Words of Life ~ APPROVED

The word APPROVED is used only in the Greek New Testament. It is unrelated to the word prove in the Old Testament which means to test, try, tempt.

New Testament G584
Strong’s Concordance apodeiknymi ä-po-dā’k-nü-mē
1. to point away from one’s self, to point out, show forth, to expose to view, exhibit
2. to declare, to show, to prove what kind of person anyone is, to prove by arguments, demonstrate
The same Greek word is used for the words prove, set forth, shewing

 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:
Acts 2:22

The first mention of the word approved relates to Jesus as being approved of God. The miracles, wonders, and signs were those God did by Him among the people.

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Romans 14:17-18

We must be acceptable to God before we are approved of men. Those who are approved of men are those who serve Christ in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost.

For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
1 Corinthians 11:19

Paul spoke in his letter to the church in Corinth of the difference in those who are approved and those who were not because of heresy.

 For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. 2 Corinthians 10:18

We do not speak of ourselves as approved. The Lord commends those who are approved.

 Approved unto God is the result of our relationship with Him as God our Father and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As we spend time in His Word, we are enabled by His Holy Spirit, to know Him and to serve Him in His kingdom of righteousness, peace, and joy. To study means to be diligent in our work for His kingdom, knowing the word of truth, living and witnessing of His truth in all that we are and do. Those who are approved, are His workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works which He beforehand ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10). Just as He approved His own work through Christ, we are approved by His own work in us.

Dear Father in heaven, how can we even know the meaning of this word approved except you bring us to Christ and work in and through us His nature and disposition, conforming us to His image. Stamp on us this word as you seal us with your Holy Spirit.  As your children, a people who love you, let us serve you in righteousness, peace, joy and truth. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.
Fran
Photo: Gerd Altmann/pixabay

 

Secret Councils

Yesterday, Jerry was sitting on the screened back porch, listening to Rush Limbaugh’s comments about the Presidential Inauguration. I sat with him a few minutes. Mr. Limbaugh stated that there is a bureaucracy that operates in Washington. Seemingly there are those who hold no public office that control everything. We imagine that the wealthy and influential meet in secret chambers to plan their schemes.

We remember that Haman, in the Book of Esther, unknowingly planned his own hanging.

There is the record of God’s council spoken in Acts 4:24-32. The same council that instigated Jesus’ death brought in Peter and John to stop them from speaking of the salvation that God had worked through their scheme (Acts 24:28). After reporting what was said to them, God’s people prayed, and “the place was shaken;” they were “filled with the Holy Ghost” and “spoke the Word of God with boldness.”

Lightnings, Thunderings, and An Earthquake

And there is the reference in Revelation 8:4-5 of the prayers of the saints.

“And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.
And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake.”the-white-house-1203537

There are two councils here on earth. From the Fall of man, the antithesis has been ongoing. God continues to rule under His covenant of grace, by His own Word and truth. Men, under the power of Satan, rule the other council, according to their plans. But, even this one has always been under God’s sovereign control.

“The Lord has prepared his throne in the heavens;
and his kingdom rules over all.”
Psalm 103:19

He calls us, as His saints, to meet in His secret chambers to offer up prayers so that His council may be made known here on earth (Ephesians 6:18). Places can be shaken, lightnings and thunderings can wake even the most powerful in our nation and the world. We must pray, expecting great things, even an earthquake ~ for our salvation and His glory.

Gracious Father, you have taught us to know you and your Almighty power over all things. We believe that you are able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us. Unto you be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. In Jesus’ name, whom you have given all authority and power, we pray, we thank you and praise you. Amen.
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CHRIST IS PRECIOUS ~ Part 3 Octavius Winslow

How precious is the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that fully justifies our person, completely covering all our deformity, and presenting us to God…And look at the preciousness of His sacrifice, which is as a “sweet- smelling savour” unto God (Eph 5:2), ascending ever from off the golden altar before the throne in one continuous cloud of incense, wreathing the persons, perfuming the prayers, accompanying the offerings, and presenting with acceptance every breath of devotion, every accent of praise, and every token of love that His people here below lay at His feet. “By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified” (Heb. 10:14). That “one offering,” offered once for all, was so divine, so holy, so complete, so satisfactory, it has forever perfected the pardon, perfected the justification, perfected the adoption, and will perfect the sanctification when it perfects the glory of all the elect of Jehovah. Beloved, is not this enough to check every sigh, to quell every fear, to annihilate every doubt, and to fill you with peace and joy in believing? What shouts of praise to Jesus should burst from every lip as each believer contemplates the sacrifice that has secured his eternal salvation…Believer, evince your sense of the preciousness of this great sacrifice by bringing to it daily sins, by drawing from it hourly comfort, and by laying yourself upon it, body, soul, and spirit, a living sacrifice unto God.

How precious is Christ in all the offices and relations that He sustains to His people. Precious as the Head, the covenant-surety Head, of His people, the source of life, the seat of power, the fountain of all blessing. Reader, hold fast the Headship of Christ! Acknowledge no legislative head, no administrative head, no authoritative head, no reigning head of the Church, but the LORD JESUS CHRIST. There are undercurrents of priestly domination in the Church of God in the present day, subversive of this cardinal truth, against which it behoves us to be on our guard. Acknowledge no spiritual Head and King in Zion but the Lord Jesus! Evince (show) your recognition of, reverence for, and love to His government by vindicating His Headship, bowing to His authority, and obeying His laws. Oh, how blessed to be under the holy, benign, and gentle government of Christ, Whose scepter is a scepter of righteousness, so mild and loving in its sway that “a bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench” (Mat 12:20)…

BUT TO WHOM IS CHRIST PRECIOUS? This is a most important question. He is not so to all. It is a privileged class, a peculiar people, a little flock, few and scattered, hidden and unknown, who feel the Savior’s preciousness. Only to the believer is Christ precious; the declaration of the Holy Ghost is, “Unto you therefore which BELIEVE He is precious.” This is philosophically as well as scripturally true. There cannot possibly be a felt conviction of the worth of an object of which we have no intelligent and clear perception. There must be something to create interest, to awaken admiration, to inspire love; the object must be seen, known, and tried.

Now, the only spiritual faculty that discerns Christ, and in discerning Christ realizes His preciousness, is— faith. Faith is…the spiritual eye of the soul. Faith sees Christ; and as Christ is seen, His excellence is descried.*  As His excellence unfolds, so He becomes an object of endearment to the heart. Oh, how lovely and how glorious is Jesus to the clear, far-seeing eye of faith! Faith beholds Him the matchless, peerless One—His beauty eclipsing, His glory outshining all other beings. Faith sees majesty in His meanness,** dignity in His condescension, honor in His humiliation, beauty in His tears, transcendent, surpassing glory in His cross…Beloved, in proportion as the personal dignity, beauty, and excellence of the Lord Jesus unfolds to the believing eye, He becomes more sensibly and deeply enshrined in the heart’s warmest love. We must know the Lord Jesus to admire Him, must admire Him to love Him, and must love Him to serve Him.

The believer, too, beholds a suitability in Christ, sees Him to be just the Savior adapted to the necessities of his soul; and this renders Him peculiarly precious. “I see Him,” exclaims the believer, “to be exactly the Christ I need: His fullness meets my emptiness, His blood cleanses my guilt, His grace subdues my sin, His patience bears with my infirmities, His gentleness succors my weakness, His love quickens my obedience, His sympathy soothes my sorrows, His beauty charms my eye. He is just the Savior, just the Christ I need, and no words can describe His preciousness to my soul”…The believer can say, “Christ is mine, and I have all things in one, even in Christ, Who is my all and in all.” This simple, trembling faith, sublime in its simplicity, mighty in its tremblings, sweeps all the treasures of the everlasting covenant of grace and all the fullness of the Surety of the covenant into its lap, and exclaims, “All is mine because Christ is mine, and I am Christ’s”…If you have fled to Jesus as a poor, empty, believing sinner, there is not a throb of love in His loving heart, nor a drop of blood in His flowing veins, nor a particle of grace in His mediatorial fullness, nor a thought of peace in His divine mind that is not yours, all yours, inalienably yours, as much yours as if you were its sole possessor. And in proportion as you thus deal with Christ, individually travelling to Him, living upon Him, living out of Him, dealing as personally with Him as He deals personally with you, He will insinuate (introduce gradually) Himself in your regard, and will become growingly precious to your soul..

There are peculiar circumstances in the believer’s experience when Christ becomes especially precious to the soul. For example: in the deeper ploughings of the heart’s hidden sinfulness—when the Holy Ghost reveals more of the innate corruption of our nature, and gives a more spiritual perception of sin’s exceeding sinfulness, oh, how precious does the finished work of Christ then become!—how precious the blood that cleanseth from all sin! If God is leading you through this stage of Christian experience, beloved, be not alarmed. It is but to build up His dear Son upon the wreck and ruin of your own merit, strength, and sufficiency. He will have us love His Son with a love like His own— a love of divine, supreme, ineffable affection—and this can only be felt in the region of our own nothingness.

*descried – made known; revealed
** meanness – humbleness of birth; lowliness