Friday, April 29, 2016

Ephesians Study Guide

"Ephesians: The Mystery Revealed"


This 61-page study guide has all of the notes that I have used for our study through the book of Ephesians. I will mail you a combed hard copy or email it to you in PDF format for a donation in any amount. Please specify format, address if needed, and email address in the "Optional Notes" section of the payment screen.

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Directional Devo - Ephesians 5:5-6

In today's study from Ephesians 5:5-6, we see that no one who walks in habitual and unrepentant sin can rightfully claim to be a child of God.

Directional Devo

Thursday, April 28, 2016

True Pastors - Revelation 2:1

Today we begin in Revelation 2:1. Here we are introduced to the first of the seven churches where it says, “Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;” This is the letter to the church of Ephesus. The word Ephesus means “desired one.” It represents the Apostolic Church of the first and second centuries.

Now again, remember that these churches represent a certain period in church history. Ephesus is the church of the 1st Century apostles; you and I are not living in this church, but in the age of the Laodicean church. We are the “last-days” church that is expecting the return of our Lord in Revelation 4:1.

Notice that this letter is addressed “Unto the angel..." Who is this angel? We are told who he is in 1:20 where it said, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” The angel is the pastor or messenger unto the church of Ephesus.

As we study further, we will find that every church, no matter how corrupt, has true pastors in them. God will not leave His sheep without true pastors to shepherd them. In addition to that, God will always protect his messengers. Notice that the verse says, “the seven stars (pastors or messengers) which thou sawest in my hand.” God protects those who faithfully serve and represent Him. I pity those who lift their hand against God’s servants. They are actually fighting against God Himself.

How many times have you heard someone speak evil against a pastor? Oh, I know that you hear it all of the time if you are involved in the life of a church. Those who do so are defying God and bringing judgment upon themselves. Some will say, “Well, you don’t know how bad our pastor is.” “You don’t know what he has done.” Let me ask you this, “Who made you judge and jury against God’s anointed?” God can “set up” and God can “put down” (Daniel 5:19). You just leave that responsibility to Him. He doesn’t need your help.

A prime example in the Bible that all of us would do well to follow is found in 1 Samuel 24 when David had the opportunity of a lifetime to end his years of running from King Saul. David and his men were hiding in the caves of En-gedi and King Saul decided that he had to use the bathroom in one of the caves. Guess which cave he chose? Yes, the very cave in which David and his men were hiding! It was then that David’s men encouraged him to take advantage of the opportunity to kill Saul. So David got close enough to Saul to cut off just a small piece of his robe. After Saul had left the cave, David fell under tremendous conviction that he had even thought enough of himself to reach out and touch the Lord’s anointed. He said in 1 Sam 24:10, “Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD's anointed.”

Yet today, how many people will reach out and touch or speak against “the LORD’s anointed” without even batting an eye. They are on dangerous ground and I would advise you to keep no company with them. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 5:11-13, “But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat…therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.” That verse is telling you and I not to keep company with a “brother” that among other things is a railer. A railer is someone who runs his mouth and speaks evil of other people. You are to have no part with them. As a matter of fact, you should not even eat with them. Maybe that railer is you? I would encourage you to repent before your next meal lest those who eat with you be partakers of your sin.

Directional Devo - Ephesians 5:3-4


In today's study Paul continues to admonish the Ephesians to walk in love by remaining sexually pure and being careful with what comes out of their mouths.

Directional Devo

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Seven Churches - Revelation 1:20


Today, I want to focus on Revelation 1:20 and a brief introduction of chapters 2 and 3. Revelation 1:20 says, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.”

Verse 20 is what I call the explanation verse. I have always believed that the best commentary on the Bible is the Bible itself and its true! When we find things in the Bible that don’t make sense, usually there is another verse that explains it. That’s the case here. We are told that the stars in the right hand of Jesus represent the messengers or pastors of each of the churches and the candlesticks represent the actual churches.

Now, let me take a moment to introduce chapter 2 and 3 where we see the seven churches. There are three things that we must first know about these churches before we proceed. First, they were literal churches in Asia Minor. Second, they represent a dispensation, time, or age of the church from the time of Christ to the present. Third, a little bit of each of them can still be found in churches today (i.e., some churches have left their first love, others have fallen into dead orthodoxy, and many have accepted the doctrines of men over the clear teachings of Scripture). We will discover these three things as we go through chapters 2 and 3 together.

Another thing to note about these churches is that their names are very important. Each name correlates to the age or time in which it represents. Ephesus means Desirable. It represents the apostolic church of the 1st Century. Smyrna means Myrrh. It represents the persecuted church of 2nd and 3rd centuries. Pergamos means Marriage. It represents the compromising church that started around 345 A.D. under the leadership of the Emperor Constantine when he created the first church-state relationship by establishing not only political Rome but also a spiritual one. Thyatira means Continual Sacrifice. It represents the church of the Dark Ages. Sardis means Remnant. It represents the church of the Protestant Reformation. Philadelphia means Brotherly Love. It represents the true church or the revival church. Laodicea means People’s Rights or Rule. It represents the lukewarm church of the last days in which we live.

Another interesting parallel is the relationship between each of these seven letters and the seven Kingdom Parables found in Matthew 13. These parallels will be mentioned in some of the churches.  It’s a great study to do on your own.

Another point that I want to cover briefly is some background on the church. The church began with Jesus. He said in Matthew 16:18, “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Understand that when Jesus said this, it was brand new! There was no such thing as a church in Jesus’ day; only synagogues, the temple, and the Tabernacle in the Old Testament.

The church upon this Earth will end at the rapture at the end of the church age. That will happen in Revelation 4:1. When the rapture does happen, I really don’t think that the world for the most part will realize it, because so much of the organized church will still be here. That sounds weird until you realize that there must be a distinction made between what many refer to as the organism and the organization.

The Bible tells us that the church has within it both wise and foolish virgins (Matt. 25:1-13), faithful and lazy servants (Matt. 25:14-30), and wheat and tares (Matt. 13:24-30). The wise virgins, the faithful servants, and the wheat all represent the true church of Jesus Christ which is the organism or Body of Christ. The foolish virgins, the lazy servants, and tares all represent the false church which is the organization.

The organization is man-made. It is of the world; while the organism is the true body of Christ made up of the redeemed. When the Lord returns for His church, He is only going to receive the wise, the faithful, and the wheat. He will leave behind foolish, the lazy, and tares. The organism will be taken and the organization will be left. Which one do you belong to?

Monday, April 25, 2016

The Outline Verse - Revelation 1:19

This week, I want to take another look at Revelation 1:19 where it says, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;” Again, this is called the outline verse of the book of Revelation. Unless you understand and apply this verse consistently throughout the book, it will be very confusing to you.

I’ve heard all kinds of interpretations of the book of Revelation over the years. Some of them are fanciful and simply reflect ignorance. While others seem to be an honest attempt, but fall short. The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:19-20, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” That means exactly what it says.

It only stands to reason that God put an outline verse there for our benefit. Let’s use it. The book is pretty straightforward and simple actually. Unfortunately, some people struggle with it because they can’t wrap “their theology” around it. I believe that if a person tells me what they believe about the book of Revelation; I can tell them what they believe in regards to the rest of the Bible (i.e., creation, the eternal security of the believer, works as compared to grace, the church, etc.).

This outline verse clearly tells us that the book is divided up into three parts: “the things which thou hast seen”, “the things which are”, and “the things which shall be hereafter”. Let’s take a look at each of them. The “things which thou hast seen” are found in chapter one as John describes Jesus. In this chapter John describes Jesus as being the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending, and the first and the last (v.8). He describes Jesus as walking in the “midst of the seven candlesticks” which represent the seven churches that he is about to write to. The chapter describes exactly what John saw and what he was told to do.

The “things which are” are the seven churches that are described in chapters two and three. There are three things about these churches that need to be noted. First, these were literal churches. They actually existed in what is today called, Asia Minor. Second, each of the churches had characteristics that can be found in churches today. On the negative side, some churches today have left their first love, fallen into dead orthodoxy, begun to worship idols, and think they are rich and don’t need God anymore. While on the positive side, there are some who have not given in to these things, serving the Lord faithfully, and looking for His soon return. Third, each of the churches represent a time period in the life of the church beginning with its birth in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost and ending with its rapture or taking out Revelation 4:1.

And then finally, the “things which shall be hereafter” refers to chapter four and following. Of course, it is going to be a horrible time to be alive on Earth. These final chapters of Revelation cover what is known as the time of the Tribulation. It is also referred to in the Bible as the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (Jeremiah 30:7) and Daniel’s Seventieth Week (Daniel 9:27). By whatever name, it’s going to be very bad for anyone left alive during that time. Hopefully, you’re a part of the church that will be taken in Revelation 4:1. If not, there is no better time to become a member than right now by asking Jesus to come into your live and save you (Romans 10:9-13).

Now, you may ask, “How do you know that Revelation 4:1 is when the Rapture of the church will take place and the horrible Tribulation will begin?” The answer is found in the word “hereafter” in v.19. The word means “after this”. The first time the word appears is in 1:19 and the next time the word appears is in 4:1. That means that at the conclusion of the church age (Chapters 2 and 3) which ends with the Church of Laodicea, the Rapture will take place and the Tribulation will begin.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Message Link

Here is the link to the message that I taught this past Sunday at the Calvary Chapel in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. 

http://listen.ccgvl.org/audio/20160417_teaching.mp3

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:30-5:2

In today's study, Paul talks about how it is possible for the Holy Spirit to be grieved by our disobedience and the necessity of forgiveness in our lives.

Audio Study

Study Notes

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:26-29

In today's study, Paul continues to address the issue of walking in the newness of life by addressing the issues of anger and language.

Audio Study

Study Notes

Monday, April 11, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:17-25

In today's study, Paul continues to address the issue of walking in the newness of life by renewing our minds, and also points out the very real sin of lying that most Christians engage in more often than they would like to admit.

Audio Study

Study Notes

Friday, April 8, 2016

The Gospel - Revelation 1:18-19

Let’s pick it up this week in Revelation 1:18 where it says, “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.” Only Jesus could make this statement. He is the only one who lived, died, and rose again. It’s called the gospel or good news.

Sometimes we get confused about just what the gospel is. We start babbling about creation and the rise of the Antichrist in the last days. While all of that is interesting and true; the gospel is much simpler than that. It is simply the death, burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yep, that’s it! The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:” That’s the gospel. He died for our sins. He was buried.  He rose again the third day. That’s it!

We must be very careful not to add anything to that message either. We have a tendency to want to complicate the things of God. I think it makes us feel a little bit better about ourselves. However, in so doing we “frustrate the grace of God” (Galatians 2:21).

The Apostle Paul said that a person can be saved just by believing the gospel when he said in Romans 10:9-10, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” To add anything to that is to put faith in something other than the gospel.

You may ask, “Do people really place their faith in other things besides the gospel for salvation?” Unfortunately, the answer is yes. I hear it all the time, “Well, if you want to be saved, you have to believe and be baptized.” I’m sorry, I don’t even see the word “baptize” anywhere in those verses. If baptism was a requirement for salvation; Jesus lied to the poor thief on the cross when He said in Luke 23:43, “Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” No, there is no mention of water in that conversation.

I’ve heard others say, “If you want to be saved, you have to believe and keep the sacraments.” Again, I’m sorry but that’s not part of the gospel message either. As a matter of fact, it says in Ephesians 2:8-9, “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.” That means that nothing beyond simple faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ will save you.

What happens when someone puts their faith in the gospel plus something else? They’ve forfeited the gospel and are trusting in the “something else” to save them. One says, “It’s faith plus baptism.” They’re trusting in their baptism to save them. Another says, “It’s faith plus sacraments.” They’re trusting in sacraments to save them. It’s faith in the gospel plus nothing that saves. Put your faith in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and then find a church that teaches the simple gospel of Jesus Christ as the only requirement for salvation.

Now, let’s look at verse 19 that says, “Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;” This is called the outline verse of the book of Revelation. Unless you understand and apply this verse, the book will be very confusing to you. It says that the book is divided up into three parts: “the things which thou hast seen”, “the things which are”, and “the things which shall be hereafter”. It’s pretty straightforward and simple actually. People struggle with it because they can’t wrap “their theology” around it, but it’s true.

In a nutshell, the “things which thou hast seen” are found in chapter one as John describes Jesus. The “things which are” are the seven churches that are described in chapters two and three. And the “things which shall be hereafter” refer to chapter four and following.  Next week, we’ll take a little closer look at that.

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:22-23

In today's study, Paul goes on to say that as new men in Christ we must not grow corrupt as a result of our lusts, but instead, be renewed in the spirit of our minds.

Audio Study

Study Notes

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:17-22

In today's study, Paul tells us that in lieu of everything that the Lord has done for us we should no longer walk as the unsaved who do not know Christ.

Audio Study

Study Notes

Monday, April 4, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:12-16

In today's study, we see that the purpose of the ministry gifts is the equip the body of Christ for the work of the ministry until we all come to the unity of the faith.

Audio Study

Video Study

Study Notes

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Angel Worship - Revelation 1:17

Let’s look at Revelation 1:17 this week were it says, “And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:” When John sees the Lord Jesus, he falls at his feet as if dead. This is a proof text that this is Jesus speaking because He does not refuse John’s worship of Him.

We also find later that John tried to do the same thing with an angel that refused John’s worship. It says in 19:10 “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant,…” Notice that John received just the opposite response from this angel.  He refused his worship of him. 

Listen to me very closely; the first angel in history that sought to be worshiped was named Lucifer. It says of him in Isaiah 14:12-15 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Paul says of Lucifer in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” Lucifer paid a very heavy price for seeking to be “like the most High” and desiring to be worshiped “as God”. A true angel of God will never accept worship from a mortal.  If you find one that does; it is a demon. By the way, a demon is a fallen angel who chose to rebel with Lucifer and was kicked out of heaven with him when he decided he wanted God’s job. We see this event described in Revelation 12:7-9 where it says, “And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.”  

We read more about Lucifer’s fall in Ezekiel 28:11-18 when it says, “Thou sealest up the sum, full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty. Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God…Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God;…Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee…and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub,…Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness: I will cast thee to the ground, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee.”

I am amazed at how willfully ignorant people can be on the clear teaching about angels and demons (fallen angels) in the Bible. Do you know how many false religions and cults have been started because someone said that an angel came and told then something? The Apostle Paul said in Galatians 1:6-8, “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

That means that if an angel, heavenly or demonic, (it will be demonic) was to stand at the foot of your bed tonight and tell you something that is not in the Bible; don’t you believe it because he is lying and he is cursed by God.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Directional Devo - Ephesians 4:11

In today's study, we discuss the five ministry gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. 

Audio Study

Study Notes