jesus poured out the Holy Spirit on His disciples in fulfillment of prophecy. (Joel 2:28-32) Speaking to the crowd which gathered when the Spirit rejoiced through the disciples in other languages, Peter spoke of Jesus' resurrection, His exaltation to the right hand of God, and His pouring out of the Spirit as convincing proof that God had "made Him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus Whom you crucified." (Acts 2:36) And we are all guilty of crucifying Him, for it was our sins that nailed Him to the cross, and it was for our sins He died.

To escape God's wrath and find forgiveness, Peter declares that you must, "Repent, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise of the Holy Spirit is to you and to your children and to all those in distant times and places, even to as many as the Lord our God calls to Himself." (Acts 2:38-39)

Repenting is so changing your mind and purpose with regard to sin that you turn from sin to God with a steadfast determination to live a holy life pleasing to Him. In baptism you give witness to your identification with Jesus in His death, burial, and resurrection and to that surrender by which you now belong to Him.

Believing in Jesus as Lord, King, Messiah, and Savior is being so persuaded by these truths that you now place your full faith, confidence, trust, and reliance in Jesus Christ. It means giving yourself up to Him by taking yourself out of your own care and keeping, and entrusting yourself into His care and keeping. And it means clinging steadfastly to Him as your only hope of eternal life.

Here is how God blessed an Ethiopian eunuch in the first century: "The Angel of the Lord spoke unto Philip, Arise, and go toward the South unto the way that goes down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert. He arose and went: and saw a certain eunuch of Ethiopia, of great authority under Candace, the Queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasury. He had come to Jerusalem to worship, and as he was returning, sitting in his chariot, he read Isaiah the Prophet. Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near and join yourself to the chariot. Philip ran there, and heard him reading the Prophet Isaiah. Philip said, But do you understand what you are reading? He said, How can I, except I have a guide? He desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. Now the place of the Scripture which he read, was this, "He was led as a sheep to the slaughter: and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so he opened not his mouth. In his humility his judgment has been taken away: and who shall declare his generation for his life is taken from the earth." Then the eunuch asked Philip: of whom speaks the Prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at the same Scripture, preached unto him Jesus. As they went on their way, they came to some water, and the eunuch said, See, here is water: what hinders me from being baptized? Philip said unto him, If you believe with all your heart, you may. The eunuch answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Then he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and Philip baptized him. As soon as they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, so that the eunuch saw him no more, and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing." Acts 8:26-39 

If you have sincerely repented and now want to follow Jesus as your Lord and Savior, read the New Testament, pray over its message, and obey the Lord as He speaks to you. Acts 2:47 tells us that in the days following the day of Pentecost, "The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." Therefore it is vital for you to find a congregation of believers where the Bible is believed, preached, and practiced, and where the Lord is worshiped and obeyed. Ask the Lord to lead you to His choice of a congregation for you.

"And afterward, God says, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh. And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall have visions during sleep. And also upon My men-servants, and upon My maid-servants, in those days, I will pour out My Spirit . . .  And it shall be that everyone who shall call on the Name of the LORD (with worship, love, and adoration) shall be saved." Joel 2:28-32

"For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes (places their trust) in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16


                                                      Las Noticias Alegres

  ¡El Problema principal! Esperamos que si hacemos nuestro mejor esfuerzo, todo va a estar bien. Pero generalmente no estamos haciendo nuestro mejor esfuerzo, y nos preguntamos si nuestras vidas son agradables a Dios.  ¿Y quién es Dios, ¿Cómo es Él?, y ¿qué espera de nosotros? Dios dijo estas palabras al profeta Isaías: "Así dice el SEÑOR, tu Redentor y Él que te formó de la matriz, soy el SEÑOR que hizo todas las cosas, quien estiró el cielo solo, y quien extendió en el extranjero la tierra. No hay otro Dios fuera de Mí, una justa y justo Dios y Salvador. Yo he jurado por Mí mismo que á Mí se doblará toda rodilla y toda lengua jurará fidelidad." (Isaías 44:24; 45:23)
    Algunos dicen, "Cuando veo a Dios, le temeré." Pero a Sus profetas, Dios les reveló que debe habitar en la densa oscuridad hasta el día del juicio, porque Su gloria es tan brillante y tan abrasadora que ningún hombre Le puede ver, y vivir.” (Éxodo 20:21; 33:20) Tu Dios, tan grande en el poder y tan absolutamente Santo, ha mandado: "Sed santos, porque Yo el Señor vuestro Dios soy santo." (Levítico 19:2) Dios te juzga por Su Ley Santa: Eres un criminal si Él no es el primero en tu vida, si cometes placer o dinero a tu ídolo, juras o maldices con Su Santo Nombre, deshonras a tus padres, cometes homicidio, odias a otros, tienes lujurias, cometes impureza sexual (pornografía, fornicación, adulterio, acciones homosexuales, bestialidad), robas, mientes o codicias.  A aquellos que mienten, Dios pregunta: "¿A quién temió más que Mí que debieran mentir?" (Isaías 57:11; Apocalipsis 21:8) Y sólo una ofensa te hace digno de muerte eterna. (Santiago 2:10)
    A través de sus profetas, Dios ha revelado que Él levantará y juzgara a todos los muertos en el Día del Juicio: "Y muchos de los que duermen en el polvo de la tierra despertaran, unos para vida eterna, y otros para vergüenza y desprecio eterno. (Daniel 12:2) "Porque Dios traerá toda obra a juicio, juntamente con toda cosa secreta, sea buena o sea mala." (Eclesiastés 12:14) "Los impíos se volverán al infierno y todas las naciones que olvidan a Dios." (Salmos 9:17) Dios exige santidad. Pero todos hemos pecado. En su amor por una humanidad condenada, Dios prometió a los profetas de antaño que Él enviaría al Mesías (el Cristo de Dios) para salvarnos de nuestros pecados.  Él vendría con milagros: "Entonces los ojos de los ciegos serán abiertos y destapados los oídos de los sordos. Entonces el cojo saltará como un ciervo y cantará la lengua del mudo." (Isaías 35:5-6)  Él sufriria y moriria por nuestros pecados: "Pero él fue herido por nuestras transgresiones, y molido por nuestras iniquidades. Todos nosotros como ovejas nos hemos extraviado, nos hemos convertido cada uno a su manera; y el Señor puso nuestro castigo sobre Él. Para Él fue cortado de la tierra de los vivos; por la transgresión de Mi pueblo, fue golpeado. (Isaías 53:5-8)
    Para aquellos que confían en Él, Dios promete: "Pondré dentro de vosotros Mi Espíritu y haré que andéis en Mis estatutos.”  (Ezequiel 36:27) Y el Mesías resucitaría de entre los muertos. A través del Profeta David, el Mesías habla: "Mi carne también reposará confiadamente; porque no dejarás mi alma en muerte, ni permitirás que Tu Santo vea corrupción.” (Salmos 16:9-10) Y Dios exaltaría al Mesías a Su mano derecha para compartir Su trono hasta que todos Sus enemigos sean derrotados. (Salmos 110:1)
   En la plenitud de los tiempos, el ángel del Señor proclamó a Jesús de Nazaret como el Mesías por mucho tiempo esperado. La historia siguiente demuestra el poder de Jesucristo sobre la muerte: Lázaro, un querido amigo de Jesús, murió. Llegando a la hermana llora de Lázaro, Jesús dijo, "Yo soy la resurrección y la vida. Quien cree en Mí, aunque muera, vivirá". En llegar a la tumba de Lázaro, Jesús ordenó a los dolientes a rodar la piedra de la entrada. Entonces Jesús oró y gritó, "¡Lázaro, ven adelante!" Lázaro, vestido con la ropa del sepulcro, resucitó, y salió caminando. Juan, que registra este milagro y muchos otros, nos dice, "Estas cosas se han escrito para que creáis que Jesús es el Mesías, el Hijo de Dios, y para que a través de la fe en Él, tengan vida en Su nombre."
    Pero el mundo odia la santidad, y aun después de Sus muchos grandes milagros, Jesús fue condenado a morir y fue clavado en una cruz de madera. Tres días después de Su muerte y entierro, un poderoso terremoto sacudió la tierra cuando resucitó de entre los muertos. Viniendo a Sus discípulos, Jesús les dijo que se Le había sido dado todo el poder en el cielo y en la tierra. Entonces ordenó que ellos fueran e hicieran discípulos de todas las naciones. Y así les hizo esta promesa: "Y he aquí que Yo estoy con vosotros siempre." Después de enseñar a sus discípulos sobre el Reino de Dios por cuarenta días, tiempo durante el cual fue visto por más de quinientas personas, Jesús ascendió a mano derecha de Dios.
    En el día de Pentecostés, Jesús derramó el Espíritu Santo sobre Sus discípulos en cumplimiento de la profecía. (Joel 2:28-32) Hablando a la multitud que se reunieron cuando el Espíritu Santo se regocijó a través de los discípulos en varios idiomas, Pedro habló de la resurrección de Jesús, Su exaltación a la diestra de Dios, y Su derramamiento del Espíritu como la prueba convincente que Dios "Le había hecho Señor y Mesías, este Jesús quien crucificaron." (Hechos 2:36)
   Para escapar de la ira de Dios y encontrar el perdón, Pedro declara que deben "Arrepentíos y sed bautizados en el nombre de Jesucristo para la remisión de vuestros pecados y recibiréis el don del Espíritu Santo. La promesa del Espíritu Santo es para usted y sus hijos y a todos los que están lejos, incluso a tantos como el Señor nuestro Dios llama a sí mismo." (Hechos 2:38-39)
   Arrepentirse es cambiar completamente tu mente y tu propósito en relación con el pecado para que tú abandones tu pecado, y vayas a Dios con una determinación firme de vivir una vida santa agradable a Él. En el bautismo, tú das testimonio de tu identificación con Jesús en Su muerte, entierro y resurrección y tu entrega por la que ahora le perteneces a Él.
   Creer en Jesús como el Señor, es tener la convicción por medio de estas verdades para colocar tu fe llena en Él, y depositar tu confianza plena en Él. Significa rendirte a Él, quitándote a ti mismo de tu propio cuidado y encomendándote a Su cuidado. Y significa aferrarte firmemente a Él como tu única esperanza de vida eterna.
    Si te has arrepentido sinceramente y ahora quieres seguir a Jesús como tu Señor y Salvador, lee el Nuevo Testamento, ora sobre su mensaje, y obedece al Señor como Él te dice. Hechos 2:47 nos dice que “El Señor añadió diariamente a la iglesia a aquellos que se estaban salvando.” Por lo tanto es vital encontrar una congregación de creyentes donde la Biblia se cree, se predica y se practica, y donde al Señor se adora y se obedece.
   
Por favor, llama o escribe: Michael Fitzpatrick, PO Box 178, Uniondale, NY 11553. Teléfono: 516-414-7930.  Sitio web: www.highestglory.org

Life Transforming Power

    The gospel is the power that transforms human lives and society. It is important to hold this confidence and to have it consistently and constantly reinforced in our experience. Recently we were attending a World Methodist Evangelism Institute at the Juan Wesley Seminario in Monterey, Mexico. Since we were having lectures in both Spanish and English, the Institute had employed a professional translator to interpret the lectures simultaneously over electronic headsets. In a lecture in which we were illustrating how to tell a story, we were using the legendary story "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Old Oak Tree":

    A young son leaves home and lives a life that results in his being imprisoned. As the time comes for him to be released, he writes his father and mother a letter in which he tells them that he knows that he has brought shame to them and to the family. He states that he would understand if they did not want him to come back home. The letter then tells them that on a particular day he is planning to be on the train back to their hometown. Because the train goes by the family home, the boy writes his mother and father "If you want me to come home, tie a yellow ribbon 'round the old oak tree behind the house."
    The day arrives and the boy's heart is pounding. Finally, he relates his story to the man sitting next to him on the train. He points out that they are almost there and that he is unable to look for himself. He requests that the stranger look for him. As the train rounds the bend, the man lifts the boy's face and declares, "Look, boy, look! There's a yellow ribbon on every limb!"

    Until this moment, we could hear the translator's voice through the headsets, but suddenly the headsets went silent. Thinking he did not understand, the last statement was repeated more loudly, "Look, boy, look! There's a yellow ribbon on every limb." Still there was no sound. Again, the final line was repeated, only to notice that the interpreter had removed his headset, and he was weeping. He had heard a new word about the God who forgives and reconciles, and he was moved deeply in his soul. The setting was a lecture hall, but in a moment, the Spirit had led a person to encounter the reality of God.

(From the book, "Let the Redeemed of the Lord SAY SO!" by H. Eddie Fox and George E. Morris, pages 171-172, Copyright 1991 by Abingdon Press. For more information about this excellent book on witnessing and evangelism, please click on the link: "Let the Redeemed of the Lord SAY SO!")


                                      Believers' Establishment


First Thessalonians is the first of all the epistles which Paul wrote. Thessalonica was one of the chief cities of Macedo­nia. Paul went to Thessalonica after the persecution at Phi­lippi.


Acts 17:1-7 tells us what happened when Paul went to Thessa­lonica to preach: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. Then Paul, as his custom was, went in to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scrip­tures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, "This Jesus whom I preach to you is the Christ." And some of them were persuaded; and a great multitude of the devout Greeks, and not a few of the leading women, joined Paul and Silas. But the Jews who were not persuaded, becoming envious, took some of the evil men from the marketplace, and gathering a mob, set all the city in an uproar and attacked the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some brethren to the rulers of the city, crying out, "These who have turned the world upside down have come here too. Jason has harbored them, and these are all acting contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying there is another king
Jesus."  

On this, the brethren sent Paul and Silas to Berea. From there Paul went by sea to Athens, and sent for Silvanus and Timothy to come to him speedily. But being in fear, lest the Thessalo­nian converts should be moved from their steadfastness, after a short time he sends Timothy to them, to know the state of their church. Timothy, returning, found the apostle at Corinth. The Apostle Paul sent them the epistle known as First Thessalonians, about a year after he had been to Thessalonica.


I Thess. 1:1-7: "Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We give thanks to God always for you all, making men­tion of you in our prayers, remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake. And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe. "


As already mentioned, when Paul was last in Thessalonica, he preached the Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. They all, no doubt, had become believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. And they became the example church in all that area. This church stood head and shoulders above the other churches in that area in spirituali­ty, holiness, and power. Paul could say to others, You want to know what a church should be like? And then He would point to them as an example of what a church should be like.


Paul also speaks about their faith in God, and how they were eagerly awaiting the return of the Lord Jesus Christ:

1:8-10: "For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place, your faith toward God has gone out, so that we do not need to say anything. For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

As a church they had a  work of faith and a labor of love, and they were a waiting church
waiting for Christ's soon return. Those who are waiting for Christ’s return are living holy, separated lives.

Please notice that each chapter of First Thessalonians closes with a reference to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.


Now let’s now look at the progression of verses leading up to the  teaching about establishment

2:1: For you yourselves know, brethren, that our coming to you was not in vain.

2:7-10: "But we were gentle among you, just as a nurs­ing mother cherishes her own children. So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us. For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blameless­ly we behaved ourselves among you who believe."


Here Paul is calling God as his witness that his behavior among them was without blame. Paul is not talking about his standing or state before God, but about his behavior.


2:11-12: "as you know how we exhorted, and comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would have a walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory."


This worthy work is a walk of devotedness, justness, and blame­lessness before God and man, for it is God's perfect will that every born again believer be established!!


2:13-14: "For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, be­cause when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. For you, brethren, became imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea in Christ Jesus. For you also suffered the same things from your own countrymen, just as they did from the Jews."


2:17-20: "But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you
even I, Paul, time and againbut Satan hindered us. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His com­ing? For you are our glory and joy."

How many pastors can say these things to their congregation?


3:1-5: "Therefore, when we could no longer endure it, we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and sent Timo­thy, our brother and minister of God, and our fellow laborer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you and encourage you con­cerning your faith, (why did they need to be established?) that no one should be shaken by these afflictions; for you yourselves know that we are appointed to this. For, in fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know. For this reason, when I could no longer endure it, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor might be in vain."


Establishment!: Picture a boat in the midst of angry waves, upon the sur­face, but at any moment in danger of going under.  That boat needs to be established immediately! Now picture a mighty hand reaching down and steadying that boat. Now that boat is established. And that is the kind of establishment that the Thessalonian Church desperately needs. Paul is deeply concerned that Satan might find a way to enter in and to "overturn" and "sink" that congregation causing all his labor among them to be in vain!


3:6-10: "But now that Timothy has come to us from you, and brought us good news of your faith and love, and that you always have good remembrance of us, greatly desiring to see us, as we also to see you
therefore, brethren, in all our afflic­tion and distress we were comforted concerning you by your faith. For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect what is lacking in your faith?"

Isn't it possible if something was lacking in the faith of those of the premier church of the area, the EXAMPLE church of that area, the church that stood head and shoulders above the other churches in the area, that there just might be something lacking in our faith? What would that be? ESTABLISHMENT!


3:11: "Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you."


Now here are the two key verses in the New Testament about establishment.:

3:12-13: "And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints."

Notice: "just as we do to you"
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy had entered into increasing and abounding in love and had, consequently, become established in the faith Why is it so vital to increase and abound in love? So that HE MAY ESTABLISH . . . In other words, if they do not increase and abound in love, God will not be able to establish their hearts blameless in holiness. And they will be unable to stand firm in the midst of their persecutions.

4:1-3: "Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality"


4:7-10: "For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedo­nia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more."


So far we have the following exhortations to increase more and more in love: 3:12, 4:1, and 4:10. VITAL!

5:15-19: "See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit."

On this verse, John Wesley writes: Wherever the Spirit is, it burns; it flames in holy love, in joy, prayer, thanksgiving.


5:23: Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."


One of the keys to making the experience of Establishment real in your life is found in James 5:16: Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.


Just below is an interesting parable which illustrates this point. It is a parable about heaven and hell:


A man was having a conversation with the Lord one day and said, "Lord, I would like to know what Heaven and Hell are like." The Lord led the man to two rooms.


The Lord went to the first room and opened the door. In the middle of the room was a large round table. In the center of the table was a huge pot of soup which smelled delicious and made the man's mouth water.


The people sitting around the table were thin, sickly, and utterly miserable. They appeared to be famished. They were each holding spoons with very long handles and each person had reached into the pot of soup and had taken a spoonful. But because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, they could not get the spoons into their mouths. The man shuddered at the sight of their misery and suffering. The Lord said, "You have seen Hell."


The Lord then went to the second room and opened the door. It was exactly the same as the first one. There was the large round table with the large pot of soup which made the man's mouth water. The people were each equipped with the same long-handled spoons, and all the people were happily chatting with one another as they fed one another with their long handled spoons.  The Lord said, "And now you have seen Heaven."


And this is why if we wish to be healed, the Apostle James reminds us:  "Pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” (James 5:16). And likewise a great help to becoming established is found in praying for the establishment of one another that you may be established.


Now is it possible, according to I Thess 5:23  for us to be sanctified completely or, as Paul elsewhere terms it, “established”? The answer is in the very next verse:


5:24: He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.


And this vital teaching is to be shared with all the brethren:

5:27:  I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.

Did this letter to the Church at Thessalonica have its desired effect? Let's look at a few verses of the second letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians to see if he commends them for increasing and abounding in love to the point where God actually established their hearts blameless in holiness, and made them firm and established in their faith in the midst of persecutions and tribulations.


2 Thess 1:1-4: "Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows exceedingly, and the love of every one of you all abounds toward each other, so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure."


OUR CASE IS FULLY PROVED! They had entered into increasing and abounding in love and, as a result, they had patience and faith in all their persecutions.


One is saved the moment he repents of his sins and trusts in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. The believer is then established in the faith when he increases and abounds in love to such an extent that God is at last able to establish his heart blameless in holiness. I urge you brothers and sisters to enter into this continually increasing and abounding in love. And pray continually that others may be made to increase and abound in love as well, so that they also can have their hearts
established blameless in holiness.

The normal Christian life, therefore, progresses as follows: The believer is first saved and sancti­fied. And then as the believer waits before the Lord, exalting Jesus Christ as Lord of his life, taking his place as a fully submitted servant before the Lord, and entering into the very heart and soul of the Acts 4 prayer (Acts 4:24-31), praying and meaning this prayer with ever increasing earnestness: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them . . . Now, Lord . . . grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus", the believer is filled with the Holy Spirit. And then, as the believer steadily increases and abounds in love, the believer ultimately arrives at the peak experience of the Christian Life: Entire Sanctification or having a heart filled with and continually abounding in Perfect Love.


 

 

 

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