Go To: Study Twenty
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Finally, My Brethren
A Study in Scriptural Integrity:
What Next? The Promises of God to Christians
Looking to the Hope.
How do I wrap this class up, while you go back into the world to test what you've learned?
It is God that keeps you, and God Who has called you. Isn't that the purpose of learning Scripture anyway, that you may walk with Him?
Is it not Christ in who you have trusted your life, and who will guide you in ministering to the saints?
In Christ, we do not seek knowledge, we do not seek information, not even the truth of God's Word, for it's own sake. Knowledge puffs up, it leads to vanity.
Rather, we seek information subordinate to the purpose of knowing, and thus loving, God and then His people.
After all these wonderful sections of Scripture, where do we go to?
Perhaps these last six sections that were once pointed out to me will help guide us.
Finally, Be Perfect
II Corinthians 13:11
"Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you."
II Corinthians 13:11
"Finally" is the first of at least six times the word "loipon" is used in conjunction with "brethren" to summarize a section of Paul's epistles to the Church, in reference to what we are to do as a result.
Each thing we are to do has a particular promise as a motivation to do it.
In closing the book of II Corinthians, in which the Corinthians have turned from religion to godliness, and true holiness, Paul says, "be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace." If we do these things, the God of love and peace will be with us.
Perfect means "to fit thoroughly," to "adjust."
We are adjust our lives to the will of God as revealed through His Scriptures and through His revelations to us.
We are comforted through the Comforter, that is, through the use of Godís gift to us, holy spirit.
We are of one mind in serving the Lord Jesus.
We live in peace by trusting God.
Then God, the God of love and peace, will indeed be with us.
Yes, God will be with us.
Finally, Be Strong
The second summary is thus:
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might."
We are to be strong in the Lord, strong in Jesus Christ who is our Lord.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
See? Seek out your place in Christ, for in him we are strong, in him we are empowered. We need God, we need personal fellowship with him, but Christ is our taskmaster.
Christ is our personal Lord, who guides us in ministering to his Church.
"Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil."
We put on the armour of God, not to go seek conflict with the power of this world, but to stand when (not "if," but when) it rises against us.
"For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
"Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."
We are not given some Herculean task. We simply stay put in the strength of the Lord Jesus.
"Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;"
Truth is that Word of God we wrap ourselves in. The righteousness of God we embrace, not of our works, but of His, is a breastplate, it guards our hearts.
"And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
"Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."
If we want to stand, if we do not want our feet cut from under us, we are to prepare ourselves in the gospel of peace.
That connotes spreading the news.
And faith will help shield us from the darts, the fiery attacks, of our enemy.
"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:"
With the helmet of salvation, knowing life is a minimum guarantee, our head, our reasoning, is protected from a blow that could remove us from standing in grace.
And it is the sword of the Spirit, the Word of God, that fights for us as we speak it and stand with it.
We will not need to go to hurt the enemy: we simply stand. Speak truth, the truth of God, and the enemy will be dealt with. Sometimes he will be deflected, sometimes cast out, and sometimes he will be left to those who seek him.
But we will overcome in our lives and ministries.
"Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;"
And pray with all understanding.
Remember, we are to pray with the spirit, and with our understanding, for we are to pray with all prayer, and all supplication in the spirit.
It will not come overnight.
"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
"I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.'
See? Paul learned, and then he could say, "I can do all things through Christ."
Learn to let yourself grow.
And do these things, and you will be strong in the Lord, and in his might, that you are able to stand.
This is how you stay in the grace of God.
Finally, Rejoice in the Lord
Third, we are to rejoice in the Lord Jesus. We may rejoice because we are the "circumcision."
"Circumcision" was the method God had of "sealing" the sons of Jacob (Israel) as His own.
We too are sealed, but by spirit, not by cutting off of "dead flesh" in circumcising a part of the body.
"Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe.
"Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.
"For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh."
We can rejoice in the Lord, in Jesus who is our Lord, because he has born our grief.
When we are told to beware of dogs, of evil workers, of the concision, we are told to beware of those who would enslave you in the bondage of works.
"O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
"Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?"
Jesus is the Rock of our salvation. Salvation is not by works, which would be meaningless symbols of futility.
But because we are already saved, when we get to know our position in Christ, we can do great works, we are then called "the circumcision," because our works are not of a desire for haughty self-righteousness, but a selfless thankfulness for a job (our salvation) already done.
Our ability is not of ourselves, but of God through Christ.
"That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
"Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.
The spirit is a token that we have an inheritance in having believed the word of truth.
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
"Not of works, lest any man should boast.
"For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
"Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands;"
Israel had the seal of circumcision: now there is a greater seal of a greater promise, the seal of spirit.
"That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
"For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;
"Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace;
"And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:
"And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh.
"For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;"
Through Christ, not works, we have this access.
Thus, in our works, we have no confidence in ourselves, and we are simply sealed, "circumcised," with the spirit from God in us.
And though we are to walk accordingly, we have no confidence regarding salvation even in our works.
We have obtained, we have already received, a greater salvation.
Thus we can rejoice.
And when we rejoice in the Lord, we can stand firm in the seal of God, not in the works of flesh.
Finally, Think on these Things
The fourth summary is a rewording of the first.
Twice is established, and this establishes the promise of God to be with those who put on the "new man" of faith.
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
"Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you."
We are not interested in thinking "positive" thoughts as taught by the world's "self-help" books.
We are, however, interested in thinking things that help us remain in the peaceful seas of God's grace, mercy, and goodness.
Living in grace, dead to sins, we are not to then let our mind run rampant in tribute to grace, for that is not tribute.
We are to do all to the glory of our Father.
If there be any virtue, if there be any praise, think on these things.
After all, we are told to "put on the mind of Christ."
"Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
"Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:"
And putting on thoughts that have praise and virtue, and things that are according to the example set by Paul, having seen, and received, and learned, and heard, in him, will assure us that the God of peace will be with us, as we stand in the body of Christ.
And we want the presence of God to be manifest in the Church.
Finally, Walk and Please God
I Thessilonians 4:1-12
According to the fifth summary, we are to go above and beyond in adjusting to godliness, so that those around us may receive ministrations, the result of our brotherly love.
"Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
"For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus."
I Thessilonians 4:1-2
"Furthermore" is "loipon," "finally.
"Finally, then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and please God, so ye would abound more and more."
When we start doing the will of God, we give ourselves time to grow.
And when we start doing good, we don't stop and pat ourselves on the back.
We strive to do better. We abound more and more.
We do as we were commanded, and do it more and more.
"For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:
"That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;
"Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:"
I Thessilonians 4:3-5
Do we condemn ourselves for our failures and our sin?
No, Jesus hung on a tree to pay the price thereof.
And we walk in grace, that our salvation is of grace, and it's a glory to the grace and mercy of God.
But we don't keep walking in sin, either. We don't sin, that grace may abound. When we err, we pick ourselves up and repent.
Repent means change.
And while our salvation is of grace, God is not mocked.
If we walk in sin deliberately, there will be consequences in this life.
"That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.
"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
"He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit."
I Thessilonians 4:6-8
We are to walk striving to please God, not to obtain our salvation, and not in spite of it, but all the more because of it.
But it is a slight to God to rebuke His mercy by despising, thinking little of or ignoring the life and thus the potential way of life He has given us.
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
"And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
"And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;"
I Thessilonians 4:9-11
I told you at the beginning of this class that it is your fellowship with God that will show you whether these things are true.
Here, we see that the Thessilonians had such fellowship with God that God Himself showed them how to love each other.
Do you not think God showing you love will not rub off?
Do you think maybe God wants to show you how to love His children?
Continuing, look at Ephesians:
"Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth."
As believers, we are to work so that we have to give to those in need.
"That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing."
I Thessilonians 4:12
Rather than walking in the lust of fornication (illicit sexual activity) and concupiscence (burning desire) we are to walk in brotherly love, working that we have to minister, walking honestly (earning our keep?) and thus, this being the promise of this summary, lacking nothing.
And as a result we will be all the more blessed both in this life and in glory.
II Thessilonians 3:1-5
The sixth summary is in II Thessilonians.
"Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:"
II Thessilonians 3:1
We are to pray for the ministry of ministers. We are to pray that in their lives, things are such that the word of the Lord, the gospel of Jesus, will have free course, will be shared freely through their lives.
That the word of the Lord will be glorified through their ministration, EVEN AS IT IS THROUGH OURS!
"And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith."
II Thessilonians 3:6
And it's not, "oh my, poor me and God's will be done."
For, the will of the Lord is that the gospel of Jesus, the word of the Lord, has free course AND that his ministers are blessed.
So pray that evil men aren't able to hinder his ministers, also.
The ministers of God need the ministrations, and prayers, of those they are to serve, also.
And the true minister of Jesus Christ comes not as a lord over God's people, not as a replacement for an absent Jesus, but as a servant and a helper of faith, a fellow servant of the brethren of Christ.
"The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:
"Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;
"Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.
"And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away."
I Peter 5:1-4
These are the genuine ministers, men who feed the flock rather than feeding on them, women who lead by example rather than busying themselves with ordering the details of their people's lives.
Oversight of God's people will involve reproof and rebuke, but gentile reproof for willing learners, and rebuke of those who openly resist the grace of God and who seduce and devour the faithful in their lusts.
"But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
"And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you.
"And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ."
II Thessilonians 3:3-5
It is the Lord that keeps a man from evil, and on the straight and narrow.
Only a living relationship with Jesus as Lord, and through him with God, will result in a patient waiting for Jesus Christ.
And the promise of this prayer life is just that, a patient waiting for Christ.
Finally, My Brethren
Thank you for studying the Scriptures with me. I hope, no, pray that the joy I find in Scripture, and the sense of depth I believe it has as God's own Word has been somewhat shared.
But nothing I can say or do can transfer the joy and depth you will discover in becoming familiar with God Himself. You will do this as you pray and walk with the Jesus the Scriptures teach of.
You will also walk with the Almighty. His spirit will teach you above anything I could transfer.
May God's grace and mercy be upon you until Christ's return.
Finally, brethren, adjust to the will of God, be of good comfort, be of one mind, and God will be with you. He is your Father. This is the very summary of the basic fellowship you have with Him.
Finally, brethren, be strong in who you are in Christ, that ye may stand in this day, that you maintain your fellowship.
Finally, brethren, through spirit placed in you, Christ is your life. Nothing and no one can take that from you, so live in this truth and rejoice in it. It is your guarantee, your seal that you are his, and as his you are God's.
Finally, brethren, establish yourselves in Christ. Follow the examples given, put on that mind of Christ faithfully, and God will be with you.
Finally, brethren, walk openly in brotherly love, having to give, and you will lack in nothing in this service.
Finally, my brethren, pray for those ministering, and you will patiently await the coming of Jesus Christ.
And in these things are our faith, our hope, our love.
Thank you so much for joining me for this class and allowing me to be part of your life as well.
Finally, my brethren, God bless you richly and keep you in His might, in Jesus' name.
Go To: Study Twenty