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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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Thursday, November 7, 2019

Philippians 4:6-7 (L 36)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                   Published: November 7, 2019

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

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Welcome back to HBS

To keep from aggravating my left arm and hand I’ve decided to skip the lesson review.  I do suggest you refresh your minds by reading the last lesson before starting this one.

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 4:4-7.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.  Let your moderation be known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice (4:4) - Paul did not say “rejoice always” he said “Rejoice alway This means continually without variation, or in every way.  Said differently, “Believers rejoice continually, in every way, whether things are going their way or not.”  It’s as though Paul considered the hard times in his life, past, present, and future and in spite of them said, “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.”  Here Paul is counting his blessings and is unable to contain his joy. 

I heard a pastor compare the Believer’s life to a roller coaster ride complete with ups and downs, twists and turns, and few level places.  We’re human so there will be times when we act as humans.  We’re going to experience disappointment, distress, pain, rejection, sorrow, etc., so we may not feel like “rejoicing always.”  However, there’s no instruction here from Paul to put on sackcloth and ashes and glory in your suffering.  Many people do.  One of the most loaded questions in the English language is “How are you?”  You might want to prepare yourself for their answer, which could begin with them saying, “You have no idea what I’m dealing with…”  These people glory in their suffering, when they ought to be glorying in God.  They ought to be counting their blessings instead of their sorrows. 

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t want to be happy.  However, happiness is often determined by what is happening in our lives, so this emotion is fleeting; it comes and goes like the tide.  But true joy is found only in the Lord.  It is the product of an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ; a relationship that begins with believing Paul’s gospel of grace (Romans 2:16; Galatians 1:11-20; 2 Timothy 2:8). 

Therefore, Believers rejoice alway because of Christ Jesus’ great love for us (Romans 5:8); because we have redemption through Christ Jesus’ shed blood and the forgiveness of all our sin (Ephesians 1:7); and because we’re justified freely by His grace for we are saved by grace through faith (Romans 3:24; Ephesians 2:8-9).  For these reasons, and others, Paul emphasized the Lord Jesus Christ is the source of our joy (Psalm 43:4; Romans 5:11).    

Verse 5a:

“Let your moderation be known unto all men...”  

The word “moderation” means graciousness; practicing restraint in all things, including one’s speech.  Verse 4:5a confirms the fact some of the people in the church were at odds with each other; their discussions had become heated arguments and tempers were flaring.  It’s a well-known fact personality conflicts and disagreements about what the Bible says or doesn’t say are reasons why a once healthy church becomes unhealthy and eventually splits apart.  So, Paul’s purpose in saying, “Let your moderation be known unto all men” was twofold.  First, he intended for it to defuse the unstable situation in Philippi.  If those involved in the dispute would simply choose to practice graciousness and restraint in all things, the instability in this assembly could be managed in a Christ-like manner: 

If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any  fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies (and there is), 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” (2:1-4).

Second, this assembly, whether knowingly or unknowingly, was tarnishing their reputation before the unsaved world, which, up until now had been commendable (4:1).  Paul wanted them to understand their ill behavior was not only producing anxiety and confusion in the church it had an adverse effect on the gospel and the unsaved people in their community.  This is why Paul said, “Let your moderation be known unto all men” and not just your brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus. 

He cited the reason for this in 4:5b saying,  The Lord is at hand.” 


In the O.T., which includes the 4 gospels, John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ preached “the gospel of the kingdom” saying, “Repent for the kingdom is at hand” (Matthew 3:1, 4:17).  Why?  The Messiah (their king) was on scene and prepared to usher in the prophesied earthly kingdom (Romans 15:8).  But first the Israelites had to go through a time of cleansing.  They had to experience a seven-year period of time known as Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7); Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9:20-25); the Tribulation (Ezekiel 22:17-22). 

Paul’s not talking about such things.  The Church isn’t looking forward to the kingdom of God.  It is looking expectedly for the return of the Lord in the clouds, an event the Body of Christ recognizes as the Rapture.  This Church event can be viewed as a rescue operation, while the Tribulation is God pouring out His righteous wrath upon Israel and a Jesus hating world (1 Corinthians 15:50-56; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10).  So, when Paul said, “Let your moderation be known (visible) unto all men.  The Lord is at hand“ he was in effect saying, “Live your life as though Christ Jesus’ might return this very day.”  
Verse 4:6-7:

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Be careful for nothing – this is another way of saying We walk by faith not by sight.” Walking by faith essentially means “Worry about nothing.  You see, faith is not about things turning out the way we want, faith is about being content no matter how things turn out.  This reminds me of something Paul said in 4:10-12:

“But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.  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.”

We know God is able, but even if He doesn’t improve our situation we still walk by faith not by sight.  Seeing isn’t believing; believing is seeing!

Verse 4:6b:

“…but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Permit me to begin our study of this section of scripture by saying it’s okay to mix some things together such as Chex Mix, corn beef hash, peanuts, tossed salad, and scrambled eggs; however, God commanded the Believer to study their Bible using right division.  Ergo, we are not to mix the scriptures together (2 Timothy 2:15).  Case in point, Paul’s instructions on prayer found in 4:6-7 are often mixed together with the Lord’s directions on prayer found in the O.T.  Because of this many people have misconceptions and unrealistic expectations about prayer.  I’ll share two personal examples with you.  Last week I was viewing the postings on my Facebook page when I came across a “Chain Prayer.”  It said, “Pray this prayer, repost this message, and you will receive a miracle within the hour.”  Then recently, another Facebook friend declared, “Whatever you need ask of God know He will answer.  He cited Isaiah 65:24 as proof of this. 

I ask you are these prayers and the petitioner’s expectations valid?  Most people say “Yes,” but this is because of how they were taught to pray and I’m including myself. The churches I partnered with in the past used several Bible verses from the O.T. to teach people how to pray.  I will take you to three verses that are widely used to show you what I mean. 

We begin with Matthew 21:22.  Here the Lord is teaching His disciples how to pray:

“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

What does “all” mean?  It means nothing omitted, right?  People can ask God for anything and if they believe they will receive.

Now please turn to Matthew 7:7; once again this is the Lord speaking:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:”

Here Jesus said, “ask, seek, knock, and it shall be opened to you.” 

Our last stop is the Lord’s instructions on prayer found in John 14:12-14:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.” (See Matthew 6:27-33)

According to these Bible verses, if you “Ask God for anything, in Jesus’ name, He will do it!” 

Ask any thing in my name” means “pray in Jesus’ name.”   This verse was utilized to teach us to end our prayers saying, “in Jesus’ name.”  If we ask in Jesus’ name, then He will do it.  So, we wait for God to make it happen, but there’s a catch.  We were taught God answers prayer the same way a parent responds to their child’s request.  They can say “Yes,” “No,” or “Not right now.”  Isn’t this a contradiction?  I prayed in Jesus name and now I’m told it might not happen.  

That thought serves to take us to Paul statement in Romans 8:26: 

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought.” 

Another way of saying this is, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to pray.”  The phrase “Ask in Jesus’ name” means pray in accordance with His will.  To do that we need to determine what His will is in the Dispensation of Grace.  The fallacies many people have regarding prayer can be attributed to their ignorance of God’s character and a lack of understanding as to why he deals differently with the nation of Israel than He does the Body of Christ.  In other words, people are over the place regarding their beliefs about prayer because they do not know God, dispensationaly speaking. 

Not long ago I mentioned Jesus (the promised Messiah) came to the nation of Israel preaching “Repent for the kingdom of God is at hand,” and He taught the twelve to preach this same message but only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew  10:5-6).  So the Bible verses re: prayer we just looked at were written to and for the whole house of Israel; gentiles were excluded by the Lord Himself.  

Throughout the O.T. the Lord God taught the nation of Israel to depend on Him for their needs.  We find evidence of this in their exodus from Egypt and their salvation from Pharaoh’s army through the Red Sea experience.  Then there was the manna from heaven, quail when they complained about not having meat to eat, and when they complained about being thirsty God provided water gushing from the rock and so on, etc.  He even fought their battles for them.  It was Abraham who referred to the LORD God as Jehovah Jireh meaning God will provide (Genesis 22).  People wrongly borrow this term today to support their notions about prayer saying, “Ask whatsoever you want, in Jesus’ name, and God will provide.”  But this comes with a disclaimer.  According to them (not the Bible), if you do not receive what you asked for such as winning the state lottery, getting a new job, a new car, a new home, or whatever it’s because you didn’t have enough faith – keep trying.  Those who preach the false prosperity gospel teach this message, however, the only people getting rich are the people behind the pulpit. 

I also mentioned before Israel could enter into their promised earthly kingdom they had to go through the Tribulation period.  They’ll come a time when the Jews will not be able to buy and sell unless they accept “the mark of the beast.”  If they identify with the beast, their names will be blotted out from the book of life.  There’s no do-overs.  So, once again, during the Tribulation Israel will be dependent on the goodness of God for their needs.  Therefore, in keeping with the context, those Bible verses we reviewed in Matthew and John were examples of Jesus preparing the whole house of Israel for the time of Jacob’s trouble.    

I hope you’re beginning to understand Jesus Christ’s purpose and plan for prayer in the O.T.  Those instructions were for the nation of Israel; they have nothing to do with the Body of Christ today.  Those things written in time past are for our learning:    

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning (not for our doctrine today), that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope” (Romans 15:4).  

Here Paul is referring to the O.T. scriptures that were “written aforetime,” or in time past.  
The Bible as we know it today did not exist.  God ushered in the Dispensation of Grace with the calling of Saul of Tarsus; he is the one and only apostle to the gentiles (Acts 9; Romans 1:1).  He is also the first person baptized into the Body of Christ; therefore he is our pattern (example) to imitate (1 Timothy 1:12-16). 

Believer’s today don’t follow Israel’s marching orders we follow the church doctrines related to the “revelation of the mystery” (Romans 16:25-26).  So it stands to reason our motivation for praying today is understanding God dispensationaly.  Religion proudly states, “God does not change;” and “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever”(Hebrews 13:8), and I agree.  God does not change, and Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, however, the manner in which God deals with mankind does change; this is the essence of dispensational teaching (1 Corinthians 9:17; Ephesians 1:1, 3:2; Colossians 1:25). 

4:6:  

“Be careful (worry) about nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God” (4:6).

While religion teaches people to pray for “Whatsoever their heart desires and if they believe they will receive,” Paul’s directions on prayer are noticeably different.  He has outlined the process of prayer for every Believer in 4:6, and it begins with “Be careful for nothing,” that is, don’t worry about a thing.  After that command, he said, “…but in every thing by prayer and supplication with (what) thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. 

Paul’s emphasized thanksgiving unto God over our prayer and supplication, so the central theme of our prayers today is thanksgiving or praying with a thankful heart.  I refer to this as counting your blessings:

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.  And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him (Colossians 3:15-17, 4:2).

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

I compile a list of the things I am grateful for and mentally check them off one by one as I give thanks to God.  This exercise taught me to number my blessings both physical and spiritual.  So, Paul is not saying you cannot ask something of God.  He is saying the focus of your prayers ought to be thanksgiving.  You see, giving thanks to the Father, or having a life characterized by a thankful heart; is the acknowledgement and appreciation of God’s person, His magnificent grace, and sovereign work in one’s life, i.e. their present sanctification.    

God would have us pray about everything, whether it is spiritual or physical in nature.  In view of the fact God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies today, it stands to reason our prayer life should primarily focus on spiritual things, such as praying for a loved one’s salvation, a fuller understanding of the Scriptures, a knowledge of God’s will, dispensationaly speaking, wisdom, and so on.   

Here again, however, we must keep in mind Paul said pray about everything not just spiritual things.  From this we understand God would have the Believer maintain a proper balance.  According to the Bible, there’s nothing wrong with personal prayer requests.  Our Apostle Paul prayed about his “Thorn in the flesh,” asking God three times to remove it (2 Corinthians 12:7-9).  By the way God did not remove it.  Prior to his incarceration in Caesarea, Paul requested he might have a “prosperous journey to Rome; that is, free from hardship (Romans 1:9-10).  Paul also said we are to pray for people who are placed in position of authority (1 Timothy 2:1-2).   

Paul instructed us not to be an ungrateful people, as Israel was in time past; therefore, we are to give thanks to God, and according to the prayer process Paul laid out for us, our thanksgiving ought to precede our practical prayer requests.  We should also pray about the circumstances in which we might find ourselves.  For instance, Paul coveted the prayers of the saints at Philippi that he would soon be delivered from his prison cell in Rome (Philippians 1:19).  Paul wrote something similar to Philemon: “But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you” (Philemon 1:22).

Paul also said, “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)!  This doesn’t mean pray every minute of the day.  This can be compared to someone who coughs intermittently or in intervals due to an illness.  They don’t cough audibly all the time, but the tendency to cough is ever present.  So too with the Believer.  They ought to maintain a prayerful attitude even though they’re not actively engaged in prayer at the moment.   

While we’re still on the subject of prayer, it doesn’t matter where you happen to be when you pray.  I pray in my car when the mood hits me and in this area of Florida that’s not a bad idea.  You don’t have to wait until you’re in a church building to pray.  In addition, your prayer is not regulated to specific times of the day.  Paul does not mention any prayer position, such as, kneeling or lying prone face down on the floor.  There’s also no need be long-winded.  Just because you have command of the English language doesn’t mean you should try to impress God with the overuse of it.   What’s more, we can pray alone or with other people, which debunks religion’s notion that “where two or three gather together in my name there I am.” (Matthew 18:20).  Every Believer’s body is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19), and Christ Jesus dwells within them (Romans 8:10-11; Galatians 2:20).  He’s with us 24/7/365 not just when we gather to pray.  

Truth be told, many people only pray when they want something from God.  They rarely, if ever, contact Him just to say thanks.  These folks in effect treat God as though He operated a fire station and is on call 24/7.   When trouble hits, then they pray for relief.  That situation helps to define what prayer is.  It’s asking God for a favor.  An earnest prayer on the other hand, such as, praying for someone’s salvation or for a loved one in uniform who is currently standing in harm’s way overseas is referred to as supplication.  It is seeking God’s face because you bear a heavy burden.  But no matter what your prayer is it ought to be preceded with thanksgiving. 

4:7:

“…And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

A few Christians I know have told me they don’t pray anymore and that’s because God doesn’t answer their prayers.  These folks and others are obviously unaware of Paul’s guidelines on prayer.  We don’t go to God in prayer asking for our heart’s desires, in Jesus’ name, and then wait to receive it.  In this dispensation in which we all live, Paul said God answers every prayer with: “the peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

What is the peace of God and is it different than peace with God?  Some folks say they are one and the same, so we need to take a look at this.  Please turn to Romans 5:1-2.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”

According to this scripture passage, something happened before the saved individual had peace with God or was no longer His enemy (Romans 5:8).  This verse says they were justified by faith.   This is a legal term meaning, “Just as though you never sinned.” Your slate is wiped clean by God.  But there’s more.  The Believer now has by faith access into this grace wherein we stand…  Access to what?  Access to every blessing that flows from God’s grace, including direct access to the throne room of God through prayer.  This is one of the greatest privileges the Believer has.  

So then, every true Believer has peace with God but what about the peace of God?  Go to Romans 8:5-6:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and (what) peace.

Who is Paul writing to here?  For those of you who do not know Paul only writes to Believers.  Most people believe Paul wrote Romans while in Corinth, Greece, so from that up close and personal experience when he mentioned those folks who were carnally minded he’s referring to the Believers in Corinth:

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.  For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:1-4).

I took y’all down that brief rabbit trail to demonstrate The Corinthian believers as well as the saints in Philippi were not perfect.  And neither are we.  We hardly live the  perfect life, if we’re being honest.  So not every Believer is going to experience the peace of God, and that’s because our focus is on things other than the things of God.  Put another way we are not spiritually minded 24 hours a day.  So, if you do not have the peace of God it is because you are carnally minded or better said, “You don’t have the mind of Christ.”  

The peace of God is best described as a process.  The more you know God’s will, dispensationaly speaking, the more God is able to work in you.  The more you allow God to work in you and through you, the more peace of God you’ll experience.  That comment takes us back to what Paul wrote in Romans 5:2 regarding “access by faith into this grace wherein we stand.”  Not every Believer takes advantage of their ability to communicate with God through prayer.  Those that do are able to experience God’s answer to their prayers, which is, “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Let’s look at Romans 8:27-28:

And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Here, once again, Paul speaks of God’s will re: prayer; not our will.  Most understand this peace to be a tranquil life where they “lie down in green pastures” and the Lord leads them “beside the still waters” as the Psalmist says.  Paul, however, is speaking about the peace of God in the midst of harsh times.  It is resting in the fact that God is sovereign and is in control of all things.  Having this peace is looking beyond the bad times and the sad times, knowing that all things work together for good to them love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. This is the peace of God which passeth all understanding…”

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Philippians 4:2-3 (L 35)


Home Bible Study©
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)
WWW. 2Tim215.Net

Established November 2008                                      Published: October 23, 2019

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************

Welcome, one and all, to HBS where you’ll find the “Light” is on 24/7/365.

I  thank you for your prayers for me and for all the saints, in Christ Jesus.  I also thank you for your faithful attentiveness to the Word of God, rightly divided, and for your willingness to participate in this Bible study.  Although the publication of these lessons has been erratic, my commitment to y’all is unwavering.  

In the last lesson Paul dealt with “discord” and its companion “disunity” (they are two peas in the same pod) in the Philippian church by naming its source Euodias and Syntyche.  Note Paul didn’t rebuke them instead he included them in this statement:  Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown” (4:1a).

This verse echoes Paul’s opening remarks in Philippians 1:8 where he expressed heartfelt joy and longing for all of these Believers even the troublemakers:

Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.  For God is my record, how greatly I (do what) long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.”

Paul’s exhortation for this church to be “of the same accord: (2:2) suggests that some of the folks in this assembly were choosing sides in the dispute.  Their conduct was unbecoming to both the Believer and the gospel.  Furthermore, their ungracious behavior made the gospel of grace look bad to the world-at-large.  Whatever the issue was that brought about the dispute between these two women it goes without saying their walk with the Lord was hindered, and the gospel of grace was being impeded.  

Therefore, Paul exhorted them to “stand fast in the Lord” and “be of the same mind.”  Stand fast” means to persevere in their relationship with Christ Jesus.  They were not to be influenced or manipulated by the Judaizers, i.e. “false teachers” (3:2-11), perfectionists (3:12-16), hedonists or “pleasure seekers” (3:17-21).  They were to be likeminded, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace:” 

“I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:1-6)

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Please open your Bible at Philippians 4:2-3:

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Despite the disharmony and discord in this assembly of Believers Paul said the names of Euodias, and Syntyche are in the book of life.  He also included Clement, and the other fellowlabourers at Philippi (4:3).  But he did not say the names of the entire church at Philippi are written in the book of life. 

Again, we don’t know who these two women were, and Paul doesn’t identify his fellowlabourers.  We know these women were at odds with one another and responsible for the disunity in this church.  They also worked with Paul in the furtherance of the gospel.  But we know little else.  There are commentaries out there that attempt to reveal details about Eurodias and Syntyche and their dispute, but I prefer to teach the truth based on fact and not opinion.  The truth is, the Bible may not tell us everything we’d like to know, but it does tell us what we need to know; and God said believe it!  The definition of faith is believing what God said. 

I didn’t want to leave this section of scripture without taking a good look at the book of life and its connection, if any, to the Body of Christ.  Therefore, I ask y’all “What is the book of life and is the Body of Christ (those who believe Paul’s gospel of grace – Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) found in it?

If you’ve been attending church for a length of time, then you’ve probably heard the book of life mentioned in some context.  Right off let me say I don’t want people to get the notion I’m being inflexible or dogmatic.  No one will lose their salvation and face the fires of hell based on whether or not you understand what the book of life is.  

The Bible reveals God keeps a record (book) of the activities of every human being, including their spoken words (Matthew 12:36).   The Lord God (Jehovah) also told His people to write down the things He revealed to them (Jeremiah 30:2).  Having said that,   Moses, David, Daniel, John , and Paul all had something to say about the book of life.

We’re going to search the Scriptures so as to arrive at the truth.  We’ll also look for any connection this book has with Grace Age Believers because it’s one thing to believe something; it’s another thing entirely to know (understand) why you believe it.

Moses

The first time the Bible mentions the book of life is in Exodus 32:32-33 where Moses writes about  the Israelites making and then worshiping a golden calf, while Moses was atop Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments from the Lord God.  It seems almost beyond belief that Israel could have fallen so far so fast.  God had demonstrated His superiority and power over all the false gods of the Egyptians and freed them from the power of Pharaoh, who headed the most powerful nation in the world at that time.  Instead of following the Lord God who had redeemed them from slavery, they chose to return to slavery by worshiping a false god.  The Lord God told Moses because of their sin He would destroy them and start a new people and Moses would lead  them (Exodus 32.9-10).  Moses asked Him to change His mind:

Then Moses entreated the Lord his God, and said, “O Lord, why does Your anger burn against Your people whom You have brought out from the land of Egypt with great power and with a mighty hand?  Why should the Egyptians speak, saying, ‘With evil intent He brought them out to kill them in the mountains and to destroy them from the face of the earth’?  Turn from Your burning anger and change Your mind about doing harm to Your people.  Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants to whom You swore by Yourself, and said to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’”  So the Lord changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people” (Exodus 32:11-14). 

Notice Moses called Israel “Your people” when he appealed to God and reminded Him of His promises.  His case was that God’s honor was greater than the nation’s sin (Exodus 32:11-14).  When Moses came down from the mountain and saw what the people were doing he was angry but asked God to forgive their sin.  He then offered himself as a substitute for God’s wrath: 

But now, if You will, forgive their sin—and if not, please (do what) blot me out from Your book (hold this thought in your memory bank; we’ll get back to it) which You have written!”  The Lord said to Moses, “Whoever has sinned against Me, I will blot him out of My book (Exodus 32:32-33).

Moses asked God to blot him out (erase his name) from the book of life, if the Lord would not forgive Israel’s sin.  In effect, what Moses’ offered was that he would be sent to an eternal doom if God would forgive the people.  God refused Moses’ sacrificial offer and said He would blot out from the book of life those who had sinned against Him.  Then in Deuteronomy 29:20, Moses warned the Israelites about the fate of those who turned away from the Lord God and worshipped false idols:

The Lord shall never be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and His jealousy will burn against that man, and every curse which is written in this book will rest on him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven.”

David

In Psalm 69 David revealed his innermost thoughts regarding his sufferings brought about by his enemies merely because he was faithful to the Lord God.  He prayed that He would judge them.  In verse 69:28 we have the result of their persecution of David: 

Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, And not be written with the righteous” (69:28). 

The book of life in this passage is identified as “the book of the living” and are one and the same.  Those who have blotted out of this book are dead to God.  

Daniel

The Lord God gave the prophet Daniel tremendous insight as to what will happen to the nation of Israel as well as the rest of the world during that period of time known as Jacob’s trouble, Daniel’s 70th week or the Tribulation period:

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found (where) written in the book” (Daniel 12:1).

The book” mentioned above is obviously the book of life.  When we think of great catastrophes the destruction and loss of life at Hiroshima and Nagasaki might come to mind, but they are walks in the park when compared to the Tribulation and the Great Tribulation (final 3.5-year period of God’s wrath).  Billions of people will suffer death during this time period.  The word “delivered” is equal to the word “overcoming” the Lord spoke of this in his message to the seven assemblies in Revelation saying, “Those who overcomereceive eternal life.”

Paul

Then we have Paul’s Bible passage in Philippians 4:3.  Contrary to what some folks maintain, Paul was not a chauvinist he deeply appreciated women and acknowledged their contributions in serving the church and as it clearly says here “they laboured with Paul in the gospel.”  In recognition of their faithfulness, Paul asked his yokefellow to assist these two women not in the ministerial work but to act as a go-between helping them reconcile their differences.  He then recognized Clement and his fellowlabourers as being in God’s book of life:

And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Food for Thought

(This is the only place in all of Paul’s writings where he mentions the book of life and he wrote two-thirds of the N.T.  So, questions come to mind, such as, “Why didn’t Paul recognize the Body of Christ as being in God’s book of life?  Why just these people?”)

John

The book of Revelation was written by the Apostle John.  He had more to say about the book of life than anyone else.  Let’s start with Revelation 2:7 where the risen Lord spoke of “overcoming” to the Jewish (not gentile) congregations in Asia Minor:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

The tree of life here means eternal life.  To receive it the Israelites will have to overcome.  Overcoming is also mention in Revelation 2:11, 17, 26, 3:5, 12, and 21).   Whenever you have something mentioned multiple times within the span of a few verses, that information is not only relevant it’s significant and we’re to pay attention.  

But what does overcoming mean?  I’m glad you asked.  The overcoming of which the Lord spoke was refusing to worship the counterfeit Christ (a.k.a. the Antichrist, the Beast) by trusting in the true Christ or Messiah.  During the Olivet Discourse, Jesus told the twelve during the tribulation the one who endured until the end would be saved (Matthew 24:13).  The “end” is either physical death which is highly likely considering all the judgments of God, it could mean martyrdom for not accepting the sign of the beast, or the return of the Christ Jesus to earth; a.k.a. the Second Coming.   

During the Tribulation, the gospel of grace no longer be preached the kingdom gospel is once again in effect (Matthew 24:14).  One’s salvation during this period will not be based upon Paul’s gospel of grace (Acts 20.24; 1 Corinthians 15.1-4) which is Christ died for all your sin, was buried, and rose from the dead but upon believing in the name of Christ, i.e., believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God (Matthew 16:13-20; John 11:23-27; Acts 2:21, 28, 3:16, 4:7, 10, 12, 17-18, 30, 5:28, 40-41, 8:35-37).

John the Baptist heralded the gospel of the kingdom and so did the Lord Jesus Christ and not Paul’s gospel of grace.  The Lord declared it would be proclaimed throughout all the nations and then the end would come (Matthew 24:14). 

As noted above, the risen Lord’s message to each of the Jewish assemblies in Revelation 2-3 instructed them about “overcoming.”  After each warning there came the promise of eternal life for the overcomer.  To the assembly at Sardis, Christ Jesus described salvation with reference to the book of life saying:

He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

At this time, the vast majority of the world will succumb to Satan’s lies and worship him and the counterfeit christ.  These people will not be overcomers.  Because of this, their names will not be found in the book of life.  

The Apostle John wrote:

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain (Revelation 13:8).

The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” (Revelation 17:8). 

This verse confuses many, but it is really quite straightforward.  The beast is the counterfeit christ.  He “was,” i.e., he was alive and in control, then “is not,” i.e., he is killed somehow, then “will come,” i.e., returns to life and “is” again (Revelation 13:3, 12, 17:11).

Satan is the great deceiver and counterfeiter.  It is in the nature of Satan to replicate what the Lord has done with an evil twist.  As Jesus arose from the dead, the beast will similarly, in some fashion not yet understood, rise from the dead.  In doing so, he will successfully deceive a great many and these names are not found in the book of life.  

One important detail not to be overlooked is God’s Church will not be present during the Tribulation for “At the sound of the trumpet, the Body of Christ will be Raptured, caught up or snatched away” (1 Corinthians 15:50-54; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). 

I mention this because a lot of people include the grace churches when speaking of the Tribulation; they deny the biblical truth revealed by Paul that all those who believe his gospel, i.e. the Church, will not suffer God’s wrath (1 Thessalonians 5:9). 

In Revelation 20:12, John the Apostle described what is known as the Great White Throne Judgment.  The Lord Jesus Christ will act in His role as the only Righteous Judge of unsaved humanity.  I say unsaved because no saved individual will be present at this judgment.  

In the following passage of scripture two sets of books are mentioned:  the book of life (singular) and the books of works (plural):

And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works (Revelation 20:12).

And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

Again not one Believer will be at the Great White Throne Judgement.  This judgement is for the unsaved or those outside of Christ Jesus and it will determine who enters heaven.  However, if you’re one of those attending the Great White Throne Judgement, there’s no way you can enter heaven because of two things:  you are destitute of faith in what God has said, and you’re basing your entry into heaven solely on your good works or those things done in the flesh.  The Bible says this plan won’t work: 

“Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20).

“…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed (Paul’s gospel and are positioned) in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified” (Galatians 2:16, 3:11). 

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 (Ephesians 2:8-9). 

That’s exactly what the flesh does it loves to boast of the things it has accomplished.  It puffs people up, but it cannot save you or make you a righteous individual before God: 

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” (Romans 3:10). 

Only the shed blood of Jesus Christ can take away sin not your good deeds, such as,  regular church attendance, tithing faithfully, keeping the commandments, or anything else you can dream up.  All of your combined fleshly works are merely “filthy rags” to God (Isaiah 64:6; Hebrews 11:6).

The way of salvation in the Grace Age is to believe Paul’s gospel.  The clearest form of it is found in 1 Corinthians 15.1-4.  When you place your faith in Christ Jesus’ finished work on the cross and His glorious resurrection, rather than relying upon your own self- righteousness, the righteousness of Christ is imputed “applied to one’s account” (Romans 5:19; 1 Corinthians 1:30)

Conclusion

All this brings us back to my question “Are the names of every member of the Body of Christ written in the book of life?”

The Bible passages we reviewed seem to indicate two different things regarding an individual and the book of life.  On one hand, they seem to indicate every person begins life with his and her name in the book of life (Exodus 32:33; Deuteronomy 29:20; Psalm 69:28; Revelation 3:5).  But on the other hand, two scriptures seem to indicate the names of the lost are not recorded (Revelation 13:8, 17:8).  What do we know about every one of these Bible books (or should know when rightly dividing God’s Word)?  These Bible books are primarily Jewish ground meaning, in them, the Lord God is dealing with the nation of Israel and their rebellious nature.  

Before we go any further, please know the Creator God does not have a library of books in heaven.  He doesn’t have a squad of angels acting as secretaries writing down every scrap of information on each person born into this world.  “Book” (sefer in Hebrew) is a metaphor for God’s ability to remember, i.e. His memory.  

We looked at a couple of Bible passages that convey the idea people’s names are recorded in a book in heaven or were blotted out of the same book.  A “name” means a person’s personality or character, their unique being, every deed and word spoken.  Even though we share a name with many other people, God knows us intimately, He knows our physical and spiritual DNA, in other words:

“Thou tellest my wanderings: Put thou my tears into thy bottle: Are they not in thy book?”  (Psalm 56:8)

Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered” (Matthew 10:29-30).

The Body of Christ will appear before the risen Lord to give an account of the things they have done in the flesh, after the Rapture, whether good or bad.  This is not the Great White Throne Judgement it is the Bema Seat Judgement where Believers receive or lose reward:

Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).

Paul spoke of the book of life once in all his writings, whereas he used the phrase “ in Christ” in one form or another 73 times when referring to the true Believer who has been positioned eternally, in Christ Jesus.  When you believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) that very instant you are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise:  

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,” (Ephesians 1:13; 1 Corinthians 12:13).

Your salvation is eternal (unless you believed in vain), i.e. once saved always saved:

And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand(John 10:28-29).

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:4-8).

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).

In several places we saw where the writer of scripture revealed people can be removed (blotted out) from of the book of life.  I just showed you some verses that say once saved, always saved.  Your salvation is a settled issue; it is not something you’ll have defend or wonder about for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1-2).

John wrote if the individual overcomes, then they will be saved during the Tribulation, but the church a.k.a the Body of Christ will not be found there. I teach “right division” of God’s Word, so because of these two biblical facts among others, the book of life has nothing to do with the Body of Christ.  As to the reason Paul mentioned this book in Philippians 4:3, we do not know for certain.  Perhaps these folks were Jewish members of the Philippian assembly and also members of “the little flock” of Jewish believers in Jerusalem  (Luke 12:32; Acts 20:28).  If so, then there names would have been written in the book of life or better said, a detail the Creator God will remember.

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