Set your minds on things above…

Set your minds on things above.

Colossians 3:2

All of us are on our way, either to something that is infinitely better, or to something that is infinitely worse. People sometimes talk about “living your best life now.” That’s only possible if you are going to hell. If hell is your future, your best life is now.

But if you are going to heaven, your best life is to still to come. For a person outside Christ, this life is as good as it gets. But for a person in Christ, your pain in this world is the only pain you will ever experience. Your struggles in this world are the only struggles you will ever endure.

This is as tough as it gets for you, because your future is absolutely glorious! Without Christ this world is as near as you will get to heaven. With Christ this world is as near as you will get to hell. It is better to suffer any illness, endure any sorrow, carry any burden and be in Christ, than it is to enjoy any lifestyle you can imagine without Him.

Today, I have the joy of lifting your eyes up to your future joy in heaven, so that you will find strength, courage, and comfort to endure the difficulties of life that confront you today.

In Heaven, You Will Serve God As You Always Wished You Could

They are before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple. (Revelation 7:15)

Every Christian serves Christ, but none of us serves the Lord as we would like to serve Him. All who love Christ worship Him, but none of us worships as we would like to worship. Don’t you find yourself at times asking, “Why is my heart so sluggish? Why is my response to the grace of God so restrained, so calculating?”

Every Christian wants to serve Christ, but we find ourselves in conflict, “The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38). We throw ourselves into serving Christ and into living for Christ, and then we get tired or we become discouraged. We get bogged down in our unsolved problems and our unanswered questions, but it will not always be so. In heaven you will serve God as you always wished you could. “Day and night” they serve Him. No tiredness there!

Here, we go through seasons of feeling distant from God, and we want to have a new and fresh experience of God. But in heaven you will be before His throne. You will be with Him, and you will enjoy Him forever!

In Heaven, Christ Will Lead You Into Ever Increasing Joy

The Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water. (Revelation 7:16)

You may think, “Heaven’s going to be a wonderful place where I’m going to discover all kinds of marvelous things.” Yes it will, but John is telling us, “It’s better than that.” What’s missing?

Christ is the great Shepherd of His people. He feeds them and that is why they are never hungry (7:16). And He leads them—Christ does this for us on earth, and He will do this for us in heaven too, “the Lamb will… guide them to springs of living water!” The great joy of heaven is that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself will lead you into ever increasing delight.

Perhaps you have a favorite place to vacation. You keep going back, and over the years, you’ve gotten to know it better and better. After many years, you know most of what there is to know. You have eaten at every restaurant. You have shopped at every store. But you will never get to that place in heaven. Heaven will be an infinite world of new discoveries, and Jesus Christ will unfold them to you.

Thomas Boston says, “The divine perfections will be an unbounded field, in which the glorified shall walk eternally, seeing more and more of God; since they can never come to the end of the infinite. They may bring their vessels to this ocean every moment, and fill them with new waters.”[1]

This joy will go on increasing forever! Think about looking through a photo album. The joys you experience in life remain in your memory so that you continue to derive happiness from them—things that happened ten years ago or twenty years ago.

Jonathan Edwards asks, “Do you think it will be any less in heaven?” The joys of heaven will accumulate: “Their knowledge will increase to eternity; and if their knowledge, their holiness; for as they increase in the knowledge of God, they will see more of his excellency (beauty), and the more they see of his excellency (beauty) the more they will love him, and the more they love God, the more delight and happiness they will have in him.”[2] Friends, we are talking about exponentially increasing joy! What will that be like after a million, million ages?

In Heaven, All Your Wounds Will Finally Be Healed

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)

Every tear! Literally, the tears will be wiped “out of their eyes.” This is telling us God removes, not only the tears, but also the source that produces the tears—even our tear ducts! The baggage you carried—there’s nothing to carry now. It’s gone. The temptations you battled—there are no battles now. The pain you suffered—there’s no suffering now.

John sees the glory of heaven, the presence of Jesus, the glory of the new creation, but then like a drumbeat you have this repeated statement of what will not be there: No death; no mourning. No sins to confess; no temptations to overcome. No sickness to suffer; no pain to endure. No crosses to carry; no fears to face.

All your questions will be answered. All your doubts will be resolved. All your longings fulfilled. All your needs met. Your joy will be complete. And God will wipe away every tear from your eyes. If you have been washed in the blood of Christ, it will not be long before you are there too.

Longing To Depart, Ready To Stay

Look at what lies ahead of you, and it will help you to face whatever you are facing today. Donald Macleod reminds us that heaven is our Father’s house: “What a grief it must be to God that so few of His children want to go home! Here we are, in enemy territory, amid the sufferings of the present time, beset by sin and seeing our Father’s name dishonored all around us and yet we want to stay!”

Macleod recalls Paul’s longing to depart and be with Christ, which the apostle says is “better by far.” But at the same time, Paul says that he has to be ready to stay and continue serving the church. “This surely is the healthy Christian attitude: Willing to stay, for the sake of the work still to be done, but longing to get home.”[3]

Serving Christ will be your great delight in heaven, so find joy by serving Him now. Following Christ will lead you to springs of living water in heaven, so find life by following Christ now. Christ will wipe every tear from your eye in heaven, so find comfort by drawing near to Him now.

Looking for donkeys – and discovering your destiny.

“Then Samuel took a flask of oil and poured it on his head.”

1 Samuel 10:1 NKJV

Here’s the remarkable story of how Saul became Israel’s first king. He was out scouring the countryside for his father’s lost donkeys when he met the prophet Samuel. “Samuel said to Saul, ‘Tell the servant to go on ahead of us.’ And he went on. ‘But you stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God.’ Then Samuel took…oil and poured it on his head, and…said: ‘Is it not because the Lord has anointed you commander over His inheritance?’” (1Sa 9:27-10:1 NKJV). Think about it: Saul went out looking for donkeys—and discovered his destiny! And it can happen to you too! God has a habit of calling people who are busy doing other things. James and John were mending their fishing nets, Matthew was collecting taxes, Elisha was farming, and Saul was out looking for his father’s lost donkeys. It was just another day on the job, working to make a living. But when God has a destiny for you, and a date on His calendar with your name on it, He will come and get you. You say, “But I’m nobody special!” That’s what Saul said too: “Am I not a Benjamite, of the smallest of the tribes of Israel, and my family the least of all the families of the tribe of Benjamin?” (1Sa 9:21 NKJV). Your social status doesn’t limit God. When He has a plan in mind for you, He will reach into the background and bring you into the foreground. So stay faithful, keep serving Him, and your time will come!


“So they despised him.” 1Sa 10:27 NKJV

When God calls you to a special destiny, not everyone will be happy about it. “Some…said, ‘How can this man [Saul] save us?’ So they despised him, and brought him no presents. But he held his peace.” Note Saul’s reaction to his critics: “He held his peace.” Bottom line: It’s not your responsibility to convince others of your calling; it’s their responsibility to discern it. The Bible says, “A man’s gift makes room for him” (Pr 18:16 NAS). It’s your gifts—and the results they produce—that validate your calling. “Samuel said to Saul…‘stand here awhile, that I may announce to you the word of God’” (1Sa 9:27 NKJV). When you know you’ve heard from God, the criticism of others will affect you less. His presence reassures you, His words direct your steps, and His peace settles the storm within you. After you hear the voice of God, the flattering words of others can’t puff you up, because both your feet are on the ground and your instructions are clear. You will not require the praise of others, for His confidence in you satisfies completely. After you hear the voice of God, your attitude changes instantly; you won’t face the future with anger, torment, or fear. God has spoken, His words have settled every issue, and time will prove Him correct. And here’s an important Scripture to keep in mind: “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin” (Zec 4:10 NLT). Instead of comparing yourself with others and putting yourself down, celebrate each small step of faith you take on the way to your God-given destiny.

Pastor Samuel John,

I’m a disciple of Jesus Christ. My goal is to always find sufficiency and satisfaction in Christ. I strive to be faithful and be fruitful to the grace of GOD.

*THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY*

🔥 *THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY* 🔥

1. Apostle – Governs
2. Prophet – Guides
3. Evangelist – Gathers
4. Pastor – Guards
5. Teacher – Grounds
The Church NOW & Today Needs The Full Function & Operation Of The Full Fivefold In Accordance With The WORD.
May We Identify & Encourage Those Whom GOD Has Given The Grace & Anointing For Such.

👉 THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY
The Apostle – Leads
The Prophet – Speaks
The Teacher – Equips
The Evangelist – Proclaims
The Pastor – Cares
We Need All For Our Time Like Never Before. Divinely Called, Appointed & Anointed Fivefold Ministers.

👉 THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY
1. Apostle – Visionary Strategist
2. Prophet – Spiritual Advisor
3. Teacher – Logical Thinker/Implementer
4. Evangelist – Persuasive Communicator
5. Pastor – Human Resource Counselor
The Gifts & Ministry Of The Holy Spirit Work In Manifold Ways & Is Not Limited To A One Approach. The Bible Talks About The Seven Spirits Yet Refers To One & The Same Spirit Manifesting His Completeness In Different Ways.
Some Are Open To Revelation But Not Learning Or Teaching. The Humble Is Open To Learning, Education & Revelation.

👉 THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY
Apostle – Long-Sight
Prophet – Foresight
Evangelist – Hindsight
Teacher – Insight
Pastor – Oversight
VISION Means To SEE. All Those In The Fivefold Ministry Must Have A Vision Or See Something In The Area Of Their Ministries. Spiritual Sight Is The Ability To See By Revelation What Needs To Be Done When & How. We All Need Vision To Do His Work Effectively.

👉 THE FIVE FOLD MINISTRY
Apostle – Mission
Prophet – Vision
Evangelist – Commission
Pastor – Compassion
Teacher – Passion
We Need A Sense Of Mission & Commission. We Need A Sense Of Vision & Passion With Compassion To Do Effectively The Task Before Us.

Check Ephesians 4:11

*BIBLE BELIEVERS CHURCH*

Preachers

The Preachers primary responsibility

The job description of a preacher can be found in 2 Timothy 4:1-4

“I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths.”

PREACH THE WORD – PREACH THE WORD – PREACH THE WORD!

What is being preached?

Article from Gospel Coalition Website by Chuck Collins

I have come to see that there are really just two ways to preach: one is the gospel, the other is get-better messages. The first is based on God’s goodness; the second on self-improvement. Gospel preaching presupposes that, even though we deserve punishment for our sins, Jesus Christ suffered the punishment in our place on the cross.

Get-better sermons, on the other hand, is moralistic advice in which a preacher mounts a pulpit to scold the people for not doing more or getting better (F Allison).

For more years than I care to think I preached get-better messages. I cringe thinking about my old sermons. I regret the lost opportunities of those messages that pounded home the idea that we just need to be better, try harder, pray and give more, read the Bible every day, attend church every week, and be nicer. It was plain ole Phariseeism, works-righteousness under the guise of preaching – “an easy-listening version of salvation by self-help” (M Horton). Those who came were vaguely entertained, I think, because I am a fairly entertaining personality (so they tell me on their way out of church), but they left mostly feeling beat up and like they don’t measure up. Instead of relieving guilt, get-better sermons reinforced guilt and our inadequacies. They didn’t touch people where they need most. “Whenever you feel comforted or elated or absolved as ‘fresh as a foal in new mowed hay,’ then you know you are hearing the gospel”

Entertainment vs. Biblical

The difference between an entertainment-oriented preacher and a Bible-oriented preacher is the manifest connection of the preacher’s words to the Bible as what authorizes what he says.

The entertainment-oriented preacher seems to be at ease talking about many things that are not drawn out of the Bible. In his message, he seems to enjoy more talking about other things than what the Bible teaches. His words seem to have a self-standing worth as interesting or fun. They are entertaining. But they don’t give the impression that this man stands as the representative of God before God’s people to deliver God’s message.

The Bible-oriented preacher, on the other hand, does see himself that way — “I am God’s representative sent to God’s people to deliver a message from God.” He knows that the only way a man can dare to assume such a position is with a trembling sense of unworthy servanthood under the authority of the Bible. He knows that the only way he can deliver God’s message to God’s people is by rooting it in and saturating it with God’s own revelation in the Bible. – Pastor John Piper

Don’t despise small things…

Don’t despise the small things of prayer, by means of which God changes people’s hearts.

Don’t despise the small things of service in the local church, by which God is glorified and people encouraged.

Don’t despise the small things of working in the seemingly insignificant place like the church nursery, by which you reflect Christ like love and compassion.

Don’t despise the small things like daily bible reading, by which your heart is transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Don’t despise the small things of daily obedience and sacrifice through which your heart is trained and molded after the Savior.

Don’t despise the small things of putting sin to death, by which you are responding to the victory Christ has won for you.

Don’t despise the small things like a true quotient of gospel joy, these things indicate you are alive and God is thrilling your soul with his son!

Don’t despise the small things like not getting bitter and walking in the Spirit, by which you promote the power of the gospel!

Don’t despise the small things like not lusting after women or quickly glancing at them, by which you continue to cling to and magnify grace!

Don’t despise the small things like daily loving, leading and learning your wife, through them you begin to more clearly reflect Christ’s love for the church.

Don’t despise the small things like respecting and submitting to your husband, by them you showcase the beauty of Christ’s submission to his Father.

Don’t despise the small things like honoring your parents, by them you demonstrate that there is a God who is bigger than you, whose authority you value.

Don’t despise the small things like working hard at your job or school everyday, in these things you show that there is something more profound, more powerful, more worthy than the fluctuating value of the American dollar.

Don’t despise the small things like speaking of Christ to others, by which unbelievers may come to trust and treasure Jesus.

Don’t despise the small things of corporate worship, the singing of songs and preaching of the word, through which there is an announcement of the kingdom and conquest of our Lord Jesus! And there is a growing, a swelling group of constituents in his kingdom!!

Don’t despise the small things like little church plants, it is by such things that God depopulates hell through the preaching of the Gospel!

Don’t despise the day of small things, but rejoice! Rejoice!

Understanding typology

Here is a good article written by David Murray on some of the basics of typology.

A picture is worth a thousand words.”

How?

Pictures help us remember, understand, and look forward.

When we want to remember our wedding, we don’t get our diaries or journals out; we open the photo album. When we want to understand how a rocket works, we don’t get NASA’s instruction manual out; we look for some pictures. When we are looking forward to our vacation, we don’t look up Wikipedia; we look up Google images.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” It helps us remember better, it helps us understand better, and it helps us anticipate the future better.

That’s why God used so many pictures in the Old Testament. Vivid visuals like the Passover lamb, or the flood, or the Tabernacle helped Israel remember better, understand better, and look forward better.

The study of how God used pictures to teach His people is usually called “Typology,” not the kind of word that we are terribly familiar with. Basically it means “Picture-ology.” Or as a famous blogger once put it “Visual Theology.”

Let’s try to define a type and see if it helps us to understand typology better:

A type is a real person, place, object, or event that God ordained to act as a predictive pattern or resemblance of Christ’s person and work.

Let’s unpack that a little:

  • A type is a real person, place, object or event: it is true, real, and factual (not made-up)
  • That God ordained: it does not resemble Christ’s person or work by mere coincidence but by divine plan (mere resemblance is not enough; it has to be divinely ordained resemblance)
  • To act as a predictive pattern or resemblance: the same truth is found in the original picture and the ultimate fulfillment
  • Of Christ’s person and work: the truth in the picture is enlarged, heightened, and clarified in the fulfillment by Christ.

In some ways Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are pictures of truth. The difference between OT and NT pictures is that OT pictures look forward to Christ’s person and work whereas NT pictures look back to Christ’s person and work.

Two disadvantages

Our 21st Century Western minds encounter two major obstacles when we come to think about OT Picture-ology.

First, we don’t do pictures. We are quite good at words and numbers – reading, science, technology, logic, and arithmetic. We like precision, clarity, and brevity.

But we don’t really do picture; art, symbol, metaphor, meditation, poetry, etc., are strange and suspect to most of us. Propositional theology = good; visual theology = bad!

That, of course, doesn’t help when it comes to interpreting the OT, which contains so many pictures, symbols and metaphors. However, pictures really played to the strengths of the original readers, the Israelites, who like most Eastern cultures of that day, were very familiar with the idea of using pictures, symbols, song, etc., to remember the past, learn in the present, and anticipate the future.

Second, we don’t fully appreciate how future-focused the Old Testament was. From Genesis 3:15 onwards, the expectation and anticipation of a Savior was being continually fostered by God and His servants. However much Israel were reminded of the past, and taught for the present, they were always peering over the horizon for the coming Savior, variously known as “the Seed of the woman,” “the Seed of Abraham,” and “the Son of David.” And they used the Old Testament types – persons, place, objects, events – as glasses to help them look in the right direction and look for the right person.

Take the Passover lamb as an example. It reminded Israel of God’s past deliverance. It also taught them vital present truths: (1) God’s anger against sin, (2) God’s anger can be turned away by the sacrificial blood of a perfect substitute, (3) God grants safety only to those who are “under” the blood, (4) God’s salvation redeems from bondage.

But Israelites with faith used the Passover Lamb as a lens to anticipate a greater, clearer and climactic expression of these truths in the future Messiah’s person and work. As John the Baptist said: “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.”

Or take the Tabernacle. When the Israelites looked at it, they learned much about God – that God desired to live among them in a similar way to them – in tents. But Israelites with faith looked ahead to the Messiah’s person and work displaying and demonstrating these truths in an even greater and fuller measure. As John the Apostle said: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt (lit. tabernacled) among us.”

So whether you are reading about sacrifices, the priesthood, prophets, priests, kings, the Tabernacle, the Exodus, the Exile, the life of Joseph, the life of Ruth, the life of David, or whatever, you should always be asking yourself two questions.

1. What did this teach the Israelites about God?

2. What did this teach the Israelites to expect from God in the future?

It’s as if GOSPEL was spelled in 12-point font in the OT and in 1200-point in the NT! Or we might say it was pictured in the OT using thumbnails, but blown up to poster size in the New.

Understanding typology

Here is a good article written by David Murray on some of the basics of typology.

A picture is worth a thousand words.”

How?

Pictures help us remember, understand, and look forward.

When we want to remember our wedding, we don’t get our diaries or journals out; we open the photo album. When we want to understand how a rocket works, we don’t get NASA’s instruction manual out; we look for some pictures. When we are looking forward to our vacation, we don’t look up Wikipedia; we look up Google images.

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” It helps us remember better, it helps us understand better, and it helps us anticipate the future better.

That’s why God used so many pictures in the Old Testament. Vivid visuals like the Passover lamb, or the flood, or the Tabernacle helped Israel remember better, understand better, and look forward better.

The study of how God used pictures to teach His people is usually called “Typology,” not the kind of word that we are terribly familiar with. Basically it means “Picture-ology.” Or as a famous blogger once put it “Visual Theology.”

Let’s try to define a type and see if it helps us to understand typology better:

A type is a real person, place, object, or event that God ordained to act as a predictive pattern or resemblance of Christ’s person and work.

Let’s unpack that a little:

  • A type is a real person, place, object or event: it is true, real, and factual (not made-up)
  • That God ordained: it does not resemble Christ’s person or work by mere coincidence but by divine plan (mere resemblance is not enough; it has to be divinely ordained resemblance)
  • To act as a predictive pattern or resemblance: the same truth is found in the original picture and the ultimate fulfillment
  • Of Christ’s person and work: the truth in the picture is enlarged, heightened, and clarified in the fulfillment by Christ.

In some ways Baptism and the Lord’s Supper are pictures of truth. The difference between OT and NT pictures is that OT pictures look forward to Christ’s person and work whereas NT pictures look back to Christ’s person and work.

Two disadvantages

Our 21st Century Western minds encounter two major obstacles when we come to think about OT Picture-ology.

First, we don’t do pictures. We are quite good at words and numbers – reading, science, technology, logic, and arithmetic. We like precision, clarity, and brevity.

But we don’t really do picture; art, symbol, metaphor, meditation, poetry, etc., are strange and suspect to most of us. Propositional theology = good; visual theology = bad!

That, of course, doesn’t help when it comes to interpreting the OT, which contains so many pictures, symbols and metaphors. However, pictures really played to the strengths of the original readers, the Israelites, who like most Eastern cultures of that day, were very familiar with the idea of using pictures, symbols, song, etc., to remember the past, learn in the present, and anticipate the future.

Second, we don’t fully appreciate how future-focused the Old Testament was. From Genesis 3:15 onwards, the expectation and anticipation of a Savior was being continually fostered by God and His servants. However much Israel were reminded of the past, and taught for the present, they were always peering over the horizon for the coming Savior, variously known as “the Seed of the woman,” “the Seed of Abraham,” and “the Son of David.” And they used the Old Testament types – persons, place, objects, events – as glasses to help them look in the right direction and look for the right person.

Take the Passover lamb as an example. It reminded Israel of God’s past deliverance. It also taught them vital present truths: (1) God’s anger against sin, (2) God’s anger can be turned away by the sacrificial blood of a perfect substitute, (3) God grants safety only to those who are “under” the blood, (4) God’s salvation redeems from bondage.

But Israelites with faith used the Passover Lamb as a lens to anticipate a greater, clearer and climactic expression of these truths in the future Messiah’s person and work. As John the Baptist said: “Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world.”

Or take the Tabernacle. When the Israelites looked at it, they learned much about God – that God desired to live among them in a similar way to them – in tents. But Israelites with faith looked ahead to the Messiah’s person and work displaying and demonstrating these truths in an even greater and fuller measure. As John the Apostle said: “The Word was made flesh and dwelt (lit. tabernacled) among us.”

So whether you are reading about sacrifices, the priesthood, prophets, priests, kings, the Tabernacle, the Exodus, the Exile, the life of Joseph, the life of Ruth, the life of David, or whatever, you should always be asking yourself two questions.

1. What did this teach the Israelites about God?

2. What did this teach the Israelites to expect from God in the future?

It’s as if GOSPEL was spelled in 12-point font in the OT and in 1200-point in the NT! Or we might say it was pictured in the OT using thumbnails, but blown up to poster size in the New.