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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is both helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible often doesn't tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, March 27, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 86)



Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 86


Before I begin this week’s Bible lesson I want to welcome you to HBS and then thank you all for joining us in our of study of God’s Word.  If you’ll please open your Bible and turn to Romans chapter 10, we’ll get this thing started.

I’ve mentioned this numerous times during our study of the book of Romans but there’s no harm in bringing it up again, especially since we have new people visiting us frequently.  Romans is a “gold mine” of Biblical truth and spiritual nuggets of information concerning Grace Age doctrine.  Some of these “nuggets” are easily gathered in and some have to be mined – you have to “dig deeper” to understand Paul’s meaning.  With this in mind, I intend to “hang around” verse 15 a bit longer because even though it’s not specifically stated here true Believers have a responsibility to share the gospel with unsaved people.

Romans 10

15:  How will they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”  (Isaiah 52:7)

I mentioned earlier that after Jesus Christ’s resurrection God the Father introduced a process into His plan of salvation that included 5 things: 

Whoever (Jew or Gentile) will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. 
But…how are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed?
How are they to believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
How will they hear without a preacher?
How will they preach unless they are sent?

Please understand the only thing NEW about this concept in Scripture is the inclusion of Gentiles in God’s plan of salvation.  Throughout the Old Testament God used ordinary men to communicate His message to those who needed to hear it.  Moses is the strongest example of this teaching.  Then there were the major and minor prophets, and I also used Jonah in the last lesson as an example.  The word of the LORD came to Jonah with the command to preach against the wickedness of Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrian kingdom – a gentile nation and an Old Testament exception for God worked primarily with His chosen people (Jonah 1:1-2). 

Then there’s the twelve apostles, chosen by Jesus Christ Himself, these also serve as an excellent example for they too were “sent” to preach the gospel of the kingdom to Jew only (Matthew 10:5-7).  Then we have the entire Book of Acts which demonstrates that God can do amazing things though ordinary people when He empowers them through His Spirit. 

Note that I’ve been using the expression ordinary men and not extraordinary men.  God was able to use fishermen, a tax collector, a physician, and a tent maker, to summon up but a few, to turn His world upside down (Acts 17:6).  God got the attention of a Christian-hating persecutor and changed his heart and his life.  He became the leading Church planter, and evangelist of his day, and he wrote 14 of the 27 books in the New Testament.  I believe Paul wrote the book of Hebrews, so I credit him for 14 books and not 13.

Christians tend to think of Moses, Peter, James, John, and Paul, etc. as extraordinary individuals – super saints, if you will.  But they were not.  These were ordinary folks, working stiffs just like us.  Don’t put them on pedestals.  They don’t “belong” there and they would be uncomfortable with the very idea!   Refer to them as servants of the one true God as an alternative.

Jesus Christ didn’t select the religious leaders of His day to be His apostles did you ever wonder why?  He didn’t seek the wisest of men to be His disciples either.   Jesus Christ sought and chose several poor, dirty, odorous fishermen…and Paul reveals one of the reasons why:  but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God (1 Corinthians 1:27-29). 

God can and does do the same through you and me (ordinary individuals) – by changing our hearts, empowering us by the Holy Spirit, and giving us a passion to spread the good news of salvation through Christ Jesus.  But God must go before us, so pray specifically for the ones you want God to transform before you “go.”  If we try to accomplish this thing on our own, in our own power, we’re not going to be successful.  For only God “thaw” an individual’s hardened heart (Acts 16:14). 

(God) desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4) and He has ordained that Believers will bear His message.  Every born-again Believer has the responsibility to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e. to share the good news of Jesus Christ crucified with the unsaved without reservation or prejudice.

Evangelism in Theory and In Practice

According to a recent Barna Group poll, when asked if they have a personal responsibility to share their faith with others, 73% of born again Christians said yes. When this conviction is put into practice, however, the numbers shift downward.  Only half (52%) of true Believers say they actually did share the Gospel at least once this past year to someone with different beliefs, in the hope that they might accept Jesus Christ as their Savior.

What is the Gospel

Many true Believers would gladly approach others with God’s message of free grace if they only knew what it was.  Although sincere about their beliefs, they’ve never received instructions about the Gospel or how to share it properly with others.  To be sure there is a renegade gospel in America today that says to ask “Jesus into your heart” to be saved.  This is a false gospel.  There is another false gospel which instructs the individual to, “Make a full surrender to God.  Amend your ways.  Ask Jesus to change your life.  Make a commitment to Christ” to be saved.  These vows will not do, my friends. 

I never grow weary of pointed the individual to Scripture for the best definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The only gospel that has the power to save!  Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.  For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

There it is – the gospel of Jesus Christ; in its entirety - His death, burial, and resurrection.  The only way to be saved is to acknowledge your sinful state and receive the Gospel as payment for your sins.  That’s the good news!  Jesus died, was buried and rose again after 3 days and all those who choose to believe on Him are justified before God.  The word justified in Scripture means, “just as if you never sinned.”  That’s Amazing Grace!

But what can I do

Throughout the Midwest there’s an egg company which prints Bible verses inside every carton of eggs it sells.  These folks are planting the seed of God’s Word in the hearts and minds of people every day.  What a great idea!  I know of people who hand out Bible tracks to trick-or-treaters on Halloween.  I’ve seen 1Corinthians 15:1-4 on return address labels.  Prayer groups pray specifically for the names of individuals who need to know Jesus Christ.  These are little things but we know mighty oaks begin with but a small acorn. 

God’s gospel has been set in on our hearts and He didn’t intend for it to remain there.  After receiving a bit of good news, do you retain it or keep it to yourself?  When your child was born, or your grand-child, did you receive this news and then go on about your business or did you proceed to inform everyone within ear shot?  I’m sure I know the answer to that question.  Jesus Christ saved you from eternal separation from a loving God and suffering that defies description and you don’t want to share this good news with others who are lost and in line to suffer this fate?  That’s the equivalent of watching a house burn up, knowing there’s people inside sleeping, without sounding the alarm!    

Romans 10:17 instructs us that “faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.  You don’t need to be articulate in speech, a talented writer, or a theologian to spread the good news of Jesus Christ.  You just need to tell the lost sinners that they need Christ’s righteousness, because they have nothing to offer God.  They are morally bankrupt!

What Matters to God Should Matter to us

Since God is interested in all these folks, then we should be like-minded for souls are in peril.  True Believers need to think like Jesus thinks and more importantly they need to love like Jesus loves…For the love of Christ controls us, have concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf (2 Corinthians 5:14-15).

How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? 
And how will they hear without a preacher?  

Therefore, the “go” of the gospel is man’s responsibility and charity begins at home.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s message; He is the originator of it and it has been commissioned to the world.  To fulfill its purpose this life-saving message needs a messenger and this messenger must be sent to those who need to hear it – the lost. 

No greater need exists today and there is no greater challenge before us, because Satan is winning the fight for souls and people by and large aren’t even aware there’s a spiritual battle raging (Matthew 7:13-14).  Scripture teaches us that there are two kingdoms that humanity must deal with at this present time.  The kingdom of Light is one and the kingdom of darkness is the other (Colossians 1:12-13). 

God the Father has commissioned Jesus Christ to be the King over the kingdom of Light and Satan (the father of lies) has been permitted to be the king over the kingdom of darkness.  Those who are in the kingdom of darkness, and this includes the majority of people living today, have no idea they belong to this kingdom and are subject to Satan’s authority and power.  This suits Satan.  These people won’t figure it out until after they die, which is too late and Satan intends to keep them “blinded” and “deceived.”  He permits them to establish their own “little kingdom” within his – this may be referred to as the kingdom of “self.”  This keeps people from desiring to be redeemed and translated into Jesus Christ’s kingdom of Light.

Even though Scripture says that few (not many) people will choose to know Jesus Christ personally and receive God’s free gift of grace this doesn’t mean the gospel is restricted in anyway.  Everyone needs to hear it.  God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth and not just “some.”

HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!

People spend a good deal of time and money trying to make feet look good but after all is said and done they’re just feet.  But while the feet are not necessarily attractive they are instruments of “travel” and God intended his evangelists to “go” with His message.

Using Paul as an example, he traveled on three missionary journeys which covered many miles and many cities, but he also remained in Ephesus for over 3 years doing the Lord’s work.  In every instance, while on the move or hunkered down in a city, he preached Jesus Christ crucified and taught doctrine to those who needed to hear it.

God chose the lowly feet as the proper analogy for evangelist, preachers, and teachers.
Note that He did not select the brain (human wisdom), hands, (ingenuity), the tongue (oratory), or physical beauty, but the feet.  The reason for this may not be so obvious but the truth is:  God didn’t want His message convoluted or obscured by the messenger. 

The gospel glorifies God through Jesus Christ; philosophy elevates the philosopher. 

The Holy Spirit teaches us that the cross is central to salvation and the messenger is incidental.  Put another way, the messenger is content to remain in the shadows; they promote the gospel and not themselves or their work.  It’s not about us; it’s about what Jesus Christ has done for us.  They keep the Main thing the Main thing!

Our Apostle Paul writes:  For I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel.  For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me.  What then is my reward?  That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.  For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more.  To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law.  To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:16-22).

Paul realized too that he must, Count all things lost for Christ – More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ (Philippians 3:7-8). 

I can’t think of a better messenger or a better example than Paul for he was willing to be a “foot” soldier for Jesus Christ.  I like this analogy because it strips away everything that is absolutely non-essential.  A soldier travels to the front, where the battle rages, carrying only what he needs for survival and to get the job done.  His feet take him there and wherever he needs to “go.”  He sleeps on the ground or in a fox hole.  Rarely is there a roof over his head.  If there is time, if there is food, he’ll eat. His attention is on the mission and defeating the enemy and God is his closest companion…there are no “atheists in foxholes.”  So, onward Christian soldiers…

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Romans by the Book (Lesson 85)



Home Bible Study ©
Established November 2008
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
(2 Timothy 2:15)

This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Timothy 2:3-4


Romans by the Book                                                                    Lesson 85

A man was once asked what he believed about God, to which he replied,
“I believe what my church believes.”

The follow up question to this was, “What does your church believe?”
He quickly said, “My church believes what I believe.”
“What do you and your church believe then?”
He said, “We both believe the same thing.”

This brief exchange may sound humorous but it’s not funny.  In fact, it’s daunting.
For some reason the preacher’s message isn’t getting through to this individual.
Obviously, this gentleman isn’t standing on “solid” ground with regard to faith and Church Doctrine.  “Whatever,” is his motto and he appears to be content.

Unfortunately, this epitomizes far too many church-goers today.
Does this describe you and your church?
Why do you believe what you believe?
What do you believe?
These are important questions.

Christians misunderstand and struggle with several faith-related issues.  One of these is assurance.  They doubt their salvation.  As a follow-up to the previous lesson, I’d like to take a moment to talk about what it means for the Holy Spirit to testify with our spirit that we are children of God:  For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons (and daughters) of God.  For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to (what’s the next word) fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons (and daughters) by which we cry out, Abba!  Father!”  (Romans 8:14-15)

The first clue that you’re a saved individual is in the paragraph above.  You’re the adopted son and daughter of God if you are being led by the Spirit of God.  The Greek term Abba Father is a very intimate, warm, personal, affectionate cry to God as our Father and it’s the Holy Spirit witnessing. 

You can’t feel or hear the Holy Spirit, so how does one know they are spirit led?
According to Scripture, the witness of the Spirit is the work of the Spirit giving evidence in our lives that we are sons and daughters of God.  The work of the Spirit within you provides evidence and isn’t that what witnesses do?  They speak of reality after having seen it.  So, now we go to Scripture to see what it means to be led by the Spirit. 

Please turn to Galatians chapter 5.

Walking by the Spirit or Living by the Spirit, = producing the Fruit of the Spirit.
If you’ll skip down to verse 22, the Apostle Paul has given us a list containing 9 items which he named the fruit of the Spirit:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  Now examine your life.  Is there any evidence that the Holy Spirit within you is producing this fruit which is contrary to the lustful, selfish, Adamic human nature which coexists within you (Romans 7:14-25)?   

But let’s be clear.  The Bible never says the evidence of salvation is perfection!
It always concerns a direction of life where a person would say, “I used to be hooked on internet pornography, but God showed me how destructive that was to me and my family – He changed me.”  Or, “I used to spend Sunday afternoons in front of the T.V. watching sports instead of spending time with my family, but God helped me see how selfish I was, thank you Lord.”  In both these examples, we see some “measured” evidence of change.  The Holy Spirit is bringing out the nature of Jesus Christ in these individual Believers – He is transforming them into the likeness of God’s Son. 

Do you believe there is only one true God?
Do you believe that God is three persons:  the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit?
Do you believe Jesus Christ is God in the flesh?
Do you believe faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, according to the Scriptures for your sins is only way to be saved?  You do, right?

But you say there is still sin in your life and you can’t beat it.  No matter how hard you try you keep returning to it – even though you know you’re not supposed to. 

As I said, nowhere in Scripture does it say Believers are to be perfect. 
Heaven would be a lonely place if God set the bar that high.     

Permit me to illustrate:   let's say we are on a 20 foot boat out in the ocean.  We are sailing along when we notice two men in the water.  There is no other boat around, so it is obvious these two men are in dire straits.  We take a life preserver, tie it to a rope, and throw it to them but it lands a few feet short.  We yell for them to grab onto the life preserver so we can pull them in.  One of the men, exhausted, reaches out his arm for the life preserver but falls short.  "Grab it!" We yell.  He reaches out but his arm drops in the water from fatigue.  The waves slap his face; he goes under briefly, resurfaces swallowing salt water, but keeps trying.  The other man is simply floating face down in the water.  There is no sign of struggle at all.  But, the other man is ardently swimming for the life preserver.  He is fighting against the ocean, the waves, and the wind all which are stronger than he is.  

Which one of these two men in the water is alive?  Is it the one face down in the water or the one struggling to grab onto the life preserver?  The one struggling for life:  right?

Dead people don't struggle for life.  Coincidentally, spiritually dead people do not struggle against their sin.  An unsaved person is dominated by their depraved, unredeemed flesh.  Those who have no life in them do not struggle for eternal life.
(Romans 1:28-32; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Galatians 5:19-21). 

If you’re like the first man who is struggling against your sin, this is a sign that you are alive in Christ Jesus.  If there was no sign of struggle at all, then one could dispute your salvation.  However, since you “war” against your sins you know your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. 

People who walk after the Spirit do so because they think about the things of the Spirit and live their lives according to the Spirit.  A true Believer is able to please God because they’re thinking patterns are aligned with God’s and this comes from their new nature.

Those walking in the flesh have their minds on the things of the flesh because they live according to the flesh (Romans 8:8-9).  Fleshly thinking patterns or a fleshly disposition will manifest itself in worldly behavior which is contrary to the Spirit of God (1 John 2:15). 

Thank you for being here today; now let’s all turn our attention to Bible study.
Please open your Bible at Romans 10:11.

Romans 10

11:  For the Scripture says, “WHOSOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”  (Isaiah 28:16)

God’s invitation goes out to all!  This verse reminds me of the LORD God’s call to Abram around 2000 BC; that’s when the nation of Israel had its start.  Then how God worked with Abram and His people down through the years, with a few gentile exceptions of course and that’s what they were “exceptions” – there was the city of Nineveh, Ruth the Moabite, the Syrian general, and a few others.  The LORD God dealt primarily with the Jew only and this theme carries through the first few chapters of the Book of Acts (Acts 11:19).  Gentiles were separate from Christ, excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promises, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). 

But you see there has been a change.  Paul says whosoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved and because of this things are not the same.  Instead of God working primarily with the Israelites with a few Gentile exceptions, now God is primarily calling out Gentiles with a few Jewish Believers.  Most of them still don’t recognize Jesus Christ as their Lord and refuse to call on Him for salvation.  However, in this dispensation of grace this is what God requires.   

12:  For there is no (difference) distinction between Jew and Greek (Gentile); for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him;

13: for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.”  (Joel 2:32)

Before you’re conversion I’m sure you didn’t pay much attention to God, much less call Him Lord, and pay Him homage.  Before that occurred, too many other things were more important such as:  watching the NCAA basketball finals, studying for your career, gathering money, maintaining your physical appearance, or trying to keep up with the Jones’ to name a few.  However, did any of these experiences bring you joy?  I know they didn’t offer you salvation!  All these things gave you something to do, something to “chase” after while you tried to fill that sense of emptiness inside of you. However, after you “caught” one or more of these life-goals or experiences you discovered they weren’t fulfilling.   You needed something more/something else so the chase began anew.  That sense of emptiness you were attempting to fill with excitement, experiences, drugs, booze, career climbing, stuff, or other worldly pursuits can only be filled by Jesus Christ.  This is why you “called” on the name of the Lord – to be saved.  This was step #1 in your honoring Him. 

Paul used the same expression For there is no distinction once before in Romans 3:22-23 while referencing sin.  On account of “sin” there is no longer a difference between Jew and Greek.  Sin puts everyone on the same level before God – guilty!  Here in v12 Paul is saying our Righteous Judge is abounding in riches for all who call on Him, (whether Jew or Greek) WILL BE SAVED. 

When anyone accepts Jesus Christ as their personal Savior they are instantaneously enriched with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3) and declared to be complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10).  Paul refers to these blessings as “the unfathomable” riches of Christ in Ephesians 3:8.  In the Greek, the word “Unfathomable” is anexichniastos which means:  past finding out, unsearchable.  The idea being that the Believer’s blessings in Christ Jesus are “too deep to be measured.” 

Romans 10

14: How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed?  How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?

15: How will they preach unless they are sent?  Just as it is written, “HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THOSE WHO BRING GOOD NEWS OF GOOD THINGS!”  (Isaiah 52:7)

This is as good a place as any to point out that after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins God put 5 things into place so that people can be saved.  Paul mentions these in verses 13-15:

Whosoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved. 
But…how are they to call on Him in whom they have not believed?
How are they to believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
How will they hear without a preacher?
How will they preach unless they are sent?

So, salvation is the result of a person going forth, preaching/sharing the good news about Jesus Christ, hearing the gospel, believing, and calling on Jesus Christ as Lord.

Now I want you to stop and think for just a minute.  Is Jesus Christ doing the evangelical work down here on earth?  Are angels spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection around the globe or is it ordinary people like you and me?  I mentioned the city of Nineveh earlier in this lesson.  Who took the LORD God’s message to them?  It was Jonah – right?  Just an ordinary man, reluctant to the nth degree, but the LORD helped him see what needed to be done.  My point being God has always used ordinary people to BRING GOOD NEWS or to promote salvation.

I find it encouraging that God wants to use us Believers as His ambassadors here on earth for that’s exactly what we are – strangers in a foreign land (2 Corinthians 5:20).  This isn’t a chore to put off.  This is something to look forward to for we have been included in God's ministry of “reconciliation:” Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and (read carefully) gave us the ministry of reconciliation, (2 Corinthians 5:18).

Please understand it’s not up to us to save people.  We have not been given this responsibility.  The reason why a person believes the gospel is that God opens the heart (Acts 16:14).  What was said by Paul:  first someone must speak the gospel.  God doesn’t open the eyes of the heart to see nothing.  He opens them to see the glory of Jesus Christ revealed in the truth of the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).  Therefore, we Believers must speak the gospel – we are not to leave this responsibility to the next person it is yours and mine.  We don’t make the new birth happen, when we speak the gospel but we fit perfectly into God’s plan when we comply.  The point of speaking the gospel is to give the individual something to hear and to see quite frankly.  Since the key problem in not believing the gospel is the hardness of one's heart, this is where the Lord does His work – He opens the heart. 

(To be continued)


© Copyright 2011
GJ Heitzman’s Ministry
All Rights Reserved